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Normal for school?

Posted by coolmama (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 1, 07 at 4:37

My daughter is in third grade.We moved last year and she has been going to a new school.She has never been terribly good at math,but always got by ok.
This year it has been a serious struggle...and I'm not so sure it is her fault. For instance,they only took a week to learn multiplication.That's it! Then they moved onto GEOMETRY.I didnt learn that until middle school or highschool and am shocked they are making them learn it at such a young age.

Anyways,my daughter has begun after school tutoring,which is great.I just dont think it is enough.The school year is almost over already,and she hasnt learned basic things like multiplying and division. Her report card says she is "below grade level" in math.
I have written a letter to the principal asking him if they can move her to a slower paced math class and got no response.
If you were in my position,how would you handle this? I really dont want her moving onto to fourth grade and struggling even worse then now.I know ZIP about math so I cant help her that much.
Since she is below grade level,shouldnt they be trying to help her get caught up instead of forcing down more things she doesnt have a clue about?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Normal for school?

Hi Coolmama. I have a 3rd grader as well. I haven't seen true geometry yet, but we are deep into long division. The kids learned multiplication at the end of last year/start of this year, so perhaps the week spent was a review week.

Since the year is almost over, you might want to have her tutor continue over the summer to catch her up to grade level. No fun, but worth it in the long run.

A bigger concern would be that the school isn't responding to you. I would call and demand a face to face conference with the teach and an administrator to find out what their suggestions are and how to get additional tutoring available over the summer.

Good luck.


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RE: Normal for school?

Hi Coolmama

Yes, I agree, you must follow this up with a phonecall. Gosh it seems hard maths for someone so young!

There is probably a good explanation as to why the school did not get back to you.

I am sure you will sort this out, and your daughter will be fine.

All the best.

Popi


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There was something or other I read about schools pushing subjects younger and younger. It basically makes them look good, "Oh, our kindergarteners are doing trig." Okay I man exagerating, but seriously, I hate it. It's like a reaction to all the complaints about dumbing down schools. It's stupid and in my oppinion pushs them to hard too fast--they don't get the basics down as well and are under a lot more stress.

There's another side as well, where it applied to me. That kid I mentioned in the thread I started, who lived with us for a while--he's previous school had been like what you're discribing. He was basically being forced to repeat things (which he had gotten the first time) because the curiculums didn't match up, which in turn means he was bored and blew off school.


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RE: Normal for school?

Hi guys,great feedback,thanks.
I honestly think this school is looney for how they teach. I spoke with her tutor today who informed me that her class would be doing multiplication again. Why they didnt just do it all at once,I have no idea...she hasnt even begun division yet,and it seems like she should have by now instead of polygons and perimeters and areas and rays.

the tutor said I should help her with her homework every night...I was like,I already do! That's how I know it's a struggle cuz I'm there night after night struggling with her.
Karen mi 64~I think you are really right about how they are forcing them to learn more younger.Just wish there was something I could do about it.Geez,every kids isnt a genius.
It may not be fun having a tutor over summer,but I think that is a very good idea and that we just may have to do that.I would try to help her myself,but I feel like idiot cuz I cant explain stuff.I didnt even know what a polygon was,LOL.I'm much more of a language arts person.
Thanks so much for responding,yesterday I felt very discouraged.


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Coolmama

I know how you feel...my 14 yoDS won't let me help him with his maths homework, because he says "you wouldn't know how to do it" with contempt !!

I think he is doing quadratic equations, I seem to remember that in my dim dark past !

Don't let on that you don't know how to do it.

Sounds like a lot of homework for the poor little tike, every night.

Hope you are feeling better today about it all.

Popi


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RE: Normal for school?

Yeah, with math especially you can't really go on and learn more until you understand the basics. I would try to find her a tudor over the summer. If you can't easily afford one, maybe an older neighborhood kid (with straight A's in math) can help.

I'm guessing maybe the principal has forwarded your concerns over to her teacher and/or maybe they don't have a slower paced math class for her and that's why no one has gotten back. Although, I too would be mad no one has followed up with you. I do know our school likes us to start our concerns with the kid's individual teacher first and not go to the principal about problems like yours. I would guess you may have already tried that route with no luck?

There are some fun sites on the computer that teach basic math--multiplication and stuff for third graders and older. Maybe you could try some of those sites to help make the learning fun (one link is below), or even get some workbooks for her. Print out some multiplication charts, etc. When you cut up a pizza show her how you are dividing it up and how many different ways you could. Don't write off trying to help her yourself just because math isn't your strong suit. You are her first and best teacher.

Is it the school's policy to hold kids back or make them take summer school if they are failing a class? Do you know how bad her grade is....is it like a C- or F-. I would think someone would have told you by now if they were going to hold her back, but who knows. I bet with math that advanced that other kids are struggling too. Have any of the other parents expressed any concerns? I would guess you are not alone. Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Grade Level Skills


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Sometimes helping your child with their math is a mistake. Math is taught very differently than when most of us were in school. I found that when I tried to help my DD with math homework years ago, that I further confused her since the teacher was using a different method of teaching the concept my daughter was having a problem with.

Also, many times the correct answer to a question would not be the answer you think. When my DD was learning rounding in 3rd grade, the question was something like "if Jimmy has 4.75 and he wants to buy a book that costs $5.00, can he do it? The correct answer in the grade book is yes since you round up. My answer was no, he can't unless he has more money or a credit card. Teacher agreed with me, that in real life, Jimmy couldn't do it, but she had to grade the students' work according to the answers provided in her grading book???? How nuts is that to teach kids in the context of money that they can spend more than they actually have?

