what is the teacher doing all day

Cynthia - posted on 09/28/2011 ( 136 moms have responded )

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My 1st grade son got 10 of 10 spelling words wrong on a test. i could not believe it. so i emailed his teacher. i don't understand what he is doing at school for 6 hours if he cant spell one of his words. i'm here to vent. i understand she has other kids to teach.and i get that it is my job to do his homework every night. but my problem is i am not a teacher, i go over the words with him. i just don't feel that it is fair that he has a teacher if i have to teach him his words, then what do i need her for. i'm thinking about home schooling him. i'm just mad. does anyone else feel that it is the schools job to teach and if the kid gets a 0 then the teacher is not doing her job. we do homework for an hour everyday. and sometimes i dont even know the answers and he is only in 1st grade... i want to send a basket of laundry to school with a note that says School work, graded on neatness and cleanness.... i'm so feed up.


edit to add. if you r just reading this post u don't have to read all the replys but check out the last post on page 5. my son got 100 on his last test. greatly due to this post and com's. and for strangers not afraid to tell me what i needed to hear. i am just happy we r doing better now. even if i had to change my way of thinking!


It is now January 2014 and my son is a high flyer in 2nd grade. i pulled him out of 2nd last year because he wasn't ready. he didn't learn the work from his first first grade teacher. i am editing this post now to advise parents to trust yourself. i was right about this teacher. she wasn't doing her job. her first year teaching was also her last. the first grade teacher he had the next year was awesome. she taught him everything he needed to know to make it to 2nd and he is now top of his class. he passed all of the test for gifted and talented. i knew my son was not a slow learner he does not have a disability, like the teacher said. he is really smart. he's smarter than me in a lot of ways. just trust yourself when it comes to your kids no matter how out of place you feel. don't let anyone tell you that you are wrong about your baby. his first grade teacher was young, and wild. her fb profile was proof enough for me. i don't want a teacher with a fish face selfie as her profile pic. now i ask questions and i hold the teacher accountable the way it should be, not the way the school wants it to be. that is all. thanks for reading this and for your input.

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Linda - posted on 09/28/2011

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Whether you homeschool, send your children to public school, or send them to private school, ultimately YOU as the parent are responsible for his education. You need to determine how your son learns--visually (seeing), auditory (hearing), or kinesthetic (by doing). If he is a visual learner, then have him look at each word, then spell it for you. If he is auditory, have him say it out loud. If he is kinesthetic, you could try having him spell out the word in sand or salt or sugar. Combining several of these methods would be more effective. My guess is that he is NOT visual--some kids are just bad spellers especially if they are auditory. English is NOT phonetic, and it is not spelled the way it is heard.

Kate CP - posted on 09/28/2011

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Well, I would ask myself "What am *I* doing all day?" You have more influence over him and are better able to help him learn since you are with him more than just 6 hours a day. If the homework you're doing with him isn't working then you need to find a method of studying that DOES work.

Kate CP - posted on 09/28/2011

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Okay, a few things:

One: My name is KATE. Not KATIE. That is a pet peeve of mine.

Two: There is no need to get your knickers in a twist. I never insulted you or said anything rude. I said you needed to find a different method of studying. But when another woman mentions that, you're receptive to it. Interesting.

Three: The teacher was hired by the school district and you are required by law to either send him to school or educate him at home. So...you didn't really hire a teacher. You sent him to school. Now, if you had hired a private tutor and these were the results you got then, yea, I'd be pissed too.

Four: If you don't want people's opinions then don't post on an open forum.

