Courage: An Update on Our 4th Grade Year & New School

We are almost six weeks into A.J.’s 4th grade school year and finally, I think we have hit a groove.

You may remember when I shared his horrible public school experience in 3rd grade where he was bullied by a teacher. Throughout the school year, our efforts to advocate for him (and his entire 3rd-grade class) were fruitless and I was burdened with horrible “mom guilt.”

Since A.J.’s grades and standardized test scores qualified for a magnet school for 4th grade that’s closer to our house,  it seemed like the logical fit. He was apprehensive to make the switch though. Imagine leaving the school you’ve known for three years, including classmates you’ve known since pre-k to –  start all over with kids you don’t know. One step we took to help calm his anxiety was asking if he could “shadow” a friend’s son at the new school for a few days in May, as a preview of what he’d experience in August when he entered as a 4th grader.

Disclosure: I’m excited to partner with author T.A. Barron for this conversation.

Collage of A.J.

Now here we are, well into the first semester of 4th grade and we’re still adjusting.

Is his new school a good fit for him? Yes.

Is he finally liking school? Yes.

Is he excited to go to school most Monday mornings? Yes.

Has A.J. stopped complaining about school entirely? No. I think he’ll always have a slight issue with public school and classmates who don’t “get him.”

I’ve had a few Sunday nights at bedtime where I was shocked to hear him say, “Mama, I’m looking forward to school in the morning.”

Then this week when he told his Dad about their social studies homework, A.J. delightfully shared “This is the first time I’ve been in a class where we move through the coursework quickly vs. so much review.”

Those last two statements were such a relief for me. I think I’m finally getting a grasp on the mom guilt burden I felt about keeping him in his old school.

One takeaway we all have from this experience: COURAGE

Courage is one of the seven magical words featured in “The Wisdom of Merlin: 7 Magical Words for a Meaningful Life” by New York Times bestselling author of the Merlin Saga, T.A. Barron. Do you remember Merlin the wizard from Disney?

COURAGE is what helped me document every misstep and indiscretion by his former teacher.

COURAGE is what A.J. needed to be open to experience a new school.

COURAGE is what we’ll need to not be dismayed by any stumbling blocks we find at the new school.

T.A. Barron crafted this important reminder about COURAGE on his blog.

There are six more magical words Merlin uses in the T.A. Barron-authored book.

7 Magical Words








LOVE – The word that inspires all the rest.

To me, all of these words represent what parents and children go through on their journey to growing up together.

TALKBACK TO ME BELOW: How do these words relate to what your family is experiencing this school year?

Follow @TABarronAuthor on Twitter@TaBarronAuthor on Instagram

About Joyce Brewer

Creator & Host of Mommy Talk Show. Emmy award-winning TV journalist.Wife & Mommy; Mom Blogger; Social Media Coach; Long Island, New York transplant living in Atlanta, GA. Follow Joyce on Twitter @MommyTalkShow Author of Use What You Know: A Business Idea Guide for Moms featuring interviews with mompreneurs who created businesses using their skills & backgrounds.

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  1. Glad to hear this update and bet you as parents can let out a sigh of relief. The word that stands out to me is Love. My daughter loves school and her bookbag is pink, with sparkles and says the word Love. Her matching lunchbox has a heart on it. I guess it is a good reminder no matter where she goes in life , school or otherwise, she will always have love for herself and from us as parents.

  2. Courage is so important in those early years of life. More students need to have not only the courage to be themselves, but to stand up for others who are being knocked down.

  3. So happy for your family. It’s important that you all feel confident in his learning expeirence and I know it’s frustrating when you can’t get a school on board with you and your student educational goals. Good for him in recognizing what he likes about school nd the difference in where he was and where he is now. Here’s to much success this year and the years to come.

  4. So happy for your adorable son! (Did I mention adorable?!) We, too had our share of teachers-who-should-really-choose-a-different-vocation. One, in particular, was downright cruel to my son and his only friend. And the most heartbreaking part? My son kept trying to defend her. ‘She’s getting better, Mom!’ he’d say in his little-boy voice. I look back now and realize how ignorant I really was. I didn’t push back at all. I kept trying to befriend the wretched woman. Love conquers all, right? Not always… But courage carries us through and beyond.

  5. God Bless You and A.J and the family as you continue along this journey – STAY enCOURAGED!

  6. That’s so great he is thriving in this new school. Obviously it’s a better for for hi. And bullied by a teacher? That’s inexcusable!