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#61 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 04:30 PM
 
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Here's a great synchronicity! I'm listening to the radio while cooking lunch for friends, and a discussion came up on the show about solving emotional differences under stress. A caller introduced the term "equanimity," and how much more useful/effective it is than expressing oneself in anger. Loved it - exactly what I'd been thinking of, but didn't have a word for. Here's the dictionary definition:

"mental or emotional stability or composure, esp. under tension or strain; calmness; equilibrium"

—Synonyms serenity, self-possession, aplomb.
—Antonyms panic, disquiet, discomposure, agitation.

That's how I envision the letter you want to eventually compose.

Lillian
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#62 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 06:13 PM
 
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Thank you for the replies. It's late but for now, let me comment on emmsmama reply. (I promise, I'm not trying to argue with your point....just trying to show you that I don't hate teachers!!)
Oh no worries, I didn't think that at all. Also, from what you've written it sounds like this teacher is not well-suited for teaching little ones. My son had a wonderful teacher last year, but there was another JK teacher that did not seem well-suited for teaching little ones at all.

When I took ECE in college I had to do a placement in a JK room. There was a main teacher and there was an ECE assistant and there was me, as well as some student teachers sometimes. EVERYONE, including me, would have been better at helping those kids learn and grow. She was unprofessional as well, one time yelling at the ECE assistant in the class who was just defending one of the children who was being treated unkindly. The ECE would have made a wonderful teacher in that room and I felt so bad for her. Sadly the teacher was unionized and I'm sure had been a teacher for nearly a century and I'm sure the school couldn't have ousted her if they wanted to. The school was polished and new, but the teacher needed a refresher on how to deal with primary-aged children.

So trust me I know there are great teachers, okay teachers, and terrible teachers. I remember the one teacher I mentioned earlier actually telling a child that had repeatedly goofed-off in the coat room (who was the youngest in the class - 3 yrs. old - btw) to sit and stare at the wall because he should be ashamed of himself

I hope all went well this afternoon for you and your son. I like CoyoteStar's letter. It gets the point across but shows you are calm and collected. I would however make sure the principal gets a copy as well so it doesn't get swept under the rug.
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#63 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 06:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So let me tell you what happened. Got a cup of coffee and a few minutes? Ok, here we go.....

Syd (my almost 5 year old) and I got to the school at 2:15. The party started at 2:30 so I had lots of time to find a parking space and get into the school. Fast forward.....

Dakota and his classmates were enjoying some pizza, fruit, cheese, veggies and drinks. The teacher pretty much ignored me for the first 15 minutes. I was ok with sitting next to Dakota and Syd and talking to a few parents I knew. She was busy with getting the games, food and volunteer parents organized. When she was done, she walked by and casually said, "So, you got my note?" I said, "I sure did." I didn't say anything else. She said, "You know I'm really sorry that he wasn't able to take home the meal worms over vacation." I said, "That's ok because tomorrow is his last day anyway."

I had her attention.....and so it began....

Teacher: What???
Me: Yeah, we're done. Taking away the meal worms from him was the last straw.
Teacher: But....he was talking in class. He couldn't calm himself down. I had to show him that innapropriate behavior comes with consequences. (or something to that effect)
Me: He was picked out of all the class for a privilage that you took away because of talking.
Teacher: Well, I have to know that he is able to control himself in order to take care of our project.
Me: What does talking have to do with taking care of worms? He has taken care of 2 geckos in his room for over a year. He makes sure they have water, he turns their light on during the day and off at night. He feeds them crickets. He even feeds the crickets that feed the geckos. How does talking deminish his ability to take care of anything? (I was calm though)
Teacher: Well, where is he going to go to school then?
Me: He will be homeschooled.

Somehow, this is where everything turned around. I had her full attention and she did not seemed concerned with the class or the party. She was totally focused on what I was saying. Lemme tell ya, it felt great to be heard!


Teacher: I really hope you reconsider. I would be very sad to lose such a bright boy from my class.

