"I'm behind in Reading." or "What should I do with DS next year?" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 03-14-2007, 10:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Ugh. I wish we had a general "Education" forum because I'm not sure if this post would be better suited to Learning at Home or Learning at School.

Today, DS said to me "I'm behind in Hebrew reading." My heart broke when he said that.

Isn't it enough that he's learned to read and write in English this year? I'm glad he's been learning the Hebrew alphabet along with the English one since preschool, but I'm wondering if the academic pressure isn't too much for him. He's only 5 years old and in Kindergarten- I didn't even learn to read until 1st grade.

I'm just so torn between wanting to give him the "best education" and wanting him to be relaxed and enjoy learning and have time to be a child.

I went to public schools growing up, and I don't want that for my children. I'm not even considering that as an option. I'm torn between putting him in a Jewish Day School or home schooling him. There's just stuff they can teach there that I'm not sure I can. How can I teach davening (prayers) when I don't do them myself every day? I know how to run a Jewish household but I'm not an expert on all the stuff they learn in the Jewish schools- prayers, Hebrew language, Tanach (bible studies) and I don't want him to lose out. I also feel like, if I don't keep him in Jewish schools, he may have a really hard time going back into one later.

But then I question my own energy and patience levels and wonder if I really can homeschool two different kids, with different temperments and needs.

Ruth, single mommy to 3 quasi-adults
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#2 of 4 Old 03-15-2007, 10:37 AM
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Have you spoken with his teacher and/or next year's teacher(s) to get an idea of whether he really is "behind" : and what the expectations will be for 1st grade? If it is just his perception and not the school's that he is behind, perhaps there is a way for the teachers to help him feel more comfortable with his achievement and reduce the pressure. Can you volunteer in class to get a better feel for the culture and environment of the classroom?

We are having somewhat similar issues with dd#1. While she is a very good student and not finding the work hard, there seem to be some parents/kids and teachers at her school who are extremely driven, hothousing types. They are so focused on "powering through" the curricula as fast as possible and being better than everyone else, that it creates an environment that is much more competitive than I would like for dd who would rather learn more in depth and focus on abstract concepts than learn everything in a surface manner as fast as you possibly can.

Honestly, we haven't decided what to do in our situation yet, either.
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#3 of 4 Old 03-15-2007, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
I'm just so torn between wanting to give him the "best education" and wanting him to be relaxed and enjoy learning and have time to be a child.
I don't believe that these are two opposite things - in fact, I think the best education is one in which the child is invested, feels excited about, feels good to him, and is a boost to his self esteem. I don't believe you can get a good education when you feel stressed and bad about yourself. I went to all the top public and private schools, and graduated with honors from a top university. I got what would be considered the "best education." But even though I was a top student throughout, I learned very little. It was a game to me. I was not invested in it, it wasn't mine. I wasn't learning things in ways that were meaningful to me, so it was just memorization, and learning how to give the teacher what they wanted. So in the end, it really wasn't the best education at all.

I know we're not supposed to say this here, but this is one reason I am homeschooling. I don't think it's impossible to find a school that really works for your child, but I think it's a harder task, because there are so many dynamics that continually change: the teachers, the other students, your child's maturation and progress, etc.

I don't have many practical suggestions because I have not dealt with this due to homeschooling, but I did want to suggest that you not think of a "good education" and "enjoying his childhood" as mutually exclusive things. I say that not only can you have both, but you can't have one without the other. The challenge is to find the situation that allows it to happen.
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#4 of 4 Old 03-18-2007, 01:33 PM
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Ugh -- that would break my heart too. I subbed in a first grade classroom a couple weeks ago and there was a 6 yo. who was agonizingly perfectionistic -- to the point that he was erasing everything 3 or 4 times and rewriting, and mentioned his "grades" multiple times during the day. I finally sat with him, and very gently suggested that it was okay if he wrote some numbers and letter backwards or messy, as long he understood what he was writing -- that being neat was not as important as learning and thinking. He looked me in the eye and said, "What kind of teacher are YOU supposed to be???" But he visibly relaxed, and at circle time he sought me out and leaned on my arm.

I would try to assure your son that he is not behind. He is exactly where he needs to be, and that behind only counts when a student is not caring and not trying. But when students are working and caring, its normal and fine for them to be at all different places with their work.

As far as hard decisions on your part -- I know! Decisions about schooling are the MOST difficult and agonizing parenting decisions I have had to make.

I'm wondering if there is a compromise somewhere? I know Jewish children who go to Hebrew School on weekends and one evening a week. Its still a lot of work, but its a supplement for schooling, not the whole deal. Is there such an option for you child?
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