The other day I wrote about shedding the labels others put on you and learning to Identify Yourself. Little did I know how timely it was because I had a conversation with some moms today that really got me…heated. Every so often I get a glimpse into what others are experiencing with their children and it just makes me ache inside. I am a Homeschooler, and although I don’t believe there is a clear cut answer for how everyone should educate their children, I believe other options need to be explored when there are definite issues with the current state of affairs.
One of the moms in my school has two other children in public school as she sorts out what is best for her family. Of the two children that are with us, the eldest was being tested for remedial track (“special ed”) and being told that he needed extra attention. Mom responded to this by deciding to Homeschool, and let me tell you – this kid is so super bright. He loves to learn, started last week and has already caught up with everyone, and is such a delight in class. Now one of the sons that she has left in public school is being told the same thing (remedial track), and she doesn’t know what to do.
I have another friend whose son was diagnosed at school with mild autism. She brought him to his pediatrician, who said the child does not have autism. Now she needs to pay lawyers to get the school to strike it off his record and put him back in regular classes. She is considering Homeschooling as well.
What we need to understand is that these instances are not rare. Schools get funding for children in these special programs. When was the last time you saw remedial classes in private school? Statistically the vast majority of children in these special ed classes are minority boys. That label sticks for life (without a renewed mind and purposeful self development). Once a child is marked in this way, the tendency is to lose interest in learning and rarely even graduate. There are some children who really do have special needs, but a great amount of the kids being tracked into these remedial classes should not be there. Most of them have just never been challenged or expected to perform.
So what should you do if your child is being singled out in this manner?
1. Know your rights. You are the parent, and you have every right to decide what is best for your child. Authorities will try to pressure you into signing all kinds of papers that state that your child is not up to par. Don’t do it. Do not allow your child to be tracked into a lower class of any sort. It will not help. It will only serve to label and limit them for their entire grade school experience and beyond.
2. Speak life affirming words over your child. You as a parent have the greatest amount of authority and influence over your child. Do not come into agreement with negative words over your child. Speak blessing over them, not curses. Let them know that they have the mind of Christ, and can do all things through Christ who strengthens them. Do not compare them to other children, but let them express who they are.
3. Have a hands-on approach. Too many parents put the entire future of their child in the school’s hands. They think it’s someone else’s job to educate their child and make sure they are properly equipped for adulthood. While someone may get paid to assist in this process, the responsibility is ultimately on the parents. Take an active role in your child’s upbringing. Find out how they learn best, instill a strong work ethic, and supplement where needed.
3. Pray. I’m serious about this one. Each and every child has gifts, talents, and purpose that may not show up favorably on a test or report card initially. This does not mean the child is unintelligent, lazy, a trouble-maker, or slow learner. If your child is being labeled this way at school, pray and ask God what your best options are for education. He will surely provide a way of escape.
Children have been placed on tracks based on perceived abilities since the 50s. It’s not anything new. We have ample evidence to support the potential lifelong damage it does to a person who is placed on these low tracks; and I would even argue to children placed on advanced tracks like I was – but that’s another story. Bottom line, don’t let anyone tell you your child is remedial. Follow the steps above and you will see a tremendous turn around in them, and how they are perceived.