Always Real, Parenting Gone Awry, School

Setting The Record Straight About Hell’s Fury

First of all, thank you all for your kind words and comments and support about my previous post. Blogging is the only thief that takes so much (time) and returns so much more (love, support, community, conversation). So I sincerely thank each and every one of you.

Second – I really and truly don’t think it was a personal slight. In fact, I am sure it was unintentional. Suzanne’s comment struck a chord with both Antique Daddy and I as we read through your comments. The “unintentional slight” played on our biggest fear that because he is quiet and reserved and polite and generally cooperative and not one to be “in the teacher’s face” that he will go unnoticed and overlooked and shuffled to the bottom of the deck.

Third – This is not really a situation that warranted open confrontation, especially given the fact that I am so bad at that kind of thing. Yes it was hurtful (to me, Sean was oblivious) but operating on the theory that it was not intentional, I did take the opportunity to seek more information from the teacher. The information I received did not make me feel better, but I did voice my feelings and that’s that. I also have a voice here and you all have made me feel better and now it’s time to forget it and move on.

Fourth – It was a school-wide video, so I know that Sean’s teachers did not put the video together, they only contributed the pictures. When I spoke to her about it, she said there were two pictures of Sean. I only saw one, but there could have been two. However I know for certain that I did see two pictures of other children before I ever saw one of Sean. The first picture I saw of Sean was three songs into the video.

Fifth – My observation about Sean’s teachers is that they have been kind and loving towards him.

Sixth – We are constantly considering home schooling vs. public vs. private education. It is a huge decision to determine who will influence and teach our child and we are in prayer about it.

29 thoughts on “Setting The Record Straight About Hell’s Fury

  1. What great observations. I would pray about it as well.

    One thing to keep in mind concerning homeschooling (and I think it’s great, for those who venture down that path!) – your son won’t get that social aspect as much, not being with a group of peers. In my personal experience, I have found that children learning alongside peers helps a quiet child come out of his/her shell.

    At any rate, I hope you come to peace with whatever you decide, and know that your child is loved by his teachers. No one video can change that.

  2. Speaking as one who has been a school mom since 1983 and with yet 13 more years to go as a school mom, I have been where you are. I home-schooled one of my children; he just never adjusted to a school environment and was constanly being put down, falling behind,etc. He graduated earlier than he would have if I had kept him in school.

    Home schooling is an excellent choice for the mothers who are disciplined enough to be consistent and for the children who are obedient to the task. In other words, it depends on the mother (or the parent who homeschools) and the child. It is not for everyone. However, don’t be misled by anyone’s arguements against homeschooling. There are some good books on homeschooling available to give you examples of what worked and didn’t work in those families.

    The city in which I live has a big homeschooling population and there are many activities therein for social interaction. Also at Sean’s age, a good Sunday school/church environment and regular playdates with children his own age are enough. As he gets older, T-ball and soccer and cub scouts as well as other organized activites are available to make sure the social interaction continues to mature.

    I have seen some remarkable results from home-schooled children and I would never dissuade anyone from undertaking the task. If you have the commitment to do so, you will do well with homeschooling.

    On a personal note about seeing your child be overlooked: my 6yr. old is an EXCELLENT soccer player (no brag, just fact…his own team and opponents and a soccer camp last summer just reinforced what I had already seen with my own “motherly” eyes. The league has limited how many minutes he can play and how much he can score because he is that good. He is also bi-racial. I sent him to a different soccer camp this spring and the leaders in his group never looked his way. They were supposed to have a player from each group demonstrate the skill being taught every hour and he was never selected though he had mastered all of those skills. They just never looked at him to see his ability. I hurt for him and even more so when the camp was finished and he said “they never looked to see what I can do”. However I used it as a teaching moment to let him know that teachers,coaches sometimes make decisions that you don’t agree with and the way you handle it is to always do your best on the field whether anyone is watching or not….but secretly I was hurt/mad/whatever that word is you were trying to think of.

