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#1 of 97 Old 12-19-2007, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Today, Dakota's public school teacher called me today and said:

Dakota won the lottery today. He gets to take home the mealworms over winter break as part of our life cycle lesson. Please bring a kitchen towel to our party tomorrow so that you can take the container home without it freezing the bugs.


So, I tell her that it's no problem, and I'll see her tomorrow for the class party. I have not told her, obviously, that we are planning to homeschool at the beginning of January.

Dakota came home very upset from the bus stop. When I asked what was wrong, he showed me a note from the teacher saying:

I'm sorry to tell you that Dakota will NOT be taking the mealworms home with him tomorrow. I told him several times NOT to talk and he did not listen. I need to know that he can be under control to take care of our living creatures. Please sign this paper and return it tomorrow.





So my first reaction is to fire off a hate e-mail to her...lol Of course, I didn't do that but I'm so irritated by this. This is exactly the reason I want him out of that school. Nothing but NEGATIVE reinforcements! Who does that to a 7 year old? It wasn't like she said, "Dakota, you got picked from the lottery. If you behave and listen all day, you will be allowed to take the mealworms home after class tomorrow. I mean HELLOOOOOOO.....psychology 101 says:

"There are four types of reinforcement: positive, negative, punishment, and extinction. Research has found positive reinforcement is the most powerful of any of these. Adding a positive to increase a response not only works better, but allows both parties to focus on the positive aspects of the situation. Punishment, when applied immediately following the negative behavior can be effective, but results in extinction when it is not applied consistently. Punishment can also invoke other negative responses such as anger and resentment."

I was going to wait until the first week of January (only so Sydney can have her 5th birthday party at school) to take the kids out of school but now it's definitely going to be Friday.

Uggh, this whole situation just breaks my heart.




Jen

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#2 of 97 Old 12-19-2007, 07:16 PM
 
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Can you go to a pet store and buy some mealworms for a science project at home? I think they sell them as reptile feed.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#3 of 97 Old 12-19-2007, 07:19 PM
 
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aw, big hugs to you mama.

that makes me angry for you too!

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#4 of 97 Old 12-19-2007, 07:30 PM
 
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What a grumpy-bumpy...

I think some meal worms or stick bugs would be a great start to the new school year!!!

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#5 of 97 Old 12-19-2007, 07:36 PM
 
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I'm sorry to tell you that Dakota will NOT be taking the mealworms home with him tomorrow. I told him several times NOT to talk and he did not listen. I need to know that he can be under control to take care of our living creatures. Please sign this paper and return it tomorrow.


What the heck does talking in class have to do with taking care of mealworms?? I mean, they're WORMS, for gosh sakes!! Talking in class is a different issue.

Personally, I would NOT sign that paper (what is the paper for, anyway???).

I WOULD contact the teacher AND her supervisor (the principal?) and meet with them to discuss her conduct. She said that your son won the lottery and was to be allowed to take home the mealworms. THAT is a separate issue from talking in class and needs to be respected. He won this opportunity by luck of the draw, not because of behaviour. The two have no connection.

The mealworms are his to care for, by right.

At the end of the meeting, I would then explain that you are planning on pulling him from school. This incident was the final incentive that convinced you this is the right dicision. Apparently, his teacher is unable to maintain order in her classroom unless intimidation is used, with promises retracted and the inability to contact you directly with her concerns. You certainly do not wish to have your son to be exposed to such an adult role model.
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#6 of 97 Old 12-19-2007, 07:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by grahamsmom98 View Post

What the heck does talking in class have to do with taking care of mealworms?? I mean, they're WORMS, for gosh sakes!! Talking in class is a different issue.

Personally, I would NOT sign that paper (what is the paper for, anyway???).
I had the same question. How, exactly is revoking the mealworms a logical consequence for talking? What? are the mealworms super sensitive to sound and they'll go insane without silence? Sheesh.

I wouldn't sign the paper either, but I would call the teacher to explain why not, otherwise nothing your child (who's already been branded some sort of horrible troublemaker ) says will make her believe that he didn't intentionally lose the paper.

Have fun homeschooling!!
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#7 of 97 Old 12-19-2007, 07:51 PM
 
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I'm sorry to tell you that Dakota will NOT be taking the mealworms home with him tomorrow. I told him several times NOT to talk and he did not listen. I need to know that he can be under control to take care of our living creatures. Please sign this paper and return it tomorrow.
That is a very disturbing note. I would not sign it. But I have never been in your shoes.