Beth - posted on 09/29/2011

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I am an elementary teacher. I understand your frustration. I will try to explain the day of a teacher. There are so many expectations, goals and requirements in one single day. These days, most of the time is spent in reading, language and math. In my situation, we would spend as much time as possible on the spelling words, but it was required that the spelling words be studied at home each night. This is one of the simpler tasks for a parent to accomplish rather than new math skills and/or reading skills. This is why we are hoping that time can be spent on spelling at home. Don't get me wrong, we do spend time on spelling daily but not enough time is available to make sure they have memorized/learned their words. It takes a team to reach success. I understand that if the child gets a "0," that the teacher should be contacting the parent to come up with a plan for success. Has this teacher talked with you? If not, call and set up and appointment to discuss how both of you can help your child. It is the school's job to teach and they do...but teachers need help. It cannot be done alone. Good luck. If you need ideas for helping him learn his words, respond to me. :)

Jessica - posted on 09/30/2011

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I admit, I haven't read all 95 of these posts. That said, I am a Master's degree educated teacher. There is a school of thought that suggests that bad spelling is just a trait some people have; on the flip side, some people can be excellent spellers, and be completely baffled at the rest of most academic topics.
It's UNFAIR to blame the teacher for a poor spelling test; and without finding out what their in-class preparation time is. You should also ask what activities they do, if the words are posted during the week, and how they're used in everyday lessons. When I was teaching 5th grade, we had 30 minutes on Monday, and 15 for the test on Friday built into our schedule. Other than that, it was up to me to find "free time" to engage the kids in games or other spelling work to get them to learn these words. In most classrooms in my district, spelling was a purely at-home subject. A spelling packet went home on Mondays, and came back Fridays. Spelling is NO LONGER tested or weighted the same as reading, math, and science, and as such, it has a smaller proportion of time allotted during the week. It's frustrating, yes, but unlikely the fault of the teacher.
Also, something to note: Spelling is HARD. English has many rules, and none of them apply all the time. You're talking about a 1st grader? Is he at least getting the sounds in the right spot? Or getting enough syllables to show he's hearing the word properly? Sometimes making him aware of how to listen to his teacher pronouncing the word might help him figure out what letters belong in each spot. Sitting down for a practice test each night will take very little time, and will give him the opportunity to hear these words in the same type of situation he'll hear them in class. It's extremely difficult for some kids to learn "dictation" skills, because it requires so many different types of information processing. Since a spelling test is simply dictation, maybe he's struggling to hear the word properly, and have enough time to think through which of these new symbols he's learning belong where. Regardless of his familiarity with the alphabet, using and placing these specific symbols in an order that creates all the proper sounds in a word is difficult in 1st grade.
The last thing, and probably the thing most likely to make a parent mad...you need to ask his teacher about his behavior in class. Try this in a nonjudgmental, non-confrontational, open, and honest way. I can't count the number of parents who think that because their child is an "angel" at home, they couldn't possibly be spacing out or acting up in class. Sometimes, a child is bored, or has checked-out, and it can be difficult to get that child the education they are supposed to be getting, no matter how hard a teacher works. The BEST thing you can do is approach this as a concerned parent that wants to work WITH the teacher to get your son the best education possible. Blame, hate, anger, and frustration continuously keep teacher and parent apart, and will make this year a nightmare, for every party involved. I hope it gets better, and I understand the need to vent, but it's important you don't vent too long, so your son has a calm advocate to help him be successful this year.

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Rachel - posted on 12/25/2012

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uh well if you are practising the spelling with your son, did you not notice in advance that he wasn't understanding spelling? It sounds like he might have a learning disability or at least needs LOTS more practice. I'm not saying the teacher isn't at fault but your reaction (with the laundry) seems pretty immature. There could be a lot more going on here.

Cynthia - posted on 04/30/2012

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this post is old now and his spelling test are no longer a problem but there is still a problem. my son did get on the ab honor roll and has kept his grades up. a few days ago i got a call from his teacher telling me he needed to go to summer school for reading. i was mad because he has an A on his report card for reading, so how is it that he cant read, why didn't i get a d or an f? how do i tell him he has to go to summer school after telling him how good he is doing. also wonder where he stands in other subjects because the A he got didnt mean anything. what does A stand for then. yeah it was a bad year with a 1st year teacher and my son suffered for it.

