September 21, 2011

Back to Square One...

It turns out that my apprehension about posting our schooling choice for the school year was for naught. On day 20 of kindergarten, BB was asked to not return to school. He was not expelled, he could have come back, but the school personnel made it clear that one more infraction and he would be expelled. As DH and I do not want a school expulsion on his record, we withdrew him from the school.
With the exception of hitting a student on the playground, the infractions were things that I considered minor, such as failing to put both feet flat on the floor, drawing on his desk, and making engine noises when lining up. To me, while these behaviors were not appropriate for school, they did not merit such disciplinary action. Especially when the student in question is only five years old and has been in school for less than a month. I know that with my students, it was not uncommon for some students to have a period of adjustment to school.
The school's decision to send BB home with essentially the promise of upcoming expulsion came to us out of the blue. Every day when DH or I picked BB up, we would ask his teacher how he had behaved. His teacher did inform us when he hit another student, and BB was punished for that. She also told us about any issues she may have had regarding his schoolwork that day. But she never once gave us the impression that BB's behavior was a big deal, asked us to come in for a conference, or did anything to signal that BB's enrollment might end. All we got were passing comments delivered in a casual manner that did not convey (at least to us) any hint of what we were blindsided with. According to the school handbook, there is a set procedure to follow if a teacher is having trouble with a student, and the teacher did not follow that procedure.
Initially, part of me wanted a meeting with the teacher to come up with a plan that would enable BB to continue going to school. But after some reflection, I do not think that it would have been beneficial. The teacher clearly did not wish to continue interacting with BB and any attempt to get her to do so would not have been good for BB.
The school's take on BB's behavior was that it was repeated instances of defiant behavior. BB is certainly capable of that, as are all children. If that was the case with BB, however (and honestly, I don't think it was), then the school's response is even more puzzling. Removing the student does make things easier for the teacher, but it does nothing to help the student who has been removed. As BB's school is a private, church-run school, I would have made the assumption that the school would be interested in developing a student's character. But clearly that is not the case. BB has yet to ask any questions about why he no longer goes to school, and the only explanation DH and I have given him was that we did not think that the school was the best place for him. If BB does ask any more questions, I am not sure how I will answer honestly yet in a way that does not negatively affect him.
Starting tomorrow we will begin our new school plan for the year. As I had not planned on homeschooling this year, I had not selected any curriculum. When the school surprised us with their decision, I was thrown into a state of panic (also being 1 week postpartum did not help any). So rather than some thoughtful customized curriculum, BB and I will be participating in our state's online academy. Most of BB's schoolwork will be traditional pencil and paper, but some work will be done online. In addition, we have a supervising teacher that we will periodically submit work and assessments to. My motto for this school year is to just survive. Next year will be better, right?


  1. Oh, Heather! I am so sorry. You know what, though? Who cares if homeschooling BB in this way was not in the plan?! God must have a plan in mind and He will guide you through. And who cares if you are doing school through the state and not some creative curriculum?! Survival is important right now. Really, really important, and if this is the way to survive, then embrace that. Praying for you!!

  2. Can I "Like" the previous comment? Great encouragement from Kristin.

    The online school can be a wonderful way to get your feet wet with home schooling, especially with a new baby in the house!

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Yes, it will be better, Heather. Wow, if public school had the option of not wanting behavior-challenged children to come back, half our schools would be emptied. I cannot imagine why the teacher did not take the proper steps to help BB get on track or least to keep y'all from feeling blind-sided.

    I had no idea that this was what happened. Even when I came by to see BG (baby G), I just assumed you thought homeschooling was best for BB. I haven't been following my blogs too frequently until I decided I needed to join the blog-o-sphere. I am so sorry you had to go through this.

  4. Reading about your experiences with BB I wanted to share with you what I have been through with mine. He was distracted, high energy, disobedient, sometimes violent and constantly being misdiagnosed by people he came into contact with as being ADHD. I would not accept this because we had these windows of magical behaviour where he would sit and do puzzles for twenty minutes or just be beautifully behaved. One gymbaroo class where he spent the entire class running around the perimeter I asked the teacher if this was behaviour she encountered much with three year olds. She told me that at three he should be able to follow the class sometimes and I might want to have a look at diet. I told here we tried sugar, colour additives and everything we could think of. That's when she introduced me to my son's saving grace, a book called 'Fed Up' which is all about amine and salicylate intolerence and behavioural consequences. This may not be the solution for you and at the time I had no idea if it would work for us but I was willing to try anything. We now follow the strict RPAH salicylate allergy diet and he is perfectly three, he is rowdy and confident and slotting in to a class environment beautifully. I don't know if this will suite you or your BB but I wanted to share with you just in case.


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