  3. If you are one who can home school, God bless you. I can’t and so I’m in awe of those who do. I’ll be praying for your decision. God is faithful to give you the answers you need.

  4. I will never forget my son’s 3-yr-old preschool year. I used to try to avoid driving past the playground because if I looked I would see him sitting on a bench all by himself because he was too shy to play with the other kids.

    Things are much better now, but the 3rd grade “recognition” program at his school is tomorrow, and I have just breathed a sigh of relief because out of several categories he will be getting “recognized” in one. How I was dreading him having to sit through the program and never have his name called.

    The Mother Bear that comes out when my children are slighted/hurt/not-treated-as-the-precious-beings-they-are is shocking to me sometimes!

  5. I’m sorry that you had to be in that situation with the slideshow. My heart was breaking for you, as I also have a kind hearted but quiet and reserved little guy (7 years old) and this is exactly the situation I could see myself in. The only saving grace is that, perhaps, because he has Autism, I think other parents make a point of making sure they get pictures of him or include him or whatnot. As my Mom says, “It makes people feel good about themselves because they feel like they are doing something for him.” LOL

    Your posting (original) also reminded me of my feelings (before we had kids) when my MIL put together a family “photo album” type of thing that she had done on the computer. No spouses were included, so no problem. But, my DH’s sister was in the book ELEVEN times before he was in once. I was beyond sad for him, and while I always knew they grew up with her as the “favorite,” it was at that time when my heart especially broke knowing that.

  6. I’m sorry this happened to you–I can so relate. Our Homeschool PE closing ceremonies was held the beginning of May–they hold the “olympics” every April and at the closing ceremonies the kids are all given a gold, silver, or bronze medal. I was so upset when the end of the program came and my 10 year old son was the only one who hadn’t been called up–his two sisters had both been called up a couple of times. The leader is a friend of mine, but I was still having a hard time holding back tears. I told my friend of her mistake and she felt so bad–but the “damage” had been done. She called later and told him he had actually won a gold medal and she didn’t know how she had missed his name. He was fine after that, but I was still “teary”. I just kept imagining how he must have felt thinking surely he would be the next one called. But, I’m over it now–like you said, we forget it and move on.

  7. Hi, – Love your blog! I am also an older mom and I homeschool. I became a mom when I when I married a widower, moved to Canada (from the US) and was instantly blessed with two little boys (ages 3 and 4). Nine months later I was again blessed with a baby boy at age 43.

    Here in Canada, children start school the year they turn 4 and attend 2 years of Kindergarten. So, my older boys were already in school while my head was still spinning that first year. As I felt in love with my older boys during those first couple of years, it broke my heart when things at school didn’t go well. Homework every night and every weekend for little boys – it was too much.

    Meanwhile, I didn’t think I could turn my beautiful baby boy over for the best part (9am to 3pm) of both of our days. So, I finally convinced my husband to let me give homeschooling a try and it has been the biggest blessing! The four of us get the best part of the day together and the boys are the best of friends.

    No where in life, except at school, are you required to spend most of your time with people your exact age. Being around a bunch of poorly behaved people your age does not help you socialize better or learn better. There are so many social outlets (Church, scouts, homeschool groups, sports) other than school. I was never allowed to socialize (talk) in school anyway!

    Homeschooling is not for every parent (but I am sure if you asked most children they would love to spend more time with their parents). I’m sure there are a lot of wonderful schools.

    Homeschooling has worked wonders for our boys and for our family. Time is so precious, enjoy.

    Praying for you, Sean and Antique Daddy,


  8. Parenting is so hard on a Mom’s heart. Either it is breaking for a hurt your child received or so full of love it is ready to burst.
    Knowing your child must go through disappointments and trials doesn’t make it any easier. One day he will thank you for loving him enough to stand up for him, yet allowing him to grow through experience.

