From what I’ve been reading, I think our situation would be referred to as Accidental Homeschooling. ie I never planned on homeschooling, and our kids have always been enrolled in private school, but because of a situation, I have now turned to homeschooling.
Maybe this is a blessing in disguise.
Like I said earlier, our daughter, Li, is the only one of our 4 kids who we decided to enroll in the private school’s Pre-K program. It just worked out because all her siblings were already enrolled in the school. When the time came, she was immediately accepted into their Pre-K program just because the school doesn’t really have a stringent exam for those incoming Pre-K students.
In a way, Li is very similar to Hayden. She is very sociable, spirited, energetic, and “immature.” Similar to Hayden, she is one of the youngest in her class. She did have a few biting incidents in the beginning of the school year where she bit a student and would be sent home for the day since that’s the school policy. After the 3rd incident, a conference between the teachers, assistant principal, and principal was called; Michael attended that meeting since I wasn’t able to. They didn’t really know how to handle the situation since this had never happened before with any of their previous Pre-K students; ironically, though, another child in Li’s class also ended up in a similar situation biting 3 students as well. It was decided the teachers and we (as the parents) would give Li a sticker for every day she did not bite someone, and then she would get some sort of reward every week. She has had no biting incidents since we implemented this system, although, we stopped doing it after a few months just because she seems to understand it now.
During Li’s first parent teacher conference in October, her Pre-K teacher did tell me that Li is “great cognitively” but just not as mature as the rest of the class and that they may recommend, when the time comes to decide, that she is not ready for Kindergarten. In January, her teacher requested another parent teacher conference. During our meeting, she said that although Li is very smart cognitively, they still felt she wasn’t ready for Kindergarten. But Michael and I disagreed with her, and towards the end of the conference, she had even said, “So there’s nothing I can do to change your mind about holding her back?” NO.
About a week later, Li’s Pre-K teacher emailed me saying she had spoken with “the administrators” (ie the assistant principal and principal) about how she felt Li should be held back and that we did not agree. “The administrators” decided that Li should take the Kindergarten Screening just like any new (ie not a current Pre-K student at the school), incoming student would. This really irritated me especially seeing as how none of this talking-to-the-administrators was mentioned in the conference. But whatever. I knew Li would pass the K test.
My friend and neighbor works in the business office of the school. A couple of days after the K exam, she was asking around about Li’s status – did she pass or not? She found out that they wanted to “observe” Li some more, along with another Pre-K student who also took the K exam, in their class. So first, it was Li had to take the K Screening, and now, they’re saying they have to observe her more? One has to wonder why all this delay in the process? They also have never “observed” the other new, incoming (ie from other daycares) students. I found this to be really frustrating. A few days later, my friend asked one of the K teachers about Li’s acceptance. The K teacher’s response? “Oh yeah! She’s fine. She passed.” That K teacher’s assistant also agreed. I still hadn’t received any official confirmation that Li had passed, though. About a week later, I received an email from the other K teacher (the same one Hayden had when he was in K); this email was basically inviting all new Kindergarteners to take her 3-day summer camp.
A couple of weeks later, I saw my neighbor/friend at home. She confided in me that the school was not going to pass Li because even though she passed the K Screening, her Pre-K teacher and the K teacher (who emailed that camp information) are buddies, and it basically seemed as if that K teacher was just siding with Li’s teacher saying Li was not ready! The K teacher and her assistant who had initially said Li had “passed” disagreed with the decision to hold Li back. Not only did all of this make me mad, but it really seemed to be just a “numbers” game. My friend told me that the school only received THREE applications for new Pre-K students, and all of those students are kids of the school staff! No wonder they were trying so hard to hold Li and a couple of other current Pre-K students back! So for the 2014-2015 school year, they have now lost the Pre-K assistant and the other Pre-K teacher because they do not have enough students for two Pre-K classes. And so it kinduv feels as if Li is just a number to them.
Apparently, in the past, they have let other “immature” Pre-K students go on to K, so their screening criteria has not been consistent. If we had just let Li stay in daycare and then go on to taking the school’s K exam, this would’ve never happened.
I decided to contact “the administrators” for final confirmation. Their response (or what I deem as an EXCUSE) is they are still holding Li back because they look at “the whole child.” More like they’re looking out for the welfare of their jobs! I pointed out how that was nice and all, but that was not what was agreed on. I told them that we were led to believe that all she had to do was pass the K Screening, which she did, and that that would be it. What was the point in Li taking the K exam if they were just going to hold her back anyway? So they basically lied to us. The Administrators never responded.
It’s a shame, really. Our oldest, Michela, is graduating from 8th grade this year. It is a good school. All my kids have enjoyed it and have a lot of friends there. But we have always stated that if one of our children does not get accepted to the school, all of them are getting pulled out. Our kids will finish up this school year, but they will not be returning.
The school didn’t think we would actually do that. They told my friend, “Are you sure they’re not just saying that?” But I will not support a school that lied to us no matter what they’re LAME reasoning is. I will not have my daughter repeat a grade where she would be re-learning her numbers, colors, letters while the rest of her class moves on. She is already reading and writing. Holding her back will not help her at all.
How do the kids feel about not returning to their school next year? Of course, Michela doesn’t care since she’s all set for high school. Li doesn’t care since she’s so young. Initially, the boys were sad because they thought I would transfer them to a different school. Jared won’t get to graduate with his friends next year. That part does make me sad, but one of them is transferring, and two of his friends have already transferred to a public school due to a bullying situation. He still can keep in touch with them thanks to technology. I could easily transfer them to the school Michela will be attending since it is a PK-12th grade school; however, it’s a tad bit more expensive. Or, I could transfer them to another private, Catholic Elementary school, but how do I know we won’t just encounter a similar situation? I took this as a sign as you know what? It is time. Take that leap into homeschooling.
When I mentioned homeschooling as an option, the boys were really excited about it. Hayden announced in his class to no one in particular, “I’m getting homeschooled next year! OH YEAH!” Jared likes the idea of being at home and just doing school work in his PJs at the computer. Michela is concerned about their social situation. hmph. 🙂 I was apprehensive to mention this to Michael, but when I explained how much we would be saving by doing homeschooling, he was very much for it. And when I said, “I’m excited about it,” he said, “Then that’s all that matters.”
The crazy thing is, almost half the student body of the school, for some crazy reason have not returned their contracts signifying that they will be returning for the 2014-2015 school year. Each grade, since we’ve been with the school, has always had 2 classes (ie two 8th grade classes, two 7th grade classes etc), but with the low return of contracts, there will only be ONE 6th grade class next year. Of course, there is only going to be ONE Pre-K class, probably just made up of the 3 students that are kids of the staff. HA. The school is implementing a new half-day program for 3-year-olds; I’m not exactly sure what the enrollment turnout for that is. But that move just screams to me, “WE NEED STUDENTS!” The priest will be retiring, and he fired the principal only to replace her with the assistant principal. So much drama.
Maybe this IS a blessing in disguise.