Well if you have been reading here for some time you will know that we have sent our boys back to school – only for the time being! Our son Nicholas is loving High School, as well as Army Cadets. Cameron is in grade 5 and Kyle is in Grade 2.
What I Did Not See Coming
I dropped off Kyle to his new teacher on Tuesday (female teacher) and walked on over to Cameron classroom (he has a male teacher!). Then dashed back to Kyle. He had forgotten his jumper, so I reassured him I was going back to our Motorhome to get it. When we meet his teacher I explained that he was not used to School and had been Homeschooled for the last year and a bit. I explained that he is not used to sitting at a table/chair situation.
What Went Down!
That afternoon I knew something was up. I could tell by the look on the teachers face that she had something to say. David and I walked over to Kyle and gave him a hug. It was the first time we had spent a day apart in a very long time so it was fantastic when I saw his smiling face!
Yet she had to let me know (in front of Kyle) that she was so concerned and blown away with what he did not know. I then asked her about what? She then told me he had no idea what a “Lead Pencil” was when it was time to do writing.
** I need to explain – that Kyle will write when he wants to, and he will colour-in when he wants to. He is much happier playing with sticks in the sand, and that is where most of his writing is done! Then she asked to have a Meeting the next day to find out if Kyle knows anything. **
I said sure, what time.
So a time was set, and I was left wondering “What the Heck has knowing what a Lead Pencil got to do with school work?” (actually its is probably best I not write here what I said to Dave!)
The Next Morning
The next day (being Wednesday) I was in a huge panic because I was running a bit behind time, yet I so wanted to make that 8.10 am appointment. I think we got there about 8.16am to find the classroom locked up.
I waited, and about 8.45 am she arrived. Something had come up and she couldn’t make it on time (Sorry was said, and I say that was fine, totally understands etc)
Then she sits me down.
In the classroom.
In front of the kids – lucky for us the kids are really loud and could not hear what we were saying.
First thing she says to me is that Kyle does not seem to know much, about anything. And that reading is really important, and that she is so concerned about Kyle lack of anything! She has only had him for one day.
You Cant Tell Me That He Is NOT Smart
First thing that I say is that I am not concerned in one little bit. And that he is our last of five boys.
She then says “Oh That now makes all the sense and now I can understand what is going on” (or something to that effect!)
I then explain that I too believe in reading as its vital to living but I have been through it all with our oldest son, who didn’t want to read at all, and then even our fourth boy who wasnt reading until the last 12 months. He even had learning support teachers trying to help him, but it wasnt until he picked up a book that he wanted to read, and no-one was there to read it to him, that he started to read. And now Cameron can read really thick books (over 300 page books) in less than a day!
I then explained that our older son never ever wanted to do any school work, unless he had to. And now he is in the Navy and was dux for his course.
I then went onto to explain that I have never ever made Kyle do any homeschool work, only gave him the choice of what he would “Like” to do as they learn more when they want to.
The teacher then shared a story about her son (many years ago) with counting pegs – they were trying to get him to count and he didnt want to until he found some of his grandparents pegs and started to count them. Then he also discovered a huge slide and counted the steps on the ladder.
That story backed up what I was saying…..
Kids will learn by playing, exploring and by wanting to.
Then she went on to ask why he didn’t know what a Lead Pencil was. I was so tempted to share the joke (thanks Hubby and facebook friends!) that there is no lead in pencils but I wanted to keep on topic, be nice and be firm with my answer. Even if I was laughing inside
I explained that we used the term “Pencils” in our bus because that is what Kyle uses to work with. I then said that we don’t believe that boys will need to read until the age of 10 (mind you Zachery was reading from the moment he could!) because they can’t actually get the concept of putting words together. So we are not concerned.
She was shocked but she didn’t say anything.
The whole time our conversation was going on, I was watching the kids in the Classroom around us, moving, loudly and playing.
