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Some good news, some...not so good

So earlier in the week, I met with Ike's current teacher, his former teacher, another Kindergarden teacher and a fifth grade teacher. The goal of the meeting was to brainstorm and come up with a plan to help Ike succeed in school.

Ike is a very smart kid. He is at/above grade level in his math and science.

Reading and writing? Not so good.

But I know this, this is not news. I recognize that Ike is one of those kids who is going to take longer to "get" reading and words.  He has an amazing memory and re-tell/re-call ability that is above grade level. He loves stories...but (to sum up) he's just not making the connection between the words coming out of his mouth, and the words on the page (example, he knows his alphabet verbally...but has a hard time recognizing the written letters).

In a perfect world, I'd be content to let him continue for a few years. I am absolutely confident that the switch will get flipped, and he'll figure it out.

Unfortunately, today's educational atmosphere is not conducive to being patient. If he falls behind now, and takes a couple of years to catch up...he may never catch up. He's already starting to internalize that he isn't good at reading and writing and seems to dread the task.

The meeting was very good and I'm glad it took place. I've got a few more ideas to help him figure this out without "drill and kill" which he will not tolerate at all. Its just not part of his nature.

However, I did bring up the concept of "What about next year?" I don't think its too early to be thinking ahead. His current teacher agreed with me. He is not temperamentally suited for the first grade classroom at his current school. It is expected that the kids will sit at their desk, be quiet, and do their work. This will kill Ike...its setting him up to fail. His teacher did recommend that we attempt to get him into the Districts Charter School again, but I'm afraid that his chances of getting in are quite slim. (The classrooms are set up quite differently there...more movement, more set his pace-ish). If he doesn't get in there...I'm not sure what to do.

I know there's the option of homeschooling, but I don't think I have the best personality for it.  I am much too likely to let it slide and not get the work done. However, I may have a (slight) option. My friend D sends her little boy to a part time academy. He goes to school 2 days a week and is homeschooled the other 3. I think a situation like this would be good for us. I'd have the structure and some time away from him. (Hey, I love my kid, but he drives me crazy...we've been getting along much better since he started school) (And I agree with D, 3 days at school would be much better =))

I see two problems with the school.
  1. Cost. Although cheaper than Catholic Parochial scool, $4000.00 is nothting to sneeze at. (Although I do recognize that this might be a temporary situation) Its a lot of money.
  2. Its a Christian School. Bible study is part of the curriculum (so is Latin* starting in 4th grade. Cool!). I'm somewhat reluctant to expose my child to consertative beliefs. I am a very liberal religious person. One thing that makes me feel slightly better is that they seem (based on the website) to be (somewhat) tolerant to all Christians. They use the Nicene Creed as their philosophy and statement of faith. I still hesitate to call myself a Christian of any flavor, I do, however, feel accepting to the Creed...its part of my Roman Catholic upbringing.

So, Joe and I have a few things to think about in the next few months. I will head down to the Charter School next week and fill out the paperwork to attempt the transfer....I'll also be looking to see if there are any other Academys like the one D sends her child to. Maybe I'll luck out and find a secular one (that still teaches Latin in the 4th grade!)

*Side note: I looked at the Latin curriculum and was amused by the Textbook they use. Its called Christian Latin. That made me laugh...c'mon folks its Eccleastical Latin...and even then, one shouldn't be using that particular dialect to help improve SAT scores. Classical is a much better choice for that.



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 24th, 2009 08:18 pm (UTC)
Perhaps one of the various academic coaching companies, such as Kaplan, would be a better choice. Give Ike some after-school reading classes.

A brief search shows Kumon and Sylvan as the apparent market leaders.


I also found a couple of home-based programs: RocketReader (computer based reading skill enhancement) and a self-study course for home use (My Reading Coach).


Hope this helps!

Edited at 2009-01-24 08:24 pm (UTC)
Jan. 24th, 2009 08:31 pm (UTC)
My current worries and concerns for helping him figure out reading are minimal. I've got a game plan. And frankly, I'm not really worried about it at all.

The worries and concerns I'm having is keeping him in a traditional classroom. His teachers agree...he is not tempermentally suited for the traditional classroom at his school...at this age. He is emotionally and socially immature. Putting him in a classroom where he must sit all day long is setting him up to fail.

So the question we are considering now is "What do we do with him next year." not "How do we help Ike figure out how to read.
Jan. 24th, 2009 08:32 pm (UTC)
Is holding him back a year an option?
Jan. 24th, 2009 08:38 pm (UTC)
That's one of the things we talked about. If they have a K/1 class next year (like they do next year) I'd like to have him go there...but there's no guarantee they will have one.

But, part of the problem is that he's advanced in somethings (math and science where he's at and above grade level) and terribly behind in his languages.

Amongst the other things we talked about was getting him screened for multiple things. At school they will screen him for dyslexia, and they are going to send him to the Language Therapist and the Occupational Therapist to see if there's something there. On my end, I need to get him to Pat and get him screened for ADD, ADHD, autism, and his vision. There is a distinct possiblity that something physical is wrong with the reading thing.

But we still have the problem of what do we do with him next year if he can't get into either the Charter or a K/1 classroom
Jan. 24th, 2009 08:33 pm (UTC)
And I'm afraid to ask how much a program like Challenger costs.
Jan. 24th, 2009 08:42 pm (UTC)
$10,000 per year.

And Challenger would be an even worse fit than the public school. Their program is extremely intensive, and the classroom atmosphere is even more intolerant of high energy kids.

We need a classroom that will be tolerant of his need to move and be active and will let him learn at his own pace.

The nearest Waldorf school (a good philosophy for Ike) is in Los Altos and costs $12K per year.

This is why we are thinking of maybe homeschooling if he can't get into the right classroom.
Jan. 27th, 2009 08:44 pm (UTC)
I don't know if this reassures you at all, but I went to Catholic School from 5th - 12th grade and I seem to have turned out fairly non-traditional-religion friendly. I did go through a brief period of overattraction to the ritual and pageantry, but even during that time I retained a healthy skepticism.

It's kind of funny, I think about that time now -- while I didn't believe in God or a lot of how the Church said I should behave, I did really kind of throw myself into the rituals. My only lasting damage seems to be that I retain a love for the theatrical-religious stuff, a belief in ghosts (which is contrary to official RC dogma), and being mildly convinced that some kind of numinous presence exists somewhere in the universe.

Anyway, with reasonable counter-programming at home, Christian School probably won't hurt Ike even if he gets a little weird for a while.
Jan. 27th, 2009 09:28 pm (UTC)
I too am the product of Catholic Education. (And it was good too!) And turned Pagan in College, and am a practicing Unitarian now...I know we can counter program any Christian Education, but they just are sooo impressionable at this young age. =)

I now understand my friends reluctance to put her son at her local Catholic School. (Lives in a Horrible school district) Its like "Oh my! What silly ideas is he going to bring home! =))

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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