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Kindergartener already "behind"????

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
I'm a little frustrated. My ds just started K. We've been reading to him for hours, and I do mean hours, every day since he was a baby. I've tried to teach him letters and numbers, etc. Been trying to teach him to write for a year now. He's also been in preschool since he was 3, so 2 years of preschool (2 days a week only, though). You'd think he'd be at least on par w/ the other kids, but NO, he is waaaay behind. He is apparently the only one who can't legibly write his name, the only one who doesn't know *all* of the upper and lower case letters and their sounds. He's one of only a handful who can't already *read*. <sigh> I'm trying so hard to help him, but I'm really frustrated. I thought they were supposed to learn this stuff in K, not go in knowing it.
So, his homework for tonight is to go over these flashcards of all the lowercase letters until he gets all of htem right. We worked for 30 min. and now are taking a break. So far we only have 6 in the pile that he got right.
Are these normal expectations for a kindergartener? It's a public school, supposed to be a good one, and they only started 2 weeks ago. I'm about ready to just pull him out and try again next year. Or maybe they'd let him move to the pre-k class? Can you do that? We're supposed to have a conference in 2 weeks. I don't know if I should keep trying until then or go talk to the teacher sooner? :
Any advice?????
post #2 of 40
It depends on where you live. In my dd's K, most of the kids did know their letters, both lower and upper case, as well as numbers to 10. They went over the letters during the year, one per week, and it was expected that they were reinforced at home. By the end of the year, they were expected to be able to do a little "sound spelling." My dd was reading at 4, but she was one of only a few in her class, not the norm, and certainly not what was expected.

I think my younger dd won't be nearly as far along in the reading department by the time she hits K next year as her sister was. We do work on it at home, but I'm not sweating it.

How is your child reacting to it? If he's enjoying K, I'd wait for the conference, in order to give the teacher a little more time to get to know your child so that she can give more informed advice. If he's not happy, I might ask to speak to her sooner.
post #3 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
By the end of the year, they were expected to be able to do a little "sound spelling."
Ok, they are expecting him to do this now, at the first of the year. He does know the names of all the letters and actually knows and can write numbers to 12. He just doesn't know all of the sounds and examples of words that start w/ it. (i.e, he knows Qq, but can't remember that it says kwa and a word that starts w/ it is queen. From what I'm gathering from the notes and emails from the teacher he should be able to spell/write queen, etc.)
He is supposedly the only one who isn't already reading and writing. So, I guess he's just somehow in an advanced class and is the only one who isn't. : They "tested" them last spring, so I don't know how that could have happened unless the other kids learned all this between May and now.
post #4 of 40
I dont know about what is expected at K, but I would say that going over 26 letters at once will just frustrate and confuse him. You'd be far better to pick out a handful, including all the ones he knows, and focus on them. Dont just do it with flashcards, and do make it fun!

If you make a plan (flexible though) focus on just a couple a week, pointing them out in signs, books etc, playing on a magnet board, painting them big, letters in the bath tub etc. Wait until he's grasped them before moving on to others. And make sure he's successful.

Please don't make the poor child sit with all of them for 30 mins - how demoralised he must feel! Go to see the teacher and tell her firmly that this was overwhelming and ask for her to come up with a more gradual plan. This is just a bad teaching approach and destined to fail.

When children work with something like reading they need to have approx a 95% success rate - ie know 95% of the words as they read, to be learning successfully. If your ds only knows 6/26 letters, attempting to bash the rest into him is not going to work!

Id' go to see the teacher now to clarify, not wait 2 weeks. I'd open the conversation something like "I'm sure that you didnt mean me to start working on everything at once, and I feel that I need guidance so that I can back up what you are doing with my child in class."

Remember that there is a normal curve in everything - some children learn to read at 3, some at 4, some at 5,6,7, 8 and above. What is important is what your ds is doing, not what the rest of the class are doing. PUtting pressure on him is not going to help him at all.

HTH
post #5 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2boysandadog
You'd think he'd be at least on par w/ the other kids, but NO, he is waaaay behind. He is apparently the only one who can't legibly write his name, the only one who doesn't know *all* of the upper and lower case letters and their sounds. He's one of only a handful who can't already *read*.
This sounds absolutely crazy. K must vary wildly from place to place. My sister's kids did not even learn the letter sounds in class until late 1rst grade. Most were not reading even by that point (and in a "good" school). There is a little girl down the street who has been to Pre K and is starting K this year. I asked her once what letters she knew on our alphabet chart-- she knew one-- A. I really don't see this as a big deal. I agree, this is what they're supposed to learn in K, not come to K knowing!