<pause>

Teacher: You know, he's such a smart and loving child.
Me: (thinking duh!) Oh yes, (looking over at him) I believe that too.
Teacher: Is there any way we can talk about this. Can we get a meeting together after the winter break. I really feel like we need to discuss this more to see what we can do.
Me: Well, we've pretty much made up our mind. I don't see a lot of positive reinforcement going on here. I see a lot of negative though and that is not something we practice at home.
Teacher: But when he is in class, it's not like he is being mean to anyone or hurting people. He is just exuberant. (The reason I remember this word was from a previous post....lol)
Me: I agree. He has a lot of energy. However, I don't believe this is the best learning situation for him. He learns through movement and doing things. (I explained about the summers at the beach house) He's not the type of kid who can sit down for long periods of time and be still and quiet. It's just not who he is. I'm sure a lot of other kids can thrive in that situation....and I'm not saying that he sits for a block of 6 hours straight but he tells me he is bored and I know from experience that that is when he makes bad decisions.
Teacher: I don't get that feeling from him at all. He does his projects very well.
Me: I'm sure that is because he is doing hands on things and moving around.
<pause for parent walking up and asking a question. I look up and notice that a lot of eyes are on us.>
Me: I just really feel strongly about the negative things I see. I'm not just pointing the finger at you though. His music teacher calls me almost every week....
Teacher: But I have nothing to do with that.
Me: Oh, I'm not saying you do but it just goes together with the negative feelings I get. Dakota is just constantly bombarded with consequences (their word for a corrective behavior) and things being taken away. I don't see a lot of rewards, just punishments and this affects his self esteem.
Teacher: But he is allowed to work for rewards.
Me: Yes, but you also take them away.
Teacher: No, he gets purple slips for good behavior. I don't take anythig away.
Me: He gets recesses and assemblies taken away, he gets put on a time out wall and you DID take away his meal worm privilage.

<pause>

Teacher: Yes, you're right. I do feel like I made a mistake now. I really would feel terrible if Dakota was taken out. He adds so much to our classroom and I don't get the sense at all that he is unhappy.
Me: You don't see him when he comes home and tells me that he feels stupid. You might not see his self esteem getting shattered. (I almost started bawling!) I really just do not see this as being the best learning environment for him.
Teacher: But we have many people on staff here. We can get with the social worker and we can have a meeting with the child developmental people who can really help us work through this.
Me: (a little irritated but still calm) I wonder why it has to come to me taking him out of school for anyone to do anything.
Teacher: I just didn't know how you felt. I didn't know you were to this point.
Me: I took all the feedback from the school and tried to make changes at home. I talked to him about school rules, I took him to the therapists for behavior modification and I put him on medication. I just don't know what else I can do here. I'm really to the point of exhaustion based on this school's progress reports and phone calls home.
Teacher: Well I know there has to be something we can do. If I need to work harder, I can. Maybe I should have been doing that anyway and I'm sorry for that. I really wish you would reconsider this. I know we can do so much for him here.
Me: I wish something was done sooner. They have been in school for a full 4 months and I just see his behavior and interest to learn declining.

<pause> Another parent.....

Teacher: Let me talk to some people after school today to see what we can do. I really feel awful about this and want to be given a chance to correct the errors I've made.

<loud speaker announcement saying that the busses need to get into the school so the parents need to leave> At this point, I've probably taken up 20 minutes of her time.

Me: I appreciate that but I really feel strongly about my decision. I don't want to take up any more of your time.....(Motioning to the party)
Teacher: Well please think about this. May I call you so we can speak about this some more?
Me: Sure.



.....and that was it. After that, the kids were already starting to clean up and the teacher was saying goodbye to everyone. I felt bad about the other parents who wanted her attention yet I felt very relieved to be able to get all of that off my chest. I'm glad I wrote the note....and I'm glad I didn't present it to her. She seemed sincere and remorseful and for that, I'm happy that I didn't go in there guns-a-blazing with a bad attitude.....

SSSSOOOOOOOOOOOO................


Thanks again for all the advice. I still plan on taking him out of school....but I believe it will be on better terms for all. Thanks for reading, if you got this far!!




