Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Fun" with School

Son has been in school for 2 months now and I feel like I've failed him already.

He is reading phonetically really well, he can sound out most words he sees if I break them down into syllables for him. But he doesn't have a huge vocabulary of words he can read quickly. He also has extreme issues with printing, namely he doesn't want to do it. (He seems to feel that if he can't do something perfectly that he shouldn't do it at all.) These 2 things make it hard for him to complete the worksheets in class. He can't read the instructions so by the time he gets to his desk he's forgotten which answers go where on the sheet based on the class discussions. I'm also wondering why he is being given worksheets that ask him to pick the correct spelling for irregular words when he is just learning to read. An example would be:
Circle the word that is spelled correctly
1. da dae day dai
2. bok book buk bouk

Since Son reads phonetically most of these words would 'sound' the same when sounded out. The task assumes he has had enough exposure to the correct spelling to be able to pick the correct spelling out; "day" and "book" don't follow "standard" phonetic rules. *sigh* I feel like these questions would be better suited for a Grade 1 student who came from full day Kindergarten and learned to read and print well in that class. The 1/2 day Kindergarten he had didn't really prepare him for reading instructions on a worksheet.

I feel like I have let him down, or kindergarten did. Last year they were focusing on letter sounds and just starting to write letters, not words. This year by the first Parent/Teacher meeting the Teacher showed us a page of printing copy work she had the class do. He managed to do 1/2 a page and finished 16/20 in the class. Since he wasn't writing sentences last year I thought he had done well until she told me about the other kids doing so much more. Some of the students were able to get to the 2nd side of the page. His teacher last year kept telling us not to worry that he was "very young" and would get it. But now it seems like he is already behind and it's only 2 months into the year.

I started him on the BOB books in the summer and he is already in Set 3 "word families" and doing well. I began doing printing practice with him 5 days a week after the meeting and continued with reading every night. I feel like I now have to start doing the "Language Review" worksheets as well so that he knows what to expect when he sees them in class. I guess that will be extra reading and writing practice. Why does it seem like I'm Homeschooling my son who goes to Public School? The only things I'm not doing at home are Math and Science, I hope he's doing well in those because I just don't have time to do more after school and on weekends. The last 2 weeks he hasn't done his optional homework sheet for class because I've felt that it was more important to learn how to correctly print the numbers and letters than to fill in the blanks for 1-100. There is only so much time I can get him to do work at home before he starts to hate school work and rebel against my help. As it is Hubby and I take turns helping him with printing so that I'm not always the "homework" person.

The teacher seems encouraging, says that he is in a class where he can excel because the students are so caring and helpful. She says that he is happy and fun to have in the class. Then she mentions that she has to take his supplies box away sometimes so that he can focus on his work, or that he needs 1-on-1 attention to do the work that other students are doing by themselves, and that he sometimes draws random marks on his worksheet instead of filling it in.

I have to wonder how prepared he is for Gr 1 and if maybe I should have held him back, do they even let you do that in BC anymore? I know they do a "social pass" for kids that are behind so that they stay with their classmates instead of having to do a grade over again with younger students. I don't think I agree with that. Son was born in August, so he is one of the youngest kids in the class, I hope that doesn't mean he will always be 'behind' his classmates and start feeling like he's no good at school.

I guess all I can do is offer support at home and hope that he picks up the skills he needs to do well in class. Hopefully this happens before he decides that school is where he goes to play with his friends and that class time is a waste of time. He's only in Gr. 1, he shouldn't have that attitude for years yet. ;)

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