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My sweet 5 year old

(17 Posts)
MissOz Wed 12-Oct-11 13:59:58

I have a 5 year old who is the youngest in his class (P2 in Northern Ireland) and he just doesn't get any of it. While the rest of the class is well on their way to reading DS is still very stuck on SATPIN. I initially approached his teacher with my concerns and she agreed with me that he wasn't developmentally ready for P2 and I took away with me the literature and web addresses which she suggested. I painted a wall in my kitchen with magnetic and chalk board paint to make it all a bit more fun. I have bought and photocopied the Jolly Phonics books and get him to do pages here and there and I am always phonetically pronouncing words and getting him to try to guess what I am saying. He still doesn't get any of it - however this is not the problem anymore. The real problem is that he is breaking down into uncontrolable sobbing when it comes time to do his homework and yesterday he was so upset he almost threw up from all the crying because his teacher screams at him when he doesn't know the answers. I sent a note with his homework (2 weeks ago) requesting another meeting with her and that afternoon I checked his homework folder and found his unmarked homework with the unread note. I obviously chastised her for this and now the situation has degenerated into her bullying my son and me having angry phone calls and meetings with the school principal. I called the school board with my concerns about her behaviour towards my son and they said that it would be best for me to try to sort it out myself before I make things formal. I have a meeting tomorrow with both the teacher and the principal and I could really do with some advice on how to approach it.
This situation has become unbearably stressful - I have insomnia and my skin has broken out in cold sores and I hate sending him to school when he is so visibly upset. He cries at the mention of homework and a good day for him is when his teacher doesn't yell at him.
I just want my son to be happy in his school environment and not to feel as if he is going to be yelled at for something he just can't do.
Please give me some advice. Even advice on how to keep my emotions out of the meeting. (this is very hard for me because I speak honestly which most people don't appreciate)

TheTenantOfWildfellHall Wed 12-Oct-11 14:11:22

I would take a deep breath and calm down a bit first smile

It's not really your place to chastise the teacher, so I would imagine that hasn't really helped the situation. Although I completely agree that is is unacceptable for a note to go unread. FWIW I never put important notes into bookbags - homework folders or otherwise, if you hand them straight to the teacher you know they've had it.

How do you know she 'screams' at your son? If she has said herself that he is not ready and has given you some good advice that you initially followed, it wouldn't make sense for her to be screaming at anyone. I'd also be very surprised if the school/principal tolerated that.

Clearly this is very stressful and the understandable stress associated with worrying about your son's progress is affecting you. It won't do you any good to lose your temper. The principal will have dealt with far louder and scarier parents than you and you won't phase her at all.

What are the school doing themselves to support your DS (love the idea of your blackboard/magnetic wall!)

TheTenantOfWildfellHall Wed 12-Oct-11 14:14:02

I think I would also take the emphasis on the homework the school are setting and give him a few nights off.

Is he getting the same homework as everyone else, or is it appropriate to the level he's currently working at?

I take it you're using magnetic letters? Can he find the letters if you show him? How literal is your comment that he's stuck on SATPIN? Is that an illustration that he's finding it all very difficult, or that he is actually till not able to recognise those sounds? (Just occured to me that I have taken that very literally!)

KATTT Wed 12-Oct-11 15:10:13

That just sounds awful.

One thing I'd do is to get him excused from homework. You can do what you can with him at home but he's 5 for goodness sake, he shouldn't be stressing about homework!

My advice would be to be clear before hand exactly what you want the outcome to be from the meeting and do all you can to achieve that (even if it means biting your tongue smile) And expect to keep checking on whatever they say they are going to do.

bran Wed 12-Oct-11 15:25:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Panzee Wed 12-Oct-11 17:39:42

Just to say, I don't go rooting round in children's bookbags. I see bookbags as their property. So unless they find the note and give it to me (unlikely for a 5 year old) I wouldn't see it. Put it in his hand if you want me to find it.

Cunningham Thu 13-Oct-11 10:27:28

(Formally Miss Oz)putting a note in his homework folder is an accepted form of practice to communicate between teacher and parent as the teachers are not available themselves most of the time. We do not have book bags. I think you also missed the point that after spending so much time doing his homework with him the night before and the teacher not checking it was the actual issue. The homework folders are her idea so that both notes from parents and homework from the night before gets checked.
The reason for opening up and writing my problems and concerns for this situation was to try to gain a little bit more perspective and try to calm down a little before I dive back in again. It seems that there are a lot of critical people on this website who only want to read what they want and interpret it their own way.
I thank KATTT, TheTenantOfWildfellHall and bran for showing support - It is very easy to become over emotional in this kind of situation and a little perspective and encouragement is all I really needed - so thank-you.

nickschick Thu 13-Oct-11 10:33:47

Some teachers can and do bully sad.

