I'm tired....

Usually I take things in stride. I try not to let things get me down, but recently family life has been difficult. My son Phoenix has been struggling in school (grade 2) and it's come to a precipice in the last few weeks, and especially yesterday. It's hard to have a son that struggles in school when you're a teacher yourself, and as you may know my fiance' is a teacher too, and actually first taught at Phoenix's school, but surprisingly he's dealing with it better than I am. One thing that has been happening is Phoenix has been "fighting" or arguing with a boy that bugs him/bullies him, instead of walking away or telling supervisors, which in turn gets him in more trouble. He has also harmed some younger kids by pushing on the playground, and not recognizing personal space. That's just one issue. The other issue happens in the actual classroom. He has an inability to focus, and is constantly "bored" which leads him to distract other students, fool around, and ultimately not get his work done. I have finally decided to get him "assessed" for learning/behavior difficulties, and maybe that will lead to some solutions because what we're doing now does not work.

 The main dilemma with Phoenix is that he's extremely athletic, and active, and the way our school system is designed it does not allow for students like Phoenix to learn the way he needs to learn. As a teacher I know how difficult it is to adapt things like math, science and social studies for multiple learning styles, but I bet if Phoenix were running, and playing sports, and singing all day, he would love school, but he does not.

Here are some things he said yesterday:

"I'll tell you a secret Mommy. I hate school, and I don't think I can make it."

"I just want to stay at home and do Ian's job." To which I said, what's Ian's job? And he said "You know, play outside, go for walks, do house stuff." (Ian is a substitute teacher, so he's sometimes home alot, depending on the week....)

"I am not ready to be real." (and I asked about this, and what he meant is what a lot of us feel, he's not ready to live in the real world with homework, and school etc...)

"I am a stupid boy, and can't finish school."

I told him that his teacher and the school councillor thought he was sad and mad all the time and he said, "That's the meanest thing anyone could say! Why would they say that about me?"

What scares me about this is that he's thinking WAY into the future. He's talking about not making it to greade 12. When I was in grade 2 I barely thought about the next day, much less 10 years down the road.

The most distressing part about this is that he's extremely smart. He's an amazing speller, a very fluent reader, he speaks very intelligently, and it just doesn't make sense why he hates school, and is bored. It would make sense if he was a genius, but he has his struggles too (with writing, and math) so it's just frustrating.

He is such a sweet boy, but he's just so sad and frustrated, and something is locked up inside. I really hope that we pull through this soon, so he can start to be a normal kid, with normal kid worries, and normal kid happiness.

My boy......

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  1. My dear Tobi...first of your son is adorable!! Second..dont give up...I work everyday with children that have the same things going on in school but the one your family has going for you that my kiddos don't is FAMILY. You are heading in the right direction having him assessed. Make sure they assess for ADD and ADHD as well...as some of the things you mentioned are signs/symptoms. You are right schools aren't built or equiped and staffed with enough resources to handle the child who doesnt learn as well in the typical school environment. But with some hard work and continued advocacy on your part you can make a diiference in this for your son and other children.

  2. My kids aren't in school yet, so I can't say that I completely understand...but I do hope that things turn a corner toward something better soon.

  3. I'm really sorry to hear you are going through this tough time. Your son is adorable and sounds like he is wise beyond his years. Are there any schools in your area that provide alternative learning programs? Growing up, we had an "alternative school" within our public school system. It was and is quite successful.

  4. {{{{big hugs}}}}, Tobi. he's an absolutely adorable little boy w/ a great mom, so, of course you will make it through this. i'll say a prayer!!

