Yesterday afternoon, I finally had a nice long sit-down with the speech therapist, Miles’ teacher, and the school nurse.
After going through an overall analysis of Miles’ speech pattern (at 8 years old, he still doesn’t pronounce his Rs correctly), and establishing that he was responding fairly well to the speech therapist (having two other students from his class in there with him helps), I asked Lili and Miles to sit outside so that the gr’ups could talk brass tacks.
I told Miles’ teacher that with the stress, anxiety, and aggravation we were picking up from Miles, we were seriously considering home-schooling. Prior to this, when we spoke to Miles about it, he said that he loved the learning environment, but the “kids sucked”. I figured the best thing to do to help make this decision was to talk to his teacher – a very awesome lady, all things considered.
Her opinion was that, in a homeschooling environment, Miles could probably go a little faster and really start zipping through the grades. She admitted that he sometimes seems to be “held back” by the other students. BUT, she also added that so long as she made a point of addressing his “I’m bored” statements quickly, he didn’t seem to be experiencing that much stress. Socially, he gets along fine with the students in the class. He gets along better when he doesn’t have accidents for a while, and certainly when he’s nice and polite (there have been lapses in the past), and the incident in the school yard when he kicked a kid for ignoring him, while not completely isolated, was also not common. (I explained a little about Miles’ pre-conscious-memory history, and the lightbulb really went on for his teacher.) She also mentioned that his behavior, albeit a little rough around the edges, was still lightyears ahead of the other kids in many ways, and that a lot of his frustration probably stemmed from expecting them to be more mature. I agreed and asked if any of the attendees to this little meeting really felt it was in his best interest to either be subjugated to the next TEN YEARS of immaturity from his peers or else forced to regress.
The general concensus was that Miles doesn’t appear to want to tolerate either option, so he just sort of puts up with it and tries to get them (non-verbally) to come up to his level. In a few cases, it works. In others, not so much.
And the birthday party thing was just a stupid “don’t know them” problem. Half the kids didn’t even remember to take their invitations home, and the other half might not have even passed them on. “Next year,” the teacher said, “I strongly suspect it will be very different.”
So, in asking Lili and Miles about it again on the way home, they realized that acting out about school was definitely being paid attention to, and they had to really think about what they were asking. We weighed the pros and cons (again), and they decided that they want to summer-school at home, with a real structure and a real focus on keeping up with their studies, and still go to public school next year. “One more year.” “One year isn’t enough.” “Maybe a little more time…”
I realized last night that I will probably never really be okay with this. I know it’s important, and I know it’s doing them right to force them to acclimate to stupid people, but that doesn’t mean it’s ever going to feel good to me. My motto that’s gone through my head my entire life is, “There’s got to be a better way…” The system itself is painfully flawed and sometimes deeply disturbing. A handful of good people make a difference – don’t get me wrong, I know this – but is it enough?
I’m not going to force the kids to do something they don’t want to do, within reason. But is it dangerous enough to warrant a command decision? Is there enough therapy in the world to make up for the scars they have to get?