I might just quietly withdraw my son without fuss.
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#8 of 97 Old 12-19-2007, 08:27 PM
 
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I would just pull, and surpise your child with a trip to the pet store for some.I got a huge amount online once from GRUBCO.Got them and wax worms and maybe some maggots. We could only keep the mealworms alive long enough to cycle.It was neat to see them in each stage.Hmmm,maybe we will get some too.

After having a depressing meeting today at my ds's school I personally don't think it is worth it especially since you plan to hs.No matter what you say they will go on doing as they have.It might make YOU feel better though if you tell them how inappropriate the entire thing was.

Also, you could always pull one right away,and the other child later(after the party).I am pulling my ds from K,and my dd was stay for a while longer.
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#9 of 97 Old 12-19-2007, 08:47 PM
 
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I think I wouldnt even make him finish out the week if I honestly felt he was being treated harshly. I would just pick up his stuff tomorrow, and then do like others said and have your own fun science time with your own mealworms at home. Why wait and continue the frustration? And like mattemma said leave your dd in if you want so she can have her party if that is what she wants too. It sounds like your main problem is with your DS's teacher not DD's. So I would let her stay if she wants....
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#10 of 97 Old 12-19-2007, 08:53 PM
 
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I think the most depressing thing, aside of course, from what the teacher did to Dakota, which was deplorable, is that even if you called her on it, she probably wouldn't get it. I doubt she would understand what she did wrong. I'm sorry that happened, but it does reinforce the decision to hs, doesn't it? Now he can have all the wormies and bugs he wants.
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#11 of 97 Old 12-19-2007, 09:07 PM
 
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I think the most depressing thing, aside of course, from what the teacher did to Dakota, which was deplorable, is that even if you called her on it, she probably wouldn't get it. I doubt she would understand what she did wrong. I'm sorry that happened, but it does reinforce the decision to hs, doesn't it? Now he can have all the wormies and bugs he wants.
Yes it does. And you're absolutely right; I bet I know what his first life science project will be!
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#12 of 97 Old 12-19-2007, 09:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Pfft....maybe I'll just feed those mealworms to my Geckos....hahaha

Thank you all for the responses. I really needed to feel like someone was on my side. I just don't know how to word this letter. Her letter starts out with, "I'm sorry to tell you ....." and I thought of having my letter say, "I'm ECSTATIC to tell you that Dakota will no longer suffer from low self-esteem from being in your class." HA! I guess that's just my anger speaking. If anyone has ideas on how to start this letter, I appreciate it. If you think PMing me would be better () then that's fine too. I need to have the letter done by tomorrow at 2:00 because that's when I need to go in for their class party. Right now I'm so angry that all I can come up with is non-PC things to say.

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#13 of 97 Old 12-19-2007, 10:28 PM
 
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Pfft....maybe I'll just feed those mealworms to my Geckos....hahaha

Thank you all for the responses. I really needed to feel like someone was on my side. I just don't know how to word this letter. Her letter starts out with, "I'm sorry to tell you ....." and I thought of having my letter say, "I'm ECSTATIC to tell you that Dakota will no longer suffer from low self-esteem from being in your class." HA! I guess that's just my anger speaking. If anyone has ideas on how to start this letter, I appreciate it. If you think PMing me would be better () then that's fine too. I need to have the letter done by tomorrow at 2:00 because that's when I need to go in for their class party. Right now I'm so angry that all I can come up with is non-PC things to say.
My personal opinion and free advice on the subject (and you get what you pay for, with that) is to make it very very clear that your decision to HS is not based on her inappropriate discipline in the mealworm controversy. To do so, I fear, would trivialize your decision to HS.

You don't need to defend your choice to HS, you don't need to gain her approval. Simply state the fact that you're withdrawing your child from school (not even necessarily "her class"). Then, mention the fact that you received her letter about the mealworms, and discussed it with your son. Mention that neither you nor your son could find the link between the offense of talking with the punishment of revoking a prize won. Leave it at that. Don't link the incident to HSing, as tempting as it may be.

Anyway, that's my advice.
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#14 of 97 Old 12-19-2007, 10:33 PM
 
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I'm sorry... She sounds...well...you'll enjoy HSing!

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#15 of 97 Old 12-19-2007, 10:34 PM
 
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My personal opinion and free advice on the subject (and you get what you pay for, with that) is to make it very very clear that your decision to HS is not based on her inappropriate discipline in the mealworm controversy. To do so, I fear, would trivialize your decision to HS.

You don't need to defend your choice to HS, you don't need to gain her approval. Simply state the fact that you're withdrawing your child from school (not even necessarily "her class"). Then, mention the fact that you received her letter about the mealworms, and discussed it with your son. Mention that neither you nor your son could find the link between the offense of talking with the punishment of revoking a prize won. Leave it at that. Don't link the incident to HSing, as tempting as it may be.

