So this is Dd's third day of school EVER (except for kindy), and she has "lost recess" (detention) four times. They get let out into the sunshine once a day for 15 min. basically. She is getting punished not for poor behavior but for 1) not understanding the hmwrk (I didnt get it either) 2) forgetting to bring a book (she loves to read, couldnt they have let her borrow one? Geez) 3) asking another kid to explain what to do instead of the teacher 4) starting homework in class after her classwork was done (this is prohibited) All this seems rather harsh to me. Seems like she's being punished for not understanding how the whole picture fits together.
She is telling me she hates school and wants me to withdraw her. After 7 hrs of school, she's had 1.5 hrs hmwrk every night so far. She resents having no free time. She says her eyes hurt from the lights and wants to be outside.
Worst, she thinks the other kids are smarter than her because it's taking her longer to complete the work--she's not used to the format, you know? She's crying to me and saying "what's a worksheet?"
She's doing fine with making friends, but she is upset that they don't get to play except for that 15 min/day that the teachers keep taking away from her. Sigh. I have talked to two out of three teachers and they seem understanding when we talk but still doling out the harsh even tho I've explained this is her first real year in school. She hasn't had a lot of practice being quiet and sitting in rows.
Yesterday, she was upset coz it's hard andboring and you're busy all day with people telling you what to do--well, learning to cope in that environment is valuable, you know? I want her to be able to hang and not give up. I'm not against coming back to home learning, but I'm thinking did I ruin her and make her lazy or incapable of dealing with uncomfortable situations or challenges by making life too good thru hs? I don't want her to hs because she gave up on ps after three days, dig? I want her to hs (if thats what she wants) because its truly what she wants, not because its the lesser evil. Also, I would like her to be capable of getting by in an institutional education environment in case she wants to pursue her interests in the future through college, etc. Maybe it's just not the right time yet?
The hard position I'm in is that I totally agree with her--it's bs they keep giving her detention every day just coz she hasnt learned to swim like all the other fishes yet, its crap that she barely has time to eat and shower, 1.5 hrs hmwrk is fine for highschool but really for 4th grade a bit much, yet I'm trying to encourage her to stick it out coz I dont want her to give up out of high emotions. I'm afraid she will get targeted as a "bad kid"--she has said the other kids have made fun that she's lost so many recesses. Also, I'm worried about her self-esteem.
Thing is, last year, hs was not fun for either of us. She didnt want to do her 1.5 hrs a day of work and we bickered a lot--mainly I think coz she would get bored and feel unsettled and need stimulation but not want the direction for that to come from me, even tho what I would suggest was usually fun. She says she'll be happy to hs again, but I told her thats something we both have to agree on, and I'm not ready to agree to taking that on again at this time. Mostly coz of the once bitten twice shy thing, after spending last year in oppositional hell with her, I dont want to mess with that, it rly put a shadow on our relationship dynamic.
Originally we (the parents along with her complicit agreement) agreed to push through til January and then re-evaluate if her going to school was working for the family. Now, I'm hoping to make it to Halloween! I am concerned about her transitioning back to hs right at the same time we have a new baby--I am NOT going to be in digging up curriculum mindset, kwim? from the work they are doing, she is definitely not behind; if I pulled her out soonish then we could pick up right where we left last spring and be on track/ahead of her grade class easily.
I am just bummed coz she was so excited to go and the teachers are so stuck on not giving even a teensy inch of budge to accomodate her transitioning that they are being hard and ruining what could be really great. Also feeling guilty for hsing at all as had she been in school from the beginning she'd obviously be adjusted to this and not struggling so much at 9yo tho I know thats totally illogical since we are here who we are now, and I love my little girl just the way she is! But I'm feel sad that she s dealing with this rough transition while it seems so effortless for the schoolers to be back at school already.
Thoughts? Sorry so long, just trying to think through this and feeling pretty frustrated.
If I were in your situation, I would wait to see if she would adjust. It hasn't even been a month. In the mean time, do not let her see you hesitate about your decision to put her in school so that she could focus on getting adjusted to going to school instead of trying to persuade you to pull her out. If in a month or two, she still seems to flounder too much, then you could start thinking about other options.
