NEED HELP

Karen - posted on 04/12/2010 ( 72 moms have responded )

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I know this is long, but it's important for it to be. Ok, so my oldest son started K this year and I had NO idea about the no child left behind act. his school's curriculim is hard! They didn't tell me that he would have to know how to write, read and add by the middle of the year until the may before school started. He never wanted to learn abc's 123's as a toddler. The flash cards say not to push them. I fugured he'd learn it all in K. So, I have been trying EVERYTHING to help him and the school says he is far behind. During an evaluation by his teacher ...60% is what I call their "D" and he is at 15%. (he knew more than what he told during that test because I have seen him do a lot at home of what they wanted him to do on the test). They overload him at school so he rebells by playing "dumb" for say. The point is..they want to label him with a learning dissablility. But I found an article on greatschools.org stating that as long as a child is learning the "benchmarks" you should just wait and see. He has learned all the benchmarks wich include abc's and letter sounds, counting. Fine motor skills such as learning to copy words, cut paper into shapes, begin to read simple words, able to understand stories. It says they should know how to read 100 sight words by then end of FIRST grade. His school wants him to know that by the end of K. Their scores on their state assesment tests are very low, so I'm worried they are wanting to toss him in special ed to be on the safe side (save their butts from having to help him or to get special funding off of him due to this nclb stuff). Any advice, information or just oppinion would be greatly appreciated. (I'd prefer no comments about adhd or add. Every boyfriend I had growing up had one or both. One I got to observe for several years. The only difference was that he was tired during school season. i have done research as well and my son has none of the symptoms)

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Kelly - posted on 04/20/2010

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I just wanted to jump in to respond to the comment you made that the school puts the special ed children on a program far behind the mainstream kids. If this is indeed true, it is highly illegal. All state schools must adhere to Federal standards regarding least restrictive environments that states children must be given a learning environment and curriculum closest to the non special education children within their learning capabilities. Parents with special needs are part of the decision making process with a majority vote on all educational decisions even though it can seem like you are up against a brick wall, you have the law on your side.

All that said, they cannot label him learning disabled without the appropriate assessments. Also, in the past we had such rigid learning in K as kids really are not fully developmentally capable of it. My son had this gigantic leap in ability between pre-K and K and it had absolutely nothing to do with what I did. He couldn't recognize more than 2 letters and then suddenly knew the entire alphabet. Your son is more than capable of reading readiness and holding him back may provide a more relaxing environment and room for self confidence and esteem.

If you are worried about learning disabilities and want to leave the school out of it, go see a psychologist for testing. You will have privacy and if you do discover something, you can choose to share it with the school or not.

By the way, I do have a child with a learning disability. It was the hardest thing in the world to admit to myself, but for my child I had to. He is so much happier now that we addressed it. So if for some reason you do have the nagging feeling he may have some extra needs, check it out privately for your family. Oh, and despite my son's disability he is also gifted - go figure. Now he blows everyone out of the water!

Good luck

[deleted account]

I'm glad you have found relief and are able to relax now. I completely support your decision. I'm sure with the pressure off of you and your son that both of you are much happier and less stressed out now. Even if your son wasn't stressing, remember a parents stress levels affect their children. I'm trying to figure out what plan to carry out for my daughter. The thought of spending summer vacation working seems so unfair to her. I know it will help her out in the long run and the more fun I make it, the less it will seem like work. Its not what we thought would happen with our children but the fact is that WE are responsible for their foundation. When it comes down to it I think my problem is me. Being a teacher and having a child that is having problems learning. I've been out of the loop with my other children already in university. Now its just a matter of researching the best ways to help her. I truly wish you and your son the best.

Sandy - posted on 04/20/2010

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Assuming that your son is in a public school, the problem is that there is probably a huge range of abilities within his classroom...allowing the school to "label" him, does two things. One, your son should get individual assistance from a para-educator and two, the school can get funding for these expenses. This, hopefully, will help your son to learn at the same rate as his peers and improve his confidence.

Public schools do "overload" kids...they work hard all day, everyday...they have to in order to meet the standards necessary for funding...just imagine how high your school taxes would be if they did not receive state and federal funding!

As a parent of kids who are on the other end of the spectrum, we have struggled to get teachers challenge them to their full ability...it is frustrating to my kids to do the same things again and again that others are struggling with - those poor teachers! They have kids who are misbehaving because they are bored silly and those who are shutting down because it is all just too much!

Obviously, the answers are tough and not simple, but my advice would be to communicate continuously with teachers, guidance counselors, etc...take everything that they offer, they really do care about your child's development and need your help to make him a successful throughout his school career.

JuLeah - posted on 04/19/2010

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I am a special ed teacher .....

Don't jump to ADHD. He is a little boy. Many kids do their K year twice and are better for it. If they are not ready to learn, they won't. If they are pushed too hard, you end up with behaviors you don't want. If given space and time, they often become good students. Over the summer have him color, paint, use scissors ... (fine motor skills) don't worry about state assessments right now. And, no, they won't want to toss him into special ed to be on the safe side. Kids who really need special ed can't get a spot. Parents have to fight to get their kids in special ed.

Read to him every day!!!! Sing a LOT of rhyming songs and poems .... tell jokes ..... all language development

Count with him, stairs you walk up, spoons you put on the table, cars on the road .... play license plate games .... have him find an 'A' and then a 'B' ......

