My kindergartener is starting to hate school and thinks she's stupid- update post 19 - Mothering Forums

My kindergartener is starting to hate school and thinks she's stupid- update post 19

Wild Lupine's Avatar Wild Lupine (TS)
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The first few months were great, but now she dreads going, expresses frustration about her ability to learn and is starting to call herself stupid. It is starting to be a battle to send her to school.

 

She did two years of preschool and loved it, and was really looking forward to kindergarten. The class seems fairly hands-on, they do lots of activities, sing songs, and have two recess period outside (it's only half day). So it's not like she's sitting doing worksheets all day. She likes her teacher and gets along well with the other kids. 

 

But she's been learning her sight words more slowly than many of the other children; she does know how to sound out words and she knows plenty of sight words, but not all the ones she is supposed to know and they don't seem to come to her as quickly as they do to others, and this really frustrates her. I'm not sure how many sight words a kindergartner is realistically supposed to know, and I wish there wasn't this heavy emphasis on reading in K.

 

She is also frustrated with math; her preschool teachers always said she was particularly strong in math; I know preschool skills don't always transfer to grade school, but it's surprising to have her go from very strong to unconfident and lagging behind within one year. Her K class is doing addition, subtraction, and place value into the 100's. They do all this with manipulatives - Cuisinaire rods, place value blocks, etc.. - but it still seems way above what I thought kindergartners would be expected to do. I had heard that kindergarten was the new second grade, and I can see why!

 

I have a conference with her teacher next week and I am wondering how to approach this. 


Fortune Teller's Avatar Fortune Teller
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Sorry to hear.  greensad.gif

 

Reading your post, I couldn't help but think no wonder she is frustrated and dreads school ... My goodness that seems like very steep material for kindergarten!  (although full disclosure we are a Waldorf family so take what I say with a grain of salt.  HOWEVER, my oldest did go to public school kindergarten and what you describe sounds waay more intense and advanced than I remember her curriculum being).  

 

I'm really sorry to hear that she is being so negatively affected.  I highly doubt she is the only one in her class feeling like this though.  Have you talked to the other parents?  It would be interesting to see what they had to say...


Snydley's Avatar Snydley
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My DD is in kindergarten too and her work sounds similar to what you described.  Her teacher told me that in the last 5 years she went from teaching K to teaching a full 1st grade curriculum (and not by choice).  

 

I am very frustrated with it; while my DD is not saying that she is stupid, she is saying some of the worksheets are hard and she is not super thrilled about going to school in the mornings even though she loves her teacher and the kids.  

 

I recently found MY kindergarten report card and there was one place to comment on "math readiness" and one for "reading readiness"...that was it as far as academics goes.  My first grade report card looks exactly like my DD's K one.  

 

These kids are going to burn out on school and this is going to blow up in these districts' faces.  Although, the motivation for this in my state (Mass) is to boost test scores (the first MCAS is 3rd grade) and the ranking of the scores/town is directly linked to home values...what a mess.  

 

I mean, I turned out ok...I wound up going to college for 10 years (Ph.D.) and I'm a college professor.   All I did in K was stack blocks and paint.  

 

-Jen


maos211's Avatar maos211
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That curriculum does not seem appropriate for K. Foundation is so important. No wonder she is frustrated! I'm sorry.
Wild Lupine's Avatar Wild Lupine (TS)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fortune Teller View Post

Sorry to hear.  greensad.gif

 

Reading your post, I couldn't help but think no wonder she is frustrated and dreads school ... My goodness that seems like very steep material for kindergarten!  (although full disclosure we are a Waldorf family so take what I say with a grain of salt.  HOWEVER, my oldest did go to public school kindergarten and what you describe sounds waay more intense and advanced than I remember her curriculum being).  

 

I'm really sorry to hear that she is being so negatively affected.  I highly doubt she is the only one in her class feeling like this though.  Have you talked to the other parents?  It would be interesting to see what they had to say...

 

I've only talked to a couple of parents and they don't report any problems. Maybe their kids are on the gifted side and learn it all very quickly, or maybe their children handle the stress differently.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snydley View Post

My DD is in kindergarten too and her work sounds similar to what you described.  Her teacher told me that in the last 5 years she went from teaching K to teaching a full 1st grade curriculum (and not by choice).  

 

I am very frustrated with it; while my DD is not saying that she is stupid, she is saying some of the worksheets are hard and she is not super thrilled about going to school in the mornings even though she loves her teacher and the kids.  

