Wednesday, August 23, 2006

School worries

My 6 year old is an incredible reader. He can read things like The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe out loud, with feeling, and understand what it is that he's read. I thought my 9 year old was an awesome reader when she was reading chapter books at the end of kindergarten, but he is way better than she was at his age. The difference between the two of them is that she is the child who comes home from school and gets disappointed when she's done with her homework because she wants more. She is the child who on the second day of summer break asks how many days until school starts? She is the child who does well with rules. He is not that child. He is the child who would rather wrestle with his friend than listen to what the teacher has to say. He is the child who on the bus sits with his head where his feet should be and feet where his head should be, just because he knows he's not supposed to and the bus driver can't see him. His kindergarten teacher suggested that he needed at atmosphere that was more structured and disciplined, otherwise he'd never get done what he needed to get done. Sometimes I think he got that gene from his father's side of the family (I hear rumors that my husband was a lot like that in school, and his other two sons are definitely the class clowns,) sometimes I think it's the effect that not having a father around is having on him. I don't know.

So here we are in 1st grade, a month has gone by, and my sweet boy is struggling. Because he's such an incredible reader, they put him in a 2nd grade reading class. The problem is that while he reads like a 2nd (or 3rd) grader, he doesn't spell like one. They've got him bringing home 20 spelling words a week with some hard words on there. Before this year, he'd never seen a spelling list in his life! And he doesn't get some of the more advanced concepts, like alphabetizing, like they have the 2nd graders doing. He comes home on a daily basis and says "I don't think I'm ready for a 2nd grade reading class," and "I hate being in a 2nd grade reading class, they expect me to know things I don't." I'm all for challenging kids to do their best, but I'm not for asking a kid to dive when they don't even know how to swim.

I've emailed his teacher, so I'll wait to hear back from her before I start worrying too much. But sometimes I really hate being the only one here to make the decisions for my kids.

Update: I heard back from my son's teacher teacher, and she and my son's reading teacher agree with me. They are putting him in the 1st grade class tomorrow. I'm relieved :)


Barb said...

I'm new to your blog. I wanted to thank you for stopping by mine yesterday. And I'm putting my two cents in here on this post.

My daughter is a third grade teacher so I totally know what you're talking about here. Whe she started teaching last year I was completely amazed at the standards required for 8 year olds. Even she was a little shocked at the levels expected of kids this age.

If I were you, I'd insist he be taken out of that advanced reading class for a while, at least until he seems more ready for it. I really don't think it's helping him if he comes home feeling overwhelmed every day. And the worst thing that could happen would be if he started not liking school because of that class.

Just my opinion but honestly, I wouldn't let them put that pressure on my 7 year old.

Connie said...

Thanks so much Barb! I got an email back from his teacher today, and as of tomorrow, they are putting him in the first grade reading class.

I'm so relieved, and I think he will be too.

I've been a little surprised at some of the things they require kids to do at this school - alphabetizing in 2nd grade seems like a little much to me, and when my 9 year old was in 2nd grade, they had them memorizing states and their capitols. Seemed like a waste of time to me to rote memorization in 2nd grade when when there are so many other things they could be spending time on. But overall it's a good school, and those are hard to come by here unfortunately.