16 January, 2012 13:23

I won’t blame you for thinking Sparring Partner and I are at the minimum, morons. We are kicking ourselves here, trust me. It’s easy for all of us to talk smack about the current situation Doodicus is experiencing at his school because it is happening at his school. The job-setting comparison is a good one, but sometimes leaving a crappy job is like leaving the devil you know for the devil you don’t. What assurance do we have that the public school would be any better equipped?

That’s a rhetorical question, obviously.

My husband and I had a serious discussion about what this next fall will bring as it specifically relates to moving him to public. The idea scares the shit out of me. He will go from a class of 50 to approximately 400. His body will literally be in constant flux, moving from room to room and the poor kid’s anxiety levels will be through the roof.

You probably don’t remember this, but I distinctly do. Remember the incident at daycare that got us “fired” from the care-giver’s services? Doodicus kicked one of the other kids in the head. This had been the proverbial straw for the care-giver. We were fortunate to find the daycare Doodicus currently attends but for weeks – WEEKS – when I would pick him up from there, he would sob and sob and sob. He had no friends. No one liked him. No one played with him. One time, I pulled over to the side of the road and parked the car just to run to open his door and try to comfort him from the cruelty of it all. He never got over feeling it was his fault for losing everything that was routine to him.

So here we are, six years later, talking about the very same thing, racing time and the boiling points to see if it will be a voluntary decision or if the private school will make the decision for us.

I know realistically that I am only make excuses. He’ll adjust. He has adjusted. We would have put him in the public system after sixth grade anyway, so aren’t I just expediting the process and doing us all a favor by just doing it for the fifth grade? Wouldn’t it just be equivalent to ripping the band-aid off instead of lifting it slowly, hair-by-tiny-hair?

More rhetorical questions.

One other issue comes to mind, and someone touched upon it in the comments: Aitch. If Dood stays at Private, they would be in the same school. At least until he hits seventh grade. That would give them two years “together”. But really? Would they even see each other that much? If we put them BOTH into public next year, they wouldn’t be in the same school anyway (the public school system has a middle school for just fifth and six graders). We thought about going ahead and keeping her in the private school since she’s already registered for pre-K, but then we worry how would Doodicus handle the fact that while SHE keeps to go to the school where all HIS friends are, we are shuffling him off to be amongst strangers. Illogical for you and me, but not for him. Wouldn’t he perceive that as more of a punishment than us trying to get him the help he needs? I can answer that one: yes, that’s exactly how he’ll think of it.

I casually mentioned to Doodicus the idea of going to a new school next year. I said we think the public school might have teachers who are more equipped to help him specifically with his needs. He told me that one of his friends went to public and then came back to private. This other child told him the teachers were mean. The kids were mean. He then bluntly told me that he doesn’t want to leave “his” school.

You all know I don’t expect answers. Life would be too easy if all one had to do was to ask the internet and to get a clear and concise response. Sometimes I need more than just to hear myself think.

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13 thoughts on “16 January, 2012 13:23”

  1. oh friend, you write as though you were with me yesterday. “The devil you know for the devil you don’t” really hit home. I dislike my job. A lot. And yesterday I had to “pulll a card” because I was late for a meeting, was told that they approved my request to work more hours, but would “reevaluate” after I’d been working to make sure I was productive. But I am too scared to leave for the great unknown. On top of that, my youngest cried all day at his new daycare, my 6 yo was in the principal’s office because he was bullied at recess, and I wonder why I do this everyday.

    Hang in there. Good luck with your decision and transition.

  2. Well, you know a little of my experience. We did evaluate the private Christian school our church has as an option for Zachary, but with the cost, and the lack of special ed help the public school is REQUIRED to make available, it wasn’t a real option for us.

    I decided to try home schooling. It was disastrous. Not educationally – from a curriculum standpoint, he blew threw the entire 5th grade curriculum in about 2 1/2 months – IF I allowed him to work on what he wanted to work on, and didn’t make a stink about the stuff he didn’t want to do, like, you know…WRITING. When I did, that’s when it all fell apart. And in the end, that meant zero break for me (day-to-day) in dealing with his ADHD, and it was just…TOO MUCH.