 

I recently found MY kindergarten report card and there was one place to comment on "math readiness" and one for "reading readiness"...that was it as far as academics goes.  My first grade report card looks exactly like my DD's K one.  

 

These kids are going to burn out on school and this is going to blow up in these districts' faces.  Although, the motivation for this in my state (Mass) is to boost test scores (the first MCAS is 3rd grade) and the ranking of the scores/town is directly linked to home values...what a mess.  

 

I mean, I turned out ok...I wound up going to college for 10 years (Ph.D.) and I'm a college professor.   All I did in K was stack blocks and paint.  

 

-Jen

 

I'm just up the road from you in NH. I looked up the common core standards and it seems to be what is driving the curriculum in my daughter's class. NH just recently adopted these. I agree that it will burn out kids on school, and it is very concerning that it is happening so early. It sounds like these extra high standards are going to continue and I can't figure out how to keep my daughter confident and excited about school if she's going to be this stressed. She is a very inquisitive, bright girl, but she does not handle stress well. Maybe that's how I can approach it with her teacher- how to help her handle her frustration and stress around the expectations.


Geofizz's Avatar Geofizz
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Ohhh, poor kid.  Starting the hate school this early, and thinking that she's stupid predicts a long, hard road unless you can turn these around.

 

I'm glad you have an appointment set up with the teacher.  In your place, I'd tell her exactly what you stated here.  Both her emotional and academic background and current state are important to the discussion.  Any kindergarten teacher worth their salt will view this situation exactly as I stated above:  emotional groundwork laid in kindergarten are important to keeping students engaged in school long term.

 

If the teacher states that she's behind or that she notes notable difficulties, respond right away that you would like her evaluated for learning disabilities.  Submit a letter to the school that day asking for an evaluation, outlining every struggle you and the teacher observe.  Do it in writing and state in the letter that your letter consists of your consent to evaluate.  (Our school will still add in 2-3 weeks stalling time before giving me the form to sign that's the consent.  Other people have had good luck with clearly stating in the letter that the letter is the consent.  I just document that to have the paper trail that they are technically violating the law if I were to need it in the future.)

 

Today, schedule her in for a developmental eye exam (something that will examine both visual acuity, but also tracking and coordination) and a proper hearing test with an audiologist.  The first step is to rule out these barriers to learning. 


Geofizz's Avatar Geofizz
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FWIW, the academic nature of kindergarten vastly predates the adoption of Common Core.  It's more a consequence of NCLB, but in fact seems to predate even that.


ollyoxenfree's Avatar ollyoxenfree
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Lupine View Post

 She is a very inquisitive, bright girl, but she does not handle stress well. Maybe that's how I can approach it with her teacher- how to help her handle her frustration and stress around the expectations.

 

I think this will be helpful. It's too bad that you can't eliminate the expectations but you might be able to minimize them by ignoring them in front of your DD. It will likely help to continue to demonstrate your own confidence in her abilities and a lack of stress about whether she is yet reading all of the sight words or adding and subtracting multi-digit numbers. She's probably not focusing on the successes she's had and recognizing where she is doing well, so you may have to point it out to her. When she brings work home, avoid comments on the grade on the page and instead find something positive in the work she's done. Don't make a big deal out of report cards. Help her re-frame her struggles from failure and "cannot do it" to "I'm glad you are still trying" and "good for you for persisting". 

 

Definitely take the advice to pursue evaluations but in the event that these evaluations don't reveal any other issues, you will still have to deal with helping to manage the expectations. 


Geofizz's Avatar Geofizz
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Agreed.  One thing that kids who struggle in school do learn is persistence if they are supported emotionally throughout.  Persistence is a key predictor for long-term success.

 

I don't see any particular red flags for LDs in your post, by the way, but one thing an evaluation will give you and the school is detailed information as to where she is and how she learns.  If you have a more solid sense of how she learns, then you can tune the education to help ensure her success.


ollyoxenfree's Avatar ollyoxenfree
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

Agreed.  One thing that kids who struggle in school do learn is persistence if they are supported emotionally throughout.  Persistence is a key predictor for long-term success.

 

 

 

Wild Lupine, one more thought about persistence. Role modeling can also help. If you are learning something new yourself, she can observe your struggles, temporary failures and how you recover from them. Any new hobbies on your radar? It might be a good time to try. 


Wild Lupine's Avatar Wild Lupine (TS)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

Ohhh, poor kid.  Starting the hate school this early, and thinking that she's stupid predicts a long, hard road unless you can turn these around.

