Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A new chapter begins.........

Yes, we are starting a new chapter in this thing we call life. Most of my chapters are sleepers, same old, same old but this is the chapter were people are saying "wow, I didn't see that coming". Today was the last day of public school for Adam. Yep, you read it right, we had an IEP meeting on Monday and announced to our team that we had decided to take Adam out of school and begin home schooling. The first reaction was of shock and horror and I'm pretty sure I got some glares that looked pretty hateful. But, I am happy and thankful to say by the end of the meeting every single person on Adam's team was fully supporting us and understood our reasoning.

First off let me say we are not anti-school and truly our goal is to someday have Adam back in the public school system. If I could give you the best case scenario it would be for us to home school Adam for the next 2 and a half years and by middle school have Adam back in. Who knows maybe I'll change my mind. Maybe it will work out so great we'll never go back or maybe he'll be back next year. I'm not putting anything in black in white (well, besides this) and we will just see what happens.

Now the big question....WHY???? This year has been quite frankly the school year from hell!!! With that said might I add for every negative story I have that has happened this year I have 3 positive stories that have happened at this school over the years. Adam has gone to this school since kindergarten, he is now in 3rd grade. He was in a "center based" program were he had a special ed. classroom and a "mainstream" classroom. For the last 3 years (kindy-2nd grade) he had the same amazing special ed. teacher, who plain and simple just "got" my son. She saw how smart he was and challenged him and had high expectations of him. She was loving and kind without being a wimp. The kids respected her and knew she meant business even though she was fun. Adam loved work time, he loved to show off for her and make her proud!! He never once had any problems during work time. He did have his moments of "testing" this occurred during lunch, recess, phy ed. and free play times, not everyday but if there was a problem those were the times they'd happen. This year we got a new special ed. teacher, I was very excited to find out it would be a man teacher. Adam LOVES guys, I thought this would be great for him. This was a new teacher to our school. I don't even know were to start at every thing that happened lets just say it started out terrible, he was clueless, he physically restrained my son the 3rd day of school. My son who never ever had ever had the need to be restrained, and to make it even better he did not notify my husband and I about this, (we have a communication notebook that is sent back and forth everyday) luckily my son is very verbal and he told me about it. Adam does tell stories and he is a pretty good liar, but he is not that good, I can always ask enough questions to tell if it is the truth or not. I knew he was telling the truth, and to make matters worse there were no other adults in the room when this happened. I pulled Adam out of school because of this, there were many more smaller things that were also happening I don't want to bore you with the crazy details, but trust me I had quite the list in only the first 2 weeks of school. This teacher did admit to restraining my son, and that is the only reason I agreed to "continue to work" with him. I was glad that he wasn't a liar, and the special ed. director said he was "working" with them and that he was really trying. Adam lasted in the class for 3 days and I pulled him out again. This time at 11:34 am this teacher called me and left a message on our voicemail he was very excited saying "yes, this is Adam's teacher calling to tell you Adam just called one of my para's the "f" word, he actually called her a F***er! If you'd like to talk to me about this please call" Umm yes, I wanted to talk about this, Adam had never ever ever swore at school ever!!! I knew without a doubt that Adam had never heard that word before that day, Iwas freaking!! Because I knew that once Adam knew that word, we would hear it when ever he needed to get our attention. Adam's swear word up to that point were "stupid" and "So" (he says sooo really snotty and it drives me nuts!) So, I call and tell this teacher Adam had to have just heard that word today, do any of the students use this word? No, he tells me and continues to say how Adam said it loud enough for another para to have heard it also and he obviously had heard the word before. Because you see he knows my son, better than I, I guess. He even asks me "well, what kind of music do you listen to " after I had just got done telling him how we monitor his t.v. his movies, his play dates, everything. I did tell him I was offended he would even have to ask me that!