  9. You are so graceful about it. Good for you. I have felt this way during presentations where my kids were nowhere to be seen. Whether it’s Bible School, Daycare, or Summer Camp, you are not the first for this to have happened to. I feel your pain.

    As for homeschool vs. private vs. public. My kids go to public school. They do great, plus I get all kinds of opportunity to teach them right from wrong. Seriously, I am not being sarcastic. I mean this – it’s a great opportunity for them to use people skills. My sister’s kids go to a private daycare and on to public school after. My friends homeschool their kids and love it. I know two who have theirs in private school and love it. You know, your kids will be fine no matter what you decide is best for your family, because it all starts and ends at home anyway.

  10. I must have missed the last post so now I’m going to read that. I’m not sure about what’s going on so I can’t really comment here.

  11. I know how you feel. I have one kid who always seems to be nearby when the camera is loaded and shooting. Another one who manages to get photographed a decent number of times…and then there’s my oldest. He would be the kid with the one blurry picture in and among the plethora of images of other kids. And it broke my heart on a daily basis. I know that a video isn’t the litmus by which an educational experience is judged, but I also know what that weight on your heart feels like. It’s awful.

  12. Personally, I don’t know how they could have missed Sean. Even if he is quiet and shy, he is so adorable that he must stick out among ordinary kids. Also, he says the cutest things — they must notice him! Perhaps their photography was bad and he wound up on the cutting room floor. It doesn’t help any for me to tell you that you never get over hurting for your children and then the grandkids come along — and just give you more to hurt over. It’s called motherhood.

  13. I’m kind of a lurker around here, but I love reading your blog – so full of joy, everyday antics, and your love for your family.

    As a former public school teacher, current homeschool mom, and rotten scrapbooker, I read your last entry with great interest. I can’t imagine trying to get the exact same number of pictures of each child in a slideshow if you’re just working from snapshots. Yes it’s the admirable goal and it’s important to try and include everyone, but it’s just so hard with group shots of kids. As a teacher, I just always tried to get a good group shot of the whole class and then nice individual pictures of each.But that does take time… which is always at a premium. And I still have to deal with those type of issues when we try to put together scrapbooks for our homeschool group or even just my own family.

    Nonetheless, I wanted to toss this out there in regards to the comment about how the social interaction at school could help to draw out a more reserved child. Some kids are just more reserved. I grew up going to public school and had lots of shy friends. I know lots of shy adults. It’s not school that makes a difference. In fact, if school is a negative experience it could cause the child to withdraw more.

    Meanwhile homeschooling offers plenty of opportunities for group interaction in a setting that invites parents to be more involved. Some of my friends have children that are more shy and our homeschool coop and presentation days gives them wonderful opportunities to bloom in a more emotionally safe environment. And you still learn how to confront the tough issues that are out there. That’s just part of life. The only difference with homeschooling is that you just get to deal with more of it together.

    I’ve always thought you would make a wonderful homeschool family, but I know that some people hesitate especially if they have an only child. You might want to check out the Homeschooling Only One articles at