 

I'm glad you have an appointment set up with the teacher.  In your place, I'd tell her exactly what you stated here.  Both her emotional and academic background and current state are important to the discussion.  Any kindergarten teacher worth their salt will view this situation exactly as I stated above:  emotional groundwork laid in kindergarten are important to keeping students engaged in school long term.

 

If the teacher states that she's behind or that she notes notable difficulties, respond right away that you would like her evaluated for learning disabilities.  Submit a letter to the school that day asking for an evaluation, outlining every struggle you and the teacher observe.  Do it in writing and state in the letter that your letter consists of your consent to evaluate.  (Our school will still add in 2-3 weeks stalling time before giving me the form to sign that's the consent.  Other people have had good luck with clearly stating in the letter that the letter is the consent.  I just document that to have the paper trail that they are technically violating the law if I were to need it in the future.)

 

Today, schedule her in for a developmental eye exam (something that will examine both visual acuity, but also tracking and coordination) and a proper hearing test with an audiologist.  The first step is to rule out these barriers to learning. 

 

Her teacher seems really good; I am not sure she sees the frustration my daughter expresses at home, so this might be useful information for her.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

FWIW, the academic nature of kindergarten vastly predates the adoption of Common Core.  It's more a consequence of NCLB, but in fact seems to predate even that.

 

I was in education for a long time and still keep my ear to the ground regarding teaching issues... and I agree with you about this. The funny thing, the one that makes me shake my head in wonder, is that while all this was going on, what I saw in the upper grades was something of the opposite. Expectations were high, but kids ability to meet them went down. Maybe that's just my experience, but it seems like kids got burned out on the heavy expectations and by middle school (where I was), they didn't have the same zest they had before.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

 

I think this will be helpful. It's too bad that you can't eliminate the expectations but you might be able to minimize them by ignoring them in front of your DD. It will likely help to continue to demonstrate your own confidence in her abilities and a lack of stress about whether she is yet reading all of the sight words or adding and subtracting multi-digit numbers. She's probably not focusing on the successes she's had and recognizing where she is doing well, so you may have to point it out to her. When she brings work home, avoid comments on the grade on the page and instead find something positive in the work she's done. Don't make a big deal out of report cards. Help her re-frame her struggles from failure and "cannot do it" to "I'm glad you are still trying" and "good for you for persisting". 

 

Definitely take the advice to pursue evaluations but in the event that these evaluations don't reveal any other issues, you will still have to deal with helping to manage the expectations. 

 

I think my daughter is focusing on what other kids can do vs what she can do. Her teacher doesn't put grades on papers, just smiley faces. My daughter's report card shows she's making progress; I've told her this but haven't shown her her report card so she doesn't stress about it (there are about 50 skills written on it, which would overwhelm her. DD is steadily improving on all of them, but is only proficient in a few). I keep pointing out to her all the things she has learned, and she does hear it, but she is still frustrated by what she cannot do.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

Agreed.  One thing that kids who struggle in school do learn is persistence if they are supported emotionally throughout.  Persistence is a key predictor for long-term success.

 

I don't see any particular red flags for LDs in your post, by the way, but one thing an evaluation will give you and the school is detailed information as to where she is and how she learns.  If you have a more solid sense of how she learns, then you can tune the education to help ensure her success.

 

I don't see and flags either, but I'm not a special educator and sometimes these issues can be so specific. I'll see if her teacher sees a need for evaluation. I think the information about her learning style would be very important for her teachers.


Linda on the move's Avatar Linda on the move
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Wild Lupine View Post

 

But she's been learning her sight words more slowly than many of the other children; she does know how to sound out words and she knows plenty of sight words, but not all the ones she is supposed to know and they don't seem to come to her as quickly as they do to others, and this really frustrates her. I'm not sure how many sight words a kindergartner is realistically supposed to know, and I wish there wasn't this heavy emphasis on reading in K.

 

... Her K class is doing addition, subtraction, and place value into the 100's. They do all this with manipulatives - Cuisinaire rods, place value blocks, etc.. - but it still seems way above what I thought kindergartners would be expected to do. 

 

 

I spend about half my day in Kindergarten (I'm a TA and assist a kindergartener with a physical disability). What they are doing is common core, which means that the teacher, district, nor state decided this is what the kids would do. This is just what K is right now pretty much every where. 