Amber - posted on 04/29/2012

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I feel exactly the same way you do!!!My children bring homework home and I help them with it, but homework should just be review, or practice, I should not be having to teach them what they are bringing home each day. My son is in first grade and has gotten decent grades all year long, now it is getting near the end of the year and everything he brings home is an N which is same as F for older kids. His teacher must be grading harder or getting more picky because it is the end of the year, I am not sure what is going on but a child that has gotten b's all year long doesn't just start getting f's for no reason. If he is not understanding a subject or not learning the material I feel it is her job to do what she has to do for him to learn it, move him away from his friends that he may be getting distracted by or take away his recess if he isn't trying his best or paying attention. She sent home a not telling me he was talking during class when he wasn't allowed, what can I do about it except punish him at home and that s not going to do anything about his behavior at school she needs to punish him. That is the way schools in my school district do, blame the parents for things that are out of our control. If the student isn't grasping concepts the teacher needs to find a more interesting way to teach it. If it is one child, maybe they need a tutor or an IEP. If the parent has to teach the material they might as well homeschool, we don't get paid to teach our children so why send them to a class with a teacher that is just there for a paycheck while we do all of the workl?? Just my opinion, the school where my children go has really let my oldest child down, she hasn't been able to get the help she needs and she is so far behind because of a learning disability they say she doesn't have that she don't even want to go to school anymore and she is only 13 years old!!!

Kyleigh - posted on 11/07/2011

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lol @ your comment Cynthia "this post wont go away"

i can relate, i started a thread about abuse and it keeps getting unlocked and more comments! :/

Cynthia - posted on 11/07/2011

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i thought i would give you all an update on Brandon's spelling test because this post just wont go away and because i am so proud of my son. I'm also very proud of myself. we are getting 100's on every test now. i do teach the words. his teacher teaches him how to sit still for the day and how to walk in line and other things.

i understand now that crowd control is about all she is good at. i am not saying this about all teachers but she has a long way to go b4 she will ever add up to some of the teachers we've had in the past. it is what it is.



he's last test was 11 words 10 and a bonus. he got 105 and the one b4 that too.

knowing that the teacher does not teach spelling helped a lot. knowing that she does not teach fast facts math helped with that.

so i don't actually home school but i have learned to home teach and we are doing awesome.

as for his teacher, i have learned that she is just out of collage this is her 1st year teaching , she has no kids of her own and no idea what it is like to have a child after 3:30. i don't think she is always going to be a 'bad' teacher i believe she is overwhelmed in her job. after spending some time with her i kinda feel bad for her. she is a nervous wreck. LOL kids were running wild and she sounds like mickey mouse.. so maybe i'm giving her a break or a chance to get her feet wet... i like her very much but i do think her whole class is falling behind. at awards day only 2 kids were A, B, honor roll, over half had perfect attendance. my son had perfect attendance and getting no where until i started teaching him at home. so for all the pissy people here, there you go. sometimes it is what it is and the lesson here is that you cant count on anyone...

Kimberly - posted on 11/07/2011

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volunteer in the class room and see what is being done in the class. I have two children, and really got active to late. I thought as you do. They are not teaching as they did with us. They do however have lot's of parties. Don't give up on the teacher, just be involved and make her or him do there job better.

Becky - posted on 10/24/2011

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I understand how you feel.. I raised 5 children of my own and it is true teachers are not as involved as they should be.. Try this with his spelling word.. When you study them, have him repeat them to you two times a night.. Example: the word is cat .. spell C-A-T.. now you spell it with me .C-A-T..cat... Every child has 3 ways they take knowledge in , the eyes, the ears.and touch.. If you can use at least 2 of the 3 you increase his chances of learning.

Karen - posted on 10/24/2011

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As a teacher, I suggest that you stay on top of that situation.

Keep emailing the teacher and show up there to speak with her if necessary. I had s similar case with my son when he was in 3rd grade. Karen Overstreet

Bridget - posted on 10/22/2011

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We ask same questions .. we have our 3 children write there words 5 times each and It improved there grades. But I'm not a teacher and. Don't always know how to do there work. Especially since they don't let them bring books home...

