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My Oldest: Over the Years, Part 1

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Oldest: Over the Years, Part 1

Lately, I can't help but reflect on years past. I just feel like typing.

First daycare: two years old. He would sit alone at a table for 6 hours. No matter what the teacher did to engage him in the activities. He barely ate all day, and he was indefinitely in the same spot I left him when I picked him up. Daycare never really got better. He was sad. I was sad.

Preschool: 4 years old. His teacher told me he was more rambunctious than the other children. "Have you considered the chance that he may be ADHD?" I thought-He's four lady, get a grip! he liked it there, though. It was a structured classroom environment. It was a good precursor for Kindergarten.

Kindergarten: It seemed like a breeze. He read all the books assigned for the year in the first nine weeks of school. He learned every sight word and then some. His teacher ranted and raved about how wonderfully smart he was. She loved him and appreciated everything about him. He was happy. I was happy.

1st grade: Our first parent/teacher conference revealed that our son was having trouble focusing during class time, would often retreat to the back of the classroom and sit alone during circle time, kicked the legs of his chair rhythmically and non-stop, hummed repetitively, and contradictory to all of the above-finished his work in a fraction of the time it took his peers, excelled academically. Never misspelled a word or answered a question incorrectly. His teacher did what she could. She appreciated his quirks and his long winded stories about animals, their habitats, and diet. Many rare species she had never heard of until he shared his verbal reports with her. She would let him come up to her desk and talk to her at special times during the day just to tell her all about the animals. She planned extra activities and lessons to keep him busy while he waited for others. She noticed he would become visibly upset during testing, and refuse to utilize the test taking skill of skipping a question and coming back to it later. That just didn't make sense to him. Meltdowns were daily, he was emotional and frustrated. "Have you considered he may have ADHD? He just has such a hard time. He's so smart, perhaps the gifted program would offer more stimulation for him?" We met with a psychologist who confirmed he was on a 6th grade reading and vocabulary level. He displayed "ADHD tendancies", and a gifted program was highly reccomended.

2nd grade: The Gifted Program. In order to enroll in the program you had to go to a different school. The transition to a new school was too hard on him. The classroom was a blended grade range from K-2. What?! The special education teacher was in her first year of teaching, and in her late 60's. Not the best combination for a gifted class. She was unorganized, flustered, and offered little structure in the classroom. He could not handle that. He was bullied for the first time, and simply couldn't understand it. It was heartbreaking. We withdrew him from the program and took him back to the old school, regular classroom. The year went down hill from there. The back and forth, new classroom twice in one year, three new teachers, and so on and so on...

All of the behavior from 1st grade continued, but got worse. He was extremely emotional. Wasn't making friends. In fact, he didn't even know the names of many of his classmates. His teacher was headed for retirement, had it out for him all boys, and had little no patience for my son's intellectual outbursts of information. He was sent to the principal for correcting her science lesson again to tell her that "Polar Bears don't actually have fur, but hollow transparent tubes that look like fur".

He didn't see what the problem was. "It's true, Mom. They don't have fur, and she said they do. They're not even really white, but I didn't get to tell her that."

This post is linked up with Shell at Things I Can't Say for her Pour Your Heart Out meme.

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At June 1, 2011 at 9:24 AM , Blogger Shell said...

I can see why you eventually made the decision to homeschool.

What a rough road he has had!

At June 1, 2011 at 9:48 AM , Blogger Kim said...

I'm holding my breath over here. I really need the whole story. I have sons and my biggest fear is that teachers will punish them for being boys. The energy level on my three year old is already more than I ever expected. I've been researching the differences between boys and girls and the best way to raise boys. It is fascinating and heartbreaking that so many schools don't recognize the different needs of the genders. One all boys school found that if they gave the boys a 20 minute recess at the beginning of the day right after the bell rang to go to class - just let them out in the school yard to run and play, they were more cooperative throughout the day. My heart breaks for your son, that he is so smart and that the school system is so faulty. I'm going to have to go through your archives.

I so appreciate you taking the time to go over to Yummy Mummy and commenting.

At June 1, 2011 at 11:00 AM , Blogger Sara said...

My heart breaks for this poor little boy!! How frustrating it must have been for ALL of you! I'm glad homeschooling- despite it's definite challenges- seems to be a better fit for your family. {{{HUGS}}}

At June 1, 2011 at 11:32 AM , Blogger Heidi said...

Poor little guy! Sounds like homeschooling was a good move for you.

At June 1, 2011 at 1:55 PM , Blogger Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

That is a hard start! I hope that it gets easier from here for you both. He sounds so curious and bright. :-)

At June 1, 2011 at 3:03 PM , Blogger Heather said...

The teachers who can appreciate "different" are truly bright spots aren't they?

This sounds similar to some of the challenges I had with my gifted son. He is older now and doing wonderfully!!

I with you luck!

At June 1, 2011 at 3:37 PM , Blogger Sarah said...

Poor guy!! It's so hard for kids sometimes and it's even harder when no one tries to help or understand. He's so blessed to have a mom like you!!! :)

At June 1, 2011 at 8:30 PM , Blogger Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

I'm so glad you were able to make the decision to homeschool him. This story makes my heart ache.

At June 1, 2011 at 9:54 PM , Blogger Tiffany said...

I had no I understand a little more why you homeschool. Your sin sounds very smart and was very misunderstood by the public school system. Proud of you for standing up for him, you're an amazing mom.

At June 1, 2011 at 10:08 PM , OpenID bluecottonmemory said...

My heart so grieves for situations like this. My sophomore had to watch Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" and when my son wanted to rebut the information, he told everyone to just watch and shut up. So much for learning how to think.

Peter the Great by Massie spends time talking about how Peter was educated. All teachers should read this to better understand boys (within the first 100 pages). We are getting very frustrated with the school system. 3 more left - and we are getting more and more concerned. We've homeschooled before but are unsure of what we're going to do. My oldest son married a sweet girl who was homeschooled all the way through.

At June 2, 2011 at 10:09 AM , Blogger TV's Take said...

Wow - a lot to go through. Love the polar bear example. He knows...

At June 2, 2011 at 11:09 AM , Blogger Lisa said...

What a great teacher that 1st grade teacher was. :)

My BFF is a special ed teacher and she has a lot of AD/HD kids. Most are not as smart as your guy, but I admire her everyday.


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