I think it sounds like your DD is going great. She has the general hang of phonics and some sight words. How do you know that they don't come to her as fast as others? Sure, there are going to be some kids who learn them quite easily, but lots of Kinders struggle to learn them, don't learn them all, and/or forget a bunch of them over the summer. It might help to adjust your -- and her -- expectations. She doesn't have to be perfect, and she doesn't have to be the fastest at everything. In another year, it won't matter if right now she is pronouncing "was" as if it rhymes with "has."  She's going to get all this, and it will get easier.

 

Children have a tendency to look at the few standouts in each subject and measure themselves against them, rather than noticing that Kid A has really got the reading thing down, while Kid B is a math wiz, Kid C can make it across the monkey bars, and Kid D can make all the other kids laugh. They look at that and decide that everyone else is better at reading, math, recess, and friendship, rather than realizing that we all have things that are harder for us and things that are easier for us.

 

They will re-teach ALL of the math in first grade. How much school do you guys have left? We only have 15 days left, and while they are still introducing new stuff, the goal isn't mastery at this point, it is just to make it so that next year isn't the first time the kids hear this stuff. I would explain that this year is just the intro, and that next year is the year that she will really get all this down, and that is OK.


I was chatting with some Kindergarten teachers today after school, and they were bemoaning some of the crazy standards. Even though they can't say it to the parents, they know this is crazy and that the kids are really little.


Wild Lupine's Avatar Wild Lupine (TS)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

 

I spend about half my day in Kindergarten (I'm a TA and assist a kindergartener with a physical disability). What they are doing is common core, which means that the teacher, district, nor state decided this is what the kids would do. This is just what K is right now pretty much every where. 

 

That does confirm what I suspected, that the teacher isn't choosing to do much of this. I can't imagine what it must be like trying to teach a room full of 5 year olds this stuff.


I think it sounds like your DD is going great. She has the general hang of phonics and some sight words. How do you know that they don't come to her as fast as others?

 

Her teacher told me she was one of a few kids who was sent home with flash cards to practice the sight words because they were having a hard time remembering them.


 

They will re-teach ALL of the math in first grade. How much school do you guys have left? We only have 15 days left, and while they are still introducing new stuff, the goal isn't mastery at this point, it is just to make it so that next year isn't the first time the kids hear this stuff. I would explain that this year is just the intro, and that next year is the year that she will really get all this down, and that is OK.

 

That's very good to know. I was afraid each grade was going to be as difficult as this one, that as soon as she figured this stuff out the class would have moved on to more advanced material.


 


beanma's Avatar beanma
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

Children have a tendency to look at the few standouts in each subject and measure themselves against them, rather than noticing that Kid A has really got the reading thing down, while Kid B is a math wiz, Kid C can make it across the monkey bars, and Kid D can make all the other kids laugh. They look at that and decide that everyone else is better at reading, math, recess, and friendship, rather than realizing that we all have things that are harder for us and things that are easier for us.

 

 

 

 

I know this can be true for my dd2, especially outside of academics, which come pretty easily to her. She will compare how much time the teacher spent with Isabella instead of her or how Abigail seems to talk to Emma more than she talks to dd2. Drives. Me. Crazy. 

 

I don't think the K curriculum you described sounds out of touch with what we saw in K, but my kids were in a crunchy private school so while they were learning sight words and using cuisinaire rods and 100s blocks in pre-K/K (mixed class) they were not pressured at all. My dd2 loved having a 1-2 minute one-on-one "reading meeting" with her teacher every day and, in contrast, dd1 completely melted down in tears and refused to participate all year long. The private school gave her the room to refuse and it was okay. (She also meowed her way through K, 1st and 2nd grade and that was okay, too. =^..^= )

 

Dd1 didn't really willingly read until she was in about 3rd grade and picked up the first Harry Potter book and read it all the way through. We did work with her at home and try to get her to read, but she hated reading aloud (I think it increased her anxiety). I wasn't really worried that she had LDs in that direction although we did do some preliminary look at dyslexia at the teacher's suggestion, but I was very relieved when she finally realized she could read. She was a very slow walker, too. She walked holding our fingers for 6 mos before she was brave enough to let go and I think the reading was the same way with her.

 

I think you know your dd best. I wasn't too worried about dd1 although it was taking so long I was beginning to be a bit impatient, but I really felt in my gut that she would get it and it would click. It took longer than I would have liked, but because we were in the alternate education environment her timetable was tolerated if not exactly honored. If you feel like your dd needs a little more time then that's probably all it is, but if you feel like something's not clicking when it should click it could be a sign of a difficulty she may have down the road. While my dd1 does not have dyslexia, she does have some anxiety issues and we saw them coming a mile away, for sure. She's had this kind of thing going on since the day she was born and frankly dd2 has had her thing with being left out or someone else getting more attention or being better at something since she was a toddler, too.

