We play classical music to our unborn child because it might make them smarter.
We buy them black and white toys as infants for increased visual stimulation.
We put our kids in Mommy and Me class for socialization.
Who knows if the “experts” are correct, but sometimes as a parent, you will have to throw out the “expert” info and make a decision based on your Mommy Gut (no pun intended).
Mo spent K, 1st and 2nd grade at an amazing Elementary School. It was tops in test scores and had a wonderful family community.
He loved it and did well. However, around the end of 2nd grade, I noticed he started acting a little detached. When I picked him up from after school he’d be sitting alone bouncing a basketball. When I asked about school and his friends he’d get defensive or angry.
He brushed off my questions saying he was tired, but I knew something wasn’t right.
I continued to monitor him and noticed how his once eager to get to school attitude had changed into apathy, frustration, and slight aggression.
Initially I thought, “whoa, he just doesn’t like school, this is gonna be a long 10 years.” Then I realized it was something else.
Mo was a multiracial child at a predominantly white school and at 7 he began to notice his differences.
Having grown up multiracial in the South, the issue of race and upbringing has always been a concern for my raising the boys.
I wasn’t expecting him to notice at such an early age. He did, but he didn’t know how to express his discomfort to me initially.
He finally said, “No one else at my school knows who 50 Cent is”.
Right then, I knew exactly what it was.
Mo felt like he didn’t belong.
It was deeper than 50 Cent (but hey, come on, who doesn’t know who 50 Cent is?!). It was the general feeling that no one understood him or related to him.
In that moment, the school’s high Star rating, test scores, and amazing teachers didn’t matter. Those elements couldn’t fix my issue.
Mo wanted to be around kids that physically, socially, and culturally related to him.
Mo is currently thriving at a different, more diverse Elementary School. It is filled with an abundance of children that he can relate to on so many different levels (plus tons of kids who love 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, AND 2 Chainz).
Hopefully, now that he is comfortable with being himself and his environment, he can continue to thrive at school and be focused more on his education and less on being accepted.
I’m sure the confidence and skills he acquired at his previous school helped to ease the transition as well.
Education and statistics are important when considering school placement, but there are also intangible factors to consider as well. Initially I was hesitant to leave a school that was so high in rankings, then I realized a child’s success doesn’t happen just because it’s a GOOD school, it also has to be a GOOD FIT.
I remember that feeling of just wanting other kids to like you, or notice you, or just to be your friend.
I’m proud Mo was able to communicate his feelings of discomfort. Starting over at a new school isn’t easy and took a lot of courage on his part.
As parents, we’re constantly learning and I’m still learning to trust my Mother’s Intuition. But, sometimes you have to throw out what looks good on paper and go with what feels good in your heart.