My fears for my boys in school


I made a conscious choice when I started this blog not to talk too much about my children. This blog was started so that I could identify my fears and then face up to them. I learned from Gretchen Rubin’s book “Better Than Before” that I am an obliger. I am motivated by external accountability. And I know that working towards intrinsic motivation is important but this is the current state of affairs for me. Writing this blog and hitting publish forces me to reckon and rumble with my demons.

The past few months my anxiety has hit a new peak. I have always wondered whether the traditional education system would be a good fit for my boys, especially my oldest son. And at this moment, I think it is doing more harm than good.

My 9 year old son is equal parts highly sensitive and highly active. His motor skills–especially his fine motor skills–have developed on the slow end of normal. Writing and tying shoes are challenging and incredibly frustrating for him. But he does it, slowly, begrudgingly. His reading skills developed very early (age 2) and he excels at math.

Daniel loves to learn…about things HE is interested in. Before he started school, we would follow his interests. We spent hours studying ants, worms, and spiders. He would chose books from the library about them and we would do various crafts to create these creatures. He was incredibly interested in space and the international space station when Chris Hadfield was the commander. As a family we learned as much as we could to satisfy his curiosity. Now he is fascinated with the federal government and Justin Trudeau…and is frustrated that they are not studying it at school.

Frustrated. Sad. Sometimes angry. Sometimes scared. That is how my son feels every day at school.

He is getting help with writing at Sylvan Learning Centre. He loves it. He said the work is fun and he is able to write about things he is interested in. He looks forward to going there.

There have been so many times that my son has gotten in trouble for writing, talking, or drawing about whatever his current passion happens to be. At age 7 he was asked to draw “a sign of spring.” He drew the Rogers Centre and the Blue Jays because baseball starts in the spring. He was told after that he would receive a zero if he didn’t draw a flower. This school year, his teacher directed him not to talk about his passion for baseball in his “about me” poem. It seems the poem was more about her.

I believe there are many wonderful opportunities in schools. My son loves choir and is excited to finally be allowed to take part in track and field. He loves playing with his friends–who are not in his class–during activity breaks…when he is granted activity breaks. He has been forced to stay in and do work during activity breaks on many occasions. A 9 year old boy, told to sit still all day, with no activity breaks. Is that really in his best interests?

I’m frustrated. I’m scared. I don’t know the answer. And I’m not asking for advice, but I would love to hear other experiences.

I would also love to see this film. And I would love all educators to see this film, too:


4 thoughts on “My fears for my boys in school

  1. I can’t imagine sitting still all day… how anyone could think this benefits any child is baffling. When I was a kid and I had misbehaved, my consequence was to sit on a chair and not move and though it didn’t last long, it was punishment. My jaw hit the floor when I read that Daniel has spent activity breaks inside. As a physio who works exclusively with kids (and the parents of two very active children), reading this broke my heart. I LOVE that he drew the Rogers centre… that is a definite sign of spring for me! Spring=baseball for me too, Daniel. That was probably the most unique perspective and it went unappreciated. Also heartbreaking. If you ask me, my friend, the school is telling him he’s not okay being himself. How can anyone think that’s right?


  2. I hope you feel empowered to go into the school and point out to the teacher when they’ve done things that are stifling as you gave examples of above. How horrible to ask a kid to speak about himself and define how he views the world and then sanction and shame him when he does that.

    Whenever I see a teacher doing these kinds of things I speak out immediately. And I don’t hold my punches. I don’t care if I come off as overbearing or “that parent” because it matters so much. And you won’t be just protecting your own child but helping the teacher see how she can improve herself and her support of children’s self esteem.


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