Thursday, July 7, 2011
Back to School – but which one?
The school supply section appearing at Target right after July 4th has always bothered me, but this year more than ever. Part of this, of course, is because summer just arrived here weather-wise, but there is a bigger reason. William just finished elementary school in June, so middle school looms. Last spring I made what I thought was a decision to have him go to The Whole Learning School, a wonderful and very small private school for kids with disabilities. Since that time, I’ve had many second, and even third, thoughts about it. William desperately wants to go to his assigned middle school, with his sixth grade peers. What he thinks that will be like and why he wants it so badly, I don’t really know. (I do know it speaks volumes about the community he felt in his elementary school.) My struggle is that I have doubts that the public system can provide the individualized academic support he needs, but that the private school option has very limited social opportunities for him, which he craves. So, what is middle school about? Is it for social or academic enhancement? Will he even have any friends at the public middle school? Are “neuro-typical” peers overrated when they’re adolescents? How much does the child’s own desire play into the decision? There are no answers now, only more questions, and the hunt for the solution that feels like the best fit.