Thursday, November 15, 2012

Wish us luck.

It takes a lot of courage to start a new school in a new land with a new language and then to do it again in two months will take even more courage.

If you had asked me 2 weeks ago how Connor was doing I would have said great! He is saying lots of Dutch words at home, not complete sentences but animal words, numbers, a few colors, yes, no, please and thank you etc. He seemed like he was happy with the children at school and we were even having a few playdates with Dutch speaking classmates.

But things were not as they appeared. Apparently he was struggling a lot at school and one night at dinner he said “why does no one like me? The boys all push me & hit me & step on my hands”. Well rip a mother’s heart out! I just held him and cried right there at the dinner table. After further discussion Chris and I think that the boys at school AND Connor are doing Karate moves on each other. One little boy in his class shows the kids his Karate moves and they start play fighting. I don’t think it would be a big deal but because of the language barrier Connor is getting upset (even though he is doing it too as I’ve seen it myself). Then the same week we had a very concerning parent teacher conference.  So now we are considering moving Connor to an International School.  

When we moved to the Netherlands in August we were very enthusiastic about putting Connor in a Dutch public school and all of us learning Dutch and integrating into the Dutch community. We had heard the primary school close to our home was a great school. My thought was school will teach him Dutch and at home I will work on teaching him to read and write in English. Well things are not working out the way I had thought. We are spending lots of time at home on trying to learn Dutch and no time on English. There are only so many hours in a day. Also less than 3 months into the school year and his main teacher quit and the other teacher is set to leave in December. Not a great way to start the year. Then at Connor’s parent teacher conference they informed me that they cannot ask him to do things because of the language barrier so he just plays most of the time. They had nothing to show me except 2 sentences from the teacher who quit. “Connor is a polite & quite boy. The Dutch language is very difficult but he is trying hard”.  It was very disheartening to think he is just playing all day and not really learning much. Unfortunately the school cannot give him the help that he needs. So we have hired a tutor who is great but very expensive. It’s a big investment for a language that after we move he may never use again. If it were French or Spanish that would be something else because those languages are used around the world. And in the long run English is the language that will prove most useful throughout his life and therefore should be his strongest language. So it looks like Connor is international school bound. He is not happy about it. Even though he said the other kids are mean to him he says they are his friends and he doesn’t want to have to start all over and make all new friends again. Poor little guy. I know he will be ok but man is it hard as a parent to watch your little one go through such a difficult time. And as you can imagine he is acting out at home which doesn’t make this any easier on mom.

We looked at one international school this morning and will hopefully look at another by the end of the week. Wish us luck & courage. We need it.


  1. Laurie,
    I just saw your post because it was a public one on fb.... I have a childhood friend who just moved to the Netherlands this summer for about a year or so - her husband is Dutch. They have two young kids as well (about 4 and 6) and I know they've been going through all kinds of struggles as well. They are *not* in Amsterdam (not sure where you are either). Please message me on fb if you want to get in touch with her. It might help to find out what someone else is going through.
    ~Hilary Long (from PEP)

  2. Laurie,
    What a difficult time this must be. Thinking of you and wishing you luck! What a gret mom you are!!

    Nikki Greene

  3. Oh Laurie!

    I was so sad reading this post. Much luck with the next school. I know Connor will find his groove soon!

  4. Oh man, that's a tough one. Go with your gut. You know what is best for your children. He will thrive either way you go. You are supported no matter what your decision. Connor is so loved, I know he will be just fine. Good Luck with it all. Feel for you guys.
    xo Terri

    1. Thank you Terri. I appreciate your comment.

  5. Oh Laurie and Chris! I know this is all breaking your heart. You are so devoted to Connor and his self esteem and success in life that I know this comes as a blow. I know this new school will be a great fit -- I just know it. You are brave -- brave for doing what you are doing and brave for sharing it with all of us. Miss and love you tons!

    1. Victoria, Thank you for your support. He starts the Int. School next week. I think he is going to love it! He is a very brave and resilient little boy.
      We miss you a ton as well! Especially this time of year with all the holidays.
      Love you!


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