I really am at a loss

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, May 27, 2012.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    as to what to do about school for J. It's not about some philosophical debate I have going on about types of school, it's about what would help J thrive and blossom. Just recently, some theme - new - has emerged about how others don't want to play with him. When I ask about it, it seems to be centred on a group of older boys saying no when he asks if he can play with them, particularly one boy. This boy is also something of a strong character and I think... just guessing, I really don't know... he is also jealous about J playing sometimes with another older boy in the village who doesn't go to the school. It was at the time that J and this other boy started playing that the first one started being nasty. So... I don't want to get involved in children's disputes or start basing serious decisions on them, but I am getting a sense that J is being somewhat marginalised at the school. The teacher is, I am beginning to feel, really something of a hypocrite. She pays lip service to me about understanding J's issues and difficulties, but I don't think she does at all in reality. She scolds and punishes him all the time... and J, being greatly sensitive in the way of our difficult children, really feels this deeply and sees himself as bad, naughty. I think the other children may well be picking up on this, on J's difference - his difference in all sorts of ways. He does have friends he plays with, but this new theme of social exclusion is worrying to me.
    I don't want to run away. At the same time... I am fearful of the damage to J's self-image, self-esteem if he stays in this environment. I think he really does have social difficulties - he simply cannot control his "play aggression" for example and frequently exceeds the boundaries by being TOO rough. What does one do about that - obviously there's a boundary, obviously one can't allow him to hurt other kids, but punishing and scolding him seems, unfortunately, to make no difference at all.
    This latest neurologist we saw assures me categorically that J is NOT hyperactive of ADHD. Because he was the centre of her attention, he behaved like a dream child... but she didn't see him in all the situations and times when he is not like that... I just think he seems so classic ADHD other than the fact that he "performs" when he has to - and then that makes people say no, he isn't.
    I do feel an alternative school would be more nurturing to him as a total person. But what a decision to make and how can one really make it, given that we are not equipped with a crystal ball! I just can't know what is for the best. A very real part of J's character and "issues" is the fact that because he does not truly fit anywhere, because of his life circumstances, his past, his adoption and also his particular strange history in terms of having already lived in three countries, he makes out that he is strong, tough, aggressive. A form of protection, maladaptive no doubt.
    Because he concentrates in class and does the work that is necessary, people say they don't think he has ADHD. Because of that no one is being encouraged to understand him or treat him a little differently - the conventional system doesn't really want to anyway.
    Do I take a huge sideways leap and take him out of all this for a Waldorf school that has a radically different view of what a child is and what education is and where maybe - maybe only - J would find a heart and a home??
  2. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    That is quite catch 22 situation. Moving him constantly is not going to help him put down roots. Having ever changing relationships is not likely to teach him social skills. But if the current environment is not good, it would of course be better to take him out of it before any serious damage happens.

    I have to say one thing: don't let the Waldorf education's idyllic picture sweep your feet under you. Be cautious on how the specific Waldorf school you are thinking of really is. And yes, listen also rumours carefully. I have to say I'm not at all a fan of anthroposophy and find their idea of personality types etc. very restricted. It just doesn't make any sense to me. And I was cautious of kids really learning (smart kids who are interested in learning tend to do really well, kids who are resistant to learn or have learning difficulties tend to do really poorly.) But at one time we were still considering moving our difficult child to Waldorf school anyway, because his schooling was such the struggle, not academically but socially and emotionally. Getting him to school, getting him to stay at school was nightmare at that point and he was bullied or excluded a lot. Waldorf school seemed so idyllic option at that time and we were almost ready to move him, when we found out that at least that specific Waldorf school was anything but immune to bullying problem. And it really didn't help that school didn't admit any problem and certainly didn't do anything to it. In the end few badly bullied kid were smoked out of the school, but I don't know how quickly the bullies found new victims, probably fast. It seemed to be very dysfunctional situation all together. That experience was of course only about this one specific school and others can be totally different. But just be careful, ask questions and don't believe on to the perfect idyll too easily. Just because they say, that they adhere all good and beautiful, doesn't mean they act that.

