Should I let my child fail?

Julie - posted on 11/09/2013 ( 5 moms have responded )




My second grader just returned to school this year. He was in public school for Kindergarten and homeschooled last year. He started the year with D's and F's but tested end of second year for Reading. The teacher also said he was not completing all his classwork. The teacher feels he does not complete his work due to defiance. My son says he does not understand nor have enough time. I asked her to send the work home and she said no. Her rationale is he needs to take the grade for incomplete classwork if he does not do it at school and not have a chance to complete at home. She says if he gets a D or F then that is what he has earned and I should accept it. Then, recently he bought home a test with a 65% in Science. I asked for a retake since her policy is anything under 70% can be retaken. She told me that was the retake because the first test was 30%. I asked for the test and she said the whole class did poorly and it was not sent home to anyone and she said "I will be keeping the test." I had to go through the principal to get a copy. Also, I never knew he took this test. She posted the Reading/Math testing dates but not Science. When I spoke with the principal about all this and asked to be informed of Science test dates so I could help my 7 year old study. I was told not only should I not being helping with homework but he should be preparing for tests on his own. Also, I should let him earn his own grade for independent studying even if it is a D or F. I should not help him in any way because he needs to learn how to be independent. Just wanted to add - he has the current "Teacher of the Year" What are your thoughts?


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Julie - posted on 03/31/2014




Update from Julie:
Michelle- The reason I homeschooled was due to illness. It was not something planned. My son fell ill at the end of June and had medical needs that would have to be addressed during school in order for him to attend. In the fall, (beginning of his first grade year) his school advised me that my son could get a 504 but that they would not be able to guarantee that it would be followed so I decided to actually do virtual school full-time but it was not working for us so we just did part-time with one math course and homeschooled for the rest. He attended our neighborhood public school for kindergarten and did well. However, I did feel he could have been challenged and homework was a chore to get him to finish. At the end of kindergarten the teacher recommended he be assessed for gifted. When he returned for second grade it was to a public charter school.
I had him privately evaluated and he was gifted with a learning disability. His processing is average/normal but his IQ is extremely high. Basically, he thinks faster than he can get it out. He would need things like extended time, organizational help, modified assessments, and extra help studying in the classroom setting (which is what I was asking for too) In hindsight if I had redshirted him for his kindergarten year I think it would have helped in one way but it would not have helped his gifted needs. His birthday is two days before the cut off in our district.
At the end of November I pulled my son out of the charter school and decided to homeschool full-time (no part-time virtual). It was an adjustment for me and challenging for the family but we have settled and we are loving it. My son it thriving and happy. He is eager to learn and I can individualize his learning just for him and his needs. It is wonderful. I never considered homeschooling as an option before. It was "accidental" last year but "by choice" this year. I am going to homeschool for as long as I am able to and as long as he wants to homeschool. We are becoming active in homeschool groups for the cooperative learning and socialization opportunities. I am able to review and order curriculum especially for him to meet his learning needs. He goes to sports camps and is learning Spanish. I am teaching him art and music so he gets that too. I just attended a homeschool convention and it was great. Homeschooling was the best decision I have made so far for his educational needs. I only wish I had made it earlier and had never even sent him to school.

Kristen - posted on 03/17/2014




I am having the same issue with my 4th grader! The teachers are allowing extra time but, then taking points off for being late? crazy! my child has a 504 accomidations with this still going on really ruff. I am DEFINATLY going to change schools next year. I think my childrens current schools standards are way to high and are catering to the high achievers in the class and "leaving my child behind". My childs teachers also suggest i not help with homework. But, if my child is already stuggeling why let them stuggle more at home? no way I want to help. Sounds like the teacher is trying to give "tough love" and being difficult. Which motivates some students but, not all. Not all kids learn the same way. stay strong!

Helen - posted on 11/10/2013




I think you should give your son some time to adjust to being in school again. I have to say that as a teacher (Australian) myself, I find your teacher very unhelpful. I am rather alarmed that the test results seem so important and not about what your little boy can do and what help he needs.
Why did you make the decision to remove him from school and homeschool for a year? Was he struggling at that stage? Many children are slow to complete their work and, if he has been working at his own pace at home with individual attention, he may need some time to adjust.
I agree with the teacher that a 2nd grader should not be studying for tests or doing them at home. Forget the tests. They have stressed you out and will have the same effect on your son. They are done. Now work on helping your child improve and to feel good about himself.
Have another discussion with your teacher, and the guidance officer if you can, and discuss your son's needs calmly. If necessary, have him tested so he can receive specialised assistance. You can help him at home by doing the following:
. listen to him read and check for comprehension every day
. help him with any additional homework - explain and remain nearby but let him do it on his own as much as he can
. make science fun by setting up opportunities for exploring and investigating rather than testing - lots of books are available to give you ideas
, read to him interesting books, fiction and non-fiction, slightly above his reading level to encourage him to regard reading as valuable and interesting.
Try to work on homework at week ends if possible, or mornings, when he is less tired . After school time should be stress free and time to exercise, socialise and have fun. I hope it all improves soon.

Michelle - posted on 11/09/2013




Why have you now decided to send him to school when you had been homeschooling?
I agree with the teachers that you shouldn't be helping him as if he can't keep up in 2nd grade how is he going to cope in high school?
I think you have to decide if you are going to homeschool or send him to mainstream and stick to it,

Cecilia - posted on 11/09/2013




I can somewhat relate to you. I say somewhat because my son has an IEP in place which makes my job much easier.

First talk to your son and get his side of the issue. He might be having a hard time in class and doesn't feel comfortable about asking this teacher for help he needs. (she does seem to be unwilling to give extra help from the sound of it)

Second suggestion, talk to the school psychologist. They are a great middle point between you and the school. Have him set up to talk to your son and see if he can see why he is having a rough time this year. He should report back to you after this. At this point, you ask him what can you do. Make suggestions, take suggestions. He might want you to seek a therapist outside of school, do so.

The reason why I say this, there might be an internal issue such as a learning disorder. If he does have a learning disorder then the fun part starts. That's when you tell the school they need to set up a CSE (council for special education) meeting. This will be where you ask for things he needs from the school, such as extra time to do work, a quiet area to work in, extra test time, ability to repeat tests, ect. Sometimes they will fight you on this. Here is some more information if interested-

Now if there is no disorder, you can still ask the school for certain things. Talk to them about posting grades online or asking for copies all all tests. Explain to them that you do understand the importance of him being independent but he is not doing well with it right now and needs some support. Basically, help him. He is your child and he needs you right now. Do what you know is best for him.

If they are not listening and helping you help your child succeed, then your next step is to go to a school district meeting. You can look online to see when they are held or simply ask the school when the next meeting is. They will allow time for people to talk after the official business. Sometimes if they know you are coming they will almost blackball you and not allow you to talk. If they do that, put your name for a slot the next meeting. Then they are forced to listen. If it goes to that point, be prepared. Write down your complains, your wants and suggestions on how to complete. For example, host a website which lists all tests coming up and test scores, or be required to sign all tests under a 70.

I know it's a long and drawn out message but I hope it helps some.

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