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    #184948 - 03/15/14 07:31 AM Re: advice for an unhappy 1st grader [Re: indigo]
    KnittingMama Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/04/12
    Posts: 267
    Loc: California
    @indigo - When we inquired about grade acceleration for DS last year, we were told a student has to show that he is two years ahead in order to skip one year. Don't get me started on this policy. I will be asking about it, but I think it's unlikely it will be granted. And if she can be in a class where the teacher surreptitiously subject accelerates her, that might be better anyway.

    I know DD isn't the only kid here who holds it in all day and then explodes when she gets home. But yes, it is difficult to explain to a teacher that the sweet girl she sees during the day is often a grouchy pill for hours after school.


    @binip - I would love suggestions on helping DD learn to cope with school! Right now her coping mechanism is avoidance, which is unhealthy. So, assuming that you've got a 6yo who believes learning should be fun (because so far it has been), but who is not even experiencing "learning is not fun" because she's not learning in school, what would you do?


    @puffin - I have found with DS that many of my homeschooling plans were scuttled because he wanted to do something completely different. (He is not the kid who sits and makes lapbooks, as much fun as I thought that would be.) So...I won't know if I'm prepared until it actually happens. smile But I'm prepared to be prepared! I would love for her to finish out the school year and do some practice homeschool this summer.

    She is not scared of the specials teachers, she likes them. She is a little intimidated by PE, because she's not particularly sporty and I believe she worries that she will look stupid in front of her more athletic classmates. Science class is a joke for her. This month they learned about the seasons. Not what causes them. The names and order. Useful information, but much too basic for a kid who is excited that the spring equinox is next week and knows why it is called that.

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    #184950 - 03/15/14 07:38 AM Re: advice for an unhappy 1st grader [Re: Zen Scanner]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4884
    Originally Posted By: Zen Scanner
    One of the most helpful questions I've found to get to the core of an issue is to ask my ds if he had the power to change anything about xxx what would he change.
    Yes. smile So positive for the child. Empowering. Creative. Solution focused. All while providing the parent with great insight.

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    #184951 - 03/15/14 08:05 AM Re: advice for an unhappy 1st grader [Re: KnittingMama]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4884
    Originally Posted By: KnittingMama
    When we inquired about grade acceleration for DS last year, we were told a student has to show that he is two years ahead in order to skip one year.
    In general some schools want to skip a child only when that child will be near the top of the grade the student accelerates into. This may defeat the purpose of the grade skip for several reasons:
    - child may be currently underperforming therefore may not give accurate impression of what they are capable of, or level they are best suited for functioning at.
    - if the child is at the top of the next grade level, they may be deprived of the experiences of being in the middle of the pack and on par with classmates, striving and struggling to puzzle through difficult work, being stimulated/challenged by the presentation of new material which they do not already know. Because the IAS looks at many factors, it can help create a balanced evaluation of options.

    Quote:
    And if she can be in a class where the teacher surreptitiously subject accelerates her, that might be better anyway.
    Yes, forms of support/challenge may vary from child to child and year to year. In general, kiddos benefit from intellectual peers and experiences in which they may have different roles such as middle of the pack and on par with classmates, forming friendships, etc.

    Quote:
    I know DD isn't the only kid here who holds it in all day and then explodes when she gets home.
    Agreed. With home being a safe place to emote, parents may see the stress which a child keeps buttoned up all day. This may be the child's cry for help before giving up. Only parents may hear it.

    You may wish to ask for an IAS eval.

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    #184952 - 03/15/14 08:07 AM Re: advice for an unhappy 1st grader [Re: MightySchmoePong]
    KnittingMama Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/04/12
    Posts: 267
    Loc: California
    @MSP - I will be asking the teacher about this when we meet next week. The school says they have a strong anti-bully policy, but I don't know how they go about identifying when bullying is present. May I ask how you figured out it was bullying? Neither DD nor the teacher hasn't mentioned any behavior that resembles bullying.

    @ZS - I love this approach, and will definitely try it.

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    #184957 - 03/15/14 08:56 AM Re: advice for an unhappy 1st grader [Re: KnittingMama]
    MightySchmoePong Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 02/13/14
    Posts: 5
    Originally Posted By: KnittingMama
    @MSP - I will be asking the teacher about this when we meet next week. The school says they have a strong anti-bully policy, but I don't know how they go about identifying when bullying is present. May I ask how you figured out it was bullying? Neither DD nor the teacher hasn't mentioned any behavior that resembles bullying.