    It could be a good fit for J, but be cautious and find out about that specific school you are thinking of.
    Last edited: May 27, 2012
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would never allow my kid to stay in a school where he was bullied unless the child seemed to be handling it ok. However, there is no guarantee that bullying won't take place at another school either. If your culture does not really recognize that some kids are different, is it going to be better at another school? Only you know that. Do you have the homeschool option there? A lot of kids are removed in the U S and put into homeschooling and the kids tend to do quite well. There is also online public school in the US. There are social groups for homeschooled kids, but they are not under the intense pressure that a school provides.

    I have no idea what Waldorf School is so can't check in on that issue.

    Don't they have some bullying rules at your school? They do have that here and they try to crack down on any bullying. Of course, if a school is a large one, it is impossisble to see all bullying and most children don't tattle because that only makes it worse.
  4. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    Chiming in about Waldorf, also. My perfectly sweet granddaughter, very coddled, only child of two older women, goes to a Waldorf school and for her, it works. She and her mommies love that school. I hear the gossip about the families that blow their "contracts" by letting their kids play video games and watch TV and these families get treated differently. Even at my granddaughter's age, she sneers at the public school kids (very sweetly, of course) and feels somewhat above it all. There are no Special Education services offered (they don't legally have to, and they don't). So, any kids with behavioral issues get asked to leave. I guess if a student needs Occupational Therapist (OT), speech, etc., you have go through private pay.

    I looked at this for my grandson, and about the time the knitting teacher (yes, they teach knitting to the kids in school) would come to do a class for the kids, I know he would put up his hand and say "You're kidding, right? Where's my bleeping iPad?" They don't teach reading until the kids get older, and my grandson started kindergarten reading and doing simple math, so I'm not sure how he would have spent his time. We just couldn't drink the Kool-aid, commit to all the fundraising (which is constant) and ask him to opt out of so many things he enjoys (educational TV shows, computers, character toys, digital games, etc.). I know the prevailing wisdom is that these things are causing problems in kids, but that research was done in 1970 and being an educator myself (in a very good public school district), I just don't buy it. Just my opinion and I know I'm quite biased. The Waldorf families are sweet, caring people but I know that my grandson would have that place down around their ears in no time. And the same teacher from grades 1-8? I dunno.

    I know that things are quite different in Europe, so perhaps not one thing I've said here is true of the Waldorf schools there. I hope I haven't offended anyone, but the Waldorf experience is not perfect for everyone, and maybe stories from the "other side" may be useful.
  5. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Oh I'm sorry Malika, It really is hard to weight out those things....trying to predict what may be best. I am leary of any doctor who bases a rule in/rule out of a diagnosis on one visit. I dont know of a single kid with adhd...even Q! Who doesn't have the ability to pull it together at times, especially if they understand the idea of authority. Little ones can be especially impressed into doing really well for a doctor or teacher. That is a great skill, especially if it transfers to doing well on a job, for sure, smile. I think your gut has said all along there is SOMETHING, what that something is and if it comes to the level of a label/diagnosis is not really as important as finding a place that fits his style. Is there such a place around you? It may actually take a while to find it. But if you are in a place where there are options you might be better off.

    Then again, this kind of situation may happen anywhere. Is he willing to try a different group (or is it like his grade, only a few boys even available to play?)....or does he want to be with the group where the top dog is because that kind of personality actually appeals to him? Just throwing stuff out there, seems odd to say that about such a little guy but he is kind of sophisticated in some ways.

