a back to school update.

Since many of you have asked, knowing our not so great school history, Moses is doing amazingly well at his new school! :)

For those who don't know, last year was Moses' first year of school in a public setting.  His two years of preschool previously were in a wonderful private preschool where we got used to the idea of him being LOVED and well taken care of in a school setting. 

The school he is slotted to attend in our area is not so wonderful.  Over the school year we witnessed a transformation in our little Moses, from a sweet, obedient, happy to go to school kid to a moody, sad, cry every time we took him to school kid.  It was heartbreaking to witness. We thought it may be a phase and would pass in time but as time moved forward, it just got worse.  Our conclusion at the end of the year was that he was kind of emotionally and spiritually starved while at school. 

You see, in our school district there is a lot of poverty and all that brings (SOMEtimes) and A LOT of kids in his class.  He was one of 25 kids in his kindergarten class.  And he is very much a "pay me no attention" kind of kid.  What I mean is that he is not a trouble maker.  He values obedience when it comes to school settings and would often get looked over because he already knew the work they were doing (remember that wonderful preschool?!) so he finished quickly and he wasn't a trouble maker.  He came home with A LOT of coloring sheets on a daily basis because he was just being kept occupied while the teacher caught those who didn't understand up and disciplined the trouble makers.  He was bit three times by the same kid over the course of the year, brought home questionable content and starting around the New Year would cry every time he had to go to school.  He complained that he was lonely there. 

It was heartbreaking.  Now before you yell at me for jumping to conclusions based on poverty and class size, know that I was a social worker IN THIS AREA, and our connecting the dots took months to solidify.  Poverty and many social issues go hand in hand a lot of the time, not all of the time.  I don't think that his teachers were terrible at all.  I just think they were dealing with 25 little kids, many of whom lived in houses where poverty was rampant and had a large variety of problems because of circumstances out of their control.  On top of all of that their number one mission was to make sure the kids passed a national test eventually, you know, to keep their jobs.  Moses was just falling between the cracks.

At the end of the school year we decided to enroll him at a local private Christian school. 

And from the first moment we knew we made the right choice.  When we went to interview with the principal the first thing we did with her was pray.  Moses' class is tiny in comparison to last year, his teacher loves the Lord, the school is dedicated to raising children who know and handle life issues biblically.

The school is worried about Moses as a PERSON.  There is no agenda to make sure he passes a test but instead they focus on his growth in every facet, spiritually, educationally, physically, etc.  They care about the man of God he becomes and not what number he gets on the test.  Though education is obviously very important.  

I could feel a difference in the atmosphere on the very first day.  It was like Dorothy stepping into Oz for the first time.  Teachers were happy and hugging students, kids were called by name and asked about how they were.  Moses was excited to go to school.  A huge difference in agenda.  It's been pretty amazing so far.

We are all excited to see what the school year holds and look forward to sending Aaron there next year as well! :)   

12 comments:

Kristi said...

I can truly relate to your situation! My daughter was in kindergarten last year, and was also coming home with piles of coloring sheets. She is an early reader, now reading at about a 3rd grade level, and was being asked to read to small groups of children in her class, which I found to be inappropriate! We live in a small town with similar economic issues, and when first grade starts next week, class size will be going from 18 to about 24 or 25. I'm keeping the possibility of homeschooling in the back of my mind should things get worse this year, but it's sad to me that our public schools have to operate in a way that is not as beneficial for the children that are ahead of the curve as they are for those that are behind. I think it's fantastic that you had the courage to seek other options for your son this year - I am sure that he will flourish!

Amy Lynne said...

It is hard to find the right fit in a lot of schools for those very reasons. We were blessed with a great elementary school, but after 6th grade it is all about meeting the needs of the low and middle kids. High kids do fall through the cracks.

Choosing what is best for your family might not be popular, but it is always a good call. We had to do the same thing except we chose to homeschool.

Good luck to Moses, I hope he has an amazing year!

Stel said...

Ah, happy for ye. We're dealing with 35 kids in a Gr 3 class and I'm biting at the bit. The cracks are wide.

Jaayimee said...

I love reading this. Those tests and the fact that all they do is prepare for those tests drive me crazy and if I could go back, knowing what I know now, I would do things with my daughter very differently.

Amanda Davidson said...

This is the exact reason I teach at a private Christian school. With kids that do have issues at home, friends, teachers etc we can address those immediately and in a loving biblical way. Our "no child left behind" is so different from the state-our children are loved, taught, and raised to be strong students, leaders, Christians, and are never left alone.

Jackie said...

I am so glad to hear that he is loving school again. It must have been so hard to watch him struggle, and yet watch him grow as a person through a tough situation. Kudos for putting your son's best interest first and choosing a better path for him.

Taylor said...

Crystal, I'm so glad you found this great school for Moses and that he is already thriving! This is so necessary in helping a child learn to love school and learn/grow in an environment that nurtures him. All children deserve that. Kudos to you and your family for doing the work to find out what was causing the tears and finding an awesome solutions.

Gevay Piercefield said...

That's awesome. I pray Moses has great school year.

derekcindyterp said...

SOOOOO thankful for our private Christian school as well. Our oldest starts kindergarten next week! :) So glad to hear things are looking WAY up this year for you guys school wise. What a blessing! :)

Al@PolkaDotsandPaisley said...

I'm so glad to hear this year is going well. I'm a teaching in the public system and it breaks my heart that he had such a horrible experience. I hope he continues to thrive in his new school!

Leslie Marin said...

By being involved with your son's schooling, you are already way ahead of many parents. I have a son with mild Autism and we have struggles on the other end of the 'pay no attention to me' spectrum. It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job of raising your son! Maybe he can start writing a daily journal to help him better express his experiences at the new school if he keeps his emotions closed off? My son (and I, by reading with his permission) benefit a great deal from his journals. Also, frequent communication with his teacher is key to make sure he is not getting bored, because that can cause academic problems, too. Completely not his fault though, because Moses sounds like a very bright kid. Maybe he can grade skip? Good luck! xoxo

Megan Bruch said...

I am so excited for Moses and for you. I remember when you were dealing with this a few months ago, and I just felt so bad for you.

Also - I think it's sad that you have to feel defensive when writing this out, basically telling people to back off because you did your homework. I mean, I get it. But it's just sad that people will read someone else's story and immediately judge them and jump to conclusions (you are judgmental, you didn't "try" hard enough, etc.). I am a very very small-time blogger (just basically keeping the grandparents up-to-date on the kiddos), and I've already had to do that a time or two. It just takes some of the joy out of sharing, huh?

Sorry for the tangent. What I meant to say was simply - YAY MOSES! And YAY GOD for working that out and giving you, Crystal, the motivation and determination to do what you can to help him.

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