Tag Archives: homeschool

Holding Z back, or not? and homeschooling for the summer

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Ms W, Z’s teacher this year, had some sort of freak out right around STAR testing week, telling us that she kinda sorta halfway was thinking that maybe Z should possibly be held back next year, but that ultimately, it was our (parent’s) decision in this case.
She was sort of tearing up, saying that she’d never really suggested this to anyone before, but maybe Z might do better if he had to repeat 2nd grade in someone else ‘s classroom.
uhhhhhhhhhhhhh, wha? Given that his second trimester conference seemed to indicate that he was progressing…?
And it’s STAR testing week, and he’s being given some practice tests and not doing well on them… because standardized testing is BS….
And she stated that his test results probably aren’t going to be an accurate reflection of what he knows (uhhhh, duh????)

But a week ago, she suddenly stated that she was fine with Z staying with her as a 3rd grader next year.
so complete 180.

ok. so what happened in the space of about 3 weeks there???

Jebus H tapdancing.

What I do understand is that she thinks he might be feeling bad being on the bottom of the academic pile. Which he is. But. Why is he there? Do I pin blame on her for not noticing his struggles and finding ways to help? Do I blame the 3rd grade boys, who are a pile of little sexist shits? Do I blame ex hub B for not modeling academic skills like reading and writing? Do I blame myself for not doing more worksheets with him, and getting frustrated at his frustrations at reading and writing?

Shit.

I asked Z last week if he ever felt like he was behind the other students, and if that was frustrating. The answers were yes and yes, unsurprisingly. So I asked him if he’d like to do school at home over the summer, to catch up to and surpass the other kids. That if we did school at home for about 2 to 3 hours a day, he could feel like he was already done with 3rd grade, and he’d be ready for 4th, and ahead of a lot of the kids in his class. He was completely excited about that prospect.

So we tried school at home over the weekend. I gave him some copywork, which I figured would be fun and easy and interesting, as it was about science (from this site, which has excellent handwriting workbooks for free: http://www.writingwizard.longcountdown.com/workbooks/writingworkbooks.html ) He did a lovely job tracing the words. But when it came time to copy the words without the tracers, he got super frustrated. His writing was larger than what could fit on the space provided. He couldn’t find the word he stopped on. He misprinted something. His letters didn’t look exactly like the model letters. He couldn’t write as neatly as a grownup. Tears. Yelling. Hitting the paper with his hand.
Now I know why he has been doing so few jobs in class. You know, in this public montessori classroom, they all have workplans to complete.
The jobs are supposed to take only about 15 to 20 minutes apiece, so an entire week’s workplan should be completed by Thursday at the latest. Z has never completed a workplan yet. All year.
Now I understand better why this is happening.
Poor kid. I’m feeling like such a shitty parent because he’s been struggling so hard in school and he feels how much it sucks, and that makes him want to just ignore the whole thing. At least it helps explain why he’s so apt to space out during work periods.

Z-Boy ed, 2nd Grade, first 2 weeks

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Z-Boy has started public school. It’s been 2 weeks. It has been going surprisingly well… his teacher, Ms W, is older and very, very experienced. She apparently taught at a Montessori school in Berkeley before settling in the great big flatland. She has a ranch in Dixon, and when the school year is over, she invites all of her students and their families to camp on her land and enjoy her horses and chickens and such. L and I have met her and we both agree that she seems both sharp and efficient yet caring and compassionate. She has that economy of action and diction that comes with experience, and Z-boy responds very well to her. In this way, I think, she is very much like Miss M, his first preschool teacher.
When we came to pick him up last Thursday, very few parents were there, and the kids seemed to be late in getting out. When the door opened and Ms W came out, she explained to us that on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons she offers the students a 1/2 hour of “Homework Club” time after regular dismissal, where students can complete homework assignments with other students, or by themselves, and are welcome to ask for help with any problems they are having. We peeked in and saw Z-boy and M.G., a girl who’s been in his class since K, working very diligently, side by side, on some math problems. I was floored – when I try to help him with “homework” worksheets, he usually does his “I’m too tired!!!!” routine, and flops and whines on the floor. But there he was, actually engaged in his work and in his collaboration with Marina! Then after they finished Homework Club, they negotiated a play date for the next afternoon!!! Oh Joy and Rapture Unforeseen!!!!!!!! S, M.G.’s mom, had seen her daughter really start to take Z-boy “under her wing”, for which I am very grateful, since I really like S and M.G. is such a studious and creative girl.
So maybe the whole homeschool thing won’t happen for a while. Maybe not at all this year. As long as Z-boy is enjoying life in school and out of it, I’m not going to try to fix was isn’t broke.