Sunday, November 21, 2010

Update on Micah

Micah is growing so, so fast.  Last week he lost his first tooth - a bottom row one - and it came out in his sleep.  We still haven't found it, but the tooth fairy visited anyway, giving him two gold dollar coins and an extra two quarters I found in my wallet :)  He took his money to the 99 cent store and bought a small toy skateboard ramp.

He is doing really well in school, which we are really thankful for considering the situation he is in.  It is pretty much the worst-case scenario, yet we somehow have felt that God is in it and he is (right now) where he is supposed to be.  But we are praying for other options.

Although we love his teacher, she has been gone 12 times since the beginning of school, and the kids have had 11 different subs.  The class is disorganized and the kids in his particular class are not learning half of what the other K classes are learning.  The homework sent home is preschool work that he did two years ago.  He's not learning his sight words, numbers or much else.  Complaints have poured in from numerous parents but nothing has changed.  We found out that on rainy days, the entire class has been left alone for up to 10 minutes because there is only 1 lunch aid per 2 classrooms, and she would have to run back and forth between classes.  I started an email campaign about that, and the principal (supposedly) changed the policy and is having them eat in the cafeteria now on rainy days.  Duh.  (I know you are all wondering why this teacher is still there.  We are not sure but she is tenured).  The problems we are facing are not just with the teacher, but with the school as a whole.  A school that we heard was one of the best in the city, that tons of people have gotten permits to attend.  Apparently things have gone downhill in the past 2-3 years since the new principal came in.

Another hard thing for us is that the Kindergarten students are sent out on the playground with 1st and 2nd graders (about 150 kids) for recess, and there are in particular three second grade boys who bully the kindergarten students. I have witnessed it first-hand on my volunteer days and those boys even disrespect me.  There are only 2 adults supervising recess, and they are stationed at the front of the yard, which is well over two acres (the playground is in the back).  

To compound matters, this year the district increased each class to 30 kids, and there is not enough supervision either in the class or on the playground.  The whole school is an accident waiting to happen.

Despite all of this (and there is even more going on), we have seen God place a hedge of protection around our boy.  However,  I cannot tell you the feelings that go through my head and heart each day as we drop him off there.  Martin and I are there 2-3 days a week helping out, but it still doesn't feel like enough.  

So, what are our options?
1) Pull him out and put him in another Kindergarten class.  However, his very best friend is in this class, and he loves the other kids, as well.  He is so excited to see them every day.  If we switch him to one of the other 3 kindergarten classes, he will have to deal with a lot of questions from the current classmates who will see him on the playground, and he may have a hard adjustment to make.

2) Pull him out and put him in another district.  We have a few great elementary schools within a mile of our house in another district.  One offers 1/2 day kindergarten, and the class sizes are smaller.  Yet again, what kind of impact would this have on him?  Are we just trading one set of problems for another?  How would he adjust to not knowing anybody at all, and would he regress because it might be too traumatizing for him?  And could he even get IN the district?

3)  Homeschool him.  Believe it or not, this still is not an option for us, for many reasons that I will not defend here.  But we feel that even in his current situation, it would be better than me trying to homeschool him and having a battle of the wills every day (beyond what we already deal with).

3) Stay and make the best of it.  This is our current approach.  Martin and I have grown to love the kids in his class.  We have relationships with the parents.  We are volunteering, and supplementing at home.  We care for his teacher and have a relationship with her, despite all of her weaknesses, and want to help however we can.  He loves his friends and he seems to love school.

So what do we do?  We are at a crossroads.  One parent already pulled her son out this week, and she was a friend of mine.  Her son and Micah went to preschool together for two years.  (He is going to private school now).  We could try to pull him out at Thanksgiving or Christmas and have him start somewhere new, but we are worried how that might affect him.  This boy really loves his friends at school.

Every day these things go through my head, and it is weighing on me.  We want the best for our child, we thought this was it, and unfortunately we have not experienced that after all.  He truly seems oblivious to it, or extremely resilient, because he comes home happy and has had a good time.  We truly covet your prayers for wisdom during this time, that we will make the best decision for him....


  1. Jaimie, if you guys don't mind the supplemental teaching at home and are confident that it's making up what he's not receiving at school, then based on your blog I think you should stick it out the rest of the school year. I totally understand your not wanting to pull him away from this place he's adjusted to and likes. It might make it worse in the way that he might regress. For those reasons alone, I went through the process of an intra-district transfer for Elias when we moved. But if you are concerned with his learning, it might be good to prepare him for a move to another room or school. You can tell him that the Christmas break means his time at that class is over and he will start a new class after Christmas. Tell him it's just like he ended preschool for the summer and started kindergarten. Either way, whatever you decide, I know God is protecting Micah and he will not have any negative effects because of all of this. My love and prayers are with you!! Love you so much!

  2. Dear Jaimie,
    In this post I hear you talk a lot about how Micah will handle friends, moving classes/schools, etc. You might like a program called Kid Power. It teaches kids how to deal with difficult situations in a positive way. It is emotional self-defense. We have used it with our kids and we all love it!

  3. I have been praying for you Jaimie. I hope you have an awesome Thanksgiving!