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.