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Finding the right school

kidsWhen Stink was first diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, I was still holding onto hope that he would attend the Catholic school of my youth. He would play sports and go through the Sacraments and be just crafty enough to be adorable in his skinned knee navy shorts but obedient enough to get straight A’s on his report card be head altar server. It was an awesome dream and so much fun to fantasize about!

Then all the kids from his preschool got their acceptance letters into kindergarten. Stink did not.

Given I had no indication whatsoever from his preschool teachers that he would not do well at the private gradeschool (he always had glowing reports on his character, behavior and cognitive/motor abilities), I made an appointment with the grade school principal.

She was 5 years younger than me, but acted like a stern 60-year-old. As I sat there, looking at her somber face in front of an oil painting of the Good Lord, she informed me that Stink seemed very immature at the intake interview.

“He’s FIVE!” I responded, flabergasted.

“Yes, but he didn’t exactly hold his pencil correctly, and with thirty kids in the classroom and one teacher, we don’t have a lot of room for extra attention.”

“Why in the world, then, with that many children, would I want to spend 10k/year on your school?” I asked, incredulous.

“For the Christian environment,” was her clipped response.

“Oh, yeah, I’m really feeling the love here!” was my retort.

So off I went, enrolling him instead in a local charter school. We’re all different religions and sexualitiesĀ and neuro make-ups and all kids are honored and get this: It’s free and the teacher student ratio is 22 to 1. Jesus would be proud!

My advice to you, today, is to be sure that the school your son or daughter is in does not reflect what you, as their parent, want. Your child is not supposed to live your dreams. They are supposed to live theirs. And that means being supported in a place that best fits their personality, disposition and academic requirements.

I love my charter school! I have the best communities of moms and dads I could ever ask for. (Literally, there are 15 parents at any given time I can call and say “Please pick up my child… I’m running late!” and boom — DONE. Community is everything. And not just any community. A community you are comfortable in.

Read more from me, including a response from a reader regarding my last post about a mother in need, at my Happily Ticked Off blog.

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