A friend's son had special reading and other tutoring by the school in middle school, and he's now in law school. At many schools the classes are so big, and they have so many kids that need extra help that the other kids aren't taught one-on-one or with small groups. One size fits all education just doesn't help everyone. I really resent the way the teacher just parroted your words back, instead of having any suggestions. And you need to go to the nearest teacher supply store and see what flash cards and other items they have ready made for his age group.
I think it's just that he was never instructed on the basics, and then they moved on anyway.
This! I'm amazed at this difference this can make for some kids who are labeled as having a learning disability (Not a teacher, but worked in a school with special needs kids through college). Worth looking into, at the very least.
You have already gotten some very good advice. FWIW - I am a special education teacher. It can still be difficult to determine the cause of a particular student's struggles at such a young age. It could be just a maturity thing or it could be a learning disability. Often learning disabilities and/or attention deficit disorders (which go hand -in-hand in many children) are inherited. Is there anyone else in your family who struggled in school? That could provide a clue as to whether he may have one.
I would get in touch with the school system and request that he have an evaluation done. That is well within your rights as a parent. They can do tests to determine if he has a learning disability or some other issues - such as a language disorder or a fine motor problem. Also, talk to your pediatrician about him. He can help determine if it is ADHD and there are many strategies that help kids with that - and not just drug-related ones either.
Above all, don't panic. Many children with learning disabilities are extremely intelligent and figure out their own strategies to help themselves as they get older. They also tend to be more creative thinkers than the "average" population. He may never love school because it may be difficult for him, but the earlier you get him some help, the easier it will be. He may get a reduction in homework as part of his IEP, or some other accommodation to help him succeed.
Please feel free to PM me if you have any questions. As has already been stated, the vast majority of people with LD go on to live very happy, successful lives.
7 is very, very young. Don't get too riled about this and jump to conclusions about what it means. I wish I had more to offer but others have already given good suggestions. All I can do is reiterate what others have said, 7 is very young. He'll get there.
Will add that one of my kids hated hated hated school & would literally weep when having to go. Guess who did 4 years of undergrad, 4 years of veterinary school, one year of academic internship, and is now a practicing veterinarian? Yep, that kid.
There's a lot of life in front of your 7yo. Wishing you and him all the best.
7 is an age where boys are designed to be roughhousing and growing their large muscle groups not sitting in a classroom for endless hours. 2nd grade was the first year of hell for my son who had excelled previously and was beloved by his teachers. First he landed in a school that had replaced recess with silent snack time sitting in the hall instead (obesity epidemic, anyone?). Then he got an awful 2nd grade teacher who had him sitting by himself in a corner within weeks because he fidgeted with his pencil and it was "driving HER crazy" in her exact words. She said we needed to get him tested and on drugs because he obviously has ADD. Very long story short, he has a tested IQ of 158, which is more than three standard deviations above the norm. He was so frustrated in that class he would come home crying regularly. He is a genius, and now as a senior in high school can have conversations about quantum physics and string theory that make me feel completely stupid. But he is also barely a "D" student and gets by on a wing and a prayer. There isn't a public school in the US equipped to deal with a kid like this, a random/abstract thinker and stream of consciousness talker. If we had had the resources I would have pulled him out and put him with a private tutor years ago, or sent him to a school like the Davidson institute. If we had stayed living in the Seattle area, at least we could have had him in a full time gifted program, but alas the military said go to nowhere, NC, and that is what we did. There are no gifted programs where we were, and they thought I was a trouble maker for trying to insist that the 5% + of their school that would test out with above-average IQ deserved the same services that kids with low IQ's get. Silly me. There is a HUGE mistaken notion that gifted kids will just teach themselves if they are so smart.
I know that was long winded, but I just want to say make sure you don't let the school railroad you into slapping a label on your son. Pay for your own testing, from a source YOU find, not the school-recommended psychologist. It needs to be someone who has no vested interest in anything other than the truth. You might be surprised by what you find out. In DS's case, he tells the most imaginative stories! But he couldn't write, and he would sit at the table and cry over writing projects. Turns out he can't write as fast as the story moves through his head, and by the time he could write it down he'd lost the details or what he was thinking. So he learned to type very early, but in the mean time we bought him a little tape recorder and let him say his stories and ideas into it, then go back and write it down while he listened to what he had recorded. It made a HUGE difference. He also finds homework painful....going back over a concept he has mastered already frustrates him immensely. So he will get F's for not turning in the work, ace every test and come away with a D. It pisses my husband off, and he swears our son is going nowhere fast since he can't "just be disciplined enough to do what everyone else does.". He doesn't understand a kid that doesn't function like everyone else. But I have no fear or doubts that this is a kid who will be a giant in the scientific community once he gets into the right environment. He had one chemistry class last year that was a homework-free class and he got an A+ and this year he is acing honors physics for the same reason - no collected homework. I am not sure how we are going to find the right environment for him post-high school, but I know there is a place for him out there. I wish I had been able to home school him through high school, he would have been done by now.
