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Unreasonable pressure? Or over protective parent?

By maecuff ·
I need some unbiased opinions as I am too close to this to see it clearly.

My seven year old son is in the 2nd and 3rd grade this year. His aptitude tests scored him over a 10th grade level for vocabulary, 9th grade for reading comprehension and 7th grade math. However, socially, he is like any other 7 year old. He has a problem with fine motor skills (which is a nice way of saying that his hand writing sucks).

After the first grading period, the principal and his teacher approached us with moving him up to third grade for math, grammar and reading and we agreed. He's struggling a bit because being in two different grades, he seems to have an over abundance of homework (at least 1 1/2 hours each night). That doesn't stress him out too much, although he doesn't like it.

This is the problem we are having now. His dad picked him up from school today and the poor kid lost it. He was sobbing and saying that his third grade teacher is putting him under a lot of pressure. They have been taking timed math tests. Joey KNOWS the problems, but when he tries to do the work within the set amount of time, his hand writing is so bad that it is barely legible. So he gets yelled at. He slowed down, took his time and made sure his work was neat and didn't finish the tests in the right amount of time. So he gets yelled at.

He's never been the kind of kid who liked to color or draw, but I'm thinking if I encouraged him to do more of that, it may help his fine motor skills. I am also going to talk to his teacher and ask what he suggests as it seems now, the kid is damned if he does or damned if he doesn't. As far as getting so stressed, does he need to just suck it up? (Remember, he is only 7) Or do I just go a head and slash his teachers tires?

How detrimental is this kind of stress on a kid? I don't want him to start hating school, especially since he has such a terrific mind.

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First, Find out what is really going on.

by faradhi In reply to Unreasonable pressure? O ...

First, the teach will not say, "Yep, I yelled at your child for handwriting and slow work." So I would not recommend telling the teacher that your kid is accusing them of yelling at him at first.

Teachers generally are very scheduled. Find out when the teacher usually yells and Pop in. Some schools will allow an unscheduled visit to observe by the parents. See what is going on yourself.

Then talk with the teacher in a nonaccusatory fashion. (Unless of course you witness the teacher yelling at the child.) It is usually a combination of the two. I would ask the teacher if they feel your child belongs at the third grade level. This will give you an idea of how the teacher approaches your child. If she say forceful absolutely not, I would believe your child. Unfortunately, many teachers will take it out on the child if they are told to do something they do not agree with.

If your child has some writing issues, ask the teacher to give the child the test orally until the handwriting issues can be resolved. Get this written into the IEP (Individual Education Plan). If you do not have a formal IEP, get one. Your child is "Gifted" and is therefore being taught under "Special Education" (not just for those with disabilities) and should have an IEP. If you are in the states then this is all covered under the IDEA act.

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Dropping your kid back now

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Unreasonable pressure? O ...

would probably be as bad in other ways for him as 'forcing' him to continue. Given he succeeds, he will presumably be in the same predicament next year ?
As far as I can see your son is being blamed for the teachers failing. I've seen 7 years old behave when shouted at, never seen one gain an increase in mathematical ability though. Once you've calmed down a bit and tempered your desire to punch his teacher in the head repeatedly, you've got to go in for a chat. Your kid's obviously feeling the pressure for whatever reason and at seven years old that's inexcusable. If you decide to pull him back, do it quickly and make sure he understands it's their fault not yours and definitely not his.

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The teachers are messed up

by stress junkie In reply to Unreasonable pressure? O ...

Hey. First they want to give him work to match his skills then they put unreasonable demands and punishment (yelling, scolding, or any other unflattering comments) when he only needs more time. That doesn't make sense. It seems that the teachers don't know how to treat someone with accelerated skills. Maybe the math teacher has his/her own issues with bright children. The math teacher may suffer an otherwise latent mental illness. IMO.

In any case this kind of treatment is likely to beat the love of learning out of any child. Teachers are a$$holes.

But I'm not bitter. Nope. Not me. And I don't have my own issues regarding teachers. Not a one.

