That is the question, luckily around here there is an option for either of the 3, and each has their own merits.
I am beginning to think that the local public school is not for us, even though we live just 5 doors away and the teacher and support staff seem excellent. I believe both my kids find their school stressful. Every single day for the past month my daughter has feigned a stomach ache to try to avoid school, each day she promises “no really I am not lying this time, I really do have a tummy ache” and I think I need to listen more closely to what she is saying. Of course I don’t really think she has a tummy ache, or any other ailment, I think her classroom is overwhelming, the lunchroom noisy and the realization that she isn’t top of the class anymore is weighing heavily on her 6-year-old shoulders. This is not how her kindergarten experience should be.
The 1st grade class is a little less overwhelming, the children are slightly better able to regulate their behaviors. However the cafeteria still sets my son up for dis-regulation and his afternoon ‘special arts’ classes tend to not know how to handle him. He says they are mean, last I checked they just hadn’t checked his IEP for strategies for helping him have a successful afternoon in school.
I heard a great phrase the other day “meet the children where they are at, and worry about where they will be later” I thought that was a great philosophy and one we should use for every kid. If my child can only write 3 short lines in 1st grade lets set a goal of 4, let’s not add extra pressure for him to write 4, but just set that goal. Then, lets have some positive strategies in place to see how we can get there. Just telling us, “3 short lines is unacceptable, 2nd grade requires much more effort, and he needs to get ready for the extra work. ”
Then there is the social skills we need to work on. Last semester his report card graded him as “sometimes meeting 1st grade standards,” to this report card stating he rarely meets 1st grade standards. No explanation of what we are going to do to work on that, no explanation as to why it might be happening, no reasoning behind what we can do from here.
I now realize I am the one who needs to make sure we have some positive behavior plans in place not just negative consequences, he needs to be advised on WHAT TO DO, not on what NOT to do.
So now I know what I need to ask for, I need to figure out how to ask for it without alienating everyone on the IEP team! That’s going to be an interesting email to write for sure. Failing that our options are to A: Take him out and put him in a private school, or B: Charter School.
The best option right now seems to be a Christian based private school, with a very low teacher/student ratio, an understanding of children rather than test scores and a more individual approach to his learning plan. This one gets my husband’s vote, I personally feel he should be able to succeed in the public school after all we pay taxes for that and the school is a highly rated school. My husband points out, do we really want to keep having that argument to get services, is it worth beating my head against a brick wall, and making requests for people to pay attention to his IEP, just to make it a LITTLE easier for him to learn. Isn’t it better to accept that the public school maybe isn’t willing or able to meet his needs and that for his sake we take him out and put him in a better situation. Oh the decision is so hard, private school is so costly but the public school isn’t cutting it. Where do we go from here.