Daniele - posted on 10/22/2011

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that is the way lets diagnose children in american as haveing a learning disability just because it takes a little more time for them to learn something, maybe it is not the child that has a learning disability, but the teacher has a teaching disability

Daniele - posted on 10/22/2011

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shes pays taxes, so she pays some of the teachers salaries, the school system of the u.s. stinks, a lot of our teachers do not do their jobs, they are in their for the wrong reasons, they have too many children in the class and many other problems

Carolyn - posted on 10/21/2011

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well i have to say that being a teacher is real hard! and being a parent is hard also. and neither should condemn the other side unless you walk the walk and been there yourself. the KEY is to work together so you both are helping the child!!! not getting frustrated and venting. that is the best for the child. do some research and go to the teacher with an open, respectful mind and find a system that will work for your child.

Beth - posted on 10/21/2011

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Really you "hired" the teacher. Or is it a public school and the teachers are hired by the state. Let me ask you what is going on politically at the state level? Why don't you get active in writing to your congressmen to ask for smaller class sizes if your son is not getting enough attention. Instead of always blaming the teacher why don't you go to the schoolboard and start putting some blame on the administrators and politicians who make the decisions about where the money goes and how much money goes to education. Instead of just complaining I would like to hear that you are actually DOING something about it. If you think you can do a better job of it than DO IT!

Tania - posted on 10/19/2011

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I am a primary school teacher and I currently have a child in my class who is doing something similar. I am concerned that he might have a learning disability. Have you talked with your son's teacher about getting some kind of assessment? Also, how is his letter recognition? Number recognition? General schoolwork? There could be more going on, if this is a regular thing. Sadly, teachers aren't experts in anything much, except crowd control. It is a jack-of-all-trades profession....Hope things look up for you soon.

Jodie - posted on 10/16/2011

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Congrats on getting 100 on your test job well done mate.
Keep up the good work :)

Courtney - posted on 10/16/2011

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i have a 1st grade girl same thing happen to me just set up a meeting with the teachter if it dont work out than have him go to a different school.

Rebecca - posted on 10/14/2011

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Hooray for the great job on the spelling test! I commend you for taking charge. As a mother of 3 kids in elementary school, my gut tells me that you are a good mom. You saw a problem and researched ways to fix it, even if that meant going out on a limb so seek advise of strangers. Boo to all those who took the opportunity to criticize. I have seen so many moms who couldn't tell you what their kids scores are until the report card goes home. I do the best I can with my kids, and despite all my efforts, I have 1 daughter that has struggled consistently in every subject except PE. Kids are not robots ya know? What works for one may not work for another. And everyone on Gods green earth has struggled with SOMETHING at some point in their life, be it school or otherwise. People shouldn't be so quick to pass judgement. Congrats to both of you! Keep up the good work!

[deleted account]

I am very familiar with them Ms. Champagne, as I used to work for a very large School District. You seem a bit defensive. I never said teachers don't work hard. And no, it's not only because it's an inconvenience but, because of the number of days educational days students are missing. Your calculations are bogus but, I'm glad the system works well for you. It's interesting how you completely ignored my statement about paying Teacher's what they're worth but, would rather set yourself as being 'right'. I really don't respect your feedback or opinion, so you might as well stop if you can.

Sherri - posted on 10/08/2011

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Okay I am sorry you don't approve of them. Do you even know what they actually do on those days? You need to understand the importance of them.



They are all factored into the yearly calendar before the school year starts. Your child is not losing any days of actual school they are still getting their 180 days.



It seems your issue is really that is an inconvenience for you, more than anything else.



Since schooling is very much in the schools and teachers work damn hard everyday for the children they are educating.

[deleted account]

I'm not blaming anyone, just stating an opinion. The entire system is broken! 'Development' days happen about 6 times per year here. Days off of school; tons of homework, it's just ridiculous.Pay teachers what they're worth and get the 'schooling' back in school!

Sherri - posted on 10/08/2011

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Audrea those teacher work shop days are mandatory and only usually happen a few times a year. The teachers do not opt for these days the gov't requires them. So blame the gov't for them not the teachers.

[deleted account]

What I detest are all the "Teacher Development" days. If the teacher's aren't "developed" then what the hell are they doing in the classroom? These extra days off are expensive and completely inconvenient! I tell you what, take 6 days off of Summer vacation and come to school ready to teach!