If regrets were dollars, right? But if I had sat on my hands and just followed the school recommendations back then, he would have been medicated right out of his "fidgets" and we may not have known his problem was a high IQ. Although looking back there were other signs, like talking in full sentences at 16 months and reading before he was two.
You can help him, it will get better, and this will pass. I cried a LOT in the beginning when I didn't know what to do or how to help him. I third having his vision checked, also. Then get some testing done independently and go from there. Most of all, make sure he is getting enough exercise and recess time. Studies have shown that kids learn best immediately AFTER recess. And a 7yo boy needs to be able to be active during the day. At Brinson elementary in NC, by the time we moved away there was NO free break time during the school day, and lunch was silent. I don't know any ADULTS that can go all day with no free time/break or time that they get to exercise their own free will, let alone little kids.
I should also say that my younger child, DD, is exactly the opposite like your DD. She's also very high IQ, but is a linear thinker and excels in school, makes friends easily, is awesome on a horse, etc. She doesn't have the random/abstract side that throws my son.
Not everyone learns at the same rate...or the same way. Reading and writing are often issues with young boys, this isn't in any way any indication of any failing on his part.
Do have his eyes and ears checked. (do they still do this in school? Used to be standard for us and they did it in my girls' schools too)
Also, have you worked with him at home? Played any learning games? Sometimes making learning fun or finding a way he can absorb it makes a wolrd of difference. There are a few different programs and tutoring types that can be an enormous help.
For the writing: try having 3 nights of Kid Dinners...and have the children write a short letter/menu of meal options they want and why. And if it's done well, they get to choose that night's dinner.
Or a short story in what to do on the weekend for fun...
Creative writing helps kids a lot. Few children enjoy writing what others make them write. Can he write a short story? Maybe the 2 kids can write a play and then act it out for the adults to watch?
You jump in the saddle,
Hold onto the bridle!
Jump in the line!
This is probably not a learning disability. This is a kid who isn't enjoying himself. Girls handle sitting in class WAY better than boys. That is why boys are given drugs to for "ADD" so much more than girls.
This sounds like a boy problem, not a learning problem. But do get him tested -to put your mind at rest and then...
If I couldn't home school, I would get the best Montessori school I could find and put him in it. Just try it...
Alway remember the best way to ID gifted and talented is to watch for the kids that are the most obnoxious and unwilling to put up with BS.
"He hates to write - it has even brought him to tears at school.
He struggles with some math, like making change.
He has to be prompted a lot to do class work.
Homework is a fight with him 75% of the time."
I just got home from school conferences and I am in tears.
I know you aren't supposed to compare your children against each other. I swear, I am not.
My 7 year old son is struggling in second grade.
He is not doing well.
He hates to write - it has even brought him to tears at school.
He struggles with some math, like making change.
He has to be prompted a lot to do class work.
Homework is a fight with him 75% of the time.
My 10 year old daughter is a straight-A, self-motivated, rule follower. This means I have no idea how to parent my son. I cannot take credit for my daughter's success - she is just like this. I was just like her growing up.
How do I help my son?
His teacher did not offer any suggestions other than telling me to find something he wants to write about and make him do flashcards.
I told her I don't know how to help him.
When I asked questions, she answered with questions..."Does my son need some other kind of help?" "Do *you* think your son needs some other kind of help?"
I don't know - I know he hates to do homework, especially writing, but I didn't know he was getting an "NI" in math (which is apparently equivalent to less than 74%), and several "3's" in writing (which is out of a 1-3 scale).
wow you sound exactly like my mum at the time!
And my brother and I have exactly the same age difference than your kid.
This might make you feel better: My brother was always doing terrible in school, homework was a nightmare as well. He hated school so much, it was just amazing. All he could think of was nature, animals, and fishing.... and then it was more going out with girls and friends.