I am, however, very sad to hear that they only get 15 min recess. That is just not enough. I had no idea kids got so little time to play in school. Is this just her school?
This reminds me of my first year of college-- when my parents made me go to a small Christian school when that was the last thing I wanted.
Always in trouble and not always sure why.
I'd make an agreement with her about how its important to learn to suck it up in difficult situations. Maybe make it through Halloween or to Christmas, then if its still not working out- time to reevaluate. Its a bit adjustment and it can just take her longer to get used to it than others.
On the other hand, I'd teach her really quick about the rules of school--- she knows now not to do the homework ahead (stupid stupid), and to ask the teacher instead of other kids. Whether or not she continues on in school for the long haul, this is a valuable lesson and experience for her. The year is still new....give it time.
Really I find this very questionable. I am very much in favor of traditional academic learning - it is what I am trying to do at home - but I found the school environment to be about as valuable as a prison term. Although I suppose there is a bright side to everything....but really I think the environment and rules and how they are applied in many schools is very unhealthy...frankly I could use much stronger words than just "unhealthy". My experience in college was so different than K-12 public school...I won't even compare them. I do not think a K-12 brick and mortar school experience is necessary for kids to be ready for post-secondary formal education. I understand if you are choosing school now because there was no cooperation with homeschooling...but if you decide to have her come back home, I would not lose any sleep over the "valuable experiences" she would be missing at school.
and 3 , in our happy secular
In our public school the kids who are there all day have two recesses. One is about 15 min and the other (after lunch) is about 20 min. if I remember correctly. If the kids get to school early, they can play before school starts. If they are in half day kindy, there is no recess at all.
If I were you I would request a conference with the teacher. It sounds like they really need to be more lenient while she adjusts. The stuff they are taking recess away for is just plain old silly. I would tell them flat out they are not to take recess away from her with out contacting you FIRST. Explain how she was so excited to go to school and is already miserable. If she has more than one teacher make sure they are all there. Kids need a break! It doesn't sound at all like behavior problems to me. It sounds like she just doesn't know the rules yet and they are treating her like a child who has been in that school for the past 5 years.
I have a 4th grader, if she gets more than 40 minutes of homework a night I will be conferencing with the teacher and honestly even 40 mins a night is a lot and would annoy me.. Also the kids get 30 minutes of recess a day (mainly outdoors), lunch, and specials.
Crashing the Learning at Home forum as someone with two kids in public school to say that it doesn't sound like the issue is either your daughter or the fact that you home-schooled. It sounds like a learning environment I would be upset with my kids in and as I mentioned I'm not a home-schooling parent.
I have flat out told a teacher that recesses are not to be taken away before in the past. I feel my child needs that time to run off energy and to socialize in order to have optimal classroom behavior. Though I only did that after discussing the issue further and trying to figure out what was going on.
One recess a day in 4th grade is really fewer than I'm used to seeing. My 5th grader gets two recesses (one in the morning and one after lunch). My 1st grader gets three. Plus the kids in both my kids grades are frequently moving between classes, to specials, and reorganizing for leveled groups. It's not very realistic to expect even upper elementary school students to do seat work for most of the day. I have seen a few teachers who are supper strict in the beginning to try and get the year off with a clear understanding of all the rules. But I more frequently see the first couple of weeks of school spent on learning the rules and routines (even in the upper elementary grades) and more leniency given for minor issues. Plus the punishments for what seem to me to be minor issues seems rather harsh. Talking out of turn once or twice shouldn't result in a lost recess.
Personally, I'd visit with some other parents and get their take on what is going on in the classroom. I often find that when I feel something is wrong, many other parents are having issues as well. It would help to know if this is the culture of the school, if it's this particular classroom that works this way, are other kids struggling too. Do parents congregate outside the school at pick up time, can you strike up a conversation with other parents of kids in her class. I've even gone to PTA meetings and stayed after to visit with other parents who I learned had kids in my child's class. It helped me get some perspective on what was going on to hear how other parents viewed the class dynamic as well. I'd flat out say that you are used to homeschooling and don't know what to expect or what is normal and what is their take on the classroom discipline style.
