Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back to School Has A Whole New Meaning

Joey has gone back to school. For most kids, this means a return to the classroom after a few months of vacation, but for Joey it means something far more significant: he has not been to a physical school in two years.

His return to the classroom was a mutual decision, but one that we both have fretted over nonetheless. He worries that the work will be too hard and that he will fail in front of the other kids (though he doesn't admit this forthright). I worry that his teachers won't be able to see him and his potential the way I do or that his values will be tested by the kids he meets. There is plenty, all told, to worry about.

Joey joins his fifth grade class in a public school with an IEP (Individual Education Program) in place. What this means is that he is entitled to assistance, as needed, with his schoolwork due to his learning disabilities. We are only in the second week of school so it is really too early for me to comment on how this is working, but so far I am pleased with what I am seeing in all areas.

I suspected that a teacher might get Joey to work harder at things he dislikes than I did, as I often got discouraged by his resistance and eased off. So far this is proving to be true, as he has brought home more writing work already than I know he would have done in the first month of school with me, and he is not complaining about it. His work is better, too, with neater printing and a greater effort in spelling. I hope this lasts!

I am very proud of him for the way he has gotten up early each morning, showered and dressed for school without any complaints. I know he must be nervous, I know he hates the actual schoolwork, but he is facing it like a young man and doing what he must. My child who likes to sleep until 10am is up at 6:30 with a good attitude--he is an inspiration.

He has made some friends, immediately identified the prettiest girl in his class, and is liking the hot lunch program (but not as much as me--I love not making lunch and wish Sacred Heart would build a cafeteria!). He likes his teacher--a man for the first time--and is already feeling comfortable with the routine of the day. Overall it is going even better than I had hoped it would.

This attitude of his, combined with his continued diligent work on the football field in recent weeks, is changing the way I am looking at him. My child is slowly but surely being replaced by a man, in front of my very eyes. Granted, this is at times clearer than others (for example, he still tortures his siblings like the 10 year old he is), but for the first time I am seeing glimpses of the adult he will become and I like what I see.

I hope and pray I will have such positive things to say a few months down the road. Of course, I will keep you posted.


Michelle said...

I get glimpses of man all the time too.

{sniff sniff}

Anonymous said...

Joey sounds like he going to have really fun at school. Though there will be times when school hard, and times when school is easy.

Oh and by the way, I had an IEP too.
Though at times Joey might hate that he IEP trust me I had those times. Just remind him that is not the only who in the world who as in IEP or leaning issues cuz he not.