Seanathon Beastly. He is such a smart smart kid. Like genius smart. The things that brain of his come up with totally blow me away. I marvel at his brain. You see, it doesn’t work like the average brain. It works in it’s very own way. Which makes traditional classroom learning very difficult for Sean. His brain just doesn’t work that way. He is in the 5th grade, but academically at about a 2nd grade level. He has made huge strides since last year, when he was at a 1st grade level. He’d been at that 1st grade level for about 4 years. And now, he’s learning and growing and achieving. He is in an environment that is totally conducive to his brain!
Unfortunately in these here parts, 5th grade is the end of elementary school. Middle school is where the 6th graders go. He’d still be in his Special Day program, but new school, some new kids, new environment, new teachers…. new everything. Sean doesn’t do so well with the whole “new” thing.
And so I’ve come up with an idea that has never been done here before. I’ve been told I’ll be breaking new ground. I want to hold Sean back a year and have him repeat the 5th grade. No child in the Special Day program (in our district, I don’t know about other districts) has ever been held back a grade. It’s unprecedented. I do always like to take the never been traveled, hard road. Just ask my mom.
My reasons are many. Give him another year, in an environment he absolutely is thriving in. He very well should be up to third grade level by the end of the year. Another year could have him up to 4th or even approaching 5th. He’s going to have a long adjustment period when he goes over to Middle school. He very well may lose that year, learning wise. Let’s get him as close to grade level as possible before throwing him to the wolves… ok, an exaggeration perhaps. But Middle School is a dog eat dog world.
Sean is also at the young end of his grade. His birthday is towards the end of September. If we’d lived in just about any other state when he entered the school system, he’d only be in 4th grade now. He’s an average sized kid and won’t be huge or obviously “bigger” than kids that are in the lower grade now. It would make him 18 when he graduates from high school, right on time!
Sean has always been in a mixed grade classroom environment. First it was K-2, then 3-5. This year they moved schools but retained the same teacher and it switched to a 4-5 grade class. He’s used to friends “moving on” without him because they were in the older grade. He has many friends this year that are in the 4th grade and so will be in this class next year too. He won’t feel left behind because that’s not a concept he’s familiar with.
And Sean is completely unaware of “peer pressure”. He won’t be affected by any sort of social stigma. He loves his teachers, his school and his class. He’s expressed to me repeatedly how much he wishes he could stay in this class next year.
So, I’ve armed myself with all this info. I’ve talked to his teacher so he would be aware of my intentions and why. I had a meeting just before the holiday season got crazy, with the district head of the Special day program. We have “the big meeting” set for the 19th. I’ll know then if this is a matter of paperwork and some red tape, or if I’m going to have to put on my Mama Bear war paint and prep for battle. Because make no mistake, this is what I KNOW is best for my son. And I will go down fighting for him.