    Can you spend time this summer investigating options? I am sure that is not easy to do but.... I wish there were alternatives in the teachers mind to punishment. Wish she could work with him on what she is punishing him for and reward him for doing the right thing. Have you met the teacher at the next level or observed the class?
  6. If I read your post correctly, your son has friends, but there is a group of older boys (with one boy in particular) who don't want to play with him. This isn't that unusual -- older boys (or girls) not wanting to play with a younger one is pretty common. Your son may want to play with a particular group, but if they don't want to play with him, they are not obligated to do so. This is hard for a child to accept, but it's a fact of life: You can't make people accept you into their group or as their friend. You say he does have friends, so it doesn't sound like we're talking about a lot of social exclusion -- it's one group.

    The teacher is another story, but would he have this teacher next year? If your son is only 5, I don't know that I'd give up on traditional schools yet. Some teachers are quite good with the "different" child. Although I didn't explore Waldorf schools themselves, I did have difficult child at a regular private school and at a Montessori school. He basically got kicked out of both. Private schools don't have to deal with the more troublesome kids, and so they don't. Some may talk about a "whole child" approach, but are not necessarily capable of dealing with any emotional difficulties or have the time/resources to teach social skills to the kids who don't figure it out by osmosis. And even if you like the school when you interview them and visit them, there is never a guarantee that it's going to work out for your child.

    Everyone has to figure out where they fit in. A lot of people don't figure it out until college. As long as your son has a few friends to hang out with, he's got the important bit while he figures out the rest.

    Good luck!
  7. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Malika, I see 2 things to consider in your decision: what would be ideal for J (theory of course, one never knows what will happen in reality. like you said: no crystal ball) AND your philosophy.
    I believe you will have a hard time embrassing your local school because it is polar opposite of what you believe in. You have tolerated it because J seems to learn what is expected. But because it is so against your philosiphy, anything that goes wrong will really irritate you (for lack of better words).
    I am NOT judging your reaction in any way. But I sense it is what is going on. Unless things are flawless (unlikely to happen), you will probably resent the school.
    If J was to be in a school that fits your perspective on life, it might be easier to work as a team with the teachers.
    But like you said, all that is very theoritical and we don't have a crystal ball!
    For us with V, pulling him out of the old preschool was the best thing ever. I never liked them to begin with but was afraid of changing him and creating disruption in his life. The school never actively hurt V, but he was not understood. Change was the best in our case.
    But let's be realistic: for V things have not become all rosy either. He still does not really know the other kid's names, and would rather play by himself. But because I'm confortable with the school, the staff and the philosophy, I'm more inclined to trust them and know that when things are tough for V it's because of V's lacking skills and NOT because of the school's lacking skills. Know what I mean??
    I would also talk to J about it and ask his opinion. On big life decision, when I ask the kid's input, I always tell them that I will consider what they tell me but I and husband will make the final decision. It is the parent's burden/responsibility, not the kids and I want to make sure they understand it to avoid any future problems.
  8. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for your input. And for your views of Waldorf/Steiner. I do know a bit about these schools already as my mother taught in a Steiner school, my sister went to one, sent her daughter to one, my brother's two kids have been at one all their school career. There are mixed views about them, of which I'm well aware. The bullying of other kids not being stopped by teachers is a common complaint. I have no problem, personally, with Rudolf Steiner's religious views or with anthroposophy, broadly speaking. I value anything that sees children and childhood as containing something wonderful, something of value to be nurtured and appreciated. I also accept that the temptation is to get too rosy eyed about this.
    Trouble is, I don't know exactly what is going on for J. He has started saying "no one wants to play with me". I think this is him being dramatic and intense. I always see him playing with other kids at school and he talks about playing with his group of friends. No-one can force anyone to play with a child they don't want to and I;ve tried talking to J about that; at the same time, this boy is quite deliberately nasty to J and I've seen examples of it. I think this is tapping into MY fear about J being an outsider and excluded because of all his differences... and he IS different, in so many ways.
    I'm not hostile to the school, ktllc, I'm just very lukewarm and not deeply enthusiastic about conventional schooling here. I think you're quite right, I'd find it easier to work with a school whose values I did feel more receptive to and identified with. Where is that school?! Homeschooling not an option and I would not be able (even if I wanted to) to give up my work to home school - J DEFINITELY needs the social outlet of school.
    I fear running away and teaching him that when things get difficult, one leaves... at the same time, part of me is longing to work with a system that I respect more fully and which I believe (am I right?) would be more wholesome and nurturing to J. He is definitely beginning to see himself in a negative light, to have a very poor self image, because of the way he is seen by the teacher and the other kids, who often tell him he is naughty... And if it weren't for my stubborn insistence that J speak fluent French, we could be in the UK with SO many more options. I dunno... Where is perfection, please tell me (I've looked round lots of corners now and it just ain't appearing :))
    Oh - and J's opinion is not really very solid or reliable, I think. Mostly he says he wants to stay, sometimes he says he hates the school and today (for the first time) said he doesn't like anyone in it!! But all this will change again tomorrow. He is definitely conflictual in his relations with other boys... I think this is going to get harder and harder for him. What school system, if any, would help him improve his understanding of what he needs to do to get on well with other kids, to make friends and keep them? THIS is what I want in a school, not the academic stuff.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Malika...is it really THAT big a deal that J. speak French? The uk sounds so much more friendly to kids like J. Can't he be taught other languages while living in the uk? Wouldn't the first issue be to make sure he is comfortable with himself and happy?