Talk about the letter sounds more then their names ..... that is what he needs in order to read "Find the letter that makes the same beginning sound as Apple"

encourage, but don't demand ... try to make it fun. Not all of life is fun, of course, and sometimes we just need to do the work, but I don't think that is how I would deal with this.

If at the end of the summer, and a lot can change in one summer, you still feel he is not ready for 1st grade - and yah, he ought to be reading at least .... then no big deal, have him take another K year. He won't be the only one and when he does go into first, he will be a stronger student .... I have seen many kids start their second K year and move to first half way though

Good luck

Sharon - posted on 04/19/2010

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just wanted to say wot's wrong with children being children sumtimes the schools etc put far too much pressure on very young children & parents making us feel like we are failing as parents & labelling the child before they have had a chance to grow into they're brain. they tell us our child is not up to grade but our child is still only a child & they all grow at very different rates,we can do our best at home with our child but if we are not getting the guidance and support from the so called professionals then how do we know if wot we are doing is helping or not.

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Amiee - posted on 05/10/2010

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I understand your frustration my 6 year old son is behind in first grade but his is because the first teacher he had in first grade labeled him as adhd and stopped trying and he could since that she didn't like him so he stopped trying. Maybe look into how he gets along with his teacher if he isnt comfertable that could be some of the problem you ask that he switch classes. I also have my nephew we are adpoting and he plays dumb to get out of the work so I have started telling him if you continue to play dumb and not show the teacher what you can do you won't get to move up to the next grade with your friends. I hope some of this helps.
Goodluck
Amiee

Dawn - posted on 04/22/2010

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I am having the same trouble with my 1st grader. The best thing I can tell you is what I was told by my daughters teachers. His brain might not be ready for K yet Talk to your teacher and see if holding him back is the best thing if he don't understand K then it will be a struggle for him in 1st and then he might have to be held back then. I wish I would have held my daughter back in K but I didn't and she has struggled all year in school this year and it looks like she might be staying in 1st one more year. Best Luck to you

Heather - posted on 04/22/2010

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Hi Karen,

I am not sure where you live but In Australia (WA) school is not compulsory until year one or in the year your child turns 6. In some countries they start school at even later years, therefore kids are not reading and writing until they are about 7 or 8 and it is interesting that studies show these people do better in their final years at school, because prior to this they are learning by play and developing cognitive skills.

Although academic performance is something alot of parents look for at different schools, a schools ability to provide a program that suits your childs learning is very important. Not everyone goes to university and this sort of pressure should not be put on 4 year olds!
It is interesting that in Australia the federal government has introduced NPLAN testing and those kids in year 3 are expected to know 100 words by sight (which are four years older than a K child!).

Marie Eleanor - posted on 04/21/2010

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Just continue to be patient with him. You know he's learned a lot and is smart. Why don't you put him in another school?

Ginger - posted on 04/21/2010

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I did not read all of the replys but let me tell you from my own experience, I actually taught "4 year old pre-k" when it was learning through fun and moved out of the career when homework went home with the children through what Florida calls "voluntary Pre K" Schools are almost a year ahead at this point and are pushing children very hard. My 3rd grader is bringing home algebra I am doing in college. I do not like to "label" children and do not think the school is capable of doing this, find a private instructor to come to your home where your child is comfortable and have him tested if needed, but, boys usually mature faster than girls. A label will stay with your child forever. Use your school resources, ask for tutoring, ask for extra help in the class room, the schools are funded for this but most parents are unaware. They also have advocates who are trained professionals who can come in and work with your child and get to know them. He may have a different learning style.
Don't let me get on my soap box about this, I am tired of schools labeling children and not taking the time to find out what works and because I have gone through this and been the squeeky wheel and been on comities in the school I have learned what is out there for you to take advantage of. Your tax dollars pay for it any way use their resources to help your child!
Stick in there and everything will be fine

Diane - posted on 04/21/2010

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http://www.starfall.com/

My son uses this website at home and in his classroom (center time) to help with reading and phonics. I am a stay at home mom due to my health now, but I was a teacher before and I like this website. It is interactive and the kids learn while having fun and it is FREE to everyone. Give it a try. You can also try making up different types of games focusing on his likes and strengths. This will help to over shadow what he needs to work on and the sillier and funnier you make the more he will want to do it.... He also uses https://www.cleverisland.com/login/index2.asp? and he doesnt even realize he is learning. This website there is a fee for using, but there is all subjects...

Laura` - posted on 04/21/2010

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Karen, I'm a true believer that the kids today have way too much sugar in their diet and that this the reason they get labeled as adhd and add. Seriously, read the label of the juices and drinks that are being given to your son. No adult should have more that 25 grams of sugar a day. A child should have less.

Eliminate the sugar and you will see a great improvement.
I have had a rule since my daughter was an infant...no sweets, candy, treats etc during the week. Friday night is our movie night and she can have as much candy as she wants. Any other day or night...if she wants it, I aske her, "Is it Friday?" By the time she hit 5 she knew not ask because it wasn't Friday.
She has always attended a Catholic school and I do believe the private schools are better equiped to work one on one with kids.

