May yank my twins out of public school - thoughts? *BIG UPDATE #137* - Mothering Forums
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Learning at School > May yank my twins out of public school - thoughts? *BIG UPDATE #137*
UberMama's Avatar UberMama 09:02 PM 10-03-2008
HUGE 2/18 update post #149

I'm thinking of pulling my twins out of public school and homeschooling them instead. Did anyone do this? Specifically with twins and/or children that were young (kindergarten age)?

My twin boys have been in public school for one month. Due to two separate illnesses and their weakened immune systems, they've missed two weeks approximately (broken up, not straight).

Due to this, the teachers are getting pretty nasty with DH and I. The principal is calling our cell phones to leave nasty voicemails about how we need to "work on getting them back into school" (uh, where's the magic potion to make them well??). One of their teachers tells me about the negative things they do every morning and every afternoon. She says no positive things and my boys end up hearing the negatives and then telling me they are sorry for making me and the teacher mad.

Today, Kyler got a "Good day coupon" for having a good day. Yet his teacher still stopped me and proceeded to say that one of the boys didn't line up after recess was over. It wasn't today, it was sometime this week. Why wasn't this mentioned during one of the other many times she spouted off the negatives? And they don't know which one? Sheesh. Kyler accidentally got in line with the 2nd graders one day, another day Cameron accidentally went into the girls bathroom instead of the boys.

I mean, it's little stuff that is happening because (I THINK!) they have missed so much and are still getting used to procedures. But the school is beginning to get very rude about this, not understand their health issues, etc.

The teachers wanted to setup a meeting on the 15th. I politely asked if it could be the 17th, as that is the only day that week my DH can get vacation (yes, he'd have to use up a vacation day). Today I am told that no, only the 15th will work and actually, DH doesn't need to be there (the teacher told me this). : Yes, I could go in myself but I'd like DH to attend so we can both hear what they have to say and both talk to them about the issues.

So we're talking about pulling them out of school and instead homeschooling. I didn't look into this before. I guess I thought I was taking the easy way out by putting them in public school but I'm realizing that isn't the easy way for us.. I am intimidated by the thought of homeschooling but then I want them to learn as well.

I think the issues at their school are more about social than academics. So then I wonder if homeschooling is right for us? I mean, they wouldn't have near the social interaction that they'd have in public school (I'd of course get them out and about, etc.).

Sorry for the rambling.. I'm just stressed, upset and ticked off. Thoughts?

sebandg'smama's Avatar sebandg'smama 09:18 PM 10-03-2008
Starting school is hard. On everybody, you and your kids.

I suggest you write down your questions and concerns and have a frank conversation with the teacher.

I personally would love to homeschool, but do not, my ds attends public school. Is it perfect? Of course not. But I try to get to know the teacher, volunteer in his class, go to PTA meetings, basically get involved in order to support my child.

Good luck with your decision.

-Melanie
almama's Avatar almama 10:27 PM 10-03-2008
I'd encourage you to make a list (or one for each kid) about what you wanted to achieve this year. Is it learn to read? Is it play well with friends? Is it be able to sit and listen for 10 minutes? Is it love to learn? And then really think about why those things are important to you.

Then go into the classroom and try to see if those goals are being met for your kids in a respectful way (it sounds pretty unrespectful from what you wrote, but perhaps you should check it out yourself). If they are generally being met, but the teacher just needs a little communication tweaking, then you may want to plug it out at PS a bit longer. You may discover other things they need that they are getting there too.

If not, then I would pull them. Homeschooling can be tons of fun and man it is great to have a handle (not full control) on their social influences. My DS 1 is now in school and it is tough not to understand the dynamics of his social world.
theretohere's Avatar theretohere 10:34 PM 10-03-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by almama View Post
I'd encourage you to make a list (or one for each kid) about what you wanted to achieve this year. Is it learn to read? Is it play well with friends? Is it be able to sit and listen for 10 minutes? Is it love to learn? And then really think about why those things are important to you.