My situation is very similar to yours in a few ways! I put both my kids into public school last fall 2011, after exclusively homeschooling my son and my daughter had only done a summer vpk program at that point. I was also going to college at the time, and I had also begun to feel like it was a fight to get my son to do any studying and I was burnt out. So I somewhat reluctantly put both my kids in a public charter school - 3rd grade for him and K for my daughter.
I think having a whole year off from homeschooling was very good for me, but was also very difficult for me in some ways. My son ended up having quite an awful teacher whom he felt he was being bullied by. Every day the children end up with a "green", "yellow", or "red". This was all based on their behavior, and yellows are warnings. He was getting yellows and reds almost every day. He is not a bad kid at all, he is very smart - but he had only been homeschooled and did need some time to learn the rules. He would also be forced to miss recess sometimes (and not just him though, he said the whole class sometimes!). In our case, there really was an issue with this teacher. He also has a short attention span at times so I can understand some of the warnings in class for getting distracted or being a distraction to other kids. But the teacher was just down right rude, as I discovered when she wrote me a note when DS got a "yellow" and she said, "He was putting pencil shavings all over his desk, I took a picture want to see?" I couldn't believe it. But I didn't do anything right away, I saved the note. A few weeks later DS relayed to me how his teacher was calling him names in class "Cheater cheater pumpkin eater", when he started too early on a timed test. Obviously he needs to go by the rules of the test, but calling an 8 yr old names in front of the whole class was so inappropriate. Ironically this happened just after we went to a little anti-bullying seminar the school held, and when I went to pick up DS one day he called his teacher out on it (when I was standing by him) and she couldn't even bare to look me in the eye when she denied it. We ended up talking to the principle about this and the teacher was gone a month later, so I don't think it was just DS who was having problems with her. With his new teacher, things went very smoothly and he did finish out the entire school year without getting any more yellows or anything like that.
I have to say, I was sad and felt very guilty about the problems he had at school - but I also didn't want to quit in the middle of the school year. I always told him I would consider homeschooling again but I needed him to really do his best and finish the school year. He did more than fine academically, he was reading at an 8th grade level when he started 3rd grade. I'm pretty sure he was bored out of his mind the whole school year, except for guitar club! My daughter had a wonderful Waldorf trained K teacher and her teacher said she was always an angel in class - she was also ahead in reading like my son. (Funny thing though she was an angel at school, it seems she compensated and we had new behavior issues at home). She liked school well enough so I was absolutely flabbergasted when summer came around this year and she started to ask if she could homeschool instead of go back to public school. I had already been talking to my son about it. I had to think about it all summer because I am expecting a baby in a few weeks and I didn't know if I could handle homeschooling again at this particular time. But they both talked about homeschooling every single day over the summer - literally! They even begged to start homeschooling before the school year officially started.I am going easy with myself in regards to our homeschooling schedule as we begin this year since the baby is due soon, but our whole family is happier because of the decision. Of course, we have days where I wonder if it was the right choice - but that happened when they were in public school too.
I think it was a good choice when we decided to finish out the entire school year, we all learned a lot from it. Having a whole year of public schooling gave us a better perspective to make a decision on what to do next. I think public school and homeschooling both have their challenges though, so ultimately you've got to do what feels right for you and your family. When's your baby due? Mine is due Sept. 21st so maybe I'm crazy to restart hs now, lol! But since my kids were both way ahead in public school I realized I must have been doing something right before, and I'm trying not to stress too much!!
Do you have email addresses for her teachers? I think I would be inclined to email all the teachers and explain that you are very concerned that your 9 year old has had recess taken away from her every day so far this school year, and you want to understand why they felt that was the best punishment for her infractions and what you and she can do to avoid having recess removed again.
Based on what you've written, I'd be inclined to ask if there is a list of classroom rules they could give you to review at home. If there isn't a list, I would ask that they recognize that your daughter is new to this school and give her a warning before punishing her for a rule with which she may be unfamiliar. I'd also ask what they would prefer you do if the homework is confusing-- take a guess at what is asked? send a note in explaining the problem so they know the homework wasn't forgotten? email the teacher immediately?
I would try to be open to the possibility that the situation seems different from the teachers' perspective (for example, had the teacher said "No talking" immediately before your daughter asked her classmate about the worksheets?) and try to calmly explain that you are looking for help making this transition successful.
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