Aleta - posted on 04/20/2010

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i would recommend that you look into homeschooling. K-3rd grade is very doable for almost every parent. the benefits are overwhelming! close relationship, lack of unrealistic expectations, high self-esteem for the student. my third grade son was behind in reading, but we participated in a program with service dogs called "Sit, Stay, Read" where he read to the dog and the dog's owner assists him with words he didn't know. Helped his self-esteem immensely! no pressure! we just persisted in reading skills at home and he has caught up! He is in a prestigious choral children's group in our area, takes violin lessons, and plays with neighborhood kids. He is confident and outgoing. best wishes for a good outcome, not matter your schooling choice!

Liz - posted on 04/20/2010

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My daughter just started K and has to get a bus at 7:09. School starts at 7:45. Is that early or what!!! Kis definately different than I can remember and I am a bit older but not that old!!

Toni - posted on 04/20/2010

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Karen i am a preschool teacher and what you are saying is exactly right, your son sounds fine and will develop at his own pace, if you have him assessed it will become clearer, work in partnership with his teachers but you have the right to disagree, boys are notoriously lazy and often develop later than girls, he is not just a statistic so don't let the school label him as one. Toni xxxxx

[deleted account]

Lots of great advice, so I won't rabble on. Good luck sweet. With your well read and sensible attitude, I'm sure you';ll get it all sorted the right way for you and your son :) You're inspirational!
Karyn

Sandra - posted on 04/20/2010

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I had no idea what to expect either. My daughter is an only child and I haven't had any experience with school since I was in it. We knew nothing of the curriculum and I was in for a big shock on day one when her teacher was irritated that Madeline couldn't use scissors well. She had learned colors, ABC's etc at home but we hadn't worked with crafts and stuff much...thought she'd learn all that in Kindergarten anyway. I found out that our school changed curriculum and K5 was now learning 1st grade work. They try to shove so much into a half day program and even the teacher admits that it's a lot, leaves little time for play or for socialization. My child gets overwhelemed and will also at times not answer the questions that are important because she doesn't feel like it. We've had to talk with her and explain to her about school and what is expected of her so she can move on to first grade where she will get lunch time and recess. That has helped some. I know in our school they have helpers who will help children that are behind and those children can also do an all-day kindergarten program instead of the half day. If he wasn't interested in learning before and is struggling now I would still say don't push him. Just have him do Kindergarten another year and he should get it next time around. Especially if he hadn't done Pre-K or anything like that. School is a LOT for a little one to get used to. Also children start K5 at different ages. Mine started at 5. There are 6 year olds and kids turning 7 in her class. No biggie at that age.

Sandra - posted on 04/20/2010

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Then you as a parent have the right to say NO! Stand up for your son. If they are just doing it for scores, check out other schools. You have the right to do that.

Khadijah And Nashrah - posted on 04/19/2010

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why dont u send him to kumon centers
it helped my kid alot
www.kumon.com

Karen - posted on 04/19/2010

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I talked to the school today and it turns out that the principal agrees with me that he may just be shutting down because he knows he is behind. We realized this soooo late in the year. It's also been hard for me to work with him at home up until now. He's just recently became more comfortable writing, counting, and reading at home. But still isn't doing it at school. He's done so little at school that next year won't be boring for him. He only has less than 3 months to count to 100, learn to read a small book, get comfortable with writting a sentence everyday at school, adding and subtracting also. To grade them, they take each child out in the hallway and he has to do all of the required skills. he told me last time that he thinks he's getting in trouble and he didn't do anything wrong. the poor little guy doesn't yet understand why they do that. i've told him over and over to not worry if he can't do something. He's already doing everything that I expect from him and that is trying. simply trying his best to learn what he can. And that I'm so proud of him. It is deffinitly very sad the pressure they put on kids of all ages now. I understand that they need to be caught up on the times, but they could do it in a more fun, playing or hands on way especially in elementary school. I don't believe they can make learning fun with paper. Not that young. Then they do these "test" every 2 weeks! That's what is putting so much pressure on them. Theteacher can be VERY nice like ours, but a kid can still feel the pressure. I hope everyone that is still having problems gets through them. It's very heartbreaking when your child is struggling. It's not our fault though. We had no idea. And the schools can make relieving that very stressful. And congradulations on the success stories as well! That gives me so much hope! I know he can do it it just helps to get encouraged every once in a while. It can be a long process. Thank you everyone. Can't explain how much you all helped me.

Jackie - posted on 04/19/2010

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I completly agree with what you are saying. The schools are throwing a lot at our children and fast. However, I think we need to realize that our country is behind other countries. The schools are doing what they can to catch the next generation up. My oldest went to K and 1st in a small town and when we moved to the city for 2nd the school said she was behind their district standards in reading and math. All they did was bring in a "special ed" (as you put it) teacher to help her for 15 mins each day. She is now almost done with 4th and is completly caught up. My youngest went to K in the city and was reading, counting to 100, and doing simple addition by the end of the year.

I think you should talk with the teachers and see what exactly is making them come to the conclusion that you child needs "special ed". Perhaps you should consider it. If it is in the best interest of your child and will help him learn, why not? It could be a better environment for him, he may not feel as overwhelmed. I'm sure they school will see in a matter of months if he really needs to be there.