How old is DS? How recently did he turn 5?

My kids are homeschooled, but I want to put one DD in K. She is reading, sort of, very slowly, but had I not worked with her so much she wouldn't know many sounds.

My son, age 7 just now has started to write legibly. Boys can be sloooooooooooow with fine motor skills.
post #6 of 40
We were just talking about this issue this past weekend. When our son's preschool teachers talked to the kindergarden teachers about what they should do and how they should structure their lessons to meet the district's requirements, they came away with a list similar to what you mentioned in the first post.

Did we think this was a lot of information for a preschooler to know? Sure did. The thing is, I know kids his age, 4.5, that can already do a bunch of this. He has three friends who are just about his exact age that can write their names, know all their letters, their addresses, phone numbers, birthdays without a hint, and their numbers to at least twenty. Sam isn't quite close, but then he only does things when he wants to do them. I think that the way his preschool is structured, and with work at home, he will be on par with all the expectations. I really want him to have this stuff down because I don't want him to be tracked into a group that doesn't challenge him. Sounds scary, doesn't it?

We just don't know what to do other than to try to do the best we can to get him ready for school without pushing him too hard. If we can make it fun, then it will work out ok.

I think there is a lot pressure to achieve and it starts earlier each year.
post #7 of 40
I see this is going to be a hot topic. Two others posted in the time I wrote my other response.

I agree with Britishmum. Bashing everthing in all at once for 30 minute time periods will only make him resent the whole experience. Fun is the key.

We built a huge chalkboard in the kitchen and draw things on it that we want to work on for that day. We go for brief stretches of time. When he stops being interested, we will play some other games.

It is very different in each school district. What our district thinks the kids should know, the next one over might think is a little much. A private school might have even different expectations.

Though, Sam and his dad are sitting on the floor playing with Lego right now and Sam has informed us that he "knows everything." So maybe there isn't much to be worried about :LOL
post #8 of 40
Y'know, if he's not interested in this homework, I'd either skip it entirely or do much less of it. It sounds like he's expressed no interest in letters despite your attempts, and there's nothing WRONG with that. Pushing it is more likely to make it more stressful and difficult than letting it slide. With active, involved parents, and given no unusual medical/ psychological conditions, he WILL learn to read when he's ready- and if he's not strangled by it, he might actually enjoy it more in the future.
post #9 of 40
There are many different expectations for K, depending on the school/district/state you live in. My children go to a different school than the other kids in our neighborhood, so I really see a difference.

Our K were reading, knew all the sounds, could spell simple words, etc. at the beginning of the school year. But at other K, these were areas that were not addressed until later in the year, or not until 1st grade.

Sometimes it's a matter of age. Both my children are the oldest/older in the class, and this is a HUGE advantage for them. If your child's birthday falls on the young side, perhaps another year of PS would be beneficial. I have many friends that kept their children in PS one extra year due to their age.

Have you talked to friends of yours to get an idea of what their children did in K?

Maybe your child learns in a way that your school is not teaching. My children learned phonics for reading, while the neighborhood children learned to read by site. There is a big difference, and maybe one method would better suit you than the other.

I would venture to say that your child is not the ONLY one having "difficulty". Be supportive and nosy. Maybe a day hanging around the school and the classroom would help give you an idea about what a typical day is like, and what the other children are doing.

Good luck and hang in there!!!
post #10 of 40
My son started preschool very late, in Feb, and is due to go to Kindergarden on the 7th. He does not write any of his letters, but he knows the alphabet... upper case only. Should I worry about what they will say?
post #11 of 40
This makes me sooo mad. I strongly believe kids will learn at their own pace and catch up by the time they are around 8 as long as they are read to and encouraged to try.

I was homeschooled until 8 and went to school reading chapter books but I was behind on Math. By the end of the year I was ahead. what ever that means!

My DD1 went to public K way behind because at her private school they didn't push kids in K. Now going in to 2nd she is reading at an exiting 2nd level. (her teacher said)

My DD2 has little desire to read right now. When she asks during a story I let her sound words out but I don't force her. She passed K and I will not force her in 1st either. I just believe it will click for her when her logic (around 7 according to Steiner philosophy) clicks in.