Then go into the classroom and try to see if those goals are being met for your kids in a respectful way (it sounds pretty unrespectful from what you wrote, but perhaps you should check it out yourself). If they are generally being met, but the teacher just needs a little communication tweaking, then you may want to plug it out at PS a bit longer. You may discover other things they need that they are getting there too.

If not, then I would pull them. Homeschooling can be tons of fun and man it is great to have a handle (not full control) on their social influences. My DS 1 is now in school and it is tough not to understand the dynamics of his social world.
Excellent advice, this.
srlpenny's Avatar srlpenny 10:46 PM 10-03-2008
I have currently been struggling with similar frustration with public school, and told DH I wanted to homeschool. He was NOT interested in that at all. And while I'm still not 100% convinced that I won't eventually push for that I spoke with a friend with older children who helped me put it in perspective a little. And I've decided to try to make the school system work for us.
I would say:
1. Address your concerns with the school/teachers at conferences. Explain where you are coming from and try to understand where they are coming from to. Personally, I would not go on the 15th I would nicely tell them that you and DH co-parent and need to both be there, you will be happy to discuss a time that is acceptable for everyone. One thing I would point out is that the kids are being exposed to all new germs, and that's probably why they are getting sick so often and you are keeping them home so that other children do not catch their illnesses, the ethical thing to do. I have been on both sides of parent teacher conferences, and they always go best if everyone remembers that the goal is to get the kids the best education possible, not determine whose ideas are right and whose are wrong.
2. Document, document DOCUMENT!!! Keep all the doctor notes, any communication from the teacher. Using it in a "HA HA I caught you" way is probably not best, but to have it to support you if necessary would be good.
3. Research what the regulations are about absences, states do have laws about how much kids can miss and still advance to the next grade. (in new york it's 27 days, in new jersey where I used to teach it was 20)

If you don't get the results you want and you and DH both to HS then do your reserach, make connections and go for it.
For us we are going to try to make the PS work for us, if not then research schooling alternatives including homeschool.
I'm sorry if this is rambling...I wish you the best.
Callimom's Avatar Callimom 12:57 AM 10-04-2008
My twins have never been to school (currently would be in grade 2). I pulled my oldest son out in early grade 1 and by the time my twins would have been eligible for K we were fully ensconsed in a homeschooling lifestyle which I wouldn't change for the world. In retrospect I wish I pulled my oldest from school earlier or skipped it all together.

We homeschool for a lot of reasons and those reasons have evolved over time. One of the reasons was that I wanted to preserve the relationship between my kids, in particular my twins.

I'll leave it at that for now. Feel free to pm me if you want to discuss further.
Good luck with your decision.
Karen
bobandjess99's Avatar bobandjess99 01:28 AM 10-04-2008
We are dealiong with similar issues here...dd has been in school 4 weeks and missed almost 10 days due to illness. (she has asthma and every single cold/runny nose requires days of brathing treatments, there isn't anything we can do anout that.) Fortunately, she is not yet covered under our states compulsory laws (starts at age 7 here) so technically, she isn't "truant" or whatever, but the school is still saying they treat everyone the same, regardless of age and she will be reported for excessive abscenses. I laughed at them and told them "good luck"
since reporting something that isn't against the law will certainly not mean anything....*sigh*
UberMama's Avatar UberMama 03:25 AM 10-04-2008
Thank you everyone for your replies.

Quite honestly anything they do gain at PS I feel isn't worth it when their self esteem is being hurt by the one teacher in particular saying, "Well they did this, this and this today" and this is always negative. Yesterday she said Kyler did good at listening and then said, "But then he.." and went into the negatives..

The boys do great with sitting and working for 15 minutes (each block of whatever lesson is 15 minutes before they move on to something else). And I love that they are getting more social with other children than they had before they began school.

I really don't want to pull them out but it's frustrating not only me but the boys as well to hear the negatives. I wonder at times if the teachers/principal are expecting too much from them?

