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I would be very upfront about whether they are willing to provide some level of accommodations for students with learning differences or neurodiversity. Our daughter's private school was not willing to accomodate our son's needs. However, they are willing to work with kids once they are there, for the most part. I've negotiated for more time on assignments, preferred seating (in my daughter's case, she sits on the outside of the classroom so she can stand), and a little more hands on help from the teacher with organization (reminders, checklists, and frequent grade checks). I will admit that I think this would be better implemented at public school but she is very happy there, and we expect 3 B+ and the rest As on her most recent report card that we should get on Friday, so clearly she is doing well academically.We know some other families also receiving accommodations whose children are not thriving academically. That said, some days I feel like my son needs to go to a local 1:1 school that costs $29k per year, but obviously that's a bit unaffordable. Some days I think about doing online K-12 but I know I will be doing him a disservice, just making my life easier. 

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This is what they have in their Admission Inquiry packet. 

Our Early Childhood & Elementary programs accept applications for a wide variety of students, while recognizing our limitations in meeting some highly specialized learning and emotional needs. Our admissions procedure will therefore take into account our ability to accommodate particular students’ needs without disruption to our program. Students who have needs that fall within our ability to accommodate may be accepted with additional stipulations. We are happy to answer all of your questions about this process.

I think Luke is mostly ok once you realize that he's not going to respond to you like a typical child. But he's only 6, so who knows what's in our future. Montessori is very individualized to the student though, so I'm confident that they'll at least be able to accommodate the elementary years. 

We also need to get him back into speech therapy, and that will help immensely. 

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1 hour ago, Cerina said:

This is what they have in their Admission Inquiry packet. 

 

 

I think Luke is mostly ok once you realize that he's not going to respond to you like a typical child. But he's only 6, so who knows what's in our future. Montessori is very individualized to the student though, so I'm confident that they'll at least be able to accommodate the elementary years. 

We also need to get him back into speech therapy, and that will help immensely. 

 Private schools do not have to honor IEP's, FAPE, provide SSPs, etc--they may want you to pick up the tab for those services. 

Montessori is a buzz word--any school can call themselves a Montessori school. Montessori training or certification is not necessary.  Rigor, practices, and scope and sequence vary widely from school to school.  I took over such a school.  Not a single staff member is Montessori certified, including the former principal.  But by god we have hundreds of thousands of dollars of officially licensed (and UBER expensive) Montessori beads and spheres and shit.  We certainly look the part. 

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I'm kind of surprised by that, if only because it seems like someone would be making tons of money off of (or suing for it) being Montessori licensed.

I was a Montessori kid and now you have me doubting it. But we had all those beads!

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And I would definitely contact them/interview/whatever about the specifics of those accommodations. The school my daughter goes to recognized at her interview that she had a speech impediment. They said, "We will take care of that." What they meant by that was they had contracted for a speech therapist to be on site, and she would pull your kid out of class and charge your health insurance (or you, if you didn't have insurance or somehow wasn't in network... but honestly she was in network for just about everyone). They didn't hire a speech therapist, they just let her operate out of their school. They had a support lady that had some sensory suggestions and tools for her, but they weren't willing to take on E's ADHD symptoms or dysgraphia. At his school, they've offered to do speech-to-text but they really don't want to pull the trigger on it because they are concerned he will never learn to write with a pencil or pen if they do (honestly, I think they're right, but I think in a few years we will just have to go for it), so they are going to let him write shitty while providing OT services to hopefully help correct it and let him answer verbally. Q's school would never go for that, it's too much personal attention on one kid.

In other news about Q's school, she has a concussion because some asshole girl shoved her into a pole at recess because her friend has been harassing Q at school, and when the bully put her hand on Q, Q shoved her hand away and bully's friend shoved her face first into the pole. I am livid. The 2 girls just got detention.

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Maria Montessori didn't want to copyright her name or methods. So yeah, a lot of places take advantage. 

The young child center and elementary school guides (teachers) are almost all Montessori educated and credentialed. The younger years seem very Montessori aligned, but it does taper off in middle school and definitely high school. The MS/HS seems to have a Montessori foundation still though.

And actually, their MS/HS guides seem like super interesting people. It kinda makes me want to put Noah in there as well! A lot of them have advanced degrees in their fields, were born or lived extensively abroad (in a variety of countries and continents), and have a lot of relevant but non-educational experience. 

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29 minutes ago, Cerina said:

Maria Montessori didn't want to copyright her name or methods. So yeah, a lot of places take advantage. 