  14. Gosh! I feel so special that I was mentioned in your blog today! I’m afraid my comment came from personal experience. My daughter is 16 now and will soon be a junior in high school. She was the “perfect” student in elementary school, her teachers have bragged on her “perfection” since kindergarten. When I say “perfect,” I don’t mean “favorite” or even the “teacher’s pet” though. She was very well liked by her teachers, and they always appreciated how well she behaved and what a good student she was. She is an only child and has grown up being around adults and older cousins her whole life. She is a very talented singer and a dancer and has spent many years in voice and dance classes. Because of this background, she has always seemed more mature than the other kids her age. She was always the quiet and responsible one in school. If she auditioned for choir or a talent show or entered anything academic like a science fair, 9 times out of 10 she would be picked or win. But those were achievements that she earned or that she relied on her own skills and her own talents to obtain. Because at the same time she was making personal strides, she was constantly being overlooked in large groups, left out by her friends, or not selected for something by the teachers like a part in the class play or named team leader in p.e., etc., and more recently in high school she has never been asked by her teachers to serve on any type of committee and never voted into any type of club office or student coucil position, etc.. The kids who end up in these positions are usually the class clowns, the big talkers, the show offs, or the star athletes, etc. Look through any high school yearbook and it will be filled with pictures of these kids. Both teachers and their peers think of these kids first because they are considered to be the “leaders” or “cool” or as I said earlier, because they are always in someone’s face. So my daughter was disappointed a lot when the same kids got picked for things over and over and she could never understand why the loudmouths were always put in positions of responsibility when they didn’t deserve it and usually ended up doing a bad job of it. The experience I most remember was when she ran for Student Council Treasurer her 8th grade year. She was so certain she would win because everyone knew she was a straight A student, she was hard working, and she spent hours making posters, lapel pins and planning her speech. She walked up to the podium, gave a very professional speech, made several good points and promises, then sat down. Her opponent got up and said “Everyone says I’m a loud mouth, and I guess I am.” (Insert much laughter here) “But if you elect me I’ll try to keep my mouth shut and be more responsible.” And the loud mouth won, and my daughter was crushed. So I guess school for her has been a learning experience that you have to rely on your own talents and brains to get you anywhere in life, and life shouldn’t be just a popularity contest but sometimes it seems to be. And with this realization that life isn’t always fair comes more maturity. Life is funny sometimes, isn’t it? But, despite some disappointments to her and the same disappointments I experienced right along with her, she has done very well in public school and for the most part she has enjoyed it. I guess it prepares you for being an adult, because sometimes the work place feels a lot like junior high. 😉

  15. Good luck with your decision! It sounds like the little man is happy there, right? And I guess that should be a big factor as I’m sure it already is…

    Hell hath no fury like a fellow bloggy friend’s child possibly scorned.


  16. There are times when I truly wish I could homeschool my children. I’ve especially been pondering the idea lately because my daughter will not be graduating this year. She was supposed to cross the stage tomorrow but will not because she failed Economics. She will make up this 1/2 credit in Summer school to get her diploma and hopefully, start junior collge in the Fall. We didn’t have any problems until she entered high school but it’s been a struggle since then. I’m a little bit, no, I’m a lot dissapointed but I mostly hurt for my daughter. She is at home today, feeling the consequences of her choices, while her friends are at school practicing for the big day tomorrow. I’m really wondering if homeschooling would’ve made a difference. It’s too late for my daughter but I’m praying to see if I should do this for my three younger boys. I have two in elementary who are doing great right now. I’m just going to be more wary now and will definitely consider homeschooling at the first sign of trouble. I’ll be praying for you, and who knows, maybe it’s a decision you won’t have to make anytime soon.

  17. AM It is a tough choice where to send your child to school or to homeschool. Do you have the opportunity to tour the public and private schools in your area? I was able to choose between two public schools in my town. Private and homeschooling were not an option for me.

    Suzanne – your daughter and mine could be twins. Their stories are alomost the same except for singing and running for SC. My daughter ran for captain of her pom squad. It was decided by the girls on the team voting. She didn’t win, (the girl who held a pool party won – hello) but this year the coaches decided captains will be who best exemplifies team spirit and leadership qualities. I’m proud to say she won because she works very hard in school and in her activities.

    Sorry AM, I didn’t go on and on.

  18. I understand your reasons for considering homeschooling. There are times I *still* wonder if I shouldn’t pull mine out and go that route instead. (Only thing is, I’m just not a patient person by nature, so I truly think mine are better off where they are.)

    I understand and admire those who homeschool. I’ve read that many college scholarship awardees these days are homeschooled children; they just have so many more valuable experiences and exposure to things that the average, public school student does not. I think that’s amazing!

    Whatever you decide, I know it will be the best decision for all of you.

