Family Magazine

Sometimes Mom Really Does Know Best

By Monicasmommusings @mom2natkatcj

1207131023cLast year at about this time I was trying to decide where to put my middle daughter for middle school.  She could just follow in her older sister’s footsteps and go to our local middle school.  And don’t get me wrong, that was a fine school, for my oldest.  But I worried about my middle daughter.  School doesn’t come as easily to her.  I was assured that she would continue to get her reading support in that school (an area I hadn’t dealt with with my oldest so I wasn’t sure how good it was) and because of how hard of a worker my daughter is no matter where she went she’d be successful.

And don’t get me wrong, I know this to be true.  She can make the best of any situation, but I wanted her in the best place for her.  A place that would really foster her strengths and help that grow.  I know most teachers are able to see the potential in my daughter, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that the middle school which was just fine for my oldest just wouldn’t do for my middle daughter.  That she would get lost in the shuffle of other kids whose needs were greater.

What’s A Mother To Do When A School Doesn’t Fit Her Child

I found my daughter an art school.  That’s where her passion is.  There are two things my daughter always asks for when it comes to gifts.  Tinkerbell stuff and art stuff (paper, Twistables, paints, markers, and of course loom bands are all the rage right now).  She goes around the house saving scraps of things and turns it into an art project.  So I knew that her having to make a choice between band and art (because she wouldn’t be allowed to have both at our local middle school) was going to be a hard one for her.  But half of her day at this school I found is art classes.  Now there are almost too many things for her to choose from, but she is definitely not lacking in the arts.

When we toured the school and heard about all they offer I said to my husband she has to go here, this is perfect for her.  Not only academically because of the block schedule and longer class time with no pull out for her special services and plenty of time set aside in the schedule for her to get her one on one (or in small group) reading help, but the arts she would be learning were way more than I could provide for her myself.  And my daughter was excited about it too.  I asked her if she wanted to go, if I should apply and she said yes.  I even reminded her that it’s a long day (she would have to leave around 6 in the morning and probably wouldn’t get home until around 4).  The trade off in that was not a lot of homework though.  She said she wanted to go so I applied and once it was done she began singing a different tune.

Suddenly she was hoping she wouldn’t be accepted.  I think she had talked to her friends a little and it scared her.  No one she knew would be going to this school.  I told her there was nothing we could do now we just have to wait and see if you get accepted and we’ll address it then.  And 3 months later in April we got the call, she was accepted.  I was over the moon.  My daughter, not so much.  I think tears might have been shed over it even.  We talked a lot.  I tried to console her fears.  Fears of how far away the school was or fears of how long the day was and not knowing anyone.  Then I began talking to all of her current educators trying to get a feel for what they thought about her going to this school and if she had said anything to them.  I even called her favorite teacher she had in 3rd grade and asked him to please talk to her about it.

I Got Her To Agree To Go

Then I made a deal with her.  I didn’t want this opportunity to pass her by and she was in like Flynn right now.  If we didn’t accept her spot I didn’t think she’d ever get another chance.  So I said to her you try it out for one whole year.  If after 6th grade you hate it we will withdraw you and put you in our local middle school.  She agreed to this and we spent the next few months setting everything up.  I was getting more and more excited.  When we had her final elementary school IEP I had her new school attend and the services they were providing for her so freely without any problem were amazing.  I don’t know that there was a request for her services that I could think up that they would have said no to, that’s how easy that was.  And anyone who has been through an IEP you know they don’t always go too well.  I have been fortunate that since I have gotten her the extra help she needs I haven’t had many problems, but you just never know how a new school is going to react to another student requiring special services, so this was important to me.

My daughter was getting more and more nervous as the first day of school approached, but once it was here and behind her she was much better.  She was making friends (which I knew wouldn’t be a problem) and more importantly she loved all of her teachers.  I don’t think I have heard one bad thing about any of her teachers.  She has had some problems with a boy on the bus, but after talking to the assistant principal two times they seem to have subsided.

And now that we are starting the 2nd half of the school year her school is starting to get ready for the 8th grade class to graduate, new 6th graders to come in and possibly fill in some spots for the other grades as some kids move away or decide the school is not for them.  So we have been asked to fill out a paper telling of our plans for next year.  So this was the moment, the chance for my daughter to say, I want out.  Guess what?  She doesn’t want out.

That’s right, the school that caused tears in my daughter last April because basically she was afraid of the unknown it turns out to be a great school.  There was no question, no hesitation when I asked her.  It was simply an of course I want to go there next year.

She loves it!  Just like I knew she would too.  And as difficult as things are about to get around here (my youngest will be starting a speech program at a 4th different school from the other kids the end of the month) I wouldn’t change this for the world.  Because I love what doors have been opened for my daughter.  Getting up at 5 a.m. and sitting at her bus stop in my car in the dark before 6 a.m. every morning is not exactly the highlight of my day.  Juggling the 3 (soon to be 4) different school schedules of each of my children isn’t fun, but hey either way I would have the same issue.  Having to watch for snow days, delays, and cancellations for three different towns to see when or if she’ll have a bus that day most definitely is not fun, but at the end of the day it’s all worth it.  Because when I see her come home with art projects like this…

Pig mask
And I know that she would never have been able to make something like that in our local middle school.  And when I hear her excitedly tell me about what she learned in her television production class or the bullying project she is being allowed to work on with her friends with not a single person telling them they can’t do it and only saying how can we help you do it I know that it’s all worth it.

Mother Does Know Best

Oh yeah and well, I was right.  Turns out sometimes mom does know what’s best.  I’m sure she won’t remember that the next time I tell her to try something out, but I do feel vindicated.  However, mostly I’m just proud of my daughter.  I’m proud that she has put her all into something she didn’t think she was going to like or really didn’t want to like to start with.  I’m proud that she has stuck with it and has found good things about this school.  And I’m excited for her future.  Who knows what will happen in 2 years when it’s time to pick a high school, but I know there are a lot of options available to her and she is getting to explore many different kinds of art that she wouldn’t have been able to explore in the heavily focused on academics of her local middle school.  Academics is important, but it doesn’t have to be everything so I’m glad my daughter gets arts and academics and she is getting an excellent education and continuing to make great achievements in her reading.  But most importantly, she’s happy.

What did you know best about for your children most recently?

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