It is what it is. Schools are teaching more advanced subjects to younger children. If your child attends public school and your child tests below average on the standarized tests in math, the school must provide your child with extra math help. At the third grade level, most public schools have a teacher that takes these children out of class during the school day to work with them on subjects they are having trouble with.

A tutor over the summer will be on your dime unless the teacher deems your child eligible for summer school which means your child has to totally fail in math. However, a tutor will be worth the money spent as your child may be able to catch up to what the 4th grade students will be learning next year. The child will also be much more confident when facing the 4th grade work.

Our schools start foreign language at 3rd grade. I didn't have a foreign language until high school. Things have changed.


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My daughter's school had a math curriculum that was similar to what you describe when she was in the 3rd grade. It was called Everyday Math and was supposed to expose them to as many math disciplines as possible. Drove me nuts. They skipped around all over the place and never learned one thing thoroughly before they moved on to something else. The would do multiplication, then skip to telling time, then a little basic geometry, then back to multiplication and so forth. I complained every time I went to a parent-teacher conference. This year they have switched back to a more traditional curriculum.

Does you school not have parent-teacher conferences regularly? Ours has them midway of each 9 week grading period. That gives you the opportunity to keep up with grades, ask about problems, and solutions. If you don't have a conference scheduled soon, I would call and request one to discuss your daughter's math problems and possible solutions, such as tutoring, resource classes, etc.

I have also used the internet as a resource. My daughter loves the www.funbrain.com site and it has a lot of math games. There are also multiplication drills, addition drills and so forth at the various math sites. Maybe her teacher could suggest some.
MH


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coolmama - If your daughter can't multiply and divide, she won't be able to do much of anything in math. Buy some flash cards or make some at home.

I'd have to agree with Labmomma on the different teaching concepts as we have also had this same problem.

My daughter has struggled with math all year and is now on the verge of failing 8th grade algebra. I have a high schooler tutoring her and she's so much happier than with after school tutoring. She likes the camaraderie with the older girl and is doing well.

Also, aaamath.com has a cool site sorted by grade level and as far as the multiplication goes, that would be a big help with the practice sections. If she can add and subtract, I think multiplication would be the next obvious step that -must- be learned.


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oops

*heh* I should have said my daughter is doing better... certainly not well.


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Just something that is a nice story...I read in the paper today.

A few years ago the Kenyan gov made primary school education free to everyone. In the story there was a photo of an 80 year old man, sitting in a class with primary kids. He had never had the opportunity to go to school, and this was the first time he had ever been in class. It is a lovely photo, the gentleman has had a life long passion to become a vet, which he plans on doing.

It brought tears to my eyes...our children are so fortunate.

Popi


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our school system

popi - I remember a similar story I saw not long ago so it may be the same man. It is touching.

Here's my problem with our school system.... in order to get in-school tutoring or remedial help, students have to be failing both math and reading. My daughter has been failing math but excelling in reading so she doesn't qualify. For the kids that do, they are segregated into a different class and the stigma doesn't promote self-esteem, in my view.

Now, we have the "education lottery" started here last year but according to news media, our schools are seeing much less of the money than was anticipated. My daughter's school is a "school of excellence", which is a joke. My kids have been in this school system since 1984 and I've always loved it. I've been unhappy with the schools for a few years now. My grandson has 11 more years to go.

I don't completely blame the schools, but parents that don't discipline and those problems are visited onto the administration. I just can't imagine what school will be like in another 10 years.


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"Is it the school's policy to hold kids back or make them take summer school if they are failing a class? Do you know how bad her grade is....is it like a C- or F-."

I'm not sure what the policy is. Her grade was a D,now it's a C.Just,considered "below grade level".

I did speak with the math teacher a couple of times,which is why I finally opted to go to the principal.I think you are right about there not being a slower math class.

"They skipped around all over the place and never learned one thing thoroughly before they moved on to something else. The would do multiplication, then skip to telling time, then a little basic geometry, then back to multiplication and so forth. I complained every time I went to a parent-teacher conference. This year they have switched back to a more traditional curriculum."

Seems that is exactly what they are doing here.I was reassured they would go back to multiplication,I had just never heard of that.When I was in school we took a month or so just to do multiplication and division. Things have really changed!

"If your daughter can't multiply and divide, she won't be able to do much of anything in math. Buy some flash cards or make some at home."
I'm working with her right now getting down addition facts with flash cards.Once she's comfortable (cuz she cant do it off the top of her head) I will move on to multiplying.

Great advice everyone,much appreciated!!!


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My daughter would give anything for a C right now. That isn't below grade level... that's average.

I do understand what you mean about skipping around. We've had that problem from the beginning. I'm not a teacher so don't know why they do that, but it just seems obvious that sticking with one concept for awhile gives every student a chance to catch on before moving to another topic. My daughter had a test last week on graphing equations (she made a 73), then her homework the next day was unit conversions. Then they reviewed decimals, fractions and percentages. Thursday they were working on angles, but I never did see any notes or worksheets on squares or square roots, which I -thought- would come first. But, what do I know? Grrr..

You can see why it's so important to keep your daughter up to grade level even now.

And, it's not so bad that she can't add off the top of her head in 3rd grade. If you sit in any elementary math class, you'll see many kids using their fingers... even those that do well.

