Banging head against wall over school.

(16 Posts)
scattybatty Fri 01-Feb-13 06:23:36

My son currently attends a --very expensive--fee paying international school abroad where we are currently posted. He is 7. I have been told that he is a great reader, at least a year ahead and it's not parrot fashion, he actually understands what he is reading and reads with expression and asks loads of questions. All good. I have also always been told that my son is very bright. A year ago I noticed that he hadn't mastered number bonds to 10 and I was very concerned about this as it was one of the grades objectives. I asked the teacher but she brushed me off saying he was OK. I then enrolled him in extra curricular maths and within months he was flying. Back in the UK he was assessed by a couple of private schools during the application process as we are moving back soon. They told me that he is very bright, a very good reader (at least 1 year ahead, maybe more) and that his mental recall in maths was really good. However, his writing, grammar and spelling were absolutely shoddy. I was told that they would accept him because of his reading level and maths and the fact that he had a great attitude and was obviously bright, however he had not mastered the basics.

A couple of days ago I had a chat with my new teacher to see where he is at. All good, no problems etc. Ok, fine great. The next day my son told me he was taken by the Learning Support teacher for a test. She then told me that he doesn't really know all his vowel combinations and his spelling is terrible. I have also seen some other work at the school this week and I have to tell you that I cannot read his writing it is illegible and it is incomprehensible (spelling and grammar). FYI in the 3 years I have been at this school I have NEVER had a piece of homework.

I am so tired of this. I spend all week running round after my son taking his to extra maths because the school is not teaching them basic addition and subtraction, taking him swimming because despite having an olympic size pool, they swim 8 weeks a year (half of which are stopped due to weather), to other sports lessons (as they do no sports at school, just wibble wobble down benches) and the hours and hours that I have spent/ spend teaching him to read. Those children in my class whose parents do not teach them, are very poor readers. I am tired of it!!! Yes the obvious thing to do is move him, but there are little other options and we are here till summer 2014.

Anyway rant over. I really am exhausted. I need to go through all the phonics with my son and make sure he knows them then start teaching him to spell and write properly. I have actually taught him the letter formation (after seeing his writing not improve) and I saw a significant improvement. However at school his writing is 3 cm high with capitals and lower case mixed in words. No one is pulling him up on it.

Seriously I am at the end of my tether.

Any english resources to recommend?

Eastpoint Fri 01-Feb-13 06:30:09

What about buying some work books? The school seems to be working at a much slower pace than the UK schools, is that because the only exams are at 18 so they have a long time to get there? Have a look online & see which books look good, there used to be some with wizards which were more fun than the 'straight' books. Good luck.

BeckAndCall Fri 01-Feb-13 06:40:49

Well, tbh, I think you need to get over yourself and pull your finger out.

You've found him a good school for when you are back in the UK - good first move. You clearly have no other schooling options where you are, or you'd have moved him.

He's clearly bright and happy to learn - all good. You've found him a tutor who can help him with maths - all good.

And the complaint is that you can't be bothered to put in the work to get him to the tutor? I don't get it.

You could always send him back to boarding school early if you can't manage to help him yourself. How exhausting can it be to work at home with him an hour a day and drive him to the tutor?

Have a read of some other threads here and see how much effort other parents are putting in to helping their children ith their learning, your input really isn't in the martyr territory.

Recommendations wise, have a look at WHSmith online and see if they'll send over some of the KS1 workbooks - there are plenty out there. Bond comes to mind as a good set of workbooks.

PPT Fri 01-Feb-13 06:42:30

Obviously not your preferred option- but were any of the schools you visited in the uk offering junior boarding?

Could you stop doing the swimming and get him a reading/writing tutor (but appreciate the boy will end up doing so much study out of school!)

What curriculum is the school following? Is there someone you can go and speak to- head of year? Head teacher? Would it be worth speaking to the other parents and making a joint complaint?

Just a few ideas!

scattybatty Fri 01-Feb-13 06:42:41

I really do not know anymore Eastpoint. I was at a party recently for a teachers child and there were lots of other teachers there from the school. The said that the philosophy is very european in that they think there is no point teaching kids stuff until 8 because it is pointless. They also had no expectation of the children in year 1, be it writing or reading but then had half the class in learning support within 5 weeks of starting school as they didn't know their phonics.

When I compare what I saw with what the children in his class are doing in terms of writing, reading and comprehension even reception kids seemed to be doing more than my now 7 year old.

