You only have to read Lord of the Flies or watch a few episodes of Lizzie McGuire to understand why we homeschool. But if there was The Straw that told me I needed to get my kid outta public school, it was the afternoon of The Blue Pig.
When Morgan was in first grade, I was the Room Mom who came up on Friday afternoons to help with Game Hour. I’d gotten there a little early and I’m not sure what the class had been doing, but whatever it was, just a few of the kids were still at it. Most, Morgan included, had moved on to some DIY craft—making paper farm animal headbands. Their teacher, Mrs. Shuler, was floating among her students, helping them finish up and put away their stuff.
For the life of me, I can’t remember what Morgan was coloring, if anything. Even then, he had a way of avoiding the bullshit busy work. But I remember Kole, one of M’s Reading Buddies, ask Mrs. Shuler to “Look!” Stapled to the pre-cut, pale yellow cardstock headband was a brilliant Sapphire Blue pig. He smiled.
“Kole,” said Mrs. Shuler, “I’m very disappointed that you would color your pig blue.” And with that, she spun on her heels and went about her business.
I liked Mrs. Shuler, but I was appalled. Playing the emotional guilt trip of Disappointment is reserved for parents. As Kole’s teacher, she could have said, “You didn’t color the pig realistically.” Or even pronounced it messy. Those are judgment calls. Kids learn to brush off that kinda shit. But head games, man, that’s deep.
So that tore it. I figured I couldn’t screw up my kid any worse than a teacher. After all, as his mom, I get first dibs.