Stephanie - posted on 10/06/2011

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Thats cause you made the extra effort to give your children the opportunity to interact with other kids. My point was that the mom should not blame anyone for her childs lack of interest in spelling. My cousin did homeschooling and he felt very alone but he went out there and made friends. Its nice to learn with friends.

Stephanie - posted on 10/06/2011

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Thats cause you made the extra effort to give your children the opportunity to interact with other kids. My point was that the mom should not blame anyone for her childs lack of interest in spelling. My cousin did homeschooling and he felt very alone but he went out there and made friends. Its nice to learn with friends.

Charmaine - posted on 10/05/2011

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Bahamas here and yes from Grade 1 (age 5) we have weekly spelling tests - 10 words each week. The teacher makes sure the kids take these words home Friday night and that is part of the childrens homework, learn spelling words for test the following Friday. Today, the teacher can not do everything. I work outside of the home so have even less time afterwards to get home and we have homework everynight in addition to the spelling words. Also a daily reader each night. Homeschooling works for many.

Kimberly - posted on 10/04/2011

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Why don't you offer to come in the classroom and see what the teacher does. Maybe you would see some other ways to help your son and you would get a different aspect of what she does every day. She doesn't just teach spelling, but also math, science, social studies, reading, writing and also basic rules of life in about 4 1/2 hours. because you have to take in effect of 45 minutes for lunch and recess and then 1/2 hour for a special then a few minutes here and there getting them settled down bathroom breaks and that is if there isn't anything special thrown in there day. Most teachers love and appreciate parents coming in the observe and maybe even sit and listen to a group read to them.

Melissa - posted on 10/01/2011

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I know there are LOTS of posts on this subject. I don't have time to read them all. I just wanted to suggest speaking candidly with your son to find out what he says is the reason he was unable to spell any of the words correctly. It's just the 1st grade and there should be some leeway. He's learning how to test and the consequences of grading. Talk to him about what is going through his mind while he's taking the test. You may gain some valuable insight and learn how you can help him.

Also, consider meeting with the teacher to show that you are concerned with his success. Gain her/him as your ally and figure out a way to help your child learn best in the school environment. I know they will appreciate it and will naturally be watching out the best they can during the school day for your child. My daughter is only in daycare and yet every day I pick her up, I speak to the teacher/ caretaker and ask how she did. I ask for suggestions on what to work on (even though they email me their weekly curriculum) and for ideas on how to suppliment her learning at home. The teacher always comes up with suggestions I hadn't thought of.

Remember that if you yourself struggled with spelling, the ways used to teach you didn't work. It's likely they won't work for your son. Be creative in looking for and implementling techniques that may seem unfamiliar to you. Hopefully, you will succeed in finding methods that your son enjoys and he may love spelling and reading in the future! Many best wishes.

Jessica - posted on 10/01/2011

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My daughter couldn't spell for anything and I was not the greatest influence because I can't spell for anything. But, my son is an awesome speller. One week she just could not spell "edge" for the life of her. My son walked in and told her to break up the word. He said edge is "ED works at GE" (We live near General Electric). For some reason in her mind it was easier to remember that than E.D.G.E. From then on out we started breaking up the words and now she is in 6th grade and spelling is one of her best subjects.

Toni - posted on 10/01/2011

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Very glad to hear that you worked with him and it worked out. That is great!!! Next year it will be math too, if it is anything like where my oldest son goes. We have to work on math EVERY night!! He knows it, he is just lazy which is a whole separate battle. Good luck, and I hope his 100's keep rolling in!!!! :)

