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Ideas welcome - particularly from primary teachers

8 replies

GeorginaA · 03/10/2006 19:53

Ds1 has just started Year 1 and had a longer book than normal home from school today (blue level Rigby Star if that means anything to anybody). Tonight, it was dh?s turn to listen to him read and then comment in the Home Book. He wrote:

"ds1 read most of this book easily. He struggled on some of the proper names like Sanchez."

A fair enough assessment of how he?s doing at the moment - we?re both really proud of the progress ds1 has made in his reading.

Unfortunately, ds1 didn?t see it quite the same way. When dh read out what he?d written, ds1 started sobbing his heart out and begging his Daddy to remove the word ?struggled?. When dh refused and gently pointed out that it wasn?t a criticism, it was perfectly understandable why names ds1 hadn?t come across before might be a bit trickier to read than other words he was more familiar with, ds1 went into full blown tantrum mode: screaming, kicking, stamping and throwing things around the room.

We left him for a little bit to calm down, then I popped up a bit later once it had subsided and gave him a long cuddle while the last little shuddery gasps of the tantrum were subsiding. I told him we loved him. I told him that we knew he was doing really well at school and with his reading, that his teachers knew that too. That?s when it all came flooding out.

He?s finding the school work tricky. In number work, he?s having to do without a number line to work things out which is hard. In reading, he?s being made to read ?tiny words? (which I can only imagine is more normal sized print rather than the big writing you get when you start to learn). Reading between the lines, he?s either doing really well and they?ve put him in a higher group (and the jump has been a bit of a shock) or now they?ve settled in for a few weeks, the real work of Year 1 has started to kick in. Either way, for some reason he?s reluctant to show any signs of not coping.

I?ve promised to have a chat to his teachers in the morning, which seemed to help him feel better about things, but in truth I'm not even certain what I'm going to say. I presume it's helpful for the teachers to know - but he's shown no signs of not enjoying school at ALL so far this year, so it's hard to tell if it's just tiredness and feeling a bit overwhelmed or if there's a genuine problem here.

Obviously, if he's capable of doing harder work, then I don't want to go in saying "please make it easier for him" - at the same time, 5 years old is a bit young to be suffering from work-related stress! Some feedback from teachers or other parents having gone through something similar would be welcome

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foxinsocks · 03/10/2006 19:57

dd found the leap from reception to yr1 really really hard (though now she's in yr2 and strangely found the leap from yr 1 to yr 2 not that bad)

they play so much in reception that I think it must be quite a shock when they start yr 1 and realise they have to do a lot more work

he's also obviously really tired from school which isn't helping

I nearly went in and spoke to dd's teacher to ask whether she could be dropped down a math's group in yr1 but I thought it sounded so ridiculous that I didn't. I did speak to her teacher about my concerns and she said that dd was fine in the classroom (so prob was keeping it all in till she came home).

Have a word with his teacher, try and get him to have some early nights and keep telling him how well he's doing. Hopefully he'll start to feel a bit more settled soon.

GeorginaA · 03/10/2006 22:06

Thanks foxinsocks. It's odd - it's a Reception/Year 1 class (all three Y1 classes are mixed with reception for the first time this year in school) so I wasn't expecting it to be too pressured for him - it's been a bit of a shock! Especially as he's been coming home saying he liked school pretty much every day.

I think you're right about tiredness being a factor too. Also dh has been working all hours godsend at the moment (last 2 weekends and every evening for a couple of weeks) so I wouldn't be surprised if the general exhaustion in the atmosphere isn't contagious.

I will have a chat with the teacher in the morning if I get a chance, just to ask how he's doing in the actual classroom if nothing else.

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bubblerock · 03/10/2006 22:16

My DS1 is quite sensitive also, maybe with the reading you/DH could put DS enjoyed reading this book, read well and learnt 2 new words - Sanchez and .....

So, no negatives at all. It can sometimes be like treading on eggshells, but once he's more confident hopefully it will get easier.

WriggleJiggle · 03/10/2006 23:01

Do mention it to the teacher. Life is so much easier when parents tell teachers things before they become big problems.

brimfull · 03/10/2006 23:36

do you think he may be having eyesight problems?Probably way off the mark here but just a thought when he mentioned small words.

jennifersofia · 04/10/2006 00:37

Do speak to the teacher. I am a Y1 teacher and apart from being very impressed with his reading, I find his comments quite useful! I think the best thing is that the teacher know what he is feeling, and also what he has said about the work. E.g. - it would be useful for the teacher to know that he is finding the number work hard without the support of a numberline. Most likely if your ds is finding it tricky, so are other students. Ch. of this age need a lot of visual support. It is hard for children to make this adjustment, and there is a certain amount of difficulty associated with it, but it is also important that the work isn't so challenging that they are put off. It is hard to know sometimes the right level to pitch activities at, so this kind of feedback should be quite helpful.

GeorginaA · 04/10/2006 08:04

Thanks Will let the teacher know this morning (although I'm not sure which teacher's "turn" it is to stand outside the door this morning!)

ggirl: funnily enough, he had an optician's appointment yesterday so we know his eyesight shouldn't be causing him any problems

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GeorginaA · 04/10/2006 10:31

Well I had a chat to the teacher this morning who was very sympathetic. Apparently he is still using a number line for number work, so something obviously got lost in the translation there. He hasn't appeared stressed at all in school, but she's going to keep an eye open, and agrees with me that it's probably a bit of tiredness and adjustment going on.

Thanks for all your tips

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