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Public School System. A Synonym for Hell

Today, I happened across this Facebook post, “In all fairness, teachers, therapists, SLPs, and almost everybody else who works with children are ‘trained’ to look for problems. It takes a special kind of person to consciously look for strengths and use them.” This pretty much sums up my frustration with school personnel in general. We are constantly dealing with behavioral problems, with little to no room for flexibility. He gets in trouble for not keeping his bottom in his chair while working. Easy fix? Let him stand and lean on his desk to work. Would that be distracting to the other kids? Maybe, move him somewhere in the seating chart where he would cause the least amount of distraction. He’s wobbling all over, breaking pencils, tearing the wrappers off crayons and cutting up scratch paper in his desk. Easy fix? He’s a helper, give him a sensory chore to calm those needs and he’ll be able to pay attention to the next lesson.

Schools are a one-size-fits-all scenario. We can’t change too much of how it’s done for the sake of one child. I get that. I’m not asking for a teacher to overhaul the way she does things. It would be nice to hear some positive things about him occasionally. Traits they can use to help him perform better in the classroom, while at the same time letting the other children learn, and not creating a lot more work for the teacher.

Over the last 8 years, Cullen has been to 3 different daycares, 2 pre-schools and 2 elementary schools. All of the school changes have been because we moved. The last school transfer happened mid-year. We wanted to keep him where he was until the end of the year, but the principal did not want to keep him despite his high test scores. The move was unexpected, and frankly there was nothing we could do about it, but resign ourselves to making the best of a crummy situation. We were right in the middle of his first IEP evaluations, so we got to start the new school with more support and a bit more understanding of his challenges. He’s been there 2 years, and made incredible progress with his team.

Last week, we had to move again. To a new district, not just a new school. The principal at his current school was more than willing to let him finish the last two months, but the round trip drive is about an hour. Not really conducive for a slow-starting Aspie, who hates being in the car for long periods of time. I start looking in to transferring him to the new school. The registration clerk tells me its a year-round school. UM… HOLD THE PHONE! Year round? As in, a completely different schedule than he’s used to? As in, a completely different schedule than his brothers? This is it. I’m in hell.

The biggest concern is that the new school is almost done with their year, where Cullen was on track to finish in June. There’s a chance he may have to repeat 3rd grade.. since there isn’t a summer school option. He’s already older than his classmates because of a late birthday. We really don’t want to stretch the age difference any more. The option that looks best is to have him complete the year at home, with me spending 3-4 hours as his “learning coach”.

On the surface this sounds great. He gets to stay home most of the day where he’s comfortable. He gets to learn at his own pace, and interact with other kids when we choose to. I get to finish the last 2 months of pregnancy with fewer trips outside the house (my fat feet would LOVE that). Here’s the catch…. What happens when he goes back for the next grade? Will his behaviors improve or come back with a vengeance? He loves to learn, but hates to go to school. He will excel at a home school program, but it may make reentering school difficult.

Anyone have any thoughts/advice on their decisions for schooling choices?

Cullen010

photo credit: D’Avello Photography

April 9, 2014 - 3:24 pm

Jacqueline - home-schooling… indefinitely?
obviously, something I’ve never looked into but have heard of small groups of mothers getting together and taking turns.
I suggest the obvious only b/c you mentioned how much he thrives in this type of “home-setting” environment AND loves to learn.
would be a FULL-time job plus some. my hat’s off to you parent-people.

June 16, 2014 - 5:12 am

Sue - Brynn, I think if you have time to complete his education at home, do it. I know kid in Cali and here in Indiana that have been home schooled, and they are by far better educated and better mannered than public school children. You will be able to help in learn in the manner he needs. If you get in a group, he will still have contact with other home schoolers as you do group activity once a week or more if you choose. I think it will be so much better for him.

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