Michael was accepted into a middle school program that essentially diverts him off the standard public school pathway and instead places him in an exploratory environment. We think this is going to be a really good fit for him for a number of reasons.
First of all, his natural learning style is doing. We've always said Michael is a verb, and he must DO in order to BE. His is not a mind that can simply listen to a lecture and absorb content adequately. For him, it needs to be tactile. It needs to be experiential. It needs to be entirely involving of all of his senses (except taste, perhaps - nobody needs to taste school).
Also, we are hoping that with a fresh start in a new environment, he'll be able to shed some of the stigma he's had heaped upon him during his years in elementary school. His small stature (no kid in his fifth grade class ever believed he was actually 12 years old) and his unique personality have unfortunately made him an easy target for bullies, most of whom we know would have followed him into the middle school he was slated to attend.
And, because this program is an option school requiring an entry application, we are hoping that most other kids there will be less inclined to bully and more desirous of exploratory learning. And most if not all the kids will never have met Michael before.
So without the oppression of bullies and with the cloak of some anonymity, we are hoping he is able to develop his social skills to the point where he can easily integrate with his class.
Unfortunately summer has been fraught with some difficulty. An incident on the summer school bus a few weeks back led to Michael being grounded from his electronic devices.
He has earned them back, but other challenges have arisen making parenting even more of a chore. There have been times in just the last few days where I have been extremely tempted to lose my temper and just go dukes.
Michael is a typical kid in many respects, and girls and boys alike must slog through their teen years in their own way. And even though they would never want to admit it, they know they need someone to help guide them through. They need the direction, they need the encouragement, and they need the strength of a parent saying "no - and that's final" some times.
Just looking at the barometer and watching the sails unfurl, I can already tell we're in for some choppy seas.
His mom and I have handled a rudder or two before, though in our cases it was separately and alone.
So even though it means a lot of work, at least this go-around we know it will be teamwork, and we will get through it.