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Back to Where We Started: Finding a Fit for My Out-of-the-Box Son

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When you’re as hard headed and motivated as I am, it takes a bit of time to find answers on “all the things.”  It takes oodles of time to learn what others could have told you plain and simple. Because people like me have to live it, breathe it, struggle through it, fail at it, grow in it, and find conclusions based on all those experiences.  When you’re as hard headed and motivated as I am, you have to learn and expand so you can help others do the same.  Because you’ve explored every single freaking option out there and beat to death resources near and far.  Once you’ve completed every ride at the theme park, you walk away with appreciation and insight that only could have been gained by riding up and down and all around.  And around.  And around.  And it’s worth it in the end.  Until you realize that there is no official end.  Just crossroads.

I blame Sir Ken Robinson for the educational roller coaster we’ve traversedthe past couple years.  He motivated me into believing, firmly believing, that there has to be a better way of educating our kids, especially those who fall outside the box.  Like my Dude.  Sir believes in transforming standardized educational practices and customizing learning based on who kids are and what their passions are.  I read his book, watched his TED Talks, followed people who are like minded and got on BOARD.  My heart was on board.  I wanted in – for both our kids.  We researched, spoke to admissions counselors, toured, applied, shadowed….so many schools, so many hours spent, so much heartbreak.  There are a handful of schools that do things Ken’s way.  A handful who are ahead of the trends and innovative in their thinking.  Bless those few, but their arms aren’t necessarily ready to embrace students who need resources and strategies and support.  For the high functioning students who need much.  And the private, Christian schools in our area? Not even close.  One shows glints of trying and for that I’ll hold out hope.

After our relentless searching, where did we end up?  Right back where we started.  

Where God has been encouraging us to stay all along.  In our public school.  After this semester of home schooling, which has been fantastic for our son, but not so dreamy for his mother, we will be back at our public school.  It’s not a Ken Robinson school.  It’s not innovative or customized to who our son is.  It’s not so many of the things I thought were most important.  But here’s what it IS.  It’s safe.  It’s up to speed on who our son is and what his needs are.  They understand him and support him in every way they can.  They communicate and support us as his parents.  They welcome us,no questions asked. And they won’t empty our bank account.  Turns out, those are the attributes we need most right now.  I wouldn’t have known this before the cluster of the past 2 years, but I feel secure in that.  There is no such thing as a perfect fit.  Or even an ideal fit. Finding what matters most is the journey we were navigating.  I thought I knew and I fought fiercely for the wrong things.  Or maybe the things that weren’t attainable.  I was reaching too high. Ken’s dream for education is possible and changes are being made.  We’re just not there yet.

When you’re trying to find a fit for your out-of-the box kiddo, expect rejection.  And learn to not take it personally.  Learn to roll with it and know that your very uniquely created child requires more than most educational institutions can offer.  Most often it’s not because they don’t care – they just don’t know.  They just don’t have the tools.  Yet.  Public schools, by design, are outfitted to walk with out of the box kiddos.  Unfortunately, their dedication and abilities range from school to school, so even this is a journey.  Finding the “right” public school takes work.  A school that doesn’t focus first on test scores, welcomes kiddos who are out of the box, and a principal who looks at kids for the individuals they are…that’s what you look for.  And thank God, that’s what we were handed.  

For now, that’s going to have to be enough.

Gwen is an infertile, adoptive Mama of two. And wife to one tall, handsome Dutchman. I coach people through adoption and raising kiddos who live outside the box. Read more at gwenvogelzang.com.

 

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Comments
  • comment avatar Tara April 26, 2017

    Oh I love this. That’s the struggle with public schools–they’re not all one size fits all. We have a daughter who we pulled out of public school to a charter and then have wound up back in public school. It’s not the perfect fit but it’s the best fit we’ve been able to find.

  • comment avatar Lucy April 26, 2017

    This extends for us to not just schooling but even sports. IT’s tough for coaches to find a fit for our non-traditional son.

  • comment avatar Marly April 26, 2017

    I love love love this!

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