He did get a miraculous high school diploma and of course refused to hear about any kind of college so he went straight to work. First in real estate and then in the media industry.
I on the other hand always did very well, and went to college for 5 years. So my parents were still paying for my college when he was already making his own money.
Well fast forward 10 years or so, my brother changed job several times and now has an awesome position with a very well know newspaper (in charge of distribution network, he still cannot write a sentence without a mistake). He is very happy and loves his job, and has been making more than me for a long time. Heck he even makes more than all of the teachers who said he was good for nothing... that makes him smile.
To be fair I must say that my brother is a great communicator and the kind of guy that everybody loves. He could "sell sand to an arab" as the saying goes...
I went to become an office person and am currently looking for a job. And many of my college friends aren't doing any better than I am....
So my advice is just to relax and trust your son. Some kids are not made for this school system, and I'm not surprised because school systems have so many failures, in France and in the US... School doesn't prepare kids for life.
As soon as he is old enough, make sure he does internships and real "hands-on" tasks, so he gets a foot in the real world. You might be surprised at how much he will enjoy it.
I just wanted to emphasize though, that your son is lucky in at least one respect. He has you for a parent. Don't worry about being unsure of how to help him -- try a variety of things listed here and really understand that your desire to help him is one of the most helpful things of all.
As a tutor of 2nd graders, I've found that boys especially benefit from simple, physical exercise. Sometimes, a half-hour of all-out rough-housing playtime (not video games!) helps them to focus.
This so helped our son as well. We broke up school work into small section separated by physical activity. I do know one mom who at the start of the year told the teacher that her daughter (3rd grade) would not be doing the homework. The parent told the teacher her daughter would be prepared in class, well-behaved and as there is no evidence that homework in the primary grades helps the child learn, the daughter had other activities to focus on. The parent did tell the teacher that if she did not find this to be the case, they would then meet and discuss the issues specifically.
As a side note, if you decide to get your son tested (and I second that idea, two of my sons had issues that we'd never have been able to figure out without neuropsych testing) know that many insurance plans cover it. Ours did, so we didn't have to go through the school (plus, your son might not be bad enough for the school to think he qualifies for testing).
You would want to find a pediatric neuropsychologist to do the testing (not even a regular neuropsych, by the way).
Knowing that in my sons' case it was a matter of "can't" not "won't" as the neuropsychologist said, was life changing for them and us. Now we don't yell at them "How *could* you forget that the paper was due tomorrow?!!" -- we know that that's exactly what they struggle with, and have put in place coping strategies so that things like this don't happen.
My oldest son was tested in 10th grade, so a lot older than your son, but he was struggling and at the very bottom of his class. He's a senior now and about to graduate from one of the most demanding high schools in the country with decent grades and a shot at some good colleges. But we wouldn't be here without the testing.
Good luck, it is so hard when your children are involved!
THe math and writing problems seem like he might have something like dyslexia. YOu should get him checked. If he has it or other learning disabilites and you identify them early, it will be much easier for him to learn strategies to help him learn more effectively.
Things like that infuriate me. You shouldn't be home crying because you have a normal 7 year old boy! In my state he's not even required to be in school yet!
It was after a P/T Conference just like yours where I was told that my daughter would be a "nice average student" for the rest of her school career that I started homeschooling.
I know it isn't feasible for everyone, or even most people, but it's too bad that in some cases the schools are really no help.
I wouldn't test him for anything except get his eyes checked. Try to get him involved with learning something that he likes but have it be separate from his school stuff, learn about an interest together to keep his young brain interested in learning and not totally shut down. My son was much like yours sounds here at this age and he's near genius (and very disciplined in school now) but you wouldn't have known it to talk to his elementary school teachers.
Look around here for something fun for Christmas and keep him interested in learning http://www.rainbowresource.com/. My kids changed immediately when I got them home and all I did was let up the pressure, I think no matter what course you take let up the pressure. That's my advice anyway, obviously I'm coming from a pretty specific point of view.
No matter what, don't doubt your son-he's doing an awesome job of being a 7 year old and that's all he needs to do right now.
Well, FWIW, in 1st and 2nd grade my parents had a similar conference with my teacher. The teacher told them I had severe ADD and just wasn't really as smart as all the rest. My parents elected not to put me on medication. In 3rd grade, I out-performed every kid in my grade on a standardized test but was still nearly failing my regular classes. In middle school I almost didn't make it through and in high school I had a Physics teacher tell me that maybe I just wasn't cut out for school.