Jen Burnett, DEM
Homeschooling mom to my 3 kids (10, 9 and 8)
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#64 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 07:06 PM
 
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: Wow. Congratulations. Thank you so much for getting back to us so soon.

This is amazing. Absolutely amazing. And don't feel bad about taking up the time from other parents - because you've just given them a gift.

So, let's see - seems to me that it's a law of some kind that you have to make cookies together on your first day of homeschooling.

Lillian
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#65 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 07:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Lillian J View Post
: Wow. Congratulations. Thank you so much for getting back to us so soon.

This is amazing. Absolutely amazing. And don't feel bad about taking up the time from other parents - because you've just given them a gift.

So, let's see - seems to me that it's a law of some kind that you have to make cookies together on your first day of homeschooling.

Lillian

LOL Yes!! Cupcakes, cookies....all to commemorate our new life style change!!

Hubby called and said, "Did you give her the note?" I said, "No but I had a nice conversation with her." He said, "I still think you should have given her the note." This coming from the man who wasn't into homeschooling in the least a few weeks ago! haha



Jen

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#66 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 07:42 PM
 
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First off - kudos on your great memory! I would have forgotten half of that conversation before I got out the door!

Second - wow, you did a great job of expressing yourself

Third - I'm impressed that the teacher was so responsive and willing to take some responsibility!! That is awesome and totally surprising!

All in all, I think you made the best choice in waiting for her to approach you, for holding back with the letter - you know, now that you have her ear, I'm sure the letter would both be written (by you) and read (by her) differently. Good job!

Melissa
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#67 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 08:14 PM
 
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wow, parts of your post brought tears to my eyes. i'm so happy that it went well!! i'm glad you got to speak to the teacher, and i honestly am very impressed with her ownership of trying to take responsiblity and wanting to improve on her end. i know that's not an option for you and dakota (not one you want anyway ), but it's nice to know she will most likely respond with an open heart & mind to other parents who openly bring concerns to her.

hugs to you mama!!!! i'm glad this is behind you now!!

homeschooling mama to DD 10 & DS 7 blogging.jpg

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#68 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 08:17 PM
 
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Great job mama. you did great in expressing your frustration!!! Glad to hear that the teacher might take some ideas away also.

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
Mark Twain
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#69 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 08:26 PM
 
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You did a fantastic job talking to the teacher!! Way to go! And I live in MI so it's easy for you to mail me some of thiose cookies you'll be baking.

secular classical-ish mama to an incredible 5 year old DS and an amazing 6 year old DD.
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#70 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 08:26 PM
 
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his coming from the man who wasn't into homeschooling in the least a few weeks ago! haha
Oh, hunny - those are often the ones that become the strongest supporters. It's pretty cute when you eventually start to hear about their conversations with their friends where they tell them all about how great homeschooling is.

Time to leave those copies of Dumbing Us Down and Family Matters out for him to discover. - Lillian
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#71 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 08:31 PM
 
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Second - wow, you did a great job of expressing yourself

Third - I'm impressed that the teacher was so responsive and willing to take some responsibility!! That is awesome and totally surprising!
Yeah, really - I was thinking it was a lot like one of those TV shows where everything gets magically resolved in 1/2 an hour in such a way as to make the viewers feel all smug and schmaltzy and satisfied about the whole thing.

Lillian, feeling all smug and schmaltzy and satisfied about the whole thing.
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#72 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 08:33 PM
 
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I think your coversation will have a positive outcome for the teacher as well as the kids in her class. Good job
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#73 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 08:42 PM
 
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wow, parts of your post brought tears to my eyes. i'm so happy that it went well!! i'm glad you got to speak to the teacher, and i honestly am very impressed with her ownership of trying to take responsiblity and wanting to improve on her end. i know that's not an option for you and dakota (not one you want anyway ), but it's nice to know she will most likely respond with an open heart & mind to other parents who openly bring concerns to her.

hugs to you mama!!!! i'm glad this is behind you now!!
I agree, I found myself tearing up to thinking of my two boys. They are both so bright but, as many children are, esp. boys, they are active, energetic and enthusiastic. Its hard to deal with sometimes but I know that the negative attention and punishments that they would receive at school would crush their spirits, hearts and minds. I'm so proud of you. You are taking a very great step towards a better life for your wonderful child.
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#74 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 09:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You know, I wasn't expecting that reaction either. I was expecting something like, "Yes I agree. He is not doing well in this classroom and he's a constant disruption. Good luck."