Kyle was sitting and quietly taking turns playing a game of “O” and “X” on the carpet. It was a big floor mat game. He was doing so well and won a few of the games. I was smiling because all I could thing of was all of the times we have played “O” and “X” as part of his homeschooling day.
I then told her that the only reason Kyle was so keen to get back to school was to make new friends and play.
Her eyebrows went sky high but all she said was “Most kids love to play”
I had an answer for every one of her questions.
I am not concerned about Kyle – even with her questions about Maths – I said that he and his Dad play Maths games all of the time….just not on paper with a “Lead” Pencil.
See Kyle is fun-loving, outgoing, and so kind. He plays, and he learns. Sometimes the things that he says blows me away!
I was determined to stand up for Kyle. It’s the first time I have ever been able to do that EVER. Normally I don’t like confrontations and I will hide – actually I will do anything to get out of having to face someone over a conversation that makes me feel uneasy. I like to be the peaceful one, the one that is quiet and not make trouble.
Because I do not believe that Kyle belongs in a box of doing x,y,z and nothing outside of that box.
So what if he can’t read books by himself.
He loves listening to them – David loves reading to him big books that I would never think could hold his attention.
I love reading to him – even Zachery loves reading to him.
So what if he can’t write with a pencil on paper. Who has ever heard of a grown up not writing something, anything! He sure can create the best looking sandcastle/forts/bridges that I have ever seen.
So what if he can’t do maths on paper! See him with his Dad bouncing off numbers together
So what if he doesn’t know the full ABC song – He sure can sing! His all time favorite song is “I See You Baby” – mind you I hope he doesn’t sing that song to his teacher!
So what if he is not used to sitting at a desk/chair. Bet you one day that he will have a successful career..
HOW do I know all of that? Because he has been homeschooling, and he is smart. Also because I have been here before with my boys, and I know deep within that nothing that teacher says will determine the rest of his life.
He is only six years old. He has a lifetime ahead of him of learning what he wants to know. What he needs to take on board to live in the real world.
Here is a video back in 2009 of Nicholas and Cameron with Kyle, building as part of their homeschooling! :-
And at the end of the day – do we really use what we learnt in primary school? Yes reading is so important. We are huge readers in our family, and will always be. He sees Zachery read over 500 pages easily in one day. He sees Nicholas and Kyle fighting over the same book because they both “MUST” read it that very moment. He has over five different people willing to read books to him.
The teacher can not sit there and make a judgement. She has only had him for one day. We have had him in our life for six years, and I can see how much he has learnt, and is learning every day.
He will make sure his brothers have some of his treats if he his out and about, and is getting something for being good. He always thinks of others.
He will share the shirt off his back if he had to …
I am not sure how he got to be so cute, loving and caring. But I do know one thing – HE will be OK and he will succeed with what ever his heart desires because he is determined to.
And I believe in teaching what he wants to learn. I believe in him, and I will be standing up for him forever.
Has It Affected Kyle?
Yes it has – not sure what is being said in the classroom. Within his ears, but he has said to us that he is “Dumb and Stupid for not knowing what a lead pencil is”.
But we have all (even his big brother got on the phone and assured him that he is the smartest six-year-old he has ever meet!) voiced together and shared how many “Smart” stories we have about what he can do, what he shares and what he knows.
I will never ever let anyone call him “Stupid”.
The minute he tells me that he no longer wants to go to school, I am so pulling him out and making a run for it….back to homeschooling – where he can build confidence to learn with his own passion!
For now he is happy to go back and play, and make new friends.
To me that is all that is important – his happiness. He is important and I will always be strong enough to say what I must for him.
I think that we are in for some interesting times ahead with his teacher – the next day I get told that he can’t go to the toilet in class time, not when ever he wants to. He must go before lining up to go back into class and at lunch times only! Yeah she is so old school
So that Is What Down At School The Other Day!
What Do You Think About Homeschooling?
New Life on the Road