Hope - posted on 04/19/2010

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I just want to let you know that I personally would not let them label him at this point. I also want to point out that most schools do get so much extra money a month per child that has different types of learning disability's.
Now my son was having difficulty's in different areas because he was not that confident in himself. We talked to the teacher and started doing allot of work at home. The teacher just told us a few weeks ago that he is doing so much better and is able to do better then most of the class.
Do not let the school push you into something that you are not comfortable with. Good luck

Edwina - posted on 04/19/2010

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my oldest is in special ed class for reading and we were worried about my daughter who is currenty in k with her reading but within the past couple months she has really caught on to it and is now reading at a mid first grade lvl but anyway what i tried with my son is holding him back before i agreed to the IEP till the first grade i feel that there not really connected to any one friend and it hasnt harmed my son socially to hold him back a grade he may just need the extra year... i feel it was the best thing i could hyave done for my son because when we first started this IEP plan he was needing help in all areas and now it is just in reading.

Christa - posted on 04/18/2010

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I have to find the article for you. I found it through "greatschools.com" and seached "grade retention". And yes you are correct for one side there is another side. Only a mother and father know their own children and know what the child can do! We know our son very well, I know what shuts him down, and what turns him on. I know what kind of people he responds to and those he does not. I know being behind in school was shutting him down. I also knew if he and I worked together he could catch up. We gave great thought to holding him back but knowing he is on mark and just had a bad start with the teachers was not enough to hold him back. He would not test for a learning disablity, because he doesn't have any. If held back eventually the work in school will be boring to him. Then what? Can't skip a grade to put him where he needs to be. Once he saw he was progressing he has taking off. He is doing the learning! We just provide the information and support he needs. Where he used to fight us about reading a book, he now picks up books and reads them outloud to himself in his special place we made for him in his room. He reads the signs going down the road. He counts the change at the grocery store. His learning is showing in every aspect of his life and HE likes! I'm not saying this is right for everyone. But it's right for us.

We have a daughter in third grade now and she too has struggled. The only difference between her and our son was an awesome kindergarten teacher. But that teacher was not available for our son. Our daughter suffered a very bad first grade teacher at the same school our son was at during the prek years. When I found out the first grade teacher moved to second grade at that school and would be teaching her again, we pulled the kids out that first day of school and moved to another school. Our daughter, with a very caring teacher caught up in second grade and was promoted to third grade and was not "Borderline". Again a lot of work for both her and us but it made a difference!

From what Karen has said and from what has happened with us, neither family would be in this situation had we known what has taken place in schools across the nation. If I had known that kindergarten was not what it used to be I would have done things differently. And had I known that I really have a say in our children's education, they would not have suffered what they have.

Amy - posted on 04/18/2010

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No child left behind is a load of crap. All I have learned about the no child left behind with my kids is, the teachers only make the kids in the class learn as slow as the slowest kid in the class. Also, the state test scores don't effect his school grade at all. Don't worry about those as long as you know is is progressing as he should. Kids test differently depending on how they feel that day. I have that problem with a couple of my kids. One is in Gifted and Talented classes, but if he doesn't feel like testing on test day, they get poor scores from him. Of course he hates school. He tests at above grade level but they always say they expected higher because they know he can produce better scores, he just didn't try.Also, I think where you live depends on what the schools expect. I am in Nevada and as long as the kids get a D- average they really don't care where the child is at, or how they learn. Hopefully you have a better experience at your schools. Another thing, they cannot put your child in special education without your permission. You have to sign off on it. Special ed is not always a bad thing either. I have 2 kids in special ed. One because he takes longer to learn things and he requires more time to complete assignments. The other because he is in Gifted and talented classes, and apparently for him to be in the classes they have to label him as special ed. Because he requires a faster more intense curriculum, which they consider special education. My advice after all my ranting, keep good contact with the school and teachers and don't sign off on special ed unless YOU think it is what is best.

Kizmect - posted on 04/18/2010

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Christa, can u tell me what statistic u read with this information? Just to give a bit of information, for every statistic that says one thing, there's another statistic that says the complete opposite. Be careful with statistics and make sure u get all of them both pros and cons!

Angela - posted on 04/18/2010

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You are on the right track about them wanting to put him in special ed to increase test scores. The no child left behind program is a joke. They push the teachers to get test scores not to teach anymore. If you're not using the LEAP FROG yet start. I have a 4 year old daughter and it has helped tremendously. The only other thing is to read to him, alot. It is a proven fact that the more words a child is exposed to the faster they learn to read. Use m&m's for math.

