My son is in Kindergarten.
He started school pretty far ahead, academically. When he was evaluated at the beginning of the year, he was reading at a 2nd grade level. He doesn't have particularly a lot of math knowledge, but he was able to count beyond 100, and do simple addition. He picks things up quickly. He was beginning to experiment with "inventive spelling," which was exciting because he's a bit of a perfectionist who previously didn't want to "sound things out" for fear of spelling them incorrectly. His handwriting needed work, but seemed age-appropriate.
Shortly after he started school, it became clear that he probably wasn't going to be "challenged" a ton at school. But he was excited about going, was making lots of friends, and we figured that was enough. He was a part of a little "accelerated readers" program with 3 other students, but it was a pretty minor part of his experience (something he did for ~30 minutes/week).
A few months in, though--maybe around the beginning of the year--his attitude about school started to change. He started asking for "days off," and didn't talk about kids from school that often. He started asking to be "homeschooled" (I'm not sure exactly what that means to him). He said school is boring, and that he "never gets called on." (He's in a class of 26 kindergarteners, so I can understand how it could feel like he's not getting "called on" or whatever, even if he is getting his 1/26 of time/attention.)
We had a parent-teacher conference yesterday, where his teacher told us, basically: He's very intelligent and knowledgable. She wishes he would be more of a "leader" and less of a "follower." His behavior has gone from exemplary to very apathetic (she said he's not doing anything "wrong" at school, but his attitude is sort of like, "Eh, I don't want to do that so I'm not going to.") She said he seems to think that "school is a place for fun, and not for learning."
So we talked about it a bit--I told her I had observed this shift in his attitude toward school from home as well, but wasn't sure exactly what accounted for it. She said, "It definitely hasn't gotten any harder for him, so it's not that."
The most unsettling part, though, was when she said something like, "And, yeah, sometimes I just 'let him go,' because I'm working with some kid who doesn't even know the alphabet and it's like, 'He's all set.' I could probably challenge him *more,* but I don't think I'd be doing him any favors--then he'd just be going to 1st Grade that much *more* ahead, and he'd have the same problem all over again."
Needless to say, this attitude bothers me. It's not surprising that he thinks of school as a place to "play and not learn," since he...doesn't learn there. I don't think I have unreasonable expectations for his teacher/school. I understand that he is 1 of 26 students in this class, and I don't think he deserves more than any of the other students. But I also don't think he deserves less.
Perhaps equally upsetting to me is that his handwriting--the one thing that really needed work--has not improved at all over the course of the year. In fact, she pulled out a writing sample from October and one from February, and I think it could be said that his writing was better in October. It seems that, throughout the year, he has reinforced some bad habits (such as writing in all caps, inconsistent letter size, not spacing between words), and no one has stepped in to help him break them. Occasionally he brings home a paper that says "Remember lower case letters" or "spacing" at the top, but he's not particularly interested in the feedback he's receiving on these papers--he rushes through them to get free time to play.
We've just bought a house and will be moving before next school year. We could move as early as next month. (We haven't sold our house yet, so until it sells, we have some flexibility about moving--the new house is about 45 minutes away). I originally wanted to try to stick around long enough for him to finish the school year, but I'm having second thoughts about that, thinking that perhaps he'd be better off learning at home for the remainder of the year, and then just starting at his new school in the fall.
Any thoughts? Would you bother trying to work on things in his current kindergarten situation, or just supplement at home and "get through it"? If the former, how would you go about bringing this up with his teacher? I work in the classroom one morning each week and have a good rapport with his teacher--and really *like* her--and I want to be reasonable about what I ask (because I think the class size is way too big to begin with, and I want to be fair to both her and his classmates). Suggestions?