Friday, January 16, 2015

When He Struggles as School: 5 Tips to Help You Be Your Child's Voice

My phone beeped for the millionth time, I almost avoided looking because I was in the middle of cleaning, but I stopped just to see who it was; instead of  a text it was yet another e-mail from my sons school regarding some test scores that he did not do so hot on...

You see, we chose to put our kids in public school going on 2 years ago. My oldest son who will be 8 this month has struggled since day one. While he likes the fun stuff like art, PE, recess; he struggles with the actual learning process. His mind works differently than others, he is a very hands on learner who would rather learn math using legos and matchbox cars than writing worksheets all day long. He struggles with reading unlike some of his peers and to the public school this is a "problem"...

I have said before that the choice we made of putting our kids in the school system was the worst choice I had made as a parent, its true, it is the worst choice I made. I knew my son would have issues but yet chose to have him go on to school like the majority of the rest of the world, it was a selfish decision, not the right one for my kids.

I have about 7 months before we start homeschooling again, 5 of which the kids will finish the year out at the public school they go to; my current goal is to get my son through this year and completely regroup with him over the summer and into the following year. 

Currently I am my sons voice in this crazy mess that has been created; this year when we went to orientation with the kids I knew right off I would have trouble with my sons teacher, she is an older lady and to me seems like she has lost her love of teaching, she spoke with us a total of 3 minutes long enough to introduce herself and show us where our sons seat was and then she went back to talking to the people who were there already. It was somewhat rude, we had no idea what our son would need for class or anytime to even tell her of our sons history from first grade. I didn't hear anything from this teacher until about 4 weeks into school when the kids were given a test to see where they were on retaining information from last year, my son was right where he needed to be...then silence, until the next test was given right before Christmas break. I asked for a meeting but apparently everyone was too busy...after a few e-mails back and forth I have a meeting today with another person at the school not his teacher...I have been speaking to this other person for about a month, his teacher avoids talking for some reason. I have not gotten extra homework, sight word lists, tutoring {because she has other obligations}...nothing

To be honest I am completely annoyed. I don't see why this issue is just being brought to my attention halfway through the year. I feel like its all being pushed aside, and to be honest it is; that is what happens in the school system. You have teachers who are overworked and underpaid, not enough funding to provide the programs needed to help the children, lack of communication from staff because they are overwhelmed, and kids just being left to the side who will get that slight passing onto the next grade. Its sad, its the world we live in. 

Given my current situation here are my 5 Tips to Help You Be Your Child's Voice:

  • Start with the Teacher and move your way up the food chain: if communication with the teacher wont work go on up the food chain until someone listens. The schools are required to test your child for learning disabilities, extra interventions for reading/math, and helping you find the right place to get care if they cannot provide it. If they give you the run around its pure laziness on their part.
  • Ask for those extra things like extra homework, word lists, tutoring, etc. You cannot help your child at home without the right materials. 
  • Talk to your child, find out how they feel about school: are they being bullied, pestered while the teacher is talking, easily distracted, need extra time, or do they really not enjoy school; all of which can hinder your child's learning.
  • Ask for weekly/bi-weekly parent teacher meeting: this way you have a constant update on how your child is doing in class and can see the work that doesn't get sent home each week, you can also get more insight on how your child is doing in class.
  • Research your options: there are tons of other options than the local public schools, you have private schools, charter schools, online schools, and even homeschools. See which one would fit your budget and your child and run with it. Seriously, not every child does well in a public school setting, some need extra help, and others do better with that one on one learning style.
We are opting to homeschool because our child learns better one on one while following his interests. We chose to let him finish the year out and make a clean cut rather than pull him out right now this instant. Gives me time to really research options and get more in depth on what he wants to learn and how he learns best. In the meantime I will still fight for my child in school, its not fair for him to be pushed aside or become their little project...

Teachers mediate too much. --Everything is directed, expected, suggested. No other personality out of book, picture, or song, no, not even that of Nature herself, can get at the children without the mediation of the teacher. No room is left for spontaneity or personal initiation on their part.
Charlotte Mason (Vol 1, Part V Lessons as Instruments of Education, p.188)

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