Also, you should be able to get the teachers email addy, which makes it extremely easy to keep in touch and the teacher feels motivated to keep you informed when you are so readily available via email.

Math is such a touchy subject with me. *lol*


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Are other kids in her class doing poorly? Obviously not or your daughter wouldn't be considered "below grade level".
Are they teaching things like how to figure the area of a circle? And the Pythagorean Theroum? Or are they just teaching terminology and the definitions of the terns.
My daughter teaches in a private school. She began teaching a foreigh language to 3rd and 4th graders.
There seems to be a movement among educators to always allow a child to succeed...always pass to the next grade and to use euphemisms for failing.
In reality all chilcren can't do all things equally well, and some are just not College material. Somew ork well with their hands, some have great spatial relation skills and others read well...and still others are math whizzes. It's a rare kid who can do all things very very well.
The best thing you can do is teach your child to pay attention and to apply herself and that sometimes you just have to do something that you really don't like to do.

Linda C


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RE: Normal for school?

Coolmomma, the problem may have started when your daughter switched schools. There may have been a gap in what she was learning, and that's why she's having trouble.

Maybe she'll never be a math whiz, but its critically important that she get plenty of help and support at this time. Trouble with math can just snowball over the years, and you don't want that. Definitely don't let the summer slip by without keeping her in math tutoring or summer school. Ask the teacher, or a 4th grade teacher, what skills she should practice over the summer. If tutoring is too expensive, you can ask at your high school for a good math student who will tutor for less. You can check at a teacher supply store for workbooks.

Make sure she has her math facts down flat. Someone here mentioned flash cards for multiplication, adding and subtracting. If she is weak in this area, she needs to practice practice practice, and the best way is with you or someone else, not by herself. Think up a reward for progress--take a friend to a movie or whatever.

Good luck. Don't let your daughter get discouraged. Lots of people have trouble with math. Keep her happy and active with friends.


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"Coolmomma, the problem may have started when your daughter switched schools. There may have been a gap in what she was learning, and that's why she's having trouble."

Yes,I think the schools were on two different levels learning-wise.

"Math is such a touchy subject with me. *lol*"

Me too!!! LOL


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I think one of the reasons for skipping around, is not to just skip and glance over an area and then move on, it is that too many times kids learn an area, then when they move on they forget what they have learned. I hope that makes since. I have taught school in all grades K-8 and have done some subbing lately. The funny thing is that when I have worked with junior high kids we would be doing something and they would have to recall lessons learned the year before or last month. I would ask the students to do so and they would say but I can't remember we did that so long ago, and really they couldn't do the work. By switching things around they make sure that the lessons are really learned not just learned for the test.

Hope that this makes some sort of sense.

Stacie


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Hi Stacie - That's why my daughter's class has Fall Back Friday. To review.

What I don't understand, for example, is why they may be adding and subtracting integers this week and next week evaluating cubes. As I said, I'm not a teacher, but it seems like if they went to multiplying and dividing integers after that it would give a better understanding.

I do like that they review on Fridays, though.


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Well,and it wasnt just the skipping around...it was the fact it only took them a week to do multiplication. When I was in school,we took one week to learn 2,3,4 and then the next week 5,6,7,~you get the idea? it wasnt ALL times tables crammed into one week and then move on to something else.
And as moonie mentioned,the logical next step would seem to me like division...not something totally different like polygons and perimeters.
My daughter apparently isnt the only child having trouble either,because there are 3 other kids in tutoring (from the same class) with her.
I dont know,I just hate math!


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update

I just got daughter's progress report. Not too good. I'm starting to think her repeating this grade might be a good thing. Is this a bad idea to even consider? It's just,the school year is almost over and I really dont think even with this tutoring she can catch up that much for fourth grade.
She is an excellent reader,but her teacher is now saying she is "ALMOST" below grade level in writing.
How can two schools in the same county be so completely different that it put her behind like this?
Her dad was held back two years because of that factor.Will it tramatize her to be held back?


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In the same county??? I was thinking you had moved to another state in order for the curriculum to be that different.
As a parent that has dealt with the school system to excess, this is my advice, STAY UP THE SCHOOLS REAR!!!!! Don't just call, show up!! Or call and then show up, whatever, just make yourself as visible as humanly possible. It makes a huge difference in how you and your child are treated. Believe me I know this first hand.
If you are thinking of holding her back, do it now rather than later, the longer you wait the worse it will be on her as she makes class friends and so on. Have you talked to her about the possibility?? Some friends of mine held their child back and he did not find out about this until he walked through the school doors on the first day of school (and this was advice given by the school) It really messed with the little guy:(
It has been a ongoing battle with my son and the schools (which would be a good ADHD thread actually)
He could not read at all by the end of his 1st grade school year, they told me NOT to get him hooked on phonics, it wouldn't help, well too bad. I did anyway and now as he is completing in 5th grade year he reads at a high school level and has done so since 3rd grade. Math writing, and spelling is a whole different story, we have battled with this and he still is having a hard time, he does get help for the math and he actually has a B grade, but I don't think he would have that grade if he was doing the work in his regular class.
our schools must be different, we don't have to be approved for summer school, if they have a A average and we want to send them we can.
My Kindergartener is learning to read. I don't remember even starting that until 1st grade. They wanted them to know the alphabet, how to write their name, and a whole bunch of other stuff before they even started school. I say if they require them to know this, they need to make preschool free for parents. Some can't afford it.
I was lucky to be able to stay home so I taught him what he needed to know before he started, little stinker, he would have me read him a book a few times, then he would read it back to me, completly memorized the whole thing. He is still doing that. Hope it don't interfere with him actually learning to read!