    When we moved, we moved into the ‘rich’ school district, and figured with all the noise made about their schools, it would be a good option. Meh. I will say, his teacher last year was FANTASTIC. He had a male teacher, who was really great with ADHD kids (His classroom had a variety of chairs, including BALLS for the kids to sit on. This kept Zachary motivated and interested, because he wanted to get a ball for his chair every day!) This year, his teacher claims she understands ADHD because she has it – but she DOESN’T GET IT. She does go over his assignment book daily, ensuring he has written down what he needs to do, and she then circles in red pen anything that is homework. This is invaluably helpful. But getting him to DO that homework, as you know, is still a chore that generally sees us around the dining room table for HOURS (Between 5-8 hours every evening.)

    So – I would say, having jumped back into a different public school in 5th grade, Doodicus will be fine. If the in-laws make a stink, whatever – too bad. I would, however, go in and meet with the principal and his teachers ahead of time. I did that with this school, and that’s how Zachary ended up with such a great teacher last year. I think they did the best they could this year as well, but when the rubber hits the road, she just isn’t as good as the teacher last year. Or maybe it’s just that he meshes better with male minds – I dunno.

    Also, having been through this now several times – he WILL get past the whining, crying phase. Hang in there. (I despaired of it EVER changing with the older kids. It changed. It just took for-freaking-ever.)

    The impulse control thing…f———uh. K. I’ll let you know if that ever changes around here, but so far, no. Changed meds from Concert@ to @dderall. BAD JUJU. Hello super moody emotional trainwreck child who can’t control his impulses. Bad. We’ve switched now to a non-stimulant med (Str@ttera), which concentration-wise, seems to be working great. Actually, behaviorally, it works great as well. But if we forget it (Sunday), he’s a bit of a demon child. Well, actually he just loses all ability to control his mouth, either what comes out of it, or what goes into it, and regularly mouths off to his dad and steals food. (He’s fed – the child has all he needs to eat – and if he’s hungry and ASKS, he generally gets it. But for some reason he feels the need to take things without asking, and we find the leftovers rotting in his room. (This makes me insane.)

    Anyway – that’s my experience

  3. I don’t think you’re morons. I think you’re two parents, who are trying to do the best they can, with what they have. This is your child. You want to do what’s best for him, and you’re getting the royal shaft from the education system.

    I think in D’s case, as we’ve talked about before, he may very well benefit from public school. They’re more equipped to handle his needs. While the private school has to offer the same standards, they just can’t.

    It WILL be hard for him to change schools at a later age, and he may very well rebel, but maybe if you all go in together and get all of your needs in writing, and ride their asses, he will succeed. You will make sure he succeeds. You’re already working hard at that. The one thing that a lot of parents don’t know when their kids have an IEP, is that they are entitled to due process. If something isn’t going the way its supposed to, get an advocate (ask around for the best one in your area). A lot of times, even just hearing that you have an advocate will send the district running to accomodate you. If you’re not getting the help you feel he needs or what is designated on his IEP, you have the right to file a suit.

    You’re a headstrong person, D, I know you are. Don’t take no for an answer and don’t take any shit. He’ll be fine.

  4. Any chance at a “dry run” at the public school for an hour or two. Maybe an appointment to walk around and maybe sit in on a *fun* class? (Art, music etc). I am just thinking that if he can be exposed to it before it becomes a reality it will give him a little time to process and make the actual transition a tad easier. If you know anyone whose kid is a student there that could tell him how it doesn’t suck, well, that would be a plus too.

    As for Aitch going to private, you can explain that away by telling him that he was there for four years so she gets to do the same.

    I think bouncing all your thoughts out there for the internet to answer is actually good. I learn a lot when I actually put down what I am thinking. At the very least, you know we are here to listen (okay-read) and give you our 2 cents.

    1. Oh, and one more thing….changing schools after 6th grade is exponentially more difficult than the 4th. Trust me. I did it and it was awful. You are dealing with the hormone crap, and cliques at the same time and to be the *new kid* isn’t fun.

  5. You guys are doing the best you can. And I will say: there will be a day where Doodicus realizes and knows it.

    As for the public versus private school dilemma, I have no experience or words of wisdom for you. wish I did.

    All I can tell you is that parenting isn’t for the faint of heart. You ARE doing the best you can for him.

You can say it here.

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