Another 1st Grader with anxiety over school - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-17-2011, 07:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My son is taking a sick day today. He couldn't eat his breakfast, and was looking really green pulling into the school. He told me his stomach hurt. I turned around in the parking lot of the school, and we left. We pulled in our driveway, and he said he felt better. I asked him if school was bothering him, and he broke down. He has been struggling since the beginning of the year to get his class work done. He usually comes home with less than half of it done. He hasn't had any issues understanding concepts, is moving up in reading, and most weeks gets an 8 out of 10 without much review at home on his spelling. His class work is usually one math worksheet which he completes. One sheet of writing numbers by ones to what seems like a random amount. Sometimes he gets this done, and sometimes he doesn't. A writing assignment which his teacher says he does well on when he completes them. They are usually a writing web and three "five star" sentences. The last sheets he brings home are something for spelling. Some days it's writing the words five times sometimes alphabetical order. He almost never completes these. His teacher hold him in from recess if he doesn't complete them, and still he usually brings them home with a note to complete them at home.

 

This was an issue from the beginning of the year. He has worked very hard to get things done. He knows it's an issue for him. Things started to slip again maybe three weeks or so ago. He broke down in tears begging to stay home. We were already in the school that day, so I talked him down. This wasn't the first day in recent history where he has been in or near tears when we walk through the doors to school. I did tell his teacher what was going on, and tried to get some sort of answer out of her. She just tells me he understands the work just fine. Then why do we have to push him so hard to get it done?

 

I would love to tell him to not worry about it. The problem is then he brings it home with a note saying he has to turn it in the next day. Then we go around and around trying to get it done in the evening, and we don't even touch his homework until the weekend. I would like to point out that when the struggle is over it takes him maybe ten minutes to do each sheet. Then we eat dinner, and he does his nightly reading.

 

Today he said first grade was just no fun at all. He has asked to move classes, move on to second grade, or be home schooled. Being home schooled is an option, but it's a hard choice to make when he does understand the work.

 

Sorry I just need to vent. I don't think it's fair for a seven year old to need a mental health day.

 


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Old 02-17-2011, 08:03 AM
 
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 The problem is then he brings it home with a note saying he has to turn it in the next day. Then we go around and around trying to get it done in the evening, and we don't even touch his homework until the weekend. I would like to point out that when the struggle is over it takes him maybe ten minutes to do each sheet. Then we eat dinner, and he does his nightly reading.

 

 



I never understand this.  If the teacher could not manage to get the work done, how do they expect the parent to get it done? 

 

What would happen if you sent it back, unfinished, with a note attached, documenting that XX amt of minutes were spent working on it at home?  Give it a reasonable amt of time, and then move on.

 

Have you talked to the school counselor?  On occasions when my dd has been sick with school related worry, I give the counselor a call.  It can be good to involve a "third party" (not teacher and not the parent) that they child can talk to. 

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Old 02-17-2011, 08:10 AM
 
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grouphug.gif no words of wisdom, just a hug. i hope it gets better for your little guy soon.


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Old 02-17-2011, 08:11 AM
 
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Sorry I just need to vent. I don't think it's fair for a seven year old to need a mental health day.

 


It's also not fair to punish a child by making them work nearly 7hrs straight with no break (recess)irked.gif. Do you think he has an issue with anxiety? A CBT may help with that.


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Old 02-17-2011, 08:41 AM
 
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Sounds like a lot of repetitive work. Does his hand hurt doing all that? Does he get anything out of it or is it all just busywork?

 

Losing recess is a big problem, I'd suspect. He probably is the one who needs recess the most.

 

You say homeschool is an option... I'd want to take that option. The school situation sounds like it's not working at all for him. Poor baby, he feels outright sick about it, and it's probably killing his love for learning. I think school is great but not for everyone, and it sounds like it's not a fit for him.

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Old 02-17-2011, 08:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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He reminds me a lot of me, and my relationship with school. The stress of getting it all done when your ADD is telling you it's pointless is just too much. I have tried to push the issue of him missing recess for class work. She refused to budge. She says she give him "some" of his recess, and that it's not all of the time. It seems like it's most of the time though. We were just going around with the counselor because he was getting picked on on the bus. We are getting that resolved, and he did finish his work yesterday. I was hoping it would help, but the stomach ache this morning was a bit much for me.


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Old 02-17-2011, 09:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Our worry about not having him complete the work at home is that she will decide he doesn't know the stuff and fail him. she sent home a math sheet a week or so ago saying he didn't understand the concept and to have him work on it. He explained it, and did it with no problems for my husband. He sent a note back saying that DS did understand it, and all we got as a reply was a smiley face on the paper. We also tried once on the reading logs after filling them out for the millionth time, that we read every night in our house. I wrote that he ready all seven nights of the week for more than the amount of time they require. He got marked off for only have one space filled in! I guess we are expected to do busy work too.


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Old 02-17-2011, 09:29 AM
 
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He reminds me a lot of me, and my relationship with school. The stress of getting it all done when your ADD is telling you it's pointless is just too much. I have tried to push the issue of him missing recess for class work. She refused to budge. She says she give him "some" of his recess, and that it's not all of the time. It seems like it's most of the time though. We were just going around with the counselor because he was getting picked on on the bus. We are getting that resolved, and he did finish his work yesterday. I was hoping it would help, but the stomach ache this morning was a bit much for me.



