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Emotional Stability or Education........

(33 Posts)
fairyfly Thu 06-May-04 10:46:13

O.k i have just had a meeting with the head of my sons school and i am fuming. Not with her, not with teachers, nothing like that. With society in general. My son is behind he doesn't recognise key words etc etc.... The head is putting this down to the amount of schooling he missed at the begining of Reception. I admit it he did, i didn't take him in. I had a little boy whos heart was broken, whos Daddy had just left. The spark had gone out of his eyes, his confidence was smashed, his soul was asleep. Everyday he would weep quietly and ask me not to leave him, so sorry i didn't. Now after loving and holding and stroking his little head back up again he is confident polite well mannered witty etc. None of this is recognisible in the system though, oh know he is a failure because he can't read enough. I don't actually give two shits about that. I am furious that at 5 years of age he is being assessed. I am proud of the fact that at 4 years of age he learnt what loss was and got through it.

ks Thu 06-May-04 10:50:14

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hercules Thu 06-May-04 10:52:13

I think you did the right thing and would have felt incredibly guilty had you gone against what you thought was best for him. I would have done exactly the same. He was only four years old and needed that security. Far more harmful to send him to a class of 30 without the love and care he actually needed. Dont forget lots of countries think this is far too young to go to formal education anyway.
Do what you know is right and you cant go wrong as you didnt.
Stick two fingers up to society - I have always done what I thought was best for my two even though society would frown. Whats wrong in one society is right in another.
Well done.

popsycal Thu 06-May-04 10:54:01

FF - we have talked lots about this and I think you did the totally right thing!! No way could you have sent him into a brand new school with all that was going on!

You know where I am if you need to rant some more

hercules Thu 06-May-04 10:54:01

What's more important a child who knows the key words or a child who is together emotionally? I would avoid any kind of assessment at this age and give him a chance to develop in his own time. He'll soon catch up and IF there is a problem you'll be there to spot it.

Beetroot Thu 06-May-04 10:54:18

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Beetroot Thu 06-May-04 10:55:14

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fairyfly Thu 06-May-04 11:03:59

Thanks. Well i think it's important to have emotional stability, it's important his mother will not be dictated to about whats right for her son etc.. I also know he will catch up, he will be educated to a high standard. I cannot go back in time and replace his emotional wellbeing though, i'm laying the foundations for a secure man. Not an insecure genius.

Beetroot Thu 06-May-04 11:08:10

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annh Thu 06-May-04 14:00:17

I agree, there is absolutely no reason that your son cannot catch up. My ds1 stated school abroad aged 4 (in a different language) but it was a country where formal education doesn't start until age 6 so although he was at school all day they did no reading, spellings etc. Instead they did loads of craft projects, whenever the sun shone they went outside to play, they had gym when they felt like it (well maybe not, but certainly more often than here!), he had a song for every occasion or topic and I though it was a great system. We moved back here last year and he started late in the term into year 1 and I was so worried about him catching up. All the kids in his class were reading, writing, doing addition etc. Well with a bit of help from his teacher (not a huge amount, it's a state school, she had 29 others to deal with)and a bit of help from me, he caught up and is now in the top group in his class. And achieved without any major stresses to anyone involved!

I am horrified that your son's school is taking such a negative attitude and making everything so difficult. Don't really have any advice to add to what others have said but it is certainly possible for him to catch up, although this might not have been the case had you forced him into school when was so upset!

kizzie Thu 06-May-04 14:27:32

Firefly - FWIW i think you are totally and utterly right. Your little boy sounds wonderful.

mummysurfer Thu 06-May-04 14:38:04

ff ...i think you did the right thing and you have the proof to show it - a happy ds. i don't know what sort of assessment the school are talking about. if it is within house then i'd say fine, teachers do this all the time with all children. but if they are involving outside agencies then can you not refuse permission for this. he has gone through enough without being assesssed by strangers!!
sorry i'm dashing off, will be back.

webmum Thu 06-May-04 14:43:07


are they aware of the situation? I suppose they must be.

I think you did v. weel, and it must have been tough for you too.
The head must be really thick not to consider that.

If he had been at school heartbroken and convinve that his mum was abandoning hime there to his own destint I don't think he would have been in the best frame of mind to learn anything more than he has now.

Well done to you both!!

Azure Thu 06-May-04 14:52:07

My sister lives in the States and her 6.5 year-old son goes to school mornings only. Full-time school won't start until September. He is just starting to learn to read. My sister has no doubts that he will catch up when they return to the UK. I think you have done the right thing - it is far more important for your son to have emotional stability.

sar7 Thu 06-May-04 19:45:16

FF - you definitely did the right thing. He will catch up but what is most important is that you now have a happy little boy. Imagine if you had sent him in when he wanted to be with you, what could he possibly have learned at school? Now he has learned that his mummy will be there for him. Best of luck to the both of you.

walnuttree Thu 06-May-04 22:01:54

Fairyfly. Here is a viewpoint from further on. My daughter is now 8 - she had to start school at 4 and I knew she wasn't really ready. You did absolutely the right thing in keeping your son with you at such a difficult time. I have spent 4 years telling myself and others that the system is too pressurised with too much too early. They get there in the end. My daughter found phonics difficult for ages and reading - simply wasn't ready. It's the system that's at fault, not your son. My daughter is now finding things easier.