 

It could be too much too fast and your girl is on her own timetable and just needs some respect for that. It could be an early sign of some real reading difficulties. It could be that she's thinking everyone is better than she is. Try not to stress about it—that will only make her more anxious. Try to support her and let her know that some things come easier to some people and other things come easier to other people. I bet she's good at something, if not academics, maybe she's great at climbing, or has already learned to ride a bike, or maybe she can make really cute play-doh animals, or maybe she knows just when you need a hug or is a really good friend. Show her when you have trouble learning something new and celebrate her successes in school and out of school and support her all along the way.

 


Polliwog's Avatar Polliwog
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I'm a former Pre-K to 3rd grade teacher, mom of child who went to kindergarten for two years pre-Common Core, and a current kindergartner (our state is using the CC standards for the first year.

In some ways my children's kindergarten experiences have been similar and in other ways have have been vastly different.

Overall, the reading/writing/word study block is pretty similar. The teachers are really good with their guided reading and differentiation. DS wasn't ready for reading during his first year of kindergarten and the CC wouldn't have changed that. He needed more time for things to click. He always loved going to school, though. DD has been able to read most of the kindergarten sight since the beginning of the 2nd report period. And she's really good at sounding out words and using transitional spelling.

Math was, and still is, DS's biggest challenge area. He's in 2nd grade and support services (in the resource room and his classroom,) tutoring, and help from his teacher-mom hasn't changed that. DD's kindergarten math uses the same basic curriculum materials DS used, along with supplemental materials developed by his teacher. She is ready for the more advanced work but I know there are kids in her class who are struggling. There is one more month of school and they haven't done anything with numbers over 100, which is fine because the K CC goal is 100 (up from 50 last year.) DD is able to fill in a 100 chart and to count to 100, but the main focus is playing with numbers and discovering all the number combinations that can be added to make different numbers (up to 20.)

I suspect your DD just needs more time and probably doesn't have a learning disability. I'm not a clinician, but the fact that she has lots of sight words is great. They are likely words that have importance to HER. The "school" sight words are important to learn, but they are generally not that interesting. Family members' names, the name of her favorite book character,the name of her favorite restaurant, the word "carrots" on the bag, and the word "EJECT" on the DVD player are much more meaningful words to many beginning readers.
Wild Lupine's Avatar Wild Lupine (TS)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

 

 

It could be too much too fast and your girl is on her own timetable and just needs some respect for that. It could be an early sign of some real reading difficulties. It could be that she's thinking everyone is better than she is. Try not to stress about it—that will only make her more anxious. Try to support her and let her know that some things come easier to some people and other things come easier to other people. I bet she's good at something, if not academics, maybe she's great at climbing, or has already learned to ride a bike, or maybe she can make really cute play-doh animals, or maybe she knows just when you need a hug or is a really good friend. Show her when you have trouble learning something new and celebrate her successes in school and out of school and support her all along the way.

 

 

She is very good at all sorts of things, and I don't think she's bad at academics. I'm happy with what she is learning, but she isn't, and that's where the trouble lies. I'm sure there are many children who are learning sight words faster than she is, and many more who are learning them more slowly, but it is very clear to me that she is learning them, has all the tools in place to learn more. I'm not really suspecting a learning disability; I have an education background (middle and high school, not early childhood) and although she's learning more slowly than the curriculum is being presented, I don't think she's slower than what is developmentally appropriate. I think in a different decade or country that didn't ask or expect kindergartners to read, none of this would be an issue. My big concern is that she doesn't like school anymore, and is losing confidence in herself. 

 

I love that cartoon! I'd love to see the end of this testing era. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post

I suspect your DD just needs more time and probably doesn't have a learning disability. I'm not a clinician, but the fact that she has lots of sight words is great. They are likely words that have importance to HER. The "school" sight words are important to learn, but they are generally not that interesting. Family members' names, the name of her favorite book character,the name of her favorite restaurant, the word "carrots" on the bag, and the word "EJECT" on the DVD player are much more meaningful words to many beginning readers.

 

She does know words that are important to her. She's recognized and been able to write her own name since she was 2 1/2, and by about 4 should could read and write all the family member's names. Those high frequency sight words are pretty artificial for a kindergartner. I can understand why they chose those words as important ones to know, but they aren't the most significant to my child. She never brought home flash cards of her classmate's names, but she can read all of them, even the non-phonetic ones. I'll point that out to her and see if that boosts her confidence.


beanma's Avatar beanma
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Originally Posted by Wild Lupine View Post

My big concern is that she doesn't like school anymore, and is losing confidence in herself. 