Christa - posted on 04/18/2010

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Hello Karen! First let me tell you that you are NOT alone nor is your son. I will tell you our story. Our son went to pk 3 and pk 4 but the teacher and the assistant could not be bothered by a child that was so shy. He just sat there in class and never participated except at play time or lunch. And I think the only time he was actually taught anything was when I visited and actually had one on one with him in the classroom. My husband and decided to put him in pubic school, maybe he would have a better chance? Kindergarten was not any different. The teacher there was more worried about what was going on in her personal life than the children. The assistant was better, she would work with us with learning exercises, but it wasn't enough. They passed him at the end of the year. Wouldn't have to deal with him the next year, right? Needless to say he entered First grade without knowing of his numbers, letters or letter sounds. He couldn't ever read! First grade he was supposed to be reading at .9 or better level. He was at a .4 level. He is now at the end of First Grade and still struggles but the teacher has made the difference. She and I have met everyday when I pick him up to know what went on during the day, to reinforce the learning. She gave extra work but not much. Most of it is repetition. Gave me the list of sight words. We made games IE: match So my suggestion is to go and talk with the teachers. If you don't like what the teacher. check out the other teachers. You know your child the best, you will know if your child will respond to the teacher. Do not accept anything less. Ask some of the other parents what teachers would be good for you child. And make sure the school gets your son into the classes you choose. You have the right. Also you are the only advocate for you son and the rest of you children. Speak up and don't expect anything less. Our son is still behind, but how do you make up three years of learning into one. The teacher now thinks he is "boarderline" for second grade but if he does summer school and we continue to support him at home and he can get into the class with the teacher she recommends, she feels he will succeed! It's been hard, and sometimes I think about just holding him back. But statistics say "those held back have a greater chance of dropping out of school later". Also the rebellion will decrease when he realizes he is catching up!! Ask him to own his learning. Help him to set goals for himself. Ones he will be able to meet. He will get there, just give him a chance. Keep in touch, please!

Kizmect - posted on 04/18/2010

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Well let me tell u from experience. It's ok for ur child to be left behind. This will encourage them for the next year. It will also allow them to build up their self esteem. If u think the teacher is good with him, request the same teacher! this also helps to build up their confidence! My child was held back and I don't regret one moment of it! This is a touchy situation, but as words of encouragement, allow them to put him in special services. Just because he's there doesn't mean he has to stay there. My daughter received special services last year and this year she's right on target. She's no longer receiving special services! Just as a caveat, it actually costs more to provide special services to a student, than the regular educatin cost. Get whatever he's eligible for and allow them to help him! Good luck!

Mindy - posted on 04/18/2010

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An idea of teaching him his letters/letter sounds would be to buy educational games. Those are the only type of games i bought my boys and they picked it up in no time. They also make a video game called V Smile, with all educational games and it is a lot of fun too. I think that you should get him a tutor for the summer time before deciding to hold him back, because 7 is a little old to be in kindergarten. My kids are going to be 7 in the second grade. If were your son goes to school does only half day kindergarten, there is not much time for learning. A few friends of mine have children that struggled in kindergarten and they decided to move them up to first grade anyways. One of them is going to stay back in first and the other two will be moving on. I'm sure its a struggle to get him to practice but it is necessary. My boys do not like to practice their writing and reading, but i tell them it is a priority, and we do work before play, or we don't get to play. You cannot rely on the school to teach him everything.I believe that you have to push your child or they will always just do the minimum. My children are in first grade and their school work is also very hard compared to others. They have a 15 word spelling test every week, they have to know how to tell time,solve math word problems, and they have to know how to write a paragraph with a topic sentence,3 supporting details and a conclusion! (this is first grade mind you)I think that is a little crazy. Do you have and IED for him.(individual education plan)? He should be evaluated and if he is extremely behind, they have to give him one. The IED helps out a lot. It gives the child the same kind of work, but not as much, along with someone to help them out in areas that they struggle in. I'm not sure if the school is legally able to force you make a decision by the end of the year, that doesn't seem right. Good luck with everything. You could always talk to your childs pediatrician and see if he has any suggestions.

Tania - posted on 04/18/2010

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Well done on doing your research, Karen. Saves hearing the same thing repeatedly for no good reason. I've read a few replies but not all so hope I'm not repeating too much. My daughter struggled with learning in early primary school. In year 4 she was still 2 years behind what was expected of her and she would refuse to do homework, read or accept any help from me at all. I am a teacher's assistant so was more than capable of giving her the help she needed if only she would take it. Homework would end up in fights and refusal. I decided to invite a couple of her friends who were also struggling to come for tutoring once a week and our little 'study club' was born. Now in year 7 she is not only caught up with her peers but has been accepted into her school's gifted and talented program. One of the subjects she is likely to do at this level is English (it's now one of her favourites!). The reason for telling you this is just to say "don't stress" it's early days. Keep in touch with his teacher and make learning fun. Try to work out his preferred learning style as that will help you find strategies that will work more effectively. There is some great material on the internet too. I've been told 'spellcity' is very good, and it's free. "Enchanted Learning" has some excellent stuff. Check out their word families. They were fantastic for the 'study club' girls and would suit late Year 1 and up I think. BBC websites are good too, especially "Words and Pictures". Also find the kind of stories he likes and read, read, read. You reading to him and him to you are both great. Watching our little ones learn is an amazing experience, whatever way it looks. Enjoy the journey and your son will too.

Tracy - posted on 04/18/2010

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Is he half day or full day? Both my kids were half day and were behind, but they caught up by the middle of 1st grade. My son was 2 years behind my daughter in school, and they pushed his class to learn sight words sooner than her class did. If your son is one of the younger ones in his class, there is no harm in having him repeat kindergarten next year. They encouraged my friend not to hold her son back, and he ended up repeating 1st grade instead. In past years, kids weren't expected to read until age 7 or 8. Both my kids were doing poorly in reading in K and most of first grade, then they took off like rockets and are now excellent readers.

Carol - posted on 04/18/2010

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My daughter is ADD. I don't want to use that as an excuse. She also had a late birthday. She started school 3 days after she turned 5. In my experience she was academically smart but the maturity was not there as it should have been. Please know that it helps to stay in close contact with the teacher. If they are one of the good ones they will do everything in their power to do what they can. Of course there are some awesome teachers who are overwhelmed and they aren't always in control over what happens. It could be that his teacher and he just don't get along.