I don't know why, but I wasn't expecting much support for my decision. I went outside to call Dakota in for dinner and met up with two other moms in the street doing the same. One is a SAHM of 4 (two in college, two in middle school) and the other is a social worker for XXX University who's daughter is in the same class as Dakota's. We were talking about the party and she noticed that I was talking to the teacher for awhile. I kind of summerized what was going on and she was appauled. She said, "I think you're making a great decision by homeschooling. You know, there are a lot of people around here that homeschool and there are a lot of resources on line." I said, "Yes, I've seen that. I've been doing quite a bit of research lately." She said, "It's becoming very popular. They've done studies to show that homeschooled kids do better on tests too." I said, "No kidding? Well, being that you are at XXX University, what do you think about homeschooled kids getting into college without grades." She said, "Pfft, colleges now are looking more towards homeschooled kids. Your kids won't have a problem getting accepted, especially with the trends. In 10 years when your kids are ready for college, they won't have a problem getting into any college with a good ACT score. I think what you are doing is amazing. I have your e-mail address. Would you mind if I sent you some information that I have?" HA! Heck no!! I wanted to hug her! lol

The SAHM of 4 was very supportive too saying, "You know, I was just looking on line at some field trip coupons for a bunch of places. A lot of buy one, get one in for free type things. I'll print them out for you."

Wow...I love my neighbors!

Jen Burnett, DEM
Homeschooling mom to my 3 kids (10, 9 and 8)
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#75 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 09:23 PM
 
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So, let's see - seems to me that it's a law of some kind that you have to make cookies together on your first day of homeschooling.

Lillian
You mean I did something wrong? We DIDN'T bake cookies the first day DD was homeschooled.



























Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#76 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 09:49 PM
 
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OMGOSH!! I meant DON'T hate teachers! That was seriously a typo. I have a lot of respect for teachers and I have many friends who are teachers. Please accept my apology because I did NOT mean to say that. I'm going to correct that now.



Jen
Glad to hear it was a typo. Also glad to hear that you had a nice chat with Dakota's teacher and that she was pretty responsive. You did great! I'm sure you've given her a lot of food for thought and hopefully she'll reevaluate her methods. All best as you embark on your homeschooling adventure!
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#77 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 11:04 PM
 
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You did a great job. And, I'm happy to see that the teacher recognized she was wrong so quickly--sounds like she was sincere. Perhaps she'll change and things will be better for that class.

Congratulations on starting your homeschooling!!
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#78 of 97 Old 12-21-2007, 12:19 AM
 
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Good job! And good luck!
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#79 of 97 Old 12-21-2007, 01:58 AM
 
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You did a great job. And, I'm happy to see that the teacher recognized she was wrong so quickly--sounds like she was sincere. Perhaps she'll change and things will be better for that class.

Congratulations on starting your homeschooling!!
ITA. Great job!
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#80 of 97 Old 12-21-2007, 02:12 AM
 
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You did a GREAT job of handling that situation! I remember how nervous I was talking to my sons teacher before I withdrew him (and she was lovely AND supportive even) so I know how nerve wracking it must have been for you!

Pagan  lovin'  WOW playing mum to 5 boys in the wonderful land of Oz ... FOR THE HORDE! hehehe
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#81 of 97 Old 12-21-2007, 03:03 AM
 
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What a whirlwind of emotions. You handled yourself wonderfully too. Have a great time homeschooling. Too bad you're on the opposite side of the state, we'd love more hsing friends.
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#82 of 97 Old 12-21-2007, 10:26 AM
 
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I just wanted to offer a I'm sorry that happened to your little boy.

