Today, I am going to talk about the stages of disengagement from the education system* that I have witnessed over the years.
Now, I am not an expert, nor am I a teacher. In fact, I am one of those rare things – a parent of twice-exceptional children who has never had to sit through an IEP (Individual Education Plan) or ILP (Individual Learning Plan) meeting.
But I do volunteer as a contact for families who are in trouble. After more than 100 emails, phone calls and chatting in person, I have a pretty up front and personal view of exactly how these go wrong.
Actually it’s probably far more than 100, but I lost count once it hit triple digits.
I would love to say that each situation is different and unique. That it does not follow any kind of pattern and is always just the intersection of a set of unusual circumstances. But I can’t.
So, what are the stages?
*This post actually follows on from an older post, Gifted vs Gifted. I would highly recommend reading that post first and then popping back over here.
The first stage is usually about information gathering. Families notice that their child’s mental health is declining – they are disengaged at school. They may be acting out due to boredom. The bright, engaged preschooler has disappeared into a stressed school child, who is now avoiding the things they used to love – like learning new stuff.
Often, the parents have already talked to the teacher: they asked if their child could do a bit of extension work; or they may even have mentioned the dreaded word – acceleration.
The problem is often particularly acute for kids in kindergarten or first grade, where they may already know how to read and write but have to sit through lesson after lesson on letter sounds, or how to count.
If talking to the teacher doesn’t work, parents often aren’t sure what to do. Often the words “pushy parents” is whispered. That’s when they’ll feel they need professional help – usually a psychologist.
This is when they will contact me the first time,
“Do you know a psychologist/ specialist who can help figure out what is going on with my child?”
(NB. If the teacher and school listen, the parents won’t contact me. This is true for each of these stages, but I thought it worth pointing out here first.)
Report in hand, a parent will now go back to their school. They have an assessment. They have a (very detailed) set of recommendations. Surely, surely they’ll be able to get their child the help they need, right?
Many times, finding a school that is more flexible is enough to get everyone back on track.
But the more unusual the child, i.e. the higher the IQ, or the greater the number of disabilities, the less likely they will find an environment that will work.
It’s Going to Be OK, Really
If you are teetering on the edge of deciding what to do, remember: none of these are forever decisions. There are always other options. Kids develop. Education options change.
And homeschooling is actually not as hard as you probably imagine it to be.
If you have a 2e kid, you’re probably already doing everything you need to at home already.
Around the World:
- GHF: Gifted Homeschoolers Forum
- This Blog List
- Gameschooling Resources
- My Posts on Homeschooling 2e kids