Now that my brain appears to be ready to put words together into coherent sentences again, I can start posting again.
Yesterday, I got a call from Alex's school. He wasn't precisely sick, at least not by the standards of the Board of Education, but he wasn't really well enough to have a productive day. They couldn't officially ask me to take him home but they wanted to ask me to take him home.
Now, this was a tricky decision for me. On the one hand, if he's not doing well, then there's no point in forcing him to continue at school. He's not going to do well or learn anything. On the other hand, I do not want to encourage an association between non-compliance and getting to come home.
I was frank with his teacher: I was willing to come get him but only if we could make sure he didn't think he was being rewarded for "bad" behaviour. The teacher agreed and we worked out a plan. Since his school is close, she would call when he'd had a good period and then I would come in and get him.
It worked. He complied with an activity and then his teacher asked if he would like to go home. He said he would and the call was made. I came and got him, we went home and had a quiet afternoon.
I'm pleased with the cooperation between the school and our family. So often, we hear of teachers and principals working against the families but my experience has mostly been positive.