Originally Posted By: cricket3
On this site, you will see (our used to see) lots of references to least-worst options. This is what people mean. For each kid and family it will be different, and will be a fluid process as well.


When I first found this website 9 years ago I was looking to support a different child. "Least Worst" resonated profoundly with me back then. And was actually quite a useful tool in negotiating a single skip for that child...

When school staff would ask variations on the theme of "Do you think that is a good idea?.. What if..?"

I would say "Well no, I am not sure it's a good idea, but in this situation that we are talking about, there are not good choices, only the least worst option, and this seems to be it."

Usually this would lead to blinking and mumbling and a complete inability to respond. It was never clear whether this meant that they agreed or were simply unable to devise a counter offer of what else might be the least worst thing.

Part of their problem would have been that I had just aligned myself with the school in agreeing with them that my proposal was not necessarily appealing, certain to succeed, or a marvelous idea, and yet I was still firmly proposing it. I had also effectively framed the current situation as WORSE than this "least worst" proposal. Acceleration was not "good" it was "the least worst thing" I could think of and the ball was in their court to come up with some other solution that was less bad than the current situation OR acceleration. I would then follow this up with all the ways I had already devised to reverse the skip later, should that be needed.

I have also used this phrase years down the track to shut down unhelpful reflections by school staff on that past grade skip and it's possible down sides. "Least Worst" has immediately refocused them on the reality that nothing is perfect and we would have been sitting there, but discussing WORSE problems without the acceleration.

I had never stopped and considered how useful this phrase has been to me, it wasn't a consciously executed plan to manipulate school staff. Rather, I had a rather sudden realization when reading Cricket3's post, as all of our more successful moments from meetings related to acceleration have coalesced in my mind.


Originally Posted By: cricket3

...found some relief through some extracurricular activities that were much more engaging than anything offered or available through the curriculum. It was a compromise, for sure, but one we made with awareness and thought, based on many factors. And I still have regrets and second thoughts, and probably always will. Because there is no perfect path, you do the best you can with what you have.

Given all that, we are remarkably lucky overall. My DD is thriving in college, with a couple of wildly divergent career/life pathways ahead of her, and my DS is finishing his senior year of HS, with some exciting decisions and opportunities ahead of him. Education is a lifelong process, and they are ready to take over and continue the journey.


I too now have one at uni, and I can't really look back and see that we could have done anything differently. It was a long hard road of negotiating and advocating that really only proved to have been successful/worthwhile in the final year of schooling and subsequent progression to an undergraduate degree that is exactly right fit for them.

I have one in highschool, with a single acceleration, and regrets that we didn't do things differently. Extra curricular activities "saved" this child, possibly quite literally, they were so shut down and closed off. Their extracurricular strength has lead first to becoming more themselves again, then a scholarship at an elite private school, and most recently to entrance to a highly selective specialist high school in their area of interest, their currently placement fairly much guarantees a tertiary placement in that area (unless they massively screw up). This is a good thing, not only because they love the path they are on, but also because I am not sure that academics will ever fully recover from our not finding them a better solution through the first 6-7 years of schooling. If academics do recover it is only like to be post secondary schooling, if some new opportunity provides the interest and motivation. In many ways this child, who we have regrets about not doing more for academically, who is significantly underachieving academically, is our only child where we can say their current educational situation is the best possible placement we can imagine for them. It's NOT the least worst thing we could do, it's the very best path they could forge for themselves. Sometimes the path forward is utterly unexpected.

And then there is the child that has brought me back to this group more recently, they are currently homeschooled, recovering from 5.5 yrs of schooling that we have deep, deep regrets about. This was our child we thought would be "easy" to school, would fly through school and be socially and academically successful, and instead has been so harmed by the system and our failure to do enough (soon enough). Of all of our children we feel this one "needs" all the things that people use as arguments about why schools are better than homeschooling... by homeschooling we helping them heal and get what they need academically, but we are currently in the "least worst" scenario for this one too.



Edited by MumOfThree (02/29/20 03:38 PM)