We went to an informational meeting for another middle school we’ve put Little Man in the lottery to attend next year. He went with us, somewhat willingly. This school requires incoming middle schoolers to go to the meeting with their parents. When we arrived, and we wouldn’t let him take his DS in with him, a tantrum ensued, right there in the middle of the parking lot. Lovely. We debated staying, started walking back to the car. But I pushed. If we left, we would be giving into his tantrum. And I know when he’s throwing a fit just to get his way, as opposed to losing it for any other reason. We stood in line to sign in and he was doing his best to push our buttons. Spouse was getting fed up. I was having none of it. We were staying, no matter how uncomfortable. We signed in and found a seat. Little Man proceeded to glare at us, spout angry words, and then the tears started. I almost understood at that point. There were a ton of people. It was crowded. It was getting loud. He didn’t have his headphones, nor any of his comfort items. He’s been doing so well without them. We fought through it. Spouse again suggested taking him out. I refused. That’s exactly what he wanted us to do.
When the program started, almost fifteen minutes late, I started to lose hope. We would all be together in the multi-purpose room for general information, then the students would head off in groups with a teacher and some current students for a breakout session. My immediate thought was we were going to be out of there at that point. There was no way Little Man was going to go off, with people he doesn’t know, without us. He sat there, hoodie zipped all the way, covering his face, curling into a ball in his chair. I sighed inwardly (probably outwardly too as the lady next to me gave me a look). But then they started explaining the curriculum, and Little Man’s head perked up. They had caught his attention. It’s all project based learning, collaborative work (yes, that part worries me somewhat, but we’ll give it a fair chance). He was earnestly listening, engaged, smiling. When it was time for the breakout session, he happily stood up and walked away with his group when called. I. Was. Stunned. And oh yeah, I was anxious. I had no idea what would happen for him in that classroom, surrounded by kids he doesn’t know, in an unfamiliar place. I had images of a full meltdown, us getting called out of the meeting to come get him. I barely heard most of the questions during the Q&A.
When it was over, I rushed to find him. I panicked when I didn’t see him, and walked back out of the building. Spouse had him, and he was smiling. “Mom! Guess what? The teacher told me I can bring sugar-coated strawberries to eat for lunch if I want!” That’s all it took. He’s hooked. This is where he wants to go to school. It might have a little to do with the use of technology, the curriculum choices, the smaller classes, the lack of traditional PE class, and getting to learn through working on projects, but mostly it’s about the sugar-coated strawberries. Awesome.
We find out in April if he got in.