    I admit I'm not a big fan of expecting child or adult conformity. It just seems unnatural. J's differences should be embraced, not looked down upon...Know what I mean?? He sounds like such an engaging and neat child. I'd hate to see his spirit squashed because the French culture doesn't value kids like him...

    Wouldn't it be great for J. to have Grandma close? I wish my kids had one...both are dead. I dunno...ever think that maybe France is a bad fit for J?
  10. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    FWIW my youngest was/is an aggressive player. He alienated his K buddies because he would always throw the ball too hard in games of throw and catch in PE. And a hundred variations on the same. Frankly I think he would have had trouble making friends in any system because children just shy away from a child like that. Of course, good sensitive teachers can help with the constant reteaching of behavior and cause and effect that goes on. You don't want him somewhere where the school marginalizes him even more. To this day he has trouble making friends, though many people like him and he works well with adults who take a kind interest in him. But he is still a child that is vulnerable, isolated and inclined to do stupid things just to make other kids like him.

    As you describe you son it sounds like he has difficulties with emotional and physical regulation, for whatever reasons. Maybe he is out a few standard deviations on the bell curve and society should accept him, but chances are he will continue to have difficulties fitting in whatever group of kids he is with. I would be wary about changing schools unless you are sure that the teachers really will be more accepting of him. Philosophy is one thing, how the school actually implements it is another.

    If you believe that there is a better than even chance that he might have ADHD you may want to trial medications at some point. It doesn't sound like you have received any serious evaluation. We finally did to see if they would help on the behavioral front and help my son learn to curb that physical impulsivity that frankly scared other kids (and their parents!) some. It did to some extent, but my son's physiology from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is complex. But the way he is an above average kid that many people describe as intelligent, but he seems to have trouble with retaining concepts from one day to the next.

    One thing more to think about is something my son's psychiatrist pointed out (he is a child dev specialist) is that when puberty hits these boys are flooded with testerone which peaks in early adolescence. That excess physical aggression will likely get worse, not better. I think that there may be some virtue in finding a community that he can fit into (and one with sports that he can participate in from an early age--don't know how the Uk deals with youth soccer or heaven forbid rugby!) before adolescence hits so that he can try to find a niche before then. Early adolescence can be very cruel to kids who are outliers.

    It would be great if society would accept our children for what they are and befriend them. We need to be careful not to impose our own romanticized views on the world of what childhood and friendships ought to look like. I had to figure out early on how I was going to help my child become a better friend and that entailed coming to terms with some of the more "objectionable" parts of his behavior without making him feel like a bad kid because of it.

