Thursday, June 2, 2016


I have been trying to get 10 yo into school. It is a different school than the one we tried a few years back. Today he took a placement test. I knew from the past that he does not like being tested, and he is very anxious about his performance. But he just passed him black belt test in taekwondo, and, in my mind, that ought to be harder than what the school will come up with. So I warned him beforehand about this placement test, but I downplayed it: it is less than an hour, it is just to see what you know and what you don't so there probably will be some really easy questions, and some so hard that you will not be able to answer them, and it is not a big deal.

This morning he took a really long time to emerge from the bed, usually not a good sign. He was very frustrated that we did not have his poppy seed bagel. My husband drove him over and texted me with the time to pick him up. Before I even got myself ready, I got a call from the school that he finished early. I told them that I'm on my way. 6 yo and 3 yo decided to tag along.

10 yo was waiting in the school's lobby, so I got him quite quickly. As we loaded into the car, the principal came out, calling after me. He wanted to let me know how 10 yo did. The principal said that he tested very high both in reading comprehension and in math. He congratulated me on doing a good job homeschooling him. My heart skipped a beat. 

In homeschooling, a lot of learning and growth takes place away from prying eyes, and it is not easy to assess, let alone to receive praise. I kept on thinking: is this the same child that the other school thought was so far behind as to be placed a grade lower? Is this the child that needed shadow, or medication, and a trial to see how it goes? Do we really just need to give time to these super-difficult children, and they will be fine, and they will excel, both by our standards, and by those of the world?

Later, we received an e-mail with the official acceptance letter.

I wish that I could report that the rest of the day was carried on these good news, but 10 yo spent a large part of it melting down. I mentioned doing chumash while the baby sleeps, and he tearfully told me that he did not "expect" to do chumash today. Well, we learn Torah every day, and he knows that. After lots of misery, I got out of him that he just wanted to do one pasuk. I agreed, He kind of did it, then got stuck on a word during review screaming at me that yesterday he translated שעיר עזים as a ram and it cannot possibly mean anything else. 

Around dinnertime, he declared that the food I was making was his least favorite and he has to eat something else, all the while trying to surreptitiously grab it on the go while I was frying up dinner. I stopped him and he stormed off into the basement, locking himself in.

So, academically we are fine, maybe even more than fine, but where are we emotionally? I keep telling myself that I am sending him not for the academics, but to break up our bad dynamic. And I keep hoping that he will learn to relax enough during test taking so that he does not have to punish himself and everyone around him afterward.

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