If you want to stick it out with school and he has a diagnosis I would request a 504 meeting in writing and make sure that it is written in that recess cannot be taken away due to incomplete assignments as an accommodation. If he doesn't have an official diagnosis but could have one I would do an evaluation ASAP and have the written diagnosis for the 504 meeting; also get a written recommendation for accommodations from the evaluator or therapist.


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Old 02-17-2011, 10:10 AM
 
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Have you approached the teacher specifically about the contradiction in the messages below? 

 

I'd first concentrate on making the issue clear.  Is the work too difficult, or is just too difficult for him to focus long enough to finish it?  If it is an issue of focus, is there a different way that he could demonstrate mastery and then move on? 

 

What is being done specifically to support him extending his periods of focus?

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. I did tell his teacher what was going on, and tried to get some sort of answer out of her. She just tells me he understands the work just fine. Then why do we have to push him so hard to  


 

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Our worry about not having him complete the work at home is that she will decide he doesn't know the stuff and fail him. she sent home a math sheet a week or so ago saying he didn't understand the concept and to have him work on it.  

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Old 02-17-2011, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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He has been diagnosed by our GP a couple of years ago, but we decided to hold off on meds or getting a therapist to weigh in until it became necessary.  At the beginning of the year we explained this to his teacher and she agreed that because he understands the concepts we didn't need to worry. She loves to send us these very vague messages though, and when I ask her to explain she backs off. She drives me up the wall!

 

The concepts are easy for him. He complains that the writing is hard, but once he starts he is done within ten minutes. It's pretty classic ADD behavior actually. I suppose it's time to get him evaluated. I'm just so annoyed that it started so early! I was in third grade before I started having these problems. I was hoping for just a couple more years.


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Old 02-17-2011, 10:17 PM
 
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He has been diagnosed by our GP a couple of years ago, but we decided to hold off on meds or getting a therapist to weigh in until it became necessary.  At the beginning of the year we explained this to his teacher and she agreed that because he understands the concepts we didn't need to worry. She loves to send us these very vague messages though, and when I ask her to explain she backs off. She drives me up the wall!

 

The concepts are easy for him. He complains that the writing is hard, but once he starts he is done within ten minutes. It's pretty classic ADD behavior actually. I suppose it's time to get him evaluated. I'm just so annoyed that it started so early! I was in third grade before I started having these problems. I was hoping for just a couple more years.


I was dealing with this in Kindergarten! though ds has the combined type which is harder to ignore. ADD inattentive is more subtle and can make it appear as if a child is just lazy, which is how your ds' teacher seems to be approaching the situation; she really doesn't understand ADD. A 504 puts a plan in writing and she can't be vague any more.


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Old 02-18-2011, 04:44 AM
 
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Grade one can be a big transition if K wasn't already extremely academic(I remember playing lots) like in my ds's K where they already got homework!

 

Some schools do away with grades and that seems to help with reducing the stress kids feel. If things don't get better perhaps you could consider a middle ground with an online public school.Same work but he can pace himself slower if needed. With homeschooling you could focus more on specific interests while teaching the basics in others.

 

Your 3rd grade is now his 2nd grade.Everything got bumped down a grade,and kids are learning more earlier.Problems will show up sooner. Hope you find something that works for him.Alteast he will have a new teacher next year,so I hope she/he meets his needs better.

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Old 02-19-2011, 11:47 PM
 
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Does your school or district have a homework policy?  Our district's homework policy is that there should be approximately 10 minutes of homework per grade of school, four nights a week (so M-Th).  For your son, that would mean 10 minutes (plus reading) Monday through Thursday.  I know that a lot of teacher do not follow this policy, but it does mean that I have felt fine (in the past) with saying that my child did the proper amount and were done. 

 

I would, personally, arrange for a discussion with the teacher.  Then, in  your situation, I would say that I consider it reasonable for DS to do ____ minutes of homework per night and as long as he was working diligently for those minutes, I would be drawing a line and signing it when he reached that point.  You can ask her what you would like you to prioritize (which subject or assignment).  That said, I would also ask what the purpose of each assignement was.  With my DS, who is a slow writer I clarified if the purpose was the physical act of writing OR getting his ideas on paper.  If it was the latter, I would do the physical writing for him and he would just dictate.  That way he was doing the *important* part but not having to spend so much time/ get so frustrated.  At that age, if you are actually working on ideas/writing (versus penmanship) this can help a lot!  We still do this sometimes.

 

At that age, you should be able to request that he does NOT have recess taken away for not finishing homework.  I allowed my children to have recess taken away if they were not participating in school (and that was the teachers policy) but not for homework issues. 

 

Additionally, so what if she fails him?  Does he feel bad about it?  As far as I know, they need to have parental support to grade retain, so you can choose to put him in 2nd grade next year if you feel he is ready independent of what she says.  If he understands the concepts, then I would put him in 2nd.


 

 

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Old 02-20-2011, 11:11 PM
 
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Our worry about not having him complete the work at home is that she will decide he doesn't know the stuff and fail him. she sent home a math sheet a week or so ago saying he didn't understand the concept and to have him work on it. He explained it, and did it with no problems for my husband. He sent a note back saying that DS did understand it, and all we got as a reply was a smiley face on the paper. We also tried once on the reading logs after filling them out for the millionth time, that we read every night in our house. I wrote that he ready all seven nights of the week for more than the amount of time they require. He got marked off for only have one space filled in! I guess we are expected to do busy work too.


We got a note once that I, the PARENT, had been repeatedly failing to coloring in a picture to indicate spelling practice had been done. I had no idea it was supposed to be colored in. I said that we do it every night but the teacher wanted that paper colored in.

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