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I went

by maecuff In reply to The teachers are messed u ...

to Catholic school. I was taught by sexually repressed nuns and priests in the late 60's - early 70's. I had my share of psycho teachers. I survived with very little bitterness. Okay, a little bitterness. Enough to make me irrational when it comes to my kid.

When I met his third grade teacher, the guy seemed very pleased to have Joey in his class. he said the older kids treated him well (my main concern as my son is very slight). He said that Joey needed to work on neatness, and I explained that we knew that, it's been an issue and we would work with Joey on SLOWING down and working more neatly.

I guess that doesn't work with the timed tests, eh? I'm going to have to go with slashing his tires..

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Age and advancement

by gralfus In reply to Unreasonable pressure? O ...

If he is placed with others who are older, he will feel out of place emotionally and otherwise. But if you can place him with other gifted kids his own age, and with teachers who know how to deal with gifted children, his chances of both feeling good and doing well academically will be greatly improved. However, not many folks can afford schools for gifted children. Public school is simply designed around forcing kids into the median.

My teachers couldn't motivate me to study because it was boring and stale, yet I did very well in tests. Homework was my enemy and I treated it as such. I was harrassed daily by mindless jocks and their bimbo counterparts, simply for not fitting in. For some reason, I didn't base my self-esteem on their approval, so I was able to shake it off and keep going. I figured they were jerks, so why would I care what they think about me.

Anyway, my niece is one of the profoundly gifted children and her folks are sacrificing what they can to get her into a gifted school, where she is excelling. I really hope you can find a solution. If nothing else, at least contact a gifted school for advice on options available to you.

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by maecuff In reply to Age and advancement

He is a pretty social kid and not intimidated by the older kids.

Unfortunately, we live in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains and there aren't a whole lot of choices as far as schools go.

I've been thinking about moving on, and this is just another reason to make a change. It won't happen until at least the end of the school year. Oh, and I'd have to find another job. So, there's that. :)

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by maxwell edison In reply to Unreasonable pressure? O ...

I really don't think any of us can get an accurate enough perspective to give you the right answer on this one. Some food for thought, perhaps, but not much else. I think the right answer can only be found within. You seem to be a pretty bright and understanding person, with a great sense of self, a great sense of humor, and probably a great sense for deciding what's right for you and your kids.

When it comes to raising and working with kids, there is no pat answer. And different kids might require a different approach. Personally, when faced with a situation in which I start to really feel the pain that my son (or my scouts) are experiencing, I don't try to shelter them from it, but rather help them learn to cope and deal with it. Life will be full of such things, and they're all opportunities to help a kid grow into a functioning adult who has learned to cope with such adversity.

Follow what your heart tells you, Mae. And I'm sure you'll make the right decision.

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Shame on the Teacher.

by baketown83 In reply to Unreasonable pressure? O ...

I have two sons, and they are ages 3 and 2. First I would like to say that you are very lucky for your son to be so bright. I think that he way to young for the teacher to fault him for his penmanship. The answer is the answer. In math class what does how neat you write your answer have anything to do with it. I beleive you should lay into that teacher. Your son has tremondous potential and if the teacher is worried about his writing and shes a math teacher then maybe she needs to be an English teacher.

Your son has many years left in school and plenty of time to pick up cleaner writing skills.

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Unfortunately poor penmanship

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Shame on the Teacher.

is very hard to correct. Mine's awful and I got told it would be best if I switched hands and started again. Course that slows you down enormously, and you can't do it in parallel. Aside from habitual use of a keyboard, when your handwriting looks like a drunken spider crawling across the page, the only thing you can do is slow down. Breaking the habits that make your handwriting crap is very very hard, it's a learned motor response, you natuarraly fall back to when under pressure. Like a bowler or a golfer trying to change his action or swing.

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Do you think

by baketown83 In reply to Unfortunately poor penman ...

that penmanship should be looked at so young? And more importantly should that be the main focus of this childs education. I mean, he is gifted and I think that his gift takes precidence over everything. I just think that he has plenty of time to work on his hand writing.

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