 

I love that cartoon! I'd love to see the end of this testing era. 

 

 

I love it, too. I am not a fan of the testing, either. 

 

As far as her confidence, I think I would just try to do all the things you're already doing. Find some ways to point out her successes. Find some ways to point out your own struggles. See if you can enlist the teacher's help to empower her at school in some way that works for her and the classroom — maybe buddy up with a kid that's having trouble writing neatly, or be picked to hand out the worksheets or erase the white board or take care of the class gerbil or something. Put her in charge of something to show the teacher's confidence in her. I think talking to the teacher about your concerns is definitely a good idea, and definitely remind your dd that summer is almost here!


Linda on the move's Avatar Linda on the move
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My thought is to keep the list of target words on the fridge, and point them out when they show up places. We go to the library weekly in the summer and always do summer reading program. Even if she is a bit burned out on reading to herself, you can read to her and point out those words when they show up. Listening to books on CD while following along in the text is GREAT for emergent readers (not pressure!).

 

I think it sounds like she is doing peachy, and that this summer some of these concepts can gel a bit for her without new information being introduced. In the fall, they really will review (some kids don't read or write anything over the summer).
 

The kids at our school are all in need a of a real break. Even the teachers are pretty sick of school at this point. We just have 12 days left. But they are still introducing new information!


Wild Lupine's Avatar Wild Lupine (TS)
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Joined: Jul 2009

Update: I spoke with her teacher yesterday. She (the teacher) was really surprised to hear how much frustration DD has been expressing at home. Apparently, she's happy and engaged during class time. 

 

Her teacher did say that the other children in DD's reading group are picking up on how to blend sounds and recognize sight words faster than DD is, but that she isn't worried about DD at all, that DD is learning well at her own pace. However, there are several kids who don't know their letter sounds yet, who my DD isn't aware of, so it seems to be a case of DD seeing a few kids who have put concepts together a little faster than she has, and thinking that everyone is ahead of her. 

 

Her teacher and I are going to keep encouraging the progress we've seen, emphasize that everyone has their own pace and DD's pace is just fine.


Jan Two's Avatar Jan Two
10:45 AM Liked: 0
#20 of 21
12-16-2013 | Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2013

I'm glad to find this post, my kindergartner is currently going through the same exact thing as your child was going through. I was wondering what might have helped and how things turned out. Any advice? Thanks.


nia82
11:36 AM Liked: 22546
#21 of 21
12-18-2013 | Posts: 1,933
Joined: May 2008

My state doesn't have common core but the requirements in kindergarten are pretty outrageous. It's a full day. They expect reading at "F" level to be normal by the end of the year, a minimum of "D" is expected. I didn't pay too much attention to the math as DS likes it a lot (simple addition, subtraction with games/toys). I like music and arts and they are doing a neat job in PE. But the reading and writing irks me. DS turned 5 a week before kindergarten and naturally has shaky handwriting. I think it's a bit outlandish to expect 5 year olds to write neatly and in small print on a line..... Like my mom always said, as long as it's legible and spelt correctly, who cares!

I have no choice but our public school at this point (though his teacher is nice, she rarely gives them homework which I find great; the school is rated 9 on greatschools.org). I am concerned that one day DS will feel overwhelmed with the reading expectations. He learned sight words quickly and knew phonograms from preschool and sounds out words slowly but well. He did mention how his friend is way smarter as he reads "F" level books while DS is reading "C" level books. I had a great talk about him how that doesn't mean anything - that he can catch up and his friend is a year older which makes a difference. I'm glad I was able to make him not feel bad. He read The Grinch together with me and did great. I think he's doing such a great job!

Now I grew up in Europe and letter knowledge isn't taught until 1st grade. So the whole system here has me on my toes, especially since I feel the later years have little academic challenges to offer which is exactly when I think kids should be presented with tons of AP classes and IB programs (depending on the school of course). We did sign DS up for the local IB charter school, but you know, it's a lottery so we shall see.

One thing I noted that the rate of "red shirting" especially for boys is enormously high in our district. In his class there is no other summer 2008 child, only 2007. Also his class happens to be heavy on November/December kids so by now 80% are 6 years old. The 2nd youngest's birthday is in May. DS likes being with kids a tad older, he was used to that from Montessori school anyways.


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