And just like that, we are almost completely "out of the box" people. Yes, so my mama radar from the first days of school continued on after the seemingly reassuring smiles from his teacher and the teachers assistant. My boy, who has always loved school, never had separation anxiety, never had a discipline problem was turning the corner each afternoon at pick-up more and more dazed, sad, sullen, disappointed in himself. He was not running to me. All I can describe is that each day I saw more and more of the light that exudes from him naturally, the light that I love and makes him who he is, fade away. When your son's body language changes and he is quiet and telling you that he is not allowed to drink water for more than three seconds after being outside in the heat. When you send a note requesting that he be allowed his thermos after recess because he overheats outside and it goes ignored. When you hear of another boy being called a name, in front of the class, BY A TEACHER and that story over the course of two weeks is confirmed by other students in the class knowing nothing of us mothers conversations...you have to listen. You can think we are overprotective, or feeding his weaknesses, that he needs to toughen up, or it's "normal" adjustment to the long days of kindergarten. Or you can think we are very aware, trust our son, trust others children telling the same stories. These kids that have no skin in the game, and have no idea the consequences of telling what they saw, were all saying the exact same thing "the teachers are mean" "we can't drink water" "they called that boy a name when he was crying". Does it not make your heart hurt? Well it made ours. And for us it was unacceptable and unnecessary for Adam to "man up to" at the ripe old age of six.
So as reluctant as I've been personally to homeschool our children, out of sheer fear of failure, fear of my lack of adequate knowledge, selfishly (or maybe just naturally) wanting a tiny bit of mental quiet time, time to write, here we are. Yes, we met with the teachers. Yes, we spoke to the principle. We asked if he could move classes. I researched private schools that are in no way in our family budget even with financial aid, at least not now. The answers all lead to only one option. So here I sit after two weeks of intense soul searching. However, as a new friend has said, "He works all things for his Glory" and so as we trudged through the last two weeks not wanting to believe what we were facing, and what Adam was facing, I overcame my unfounded fear of talking to others and shared with his preschool teachers the situations he was experiencing. These wonderful teachers who I've always been grateful for, have an even more special place in my heart now. His teacher from last year even got choked up hearing how Adam was being treated and the other boy was being treated, that the teachers lied to that mama about what they called her son, that they did not see the potential in Adam or understand that he just needs to know the rules and has a desire to make his letters perfect and finish his work and "do the right thing". All it takes is a teacher that is willing to sit with him and reassure him that he's doing a good job and that he won't get in trouble for not erasing something completely or having sticky glue hands. His preschool teachers did this. They'd been helping him all along. They just love kids and know how to meet them where they are. Now knowing what they were saying I was learning more about Adam and how he learns best. That he is a perfectionist just like his dad and loves details but that does not make him a bad kid, just one that cares about doing a good job in his eyes and that of his teachers. But even when we confronted his teacher's assistant with this knowledge all my husband and I got was defensiveness. The assistant was not listening at all. She was not understanding that in the 96 hours or so Adam had been in her class, all he was understanding was that when he raised his hand for water, the answer was "no". When he erased his letter but it was still visible, she was "frustrated with me" when he had sticky glue hands, "She was frustrated with me mom, but it was not my fault, it was the GLUE'S fault!". This is KINDERGARTEN for goodness sake! Why weren't Adam and his classmates getting the message that this was a safe place, a place encouraging of learning, a place that allows sticky hands and thirst? Sad to say, this was our experience. I speak for none of the other classes there and believe that this was/is God's path for us, at least for this year. I have no judgement for others that go to public school, private school, homeschool or unschool. I just know this is what we need to do this year. I can't, in good conscience, send him back to a classroom where the assistant does not care to "get him" and meet him where he is. He's smart, he's filled with wonder, but it was fading fast under her watch. I won't even go into the amount of assessments that are required now. The second week and the teacher has to spend a majority of her day assessing kids individually while the assistants teach the classes. I couldn't do their job. 20-24 five and six year olds to manage, my hat is off to the amazing teachers out there that do it and do it well. I have more respect for you know than I ever have. I wish it had gone differently. And as much as Adam loved the kids he did not want to go back and I can't blame him. I realize also that this is not an option for many moms that work outside the home which I also understand. I think we are all just doing our best to provide what our families need and the list is endless really. There are a million ways to go about providing for one's family and I'm grateful that this is an option for us.
Selfishly and maybe naively I"m looking forward to some one-on-one time with him. He's been such a trooper as he's lived through me being pregnant four times in the last five years. Maybe this is God's gift to us, time. Time with each other. Time before he really grows up. Time that we are never guaranteed. Time I didn't get to have with his brother. So, if I can manage to navigate life after losing a child, nothing is impossible right?! We will figure this out. I'll be honest about how it goes. There will undoubtedly be bad days but my gut is that the good days and good moments and memory's will far outweigh the hard of it all.
I didn't want to post this until it was for sure. As of today Adam is enrolled, by law, in our very own St. Jacob's Academy. Maybe Jacob will even intercede for me as I attempt to travel down another unexpected road. If I've learned anything it's that just when you think things are going one way, they can switch and go another. And you know what, it's okay!
So to sum up, I am married to a coffin maker, we have four living children, one child in Heaven, we birth at home and homeschool...have I left anything out?? (well, I'm not gardening yet and we don't have chickens, but realistically it's probably just a matter of time).
Have a great week!
P.S. I promise I'll have someone else teach him grammar and spelling!
P.S. I promise I'll have someone else teach him grammar and spelling!
Pictures from the last two weeks
|Finally a swing set...this is almost trumps the homeschooling news!|
|One benefit to homeschooling, special time reading with Ella in the middle of the day.|
|Soccer started for Adam! He's the one in the far left, white stripe on his shorts:)|
|A rare picture with my sweet Ella...I'm always behind the camera these days. Thanks Vasso:)|