August…I dread your arrival!!!

On our way home from vacation yesterday, I was creating lists in my head about all of the things (both personally & professionally) that should be done.  One of the biggest things on my mind is preparing my son for school.

July was amazing!  There was a leisurely pace and days filled with enjoyable activities.  My son loved the one on one attention and seemed to grow a bit taller each time he proudly shared a project.  We did a bit of math and 30+ minutes of reading each day, but it still allowed for lots of time for interesting conversations and fun!

With a flip of the calendar it is August.  My anxiety rises as I look at the new month (already filled with back to school responsibilities) and I already miss July.  School will be here in no time and it seems irresponsible to let this freedom continue and then have it abruptly sucked away on August 30th.

Despite the fact that my son is highly gifted, school is exhausting!  Finding his way through the social games & trying to adjust to the amount of sensory hitting him from everywhere, takes so much out of him!  The academics don’t just bore him, he finds it meaningless.  This is devastating to hear as a parent and is discouraging as an educator.  My 7 yrs old boy already believes that school is not for him.  In a way, he’s right.

He doesn’t understand the need to do something more than once.

He is confused by the idea of “review.”

He is annoyed when he is asked to do something one way when he sees an easier way to complete the task.

We are consistently told that he “doesn’t put effort into the lessons.”  Which is really the problem, isn’t it?  There wasn’t work that required effort.

Every couple of days, he asks me how many days until school.  This question isn’t asked with enthusiasm and a smile.  Instead, it is asked with a voice filled with dread.  I tell him that it will be better this year…even though I’m not sure.  I try to explain that school is his job. Then he asks me about adults that quit their jobs because they hate it and don’t want to spend long days doing something that they find meaningless.  Sigh…he has a point!  Discussions like this one reminds us that his school has one more chance to get it right.  He should not be bored one more year.

He needs…

A teacher that understands 2e kids and that doesn’t question if he is (or isn’t) gifted

Curriculum that seems to have purpose and interest

Support with social skills and using infractions as teaching moments instead of punishment

A staff that allows a fresh start

I get nervous (really nervous) at the thought of it all.  Should I purchase workbooks and establish part of the day as “school practice” forcing him to sit still instead of moving?  So I make a compromise with the practical side of me and the “wish it was more like” side of me.  The majority of August days will still have a slower pace and choice; however, we will begin to solve some of the expected paper/pencil math sheets and do the “tell me about yourself” writing.

The reality is…that we all have to do things that we don’t particularly want to do.  Parts of my job are hard and tedious, but still needed.  Whether it is good or bad, I believe that most people have the same feelings about their daily grind.  At what point, do we decide that it is too much?  Do we look for a balance or a percentage of good vs terrible?  When does a circumstance become offensive enough that we decide to change it?

I’m sure that these questions and concerns are not unique to my family or son.  School needs to be educating not just containing.  It has to spark interest and a love of learning instead of a jump-through-the-hoop-conformity-rules experience. So I ask you…how do you assure that your child’s school experience is meaningful?  This interested Mama is seeking the answers! 🙂

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8 thoughts on “August…I dread your arrival!!!

  1. Have you ever considered homeschooling? I homeschooled my three children (my son through high school) beginning in the 80’s when it was very unaccepted. Now with the internet and a more favorable public opinion, the opportunities are endless. I don’t believe schools are “fixable” at this point…….it sounds like your son may benefit greatly from homeschooling. It’s something to think about!

    • Thank you so much for your comments! I have been an elementary teacher for 20 years. I believe that for most kids, the “typical” classroom setting works. I work in a school with high standards and great success. However, my son can be a challenge in the typical classroom because of his social & sensory issues but also his giftedness. I am trying something new this year, I am working 1/2 time and will be with my son in the afternoon. If school sucks the life out of him like it did last year, we will make a change. Perhaps going to school until lunch and then spending the afternoon with me. I am leaning more and more to a term that I recently heard on twitter that was “roam school.” Meaning that on-line classes or home teaching is joined with classes, trips, museums, gardening, etc.

      As a classroom teacher, and one that believes in public school, this has been an evolution. However, I agree that changes need to happen.

      Thank you so much for your visit! I hope you will come back and continue to add to the discussion!

  2. Homeschooling means different things to different people. To us, it didn’t just mean “learning at home.” In fact, we were rarely home. Museums, co-ops, community college classes, any “field trip” you could think of, individual and team sports, bookstores, libraries, etc….were all part of our day. Call it what you want. It’s a GREAT way to learn!
    I also used to be a teacher (middle school and high school) and that’s when I became a true believer in homeschooling.
    Good Luck!

    • I know that you are right about the different meaningful different families! I can imagine that the opportunity to do so many learning opportunities is a great thing…instead of saving it for the weekend! Thanks so much!!

  3. My son’s school gave him an entrance exam and gave him appropriate classes to match his scores. I would talk to your son’s school to see if they could accommodate his level of learning.

    • We had many meetings on the subject. Initially, there was so much focus on his behavior, that they were resistant to understand (and believe) that he was gifted. There was a lack of understanding with the importance of instruction level on his desire to be there and his way of using behavior issues as a way of leaving the room and avoiding those activities that he didnt want to do. We will address it again hope they will work with us. If not, we will make changes ourselves.

  4. you described my son. it got so bad that he stopped getting dressed. then, he stopped getting out of bed. then, he barely ate. then, his bowels backed up. then, we made a major change and enrolled him in a gifted school. it is ungodly expensive for us but it’s like cancer treatment for him– it restored his will to live, to continue and contribute to his life and future. Good luck finding what works for you your boy. it really is soooo demoralizing until you see the light shining again.

  5. Allsion- It is so stressful isn’t it!?! We have made some changes in our lives to accomodate for more changes if needed. I know that I can’t allow him to have another year like the last one. How quickly did you see a change? I would love to know the name of the school if you would like to share…you can email me at mytwicebakedpotato@yahoo.com if you would be willing to share more of your story.
    As a public school teacher, this is a sensitive issue for me. I know how hard my school staff works and gives students their most. However, for those students that public school is hard (my son)…I see real benefits in other options. Thank you so much for your story!! I have been learning so much since doing the blog and have heard similar stories to yours! Blessings to you and your son!

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