    Perhaps you are somewhere in the grieving process of coming to terms with the cruelty of the world to kids who are different. Its tough.
    Last edited: May 27, 2012
  11. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Malika~ It's possible that he may struggle to fit in at any school he attends. I think, whether you move him or not, that you should work on developing strategies to shield him from the most negative aspects of being bullied and excluded. Actually, all parents should do this because it happens to most kids to some extent. The first thing is to make sure his eggs are not all in one basket by having him develop strong relationships outside school. His older friend is a good start: even if none of the kids at school will play with him, J still has he older friend. The next thing is to play to his strengths; it sounds like J would greatly benefit from participating in a sports program. Have you considered gymnastics? I suspect J would excel. Channeling his energy and progressing with skills will give him reason to feel good about himself even if his teachers and peers are negative toward him. The other thing that comes to mind is giving him plenty of opportunities to practice his social skills and do good things. Here, we have scouting, 4H and Kiwanis ("K Kids") that are clubs/troops that allow kids to works on community projects while working with other children. This is an excellent way for kids to learn to work as a team and they feel really good about their community contributions.
  12. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    These are all good points, thank you. There are two things at play in the present school, I guess. One is that he is not fitting in smoothly and easily with all the other kids - because of his aggressivity, his tendency to conflict, his over-the-topness at times and his desire to touch and engage physically with kids all the time. Also, I would say from what I've seen from the way he is with other kids, because he is just intent on imposing himself and impressing others, not realising or being able to see that the path to friendship lies in showing interest in others and making moves towards them as they are... The other is that the teacher is giving him too hard a time because, despite what she says to me, she doesn't understand or accept that J has anything going on. I know for a fact that she thinks a big part of the way he is is because I am a single parent and lacking authority without a husband... It may be a bit better with this new teacher but frankly I don't think it is going to be a whole lot better.
    The difficulty with kids is going to be there with no matter where he is, for sure. But I have really noticed how kids "follow suit" with the attitude of the adults... Because J is marginalised by the teacher, I think that is partly what is causing the marginalisation by some kids. Only partly, though. J is like two characters and maybe this is true for many of our difficult children - if he feels secure, appreciated, warm and loved, he becomes this nice kid, engaging and helpful. If he feels rejected, criticised, labelled, he becomes SO much more difficult and unpleasant to be around. Anxiety and insecurity play their part. I just figure that if he were in a more nurturning environment...?
    As to sports - J has done gym for two years now! He excels in some things but mostly he finds things difficult because it requires him to slow down, find balance, be patient, and it has been great for teaching him these things. The male teacher is both firm and really sympathetic to kids and seems to accept J totally as he is - I did tell him early on that he is hyperactive. J also does tennis, similarly great in teaching fine motor skills and control I can see when we play badminton together that his racket skills are good for a kid of his age. He also does a roller skating class, which of course he loves. I want him to start rugby - opportunities abound in France - in the autumn. I found a house for let near the Waldorf school which is on a complex of holiday gites run by an English couple. When I rang the guy, we got into conversation and he told me that his kids had gone to the local state school which has loads of sporting opportunities and that his daughter, who was herself very active and sporty, had thrived on it. I thought that if I go to visit the Waldorf school and this house, I would try to visit this local primary school as well.... So much depends on the teacher, as people have said. Yet another option to add to the dilemma...
    MWM, lol. Yeah, I have noticed that France isn't a good fit for J and his kind :) But, as a Moroccan especially, speaking fluent French really is this golden attribute in his future life, particularly if he wants to live in Morocco. I have played with the idea of returning to the UK - money is the key factor here... It is just SO expensive in my native land! Rents, housing, way, way more than they are here, with salaries not commensurate. Yes, it would be good for J to be near my mother.
    I am so wary, as I say, of the notion of following some supposed el dorado only to find that it of course isn't... At the same time, I am concerned that J is starting to be rejected by this group of older boys. This is a tiny, community school and it is not really "on" or acceptable for this to happen, in an environment where different ages play together all the time.
    I find decisions difficult at the best of times. This one I find more difficult than most. Part of me thinks stay, ride it out, learn to stay with the difficult and work with it, work on improving J's social abilities and his integration, another part just longs, as I say, to cut and run :) First of all, I have to visit the other places... And then there's the old chestnut of whether we shouldn't return to Morocco, which is the closest thing to a natural home that J is ever going to have. He IS Moroccan and if we go back when he is young he has a chance of assuming that identity and language fully. He would have to go to the French school there so none of this experience would have gone to waste.
    I don't know. Poor J. My heart bleeds for him somewhat. He is sociable and engaging but just doesn't know how to tone himself down to obey various social codes and rules. THIS is what he needs help with, quite urgently while he is young enough.
    Thanks for ploughing through this long post, if you have :)
  13. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    I am completely ignorant on the reasons why he needs to learn French? Is it required for certain opportunities as an adult? Is it required for a certain career? What if he lives in England and decides to stay there for the rest of his life? Or he decides whatever career requires French is not even in the realm of interest for him? If you were to go to Morocco, would the French school be based in Waldorf philosophy?
  14. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    French is the second language of Morocco, the language that all educated people speak there and the "passport" to a myriad of jobs. I also believe - doubtless because I am also bilingual, though not from birth, and work with language - that learning languages as a child is a really important thing, something that opens a child intellectually and culturally in a way that nothing else really can.
    I'm not even sure that a Waldorf/Steiner school IS what I want/what J needs! As is clear, I am all of a tizzy, as we say... Steiner is fine, like I say I've kind of been around it and have respect for it, but I don't see it personally as the absolute ideal. It might be really good for J, though. So extremely impossible to say without the gift of foresight!! It would surely be better for him than a system in which he is constantly punished and marginalised. Anyway, I am going to go and SEE it with my own eyes and on the basis of that experience, will be in a far more realistic place to make a decision.
  15. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    So, you seem to be envisioning J's return to Morocco to live/work at some point in his life, correct?
  16. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    It's probably what he will want.
  17. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    Yes difficult questions for sure.

