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Daughter Is Having Problems in Kindergarten

Myra - posted on 03/30/2014 ( 30 moms have responded )

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I was homeschooling my oldest daughter for kindergarten this year. We moved out of state back in December, and finally closed on our house and moved in in late February. Both my oldest and younger daughter handled the move really well. They handle change well, as change seems to spark interest with both of them instead of fear. The oldest wanted to finish the year in school "with other kids", so I registered her for school once we got moved and settled for a couple of weeks. I had no doubt that she would do fine with the academics of kindergarten, but did worry about the social aspects because she has never been in another person's care, nor had she been around kids more than when there were kids at the park and she decided to engage and play with them (which wasn't often).

She has completed her first week of school, and the teacher is already talking about holding her back. She is not doing her work, she is not talking to the teacher or the kids, and her fine motor skills are far under par according to the teacher. The teacher said my daughter is about where kids should be at around 9 weeks into the year. I know she is farther than this because in her homeschool studies, we had moved on to 1st grade work. However, I believe her teacher because when I asked my daughter how to spell her name, something she has known since before starting kindergarten, she couldn't do it. She is back to not being able to tell the difference between d and b again, she's writing less neat than she was, and she's lost her interest in reading.

I know that with the move her senses are probably over-stimulated, and I know that she is likely so anxious at school, it is making her shut down. I've spoken with her teacher but she's pretty much made up her mind that my daughter will not go on to 1st grade...in one week of her being there. Although I enjoyed homeschooling her, I don't want to go back to homeschooling my daughter; she needs the social skills that school provides. My husband and I always wanted her to take classes - dance, music, etc, but due to our financial inability to pay for them, we never got her in those.

I am kind of at this point; I educated her to the point she was ahead of where she should have been, and as horrible as this sounds, I am unwilling to homeschool her after she's been in school all day because she is not doing what needs to be done. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem helping with homework and such. My problem is that she has to "catch up" when the problem is not that she doesn't know these things, she is refusing to do them. I can't be there to make her do things in school. So, how do I get her to do them if I'm not there? I don't want her to repeat kindergarten; she knows these things, and I know she knows them. But, as the teacher said, "she's being defiant".

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Annette - posted on 04/24/2014

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This is such a hard hard thing to decide on. My daughter turned 5 Aug. 22 and started kindergartin not quite even 5 (we have year round). She is now in third grade and I am trying to decide what to do with her for next year. Let me just tell you what concerns to think about for the future. The schools we are at will not let any child stay behind. Even if they test the lowest in the schools. They can get into resource only if they are 2 years behind grade level. How does that help someone who is just young and stays consistently below grade level. The difference won't be as bad in 1st, 2nd and even 3rd grade- but where they will really start to struggle is in 4th grade when they take all the information they have learned (especially reading and mathematics) and have to start doing harder and harder stuff faster and faster. My teacher told me that my daughter will do ok next year until about December and then she thinks her being 6 months behind (mostly because she is just slower at developing- learning and a great pace and trying really really hard)-- her being behind will accelerate because she will get more and more overwhelmed. I can't tell you what to do about holding your daughter back, since I am going only by what you say, but think about this as you decide because the government does not want to pay for your student to take another year of school, so this becomes less of an option for them. I am scared for my daughter and really wish I had just decided to hold her back and have her start when she was really ready to start. Education is really a hard thing to know what to do for your children. I have 6 kids and this is my last child. I watched one child with severe ADHD (not really hyperactive at all but more distracted and then anxious) fall further and further behind and struggle all the way through. Because schoolwork was so hard and took so much time, he did not have time to develop other skills at home because we were always just struggling with him to get him to pass. Now his skills at staying organized and keeping up with his responsibilities are not taken care of.

I just needed to vent about the school system for helping these kids. Their self esteem falls way hard if you hold them back later in life, and yet if they are constantly struggling and having to have extra help, they can already tell they don't do as good as the kids around them. They will start labeling themselves as dumb. It is SO SAD and so hard to decide what to do to help them. There should be MORE HELP that can be done for these kids!!!

Nash - posted on 08/12/2014

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Myra,
So how did all this turn out?
I put my daughter from home/co-op into second grade in August. The teacher told me at first conference that at first she was concerned. Daughter wasn't a good speller and not good at reading. By November - 3 months of normal school day instruction - she was all caught up!
By 5th grade at that school, she was the top student in all of 5th grade there. She went on to middle school and still excels.

Kids that enter school and might be considered a little behind, can catch up so fast. Same with another child of ours. Entered high school thinking he was behind a bit, but ended up in honors courses. He is graduated and on his way to college!

Ask her to be switched to another teacher if this ever happens again. That teacher didn't even give your child until the first 9 weeks to improve! What a dope.