Marsha - posted on 10/01/2011

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I read more. WOW. So much opinion about this stuff isn't there. I am a mother of two. I work 8 and a half hours a day. My children, I have decided are going to school. I am not home schooling them.
I EXPECT the teacher to do what they are trained to do. I can watch my child and observe how she learns, but I am not expert. I have not taught other children, or studied how children learn. I know that I learn by writing things down, but I can't tell you if my children learn by writing things down because they are just learning how to write.
When I bring my child to the dentist, I don't tell the dentist that my child isn't brushing properly on the right side, or if I bring my child to the audiologist I don't tell her, it is bilateral hearing loss... I know there is an issue with her hearing, but I can't diagnose it. I am not trained.
Cynthia my point is, you love your son, you saw an issue, you asked for advice from others. I think you are doing exactly what a mother should do. Mothers on here can tell you all they want what you SHOULD do, or what THEY would do, but in all honesty, they are not you. Just take the posts that make sense to you and your situation, and don't worry about the other posts, mostly the ones that make you feel bad about yourself. That isn't constructive. I am sure another mother can come into my house and tell me what I am doing wrong, with whatever I was doing. We are all different.
What I would do for me and my children, is meet with the teacher to see what happened. It could be a simple thing. Or maybe not, but it is the teacher who learns HOW to teach. They are the ones we rely on to tell us when there are issues. At least that is my understanding.
Anyhow, good luck. You are doing the best you can and you will figure it all out.
HUGS to you!

Marsha - posted on 10/01/2011

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Your post is great!! Sending a laundry basket, how true you are!!!!! Good luck. My girls are too young for that yet. But I will keep all this in mind when my time comes.

Cynthia - posted on 09/30/2011

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this is the last email from my sons teacher. it is really neat that it is the 100th post. just a neat coincidence that i wanted to point out:)

Cynthia - posted on 09/30/2011

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Potter, Katie to me

show details 2:43 PM (11 hours ago)


You will be so proud of Brandon! He made a 100 today on his spelling work. All of that hard work with him on those words paid off. Thank you for your help

Cynthia - posted on 09/30/2011

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I am happy to tell you all that my boy got a 100 on his spelling test this week. his teacher was so shocked that she emailed me the news. i want to thank you all for your input here in a way you all are to thank for the 100. this is what com's is all about. the best thing i learned from this post was that the teacher does not teach spelling. i did not know that. i read over the words everyday but i did not realize that was all she was doing too. so this week i spent a lot more time with him and we did it!!!! i am relived to learn that he is not dyslexic. i want to share the email with you all. i really am so happy. i don't have the negative feeling about the teacher any more because of this post i realized that the idea that one teacher could teach 19 kids in her case 10 words in 5 days was unrealistic. thank you all.

[deleted account]

LOL! I know how you feel. My dad was a teacher and I know that a lot of times they spend their free time and there own money for school things, but sometimes you wonder. I have 4 kids--3 in school. I can't keep up with each of them and their homework. Honestly, I don't think they should give homework except for projects & studying for tests. Of course, spelling would fall under studying for tests.... My 2nd-grader has to do 2 activities twice per week that involve her spelling words. I think this helps them learn the correct spelling (assuming they do it right). My 5th-grader has had a terrible time this coming home with misspelled spelling words insisting that he copied them correctly. I tend to believe him since they get graded as correct by his teacher and/or his peers (I'm not sure how that works). My frustration really revolves around the amount of homework he had at the first of the year. He gets home at 3:45 & was having to stay up until after 10, 11, or even 12 to get it all done. I guess I shouldn't have asked him to stop for supper, bath, etc. She's finally slacked off & I hope she doesn't go back to that.

Maybe this time was a fluke. Work with your son for just a few minutes each night--even if it just means have him write all the spelling words three times each. He could do that with much supervision from you. Hope things get better for both of you. :)

Tracey - posted on 09/30/2011

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@Stephanie: No, homeschooling lacking social interaction is a big, stupid myth. I have been homeschooling my three, the oldest of whom is 15, since the oldest was 4. They are with kids of ALL ages daily; in fact we're on our way to a club meeting now. He's been elected club president of a club of about 50 kids; he plays football and one of his sisters cheers (the littlest is too young yet). In fact his team is all homeschoolers, and this year they've beat several government schools as well as several private schools, and kids from this club have gotten college scholarships to play football. He's currently thinking who he's taking to the prom and he'll be taking a college course in the spring. They have plenty of friends; they've had the experience so many people think is "necessary" of being bullied--or at least other kids have tried to bully them and failed. They've been to camps. They've won prizes for selling Girl Scout Cookies and Boy Scout Popcorn, which meant they knocked on a lot of doors because I won't do their selling for them! Your homeschooled kids will only be socially isolated if you allow them to be. Big myth that they are. Don't let the myth stop you from doing what you find to be the best thing for your child.

