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[IPp] Re: Attendance at school--long

In a message dated 10/8/02 7:44:27 AM Pacific Daylight Time, 
email @ redacted writes:

> So,  (sorry so long)  here is the question,  how many of  your children,
> or you personally when younger,  had difficulties with attending school?
> Hubby is afraid we are setting him up for failure as an adult!    We're on
> the verge of giving up on the system and homeschooling until high school,
> though I hate to give up.   He has no friends near our home except girls.
> He needs to socially interact with his peers at school.    So, are we
> the unusual case?   Or, do/have some of you dealt with this?

     I am feeling so bad for you.  You have done so much and still things 
aren't going well.  
     I have 3 kids-my oldest son is 13 grade 8, middle son is 11, grade 6 and 
Claire (DMer) is grade 3.  All three kids have had major problems with school 
and attendance in the past few years.  It is not something I could have 
predicted, it just happened. 
     Oldest son got ill in June our first year in Ireland (just after turning 
10).  He ended us missing most of two years of school after that, the second 
of which was back in Canada.  Doctors couldn't find any physical reason, 
blah, blah, blah.  It was very, very hard on me to see him lying on the sofa 
sick for such a long time.  He started school last September (2001) at a 
different school than that of the previous year, as I was so upset by their 
response to his illness.  Then we moved across the country and he again 
started a new school mid year.  He did not miss a day last school year until 
May, when he was sick with a flu.  This year he has been sick a couple of 
days already and I'm always terrified he will fall ill again.  He is still 
very thin and weak, went from being a super-robust toddler and slowly went 
down the weight percentiles to 10th percentile.   But he is doing very well 
at school and won some academic awards last June despite missing so much.  
They have had him skip grade 8 math and move into the grade 9 class instead 
this year.  Old school had said he had to repeat a year because he had missed 
so much!!  They had no idea of his capabilities, were just being nasty.  
     My middle child started missing bits of school our second year in 
Ireland.  I was pretty sure it was stress related.  We returned to Canada and 
he had an awesome next school year.  We moved across the country and 
something then just fell apart for him and he missed lots of school last 
year.  Teacher wouldn't give him any marks, because the first part of the 
year we were in a different part of Canada, and the latter part of the year 
he didn't attend.  This year has started off fantastic, teacher instantly 
recognized that he was sensitive and had good abilities.  However, just 
learned that the teacher is pregnant and leaving at Xmas......I've found that 
the right teacher is everything for him.
    And of course, Claire.  She started full time school at age 4 in Ireland. 
 Missed quite a few days, as the stress of a rigorous academic schedule and 
poor bg control was hard on her.  However, she did enjoy school and was a 
very good student and very popular.  You couldn't have asked for a better 
report card from the teacher.  We returned to Canada and she suffered badly 
from culture shock.  Her grade 1 class was wild and the male teacher was 
disorganized.  (School in Ireland was very orderly and disciplined.)  Teacher 
accused her of cheating on a spelling test in October, then apologized when 
he realized he was mistaken and that was it for him as far as Claire was 
concerned.  There were other incidents with the teacher.  The stress of 
seeing him sent her bgs soaring (pre-pump) and the illness, stress and high 
bgs were circular.  Our hospital, which took me an entire day to travel to 
for her appointments, refused her a pump until she had good bg control.  She 
refused to go to school and the "experts" advice was to carry her screaming 
and leave her at the door (yeah, a great thing for a six year old with DM).  
Ended up that she hardly went all school year.  Since then she has had 3 
different schools due to us moving.  And she has loved her teachers and had 
good attendance the past year and this year to date.  
     So Barbara dear, I don't think a couple of bad years is setting him up 
for failure.  He is young.   Yes, it is very hard on all of you while it is 
going on.  I really do know this first hand.  If you do go the home schooling 
route, I'm sure there are lots of opportunities he can have to mix with other 
boys.  Has he ever tried Scouts?  Also Youth groups run in churches and 
drop-in sports events.  Try to get him signed up for as much as possible.  My 
middle son is seeing a counsellor and will soon start in a group she is 
running for boys his age with anxieties, worries.  I'm not sure he fits that 
category, but it won't hurt.  any chance of finding anything that may help 
Zach?  I have met social workers who were totally useless, so I know that 
they all vary.  Here it seems that non-attendance at school puts you on a 
priority basis for getting in to see someone. 
     And you know what?  My oldest who missed 2 years of school and was so 
sick for so long, I thought he might die.  Well, he says he can hardly 
remember that time.  While it was going on, he couldn't remember ever being 
well.  So kids just take each day as it comes.

Best of luck and please let us know if we can help 
Barbara, Mum of Claire 8
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