    When I was young I was glad we were moving to a new state. I was looking forward to leaving the bullies behind. Only problem was the new school had them as well. I looked forward to the second move to yet another state. Found the invisible "kick me" sign I wore on my back came with the there as well. So to some extent I believe that if you don't address the social skills, the problem can keep cropping up no mater where you go.

    That said, the way a school administrations manages bullies makes a huge difference as well. I ended up putting my sons in private school partially because the public school did a very poor job of managing bullies. The private school does not tolerate it, the kids all know it. The students know what they can and can't get away with, and follow the line with extreme accuracy.

    If you move him to a different school, the child who is the leader instigating the picking efforts will simply be replaced by another. The questions I would ask are: 1) which school will do a better job of managing bullies. Work with them to train them to treat people with respect and have a limit which they can tolerate. 2) Which school will do a better job of teaching your child stronger social skills? One idea is to look to books and resources for Aspergers Syndrome. I'm not saying he has Aspergers, just that kids with Aspergers often require specific social skills training and some of the same approaches might be helpful.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You are REALLY taking a leap there. Why do you think he'll want to live in Morraco? He is only five years old and can't possibly know.

    I adopted two kids from other countries. Both are adults. One is Korean and one is Chinese (the Chinese kid is the one we don't see anymore, but that's not important here). Neither of them ever had any desire to go back there to live. Visit, sure. Live? They were brought up in the U S and neither has ever expressed any desire to leave the place that they know best. Julie (PastryChef) is very American. She is only midly interested in Korea, it's people and it's customs. She doesn't speak a word of Korean. Scott is very into his Chinese heritage and married a Chinese lady, and she even has relatives there, but he has lived here most of his life and at 35 he is still here and thriving.

    I am guessing that if J. is raised in France, he will stay in France, although I am not sure it is that great an environment for him. Also, Scott taught himself Mandarin in his 20's. Granted, he is a brilliant young man and things come easy to him, but he is able to speak it well enough to do business with China (he has his own business) and communicate when he and his wife visit his Chinese relatives.

