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Never say never

Traditional? Private? Charter? Home? What did you choose for your children? Michael grew up in private Catholic schools. I grew up in public schools in a small town.  Most of his class went on to 4 year universities. Most of my class went to junior college, if that. But when we were deciding what to do with our kids, it came down to the quality of schools in our area.  We chose traditional, public school. And we’ve been blessed. I never, ever thought I would ever even consider veering from that course.

Never say never.  Seems to be a hard lesson to learn. Ryley and Grace have been very successful with the public, traditional route.  They are self-starters. They flourish in the classroom.  They flourish socially – well, until the girl drama this year I guess, but you’d have that anywhere. Any glitches we’ve had have been overcome pretty quickly.  I love our school – love the teachers, love the office staff, love the other families.  A firm believer in “you-get-out-what-you-put-in”, we’ve been very involved since day one.  And it’s worked.

I always thought in the past that what’s good for one kid is good for all three.  Until last year, I believed that while I might parent each child according to his/her needs, they would all go down the same educational road.  Our struggles with Ethan have made me re-think that. They don’t all have to follow the same path. I need to allow that what works for one does not necessarily work for all, and I need to be okay with that.

For the past couple of months, my brain has circled around the possibility of taking E out of the traditional, public school.  He is bored to tears. We try to accommodate as much as we can with workbooks at home, reading every night, etc. And his teacher continually gives him puzzles and such to try to challenge him. He also knows that in order for assessments of his skills to be completed, he just has to deal with doing something he may think is below him or boring academically. I would love to give him the space to move at his own pace, learning in a way that is more interesting and challenging to him. The traditional education doesn’t allow that, to the extent he would prefer.  Yet I know I don’t have it in me to completely home school him.

On the flip side, some of the issues Ethan has require that he be in a classroom setting. He needs to be with other kids, learning to work cooperatively, learning to interact appropriately, learning how to lose at games, learning to follow rules, learning the world does not revolve around him and his wants every second of every day. He has to learn social cues and how to respond correctly. He needs to learn that sometimes, you just have to comply and do what the rest of your peers are doing.  If I pull him completely, he loses almost all of that. He doesn’t play sports any more. He has no interest whatsoever. He goes to his Sunday school class at church intermittently.  And while the public school has not been as helpful as we would like in getting all the services he needs, I fear we would lose that too if we switch to the private or charter.

In the end, I know that what we choose for him now isn’t the end of the discussion. The possibilities are out there, ready to be explored. And we will continue to make the choices which are best for him and our family.

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