6 year old hates school, doing poorly - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 03-07-2012, 10:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My ds1 is 6 and in the first grade.  I have no idea how to help him with this issue as I always LOVED school (and still do, I'm taking grad school classes now).

 

Every morning, it is a fight to get him to school.  He wakes up crying, saying he doesn't want to go.  I know part of this is the actual waking up; he is not a morning person.  If left to his own devices, he'll sleep until 9am or later, even when he goes to bed at the same time (bed time now is 7:30-8pm).

 

He's not having any issues socially in school.  He has friends, plays hard, isn't teased, etc.

 

His grades, however, are another story.  He went from having As and Bs in the first 9 weeks to Bs and Cs in the second and now he's got Ds and Fs.  His teacher said that his handwriting was part of the problem in math the last 9 weeks because they were working on word problems.  He really struggles with handwriting but the school's OT people are maxxed out and won't see him.  Teacher also says he's having a hard time focusing; he fidgets, won't sit in his seat, swaps his shoes from one foot to the next, etc.  Teacher is great and will let him kind of stand and dance around if that's what it takes to get his work done.  But yesterday she said he stared at a math worksheet for an hour (4 problems) and never even wrote his name on it.  I asked him about it and he said he didn't understand.  I told him his teacher would help him, but he said she was helping someone else.  I told him that, if he asked, she would help him, he'd just have to wait his turn.

 

He's also said things like: "I like to get the problems wrong b/c I hate school." and "If I do a good job, they'll think I like school!"  I'm not sure if this plays a role in the grade drop or not.

 

Teacher has also said that he doesn't seem developmentally ready for some of the concepts, but there's nothing we can really do about that except hold him back a year.

 

None of this stuff was an issue last year (except the waking up, but it is a much bigger deal this year).   His Kindy teacher did have to stay on top of him getting his stuff done in class, but nothing to this degree.  I know that when I hear "can't focus" from a teacher, she might as well be saying "medicate him," which isn't fair b/c she's never said anything to me about medication.

 

If he hates school now, we're in for a long, hard road, so I want to fix this.  Or at least improve it.

 

I'm open to suggestions, if you've got 'em.


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#2 of 14 Old 03-07-2012, 12:10 PM
 
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Write a letter to the school on real paper with a date and a stamp delineating everything you see as a problem:  handwriting, focus, sitting still, attitude towards school, falling grades, etc.  Anything you see as possibly standing in the way of his success or evidence of his struggles to succeed.  Request that they evaluate him. 

 

That starts a clock of 60 days for them to follow though, OT backed up or not. 

 

Check out the wrightslaw website (I need to find things there through google restricting it to that site -- the organization leaves much to be desired), and read up on Child Find and IDEA, the processes in place to get children services.

 

 

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#3 of 14 Old 03-07-2012, 01:19 PM
 
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Are you committed to keeping him at his current school?  Answering this question might help others in responding.

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#4 of 14 Old 03-07-2012, 03:20 PM
 
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I agree with Geofizz that he needs to have an educational assessment. You know he has issues with handwriting, but he's not getting services. Even with the word problems my 2nd grader is doing, there's not that much writing. It also seems that he's having trouble with the content and/or understanding what to do. Your son is making up excuses about why he's not doing it, but it's probably not the real reason. He probably can't articulate why it's hard. A good read is "The Myth of Laziness". Kids sometimes give up because they can't do it. They don't usually give up on things they can do.

 

Yes, it might be an attention problem. But it might also be something like a vision problem (do his eyes track together, for example?), a problem understanding language, or a problem with being overwhelmed with what's going on around him. You don't know what's wrong with him and won't until they do a full educational assessment. You need to know what's hard for him before you can find a way to successfully deal with it. If it is an attention issue, medication is an option, but not the only one.

 

Second, I agree with the pp who asked whether this is the right school for him. I noted two red flags in your post. First, I'd be seriously concerned about why they are giving him letter grades in first grade. So, what does a D or an F mean for a 1st grader? If there's any way to make a child hate school, that's surely on the list. (My oldest is in 5th grade, and he still doesn't get letter grades. He gets one set of marks for mastery of content: D = still developing, M = meets standards, or E = exceeds standards. He gets another set of marks for effort: I = needs improvement, S = satisfactory, or O = outstanding. Next year, in middle school, he'll get letter grades.) Second, they let him sit for AN HOUR staring at his worksheet? What's going on there? Why wasn't the teacher monitoring what he was doing. Why did they have 60 minutes to spend on a single worksheet?