Julie - posted on 06/18/2014

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Your husband is right in suspecting that the teacher is negative towards homeschoolers. Public, charter, and some private schools have very anti-homeschool views. If you decide to put your child into these schools expect to be given a hard time in terms of them thinking your child is already behind, not being too friendly to your child, and not being too cooperative with you. This can only be avoided by not telling them you are a homeschooler. Please google NEA views of homeschoolers.
Before allowing her to be retained I would ask for her to be evaluated by the reading/curriculum specialist at the school or for her running record information. There should be some type of evaluation that she can be given to check her progress and justify retention or promotion.
Also, I would not consider her defiant. She has a major transition going into a school environment and I am guessing the teacher is not treating her well and the kids are probably picking up on it. Any "good" teacher would not be talking about retention after only a week. That is not enough time to assess this student fairly. Also, how well did she do on any of her entrance evaluations that they gave her?
I would have her evaluated for a learning disability, gifted, or a combo of both. Sometimes kids can be gifted and the work is so easy that they refuse to complete it. Sometimes kids can have a learning disability which is not really seen during homeschooling but shows up in the school environment. Sometimes a child can be what is called twice exceptional (gifted with a learning disability). Twice exceptional kids, kids with learning disabilities, and gifted kids are quickly labeled defiant in a classroom environment because most teachers have no training in how to recognize a learning disability or gifted students or a combo of both. If you choose evaluation please get someone who knows how to correctly interpret testing results for 2E students. (google 2E or twice exceptional). Do not expect an honest evaluation from the school. Try your insurance company and see if they will pay for an evaluation. The school evaluation is only a last resort. Also, the school is supposed to going through what is called RTI (Response to Intervention) before any talk of retention comes up. Please google RTI and see if you could start this process. Also, keep in mind some learning disorders can not be accurately assessed until about 7/8.
Sometimes kids are academically ok but developmentally just not ready for school. Schools in Finland and Sweeden do not start "formal" school for these reasons and they are the top in the world. Google "Redshirting" your kindergarten student. Many parents start their children later because of maturity reasons. When is her birthday? Is she a summer or early fall baby. The younger the child the harder the transition. Also, gender plays a role.
Since you mentioned fine motor skills difficulties and sensory concerns I would have her evaluated by an OT. They can offer help with fine motor skills and evaluate for sensory concerns. OT therapy can work wonders. Many kids will have fine motor difficulties that schools will not recognize as bad enough to offer services. Again, look at your insurance company for possible benefits.
Lastly, some kids do better in a homeschooling environment because it is the best learning environment for them. A school setting can be chaotic to a homeschooling child and they can quickly be overwhelmed. Also, it might not fit their learning style or meet the individual needs of the student. Think about homeschooling again if this environment is not working. If you see a "loss of spark" and refusal to work those are signs that the school environment is not positive and she might need another teacher, school, evaluation, or a different type of learning environment to be successful.
Good Luck with whatever you decide. Hope this information helps.

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Moose - posted on 11/24/2014

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User - posted on 06/29/2014

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Mine was this way. I communicated before school... sometimes stayed in the hall all day or in the class and talked to the teacher after... communication helped but the real issue was social ness is not a subject but my oldest has problems making friends (she always gets bullied... she's 3-4 years advanced at home she lacked confidence in being smart when other kids couldn't do what she does... she never showed it now she's 10 and she's starting to really love her brain and has a few good friends but still has girls act snotty)... basically I wouldn't start an advanced kid in school... if I had a choice... I would invite parents and kids over from park visits and join activities too.but if she loves school start her no later than the first month... kids are fairly adjusted by then and being new late on kinda sucks at most schools because catching up is no fun. After a week that teacher should not have evaluated the situation though... a week is very new! And all the names are not even memorized... after month if there are issues then yes.... 2 weeks at minimum no less... my oldest would walk the halls for hours in first grade... slip out of chairs and got put in a special class... she was manipulating teachers for attention... smart kid dumb teacher. Its tough but you'll get it.

Amanda - posted on 06/12/2014

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I think part of the problem may be the social aspect. When kids switch from being homeschooled to going to school there is often a switch in their mind. They are no longer in the same environment and with the same conditions. and they are now dealing with social pressures that they never had to deal with before.
Give her time to adjust, the teacher may be jumping to conclusions after only a week or school. Your daughter may adjust well after a little time.

Erisreignssupreme - posted on 06/06/2014

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loving this thread. i hear ya about th esnappy teacher thing...and the anxiety that that can cause. but as long as you feel you can talk to teh teacher yourself then you should be able to comunicate whats going on with her and come to some compromise. would it be too bad if she spent the rest of the year in kindergarten even if it is too simple for her skills she may have a lot more to learn than just letter..so if shes doing work that she can easily do that might give her head space to just learn social skills. and younger children can be less threatening to an older kid. she can feel like a big sister to them and be able to help them with their work and feel top of teh class which would improve her confidence. its not nessisarily a bad thing to go back a grade sometimes it is a good solution for reasons otehr than the acedemic and maybe the teacher feels that the kindergarten teacher is better equipped to deal with a kid who needs social adjusting. at least consider and discuss the benifits of going down a grade with the teacher and your daughter. it could be a really positive thing.:)