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My husband and I calmly talked to our daughter about the fact she could be held back this year.It didnt go very well,she cried alot.Said everyone in school would think she was stupid.

I tried to reassure her that it would be a good thing to help her catch up if that's what she needed.That no one would think she's stupid.That her dad failed once because of the same reason(switching schools).
The talk made her vigilant with doing better.Normally I have to be on her case to get her to write properly,and now she is trying on her own without me telling her.When I asked why,she said it was because she didnt want to be held back.

My husband and I bought her a bunch of workbooks regarding her grade level,and have instructed she do a page a day in each one.In two days she already had down her 2's in multiplication,which is better then she did at school!
I have never considered myself to be the "teacher type",but it seems I have to pick up the school's slack.

Micke,you have no idea how I have been up the school's butt,LOL. I think they are already sick of seeing and hearing from me.
Did you have your child diagnosed with ADHD through the school or doctor? I'm just curious,because I have kinda run into a brick wall regarding this matter.
My child's doctor gave us the run around about it and said I had to go elsewhere to have her tested.
Then I was told that NO,I'm supposed to go through the school first,and they test her.So,I had requested they do that and they never did.
I just want to rule it out as a problem (or work on it if it IS the problem) since she is having trouble.
She can be a little hyper sometimes,but mostly she does complain sometimes she cant concentrate.
To be honest,I think the school just doesnt want to deal with it and just let her "slide" into the next grade knowing she needs help.


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If the school isn't suggesting it, and she has a "C" average, I'm not really sure you should be holding her back at this point.

Kids have a tendecy to live up to their labels and if she truly feels she is being labeled as stupid...she may always feel that she is stupid. Many kids go through periods when they are a little behind in certain subjects from time to time (especially if the stuff taught is a little too advanced to begin with). Plus, it sounds like there are others kids that aren't up to par with the math either. It's not like she's the only one struggling, right?

One of my friends kids was very behind in reading. They thought of holding him back, but did summer school instead, and it took him a couple years, but now in 3rd grade he is a straight A student...just took him a little longer to get it. If they held him back, the poor kid would now be bored to tears.

I would try a tudor (again, even just a neighborhood kid) over the summer and see if the school has any other suggestions for you.

Just because she is a little behind in some over complicated math class, doesn't mean you should hold her back, IMHO.

Good luck to you and her.


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CoolMama-

I saw the opposite problem with my nephew but at the same grade level. In second grade, he was in one school and his teacher had said he had all the learning disabilities of the world. When the family moved to a school no more than a mile away from the previous one and the little man got a new teacher, he struggled a bit to catch up but, puff, all learning disabilities were gone and he has now become a pro in math. So many times it really depends on the teacher and their attitude towards the children.

Another nephew, however, was held back a year, was embarrassed and resentful at the beginning but is absolutely fine now. He has developmental delays so he is doing much work outside of the classroom, but I can't tell you how well he is doing now; the kid is happy and has unveiled an artistic side nobody was aware of...

So it really depends on the circumstance. Our little one, who was struggling so much earlier in the year, simply switched "team" in the classroom and is so much happier and is doing so much better now.

As for the testing, at least oin our school district, the school can choose to test a child or not; so if you think you should have your child tested and can afford to, take her to a professional (the tests are NOT cheap). I have seen our school here dismiss children that have been fortunate enough to have parents take them regardless of what the school thought and benefit immensely by these tests, both for ADHD as well as GATE kids.

Good luck and keep us posted...


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Oh boy, well this is how it all started. When my son started kindergarten the teachers were constantly calling me up there, "he can't sit still, he is bothering the other students education" and so on and so on, THEY (the school) suggested he needed to be medicated for ADD. I was young, I was stupid, I went with what they said. I had to take him to his pediatrician who then referred us to a Psycologist who diagnosed him with ADHD with OCD. (A 5 year old mind you) the pediatrician put him on meds, well it still to me made no difference in his behavior. He spent maybe 10% of that school year actually in class, the rest of the time he was in a room by himself. We went through so many different ADHD medications, he tried all of them but Ritalin (I drew the line at that one) he had to have a med to sleep, it was a nightmare. We moved and he had 1/2 day of kindergarden 1/2 day of first grade, the next year he was held back. the Medications were becoming a issue, he would hallucinate that he was seeing things and he would have terrible night terrors. They put him in a school for 'problem children' the day he came home from school crying and telling me that two teachers had gotten on each side of him and held his arms crossed, I had had enough, he had bruises running up and down his arms (they said from banging his arms down on the desk, but they were in the wrong place for that) he had bruises on his waist, and a bruise on his back. I called the school and threw a absolute (word I can't say) fit. They would not allow him back in the regular school, this was April. I pulled him out, got work from the school and finished the year myself (thought it was awful odd when the school showed on his report card that he had not missed any days that quarter, hmm...) I homeschooled him for 2 years UNMEDICATED. When he went back for his 4th grade year they said if anything he had done a complete turn around, was like he had never had any ADHD issues. We have had him tested to see if he would qualify for the extra help in math, they seemed amazed when they found out he has a higher than average I.Q. He has some sort of learning disorder, and no one seems to know what it is, he learns different then the other kids, he does fantastic one on one (hence the math grade) but there is no way I can continue to teach him at home or I would. I am a little slow in the math department myself and when I looked at the 4th grade math books I decided that it was time to get him back in school, lol!!
I think the reason he did not do well on the meds, was because he was not ADHD. So if your child tests positive for this and she does not seem to be improving on the meds, it may just be something else.
For children that are ADD, the medication is a Godsend, but I just gave you a case that was horribly misdiagnosed.