Anyway, that's my advice.
This exactly. Also, why don't you give invitations out tomorrow for her birthday party and have it somewhere or at home. Then, she still gets her birthday party and gets to stay home.

Lisa

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#16 of 97 Old 12-19-2007, 10:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sigh.....I know it would probably be a bad idea to link her behavior to my reasons for homeschooling but I'm just so angry. I'm working on the letter now. I'll post it when it's "PC" enough.

If you wouldn't mind critiquing the letter, I'd really appreciate it!



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#17 of 97 Old 12-19-2007, 11:06 PM
 
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I totally agree with what grahamsmom98 said. I'm sorry that your son was subjected to that, how awful!

For your home bug project you could also do butterflies! We just got a caterpillar to butterfly kit from naturegifts.com & it is SO fun! They'll only ship during fair weather though.

I bake, therefore I am.
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#18 of 97 Old 12-19-2007, 11:08 PM
 
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Don't link the incident to HSing, as tempting as it may be.
I would agree with that suggestion.

I might have missed this in the thread, but is there a reason why you need to write a letter? Is that part of the HS requirements for withdrawing from PS?

When I have to talk to someone involved with the school about my family's choice to HS, I try to summarize it in a way that doesn't only relate to PS. I try to give them reasons that are really personal for our family, because I don't want them to a) feel criticized or put down, or b) try to engage me in a discussion about pros and cons. I have those kinds of discussions with my friends and family, not with school acquaintances. And, for me it is important that our choice to HS was not only a reaction - it was an idea on its own, you know?

Good luck with the letter writing and have fun homeschooling!!

Melissa
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#19 of 97 Old 12-19-2007, 11:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would agree with that suggestion.

I might have missed this in the thread, but is there a reason why you need to write a letter? Is that part of the HS requirements for withdrawing from PS?
No reason other than my anger towards the school. A little closure doesn't hurt either. It seems that people mostly regret things they haven't done... I don't want to regret NOT telling the teacher how disgusted I am with her choice.

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#20 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 12:04 AM
 
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Pfft....maybe I'll just feed those mealworms to my Geckos....hahaha

Thank you all for the responses. I really needed to feel like someone was on my side. I just don't know how to word this letter. Her letter starts out with, "I'm sorry to tell you ....." and I thought of having my letter say, "I'm ECSTATIC to tell you that Dakota will no longer suffer from low self-esteem from being in your class." HA! I guess that's just my anger speaking. If anyone has ideas on how to start this letter, I appreciate it. If you think PMing me would be better () then that's fine too. I need to have the letter done by tomorrow at 2:00 because that's when I need to go in for their class party. Right now I'm so angry that all I can come up with is non-PC things to say.
"To whom it may concern (or the principal's name)

As of {this date}, {students' names} will no longer be attending {school name}. I will be educating them at home for the duration of the 2007/2008 school year.

{parent's name}"

Leave all your reasons out of it- make the letter simple, clear, and to the point.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#21 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 12:46 AM
 
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No reason other than my anger towards the school. A little closure doesn't hurt either. It seems that people mostly regret things they haven't done... I don't want to regret NOT telling the teacher how disgusted I am with her choice.
I completely agree with you there! You write that letter. I'm going to read further down because I can't wait to read it and see the suggestions to make it more powerful. I love this board.

Lisa

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#22 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 12:53 AM
 
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No reason other than my anger towards the school. A little closure doesn't hurt either. It seems that people mostly regret things they haven't done... I don't want to regret NOT telling the teacher how disgusted I am with her choice.
As a former teacher, I can tell you pretty much the reaction your letter will get- a big shrug of "so what?" and "crazy homeschooler, good riddance"

If you're really looking to spare another child the pain your baby went through, I'd suggest meeting with the teacher about the mealworm incident in person. Or at least a phone call. Something to bring to her attention that punishment A didn't match up with violation B, and to revoke a lottery prize is just plain dumb.

But putting in writing anything that links your decision to hs to this one incident, with no record of any other contact being made with the school prior might not be the best path to take. I don't remember what state you're in, or what the hs laws are there, but my personal hs philosophy is to fly under the radar as much as we can, public records-wise.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for venting in a letter to help process it all. I just wouldn't suggest sending it in.

Anyway, my thoughts...
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#23 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 01:04 AM
 
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First, my sympathies, Jen - I can only imagine how angry you must have been. How outrageous. And I wouldn't sign that note either - although the reason she wants it signed is probably for proof that Dakota gave it to you, so I'd make sure to at least respond in the negative to make it clear that you've seen the stupid thing and will not be signing it.

