We’ve been having some issues with school this year. Right from the very beginning.
It began with problems in the classroom, not wanting to go to school in the morning and being miserable after school in the afternoon. We thought perhaps it was just getting used to a new teacher and a slightly different way of doing things. He came home with strange stories of things the children had been told in the classroom, perhaps he simply misunderstood what he had been told or perhaps we baby him too much. His teacher was not particularly communicative at the meet the teacher day and then later at the parent teacher conference, perhaps first grade is just a lot more hands off than Kindergarten.
Last year we really loved the environment that he was in for Kindergarten and the fun style of teaching, he loved it too. He still talks about some of the fun things that they did in class and asks to do them again at home. This year is worksheets, tests. This year is coming home from a long school day only to fight our way through homework for a further two hours. This year is him telling us that he is banned from writing about his favourite topic (Minecraft) in writing workshop. This year is reams of unfinished classwork being sent home because no one can give him the time to work at a slower pace, there’s no time to practice the skills that he finds difficult. This year is the choice between spending time on meaningful work that he could be proud of or scribbling it down to simply keep up with the pace of the class. He progressed both intellectually and emotionally last year, this year we have seen little progression but a lot more frustration.
It’s been difficult to know what to do with him. Because of the time we’re having to spend on homework each night, there’s little time left for us to work on the skills that we know he needs help with unless we sacrifice all of his free time.
So I found myself sitting on a Monday night, thinking about how I didn’t want to wake him up for school tomorrow. Wondering about a Tuesday of sleeping in until 9. A morning of baking and board games, handwriting and scissor skill practice, reading and math. But feeling guilty for seriously considering it. I knew I was going to wake up at 6.30 and get ready for school anyway, and that I’d spend Tuesday again worrying about whether to send him back the following day.