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RE: Normal for school?

Micke,sounds like you went through quite alot! I have always been worried about medicating my daughter even if she DOES have ADD for the same reasons.And the fact that she is so skinny already and I heard meds can give them loss of appetite.
I wouldnt think if she does have it,that it's a severe case...just certain things she does makes me think she has it.Like,even playing video games,she cant play one game how it's supposed to be played and she will play it a few minutes and go to something else.She's always rushing to get done everything,(and it's usually wrong) after we've told her a million times to slow it down.
I'm starting to think I should home school since it seems like she does better when I teach her how to do it...but I dont know everything they are doing either (the internet has really saved us a few nights when we couldnt figure out what to do on homework)

carla35,I think she has more of a D average.She only pulled it up to a C this last progress report in math,but now has a D in writing.
proserpina~I agree with the teacher making a difference thing.I'm not real keen on her teacher this year really. Seems like she just likes to hear herself talk. Last year her teacher was very nice and seemed more willing to work with us.


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If I had any digital pics of him back then I would certainly post them so you could see the difference. He was sooo skinny and had huge circles under his eyes and he just looked miserable, the change was almost immediate whaen he was taken off of them (too much) he ballooned up. I kind of blame myself for this because I was so busy making sure he was learning what he needed he did not get the exercise he should of been getting at the time. He is starting to slim down now as he is getting taller, but he is so self conscious of his weight (mainly because of other children, we all know how mean they can be)

one thing I noticed, you said she started working on her own after you talked to her? That is good:) Maybe she needed that extra push. Kody has a tendency to get lazy on his work as well, He is capable of actually very nice handwriting, but I usually have to make him write the paper again after the first time in order to see it:) he just wants to get outside and play, these kids lead such busy lives! lol!!
When your daughter plays a video game does she get frustrated with it easily, or does she just move on to the next one without much fuss?? Kody has a issue with that, if he comes to say a math problem or a spelling word he does not know, he will sit forever trying to figure it out instead of moving on down and coming back to it later (one of the reasons he has bad test scores) I hated it when I was homeschooling him and it came to the tests, I would tell him to just go to the next one and then after he was done with the others to go back and try to figure out the ones he didn't know, it was as if he just mentally could not leave that problem blank! And he is the same way with games, if he comes to a part he does not know, he will replay it over and over, getting madder and madder, I have a few in my possesion because of that, and I have not seen him getting mad at them as much since he found out he might lose them for awhile:)
I am not dogging teachers either most of them do a wonderful job, but I too have ran into the ones that have no patience for a child that might learn differently. Last year Kod had a teacher that would send him to the office any time a tear would roll, well this went on all year, she would order him to leave! And I am not talking the all out sobbing, I am talking about silent tears running down your face out of frustration. This year he tried it one time, the teacher had a talk with him and he never did it again:) he found out he could ask this teacher questions and it was okay, the teacher last year would tell him it wasn't her problem if he didn't listen the first time (she told me this at a parent/teacher conference) I sat their contemplating hitting this teacher and what kinds of repercussions it might cause me, lol!! No I wouldn't of resorted to violence, but it sure made me wonder if I had done the wrong thing in putting him back in school, but honestly things are starting to look up for him, he is definitly doing better.
I think it will get easier as she gets older and improves her study habits, and if she is trying, well that is all you can ask of her:)
(I feel your pain though:)


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RE: Normal for school?

CoolMama- Not sure if you remember, but our youngest was having the hardest time in school this year. He would throw fits every time he had to do homework, we had the incident of him writing 12 times "I hate school" as an assignment, he was crying in class, wasn't cooperating... We just came back from our parent-teacher conferences and you should have heard the melodies coming out of that teacher's mouth! Supporting him outside of school, making sure we didn't give into the histrionics (I take full responsibility for that one!), and a couple more changes here and there... and that was just a phase.

At the same time, we found out at a parent-teacher conference for another child that the teacher, woops!, forgot to have that child tested alltogether... But wait, hadn't she told us at the previous conference, that she didn't think the testing was right for him? Oh well, I guess we are part of the fortunate few that now, in May, are going to have the testing done semi-privately (apparently, the school does offer other options if you pry enonugh).

Oh, I wish I could find her website, but after YEARS of her children being labeled ADHD, my girlfriend discovered that her children were actually dyslexic! I had no idea (and neither did she with her first child, by her 3rd -all dyslexic, she had become a tester and advocate), but apparently many "symptoms" are similar. All of this to say that sometimes it is up to us parents to get educated because, for no fault of their own, the educators just don't know enough to really determine what is truly going on. Have you considered a consult with an educational psychologist?

Best of luck...


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RE: Normal for school?

I didn't see in your posts that you had made an appointment and went to see the math teacher. That is ALWAYS your first step, save the principal for last.

Don't try to teach your child math the way you were taught. Just ends up frustrating both parent and child and giving her math phobia. The best and easiest way to teach basic math functions is to get her some appropriate computer software - like a math game that is fun and she will learn those times tables without even knowing it. I recommend Math Blaster. Whatever you do, please don't communicate your frustration about math/school to her, as she will pick it up and "hate math" and maybe even school.