I have mixed feeling about this. On the one hand, you owe no explanation, but on the other hand, I can certainly understand your wanting to speak your mind. I'm curious why people here think Jen should leave her observations and feelings out of the letter - can someone explain more? What I'm thinking is that perhaps the simplest formal note possible might be the best way to go right now - with a letter later (one that's exactly the way you want it after you've had time to clear your head and leisurely write) to express concern about the inappropriately negative atmosphere in that classroom.

I don't even see a reason to go to that place tomorrow unless Dakota is specifically wanting to. I kinda' wish we could all go with you and stare at her : - Jen, you're all going to be so happy homeschooling.
- Lillian
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#24 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 01:11 AM
 
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I'm curious why people here think Jen should leave her observations and feelings out of the letter - can someone explain more?
From my own experience as a public school teacher, one letter, no matter how angry, written by a parent (particularly one whose child no longer attends the school) is not going to effect any change. It's going to be chalked up to "thank goodness SHE'S gone" and that's it.

In order to really be heard, to really make sure that the situation is addressed in a manner equal to the frustration it's caused, there needs to be a formal meeting with the teacher and the principal. That way, there is a record of the incident, of the student's reaction, the teacher's rationale, and the parent's concerns. Just a letter isn't going to document anything other than Jen's response to her side of the situation.

Make sense?
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#25 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 01:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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12/19/07
xxxxx Elementary School


Ms. xxxx,

I recieved your letter this afternoon. I feel that taking away Dakota's privilage is extremely cruel. His talking had nothing to do with getting picked through a lottery system to take home a special project. He was very upset. I asked him about his talking and he told me that it was just because he was excited about bringing the mealworms home, about his class party and about the upcoming winter break. What exactly is accomplished by taking this away from him? Is this part of your positive reinforcement program? What kind of "control" is required to take care of mealworms? Did you know that he has taken care of numerous frogs and snakes? Did you know that he has a pair of geckos in his room? He has taken care of them for over a year. Does that meet your "control" requirement? Does excessive talking make him less able to take care of a mealworm for 2 weeks? Your choices in this matter disgust me.

I refuse to let Dakota be a victim of this school. I watch as his enthusiasm to learn is crushed and his free spirit is broken. Your job as a teacher is to inspire and educate ALL children, not just the easy ones. Obviously this school and its staff are ill equiped to deal with his unique qualities. Friday will be Dakota's last day of school. Please make sure all of his belongings are packed in his backpack.



Sincerely,

Jennifer xxxx

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#26 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 01:22 AM
 
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It's a little angrier than I'd write. I don't know if she'll get past the "disgust me" part. I absolutly love it though. I'm leaning towards telling you to send it as is, but at the same time, you've put some pretty strong language in there for you to keep your child in until Friday. I wouldn't send the letter and the child....one or the other if you know what I mean.

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#27 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 01:27 AM
 
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jen,
i genuinely mean this kind, so please don't take my correction as ugly. you have a couple mispelled words & i wanted to tell you.
"received" and "privilege"

hugs mama!!! i hope it goes well tomorrow. i'll say a prayer for ya.

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#28 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 01:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It's a little angrier than I'd write. I don't know if she'll get past the "disgust me" part. I absolutly love it though. I'm leaning towards telling you to send it as is, but at the same time, you've put some pretty strong language in there for you to keep your child in until Friday. I wouldn't send the letter and the child....one or the other if you know what I mean.
Well, tomorrow is the class party at 2:00. I planned on giving her the letter while I'm there, you know? I figure the kid deserves a nice goodbye party. I figured that since Friday is the last day of school anyway, it would be a good time to clean out his desk and give back any library books, school books, etc.

Not a good idea?

I just can't see cleaning out his desk during his party when all the other parents are there.

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#29 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 01:30 AM
 
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I suggest now taking that letter and burning it.....let the flames carry away your anger. It's good to get it out.

However, I agree I would not send the letter to the teacher. I would also simply pull him out with a simple note stating that he will be home schooled from this point on. I would maybe say that I feel my child's needs will be better met at home.
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#30 of 97 Old 12-20-2007, 01:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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jen,
i genuinely mean this kind, so please don't take my correction as ugly. you have a couple mispelled words & i wanted to tell you.
"received" and "privilege".
THANK YOU!! I'm happy to be corrected! Nothing like trying to send an angry letter with misspelled words....to a teacher! (doh!)


Ok, so maybe it's a little TOO over the top then....should I tone it down a smidge?

Jen Burnett, DEM
Homeschooling mom to my 3 kids (10, 9 and 8)
636Jen is offline  
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