We're also looking at getting them tested (we being DH and myself). I'm not really suspecting ADHD or whatever, but maybe they are still developmentally behind even though other peds have said they no longer are? I'd rather talk to a ped about this than go through the school district. But I can admit that a part of me is being childish and not wanting much if anything to do with the district. :/

I'm rambling.. LOL.
MusicianDad's Avatar MusicianDad 03:41 AM 10-04-2008
You might have all ready thought of this, but is there anyway to tranfer them to another teacher or another school? It really seems like this one teacher really doesn't like your boys.
Bird Girl's Avatar Bird Girl 04:29 AM 10-04-2008
Some people are just negative; some teachers are, too, despite all the research that shows that positive attention is far more powerful than negative attention.

Regarding their health issues and the attendance question; it may be worth investigating an IEP that deals with health concerns. The teachers will stop bugging you about the boys' absences, and they should be granted accommodations to deal with anything they miss.
eepster's Avatar eepster 06:14 AM 10-04-2008
Are there private school options available to you? Public schools are fussy about absences b/c it can effect their funding. Private schools tend to be much more relaxed since you pay your tuition whether or not you DS's miss X days.

I know the absences aren't you only issue, but I suspect that most other teachers would have a better attitude, and avoid making so many negative comments.
UberMama's Avatar UberMama 08:09 AM 10-04-2008
There are three kindy teachers, my boys are in two different rooms, so there's a third kindy teacher I've never even met (though MIL spoke to her on the phone about volunteering and MIL said she was nice). I LOVE Cameron's teacher, LOVE HER. She is older than Kyler's teacher, has much more experience being a teacher and she is very sweet. I'd love to move Kyler into that room but of course they have 60ish kindy kids and they are split up 20/20/20. So I know I'd have to push to move them around.

Private schools cost money and money is something we do not have. We're normally okay (putting some away in savings) each week. But DH is working not even 20 hours a week, we got hit with some HUGE unexpected bills and well, we're sinking into the abyss lately.

Thanks for the comments. I'm not taking this lightly and am making notes on what is said here, what I want to look into, talk about at the conference, etc.
Attila the Honey's Avatar Attila the Honey 08:18 AM 10-04-2008
Everyone gave really good, reasonable tips but my gut is screaming at me. I'd just yank them right out of there and keep them home.
UberMama's Avatar UberMama 08:37 AM 10-04-2008
You and me both, believe me.. my gut is screaming as well..

I'm going to talk to the principal on Monday about what the goal of this meeting is. All they will tell me is that two behavioral therapists will be attending. So it'll be those two, the two teachers, the principal and myself - five vs. one. AND THEN my three kids (the boys and their sister) will be there, so I'll be having to watch them as well? I'm working on finding childcare and we're going to try really hard for DH to get that day off..
Britishmum's Avatar Britishmum 08:38 AM 10-04-2008
I'd organize a conference with the principal, see about switching classes, etc, but if the negative comments in front of the children continue, I'd pull out before there is too much damage done to your children's self-esteem. I'd also be upfront with the school about the negative comments and ask that any reporting of what the kids have done 'wrong' is done to you privately, and never in front of either of the children, period.

Good luck!
anywaybecause's Avatar anywaybecause 12:00 PM 10-04-2008
Personally, I would pull them out. As a former teacher, the school's demand that only the 15th will work and that your DH "doesn't need" to be there bothers me. Who decides how many parents "need" to be there? The parents!!

Here is a link to a Washington State homeschooling organization, where you can find out some fo the basics about homeschooling in your state. http://www.washhomeschool.org/

I took a quick glance through, and it looks like the compulsory age requirement is 8 - 18 . . . . so technically Kindergarten is not required in your state. You will have to officially withdraw them, since they are currently in school, but it looks like, after that, you don't have to do meet any requirements until they are 8 years old.
ChristaN's Avatar ChristaN 12:47 PM 10-04-2008
We do not have twins, but we did remove my older dd from school to hs late in 1st grade. She and her sister are back in school now, but I may move back toward hsing later for separate reasons for my younger dd.