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RE: Normal for school?

" didn't see in your posts that you had made an appointment and went to see the math teacher. That is ALWAYS your first step, save the principal for last."

Yup,sure did.That was the first thing I did at parent-teacher conference~Twice.She only gave a few web site addresses for my daughter to practice from,and most them didnt even work.
What you dont understand is,I have to teach my daughter math~because during homework she often has no clue what to do at ALL. She has even told me I explain it better then her teacher because her teacher goes too fast.Believe me,I'd much rather not! But someone has too.
She already disliked math before all of this...I did too,and so did my husband. Some people arent "Math" people.She has other great qualities though,so it's not an issue really.
Tutoring has helped some...but I still have to work diligently with her every night.


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RE: Normal for school?

Check out this Dear Abby letter from the other day:

This little girl's symptoms could be our DGS's. I did lots of research on ther internet and plan to take him to a specialist to be evaluated.

DAUGHTER'S SCHOOL WOES ARE CAUSED BY DISORDER OF SIGHT

DEAR ABBY: Please help me get the word out about a common condition that severely affects children's ability to succeed in school because it inhibits reading, spelling and concentration.
My daughter, who was obviously bright, tested at first-grade reading level in fifth grade. She had undergone all the school testing for learning disabilities, plus two days of testing at a respected university hospital. None of these tests or specialists revealed what could be wrong with her.

My child's self-esteem suffered. Her confidence faltered; she began acting out in school. At home she was a great kid, until it came time for schoolwork. Then the battles began. She thought she was dumb. When studying, she could read for only a very short time. She often begged me to read things to her. When working on spelling and assigned to rewrite the words she missed five times, she often recopied them wrong. We thought she just wasn't trying.

After much research on the Internet, I came across a disorder called "convergence insufficiency disorder." This visual condition is the leading cause of eyestrain. Fortunately, we had the opportunity to have her tested at the Mayo Clinic, where her condition was confirmed, and she was successfully treated with vision therapy.

It was as though a miracle had occurred. After six months of treatment, my daughter is almost at her age-appropriate reading level. Her comprehension and retention have markedly increased, and her self-esteem and attitude about reading are much better.


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RE: Normal for school?

Funny you should mention this.I'm begining to think she has dyslexia like her father has. This past week,on all her Math homework,she kept getting them all wrong when I would check them. Well,they werent wrong because she got the wrong answer.They were wrong because she is inverting her numbers!
I also noticed she is doing this with her spelling words at times...writing saw instead of was.
Would make alot of sense if this is what she has.I've got to get her tested for it as soon as possible.You dont suppose the school could test if I asked? Or do i have to do this privately???


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RE: Normal for school?

Coolmamma, I think you may be on the right track! My daughter has visual/perception problems and also had a heck of a time with math. 123 was sometines 321, or 231 etc. She was falling farther and farther behind and we tried everything, including school testing, which is not set up to recognize this problem. Finally we found an opthamologist (eye DOCTOR, not optometrist) who does visual perception testing. He gave her six months of eye therapy, which my insurance paid for, and she made a hundred percent improvement. Most of all, we proved that she was not dull, lazy, or all those other unfair labels. The sixth grade school counselor said she would never pass high school. She is now studying geology in college, but without that opthamologist, it would have been a very different story.

Visual perception dysfunction is a medical condition and the child has rights under the Anericans With Disabilities Act. She has the right to special accomodations, longer test time, tutoring etc, and (in CA) the state has to pay for any special teachers or methods she needs. In short, she has the right to receive public education according to her disability.

Good luck! Let us know how it goes.


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RE: Normal for school?

Thank you scarlett!
I have great news.I have finally gotten the teacher to listen to me. I had the special education coordinator call me today and set up a meeting to get started on testing my daughter!
She asked me what was going on. I told her how DD is inverting numbers and letters.That she has always struggled with reading,writing and math~but how this year things got even worse. I explained a few occasions where it took her two hours to complete simple math homework.
She agrees my daughter should be tested.She said it should not take her two hours to do homework.She has met DD and said she is very bright,and creative child.That she would hate for something like this to turn her off of school.

So,next week we have a meeting! She said it will be a long process,but I just feel so relived someone is finally hearing me and helping.
The last day of tutoring was yesterday,and DD still is having so much trouble.
Thanks for all your support here!


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RE: Normal for school?

That IS great news Coolmama! Hopefully, the testing will identify something useful that you can remedy, and your DD's school life will get much better. Both of my kids have had extensive educational testing though with very different test results and very different responses from the schools. They also both went through vision therapy, and it was *extremely* helpful for my older son. (My younger son has so many challenges and was doing so many therapies it was hard to tell how much difference came from what.)

I'm going to suggest that when the testing is complete, you schedule an extra-long meeting with the school to review the results. Why 'extra-long'? Because there will probably be 20 different tests to review, with test names and subtest scores that will be so familiar to them and so overwhelming for you. They'll go through them with you, but you need to be sure you have enough time to understand each one and to take enough notes that you'll be able to re-read and understand them yourself, and even more importantly, explain the test results later to someone else. Bring a pad of 3"x3" sticky notes with you plus a regular-sized notebook, and use both of these to take your notes. If they'll permit it, ask if you can bring a tape recorder. (It'll save them a boatload of time!)