 

 

 

 


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#5 of 14 Old 03-07-2012, 04:20 PM
 
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If you decide to request the school do an evaluation, you need to "start the clock" in your letter of request; the school has 60 days from the date they received parental consent for evaluation to do the evaluation; your written request should note that this letter is the consent for evaluation. (And, if you did not do it in writing, it never happened!).

 

If you are able I would do a private developmental/education evaluation as well as they would work for you, the school evaluators don't. I don't know how close this is to you, but the Schmieding Developmental Center, located in Springdale, Arkansas, is the type of facility I would look for; hospital clinics are typically less expensive than private practitioners.



Determining Eligibility: How Many Days is 60 Days? - Wrightslaw

The Art of Writing Letters by Pam and Pete Wright - Advocacy ...
 

Independent Education Evaluations: What? How? Why? Who Pays?

Independent Evaluations: Must Parents Select an Evaluator from the School's Approved List?

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

National Center for Learning Disabilities, Inc.

http://www.ncld.org/ld-basics/ld-explained

 


BASIC REFERENCE INFORMATION - 504, IEP, OHI, Wrightslaw - ADD ...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

I recommended reading "Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy"; the information from the book can be found on their site as well (Table of Contents). Reading "Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition," would be a good idea as well).

 

Under IDEA/IEP, if your child has a disability that adversely affects educational performance, your child is entitled to an education that is designed to meet the child's unique needs and from which your child receives educational benefit.

 

A 504 is helping your child get the same education that everyone else is getting--more for a student that needs accommodations to help them learn (like sitting next to the teacher) or for behavior, and that they are not punished for things that they cannot control due to the ADHD (like needing to work standing up or not sit inside a group).

 

[A IEP or 504 is not an escalation or punishment for the teacher/school. It's more about getting all appropriate parties involved and on the same page. The student, parent/legal guardian, teachers, principals, Pupil Services administrators, support staff (i.e. nurse, counselor, psychologist, language/speech pathologist) as well as the student's physician or therapist may be involved in the placement process including the 504 meeting.]


Eligibility under IDEA for Other Health Impaired Children

Key Differences Between Section 504, the ADA, and the IDEA.

 

(http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/sec504.summ.rights.htm)

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#6 of 14 Old 03-07-2012, 05:40 PM
 
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Quote:
 But yesterday she said he stared at a math worksheet for an hour (4 problems) and never even wrote his name on it. 

 

 

Quote:
Second, they let him sit for AN HOUR staring at his worksheet? What's going on there? Why wasn't the teacher monitoring what he was doing. Why did they have 60 minutes to spend on a single worksheet?

 

 

and this is a public school?

 

an HOUR for a math lesson for a 6 year old?

 

that in it self if is a HUGH issue-IMO

 

do you have any other options for school?

 

 

Your post sends of major red flags that others have commented on but I would never put a child that age in an classroom like what you have described.

 

It is so difficult to even tell if there are any real problems with your son or if it's simply the environment - IMO


 

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#7 of 14 Old 03-08-2012, 06:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Guys, just this amount of info is so helpful to me.

 

First, we are very limited in regards to schools.  He attends the only public school in our city (there are two other public schools in our county, but he can't attend them).  There is one private school here, a Christian Academy.  That's it as far as options go.

 

Re: the math worksheet, I think his teacher was trying to "work with him" by allowing him to "work" on it for so long.  She said she rounded on him several times and reminded him to get busy, but you know how that goes.  The rest of the class had moved on to the next sheet while he was still on the math sheet.

 

My in-laws actually live in Springdale, about 2 hours from us, so I'm going to look into that evaluation center.  I'll also get a letter to the school today.  Who does that go to?  SPED?  The principal?

 

I should also note that he's had some health problems this year that have had him out of school, although I wouldn't call it excessive.  He had recurrent strep throat and eventually had his tonsils removed.  He missed maybe 4 days last semester and he's missed 8 this semester (out for a week with the surgery).  He's been going to after school tutoring once a week to try to head off any trouble this might cause, but he hates it and I don't know how much good it is doing.


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#8 of 14 Old 03-08-2012, 08:01 AM
 
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I still can not imagine that a public school is spending a whole hour on a math worksheet - the mental stress is excessive and he didn't even write his name? WOW- doesn't seem like the teaching approach is helpful and certainly not resulting in a productive outcome. Not a way I would think most educators would approach this given his age.  


 

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#9 of 14 Old 03-08-2012, 08:05 AM
 
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Can he bring the work he doesn't finish home for you to help him?