~Joan, Happy mom to 2 beautiful kiddos, one new puppy and 2 lovely felines
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#83 of 97 Old 12-21-2007, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We're almost FREEEEEEE!!!!!


I don't want my child to be the one who has to pave the way for the rest of the ADHD'ers out there. I don't want to throw him under the bus and make him suffer through public schools and change policies. BUT what I am doing is giving the teacher Dakota's therapist's cell phone number. (with permission of course) He will go over things with her like possitive reward systems, how to deal with children who are hyperactive and when to do a time out or what reward systems to use and how to use them. I really want her to be informed. Maybe it will make her a better teacher? Not that she's a bad teacher but hmm.....I guess make her able to communicate with parents better and understand the psychology of children. Maybe she'll change her lessons plans to add more movement, maybe have class outside or something....do more projects and hands on tasks....

Anyway, I'm going up to each of the schools in a little bit. Syd gets out at 11:45 and I want to say goodbye to all the teachers I know. Up until this year, they've been really helpful and nice and I want them to know that I appreciate their patience.

So.....WOOOOHOOOOOOO

K, just had to get that out.

I'm really excited!!



Jen Burnett, DEM
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#84 of 97 Old 12-22-2007, 12:55 PM
 
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So let me tell you what happened. ...
Tremendous. Absolutely tremendous.

You handled that extremely well and eloquently. I'm glad to hear the teacher was finally responsive and open to your feedback -- hopefully it will make things better for her current and future students still in school. Very, very well done.

Congratulations and welcome to homeschooling!
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#85 of 97 Old 12-22-2007, 02:31 PM
 
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I'm just about to get off the computer and get on with a very full day, but I noticed this thread title as i was about to sign off, and thought to myself, "Oh! Jen is a homeschooler today!"

So I just had to pop in and say "So! Are you terrified yet?" :

Have a ball! - Lillian


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#86 of 97 Old 12-22-2007, 09:04 PM
 
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Welcome to homeschooling!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LillianJ
So, let's see - seems to me that it's a law of some kind that you have to make cookies together on your first day of homeschooli
Just want to point out that the law also requires that you bake in your pajamas.
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#87 of 97 Old 12-22-2007, 11:16 PM
 
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Well, I stand corrected. I'm glad that Dakota's teacher was so responsive and understood you. You sure handled it well! Good job! I was holding my breath while reading your entire post about it.
Congratulations and enjoy those cookies!
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#88 of 97 Old 12-23-2007, 12:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you!!

The principal called me Friday morning and asked if I could come in and speak with him about taking Dakota out of class. He really gave me a hard time about homeschooling and said, "I've seen many parents bring their children back because of how difficult it is. I really hope you understand what a huge project you are taking on." I said, "Oh, I've done research too! I *know* it will be a challenge and I'm VERY MUCH looking forward to it. Thanks for your concern though." He still asked if I would come in. I said, "Sure, I'll be there at noon. My daughter has a class party that ends at 11:45 and I can be there right afterwards." He says, "Well that's lunch time. It's not good for me." I said, "Well, if it was important, I'm sure it would be a great time for you. Thanks anyway."

OH and get this...LOL I went to the school anyway to help Dakota bring some things home...it was right around 12:15. He was at lunch or recess so I just left a sticky note on his desk saying, "See you at the bus stop! Love you! XOXOXOX ~mom" I walked right by the principal and said hello. He said hello back and kept walking...LOL He had no idea who I was. Hmmmm...



Jen Burnett, DEM
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#89 of 97 Old 12-23-2007, 12:29 AM
 
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Heh heh heh, that's funny. Don't disrupt the schedule, you know. Total mayhem would ensue! Can you tell we unschool? I suppose it's their job to give you a hard time about it. When I unenrolled my oldest dd they kept referring to her as a "dropout". They were just not hearing what I had to say.
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#90 of 97 Old 12-23-2007, 02:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 636Jen View Post
"I've seen many parents bring their children back because of how difficult it is. I really hope you understand what a huge project you are taking on."
Well, it sounds as if he hasn't known many parents who had this MDC forum for support, huh?

- Lillian

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