The young child center and elementary school guides (teachers) are almost all Montessori educated and credentialed. The younger years seem very Montessori aligned, but it does taper off in middle school and definitely high school. The MS/HS seems to have a Montessori foundation still though.

And actually, their MS/HS guides seem like super interesting people. It kinda makes me want to put Noah in there as well! A lot of them have advanced degrees in their fields, were born or lived extensively abroad (in a variety of countries and continents), and have a lot of relevant but non-educational experience. 

That sounds awesome! 

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22 hours ago, Destiny Skywalker said:

I'm kind of surprised by that, if only because it seems like someone would be making tons of money off of (or suing for it) being Montessori licensed.

I was a Montessori kid and now you have me doubting it. But we had all those beads!

There are different Montessori accreditation programs that carry some weight.  A teacher getting a full Montessori certification takes YEARS and thousands of dollars.  However,  Montessori certification isn't too valuable outside of Montessori programs.  Don't get me wrong, if you are a primary teacher and have it on your resume, it stands out...but not like National Board Certification or a masters which require similar cost and time.  Generally speaking, private schools pay way less than public schools and since the majority of Montessori schools are private (for very good reasons), going all-in on full certification isn't the best investment unless you are all in on Montessori education.  While it is not a HUGE deal not to be Montessori certified because of these barriers, it is a HUGE deal to be fully certified because that process is often funded by the school meaning they have a sustainable model and culture in place.

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With everything going on, I didn’t have it in me to plan an activity for my Scouts, so I did a printable escape room for kids from Etsy. It was a huge success, and the boys really enjoyed it. One of the mom’s actually thanked me for doing it. So that was good. I had to print and cut and hide stuff, but it was still pretty low work with a high payoff. I just need to figure out how to make it work for both sets of boys to work towards belt loops.

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Thats always super fun when they have a great meeting. When we did Doodle Bots my girls had the best time ever.

Tried looking into Camp Fire as an option for E, but the only club meets too far away. Guess I better figure it out with Cub Scouts.

We had a loooong 2 hour meeting for E last week for his 3-year evaluation. They did a very thorough investigation, which I really appreciated, but I did have to do a little bit of advocating to remove bias from some of the wording, and the team agreed that my suggestions better described his struggles. It sounds like his behavior intervention program provides a lot of structure that he really needs but ultimately is not the right place because he can self-calm and isn't violent, and they realize that a 3-6 classroom would actually be potentially unsafe. He just needs a TON of reminders to stay on task. So they are looking at either the social communication program he got kicked out of or whether or not the local elementary school has an adequate resource program. They won't send him back to the school he went to originally, apparently they let slip that that program is full and has too many kids as is (now I'm understanding why he got kicked out). So the school will still be really far away, unfortunately. But I guess I would rather deal with that then back to the original school.

Q also attended a lacrosse clinic and loved it. Turns out we know a local family that does it and their daughter offered to mentor Q. Also turns out the girl is one of the top 18 players in the area. Q is so excited to have a lacrosse "big sister". This is such a better environment than the old soccer team.

Now to bring it full circle, the teacher that kicked E out of the social communication program has a daughter on Q's team. Crap. I am going to have to smile and be nice. I'm glad I only reamed out the principal when this all went down. 

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Alright I have a parenting question sort of:

Mr Skywalker posed an interesting question to me. We are on the waitlist for an electric Ford F-150, but we don't think we are getting the truck until 2023 based on production numbers. He has a 2013 Volvo S60 (small 4-door sedan). He pointed out that Q will be able to drive in 2027. Should we keep it for 4 years or just trade it in? It is in good shape, probably less than 70k miles on it, and the biggest problem is the electronic door locks are a little finicky.

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I know, I was thinking we would have to drive it at least once or twice a week to work or something to keep it active.

I'm also thinking that car tabs are $500 a year now instead of $100 at our old house. Plus we would have to drop all but basic insurance on it (honestly it might be time to do that anyway).

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We are starting a new kind of therapy for E in a few weeks. He is still not getting much OT because his therapist left in December to move across the country to be closer to family. I had hoped OT would help him better manage but it feels like he does great in the moment but its not really sticking outside of therapy. Some areas he does really well with (zones of regulation). Our former neighbor mentioned Handle therapy to us a few years ago and it seemed a little out there, but for some reason I started looking more into it and called for a quick phone consult. After a quick background (like literally 15 seconds of my kid has ADHD and vision issues), she started talking about reflexes and this sounds like this might be what is going on with E. Basically his nervous system is on fire because of these retained reflexes that should've gone away as a baby. He seemed a little underdeveloped neurologically as a newborn so I think this might make sense. But as she was describing the difficulty that these people have and it was like she was describing E without even knowing him.

