Dog joy: the tail wagging, body wagging, over the top happiness we see from our dogs when we've been away from them for a period of time. The same joy males innately possess until the world knocks it out of them.He beamed as he handed me his PACT scores. His scores are high. High enough to meet the admission standards for highly selective universities. More than enough to earn him his missing ninth grade credits his high school requires for graduation. And, enough to show his high school counselor that he is ready to move beyond pre-advanced placement courses to the courses that can start earning him college credits, though his 4+ GPA report card had already indicated that.
More than all of that is vindication. For him, for us, for every homeschooling family out there who is facing the suspicion, doubt, questioning, ostracizing, and judgment from the ignorant masses in denial of the overwhelming evidence of government school failure.
To our son, these scores are evidence and culmination of success of the last ten years. He's bold and confident about his homeschooling years. As the students in his class were sharing each others' scores he proudly exclaimed, "that's from homeschooling, right there!" He was surprised by some of his peers' scores, some as many as 13 points below his (score range 1-32). He knows he shouldn't be surprised but nevertheless, it is disheartening.
We started the homeschooling journey with him when he was five. Our youngest child was very ill and had recently been diagnosed with Celiac disease. We had contemplated homeschooling but put our son into our small town public school against our best judgment to allow me the time I thought I needed to nurture my daughter back to health. We noticed drastic changes in him immediately. He was missing his dog joy. He came home sad, got up in the morning sad, and was sad and withdrawn in school. RLB dropped him off at school one day, just a few weeks into the school year, and saw our son clinging to the fence screaming as he started to drive away. RLB stopped and ran to the fence. Our little boy pleaded, "please take me home, I want to go home!"
We had read somewhere about the common challenge boys face the day their fathers break their spirit. Most can remember it to the day. That day, the day our son was crying by the fence, was not going to be the day he logged into his memories of his father breaking his spirit. RLB's decision was confirmed later when we came across Dr. Dobson's book Bringing Up Boys and read "later is better for boys."
Sports and athleticism is very important in this home. Unfortunately we live in yet another state that doesn't allow homeschoolers to participate in the team sports we prefer. We put our son back into public school for a year and a half of middle school so he could play football and wrestle. The list of unbelievable occurrences started to rack up. We pulled him again. He had fallen way behind our standards academically though he was getting straight A's.
We caught him up to where we thought he should be and considered having him test for his GED so he could enroll in the local college. We found out the high school here has the AP program and again we wanted him to play sports. RLB was confident he was very well prepared for the politics of public school. Our son is a mature sixteen-year-old and is no longer influenced by the feminism that is ever present in the public schools. He's getting training that will be quite useful to him as he ventures out into the world in a couple of years. He challenges his teachers when they go too far off track into liberal politics but knows he needs to mind his words if he desires their good favor. At this stage it's a game. He educates himself on what the schools don't teach and engages in very advanced political and spiritual conversations with us. He's very fun to hang out with, having never lost his dog joy.