Natalia - posted on 04/18/2010

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Have you heard of the reading Corp / Americorp program and is your school a site for this program? This program helps children that are low on bench marks. To help children age 3-grade 3 to be proficiant readers by then. Volunteers that are trained to work on specific skills: letter naming/ sounds, rhyming, alliteration, vocabulary. Will work with children individualy for 5-10 mins a day, until child meets bench mark scores. The other thing I do know is that if a child is making adequate progress it is not a reason to mark him it may be a red flag. So I can just say to try to encourge your child about the relationship with his teacher(s). That is very important I do not know if that is going well or not. Maybe challenging him to do harder work at home, he may not be challenged enough or is challenged to much at school, you might want to scaffold him back to his level and start over to see what he might know. It is hard to say but remember you are your child's adovcate! I also recommend alot of reading, the same book at least 5x but pointing out different letters and sounds ( rhyming and alliterating words), feelings and vocabulary words and meaning. Try to read different types of books, poem, fiction, non fiction and books that are concept books but with a story and stay away from Disney books and ones that are to wordy remember your son may only have a 5-10 minute attention span! Also try begining readers books that are easy and repetative. This will help with confidence and sight words but always remember to motivate him a reward at the beginning and slowly remove it because reading is it's own reward! Reading environmental print easy things to lift his confidence (mcdonalds sign) things like that! Support him all the way. " removing" or limiting some favorite toys or activities, tv shows try the PBS channel they have great educational shows for child that they enjoy! I switched my chidren a 4;6;&7 yr old to that channel and now they picked up many things and they don't ask for any of the other cartoon channels! Outside time is also a must do, chalk is great for hand eye coordination, work on letter in a fun meaningful way!

Jennifer - posted on 04/18/2010

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I have read most of the responses and agree with some of them. I was held back in second grade and it really didn't bother me as achild. Keep contact with the teachers as most everyone suggested. Silvan or another outside tuturing service may help also. I did great in school all the way up to middle school and then I kinda just stopped progressing. Silvan found this out in the testing they gave me to see what areas I needed to work on. My mom and I went there just to get me some help with SATs and I was in my Junior year of high school. They said it was caught too late, but they would try. I have struggled through college till I flunked out and through some of my jobs as far as being promoted. I am 32 and now a superviser and just make a point of learning something new everyday. Just keep in conntact and help where you can. My daughter is in K this year also. We all make a point to try and put learning into everything she does in a playful way. She also goes to private school and has just tested for a new school. She will be learning high level 1st on everything but math and that she will be learning 2nd. The school she will be going to allows her to do this because they combine K-2nd and lots of one/one. Good Luck! It will always work out one way or another.

[deleted account]

if your son is struggling in grade K he will continue to struggle in 1st grade. - my sons school's curriculum sounds alot like yours, and was in a half day of school for kindergarten and learned 100 site words, spelling them, math, etc... and 1st grade builds on that. - it doesnt go back over all of it, they concentrate on comprehension, spelling larger words,. and memorizing math facts. schools do not just look at what the child is learning, they also look at social development.... if he is "playing dumb and rebelling" then, perhaps he isnt ready to move on to a higher grade. instead of putting him in a special class, maybe hold him back a year and let him repeat .... it is better to have him repeat this grade at a young age, then get to 3rd or 4th grade where he has close friends and then have to hold him back because he isnt ready. as hard as it may be to hear, you arent a teacher, and you arent in class with your child day in and day out, so they may be seeing something you arent, and at the end of the day, you have to do what will help your child.

Michelle - posted on 04/18/2010

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Sounds like your son goes to a school that is trying to be the exception instead of the norm yes reading writing all that stuff is taught in Kindergarten my son had to know it but when we went into grade one they repeated it all over again I wouldn't worry until he starts grade one boys mature slower then girls so he is not going to be as attentive as the girls in the first place. I say move him forward unless he is a young kindergarten then if you feel repeating is the way to go insist they hold him back, no child left behind means you as a parent get to make the hard choice so that the school can't be held responsible if a child is struggling.

Kryss - posted on 04/17/2010

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I am unsure if where you live they offered pre-k, but it got my son ready for Kindegarten. B4 he went into prek he knew his colors shapes numbers, and i was a lil worried he would become bored but he actually still enjoyed it. I know when he went to Kindegarten they expected him to know first grade level, i decided that i had to teach him at home as well, I wentto aprivate/christian school and had thought of placing him in one as well as he got into the 2nd and 3rd. Now that some life changes have occured have decided to hs him, with the help of a christian school. If you continue to have problems with his learning i would start with the teacher see wht you can do together, if you recieve no help i would consider other options.

Danielle - posted on 04/17/2010

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im a preschool teacher and i would like to say that you have done everything that you can at home. have watched to see how he learns is he a hands on, or watching some one else do something, or can so it just buy someone telling him how to it. my son was behind in k too and once i found out how he learned i was able to get him were he need to be. and make a game out of anything that he is having trouble with. all the kids love that. my son is now in the 2 grd. and just now knwing 200 words.

