I have been preparing to sending the kids back to school since May.
All four of my kids are going to new schools in the fall. Two are leaving a private Montessori school that has served them moderately well over the last two years. The other two were homeschooled last year.
In the fall, the triplets will start Senior Kindergarten at the local public school and my eldest will start at the congregated gifted program, which he is finally old enough for.
I am under no illusion that this will be an easy transition.
We are in a new catchment area, having moved since my eldest started homeschooling, so I am entering into the relationship with the local elementary school without all the baggage that we left at the old school.
However, we continue to live in an area where the School Board believes that the Provincial standards forbid acceleration of any kind, even within the gifted program. My two kids who have been homeschooling are both at least 3 years ahead in both mathematics and reading while also being unbelievably stubborn and unwilling or unable to work on things that do not challenge them intellectually. And, both of them act out frustrations in extremely dramatic ways.
Getting ready for school involves a lot of work with the kids on emotional control and following instructions. In addition, I have already been in conversation with new Special Education Resource Teachers and the School Board about how to work with these children. I will spend much of August writing letters to their new classroom teachers to help them get things off to a good start. Because, for both of these kids, if the first week doesn’t go well, the whole year will be hard to redeem.
The two kids who have been at the Montessori school have not demonstrated challenging behaviour in the classroom, and I am hopeful that they will adapt well to the new style. Because of the change in curriculum, our summer is including academic work in the new style to help them demonstrate what they know in a way that fits into the teacher’s expectations. 1/2 of the team is enthusiastic and 1/2 of the team is resisting doing any work. I am hoping that this resistance is not an indicator of how this kid will act with a non-Mom teacher. However, working with them in this new way, I have a hunch that this change in schools is going to reveal some of these kids’ asynchronies in ways that frustrate them.
Honestly, I am so worried about the academic fit for these kids that I haven’t given any thought to new schedules and routines. I expect I’ll start panicking about those elements in about two weeks.
In past years, it has taken me until Halloween to get into a groove with the rhythms of school. I have no reason to believe this year will be any different.