Eli - posted on 06/02/2014

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god i have to comment again lol! defiant means she knows her own mind. the basic thing to be learned in school is a} people are idiots but you have to get along with them. b} authority figures {teachers and bosses} want the answer they want…NOT the right answer. what you are learning is how to conform. that is the lesson of school…not how to do things we learn that without school. so teach her how to play the game… how to give the answer they want. i don't know where you live but i also had trouble paying for classes for my kids to socialize and they hardly got to do that at the classes anyway. so i started my own class doing simple music games. whether you learn social skills at school is questionable. you learn to obey authority to hand over your pocket money to find your niche and generally how to cope with the stress of an antisocial environment. thats not quite the same as social skills. its a rare group of people who actually teach kids how to respond to social situations and communicate and cooperate. a rare school that i can't afford. or find. schools not nice. but everyone gets through it. or goes around it. either way your equally screwed. cos if you have social skills and communication skills and are self motivated to learn you might be more isolated than the kid who gets the roughest time at school but at least is within a group of others also having a rough time. ok rant over sorry!!

Eli - posted on 06/02/2014

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I've found that what they do in school is very different to what science has told us kids need. they seem to be obsessed with perfectly forming letters over and over again. as homeschoolers we develop our kids language and understanding far deeper so no your child is not backwards. stress is likely to cause her to not be able to write. my son had a similar problem teachers are scary..they should not be making an assessment of her capabilities after one week!!! id like to see her performance after one week teaching a new class and stamp her as backwards based solely on that! try to be patient with the teacher they often feel intimidated by little kids who know their own minds. ask the teacher to let up on her and give her some slack till she gets into the new routine. thats only fair and reasonable. then you don't have to force her to do extra homework after school just cos this teacher is treating you out and the kids. thats not on and people have got to start complaining about these things or they'll never change.

Myra - posted on 04/01/2014

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I worked with her over the weekend a good bit, especially on her social skills as I think that is really the root of it all. She says she wants to talk, and I know she does. I'm not sure why, maybe the anxiety exaggerating things, she's afraid to talk to people (especially talking first), thinking they will be mad at her. I can understand why the school thinks she's being defiant with her work, too, but, they don't understand that she doesn't like being wrong...to the point she will refuse to answer. So, we worked on some things. Monday she seemed more at ease. She spoke to her teacher; initiated the morning 'hello' as she went into class. I let her know I was very proud of her for that because that is a very big step for her. She apparently didn't socialize with any of the kids, but, I know that's around the corner since she is beginning to open up and speak to her teacher. We went back over the anxiety coping techniques we've been using for several years so that she can better deal with the new noises and stimuli in the classroom. I've known for probably 3 years that she has anxiety that's more than the "normal" kind. I don't know or not if anxiety is genetic, but she got it from me...if it's genetic, she got genes from me, and if it's not genetic, she saw me and thought that's normal. I had horrible problems with anxiety. Over the years, I've managed it, and taught her positive ways of coping as well.

Her teacher is not the picture of 'kindergarten teacher' that I grew up with - the safe, warm, compassionate woman that was comforting and nurturing. She's very, very business. No naps, no snacks (which doesn't surprise me...I'd heard most schools eliminated those), and no show and tell, but the kids don't do things as a class with the teacher. They do a lot more independent learning...and learning on the computer. I could have kept her home and done independent and learning on a computer; we even used the same site they do in the classroom.

Here, they have to be 5 to be in kindergarten (6 before Sept 1), but before they can go on to 1st grade, if they don't go to kindergarten, they have to take a skills assessment. If they don't score high enough, they are placed in kindergarten.

She's back to being able to write her name, getting the letters again, and she's really interested in a book that she found yesterday in the library. I do think it's a bit ridiculous that they are expected to be able to sight read over 120 words by the end of the year. When you consider that the AVERAGE child can't read until they are 6, and usually in 1st grade ( http://www.webmd.com/children/features/w... ), sight reading 120 words seems excessive. Funny enough, she can't read all of them on their list, but she knows many, many more that aren't on their list. (she actually is very good at reading, especially since she hasn't turned 6 yet).

When I spoke with my brother-in-law about what her teacher had said, he couldn't believe they were wanting to hold her back. He said he'd seen what she can do...spelling words out loud, reading, real math - not just shapes like she's doing at school. Keep in mind, he only saw very little since she just started talking to and around him last week. He's been staying with us for a month, and she just started speaking to him last week. The kid has social anxiety something horrible. It doesn't take away from how smart she is, though. But, if they can't see that she's smart, they have nothing they can do but keep her behind.

My husband asked if the teacher maybe has a grudge or something because our daughter was homeschooled. I don't think that's it, because I saw her work, and she didn't do it. But, I think her teacher is upset about getting 2 new students on the same day this late in the year. The same day my daughter started, there was another student that was new. I know that has to be stressful to the teacher to figure out where 2 new students are in their learning, but that issue should be taken up with the school, not taken out on students.

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