According to his occupational therapist he was ready for school…
After a post each on music, homemade bread and pot, the time has come for something of a slightly deeper nature:
- The human soul, mind, or spirit.
- (chiefly psychology) The human mind as the central force in thought, emotion, and behavior of an individual. (source: Wiktionary)
Ha, as if I am equipped to talk about that! Well yeah, as a layperson I can give it a bash, surely?
The Psyche Perceived
Before I decided whose psyche I was going to blather about, my young, six-year old son popped into my head (‘t was 1994). He was ready for primary school, according to his occupational therapist whom he’d been seeing for close to two years due to fine and gross motor coordination problems.
“His strengths will carry his weaknesses,” she said, suggesting that his intellect would make up for his shortcomings, such as severe shyness while his motor coordination was still far from optimal.
I didn’t believe a word of it. But dad embraced the advice and who was I to go against an expert? I had never been the mother of a six-year old before and didn’t know that what I thought had merit. Could a mother really hold her son back a year against the advice of an expert and the wishes of his father?
I thought he should rather wait a year. There would have been a perfect place to do this. At the same school was also a grade 0 for five-year olds as well as six-year olds who were not yet ready for grade 1. I longed for my child to go to grade 0. Let him mature a bit first, I figured. But I felt that I did not have a leg to stand on. After all, it was ‘just’ a hunch.
In hindsight my psyche had gauged my son’s psyche perfectly well: grade 1 turned into an utter disaster. He was extremely unlucky to have an old cow of a teacher, at 64 one year away from retirement and clearly hating every minute of her last year. Several times at seven thirty in the morning when I dropped off my son (how ridiculously early!) I saw her being irritated with the kiddies and also scream at them when they were doing something they weren’t allowed.
Almost three months after he had been in her class she asked for a meeting with me. She gave me the rundown of my unruly, badly concentrating, class-disturbing child who didn’t know on which side of the stick to put the round part of the P.
I was flabbergasted. Had she not read the extensive report I had written upon registration? Two pages of information I had filled in about his two years in therapy in response to Is there anything in particular that you want us to know about your child? I had listed areas in which he was weak as well as the reasons why he had been (and still was) going to occupational therapy.
She hadn’t read a single word of it. <Still shaking my head.>
The kids disliked her intensely too. When my son had schoolfriends over to play they called her Mrs. Fartbrain.
I let them.
How the troublemaking twit became an avid reader
From seven till nine years old he had two full years of special education after which he went back to mainstream. At the school much encouragement was given to read. “And remember children…,” the head mistress would remind them once more at term’s end, and the kids would chorus, “Read! Read! Read!” For two years he devoured every single Goosebumps he could get his hands on and then moved onto the Lord of the Rings.
Back at the ‘normal’ school he was lucky with teachers this time (Mr. “H,” who also became his drumming teacher!) and did well until he went to highschool where he was placed in a class of high achievers. Just because he had given all the right answers to a bunch of questions on a questionnaire.
IQ or EQ?
That is the question. I bet ya that the questionnaire merely tested his IQ. Never mind how much homework he would be saddled with. It didn’t take long for him to hate school all over again.
Did his Fartbrain year set him up, or would he have suffered from the I-Hate-School Syndrome no matter what? That’s another question…
Frankly, I think it damaged his psyche, that Fartbrain year, but that ultimately he would have needed special education anyway. I don’t think that a year to mature would have done away with the issues he had.
But, to hate school like he did… well, wow, I just googled ‘why kids hate school’ and hit upon an excellent article (link below). I speedread it and immediately found the answer to my question:
… developmentally inappropriate teaching techniques can destroy a child’s self-worth right along with his love of learning…
Psychological war – the highschool years
The games people play (of which they don’t know that they’re playing them). Only onlookers recognise them. My son and his dad played the game of Schoolwork War (besides Warcraft). A high-achieving dad with a seemingly indifferent and apathetic son under one roof is a disaster waiting to happen. Again I was powerless because dad did things in his own (read: autocratic) way and refused to believe that his son was rebelling.
It was a lose-lose situation. At 19 my son graduated by the skin of his teeth (I’m quite sure the school made him do so in order to be rid of him and his meddling father!)
Free at last!
Sonny-dearest was not interested in university, or actually, he did not know what he wanted to study, and the war came to an end. He mentioned casually that he was quite surprised that one had not killed the other during his last year of highschool.
~ All is well that ends well. ~
Is it really? See also my post Parents.
Why kids hate school (parenting.com)