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Could use some feedback from others with grade schoolers

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Tell me if this would bother you...


My son is 6 years old and is in public school.  He's in the first grade, doing a bilingual program with half english and half spanish.  I placed him in Montessori from 2.5 year to kindy and then moved him to public school cause of the bilingual program.  When he started out, he struggled a bit and then things got better. He ended the school year passing everything fine.  Well, were now about 3 months into 1st grade and he's been struggling again.  I've had several meetings with his teachers, one is kinda aggressive and the other more polite, and they both think he may have adhd.  Anyways, we did a survey and we both found that he may have a mild to moderate case, maybe.  I called two child psychiatrist and the earliest appt will be in January.  


In the meantime, I was just staying onto of him every night and day to make sure that all of his assignments were completed.  


So a little background of our situation,


So, I am a single mom. I live 3000 miles from the rest of my family. I am currently in nursing school taking 14 credits.  I am also working about 29 hours per week.  The only support I have is through a babysitter that I pay to watch my son when I'm either working or at school.  I am trying my best to juggle everything but over the last 3 weeks or so, we've slacked off a bit and he hasn't complete his homework every night of the week…maybe 3 out of five.  He has double the homework as his program is dual language.  


So this is where I'm feeling really sad and pissed right now.  Tonight was a special school event where the kids learn about healthy habits etc.  Both of his teachers were there and so I used this opportunity to speak to one of them about his assignments the last few weeks.  So, I explaining that I, myself, had been slacking because I haven't been nagging my son every night that his homework if finished and so he's been turning in some assignments incomplete.  I was telling her that the last few weeks had been very hard for me, with school/work, and I'd been slacking on my "parenting" duties I guess. So, she starts to ask me if it's really worth it to juggle my sons childhood…something like, is it really worth the degree than not working with your son, or something that.  So, I tell basically inform her that I need this degree so that when I graduate I can support my son financially and that until then we'll just have to balance everything the best I can.  Anyways, she basically indicates that if I'm paying attention to work and school, I'm not paying attention to my son.  Now, I just can't believe she would say something like that to me.  I am sacrificing so much so that we can have more one day. 


Well, now I'm going to cry and have a pity party for myself.  I mean, I would love to be a stay at mom but when you @(*$@ husbands ask you for a divorce after 15 years what the hell do you do. You put on your big girl panties and do the best you can.  Jeez

post #2 of 13

Completely inappropriate and ignorant comment from the teacher. The idea that a mother's life can solely revolve around her child (single mama, partnered mama, working mama, stay at home mama, or any combo) is just completely ridiculous. He's in first grade, so what if he's not completed every assignment!!! So absurd. You're doing a great job juggling all that you deal with. Don't let one person bring you down.

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks Loveandgarbage,


I really needed to hear/read that tonight.  I struggle so much with guilt about living away from family and I just didn't need to hear this from my son's teacher.  Errr.  Your completely right about not letting her bring me down!!!  

post #4 of 13
A better answer from her would be... How can we support you and your child better?

That was low of her.
post #5 of 13

Awww, I'm sorry that you went through that at the teacher's conference and went home feeling blue about it. I'm sure you're trying your very best and my hat goes off to you as a single mom. Your job is not easy and it sounds like you're carrying a really heavy load with the classes you're taking in addition to your work hours. I'm sure your son's teacher meant well but still, you already know that you're spreading yourself too thin. Have you considered maybe taking one less class next semester so that you have a wee bit more time for yourself and your son? I know it will take you longer to graduate that way, but I hate to see you wear yourself out. If you build a little "margin" into your life, you won't be sorry.Enjoy your little one, and all the best to you in your nursing school endeavors. Let us know how it goes -- I'm sending you hugs!

post #6 of 13

Jeez!   Seriously, you sound pretty damn amazing!!!  Exactly what you said - "you put on your big girl panties" - think about it - that's what you're showing your son that grownups do.  They face challenges and don't buckle under.  And sometimes that requires sacrifices from everyone, but that's life.  As far as the homework, from what I understand, homework for 1st graders is relatively new to begin with.  And possibly your son has something, and possibly, he's just reflecting some stress or being a normal kid and not being as attentive as the perfect girl from the perfect family down the street.  You know what, my son is 6 and if he spent all day in school, I can bet you he wouldn't be rushing to do his homework right after.  I'm a bit surprised that the teacher, who is a working woman herself, would somehow downplay the enormous effort you're making - who cares about homework in first grade???  What's more important is that you're showing your son that a strong woman and adult does what needs to be done to put herself and her son ahead...not thinking only of today but also the future.  Seriously, kudos to you for everything you're doing for yourself and your son!  My Mom always worked, and if you'd asked me any time from when I was a kid till today, whom do I most admire in the world, it would be her.  


Btw, part of your son's distraction may come from the Spanish immersion...maybe until he gets more fluent, he's not going to be as interested in it.  

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback everyone!  I really appreciate the encouragement and kind words.  