I can't believe your DS is the "only one". All the kids in both of my dd's classes were at different levels. When I had my DS the teachers didn't even make us turn in homework for a couple of months.

Please don't stress about this. I sense this teacher has some issue. Not sure what. Your child will learn all of this in his/her own time. This is Kindergarten!

If you are interested Rudolph Steiner and Waldorf Philosophy have some amazing info on this subject. http://www.waldorfhomeschoolers.com/ Check out this website.
post #12 of 40
post #13 of 40
I would ask for a written explanation of what they will be learning in K and what is expected.

For example, my local school district has the following available:
http://www.lkwash.wednet.edu/lwsd/pd...arentHndbk.pdf

The list the following for EXITING kinder, for example:
introduction to letter sounds
beginning and ending sounds
syllable recognition
upper & lowercase recognition
name
environmental print

Writing:
Introduction to letters & numerals
Directionality

I would also question if he is actually the *only* one. A good friend of mine was told that her DD was way behind in kinder, far behind the class, not meeting goals, etc... She ended up sending her to summer school before first grade... only to learn later that EIGHT of 20 children in the class had been told the same thing.

Additionally, there is also a difference between actual criteria and what the teachers believe the criteria is (for example, in our school district, children are expected to be fairly profecient readers before 1st, though that is NOT implied by the official criteria).

Most importantly, though, how is your DS dealing with this? I have seen major self-esteem loss in my friend's DD (above). She is convnced she is not smart enough and even asked about staying in 1st grade (she is starting 2nd this week) a couple times. The principal very much thinks she belongs in 2nd grade, but I'm not sure her self-esteem will ever recover the treatment she recieved. If DS is happy, I would sit back and watch, getting info from the school district, for the first two weeks and go prepared for your first teacher conference.

Good luck,
Kay
post #14 of 40
Speaking as a former teacher, if I were your child's teacher, I would want you to talk to me now -- in person, on the phone, via email, whatever. Oftentimes, parental stress was caused by miscommunication, and if this is a simple misunderstanding, it can be cleared up quickly. If it's not a misunderstanding, then the teacher knows she needs to be thinking about your concerns prior to the conference. Maybe that way she can have some answers for you at the conference.

Now speaking as a parent whose oldest just started Kindergarten, at our parent orientation last May, we were told that college requirements had pushed curriculum forward, so that now, Kindergartners are doing things that used to be a part of 2nd grade. But even though we were given all kinds of things to work on over the summer, there was still the understanding that kids were expected to be at different levels entering Kindergarten. A couple of days before the first day of school, the kids were screened to see where they would best be placed.

All that said, I agree with the others about taking cues from your child. If he's happy enough, then wait and see may be okay. I don't know where you are, but I know that many states don't actually require Kindergarten -- it is offered, and most people who use public schools do it, but legally, in some places you can skip it. (Of course, since there are often age limits on preschool, that may not help at all.)
post #15 of 40
This is so frustrating to me as well. My son is also entering K this week and he's older in his class (will be 6 in Nov) AND he's been to preschool for 2 yrs-for 2 days per week AND read to every day since birth-and NO he does not know more than a handful of letters except for his name. He knows his numbers by sight and can count to 20 but he just has not been interested in letters no matter what tricks I or his Montessori teacher tried. So I decided that was fine, he'd learn when he was ready.
At his "assessment" with his teacher this week she didn't say anything specifically about his lack of letter ID but I felt she was going to when I said I understood that the learning expectations had been pushed forward greatly over the years but I, as a parent, was not going to push him and would work on things at home as necessary but I was confident that he'd be fine over the next few yrs because he had all the basic problem solving, social, emotional skills, etc. She just nodded and said they didn't push kids-but I translated that to mean-sure we don't push them, we just put them in remedial classes. I'm not trying to be negative, just realistic.
This is such a hot button for me and I have seriously thought of homeschooling for the last few yrs but I just don't think I have the discipline. This first semester will be very telling for me though and I may very well decide to do that!
Anyway, to all who are working on this-GOOD LUCK!
Ann
post #16 of 40
I think that he might just have been unlucky and got a really "high achieving" class. For one of my DD there were only about 12 kids out of 50 who could not read basic words on day one. For my other dd the ratio was 50/50.