Lois - posted on 09/30/2011

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Look at the words your son misspelled. If he is switching the letters or can't remember which letter to use, he might be dislexic. He can be tested at school for that and the teachers can give you advice on how to help overcome this problem. Be patient with your son, but try to get some help if you can. You might also look at the words and see if they are too difficult for any child that age to be spelling. Spelling is a process that children learn one step at a time: first by the sounds of letters, then gradually by the phonetic sounds and the other sounds or silent letters.
Make the learning fun and homework time as stress free as possible. Kids learn more when they are having fun. Take turns reading and using funny voices. The more he reads, the better his spelling should get. If you don't see improvement soon, talk to teachers again. Maybe a reward for a passing grade will help. Do not tell him it is the teacher's fault because he will turn against the teacher and not try to do anything right or will become a disruption in the class then blame the teacher for his low grades. Always encourage him to like his teachers, but you keep eyes open as to what is happening in the class and in the education process. If you need to change his teacher or if you think he should be held back a year in school, do so wihout any blames and without feeling guilty. It is to help your child learn and be better educated. Students should not be in a race to finish school, just in school to become well-educated, no matter what sacrifices have to be made.

Jackie - posted on 09/30/2011

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I have a 7 yr old granddaughter who was like your son. She would get a list of words, write them 5x each, write sentences and still get half of them wrong on her spelling test. My daughter and son-in-law don't really put that much extra time in for studying, just the basics (homework assignments and projects) but they don't follow through. Finally I sat down with her every evening after her new list came out. I made her say the words to me first, then I would make her spell the words without looking. It took about 3 weeks, but after that, she was coming home with 100's on her tests instead of 30's and 40's. It is our place as a parent/grandparent to be the first defense. Also, the teachers are overworked with so many more students in class these days. And they have a different cirriculum than they did when we were in school. I have never in my life seen a spelling test that was multiple choice. Anyway, stick with it. No TV or Radio when doing homework, and don't yell. It only makes it worse. Talk calmly and try to find a way to help him remember. Good luck.

Aleks - posted on 09/30/2011

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JuLeah, actually I don't believe that to be the case. My son has only this year started grade 0/prep (I don't know what you call it where you live) and they certainly were not expected to know the sounds of the individual letters. In fact it is what they are being taught this year. Most of the kids in this grade are 5-6yrs old (some may have even started at 4 but would have turned 5 within 2-3mths of starting the year level). So, it must be a curriculum thing of where you are. Developmentally speaking this, probably, is not really a big deal.
From what I am reading of her post is that she does sit with the child and they do homework ( virtually unheard of here in Aust at such young age... the only thing to be done at school here is regular reading of their "readers" which are short books that get them into practicing of reading, and even THAT is not really a compulsary thing this early). Granted that she and her son are dealing with whatever educational system they are under and so have to somehow adjust to it if they want to stay in it, whether it is a good system or not. I guess what I am trying to say is that "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink".
lol@ Jodi, I know exactly what you are talking about, my boy constantly tells me "I forgot" when I ask him to tell me something that happened even 1 hour earlier...lol You may be on to something with the testosterone theory.

Jodi - posted on 09/30/2011

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"If he is using the term "I forgot" quite a bit, and you can tell he genuinely means it, he coul have ADD or ADHD. My son is ADHD, and I cannot tell you how many times a week we hear those words."

I have boys who aren't ADD or ADHD and I cannot tell you how many times a week I hear that too...... Just saying. One word: testosterone. Seriously, testosterone is a culprit in causing vagueness.

