Monday, December 04, 2006

Beating a Dead Horse

I wanted to thank you all for the kind words on the Jacob situation. It isn't the end of the world, but it is very frustrating to me. Like anyone else, I just want what is best for my child and I am finding it all a little eye opening because I always figured he would just do what everyone else does and do well. I am still not convinced he won't do well if we continue on the beaten path. I agree with those of you who said that he had a few months to mature and also that the teacher is judging him a little early having been only in school three months. Where it gets sticky, though, and this is why the teacher brought it to my attention so early, is that if I want him to continue to go to the private school next year, I need to enroll him in early February or he will lose his spot. Also, if I want to look at other private schools and find one that may better suit his needs, same thing. Soooooo.......I need to get busy. My immediate plan is to spend a morning observing him in the classroom. I want to see how he relates with the other kids and how he works with the teacher. I am inclined to think that boredom is a big issue on his end because all they do for the three hours he is there each day is, work, work, and then on Wednesdays go to chapel. There are no crafts, no playtime, no fun centers in the room. It's not like the kindergarten you and I went to. Jacob is all about art and writing and making up stories at this point and he gets no opportunity at all in school to do this. All he does is print letters, add numbers, and read flashcards.......stuff he has been doing for over a year now. I am highly trained in observing children and documenting their needs and weaknesses....I did it for years when I was a special education teacher. I am just wondering how objective I can be with my own child. Michelle asked about an IEP and an aide for him. That might work in the public school, but private schools do not have access to those kinds of services, at least this one does not. I also don't know if I am ready for him to go through all the testing that is involved with obtaining an IEP at this age. When I did this for a living I found kids who were tested before the end of first grade were sometimes misdiagnosed and labeled unfairly for the three years they were required to keep the IEP and in many cases judged by their papers instead of their abilities. Some teachers just couldn't look past the label and that was sad, but true. Now, that doesn't mean that next year, if we go the public school route, that I wouldn't go for it then, I just think three months into school may be a little extreme, at least for my kid, another reason I want to see what he's doing in may be a big eye opener to me. Also, I am not against retention at the grade school level and from previous experience with other school kids, kindergarten is usually the best time to do it (if not before). If he were having academic issues it would be my first approach, but he doesn't and I cannot even imagine how odd it would be for him to sit in a classroom again learning the same things he has learned the past two years. It would be like watching reruns over and over.......I imagine his behavior issues would only get worse at that point. I think, academically, that homeschooling is the way to go. I have been "homeschooling" him for years and he has learned well from me and I know he would continue to make progress cognitively, I just don't know how it would affect him from the social aspect. I mean, it won't be like I will be keeping him under lock and key for the next two years, but it won't be what he is used to and, right now, he really, really likes the cameraderie that school time brings. I don't know how he would like it if I took him out for such a long time; he really does like the structure of school. I also wonder if I would have the stamina to be up all night with a new baby and be the best teacher I can be for Jacob. So, decisions need to be made, the sooner the better. I am sure whichever path we choose we will find a way to make a good situation out of it. I am also sure that whatever we do I will second guess it every step of the way. Parenting ain't all it's cracked up to be sometimes....gee thanks to all of you who tricked me by making it look so easy.


Michelle said...

When I mentioned IEP I forgot he was in a private school! Well it does sound like you have to make a decision soon since he needs to be enrolled by Feb - wow! I'm sure whatever decision you make will be the right one because you're making it out of love and concern for your son (and of course as mother's we will second guess ourselves though!) I think it's a good decision to go observe him too - will you be able to do that through a window or something without him knowing you'll be there?

OneHungMan said...

The only issue OneHung has with homeschool is how his social skills would be affected. However, if you're only talking for a year or two, it might not be that big a deal.

OHM suggests going with your're smarter than anyone else out there and you know your child better than anyone. You'll make the right choice.

Dapoppins said...

I am just a surfing blogging Mama... but this is a question I thought of the other day...I have one son in Pirvate school...they have about a total of 45 minutes of day on the play ground. This is the only real social-ization he gets. They are not expected to talk to each other at all in the class, in the hall, in chapel, in the bathroom and get in trouble if they do. A lot of parents worry about socialization if they pull their kids out of the school enviroment. But, as far as I know, the teachers don't have time to teach it... Maybe my arguemnt is flawed. I also homeschool one son and I worry about him not getting to be with other kids his I need to plan more play dates, I guess...anyway. Glad your enjoying the joy ride of parenthood. Great, thoughtful post.

Merry Christmas!

Sadie said...

Good luck!

I agree with OneHung, go with your gut. Trust your instincts. You have the education necessary and noone knows Jacob better than you do.

Lynanne said...

I agree with the others - trust your instinct. You know your child best. He may mature and catch up in a few years but academically he isn't likely to regress.

One of my boys has a summer birthday, yet we started him in K just after he turned 5. The school advised against this (he has a disability that made him seem immature) but it was my gut feeling that he would suffer more by waiting and being bored out of his mind. Now that he's in 3rd grade, we recognize we made the right decision. He can be taught social skills but cannot be taught not to be bored.

I've also taken the homeschooling approach. A huge myth about homeschooling is that it doesn't provide socialization. Children who are homeschooled are often BETTER socially adjusted. They also have higher self images and ability to get along with others. This is because most positive social skills come from home (being polite, sharing, etc) whereas negative socialization(teasing, name calling, hitting) comes through interactions in school.

Not that I’m a homeschooling fanatic. One of my boys is in public school and the other is homeschooled. It really depends on the child’s learning style.