When Adam got home I asked him what happened, he said "my teacher called you" I said oh yes, he did and I heard you said a very naughty word what was it? he says "stupid" I say no, no that's not what you said he says "sooo" (I told you these are his swear words) I said no, but I could also tell that he really couldn't remember so I took out his communication notebook and it said Adam got angry at para and said "leave me alone f***er" so I say to Adam, "you got really mad and said leave me alone" and then Adam said "father" but how Adam says father sounds more like fader which could sound like f***er. Let's just say "thank God" was coming out of my mouth. You see if Adam had said f***er he would have loved to share that with me. He's funny like that. He has always loved to tell on himself :) and when Adam is mad at Mr. fun aka Dad, he always says "Leave me alone FADER" also Adam is a good story teller but, he is not that cunning to come up with a word that would sound like f***er. It gets better, Adam has a behavior chart that they had started and he was to carry it to each subject and get a sticker if he was doing well. At the end of the day it was sent home and we would look it over and I then could see when and where he had a problem. If he got all stickers at school he would get a little treat. Well, not only did this teacher write out the actual word in his communication notebook but he also wrote the word out on Adam's chart, the chart that he carries around and looks at!! Umm, Adam is smart he can sound many words out, I just about threw up when I saw it!! Luckily Adam hadn't paid any attention to it, I was wondering how many other kids saw this word.

So, I bring Adam to school, tell this teacher what I had figured out and have Adam say what he had told me, I ask the teacher, "so, what did you just hear" he very cockily says "well, right now I heard father" but my para was 100 % sure what she heard" then the para that had "overheard " came in classroom and he very excitedly call her over and asks her exactly what she heard yesterday she says "well, I thought I heard father, but Jane doe was sure she heard a k in there" I wish I had a picture of his face, his jaw just about hit the floor!! This lady didn't hear that Adam calls his Dad, father when he is mad, she hadn't heard anything she just walked in. This teacher continued to say that "he still stood by his para" Umm really well maybe when a child that has never swore before and has speech issues maybe just maybe you should always question it!!!! Uggg I'm getting mad all over again!!!

Long story, longer Adam did get put into a new classroom, but sadly Adam had found out in that short of time that it was an option for him to refuse to do his work. You see he never knew that could be an option and he always enjoyed working and showing off. But, hey who would want to work if you didn't have to. This new teacher I must say was very kind, and did come up with some great ideas for his behavior. She really tried in this area I believe 110% but, at conferences it came out that Adam didn't have math anymore, because when her class has math Adam goes into 3rd grade for units and "really at his age the socialization is more important than academics" Umm really huh, wish they would of asked me what I thought was more important. Adam is smart, people with down syndrome have gotten 2 year associate degrees, Adam is smart, but without being taught math and letting him refuse to do school work he will not reach his fullest potential!!! Maybe Adam wont want to go to college, that's totally fine with me, but what if he does want to go.... I need to give him the tools he will need to be able to do what ever he wants. Without these basic tools he wont have many choices. And this is why we decided to home school. We did a lot of research, a lot of prayer, a lot of going back and forth... But, in my heart I knew this is what we were suppose to do. Mr. fun at first thought I was crazy, I think but even he started to feel strongly about home schooling. It's hard to do when you know amazing people before us fought so hard to get our kids the right to go to school. But, that is what is so great about the U.S. we have a choice to do public school or to home school. I don't think this if for everyone, but, I do think this is what our son needs right now. If anyone would have told me we would be doing this a few years ago, I would have laughed and said "never"!! guess that's why you never should say never!!!

I should have titled this "A new novel" sorry this got so long!!!


My name is Sarah said...

This is Joyce. Good luck with your decision. I can imagine it did not come easy but I'm a firm believer that moms always know best.

Becca said...

Oh, wow. That's a real shame about what's been going on. I agree with Joyce, you certainly know the best decision. I'm not sure what kind of area you live in, but aren't there any other schools he could attend? I would think that with FAPE (and all of those other acronyms used for schooling) the school system could place him in a different school, even if it's outside of your district. I'm sure Adam will absolutely thrive being home-schooled, though.

Monica said...

Joyce, Thank you!!

Becca, We actually live in an awesome area for special ed., And in all fairness his teacher he had last was trying she just didn't really challange him enough or sadly see the need for academics as strongly as we do. I'm not a fighter and we are actually excited to start this :) Thank you, I'm hoping for great things, and I'll be sure to blog our progress or lack of (hopefully I don't have to do the latter)

Michelle said...

I'm sorry to hear about the problems that have happened at school; how frustrating! Hope the home schooling is going well!

Kristi said...

Wow. That is quite a story. It sounds like you definitely did the right thing for Adam. I would love to see what curriculum you guys are using.