I am really excited and hopeful for this therapy. It seems safe and like it might really help. I mean, he's still going to have ADHD, we have enough information about him that we are pretty sure that he has it in addition to these retained reflexes. But maybe it will help him to not be in sensory overload all of the time.

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Sigh, a little bit of stress. The district SpEd department called us Monday to let us know that they misspoke and would not be able to bus E to another school for the social-communication program because there aren't enough drivers and no route that serves our neighborhood to one of the alternate schools. Our only choice would be to go back to the program with the teachers that kicked him out. We talked a lot the last few days about alternatives. However, his IEP meeting went amazingly well and it turns out he is doing even better than I thought. He is starting to make friends with classmates and they are backing off a little in paraeducator support, and it's actually been successful. He is in general education over 40% of the time now, and they are continuing to increase that. One of the best notes was from the PE teacher who said E is actually more engaged when he is with a general education group than with the small group.. Everyone agreed the behavior program for grades 3-6 is not the appropriate placement. There's actually a little bit of hope that he might be able to attend our local school and utilize a resource room for SEL but it would be much more limited than his current level of support. Everyone agreed that he has made such a huge jump in just the last month that we need to delay any placement decisions for at least 2 more months, with a final decision in May.

I am still worried, though. My trust is pretty much broken with the original school. The SpEd director totally threw them under the bus and blamed the pandemic and a new principal and then acted like it should all be better now. (Also zero admission on her behalf on how I'm pretty sure she blew up that whole situation too.) At this point I think we just hope he continues to do well. I warned them that we cannot let him crash and burn again like they did to him in September.

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  • 3 weeks later...

We have to put Luke into school. With both of us working and Noah busy with his own schoolwork all day, Luke's been spending most days practically alone. He's been spending most of that time on screens. It's not fair for him or good for him. So we've been looking into alternatives. I've found several private schools that I'd like to put him in, but we wouldn't be able to get him in anywhere before the fall. Plus, we can't afford to spend that much until my business picks up and we buy this house. So public school it is. 

I'm not thrilled about this whole situation, but I'm dealing with it. With spring break and our anniversary cruise both coming up back-to-back, he won't be able to start until the last week of the month. So I guess he'll get 2 months of kindergarten before summer break. 

I'm also nervous about him being back in school. Academically, he's just fine, but I don't believe a gen ed classroom is best for him to start in. He's likely going to need services. His test scores from when we had him tested for PPCD are still valid (I think, I'm pretty sure they said 3 years), and those will qualify him for everything. So that might be good as I doubt there's enough time left in this school year for him to be retested. 

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Yes, you should have 3 years from the evaluation date. Register him and let them know he has an IEP to transfer. Shoot, might want to call them now and let them know he will be starting on x date to give them time to get ready and decide on placement. On the other hand, he might do ok, Kindergarten is usually the most laid back environment and getting them into gen ed earlier is usually desirable unless there are severe academic delays.

Somehow E's Rx refill did not go through and he has 1 pill left, and its the weekend. Let's just say its not going well. I am saving that pill for Monday because he cannot go to school unmedicated. I may have screamed and cried in the car after trying a 3rd pharmacy to see if it had been sent there by accident.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So we have 3 Cub Scout packs within a 2 mile radius. No one will return my emails asking when they meet and can we check them out. I don't care about advancement, I just want him to try something and maybe make a friend. He has 2 at school right now. That's 1 more than he has ever had at once. We signed him up for a soccer program through Q's soccer club for kids with ASD and developmental delays. I intended to coach/assist but probably need to switch off with Mr. Skywalker or miss weeks because Q has lacrosse games at the same time a few weeks, and with all the background checks and other nonsense, it didn't make sense. If they are desperate I will do it and tell them I can't always make it. He is doing great at school, though. The last 3 days in a row have been "perfect" days.

Q started lacrosse and is super excited about it. I like that this is essentially a recreational sport so that no one gets cut but also becomes a legitimate high school sport. She wants to do everything (musical, skiing, choir, lacrosse, soccer, Girl Scouts). I like that this allows her to be as serious as she wants without committing her entire life to it like soccer expects. I've been contemplating lately how truly bizarre soccer is compared to other sports in that it expects complete and total commitment year-round. Most other sports aren't like this, they accept that they have a "season" and that you are allowed a life outside of it. All the other parents whose kids play at this level have all accepted it, I feel like I am the only one who is questioning whether this is healthy. I think that probably means that she needs to drop to the next "tier", but she still wants to be the best. At everything. My husband is what I would consider athletically gifted, he was just plain good at everything up until about age 30. I was the most athletic girl in my grade at her age, she reminds me of myself so much, but she's even better than I was. She has that DNA. I am admittedly very much hoping she falls in love with another sport other than soccer because it has caused so much anxiety, and I'm just tired of seeing how much anguish it causes her and how much it also holds her back. She DESTROYED her lacrosse team in sprints at her first practice (coach's daughter had a fit, that is another funny story). I haven't seen her run that fast since she tried out for her elite team. I told her that I haven't seen her that free in years, and that she is capable of so much more than she realizes.

