Lions, And Tigers, And Bears…Oh My!
The last few weeks are indescribable but I have to try in order to somewhat justify my abrupt absence. To start things off allergy season arrived in all of it’s glory and totally caught me off guard. After the first couple of days I started taking my allergy medication but it has not helped. My children were also hit extremely hard with allergies and they have been miserable; so far nothing really works for them either.
Just as allergy season was getting into a good stride and making us miserable soccer and football practice took up residence in our lives. I have four children who have never been involved in any type of sports other than what they would do in the backyard with their friends. Trust me when I tell you that adjusting to having three kids in sports all at the same time was a huge adjustment to me!
Shortly after the start of soccer practice it was almost time for the kids to start back to school. But before they got into the back to school days I decided to look into a different school for the kids; now we’re taking like 9 days before they started school — not a few weeks or anything. So I went with a friend who was thinking the same thing and we talked to the principal. Then she had to discuss it with her husband and I had to discuss it with my ex-husband. Once we both got the “go ahead” then it was a matter of getting the paperwork in and then finding out that the school district had to approve a boundary exception. By this time it was down three days before the start of school. In the end we both got things all worked out and the kids started school…for the most part.
For the most part…three little words that turned my world upside down for nearly a week. At the same time that I decided to enroll the three younger children into this new school I also decided to enroll my 14 year old into their virtual school option since I would be able to educate him at home through the school and give him more one-on-one time. He has special needs and an individualized education plan (IEP) because he reads at a 2nd grade level; he is in 7th grade. Well I had a bit of a fight on my hands with the Jr. High School and the people involved in writing his IEP because they felt that he would not get as good of a quality of education by being taught at home. One of the first things we were told was that he may not be allowed to participate on the football team and that it was an issue under consideration. Then a meeting was scheduled with the IEP team to determine what would be the best course of action for his education this year. Emotions were running quite high in the meeting and it was apparent that we were at a standstill when the principal of the school asked a question that meant the turning point of the meeting. She asked me if I trusted them with the education of my son. I chose to be perfectly honest with everyone in the room even though I knew I was going to break down and cry. I told them that I did not trust them with my son. I put him into the public school system four years ago; at the time he was two years behind due to his reading difficulty. He should have been in fourth grade but they placed him into a multi-age class with 6 and 7 year old children in kindergarten and first grade. The following year they placed him into fifth grade and expected him to do fifth grade work. Now he is supposed to be in 7th grade and he is four years behind; he still reads at a second grade reading level. I told everyone that they’d had four years with my son and he has gained no ground and to me that was not acceptable.
After my lengthy and tear-filled speech it was obvious something had to be done that would satisfy my desire to participate in my son’s education. They came to a compromise to have him in a couple of special education classes and one “fun” class in the afternoon and to allow me to teach him through the virtual school at home in the morning. Someone had to do some research and find out if the statues would allow this to happen. In the mean time they wanted me to stay at the school for a bit and check things out with their special programs and talk one-on-one more with a couple of them. At that point I told them that I’d have enough of them for the day and that I just wanted to go home and get away from all of them. In looking back, I can’t imagine how I made them feel; I basically told them all that they were failing at their jobs. Of course their feelings have never been my concern but rather the best education that my son can receive.
I did agree to meet with my son’s guidance counselor the next day and take a look at their special programs. When I arrived at the school I was informed that the guidance counselor was ill and that I would be talking to the principal. I wasn’t too thrilled with that idea as I felt she was very much against me and the ideas I have for my son. She talked to me a bit about the schedule they wanted to put him into for this semester and what his day would look like. She asked him how he felt about coming to school and he wasn’t too thrilled with the idea. She then asked him if he’d like to go get started with his first class and he half-heartedly agreed. After he left the room I asked her about the compromise and being able to teach him through the virtual school; at that point I was fully prepared to go off in search of my son if she told me that it wasn’t going to fly. Instead she told me that we could do that and that I would be working with the principal of the other school to get him set up with that. Also by taking a few classes at the Jr. High he was allowed to participate on the football team. I can’t say that I’m totally happy with the entire solution but I felt that half a battle won was better than loosing an entire battle. So for now my goal this year is to improve his reading skills and make sure that we meet and exceed the goals of his IEP. I’m sure that next year they will still have him in another IEP but it is my plan to have him advanced enough at the end of the year that it will be his last year that he will be required to take special classes. Then if he wishes he can participate in some of the optional classes so he can continue to play football.
With that battle behind us it was time for the first soccer game; this was the first thing in a couple of weeks that turned out really well. Both my 7 year old and my 10 year old played really good games. They had a lot of fun and really enjoyed themselves. My 7 year old won his game and my 10 year old tied hers.
Today was the start of the second week of school for the kids; as the younger children were preparing for school this morning my daughter reminded me of the permission slip to participate in the Orchestra class. I signed the slip and told her that we’d look into an instrument after school if we were able to afford it; if we couldn’t she wouldn’t be able to continue. So after school we headed to the music store to look into the rental options for a viola. Well, I guess since it only costs $15 a month my daughter is now taking viola lessons at school.
Soccer, football, changing schools, fighting the Jr. High, first games, music lessons…OH MY!