    My daughters school also had a "strong anti-bullying" program. On paper. It's tough with a 1st grader to determine what is bullying and what is just normal behavior. My daughter is SUPER sensitive so for a long time we just chalked up her occasional comment about other kid's behavior to her being overly dramatic. When I finally got her to open up (sitting with her at night and letting her ramble on was immensely helpful) about her school day I realized something was really going on. I.e. kids following her out of class and shoving her into lockers, goading her until she would push them and then reporting that she had hit them etc. I finally got the teacher to take the time to discretely follow the kids out and verify that this was happening. The schools response was to suggest counseling for my daughter so that she would be able to deal with this better. We ended up pulling her out mid-year.

    She was a target because she had different interests than most girls (bugs, dinosaurs) and was very reactive. Perfect target.

    Good luck!

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    #184959 - 03/15/14 09:07 AM Re: advice for an unhappy 1st grader [Re: MightySchmoePong]
    KnittingMama Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/04/12
    Posts: 267
    Loc: California
    Thanks MSP! DD can be sensitive about being hurt/teased also. She has occasionally complained of a random kid doing something, but it is infrequent and involves kids she doesn't know (so I think these are accidental bumps that happen in a crowded playground, not anything targeted). But I also know girls can be more subtle about their bullying. *sigh*

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    #184966 - 03/15/14 10:56 AM Re: advice for an unhappy 1st grader [Re: KnittingMama]
    polarbear Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    I LOVE Zen's question - excellent approach all around!

    KnittingMama, it may or may not be bullying, but I found with one of my dd's in particular, part of the difficulty getting to the root of issues as school at this age can simply be due to lack of life experiences and understanding on the part of the child of what is "normal" vs "not acceptable". For instance, my dd was bullied by a preschool teacher, but she never told us. It was clear to us she was having a tough time at preschool and that one of the teachers thought she was a behavior issue, but we *never* found out about the bullying (via physical restraint) until a full year after she'd been removed from the preschool and drove by on an errand and out of the blue she told us about it. I wasn't sure I could even believe it had happened at that point in time both because it was outrageous enough on the part of the teacher that I simply couldn't believe she'd done it, and because our dd hadn't told us anything about it at the time - but I did in fact verify that it had happened repeatedly by speaking to another employee who had worked in the same classroom at the same time. The same type of "not telling" me things that were significant in understanding situations happened two other times re school issues in early elementary with the same dd - and she's a child who speaks non-stop and seems to tell me everything - it's just that she didn't' have the life experiences at that point to understand that what the adults in the situation had done was not
    "normal" or ok.

    polarbear

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    #184967 - 03/15/14 11:12 AM Re: advice for an unhappy 1st grader [Re: KnittingMama]
    blackcat Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/23/13
    Posts: 2154
    In first grade, the girls start getting catty and it may not look overtly like bullying. For a sensitive child, it can be devastating. DD is now 8 in third grade, but starting in first grade the girls got really possessive. She considered one girl a good friend, but so did another girl. The other girl got jealous and made up lies such as "G said she doesn't like you and doesn't want to be your friend." She would tell "G" not to play with DD and G would go along with it. Teachers don't generally notice these kind of interactions. DD would come home at times very moody. I bought her some American Girl books about how to deal with social situations/mean girls and she poured over them. Don't know if that would help (if it's really an issue). Your DD may not want to talk about it with you for whatever reason. To me, this sounds more like a social problem than an academic problem (in terms of her not liking school). Is it possible that in some of the "specials" like gym, the teacher makes kids pair up and choose partners? That could be devastating if the girls are fighting over who will be their partner. She may be using "boredom" as an excuse, although there is probably some of that going on too.

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    #184969 - 03/15/14 11:38 AM Re: advice for an unhappy 1st grader [Re: blackcat]
    polarbear Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    Originally Posted By: blackcat
    In first grade, the girls start getting catty and it may not look overtly like bullying. For a sensitive child, it can be devastating. DD is now 8 in third grade, but starting in first grade the girls got really possessive. She considered one girl a good friend, but so did another girl. The other girl got jealous and made up lies such as "G said she doesn't like you and doesn't want to be your friend." She would tell "G" not to play with DD and G would go along with it. Teachers don't generally notice these kind of interactions.


