I am not sad to see September leave. This has been one of the hardest months of my time as a mother. It should have been one of my happiest times because I’ve been waiting so long for it – both boys in school and I finally had some time to myself. I was free! I didn’t have to tether myself to their schedules, needs, wants, etc for seven hours each day!
We sent Baby Boy to kindergarten on the big yellow bus. He was all smiles and excitement. I was all smiles and excitement. About a week into the school year I started getting reports about his behavior. He was acting out, not listening, not following directions, being disruptive, etc. Reports from his bus driver. Reports from his teacher. My smiles and excitement started to fade.
Two weeks into the school year, he was sent to the principal’s office for his behavior. I was mortified. My sweet, loving child was being sent to the principal’s office…..he was going to be LABELED as THE BAD KID. I noticed that his work was regressing. He was starting to write his letters backwards and starting to scribble again.
Hubs and I had some serious conversations about what to do. I hated the fact that my baby was bringing home yellows and a RED from a teacher I had a wonderful relationship with. She knew how I parented. She knew that yellows, and especially reds, were not acceptable in my house. No matter how much we tried talking to, encouraging and punishing him, things were not getting better. They were getting worse.
We decided, along with his teacher and principal, to pull him out of kindergarten. I couldn’t stop crying the day we made the final decision. I signed the paperwork requesting to pull him out of school. He wasn’t going to attend kindergarten anymore. I was terrified that his little heart was going to break. That he wouldn’t understand we were doing this for him, not against him. Doing this so he would do better, not because he wasn’t doing well now.
The scramble began. He still needed to attend school. Just not public kindergarten. So we looked at private schools, half day schools, daycare centers. Anything and everything that had a space for a five year old who needed one more year to develop and mature before going into public kindergarten. He was facing the crack and I didn’t want him to fall through. We went to approximately seven different schools to find the right one. I didn’t like most of them. I only loved one. I loved the one that said they would work with him and his individual strengths and weaknesses. They recognized that he was straddling the years and could do one on one focused work with him to bring him up to speed.
Out of seven programs, only one said they would work with his individual needs. All the others just showed me what classroom he would enter and what lessons he would have to adapt to. Even though he already completed some of what they would be teaching him. I feared he would get bored and I’d lose the opportunity for him to love school completely. Only one school saw him as a full child – not just a child who is five and would need to go in the Pre-k class because that is where he fit. Only one where I felt we had the chance to get him to love school.
So that is the school I fought for. The school I wanted him to attend. The school that could give him a chance. The school that costs a helluva lot of money to attend. The school that is stretching our budget farther than it can be stretched. The school that his entire family is helping him attend. The school that we are sacrificing for.
And is it worth it? Damn straight it is! I will go out and find a full time job if he needs to continue in the private school sector. If we put him in public kindergarten next year and find out that he is not thriving, we will do it again. I will pull him and sacrifice so that he succeeds. Isn’t that what parents are supposed to do? I want him to know his strengths and not be labeled because he doesn’t fit into the prescribed box of how to succeed in school today.
He has been attending the new school for a week and loves it. He comes home happy and excited about his day. He tells me all about what they did during the day and who his new friends are. He still talks about his old class and will clarify if he’s talking about someone at his “old school” or “new school”. He loves where he is and he was so accepting when we told him that he needed one more year to catch up to everyone. We told him that it wasn’t fair that Little Man had an extra year before going into kindergarten (due to his birthday) and he didn’t. That made sense to him and he accepted it with a tiny whimper that he would miss his class and his teacher, but then he sensed the excitement of going to a new school that was all his. He wouldn’t be following in his brothers footsteps and he would be the ‘big kid’ in the class.
He’s thriving and I’m excited to see what the next year has in store for him. Now I’m able to breathe again and enjoy the time my children are in school. Trusting that they are both where they should be and enjoying their time at their respective schools. Goodbye September. I’m not sad to see you go.