I recently attended a 4-week baptism class with my youngest. It was a great opportunity to see how my little one responds in a learning situation. Especially since he’s constantly complaining about not wanting to go to school. By the end of the course, I learned that my son is not a typical student and may need a unique classroom to help him reach his full potential.
Let me paint the picture for you. We were sitting in an intimate class setting, basically my youngest and one other child and his dad. As the teacher gave the lesson, she shared information, asks questions and looked for feedback. The other child sat nicely in his chair, giving responses when asked while giving his complete attention to the teacher. My youngest on the other hand started out seated upright, for about 2 whole minutes, then slowly slid down his chair, sometimes appearing upside down in his seat, sometimes on the floor, but always in constant motion. He may have answered the first question, but after that he was completely bored, complaining aloud, “This is soooo boring.” Sometimes his response to the teacher would be a simple grunt or grumble or the defeated words, “I’m dying now, can we go home...”
After what appeared to be a dreadful experience for my son, the teacher then said, “Ok, let’s get a piece of paper and draw what we’re talking about.”
Like a light being switched on, my youngest perked right up and ran to the art supplies. Then in a joyful manner, he drew a stick figure storyboard with a grid of the entire lesson by looking at pictures from his bible.
At the end of the class the boys shared their drawings. The other child presented a sweet drawing of a cross on a hill of grass and blue skies above. Then my son had his turn. In great detail he explained the steps to Jesus’ crucifixion from the point of where Jesus prayed to have it taken from him, to the people yelling at Pilate to crucify Jesus, Pilate’s response and the beatings that followed from the roman soldiers. He then explained how they laughed at Jesus and put a crown of thorns on his head and lead him to the crucifixion. He then finished by sharing how Mary found his empty tomb and Jesus returned.
When he was done talking we all stood with our mouths open, then the other parent looked at me and said, “He has something special, have you ever thought about taking him out of the public classroom and putting him where he’ll thrive?”
(Can I say how much I appreciated this parent’s non-judgemental attitude toward my son! I loved that he didn’t think of my child as a bad kid for not participating well during the lesson, but rather saw that my son had a unique learning style and as he told me, “could do something pretty special someday.”)
Hmmm... It got me wondering. Maybe the reason my son hates school so much is because it doesn’t serve his learning style. I remember even his preschool teacher saying that he seemed to learn differently. While all the class focused on her, he would be doing his own thing in the back of the class, appearing tuned out, but as soon as he was tested, he proved to know all the material, to everyone’s surprise.
So what academic environment does a kid like him thrive in?
Any suggestions? I would love to hear your thoughts!