  5. Sending tons of good ju-ju your way....hang in there...your boy is absolutely adorable!

  6. Hi Tobi,

    I have followed your blog since the beginning, and even followed you previous to that on SplitCoast - you have been one of my 'stamping heroes' from the start. I'm just one of those people who never comment (I know, that's bad). I live in Richmond, so we're practically neighbours, and when I read this post, I knew I just had to comment. There is a counsellor in Langley who is FABULOUS, particularly with kids. I have seen her during some tough times that I have gone through so I can say first hand how amazing she is. But more importantly, she has done wonders for my niece, who is the same age as your son. On top of regular therapy, she also incorporates "art therapy" into her sessions, and can really connect with kids that way. I just can not say enough about her. Her name is Darcy Bailey, and her phone number is 604-515-2202 and her website is http://www.counsellingarttherapybc.com. Her fees may not be covered by your insurance (mine weren't), but don't let that deter you - she is worth every penny you spend. Check it out. I really encourage you to at least have one appt with her and I think you'll be not only impressed, but very hopeful.
    The second thing I thought I would mention, although I'm sure being a teacher, you have already considered it, is looking into Langley Fine Arts school for your son. I know there is a large waiting list, but it may be a really nice fit for him (you said he liked to sing), and could be a place that he enjoys going to, rather than hating.
    I think it's great that you're having him assessed, and like one of the other comments said, you are doing the best thing you can for him just by being there for him, being his advocate, and being such a loving, caring Mom.
    Fingers crossed for you, girl.

  7. Hey Tobi..
    Chin up girl, you are a great mom, and sometimes we just get tired. I think having Phoenix assessed is a great start. As a teacher you know that boys have a different learning style, and unfortunately our schools don't seem to be able to accomodate that. I picked up on the fact that you said your little man was being bullied at school. I just fininshed a great book by Barbara Coloroso called
    THE BULLY, THE BULLIED AND THE BYSTANDER. It has great strategies on how to handle these situations, and what tools to give your child to better deal with the bullying at school. I'll be more than willing to lend it to you - we have met a few times- I work at Clippers. My email address is chad653@yahoo.ca. Send me an email, and I can bring the book to work for you to pick up at your convenience.
    Let me know how things are going...

  8. Hi Tobi, I feel I need to give you a great big bear hug and take your worries away, having three boys I know how much of a worry it is when they are not sharing their true potential with the world, what you see as a blessing others see as a threat or aggrevation but please hang in there - as a mum you are doing EVERYTHING you can and if needs be you are seeking help in the right places, please don't feel that you are letting Phoenix down because you're not - everyday is a learning curve when you have a family and every family is an individual nucleus so don't compare yourselves with others as this only adds more pressure on yourself to "get it right".

    The hardest part of all is actually getting our children to open up to us but maybe you could set aside some time for a "what's on your mind", "what's up?" or "share a secret" session each night/week it may shed some light on how he feels. I understand some kids get really bored in school because they are brighter than others and find the work too easy which leads to distraction - the most positive thing at the moment is that you have noticed and are doing something about it but results come in time and you must give yourself that chance.

    I'm giving you another big bear hug and keeping my hopes in a positive place for you.

    Take a deep breadth, keep your chin up and take care lovely xxxxxx

  9. Shannan,
    thank you for your lovely comments. I will look into the therapy. My fiance also just found an extra-curricular art school that does art, dance, drama etc which would be good for Phoenix.

    I actually had the honour of teaching at Langley Fine Arts last year (high school music-band and choir) and therefore have some connections, but i don't know about switching schools.. there are NO sports there. NONE.. and phoenix loves that stuff.. he's very artsy because of me so he would do well there, but i haven't decided yet.

    keep in touch!

  10. I don't have any experience with this, but I can tell that you are an amazing Mom. It's clear you'll do anything and everything to get to the bottom of this. I wish you the best of luck. You'll figure this out. I can tell.

  11. Oh you son is gorgeous! and so smart and insightful for a little man in second grade! It can be so frustrating when the schools are not equipped to help. I hope that through assessment he will learn the tools to cope. I think others have mentioned "alternative" schools; we have magnet schools here that offer alternative learning environments. Good luck to you and please keep us posted! He is just so precious!

  12. I'm sorry, I know how difficult it can be. I could write a book on this topic, but you sound like you are pretty savvy, so I'll just wish you the best. We ended up putting our son in a quirky "progressive" private school. $20K a year but it did the trick. Best of luck.

  13. NO advise to give i'm afraid, I just wanted to say what an adorable boy he is, his cute little smile and handsome face! I hope that all works out with him at school xxx


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