Melanie - posted on 04/17/2010

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I don't think that they are referring your son to special ed to make money. I am a 5th grade teacher and it is very hard to have a child labeled as special ed because it actually costs so much more money. Also special ed kids have to pass the same exact state test as everyone else, but the only difference is that they often get unlimited time and calculators, etc. It is totally up to the parent, though. If you do not want him to have the spec ed services, then you can just say no. I have several students who really need the services and I have literally begged the parents, but they said no and they have said no for years, so it is totally up to the parent. You should do what you think is best for your son.

Phoebe - posted on 04/17/2010

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Well, I would love to say there is an easy answer, but there's not. All children learn differently, My oldest daughter caught on to reading very early, long before kidergarden, but the words really didn't seem to mean anything to her. She could read an entire book, but when you asked her what she'd read about she'd just look at you with a blank look. My solution was an IEP - Indiviualized Education Program, It provides the extra help, as well as the safety net of not being put on the spot in the classroom in front of peers, while not giving the label of "special ed" classes. they simply spend up to 30 mins. in a seperate classroom with a very small group going over the problemed area. Mostly they spend more time going over what was learned in class. My daughter really benifited form it. She started in the middle of her 2nd grade year and by the end had earned the Presidential award for academic achievement. I chose to keep her IEP in place even now in the 5th grade because of EOG testing. She can test in a small group, have as much time as needed for her test and her test book is seperated so that she can focus on one section at a time. You may also try taking a list of the sight words, cutting them into pieces kinda like flash cards and attach them to what they are. For example If light were a sight word attach the word light to a lamp or something. Your house may look like a game of scrabble gone wrong, but it may help. You can even turn it into a game, allowing your son to play a game of match the word, letting him stick the words on an object. I've heard learning through play works wonders. Hope I've been some help. Good Luck!

Kim - posted on 04/16/2010

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You are your child's BEST advocate.

NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND may be a motivating factor for the school. HOWEVER, they do not test them for any of it until THIRD GRADE! He is 5/6. Most boys do not even have the brain development to do most 'fine motor' skills until age 7. Yes they will push, you have to push back.

As long as your son is improving every month, that is all anyone can ask.

Kindergarden is not mandatory in every state. The new first graders who did not have kinder could be further behind than your son. I have spent a bit of time in kinder including this year. Out of 20 students, two kids entered reading at an ending 2nd grade level. 7 kids didn't know the alphabet, 6 could not right their own name. One boy can't even speak in complete sentences, not because of any disablity other than his mother babies him so much! (I know the mother personally)

Kinder has a wide range of skill levels. NCLB means they will focus attention on the furthest behind student in any grade.

things to consider:
if your son's birthday is closer to the end of the school year, he just may not be ready, may parents are starting their kinders at 6
Be creative: we would us sidewalk chalk to write letters. 'scatterring' the alphabet in the driveway. I would call out a letter and my son would find it, and jump on it. Good use of boy energy too!
I would have my son 'write' a couple of things on the shopping list- although I couldn't read it, he would remember what it was. And he could see the power of reading, that got him interested.
I started all 3 of my kids on "Bob" books. The big chain stores will know what they are. They come in a box of 12 small books, each on works on only a couple of sounds at a time. Once they felt confident, we moved onto the next book. (The first was Mat sat on Sam.)
Drawing shapes and letters with fingers on a shaving cream-filled cookie sheet was loads of fun and shaving cream is little more than soap. You can also do this with rice. any mistake is easily 'wiped' over to start again.
You are your sons best teacher. He wants to be with you. Make it fun.
Special Ed kids still have to take the test. They are given more time to complete it. But DON'T let them label him just yet. If there is a problem, it will continue to show up in the next 3 years too, so no hurry. But if you have reason to believe he might be having way more trouble than should be expected take him to your own therapist and have the Dr. talk with your son. They are specially trained to diagnose kids and have no ties to the NCLB.

Good luck with all this.

(I have been fighting the schools with my daughter and ADHD for the past 9 years! She is a straight A, 7th grade student, and that is without meds. they still want her medicated. So I know a little about what you're up against.)

Rachel - posted on 04/16/2010

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If you can get a tutor through the school or get him 1 on 1 help you should do it. If he is in special ed for few months then so be it. It is there to help your child.
Where I live (illinois) in K you do need to know how to read, write, tie shoes, know address/phone, addition, subtraction, know all abc capital and lower case, count to 100 write and recognize...and you learn how to use a computer. Compared to when K for me was playing listening at story time havoing snack and napping..
It is critical to your child that you work with him even if he shows no interest. Make it fun.. turn it all into games.. reward him with achievement certificates (print from online free)..
Dont make it about the school or that they could receive more money or whatever. Make it about your child and what is the best thing for him. ;) GL

Rose - posted on 04/16/2010

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It sounds like your son just isn't ready for school. I know that will upset some people but it happens. My oldest son was sooooooo smart. He could read at the age of 4 and was solving 2nd grade level math problems as well so we did the natural thing and signed him up for school. Biggest mistake we ever made! He was smart enough but he wasn't mature enough and so he started to act out. Refusing to do the work or doing it wrong just so they wouldn't expect anything of him. I could go on and on but I can tell you that hindsight tells us that we should have held him back a year. He struggled all through school (he also played dumb when tested for things just so they wouldn't try to give him more work). It wasn't until high school that things calmed down. Stick to your guns, don't let the administration railroad you or run over you. You know your son better than anybody. Even if you have to take him somewhere privately to have him tested just to refute their claims (your pediatrician can guide you in this).

