My name is Cescelie Jelks. I am a homeschooling mother of two. My son is currently 17 years of age and my daughter is 14. Our homeschooling journey began shortly after my son began first grade at our local public elementary school. I was not at all concerned about him beginning school. I knew that he would have no difficulty academically because we had already started to educate him at home and he was way beyond what was required of first graders. In fact, he was so advanced that we called him our little genius. I wasn’t worried about him socially either. My husband and I were youth directors at our church and our son was an active participant there. He also participated in activities outside our home with other children on a weekly basis. So, we knew that our son was well-adjusted and got along well with other children. In addition, our son was so excited about starting school. I didn’t anticipate that there would be any problem.
We registered our son for school and the day arrived for his first day. I can still remember the confident little brown boy that walked into that school on his first day. There was no crying or separation anxiety at all. He was fully confident in himself. About a week into the school year, I started to notice a change in my son. It was like watching the light go out inside of him. He wasn’t the cheerful little boy anymore. He was not complaining about anything even when I asked how his days were going. It was just my mother intuition was telling me that something was off about him. It all came to a head one day after I picked him up from school, it was the end of that first week and the teacher had sent home a progress report. As we drove away from the school, I looked up in my rear view mirror at my son and he was crying silently. So, I pulled the vehicle over and asked him what was wrong. He started to tell me about how he had been treated the entire week. He had been bullied and punched in the stomach on the playground. He expressed that he felt the kids were mean. I asked him to tell me what made him feel that way. He told me that he had asked a group of children if they wanted to play and they had told him to go away and shoved him. When I asked if he had told the teacher about what was happening, he said that the teacher did not like him. I pulled out his notebook and looked at the progress report that the teacher sent home detailing his week, and it was this glowing report about how great he was doing. My son and I sat on the side of the road that day and wept together.
So, I went to the school to speak with his teacher about what my son was telling me. From the moment I stepped into the room with her, I felt the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart. It was just like He was in my ear talking to me. It was that loud and that clear. As she stood there telling me that kids would be kids and justifying the abusive behavior that my son had experienced, I could just hear the Spirit saying, “She doesn’t like your little brown son because of his confidence and intelligence.” “She’s smiling and saying all of the things she is expected to say but, she really doesn’t like black people.” So, when my son said that he felt his teacher didn’t like him, he was 100 percent right in his assessment. I could just feel the condescension and bigotry oozing off her. She even had the nerve to suggest that perhaps I should take my son to see the school counselor. I pat myself on the back for not slapping her into another dimension right then and there. Kids are punching my son in the stomach but, he is the one who needs to see a counselor. This is part of the problem. It’s no longer the normal playground squabbles that we remember from our childhood. Kids are increasingly becoming more aggressive and less compassionate towards others. Character development and moral teaching is a thing of the past. When you fail to teach kids kindness and compassion for others, you create fertile ground for teens who can pick up a gun and go on a killing spree.
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By this time, I had gotten overly emotional about the situation. So, my husband took over. He went to the school for several days and sat in with our son to see what was actually going on. His assessment was that the whole school was like a zoo. He said that he watched as kids were going to lunch one day. They were pushing and shoving and behaving like wild animals in the zoo. We were raising our children to be polite, kind and compassionate towards others. It seems that these character traits are no longer being developed in children in the public school system. In fact, it is the opposite that is being taught. The kids are being turned into narcissistic, aggressive, angry people.
As a final attempt to keep my son in the public school, I made an appointment to speak with the school principal. I found him to be a very nice person. He listened to me and was very compassionate about my concerns. Then, he said, “I guess what I am asking you to do is trust us with your child.” It was that one statement that was the deciding factor for me. It rang like a bell in my spirit. I realized, “Oh my God, that’s it. I don’t trust this school system with my child.” How could I send my child to school every day for the majority of the day for twelve years when I really did not trust the adults within that system to have my child’s best interest at heart? I could not. I stepped out of that meeting into the brisk autumn air, and looked up to heaven. I said, “Father God, you’ve got to show me what to do!” Immediately, I heard in my spirit, “You can homeschool!” I didn’t question the voice, I just went from that meeting and drove across town to a church that was a homeschool cover. I enrolled my son and got the paperwork to withdraw him from school. Our homeschool journey had officially begun.
Now, I know that many of you are saying what many of my family members said, “You just took him out of school after one week because of a few kids being mean?” One lady at our church even came up to me and was questioning my decision to homeschool our son and said, “You know everyone isn’t going to be nice to him.” As I was standing there trying to defend my decision, my cousin came by and told me, “You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your decision to homeschool your child.” That statement has saved me many times over. It was a decision that me and my husband made for our family. I don’t owe anyone an explanation. However, I will tell you that it was not a decision that was made lightly. It was also not a knee jerk reaction to my son having a bad week of school. We made the decision because we feel that it is our responsibility to protect our children spiritually as well as physically. I sent a confident little black boy into that school. After less than a week, he was being broken down from the inside out.
The Holy Spirit told me that the enemy does not wait for your child to reach maturity to try to destroy him or her. Just like King Herod chased Jesus and killed all the male babies in an attempt to keep Jesus from fulfilling his destiny, the same thing is happening to our children today. The enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy. Sometimes he works through racist teachers and the education system. As parents, it is our job to protect our children’s spiritual well-being as well as physical. Homeschooling my children has been one of the best decisions of my life. I get confirmation every time I see a news report about a teacher molesting a child, school shooting or bullying that’s caused some child to commit suicide. Homeschooling isn’t for everyone but, it was the right decision for my family.
Cescelie is a loving wife and mother of two teenagers. She is married to her high school sweetheart of 35 years. She is a Registered Nurse with a Master’s degree in Education. Cescelie homeschools her children with an emphasis on African American studies and STEM education. She has recently launched a nonprofit organization called “Blessed to be a Blessing.” The purpose of the nonprofit is to uplift the lives of women and underprivileged youth. Cescelie’s vision for her life is to be a highly sought after author and motivational speaker who travels around the world motivating the masses. She has recently contributed to an anthology entitled, “Lessons From My Grandmother’s Lap” and is currently working on her first book. Cescelie can be contacted on Facebook via messenger or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.