Anyway, you need to review results at the 'subtest' level. They'll quickly give you the name of the test, if you're lucky, a brief description of what it's supposed to measure, and a quick summary of how your DD did on the test. Trouble is, their 'description of what it's supposed to measure' often isn't very meaningful. This is where you need to say "Excuse me -- Can you tell me a sample question or show me a sample problem for this subtest?" (They can't give you a copy of the test for copyright reasons.) Then write it down on the sticky note and stick it onto your copy of the report. Your next questions is "OK - So she's struggling/strong in this area. How, specifically, might this impact her in school?" Then write this down as well.

For example, a common subtest is called 'Digit Span' -- In one version they show her a series of numbers for a few seconds, then ask your DD to select it from a multiple choice list. In another version, they read her a list of numbers and ask her to write it down. They both say they measure 'working memory for a series of numbers' -- but one uses a visual input and offers a 'matched' response. The other uses auditory input and makes her rewrite it from memory. If part of your DD's problem is slow writing speed, poor hearing or auditory language problems, the second test could be skewed. If she has vision problems, the first test might be skewed. Or, she could get lucky on the multiple choice test. This is why you need to get so specific. They'll probably get a bit impatient -- BUT SO WHAT? It's really, really important that you understand these test results so you can fix the areas that are weak at the lowest level.

Once you have your test results, check back in here. There are a lot of us around who can help.


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RE: Normal for school?

Thanks so much sweeby for all the suggestions. I will be sure to check back in when we know more.It is nice to know other women who have gone through this.


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RE: Normal for school?

Coolmama,
I can't emphasize enough- schools do not always understand visual/perceptual problems or how to deal with them. Please go to an opthalomologist - an eye doctor is the only person who can give you a letter that pronounces your daughter as a handicapped person with legal rights.

We first tried working with the school and they kept her coloring bar graphs for an entire quarter of the school year! That was her math.

Also- if she is identified with Visual/perceptual handicap, the school will give you an IEP- Individual Education Plan to sign. You do not have to sign it unless you feel that it is appropriate. I refused to sign the plan to continue the coloring - that made them very angry, but I had learning accomodation ideas from the doctor that I made them use. You may be in for a tough fight, but you sound like a dedicated parent. My best wishes are for you and your girl!


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RE: Normal for school?

I'am going to take DD to her doctor and she'll probably suggest that she go to an opthalmologist.

More bad news,I got a letter today saying she should go to SUMMER SCHOOL because she is below grade level in Math and reading too now. Alot of tears for that...but it's probably that or fail?


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RE: Normal for school?

That's not really bad news -- It means she'll get more help. But, you can only make it good news if the school is willing to try other strategies for teaching her. "More of the same" isn't a valid approach if you can show that it isn't working.

Get that testing done!

And on the opthamologist, be sure to find someone who is knowledgeable about vision therapy and visual processing problems. *Not all are.* My younger son has 20/20 vision -- but still can't process what he sees, gets lost reading, has all sorts of visual difficulties.


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RE: Normal for school?

Ok,the meeting went well,although the outcome wasnt what I had expected.
They are not going to test her for any learning disabilities at this time.Something about it taking 90 days and the school year is almost over.Something about if they test her and she doesnt have a large enough difference from what is expected,she will get no help.
So,they put her on some intervention program.They will monitor her progress from now,through summer school,and the begining of the school year.
Then,if no improvement is shown,or she in fact gets worse,we will have another meeting in October,in which she WILL be tested.

Also,an arrangement has been made with her Math teacher,that if she tries hard and homework takes her longer than 20 minutes,she doesnt have to do it! Which is a HUGE blessing because some nights she struggles over and hour and one night it even took two hours.(a 50 problem worksheet)

I'am thinking of having her possibly privately tested over the summer though. And I'am still going to look into the opthamologist thing.


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RE: Normal for school?

Sorry Coolmama, but that's NOT a good outcome...

The school used lots of pretty words and double speak to avoid testing your daughter now because it's inconvenient for them. OK - it IS inconvenient for them. But darn it, it's inconvenient for your daughter to be having so much trouble in her math class! No - inconvenient for YOU, but much worse for her. Their suggestion to let her stop working after 20 minutes will just let her slide further behind, will reinforce the idea that she "can't do it", and will encourage her to 'give up' when things get too hard. Basically, they're just delaying giving her the right kind of help. And their double-speak about "if she doesn't qualify as L.D. she won't get help" is simply Bu!!sh!!

The type of in-depth testing they are delaying will help the school go from saying "she's having trouble with math" to being able to pinpoint why she's having trouble, and where she's having trouble. And most importantly, it will help them know how to help her. Otherwise, they'll just shovel in 'more of the same' -- and that isn't working.

In a nutshell, the school is trying to delay testing your daughter in the hopes that her problems will solve themselves with a little summer school. And perhaps, you'll take care of everything privately and not bother them again. Don't go for it!

I fell for exactly that same line of BS with my older son, and had to spend over $6,000 for services the school should have provided him for free. But for a portion of that $6,000, I got the following letter, written by the person who did his private testing. Copy this letter word for word (don't change it to try to make it sound nicer -- the wording meets specific legal requirements), address it to your school principal, and *hand deliver it* to her on Monday morning. This will get the ball rolling for appropriate testing.