  19. This very thoughtful comment came to me in my email from my friend Cathy who was having computer problems: “AM, While you are pondering keep in the front of your mind that Sean is an only child of antique parents. As an only child of semi-antique parents, and as a counselor, I would look into a really good private school with small classes. I know Dallas has to be overflowing with good, academically sound, private schools with small pupil/teacher ratios. Oh, and religion doesn’t need to be a factor either, you and AD are doing a good job with that at home!”

  20. As a school social worker I have often wondered about home schooling vs. public school and though I toss it about a bit, I always feel the same at the end. Children need to be with other children, all kinds of different children. They learn tolerance, acceptance and how to understand their own feelings and behaviors. Its how they learn about making mistakes, how others make mistakes and also choosing right or wrong.It also teaches them coping skills that they may not learn in a home environment where things may be set up to be more accomadating. Sean is a brilliant little boy in soooooo many ways – let him go and he will fly in wonderful brilliant ways

  21. I agree with your sweet friend about private school. I have 79 kids (ok, just 3, with one on the way), and even though my hubby is an MD, he’s no orthopedic surgeon making a gazillion dollars a year, so private school for all 79 kids is just out of the question. Fortunately, we live in Georgetown, TX, which has INCREDIBLE public schools and very friendly, Christian people. I feel sort of like I’m living in Stepford, it’s so perfect.

    With one child, 2 antique parents, and living in Dallas, I wholeheartedly agree that private school would be a fantastic option for you. And as a Christian who has taught at both religious and secular private schools, I agree that the “best” school for you may not necessarily be a Christian school. My best teaching experience was at a secular private school in Houston. I would happily move to Houston again if it meant I could teach there again, and I’d send my kids there in a heartbeat.

    Why don’t we just agree in prayer over this issue that God will direct your every step?

  22. Wish I could remember the blog that had a post issuing the challenge to all Christians about not withdrawing from public schools. The homeschoolers I know who do so for religious reasons tend to only associate with other Christian homeschoolers. I recall that Jesus was out in the community, not huddled at home with the disciples. I will agree, however, that deciding about schooling is one of THE hardest decisions and one that is so not covered in “What to Expect…”

    I wish you well in your decision.

  23. i’ve been in charge of putting together one of those slide shows before and taking the photos for it. i was so careful to include every child, but what if i didn’t? i doubt if it was deliberate slight but i know you can’t help but feel sad that he was left out.

  24. Hi! I usually lurk on your blog, which I found by looking for blogs on home-schooling. Your post on the video really got to me. As a former pre-school teacher, I don’t buy it. Shy or not, it is the teachers decision which shots to snap. You try hard to take one of each child, regardless of time, or shyness. Usually, the shy and quiet ones are the favorites. There can’t be that many kids in his class?

    I have been around many teachers, and trust me, not enough teachers have enough patience, or maturity to treat all children equal. Out of all the teachers I have worked with, (and these were decent and private pre-schools with a 4-1 ratio) I only would trust my child with maybe 1 out of 10 of them. I think your initial sadness was your gut feeling, telling you to make sure that he does not get slighted during the day as well, as in the video. I would find out who put it together, and if it was the teacher, I would have a heart-to-heart. You can also ask to just stay a day or afternoon in the classroom. I always encouraged parents to do this, because it makes the environment more comfortable for your child, especially when they, (or you) have a hard time with the dropping off. Any teachers that deny you this, would raise a red flag for me.

    Personally, I am planning on home-schooling my children, because even though it is true that children need to be around other children, usually there is not enough adult supervision to guide their behavior around each other. Especially in todays over-stuffed classrooms. Children can be tactless and treat each other with much disrespect while they go through their ‘self’ phases in their development. In general, the children that I have met that have been homeschooled, are more confident in themselves, have healthier hobbies and interests and have more compassion towards others. You can do much more for him to prepare him for school, than any pre-school ever can. Good luck on your decision!

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