At drop off last month one of Little Guy's teachers casually mentioned that she thought Little Guy was "more than ready" to be successful in mainstream school. His other teacher quickly agreed. "Really?" I asked. "Really!" they said, before proceeding to advise me that he probably would need to skip at least one grade.
My world was rocked. I can best describe this as "Good news that makes you want a drink".
Part One of this urge to drink: entering public school.
We had planned on him having another year at his therapeutic school. I knew he was doing well, I knew he had come so far. I also was well aware of the challenges he continues to face. The idea of taking him from his safe little school where he is understood, protected and loved and putting him at the mercies of public education and its special education offerings is terrifying. In summary: "Yay! He's come so far! So now we send him into the jungle and hope he survives?"
Part Two of this urge to drink: grade skipping? what?
Ok, so I knew that Little Guy's class was a combined class of kindergarten and 1st grade. I also knew that his whole class had finished the kindergarten curriculum earlier in the year. I knew that even earlier in the year they had upgraded Little Guy's language arts curriculum a few times before finally settling on a 2nd grade curriculum that actually challenged him. I knew he was bright, a great reader and could memorize a vast amount of facts about whatever topic currently holding his interest.
I did not know that he was excelling in areas of academia outside language arts. I did not know that now that he can write easily he whizzes through his schoolwork. Apparently for any given lesson he is typically given twice as much work as any other classmate and he still finishes first. I did not expect to hear that my 6 year old kindergartener should be placed in at least the 2nd grade next year.
As all this started to slowly permeate my brain I went through the motions to get him started in public school next year. IEPs were scheduled, etc. I worried. Hubby worried. I pulled teachers aside and asked again, "Really? You really think he's ready?".
I began to allow myself to hope that it was true. As I quietly cursed my way through rush hour traffic in the morning I started to imagine a life where I didn't spend 2.5-3.5 hours driving every day just for his school drop off and pick up. I imagined time not spent arguing with insurance companies. I imagined his younger brother being able to attend the awesome preschool down the road from us and both of them making friends that actually live in the same town as us.
As I waited outside Big Boy's class with the other parents waiting for our preschoolers to be dismissed I watched the big brothers, fresh out of their 1/2 day kindergarten classes and dragged along to wait. These weren't just any boys, either. These were Little Guy's former classmates, from his somewhat disastrous time in regular preschool. I watched them interacting with each other, running around and playing, a pack of wild little boys giggling and chasing. I watched these boys and I wondered if Little Guy was ready to join the pack, if he could run and play with them now. I worried but I began to hope none the less.
To Be Continued...