JuLeah - posted on 09/30/2011

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Actually, Aleksandra if kids don't go into kindergarten knowing letters, numbers, colors, and a bit of reading ... they are behind and it really is a challegnge for them to catch up

Writing at age 4 might not be there, the fine motor skills need to develop a bit more

But, by age four, they ought to have learned or be learning the letter sounds. I don't care at all of they can say their ABC's, but they do need to understand letters make sounds and each letter has at least one sound

I think, by her own words, this is simply a case of a mother not helping with daily homework and when she does, her will will likely pass the tests

Kelly - posted on 09/30/2011

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If he is using the term "I forgot" quite a bit, and you can tell he genuinely means it, he coul have ADD or ADHD. My son is ADHD, and I cannot tell you how many times a week we hear those words.

Aleks - posted on 09/30/2011

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One has to remember that some children (especially boys, as they tend to reach maturity later in these things... and I know this is a generalisation, but many know about this... its frequently referred to as "typically, boys tend to reach this later than girls", so don't hang me for this) are not DEVELOPMENTALLY READY at this age to do certain things!!!

Sometimes no amounts of wanting, begging, trying, reciting will make them do anything earlier than when their BRAINS ARE READY, just like sitting, crawling, walking, etc. Not to say one shouldn't be encouraging it, but come on... the child is only 6.

Oh and by the way.. when my son was 4 I tried and tried to get him to "write" his name and other letters of the alphabet. I used to get frustrated at him writing 2 or 3 to appease me, and then get bored and walk off to do other things.... Then all of a sudden, he just out of the blue wrote the whole thing on the blackboard (I think he needed help with one or two letters only)!!!! Just like that. I asked him who taught him how to write (the previous few days he spent extensive time away from me, with his gradma and later his dad - so I thought one of them may have done this with him) these letters he said: "you, mummy." So basically he was able to finally do this when his brain reached the level of development to do this! And I believe that at school this happens all the time with all sorts of topics... Kids sort of understand things but never seem to be able to do it on their own, then all of a sudden things just work or happen (however, speaking from personal experience, sometimes things didn't really click until after a few years, at least for me...lol).

So yes, practicing when one can and encouraging is something that we, as parents, should be doing. However, I would not be worried about things like this at the moment or any educational stuff along the way in years to come.... hey, some kids are not academically minded and never will be, but as long as they try their best.

Jessica - posted on 09/30/2011

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Hey Cynthia, Have you tried talking to your son? Asking him why he failed every word when you have invested time with him on the specific words? I was a nanny for a troubled boy in college, and we'd do the same thing he was adhd so homework seriously took us 2-4 hours each night and that wasen't even part of my job description. We'd go over spelling words and he'd get them down at home. I would quiz him and incourage him that he was gonna nail them in school the next day. Then he would get them all wrong? It turned out he was just not trying at school. He was bored and wanted to get through the test as quickly and carelessly as possible, plus he loved the attention his parents gave him when he got in trouble. they didn't spend alot of time with there kids (hence the nanny). Hopefully you can work with your son and his teacher about how best to retain infomation. Or perhaps you can hire a tutor.

Stephanie - posted on 09/30/2011

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I do not understand the frustration here. My son is 3. He started day care in May. He knows all 26 alphabets and their sounds. He can pretty much count to 100 with a little help on the 10s (40, 50, ...) but he understands the concept of 1-9 in each set of 10s. We watch ABC videos on youtube and we have ABC and Number books. We constantly read with him. He has read the Dr. Suess's ABC book so many times that now he can "recite" the entire book back to us. Now we are pointing to each word as we read so that he will recognize the word and hopefully one day he will be able to "read" the word from a new book or place. In one of the comments a parent said that teachings are done by the teacher, parent and child. I agree! Yeah, you are right, teachers are there to "teach" our children new things. But it is the parent's and the child's responsibility and motivation to want to retain that knowledge learned. If your child does not want to remember the spelling of those 10 words, nothing the teacher can do will make him remember. Its not easy being a working mom. But its our responsibility to our child to be the best we can be. I don't think you should give your son home schooling. It lacks social interactions. You will just make your child isolated and no fun. Why don't you make more effort on being a better mom to your son.

Jodi - posted on 09/29/2011

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"hey are expected to know more than we did at their age."

I disagree. I was reading and spelling at school in 1st Grade. And that as nearly 40 years ago. Things haven't changed in that respect.

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