Our reasons for taking dd#1 out were similar to yours except for the absences. We didn't have any issues with illness or absences. She was, however, being constantly berated by her teacher and her self esteem was being destroyed. It is four years later and she still has some ideas about herself internalized -- like thinking that she is slow. Dd, too, was doing fine academically, but was too sensitive for the teacher's liking and meticulous and thoughtful about what she was doing. She was anxious with the rigidity of the teacher, timed tests, and pressure to work fast as well as a lot of repetition and boring work.

What you are describing with your sons sounds like normal kindergarten behavior. Getting in the wrong line, going to the wrong bathroom... Those things happen with 5 y/os. Dh clearly remembers wetting his pants in K b/c he couldn't figure out how to get the overalls his mom put him in down and was afraid to ask for help. If the teacher can't deal with that kind of stuff, perhaps she ought not be teaching kindergarten.

I would not meet with the school without your dh present. I'd contact the principal and tell him/her which times you and your dh are available and insist that you need to meet during one of those times. If the principal is not amenable, I'd let him/her that you will contact the district to see if they can find a time that will work for everyone. Take it up the chain of command and save those voicemails. Don't go alone to the meeting and don't bring your kids with you. Personally, I'd insist that it take place during school hours when my kids were in class and let them get a sub for the teacher. My dd's school did that for our pt conference b/c we needed to meet with the principal as well as the teacher.
joensally's Avatar joensally 03:06 PM 10-04-2008
If you have to attend Monday's meeting with all 3 kids in attendance, I would call the school and advise that you can't find child care and request that they have an assistant or someone come to supervise the kids so that the conversation can be fully productive.

At the meeting, if the kids are actually there with you, I would start by saying something like:

"I'm here with supervision responsibility for 3 small children while trying to have a coherent conversation with five professionals. I think that this disadvantages my ability to both present my concerns and fully participate in the conversation, and I would like to start by acknowledging this apparent imbalance.

My primary concern is that my one son is frequently hearing negative commentary for behaviours that are totally within the range of normal for a five year old in the first month of school. I don't think that there's a whole lot of evidence that making children think they're bad is a productive way to get them to change their behaviour or make them think that school is a good place to be.

I would like to move forward from today with a plan that encourages my son to behave in ways that are positive for his role as a classmate and student, and I would like some assurances that from this point on he won't have to hear ongoing negative commentary about every move he makes. That includes the fact that he's sitting here now, and if you feel that we can't have a productive conversation with the children here now, I'd like to book a follow up meeting at a time where my husband can attend and that childcare can be arranged."

I know it's intimidating, but they're just people, trying to do their jobs. There's a good chance that one or more of those five people are great, understanding, productive, innovative professionals. That said, DS struggled last year in kindie, and I always took the lead because even the good ones have big caseloads. I think that administrators/teachers for a whole bunch of reasons don't always do their jobs the way they probably ought to. I always knew that the person in the room who really, really knew my kid and had his best interests at heart was me. I was proactive, productive, sympathetic to their (teachers' and administrators') imposed or personal limitations, provided them with ideas and resources, but was clear that my kid was going to come out of the year feeling good about himself.

Good luck on Monday.

(btw - we're now homeschooling DS. This is the face of education in the 21st century).
FancyPants's Avatar FancyPants 03:47 PM 10-04-2008
If you can homeschool for a while, why not? Either that or find/request another school. I think your school isn't all that good. Too much negativity and petty stuff.

My experience with public school has been different.

My son's classmates wiggle out of their lines a bit all the time and he's in 2nd grade!

In kindergarten he and a few other little boys would sometimes get carried away and roll on the floor like puppies. The teacher we had was fantastic.

