Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Friday, 14 August 2009

Quinn School Debate - a decision is made

So you may have followed the ongoing debate/decision around Quinn's schooling....

I met with Quinn's teacher again this morning after getting an email on Tuesday that he had detention (again) that afternoon. **

He has been getting demerits again for: talking in class, not having PE shorts, not having his homework diary at school etc.

He has also been playing up with me a bit again recently.

This is possibly (probably?) related to 'New Guy' and/or my mom dying and everything that's been going on with me, and me being a bit busier and more distracted, and sick too, and focusing less on his homework and having very structured routines etc.

Of course my first thought was to panic and back off from the new relationship and go back to it being just the boys and me, telling myself that I must put them first - always.

But I decided that that is not right or fair to do that again either. I don't think it is realistic for me not to pursue a relationship properly, ever, because it may unsettle the kids (probably temporarily).

Especially considering that they really like him and he seems to like them too. So I have decided to keep trying and to accept that there will be patches and times which are less easy and that we'll need to work through them.

'New guy' has been amazing about this too and very empathetic and understanding. I have felt up to now that unless the boys and I are on our best behaviour and always 'good' we will not be wanted. Because well that's been my experience. No one wants to deal with issues and baggage!

But he has been stepping back and giving me space with Quinn when needed, and even distracting Griffin and playing with him at the park so I could have some one-on-one time with Quinn - something I have realised he hardly gets anymore. He has also not interfered or intervened at all - even when I lose my cool a bit. He's just offered some outsider perspective when we have chatted.

Anyway amazingly he has not been at all scared away by seeing both me and the boys throwing wobblies in the past couple of weeks, and me being sick, and this latest low blood pressure and general lack lustre episode this week... bonus!

Anyway I totally digress and the rest of that is for another post ( ;) )

Anhoo so Quinn's teacher said that she has been over his entire file and her 'professional opinion' is that he really should repeat the grade. Not because he is going to fail, because he won't. Academically he is doing pretty darn well actually. But it's because he needs so much management. I said I agree. Left to his own devices he does nothing, but with one-on-one attention he excels. She reckons this will improve a lot with maturity and if he feels like a leader.

Frankly if he had a stable and supportive functional home life, I think he would be totally fine where he is and could continue, but based on the heaps of shit he has dealt with for the past 18 months (plus) I am actually surprised how well he HAS coped up to now, and I don't think he can keep it up much longer. As the youngest in his grade he is going to always been slightly on the back foot and having to push to keep up, and it's hard on him AND on me. It's got to the point that he can't really focus on sport and we spend so much time trying to comply with his school requirements that it's a full time job.

So I told her let's just do it. I don't want them thinking I am pushing him through school, because that was never my approach.

I already told him it was a possible outcome of today's meeting. He is not thrilled, but he seems quite resigned to the idea. I told him it is not being done to punish him, or because he is not good enough, but to help him. I also told him it means wrt sport he'll now be competing with his peer group and age group and not be either the youngest or away from his friends all the time.

I'll talk to him more in the next week, but for now I think the decision is made, and I must say already the pressure feels a bit less.

One of the things that helped me to decided was that I haven't ever heard anyone say they regret a decision to keep a child (esp a boy) back and that the age gap issue gets worse as puberty approaches, so now is probably a good time to do it.

The teacher also said it would not negatively impact on his academic record, because he is not being failed.

** I sent the teacher a bit of an emotional email on Tuesday saying I felt we were trying our best and it felt like nothing was good enough and a bit of encouragement would be appreciated under the circumstances. She was extremely understanding and quite empathetic when I met with her today and I was touched the compassion she showed and the approach she took. I apologised for being a bit overwhelmed the other day - I honestly thought she was going to be confrontational, but she was nothing but nice about it. Which has also helped me to accept that she really isn't fighting us and she is just trying to focus on what is best.

She even says I must talk to Quinn about who he'd like his teacher to be next year and he can choose. Either her again or one of the other 3 Grade 4 teachers.


  1. crying through your post for 100 reasons

    the pattern you anticipated versus what you experienced from him and her and you...... it is possible to break the patterns of the past, they do not bind us unless we cling to them

    stand tall and proud Jane xxxx

  2. Aw my friend :( Why cant things sometimes just move along smoothly!!

    Sometimes its the decision that is the hardest - once its made it gets easier!

  3. I think you have done the right thing... btw, I hear you that unless we perfect nobody is going to want us

  4. Hey Jane

    I think you've made the right decision! You know Jordan & Quinn are 2 days apart, she's on the 5th Jan and we 'kept her back' an extra year in the year before Grade R for the very reasons you've experienced. And it was the best decision now looking back - I always questioned myself! She's in Grade 3 now and from an emotional & maturity point of view I reckon I would've had similar 'issues' with her had she been in Grade 4 now. As it is just keeping on top of things in Grade 3 is hectic and also the divorce this year ...I just think their age plays against them ..being the youngest especially when having to deal with life issues that are thrown into the works! I see with Jordan year on year she reaches another level of maturity around June every year.

    Quinn has done exceptionally well in all areas I think you're doing him a favour by keeping him back - watch he'll thrive all round next year!

  5. My knucklehead repeated grade one... he didn't like it, but the second time was a lot better for him and for me.