    My older dd also experienced this - actually started in K but by 1st the catty/possessive thing with other girls became full-on and hasn't really let up (she's in 6th now). It has been better in some years (based on which girls are in which class etc)... but it's still present, and it's something I simply haven't ever seen among the boys my ds has been in school with. Teachers not only don't notice a lot of these interactions, when they do notice it's not something they typically choose to deal with - most of the teachers my kids have had approach it these social situations as learning experiences that the students need to work out among themselves. They've erupted a few times over the years in my dd's class to the point that the teacher had to address them, and that's usually helped - but fwiw, the teachers still tend to see it as a girl issue (particularly so as the girls reach puberty and hormones are all over the place!) and not as an overtly bullying issue.

    I second blackcat's recommendation of the American Girl books - they've been very helpful to our dd, and she loves them. Very well put together, imo, for girls your dd's age and slightly older.

    polarbear

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    #184970 - 03/15/14 11:39 AM Re: advice for an unhappy 1st grader [Re: KnittingMama]
    binip Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/10/14
    Posts: 96
    Originally Posted By: KnittingMama




    @binip - I would love suggestions on helping DD learn to cope with school! Right now her coping mechanism is avoidance, which is unhealthy. So, assuming that you've got a 6yo who believes learning should be fun (because so far it has been), but who is not even experiencing "learning is not fun" because she's not learning in school, what would you do?




    So, assuming that you have gone through all of the other suggestions here and you feel that you've got a good idea that what is really bothering your daughter is the fact that she's sitting for about seven hours and not really learning anything--then here's my advice.

    I do think it's important to determine that, given some of the follow up information you've given. A lot of kids are bored in school, but don't act out like your daughter is acting.

    In the case that it's really boredom, I would say a couple of things:

    --Make a distinction between learning and school. Let her know what school is about and don't ask her to enjoy it. In her case, school is about proving that she knows the material, NOT about learning. This may be something she doesn't want to do. Fine. That's okay. Let her know that you, too, do things you don't want to do.

    --Help her think of diversions. Teach her multiplication at home, and beside the addition problems, have her do multiplication. 1 + 7 = 8, but 1 * 7 = 7. Do what they ask then do what you want as a reward.

    --She doesn't want to play with the other kids, that's fine. But see if she'd like to meet other kids outside of school who share her interests.

    In other words, try to meet her needs outside of school so that she can accept the truth about school, which is that she may not get what she needs from it.

    You mentioned that homeschooling is hard for you. Could you take another job that would help you pay for private school for your kids? Or private tutors?
    ------


    Below, I talk about some of the reasons that I'm just not into the idea of making school "work" for the child. I'd love for that to happen, but there are 300 million people in this country, expectations of education are across the board, and we have a LOT of people who are not incentivized to learn anything at all because of structural inequality. So you have to think... what can I expect from the school?

    First of all, you say learning has been fun thus far. Fair enough. But she didn't enjoy kindergarten. You believed first grade would be better and said so. So, her expectation is not coming from previous experience. It's coming from social expectations that in school, you learn something. And that is an expectation that she could afford to drop.

    School is about demonstrating existing knowledge for a lot of kids. That's the success. Not everyone likes demonstrating knowledge, but that's what it's about.

    Second of all, I don't believe it's ever useful to give someone hope when there is none. Quite frankly, for the vast majority of children whose parents don't have exceptional resources in terms of time, and who are in-between an IQ of 145+ in a district with a good gifted program, and "right at the 50th% in terms of intelligence, is extroverted, naturally people-pleasing, and REALLY LOVES sitting at a desk for several hours a day", school is not going to be much fun most of the time. There is no reason to tell most kids that school will be fun.

    I have no idea why so many people insist it is, will be, or should be fun. It's clearly not "fun" for many, many children, though some teachers really try.

    You don't have to be a genius to know the seasons at age six. They are teaching to the bottom 10%. That's incredibly low (particularly as it's towards the end of the year). In my child's general education first grade class, they are growing plants and plotting graphs. This is gen-ed.

    Homeschooling with tutors might be your only solution long term. frown


    Edited by binip (03/15/14 01:41 PM)

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