Grumpybear - Wouldn't that be nice if we lived in a world where that was possible.  I even asked the school counselor if there were any resources for kids that might have adhd and apparently, in this school district there aren't.


Drewbie - See thats the thing…there isn't any way I can cut my credit hours back.  When your in school for nursing, you don't get to choose what you take…either you take the whole semester or your dropped out.  I have been taking prerequisites and worked so hard over the last 4 years that there is no way that I'm not finishing this program.  Once I'm done, my salary will increase by 25000 and my son and I can buy a house,live near family, and all the other awesome things that I want to do for him and me.  I am going PRN at work in December, so my hours will drop from 29 or so to about 10-15 or so.  That will be a huge help.  Only thing is we're going to be super poor…


lmkl- When I had my son in Montessori, I felt like he had more freedom to be independent and didn't have to conform to the rules so much.  He did ok.  But now that we're in public school, I'm really seeing how it can be frustrating to deal with all the expectations that may or may not be appropriate or even necessary at this age.  I hope your right about the bilingual aspect.  My son is really expanding his vocabulary and he has perfect pronunciation!!! It's amazing!  So, bleh….forget those grumpy teachers!

post #8 of 13

Hi Everyone, I've removed a post that was in violation of the User Agreement. As a reminder:

Attacking or Name Calling
Hate posts and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Treat others as you would want to be treated. Attacking someone to provoke a negative response is not allowed.

Name calling is name calling whether it's calling another member here a name or calling someone not on the boards (e.g. a teacher, school official, another parent, a family member, etc.) a name. What we can do is discuss a person's (in this case the teacher's) behavior and support each other in dealing with difficult situations.


Alenushka, please check your PM box for a message from me.


OP, it sounds like a very upsetting situation and I'm sorry that the teacher was disrespectful in her comments to you. Your DS is lucky to have you as his mama and it sounds to me like you are doing so much and doing it all really well.

post #9 of 13

I totally agree, the teacher was out of line. Having done full-time work, parenting, and grad school myself but with a supportive partner I honestly cannot believe I got through it. . . and you will get through it too. Fortunately your son is just in first grade, this is not a critical time especially when it comes to homework. Like you said, you're trying to better his future. 


(but in her defense, she might have been exhausted from a long day - sometimes the teacher mask slips a little bit)

post #10 of 13

it shouldn't matter whether the program is bilingual or not. you didn't say, but if it is more than 10-15min/homework a night for a 6 year old, that is too much.

my 6.5yr old is in a French immersion programme and most nights has no homework, but the school board in general sets guidelines that grades 1 and 2 not have more than 15min of homework a night.

teachers are supposed to support the learning process, am sorry you aren't having that experience for your son. teachers seem WAY off base.

post #11 of 13
I was going to say something similar to what star*more said. In our district, a grade 1 student should not be required to do more than 10 minutes of homework a day. And really, the homework should be extra practice or reinforcing what has already been learned - not just taught. The homework shouldn't be used for assessment purposes... So why the teacher is bent out of shape doesn't really make sense. I would look at the homework as a learning skill, an opportunity for students to show organization and repsonsiblilty. Of course in grade 1, parents need to be involved. But kids are in school for the better part of their waking hours.. Do they really need to go home and continue being students? I'd brush off the comment made by the teacher. It was inappropriate. Perhaps she was having a bad day, as a pp mentioned. IMO, the most important thing in grade 1 is that the kids feel comfortable, happy, at ease, engaged and safe. All the rest is a bonus.
You're doing a phenomenal job. You should pat yourself on the back for every morning you get your DC to school and you're off to work or school. You're doing a HECK of a lot for yourself and your family.
ETA I'm talking about a dual language programme as well.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks!  Really appreciate the feedback.  It helps to know what to expect from a 1st grader.  I didn't realize that homework should be limited to 10-15 minutes per night.  I think part of the problem is that my son gets easily distracted and it takes him much longer to finish something that might take another child less time.  On Mondays, he has to write 10 spanish words 5 times, and 10 english words 5 times.  On Tuesday, he has to write 3 spanish sentences 3 times each sentences and the same for english.  On Wednesday, he has to make up three sentences from the english and spanish words and the same for on Thursday.  He also has to read a passage every night, and I have to count words right/wrong.  And he has some math homework sent home every week.  


It takes him about an hour to do each assignment because he's up to the bathroom, needs snack, has to tell me some story from the day or complains about whatever issue on his mind at that moment. 


Does this sound like too much.  If he was in english only, I suspect it would be half of the work!

post #13 of 13

For a perspective on immersion program homework, DD is in 1st grade in Mandarin immersion.  She has a packet of two double sided pages due on Monday, Weds. and Friday.  One page is Chinese and there is a lot of practicing characters.  The other page is math.  It takes her about 15 minutes to complete the whole thing.  


For English she has a packet due once a week that takes her about 15 minutes to complete.


It sounds like your son is doing a lot of repetitive writing and repetitive tasks!

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