She had been teaching 20+years and said it was normal. She just gently led them into appropriate behavior. She also stressed positive behavior and tried to catch them being good - enforcing that.
inkedmamajama's Avatar inkedmamajama 03:55 PM 10-04-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by UberMama View Post
There are three kindy teachers, my boys are in two different rooms, so there's a third kindy teacher I've never even met (though MIL spoke to her on the phone about volunteering and MIL said she was nice). I LOVE Cameron's teacher, LOVE HER. She is older than Kyler's teacher, has much more experience being a teacher and she is very sweet. I'd love to move Kyler into that room but of course they have 60ish kindy kids and they are split up 20/20/20. So I know I'd have to push to move them around.

Private schools cost money and money is something we do not have. We're normally okay (putting some away in savings) each week. But DH is working not even 20 hours a week, we got hit with some HUGE unexpected bills and well, we're sinking into the abyss lately.

Thanks for the comments. I'm not taking this lightly and am making notes on what is said here, what I want to look into, talk about at the conference, etc.
i am surprised they are in diff classes-our local districts ALWAYS place twins in the same kindergarten class, to ease the adjustment, and then at 1st grade level they are put in diff classes-perhaps you can try this approach and see if they will consent to moving them to the 'better' teachers class?

good luck mama!
eepster's Avatar eepster 07:15 PM 10-04-2008
I would try to get them both into the good teachers class. I would not phrase it that way though. As a PP mentioned I would say they wanted to be together. Something like:

"I think the boys are somewhat stressed by being seperated. Also they are being exposed to two different sets off germs, so that is increasing the absences. I think they would have an easier time adjusting if they were in the same class. DS1 has bonded with his teacher Mrs. Nice, more than DS2 has bonded with his teacher Miss Mean, so I would like DS2 transfered to Mrs. Nice's class."

If there is a private school around that you would like to send them to, ask about scholarships. My DH went to top notch private schools in NYC, where the tuition was probably about equal to his parents annual income, on full scholarship. Another possiblity, is getting a job at one of the school since you recently got laidoff anyway.
mom2ponygirl's Avatar mom2ponygirl 10:53 PM 10-04-2008
You might try sharing this article:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0925104309.htm
A study showing that children before the age of 12 do not learn from mistakes. Remarkable differences in how the brains of 8 years old functioned compared to 12.

Anyway, we had some trouble with school when dd was 5.5 It was a private Montessori that was getting ready to expand, but they upped the enrollment before they added room or staff. We have loved the past 5 years of hs'ing.
Anglyn's Avatar Anglyn 11:20 PM 10-04-2008
Unless you just feel strongly for some reason about staying in ps school, I'd yank away! If you can homeschool (I mean, you are at home to do so or can work a diffrent shift than your dh) then why not?

How often do school kids hear, "stop talking, you arent here to socialize?" just saying, social skills can develop on the playground, in playgroups etc.

If you decided to stay in ps, Id pitch a hissy fit to get my child into a diffrent class. My oldest loved kindy and first..it was second or third when he got a mean teacher (brand new). I mean my seven year old was having hysterical panic attacks every night, crying for hours over this woman. I had him moved and he was fine. His new teacher loved him and he loved her. his old teacher actually stopped me once to say how shemissed him and he was so good and smart and she wished all her kids were like him.........huh??? then why did you reduce him to jello everyday?
TexasSuz's Avatar TexasSuz 11:23 PM 10-04-2008
They are bringing behavior therapists for a 5 year old not getting in line or using the right bathroom? This is perfectly normal beginning of school stuff and it not a problem - I do not know why the teacher is even mentioning to you. Even having a meeting is weird. I am a former teacher and I now homeschool my children. The behavior of this school is strange!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Evan&Anna's_Mom's Avatar Evan&Anna's_Mom 12:09 AM 10-05-2008
Re: Private schools... If there are ones in your area that you think might be a good fit, ask about financial aid. My kids go to a ridiculously expensive school -- for free. They do not advertise that they offer financial aid because they don't have enough for everyone who would then apply. But they do have money set aside and will give it when asked. It never hurts to ask and you never know what you might find out.