My own ds1 was driven to the edge of a nervous breakdown (drs diagnosis) not mine sad because of a thoroughly unpleasant teacher - eventually she took early retirement but it took a year of endless meetings in school with the LEA and with other officials- in that time he had a private tutor at home (paid for by the LEA) whilst ds2 continued to attend the same school with a lovely teacher.

Not sure if Irish protocol is the same as English but if it is then generally its

class teacher
meeting with head
meeting with head and class teacher
write to Governors
<receive silly letter back>
write again to the Governors
<receive sillier letter back>
request meeting with governors
<get nowhere>
etc etc etc .....if I can help or support you feel free to inbox me.

TheTenantOfWildfellHall Thu 13-Oct-11 10:34:13

Hope you get things sorted at the school. smile

soandsosmummy Thu 13-Oct-11 12:07:26

It all sounds very difficult. I know its easy for me to say because DD's a good reader for her age but just give him time and the reading will come. DD's in year 1 and her writing is probably the worst in the class but her teacher is very clear that with lots of support and practice it will slowly get better.

Read all sorts of books to your son and have some that become very familiar. Stop reading and ask him to carry on for a sentence or so - with very familiar texts he'll probably be able to do it even if it is from memory. Its all about building confidence. Try ignoring Jolly Phonics and school books and ask him what HE wants to read, take him to the library and let him pick things out.

Have you tried Starfall.com? I used it with dd from quite an early age and it really good because it goes through the real basics of phonics.

Good luck - now if only I could apply my own advice to my daughter's hand writing

Panzee Thu 13-Oct-11 12:44:47

Apologies for not sounding more sympathetic, I can assure you I was only trying to help. The less charitable side of me is actually thinking something else.

Cunningham Thu 13-Oct-11 12:47:05

Thank you all so much. My plan is to tell teacher and head that if we can all forget about what has happened and said (on both sides) and concentrate on working out the way forward. I don't want to be 'that' parent that all the teachers hate - I want to be the parent who melts into the background at the school pick up and gets to have fun with my babies at home. I am too emotive not to have a strong opinion when I think my dc's are being treated differently because they are progressing at their own rate. I need this to be over so that I can maybe have a full night sleep without the worry. sad ho hum. Will hopefully be resolved in a few short hours. Deep breath in........

soandsosmummy Thu 13-Oct-11 12:54:13

Panzee, there's a folder in DD's book bag. It was explained to us in no uncertain terms that anything inside the folder is understood to be for the teacher to look at. Anything in the bag but not in the folder is considered to be private to the child. Don't know if that would be helpful for you?

spiderpig8 Thu 13-Oct-11 13:17:00

My DS1 whan he was that age had a friend who was very similar.he was a bright boy who had no trouble with his numberwork. His parents were very anxious and he was very stressed and embarassed with it all.
The school suggested he had a total break from reading for half a term It was a very very difficult thing for his parents to do (their son was well behind the others and to be told to do nothing really went against the grain)
The parents were allowed to read to him and he looked at books on space -which he was fascinated with, without having to attempt to read them.And the most amazing thing was that when he started back on the reading it all clicked and he soon caught up.
So sometimes just breaking teh cycle is enough

KATTT Thu 13-Oct-11 17:34:33

I agree with spiderpig8 and wish someone had given me that advice for my daughter (youngest in her year, couldn't read, teacher's telling her off and calling me in to say she had to try harder).

If reading is awful and stressful they won't want to do it. If reading is fun and full of praise and achievement they will.

MissOz I speak as someone who has lost it several times with my child and the school. You're absolutely right not to want this to ruin your relationship with the school. Walk in with a big smile, big smile.

RosemaryandThyme Thu 13-Oct-11 20:49:12

Is it possible that you've fallen out with the school because it feels like your son's reading is not in your control ?

Instead of trying to work with the school to support your son I would take back control myself.
Given that you and his teacher don't see eye to eye, and (assuming no underlying needs) you are feeling he should be further along with reading by now, you could just teach him yourself.

There are lots of reading schemes you can buy, many come with parent/teaching guides, DVD's.CD's etc plus lots of great freebie computer games.
I appreciate you've done a bit yourself with the wall and some worksheets - how about grabing the ball by the horns and just teaching him the whole lot, then whatever he does in school will be a bonus.
Ignore the school homework, plan your own lessons at home. Teaching children to read is a lovely journey - and no-one better to teach than your own children.

stromnessdundee Thu 13-Oct-11 22:31:05

I feel for you. My son is 6 and a half and is only just beginning to read. We live abroad but recently ducked out of the local system and put our kids in an International School. DS had not been to school before. He was very behind his peers and refused to read or display any interest in letters. I had a meeting with his teacher a few weeks ago and we agreed that all pressure would be taken off him- no homework and "reading" only if he wanted. Like a previous contributor said a miracle happened and last week he got interested and now has started to read. You need the right kind of support. I hope that your meeting was successful!

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