The problem is in those "high" classes they are going to be moving at a rate that might be hard for him. But he also might just "catch up" one day soon
post #17 of 40
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the input. Especially AnnR33 - it helps my sanity to hear there are others out there who just aren't "up there" yet. Most of my friends here say "he's fine" and they're expecting too much, then go on to tell me how their kids have been reading since they were 3.
He just turned 5 in June. I thought about holding him back, but his preschool teachers said he was ready (and *socially* he is for sure) and dh wouldn't hear of it, so he's in K for better or worse now.
I talked to the teacher a little yesterday afternoon. She said we do need to work on the letters as much as possible, but try not to stress him out about it. Apparently they have upped the requirements just this year and she said there are actually 4 kids in her class who were in private K last year and are repeating in public this year. : She also said he knew more in class than I found he was getting right at home. She gave some general ideas on working on lowercase letters and would like him to know them all w/in a month or so. She said to just use the flash cards to figure out what he needs to work on and for him to look at as examples when he tries to write, not keep going over them. She did say that he seems to be farther ahead on his "math skills" than the others in the class so maybe he can work more on the reading stuff while they're concentrating on math.
So, what I have decided to do - last night I "quizzed" him w/ the flash cards and I am going to take one letter at a time and work on it until he knows it really well. I'm going to plan one to two activities per day and spend about 15 min. on it and that's it. I'm off to try to figure out what to do this afternoon!
post #18 of 40
Threads like this scare the crap out of me! What are we doing to our kids? They are going to be burnt out by high school. 40 years ago Kindergarten wasn't like this and plenty of people went on to college. Why do we think pushing kids too soon will make college easier?
post #19 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
Threads like this scare the crap out of me! What are we doing to our kids? They are going to be burnt out by high school. 40 years ago Kindergarten wasn't like this and plenty of people went on to college. Why do we think pushing kids too soon will make college easier?
Actually, the way it was explained to me is that the colleges are the ones that do the pushing (and since I saw some of this when I was teaching high school, I do believe it). Material that college freshmen used to learn during that first year is no longer covered because students are expected to enter with that information. Since the first year of college was pushed into the last year of high school, it had a domino effect down the line. I do realize that college expectations can vary wildly, but high schools tend to aim high when it comes to their students' capabilities. Not trying to say that all of this is right, just saying that there's always someone higher up driving things when it comes to public education. Kind of makes me glad all of my kids have special needs -- it means I get to "opt out" of some of the craziness (if it's not on the IEP, we don't have to stress about it).
post #20 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by thoesly
Actually, the way it was explained to me is that the colleges are the ones that do the pushing (and since I saw some of this when I was teaching high school, I do believe it). Material that college freshmen used to learn during that first year is no longer covered because students are expected to enter with that information. Since the first year of college was pushed into the last year of high school, it had a domino effect down the line. I do realize that college expectations can vary wildly, but high schools tend to aim high when it comes to their students' capabilities. Not trying to say that all of this is right, just saying that there's always someone higher up driving things when it comes to public education. Kind of makes me glad all of my kids have special needs -- it means I get to "opt out" of some of the craziness (if it's not on the IEP, we don't have to stress about it).
I think they are approaching it from the wrong direction. What needs to be strengthed is high school. Everything shouldn't be pushed down to the Kindergarteners.

I attended a play Kindergarten. I didn't read until 2nd grade. I was fortunate enough to go to a gifted school for 4th to 8th grade and then to a college prep school. I took French in 7th and 8th and Algebra in 8th. I was able to skip freshman Algebra and went right to Geometry. By Senior year I was taking Calculus. No one pushed me before I was ready. I was challenged but not pushed. We don't expect all children to walk at one year why should we expect all of them to read at 5? Some read at 4 and some aren't ready until 8.

I really believe that especially with the basics that you shouldn't push kids before they are ready. The first 4 years of school are crucial for getting the basics down but we shouldn't expect kids to have them in 1st grade.

Thank goodness we can afford Waldorf. I truly believe my kids could keep up as they tested gifted but I want them to have a childhood and a love of learning. My son didn't read until 2nd grade and now he reads at 5th grade level going into 3rd grade. What would have been the point of pushing him in Kindergarten when he wasn't ready to sit still much less read?
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