    I am really curious as to why you assume J. will return to Moracco just because he was born there. Really...it usually doesn't work out that way. Even if it does, he doesn't have to live in France to learn how to speak French. Heck, they teach it in the US. Anyone can learn any language at any time. If a child is not well adjusted growing up, his future is in question. in my opinion only the best thing we can do as parents is make our children feel confident and good about themselves (the best that we can) so that they can decide what to do with their futures and then be sure enough of themselves to assure success.

    All this French will go to waste if J. decides not to live in Moracco. By the time he is an adult, he will be very used to France and the way it is there. Moracco may be the furthest thing from his mind...just my worthless .02 :)
  19. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Lol, MWM, you certainly feel quite strongly about it :)
    I don't know, of course. But J is more involved in Morocco than just having been born there... He spent the first three years of his life there and we go back at least twice a year. His name is that of my ex-husband (important in Moroccan culture) and, really, his Moroccan family are the only family he has. He keeps wanting to speak Arabic (of which he knows a few words and phrases) and in his gestures and behaviour is in many ways very Moroccan. So... he may one day fully want to integrate that. Or not, as you say. But in any event, I don't think the French will ever be a "waste".
    I think J is really telling me this school is not right for him. His talk over the past week or so has been very focused on how no-one likes him, everyone tells him off, everyone says he is naughty. He has started to say he doesn't want to go... a new phenomenon. I really don't trust the teacher, I realise. I feel she is a hypocrite. She has been punishing him and scolding him non-stop, despite giving me all this stuff about how she admires J and wants him to thrive, etc. I think she is basically concerned to cover her own... you know. When I picked him up from school on Friday he was hysterical, literally hysterical, about having been scolded and punished all day. She doesn't accept there's anything issue going on with him, thinks her methods are going to work, thinks he's lacking in discipline or authority or I don't know what. There is a new teacher in the autumn but I fear his reputation has been now cast and set.
    Of course I say all this and really I would find it much easier to stay in many ways. But... I look at J, who is indeed very wilful and difficult and pushes every button going often, and see his energy and spirit and know that really only the "alternatives" are going to value and nurture any of that. Same time, you're right, aeroeng about things following us wherever we go... But J tells me his teacher just says "It's nothing, it doesn't matter" if he says the bigger boy kicked him, which I can well imagine her saying.
    I feel I have to do some work on this, have to go visit the Waldorf school, have a serious think about this.
  20. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Malika, you can do your homework and ask an important question to the Waldorf school: how about mid year transfer? Do they accept it? Has it ever happened? etc.
    One of your options would be to see how he reacts to the new teacher next year and the academic pressure (and let me tell you: the pressure is about the same over here! I see it through Partner. The only difference I see, there seems to be more field trips and celebrations/parties in American schools. But then, things could have changed a bit in France since I was there).
    But you might still be in the position where the choice is not perfectly clear. One of those situation where you just need to make a leap of faith or not...
    As far as speaking French, I'm obviously going to think a bit different than MWM for example. LOL and double wink. But still along the same line though! I understand your point but I don't think I would go as far as you. J can be bilangual through you where ever he lives. Sure, he would not be as fluant if you were to be in the UK, but it would be good enough. If French because something he wants/needs, he could always perfect it when the time comes. My kids are raised bilingual but are not quite fluant in French yet. Partner will go to France with my parents this summer and I'm sure he will make huge progress. One day, V and Partner will go as well. If I also draw from my own experience, I know that being perfectly fluant in a languge is not the key for success. When I studied in Germany (special double curricilum in French and German law), the students who were perfectly bilingual were not the ones who scored the best (actually they tended to score the worst). Sure, the students who had learned German at an older age had to study harder at first, but we quickly learned and soon the language was no barrier anymore.
    What I'm trying to say: don't put to much pressure on yourself if it's becoming a bit too hard. Don't forget your other options (Marocco and UK) just because of a language.