Not that all private schools are perfect, or even perfect for you. But I hate to see you (or anyone) dismiss a possiblity because of what may be a false assumption.
Arduinna's Avatar Arduinna 12:29 AM 10-05-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by UberMama View Post
I'm thinking of pulling my twins out of public school and homeschooling them instead. Did anyone do this? Specifically with twins and/or children that were young (kindergarten age)?
I'm sure you will get good responses if you post this over on the HSing forum. Most of the people that have done this would be posting over there and may not be reading the learning at school forum.
mommaknowsbest's Avatar mommaknowsbest 03:50 AM 10-05-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristaN View Post
She was, however, being constantly berated by her teacher and her self esteem was being destroyed. It is four years later and she still has some ideas about herself internalized -- like thinking that she is slow. Dd, too, was doing fine academically, but was too sensitive for the teacher's liking and meticulous and thoughtful about what she was doing. She was anxious with the rigidity of the teacher, timed tests, and pressure to work fast as well as a lot of repetition and boring work.

What you are describing with your sons sounds like normal kindergarten behavior. Getting in the wrong line, going to the wrong bathroom... Those things happen with 5 y/os. Dh clearly remembers wetting his pants in K b/c he couldn't figure out how to get the overalls his mom put him in down and was afraid to ask for help. If the teacher can't deal with that kind of stuff, perhaps she ought not be teaching kindergarten.

I would not meet with the school without your dh present. I'd contact the principal and tell him/her which times you and your dh are available and insist that you need to meet during one of those times. If the principal is not amenable, I'd let him/her that you will contact the district to see if they can find a time that will work for everyone. Take it up the chain of command and save those voicemails. Don't go alone to the meeting and don't bring your kids with you. Personally, I'd insist that it take place during school hours when my kids were in class and let them get a sub for the teacher. My dd's school did that for our pt conference b/c we needed to meet with the principal as well as the teacher.
This school is a HUGE red flag!!!

IF you go ahead with the meeting...make sure it is like this poster says.
mommaknowsbest's Avatar mommaknowsbest 04:07 AM 10-05-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSuz View Post
They are bringing behavior therapists for a 5 year old not getting in line or using the right bathroom? This is perfectly normal beginning of school stuff and it not a problem - I do not know why the teacher is even mentioning to you. Even having a meeting is weird. I am a former teacher and I now homeschool my children. The behavior of this school is strange!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But.....I read THIS post,and,she is SPOT.ON.

Take Arduinna's advice.

If you are able to homeschool,DO IT!!! It is Kinder!!! Easy! Fun! Flexible! It's cheap! It takes 45-60mins A DAY! One year,to evaluate/research/ponder/gain perspective.

I fully support you,to see to it, that your DC receive a POSITIVE start to "school'-it is their right!

To state the obvious......those teachers are in the wrong profession. Period. The school is freaky wierd.

(I'm sorry you've been put in this situation-noone wants that kind of school experience for our DC.
rabrog's Avatar rabrog 04:07 AM 10-05-2008
First of all, do your sons have a medical condition that weakens their immune systems? If not, are you keeping them just for colds/sniffles or has it been more than that (not judging, just trying to figure out the illnesses)?

Secondly, you need to give this teacher a "WTF?" talk. She needs to know that while you want to know about behavior issues, they do not need to be discussed in front of your child. She can write them down and give you the note. She also needs to realize that there are some things you can't work on at home (ie lining up) so that is her job as a teacher. It's something that K kids (esp. kids that have not been in preschool) need time to learn to do consistently.

Jenn
mommaknowsbest's Avatar mommaknowsbest 04:17 AM 10-05-2008
Just forgot to say howsorry I am for your DC,and how lucky and blessed they are, to have an Uber Mom to advocate for them. Poor little things.:
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