I went to the #4 college in the country at the time for my major (Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering, yes, I'm a rocket scientist) and graduated and have worked as a contractor or worked direct for 2 VERY successful aerospace companies. Not to mention I have been praised for my hard work and dedication, numerous times in my short career.
I can't speak to what my parents did for me but I can tell you that a couple of less than satisfactory parent-teacher conferences aren't the end of the world.
"Be the change you want to see in the world."
There are some very good books out there about how our schools have been set up to favor success for girls. They have some good advice for boy parents. You might search those out.
We did testing in elementary school with my daughter. She is a senior in HS this year and we have found referring back to the results over the years extremely helpful and well worth the money. (In hindsight I wish I had tested my other "normal" DD just for the information!) But consider this: you aren't testing for a "learning disability" you are testing for a "learning difference." It turned out the teacher who insisted the DD had a learning disability was wrong--she actually tested to be "gifted." As many gifted kids struggle in school as those that are gifted and excel.
I know several people who held back their younger/immature/struggling boys. Every single one of them was glad the did and a couple think it was the best parenting decision they ever made. You should at least look into it as an option.
This also might be a good thing to discuss with your pediatrician if you have a good one. We did, and he was incredibly helpful by giving us a plan to work through.
Lastly, chill out. The more wound up you get the more he's going to sense it, and the more wound up he's going to get. It is just 2nd grade, so there is lots and lots of time to make a recovery before it hampers his future!! You are obviously on top of it, willing to work on it, and you love him, so give yourself some credit!
Boy 1 - failed grade 2 basically (kid you not) he struggled, everything was a fight, homework, reading practice, etc etc.. I was.. exhausted. Never a great student just.. not a book kid. He graduates this year from high school with honors, but he really was a below average student up through middle school.
He's not stupid, he just didn't fit in the 'one size fits all' scheme that is know as public school.
Boy 2 -
Absolute NIGHTMARE at school.
I had to fight to keep him in..
He's in grade 9 this year .
By grade 5 he'd finally hit his stride, and this kid in lower grades who wouldnt/couldnt learn anything without a battle - that the teachers thought truly was a complete idiot..
is now shipped over to the high school 4x a week from middle school for grade 12AP Chemistry, Trig, and Biology.. go figure.
Got kicked out of his grade 1 class.. *yes* *sigh*
He missed the last 3 months of grade 1 - because he was just so 'impossible' to work with (teachers words)
I had him redo grade 1 the following year - he was planty smart enough for the work - but so immature that he couldn't focus.
He's in grade 7 now, and while not brilliant like our middle son, he holds his own quite well.
Kids are people too.
They develop different skills at different times in their lives, and thats just the way they are: and the way it is.
And kudos to all the great teachers out there - but they will never know your child as well as you do. Remember that.
Also - I had all 3 of my boys tested for my peace of mind - they were/are fine - just a few paces off from the normal 'path'.
Originally Posted by ExJumper
Sometimes I'm thrown off, sometimes I'm bucked off, sometimes I simply fall off, and sometimes I go down with the ship. All of these are valid ways to part company with your horse.
Maybe this school isn't good for him. There are many other options. You are alone are the best advocate for you son. To everyone else he's just a statistic and maybe an acceptable loss. He's lucky to have you for a mom.
Forgot to say this in the earlier post, but: I think it's ok to cry. I cry sometimes over DS, his being hard of hearing, school, and on and on. And sometimes it's a brief pity party for myself because I didn't expect this particular journey as a parent and it can be a bit rocky.
I second the suggestions for a neuropsych evaluation, one who specializes in education related difficulties. My 10 year old HATES to write and his handwriting is still abysmal. The neuropsych eval turned up a grapho/motor issue. Son is not lacking in things to say, he's very bright and creative, it's just so hard to get them out of his brain, to his hand and onto the paper that he cannot express himself well and fluently when writing by hand. The school has a before school typing class, for kids with similar problems, and he's been going to that. School agrees that he can type ANYTHING and they have computers around the school for kids to use. Yes, everyone needs to be able to do basic handwriting, to write a check or something, but there's really no need to suffer through endless hours of penmanship instruction and practice anymore, especially if the act of putting pen to paper is so difficult that it holds you back in other areas and interferes with academic production.