Meeting with the principal

I meet with the elementary school principal. I bring her lunch so it feels more like friends having lunch and less like I am the most demanding and unsatisfied parent in the school.

I’m a half-hour late, which is an improvement from last time, when I missed our time slot completely. The principal is incredibly forgiving. She has a son with autism and understands, more than most people how I can be brilliant at some things and absolutely incapable of doing other, very basic aspects of life.

Sometimes she has an obvious agenda, like when she had to tell me she was sending me to the truancy officer. Sometimes I have the agenda, like this time, when I tell her I’m taking my kids out of school.

She says, “I know. I read your blog.”

I tell her I don’t exactly want to take both kids out. I want the first-grader to come to school three times a week because he loves being around the kids.

She says no. He’ll fall behind.

I point out he’s two grades ahead.

She argues that he’s not gifted, but I think it’s more about setting an example for the other parents.

Parents want to take their kids out for cattle shows in Colorado, and Disney World in November, after the corn harvest is done. The school would go to mayhem.

I show her my doctor’s note. I think it might work. Because no other parent in the district would think to do this. The note says my son is gifted and he needs to go to enrichment classes outside of school two days a week and his mental health depends on this stimulation. I thought it would be good to add the mental health part because it sounded more like a medical thing.

The principal reads the note. Twice. She looks at me and says, “Did the doctor laugh while she was writing this note?”

13 replies
  1. leftbrainfemale
    leftbrainfemale says:

    Pen, you just have to chuckle yourself and forgive her for any perceived disdain as she it just doing her job. I got to deal with this in reverse when I put my daughters in public school in 7th and 8th grade. Principal and counselors made a few snide comments, asking if I was sure the girls would be able to make it in public school. They did very well in middle school, I volunteered quite a lot the first couple years, and I think gained a grudging respect from the teachers and counselors who knew the background. By the time they got to high school, no one even remembered they were ever homeschooled, and they’ve proven to have a better work ethic and achieve higher grades than most of their peers.

  2. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    “I want the first-grader to come to school three times a week because he loves being around the kids.
    She says no. He’ll fall behind.”

    I would bring this matter to the school board for a decision. I wouldn’t do it secretively or make it personal. I would just appeal her decision at the next level up. Also, why would the school go “mayhem”? Is this just inflexibility on the school’s part? Inflexibility is a reason to home school according to your friend Lisa in NYC. I can’t remember or find her last name on this blog because her guest post is no longer available.

  3. Lori
    Lori says:

    the note thing is genius. kudos to you.

    when your kids are older, they can probably elect to take certain classes at high school and ignore the rest (say, driver’s ed or chemistry) — at least, they allow that here.

    you should look at signing him up for after-school care for a few days a week. he could be home all day and then spend the afternoon playing with other kids. and he could stay all day on the days when school is out (which around here seems to be every third week). if you didn’t like the mix of kids, you could try another daycare program.

    • Lori
      Lori says:

      caveat — make sure to *not* choose an after-school program that offers “enrichment”. he gets authentic enrichment all day as a hs’er. he just wants free play, not adult-organized activities where the kids aren’t allowed to talk to each other or run around.

  4. L (another Lisa)
    L (another Lisa) says:

    This post makes me sad. I have a friend who is considering home schooling her daughter. The daughter’s IQ is 150 but the school refuses to let her skip a grade because her IQ does not meet the cut off. It sometimes feels like nobody really wants to take a look at what is best for each child and its all or nothing. I’m sorry, I hope you find a solution.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Montessori was popular among my neighbors when I lived in Park Slope, in Brooklyn. So I know about it.

      I live on a farm. I should put farm photos on the homeschooling blog I think, to make that more clear. I live on a farm in an unincorporated part of Wisconsin, surrounded by cities that have less than 2000 people in them. To say there are no Montessori programs here is an understatement.


  5. Victoria Hunt-Richmonde
    Victoria Hunt-Richmonde says:

    Dare I venture to say that the school district is ecstatic that you are home schooling? Or are they worried that they will have to pick up the pieces when you fail at this attempt?

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