Another perspective. I am an adult literacy tutor - some of my adults find these things difficult. Pressurising them is no good and adults, never mind children (even more so) learn at tremendously different rates.

If he is happy, confident etc he will be better off. 4 is too young for school anyway. I was told my daughter had done badly in a baseline assessment and was devestated. It has mattered not in the long run.

Hope this helps.

All the best

tigermoth Thu 06-May-04 23:15:49

fairyfly, you took your son off the education conveyor belt because you knew it was the right thing to do. Absolutely it was. He will learn those words at his own pace. How bad of the teacher to leave you feeling blamed for not taking him to his recpetion class. If reception year attendance is so important, how come so many children start reception in the winter term so only have 2 terms of reception? Hiw come the goverment say school attendance is only compulsary when children turn 5? My 4 year old's teacher has warned us he will find year 1 demanding - he'll have had just 2 terms of reception, is the youngest in the year and has not yet grasped phonics or key words, but he is one of a big group of non-readers in his class. It is nothing unusual.

fairyfly Sun 09-May-04 22:39:50

Thanks everyone, well i am starting to worry now. This is just what has happened. My son started crying in bed so i ran upstairs and he said wishes don't come true. He had been looking at the stars and made one. I was expecting that he had asked for a pirate ship or something and it hadn't landed on his bed...... He said i can't do pictures, i said of course you can your a great little drawer, he replied no i can't read words i can only read(his name). This went on for half an hour he was telling me he tried so hard but he is rubbish and what is wrong with him.
This is the first sign off him i have seen of any of this, it is obviously a huge problem for him now too.
I promised we would practice every night this week and that really cheered him up. I just don't understand any of this now. I feel maybe i have caused damage because his confidence is bad again.

Janh Sun 09-May-04 22:47:06

FF, sweetheart, I can't believe he is the only one in his class who isn't reading yet. Might it help if you told him my dd1, who is very clever and is at university now, couldn't read properly until after she was 6?

fairyfly Sun 09-May-04 22:54:07

Yes that helps alot Janh, thanks, i will tell him that.

frogs Sun 09-May-04 23:05:39

Tell him about Einstein, Winston Churchill etc -- all these people who did amazing things but didn't 'get' school.

Schools are there to serve the kids for heaven's sake, wherever they're at, not to make them feel failures when they don't fit a particular pattern.

twogorgeousboys Sun 09-May-04 23:06:26

Fairyfly - your little boy will be fine; he'll learn to read all in good time. He certainly wants to - when I read your post, I wanted the stars to grant his wish too!

As you have so eloquently explained, starting school at the usual time would not have been right for him.

What is his class teacher like is she/he an approachable type?

fairyfly Sun 09-May-04 23:22:05

The teacher he likes is off on Maternity.Now he has two teachers on job share, one is fine the other looks harsh. I will talk tomorow about his tears, but i know it will just come back down to me again. The head in the meeting told me that he will start to loose friends if he doesn't fit in academically. I'm just going to spend a lot of time with him this week doing work and having some fun. I thought you were supposed to get stressed about work when you were older. I hope they aren't putting pressure on him and it's just his personality. I wish he was just painting and playing to be honest, if he is going to cry in his bed. Any way i'm taking him out for his dinner tomorow to cheer him up. I suppose i should just be forcing these words down his neck instead. It's really difficult to know what is best for him now. Anyway i will find some sort of balance and encourage, not push him either. Thanks everyone.

twogorgeousboys Mon 10-May-04 00:20:07

It just sounds to me as though you know what is right for your little boy and you are doing it. I think it would be good to speak to one of his teachers about the pressure he is feeling. 4 year olds mostly need gentle encouragement in the classroom - let's hope both teachers take things gently with him.

I don't think the Headteachers words are helpful at all - re keeping up academically=keeping friends. What a dismal view on the world - ignore it.

kizzie Mon 10-May-04 12:05:10

Hi Fairyfly - I had something similar with one of my twins. His brother is quite advanced with his reading etc but he struggles a bit and although we dont compare them in front of each other he knew that he wasnt on the same 'stage' of reading books.

He got very upset about it and frustrated.
I did exactly the same as you - said we'd try really hard together and he'd be a brilliant reader- and also took him to choose some new books just for him.

He's improving slowly (but definately improving) and this has given him more confidence.

Also just wanted to add that (because of worries with my other little boy) I went in to help with the reception class the other day and was really suprised at the huge range of ability. Even with starting late I dont think your son will be only one struggling.

Sounds to me (for what its worth) that you're doing all the right things.)

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