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The focus on soccer is 100% unhealthy, and I would argue destructive. Either your a top tier player by the time you’re 7 or you’re completely worthless. There’s no in-between, even in leagues that are supposed to be less competitive. But there’s a degree of it in other sports as well. Our kids did basketball and they subbed kids out, which was great, but the 1-2 really good kids on each team played every minute of every game, because the coaches want to win more than they want to teach 6 year olds how to play and have fun.

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  • 1 month later...

Well...we just got our first high school level curriculum. High school.

And it's a writing curriculum. I never thought that the first subject we'd reach high school level in would be writing, but here we are. 

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That's awesome! Did Luke start school yet or did plans change?

Q has mostly been playing lacrosse. She is an amazing defender it turns out, and her team is actually quite good. Her amazing soccer coach is unfortunately not returning because he has a day job and got a promotion that requires a lot of travel and does not allow for a consistent schedule like he knows the girls need. I am still waiting to see who the coach is for her age group. She actually did sound intrigued by playing for a team that takes spring off. She actually has lots of choices the next tier down,  which is a change from even a year ago. She agreed that she will make a decision after she knows who her coach would be at her current club. The old club gave the awful psycho coach the team again, so she will not return there, even though they have lost 3 more players and she could easily make the team again.

E is doing really well at school, but they are hesitant to drop the paraeducator entirely but have pulled back on her support. That said, he is scoring very well on daily points. The soccer program is perfect for him, and it turns out they have a ton of volunteers because high school students need volunteer hours. His helper is a boy who is the starting GK at our local high school and plays for Q's former club. He is very fond of E and his mom told me her son was upset when they were running late the 2nd week because he was worried E would get a new helper assigned. He also tried karate which was NOT a good match. We signed up for a 7-week session and we are going to get through it and be done. He is so excited so he has a very hard time staying still but also is very uncoordinated because he has dyspraxia. He just cannot mimic a lot of the moves. Its like his brain cannot watch and follow along, and I'm not even sure its because of attention. He just seems confused. I also found a horseback riding places for neurodiverse kids. He expressed an interest in riding a horse, the lady said she was happy to do a one-time lesson to see if he likes it and then she has a half day summer camp if he really likes it. Unfortunately I don't think he is going to be an athlete but I would like him to have a physical outlet for his energy. I guess we stick with the soccer program for now when it is offered (usually twice a year for 2 months at a time).

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We're going to enroll Luke in the fall. I talked myself out of enrolling him at the end of this year because I think it's too much change too quickly. But that's probably just an excuse on my part. 

A few months ago my sister and BIL bought a new house. They're not renting their old house to my mom and grandparents (because we had to move my grandparents here from Houston and they're doing SO MUCH BETTER NOW). Anyway, my sister had chosen their old house because the school it's zoned to is one of the highest rated in Central Texas. She's probably going to use their old address if they decide to put my niece in public school. She's only 2.5 and they're loaded, so their options are wide open right now. My brother is also thinking about using my mom's address to enroll my nephew in pre-k next year, so now I'm wondering if we should be thinking about doing the same. It's about a 45 minute drive from our house, but it also seems like some of the best full-time job opportunities are also up north so it might be worth looking into. Then the kids could go to my mom's after school and my grandparents can help keep an eye on them for a few hours, which will probably be good for my grandparents as well. But I don't know. And I just hate public schools in general. 

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45 minute drive seems like a pain in the ass unless you are working there, too. Heck, Q's school is a 20-25 minute drive and I'm over it right now. I probably need to go back in the office once she starts back in the fall. I dont want to establish that now and then have to beg off for wfh days in the summer. E's school is about 15-20 minutes away and I find it completely ridiculous that they sent him so far away, but apparently they are the only school with that program.

I do agree it would be hard to start this late in the school year, but it might be a good way to check out the local school and see if its a hot mess? It might surprise you. I feel like a lot of grumpy old people are retiring from education lately and I'm hoping that effects some change in the public school system.

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