Night School on the Porch
As a homeschool family with six kids, it was very difficult for us to place our youngest son in public school after teaching the others at home for 22 years. But when 6 year old Jeremy received the diagnosis of Autism, we then understood why it was so difficult for us to teach him. We were unprepared to handle a special needs little guy; so after much prayer and counsel, we have pursued public education for him the last few years. But an incident that happened yesterday at school has served to remind us of all the reasons we decided to homeschool our children in the first place. Huge wake up call.
Each year in the fall, all of the teachers involved in his education sit down with me to go over goals and objectives at a meeting called an "IEP." The IEP is short for "Individualized Education Program," and is a written document that's developed for each public school child who is eligible for special education. Yesterday, I arrived at school ten minutes before our IEP, just as Jeremy finished his classes for the day. He was anxious to tell me about some "very bad man" who "wanted everyone to be just like him." I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about, but couldn't pursue it as our meeting was about to start. Jeremy and his big sister then went outside to play while we began. But at one point in the meeting, I did ask his 2nd grade teacher who this "very bad man" was.
She began by explaining that his class was about to start watching “The Sound of Music,” and she wanted to give them a brief glimpse on the troubles in the world at that point in history. She told them there was a very bad man in Germany who did very bad things. His name was Hitler, and he was a Christian. (Seriously??) "He wanted everyone to be just like him." She assured the kids he was not a character in the movie so they wouldn’t be afraid. She then told me that when she said the word “Christian,” she noticed that Jeremy was anxious to say something. He waited until afterwards and blurted out, “I’m a Christian!” ...to which his teacher said, “I’m one, too.”
At this point in her story, my blood started to boil. I couldn’t address the issue right then, as things moved on to my son’s skills and goals and such, and they were obviously wanting to finish up. All of his teachers did take the time to tell me how much he talks about God—always being purposeful to ask them if they know God, & if they know what Jesus did on the cross for them – (probably not a good thing to do in public school, but difficult to avoid with a special needs kid who comes from a family like ours 😊). One teacher told me other kids tease him, telling him that God is dead, in order to make him upset. But this doesn't discourage him in the least, so she said. I couldn't be happier about that, and couldn't help but smile with pride at my little evangelistic second grader.
Fast forward to last night on the porch, where I taught my son the real truth about Hitler—t