 

He may actually just be a year behind.  I don't know when his birthday is, but some kids just needed one extra year of playing before they were developmentally ready for school.  It doesn't always  mean the child needs special ed intervention... if a child wasn't physically, intellectually, and socially  ready at the time school started, sometimes waiting one year gives the child that time to mature.

 

I'm not suggesting that holding him back it is the best idea either though.  

 

 

As you say, much of this could be that he hates waking up.  Then, he's waking up, but doesn't want to go to school anyway... so, it's like sending him off to work in the coal mines.  He hates it, so he's not willing to try, and then he can't focus on his papers very well at all.  (btw, I sent my dd to school every morning late, crying and eating a waffle on her way because she hated getting up, and hated school)

 

Kindergarten was awesome for my daughter.  But, 1st grade was a shock.  No more play time, no more sweet understanding hugs, no more cutting and pasting... it was work.  She was not liking that at all.  And, in all honesty, it didn't get much better over the next 12 years.  She LOVED the projects, but hated the busy work.  She hated the timed math facts tests, she hated everything that wasn't fun.  It was a long, long, long school career for me.  LOL.  

 

I would have homeschooled her, but I knew it wouldn't go well, she didn't want to wake up in the mornings, she didn't like anything that wasn't going to be the way she wanted it.  I would have had to fight constantly with her.. she's not self motivated at all, and I'm usually too busy for the fight.

 

She's smart, and was able to do well in school, she got good grades, but she never made any more of an effort than she wanted to.   She's like this in everything she does now, and she's an adult.  So, it isn't always the school, or the parenting, or a special need... sometimes it's just the child's personality and maturity level.  

 

 

If he indeed has a learning problem, it should be addressed by the school.  But,  I also know that our own local school district does not have the funds for a lot of testing right now, so I realize that it's not always as easy as it seems on paper to get help.  You can demand it, but by the time they get around to it, it might be the middle of summer.

 

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#10 of 14 Old 03-09-2012, 06:57 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liberal_chick View Post

My in-laws actually live in Springdale, about 2 hours from us, so I'm going toI look into that evaluation center.  I'll also get a letter to the school today.  Who does that go to?  SPED?  The principal?

 

He's been going to after school tutoring once a week to try to head off any trouble this might cause, but he hates it and I don't know how much good it is doing.


I think I would address it to the SPED/Resource teacher and CC the principle and his teacher; the more eyes are on the situation the more difficult it is for the school to claim they "didn't know" X.

 

I think a private developmental evaluation is a good idea; you need to know the "how" and the "why" to understand what does/does not need to be addressed, and how.

 

Just allowing more time on a task isn't necessarily helpful.

 


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#11 of 14 Old 03-13-2012, 11:05 AM
 
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Have you read this manifesto by Seth Godin?  It is one of the most brilliant things I have ever read about public education!!  My kids attend a Montessori charter school (it's public, but way different than your typical public school).  I think every parent, teacher, and person in the education field needs to read this.  I have printed off many copies for parents and teachers at our school and just delivered one to our principle yesterday.  I had my own copy bound and have it highlighted and on my book shelf!!  It's amazing!  In fact, I should post it as a separate post and maybe one of the admins could make it a sticky.  It really gives a very in depth look and explanation of public school and why it was created and why it needs to be changed.

 

http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/docs/StopStealingDreamsSCREEN.pdf


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#12 of 14 Old 03-22-2012, 08:14 PM
 
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Your child may need to be taught using alternate strategies. Reading is best taught using decoding word lists.  For writing a paragraph, give them a simple formula:  introduction, 3 facts and a conclusion.  For math, use counting up/down, related facts, regrouping and the math ladder.  

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#13 of 14 Old 03-22-2012, 08:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TAKLinda View Post

Your child may need to be taught using alternate strategies. Reading is best taught using decoding word lists.  For writing a paragraph, give them a simple formula:  introduction, 3 facts and a conclusion.  For math, use counting up/down, related facts, regrouping and the math ladder.  


I agree he may need alternate strategies, but I question these recommendations. Do you have any evidence to back up decoding word lists? The child is in 1st grade and is struggling to write words. He's not ready for the simple formula. There has been decades worth of reading research and the one firm conclusion I can state: No method works for all kids.

 

I'm also a bit dubious because when I googled "decoding word lists" up came the website: Teach All Kids, which is a lot like TAKLinda, isn't it? If you're promoting your own website, that's against the user agreement. If you're not and have evidence that this works, then I'd love to hear it.


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#14 of 14 Old 03-23-2012, 05:45 AM
 
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I'm with Lynn - these basic strategies are good for kids who are a little behind, possibly, but for a kid with LD they are unlikely to be enough. 

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