Date

Coolmoma
123 Main St

Dear Ms Principal:

I am the mother of Coolbaby. My daughter is having problems with her schoolwork. Please give her a complete comprehensive individual assessment to see if she has a disability and whether she needs special education and related services. I understand that the written report of the assessment must be completed within 60 calendar days of the date of this referral. I will consider the date on which you recieve this letter as the date of the referral.

Thank you for your help. I look formard to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Coolmama
(123) 555-5555 days
(123) 555-5556 evenings

cc: Ms. Teacher
Ms. Counselor


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RE: Normal for school?

Thanks for your support sweeby. I was quite upset about it,but my husband was easily talked into it,and thinks it's fine.
My aunt (who had similar problems with my cousin in school) said that it costs the school alot of money and that's why they try to get out of it. She said it took her years of fighting with them,and a scene at the Board Of Ed before they tested her son.They tried to say his was a "motivation" problem,when in fact he did have learning disorders and did great after getting the right help.

I DO think they dont want to do it,simply because it is the end of the school year.The amount of time it will take was mentioned several times,and it seemed to me they didnt want the inconvience this close to the end of the year.
Honestly,I agree I dont see how summer school will help much being as it only for one month,and probably the same kind of teaching as she is already getting now.

Her regular teacher was at the meeting and even said maybe our daughter has a fine motor skills problem (not exactly sure what that means) because her handwriting is so bad and she is having a really hard time learning and doing cursive.
However,she also said my daughter "rushes" too much. I agree she does at times,because she hates doing it and has trouble with it so she tries to get it over with fast.Certainly not the main cause though,as when she is working with me,I instruct her to go slowly.

I want them to test her now,but worry if I make a big deal about it they wont want to help us.


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RE: Normal for school?

Coolmama,

The school is actually breaking the law if you ask in writing to have her tested and they do not do so within the time frame specified. Familiarize yourself with the requirements under federal law then go armed with them to the school. Schools know what the law states, they are just trying to get around that by getting you to agree to their terms. Your daughter's problem will likely not just go away with some summer school and some tutoring and in the meantime her self-esteem is being devastated by the school. If they can't finish the evaluation before the end of the year, then let them know they need to at least get started and X amount of time to complete when the new school year starts. They need to have the teacher portion of the evaluation done by her current teacher as her new one will not be up to speed in the fall with her classroom problems and areas of need(which is why schools hate to do this as soon as school starts). You appear to be a very caring, concerned parent and hopefully having more knowledge of how to work the system will help you in dealing with the school to get your daughter the help she needs. I'm attaching a link to the government site in IDEA so you can learn more about your rights. Good luck!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: IDEA rules on evaluations


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"I want them to test her now, but worry if I make a big deal about it they wont want to help us."
I hear you, and believe me, I've been there. But get this -- They ALREADY don't want to help you. That's what all the double-talk and reassurances was about.

I went to our local public school in early March so they could test my younger son while school was still in session, but they tested him over the summer anyway. (There was no doubt he'd qualify for SpEd, so no incentive to try to push me off.) While many teachers get the summers off, it's not like everyone goes home all summer. They do still have people on staff, and if they know the right ones won't be on staff over the summer, there's still time to test her now.

Yes - You do want to be nice to the school folks. It only makes good sense, since they're the ones who will teach your daughter (or not). But at the same time, they want to just continue to 'process' her with all of the other students, and doing anything different takes time, money and administrative effort -- and this, they don't want to do.

If your daughter's learning difficulties are mild or subtle, this is when the schools will balk the most and you will have to be the most insistent that the school remedy her difficulties. The law is on your side (though the school will probably tell you otherwise) and Jules' site is worth looking into.

But write the letter! Seriously -- Before you deliver that letter, NOTHING will happen. After you deliver the letter, the clock starts ticking and you will start to get answers.


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RE: Normal for school?

Thanks for your responses.It really helps to hear it from people who have been through it.I will check out the link provided too.
The school said since she isnt being tested that she will have a "Instructional Intervention team" to initiate focused academic interventions before recommending the IEP process.
Is that double talk or will that actually help any? They tried to say it will help them assess her better and they have her on their "radar"
So,do you think I should send that letter,or wait and see if this does anything?
Once again,I really appreciate your thoughts.


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RE: Normal for school?

"Instructional Intervention team" --

Well, that might be OK, or it might be BS. The thing is, you won't really know until it either does or doesn't work. Most likely case -- it'll help 'some', leaving you still in limbo. With the testing and IEP route, you can always go back to the "Instructional Intervention team" if your daughter doesn't qualify for special ed, so it's a sure route to help. And the information from the testing will be very useful in any case.

But the really hard question is simply this: Do you - deep in your heart of hearts - think your daughter's problem(s) is a simple little thing that a course of summer school will fix? If so, then sure, go for the school's way. Or, does your mother's instinct tell you that there's something deeper? That maybe her vision, fine motor skills and core understanding of math logic isn't what it should be? If this is the case, then write the letter. Tell the school how much you appreciate their concern, but that deep in your heart, you have to follow your instincts as a mother.

Push out any concerns about 'making waves' or 'annoying the school' and any fears about 'labeling' your daughter special ed. If you can do that, then you will find the right answer if you look deep inside. The mother always knows.


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I DO feel in my heart it is more causing this.I wish it wasnt.I wish summer school would be enough.

The mother DOES always know. I thank you Sweeby for your guidance here. I will try to find the courage to send the letter.
My internet is getting turned off in a week because we are moving now in August and are trying to save a few bucks until then. I'll miss all you ladies who offer supreme advice and compassion!


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