Shannon - posted on 04/16/2010

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My kids love music and even this morning I was helping my 6yr old sing her spelling words for a test. Videos are great but if you're one to avoid a lot of TV get CDs and paly them through out the day to maybe get him more excited about what he's learning at school. Maybe he has some anxiety about being away from you and he doesn't know how to express it. Good luck

[deleted account]

Karen,
As a mother and teacher, I'm glad you decided to repeat the year with your son. I have a 23 yr. old and an 18 yr. old. Neither one of them had to do half of what they are doing in KG now! I must say they are both in University and doing well even though they couldn't do what KG students do now in KG when they were there.

The emotional stress put on your child to excel when they are just frustrated is too much. It is too late in the year to push him even harder to meet others expectations. My youngest is in 1st grade now and is 7 yrs. old. Her birthday is in January and she couldn't start earlier due to health problems. She has some problems with reading and spelling since she didn't master her phonics in KG. Of course my mindset was back to when my other daughters were in school. I knew it was more work for my youngest and that the curriculum has changed drastically. Still I didn't push her. She takes extra reading classes and I have had to work beyond homework time with her to help her. She gets really frustrated sometimes since it seems to be work all the time. I now wish I would have held her back.

She is making it through this year and her grades are high but at what cost? She doesn't like school the way she used to and at 7 she tries to get out of going to school whenever she can. I don't let her of course but its sad to see a bright child start her elementary years off hating school. Education is one of the most important things you can give your child but I believe a sense of well being (happiness) comes first. Young children need confidence, keeping your son back a year to master skills will give him that confidence. Better now when there won't be a stigma attached to him than later when kids always judge each other. Good luck to the both of you.

Dawn - posted on 04/15/2010

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Karen -

It is a great book! Highly recommend it! I also went to http://www.first-school.ws/t/printable-w... to print out paper for our children to practice on. Printed out a bunch of pages, and stapled them together with each lesson listed at the top. Plus, this way, you can see their progress over time.

Have fun!!!

Stephani - posted on 04/15/2010

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My step daughter was labeled with a learning disability and I know it is difficult to accept but if you really feel that this school is so bad then why not get out of the district? He probably is behind a little bit on their scale which is okay because he will catch up. Getting him extra help now is the best thing because he is still young. Right now the children don't know the difference but later they will. They must provide him with extra help in the least restrictive environment possible so he may not even be put into a separate class he may just receive additional services. If you can straighten it out now then do it because the longer you wait the harder it will be.

Karen - posted on 04/15/2010

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That's funny Dawn, because my neighbor just gave me that book to borrow for the summer! She said it did wonders for her daughter!

Leanne - posted on 04/15/2010

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well you say you are doing all that you are ment todo so it is just your son putting his foot down good on hime to he should not be yoused by the school and this has nothing to do with add or adhd but kids do not always go by a text book my 2 year old has better maners and vocablerlry than her youngest nice who is 6 minths older

Dawn - posted on 04/14/2010

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As for helping him on his reading - we used an awesome book with all 3 of our children - our oldest was reading before he started K and the other 2 were reading by the middle of Kindergarden. It's called "Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons" by Siegfried Engelmann. None of our children did Pre-K and I feel that when they entered K, it was more like 1st grade. I highly recommend this book - it takes time, but it really helped our little toads. Hope this helped some =)

Karen - posted on 04/14/2010

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Thank you all! I tried the tip on reading the words he spells wrong and laughing about it with him. he loves that and I'm seeing more and more words coming out correct now. We are going to hold him back this year. He is only a little bit ahead of where his 4 yr. old brother is in learning so, I believe he will benefit repeating and do a lot better this time around. And Annie, they are required to make sure special ed students learn the benchmarks, but they aren't required to learn anything but. My friends that were in the program even asked to learn more and they told them no because they were in special ed and didn't need to learn what the other kids had to learn. If someone definitly does have a learning dissability it is a GREAT program. But if not, you are only keeping them from learning things they may need to get into college. Such as a foreign language. Spec- ed students in our schools can't take those classes, or any other elective of the sort. They are forced to stay within the learning dissability curriculum. In 9th grade, they were doing 3rd grade math still (for the 4th year in a row!).

Rich & Chris - posted on 04/14/2010

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Can you go through the special education department and have some form of child study team formed to see if he has deficits (not saying he does) sometimes having the guidance couselor involved helps. My daughter is in first and we had the opposite problem and she got board and started to shut down. They had the school guidance coulselor, teacher, principal and school psychologist involved to give different work. Also see if your school has a reading specialist and of a math coach that could give you and/or the teacher some ideas.

Annie - posted on 04/14/2010

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Another thing to add to the thread - schools are just as accountable for making sure that Special Education students meet benchmarks under NCLB. Depending on the IEP, students may have modified testing environments, but no one would advocate labeling a kid SpEd just to shirk responsibilities.

Kari - posted on 04/14/2010

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Find a way to make doing what he has to do a game. Have him add gummy bears, read silly books that use the alphabet and words, the tests are for funding so the schools are all about making the grade. If he loves something like dinosaurs or animals get books about what he loves and pick the sight words out of them help him to recognize them.

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