I am a bit bemused, frustrated and exasperated that the things my child has excelled in are the things I have either taught him myself or he has attended out of school.

scattybatty Fri 01-Feb-13 06:48:11

Beck and call, that was a bit harsh eh. I certainly can be bothered to help him out. At present I DO spend 1 hour a day with him. He does not have a maths tutor, he goes to a maths centre once a week to mark the homework that he does every day with my supervision. He does 30 minutes a day maths and he does 30 minutes a day reading. He also has 2 swim lessons and 2 other sports things to attend. He's also not my only child. There are 3 of them. My gripe is actually, not that I have to do these things, but that I shouldn't have to because a 15K a year international school should. If I am now to do writing, phonics and spelling with him as well, that's another hour a day. That's not going to be too much fun is it?

PPT Fri 01-Feb-13 06:48:43

Fwiw I can understand why you are exhausted. You are paying top whack for shoddy education, not sure where you live- but having been an expat myself in many Asian cities, can appreciate that resources can be in far flung corners of cities, terrible traffic, and nightmare road conditions. Whilst trying to make yourself understood with people who don't speak your native tongue.

The above could all be mental and physically draining, especially when the school is bleeding you dry in the first place!

Yes, plenty of mothers in the uk (and elsewhere) also put in a lot of time and effort, and they too are allowed to express that they are exhausted!

Good luck with it all.

scattybatty Fri 01-Feb-13 06:52:45

Thx, I do live in Asia ;)

BeckAndCall Fri 01-Feb-13 06:53:24

Yes, you're right. That was harsh. I think my point was that you know what needs doing and it's. only for a year and he is clearly receptive to your helping him,so I think you just need to bypass the school and do it. The post about my not realising how difficult it is to coordinate all this in a city overseas may be right.

scattybatty Fri 01-Feb-13 06:58:22

Thanks Beck. I am more than willing to do it but I do worry that I don't know what I am doing as I am not a teacher. When I was back in the UK last year I bought loads of key stage 1 and 2 work books for English. I think I am going to get them out and start at the very beginning and work through them. I was saving them for my 2nd child, but I'll just buy them again.

Note to readers - life is not always greener on the other side wink

adeucalione Fri 01-Feb-13 09:01:22

I can't tell whether you work ft or not, but can't you take him out of school and home-school him - he doesn't seem to be learning anything at school and you are paying lots of money for the privilege.

Why not have a look at the home education section on here, there is some brilliant advice on there and I am sure they would be able to direct you to resources etc even if you decide to continue sending him to school and supporting him in the evening.

BooksandaCuppa Fri 01-Feb-13 10:30:19

Yeah, actually, if you're not working, I would take him out and home ed. (Are your other children older or younger?) You can get tutors for some of the specialist things and do lots with him yourself and still have loads of time for sport and chilling out. Far preferable to sending him back to board.

littleducks Fri 01-Feb-13 11:11:33

Sounds frustrating especially if you are paying ££££.

I think if you werent moving back it might not matter, if the school follow a different philosophy but then produce children who leave the school well educated with the grades they need.

If it helps, dd is the same age and goes to state school in the UK. I get wound up sending her to school but still teaching her to read, her tables, her spellings etc.

Copthallresident Fri 01-Feb-13 11:26:07

Had exactly the same experience at an International School in Asia, with a European approach, you have my sympathy. It wasn't just the teaching either, dd was nocked out in the playground and I did n't find out until she got home!! And my younger dd came home wet because they put Reception on the bus 15 minutes earlier than the rest and then wouldn't let them back in the school. Driver told dd and friend to go on the pavement! They had a word crocadile in Reception, they were not allowed a book until they could read every word on it. DD is dyslexic, she still wouldn't have a reading book now if she had had to learn them by look see!!

mummytime Fri 01-Feb-13 13:00:39

To know the insiders view of international schools, you could search and register with the International School Review.

racingheart Fri 01-Feb-13 13:11:49

I second home-educating. Unless you're earning so much that his school fees are a blip in comparison, you probably won't even be worse off.
He's really young. He can easily learn all the skills he needs in a very short time if you are working 1-2-1 with him.
You can concentrate on the basics and also add in lots of fun - get him some music tuition, sports tuition etc. As long as he still regularly sees his friends from school (or other local home educators?) then he'll be happy.

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