I usually like to keep things upbeat and bright around here, however I just finished writing one of the most serious emails I have ever written to my son's first grade teacher. I'm frustrated and I am at my wits' end with the little progress my son has made this school year. Basically, my seven year old son is failing the first grade from what I feel is a lack of attention to his basic educational needs compounded by several other factors such as the fact that he has over forty students in his class. Forty students. Somehow that is okay though since there are two teachers.
But not for my son.
This year is not when the problems started though. My son has been in the public school system since he was four through the Early Intervention program for school-age children because of a minimal vision issue, speech and occupational therapy. Currently, my son has made leaps and bounds in his physical, speech, and vision abilities and there are no developmental delays that are keeping him back educationally. My son functions and behaves like any other child his age and I credit that to the many hours of hard work that his therapists and teachers gave him early on.
However, looking back (and I suppose I saw it then as well) it was Kindergarten that threw my son off his educational course. I'm sure his teacher was shocked to hear me say it when I told her last year that she was too nice to my son. She treated him like he had a disability and so she in a way disabled my child. How? She allowed him to sleep under her desk multiple times during class. She took pity on him when he on numerous occasions faked being sick. She allowed him to play by himself when the rest of class was participating in activities such as reading time, sharing time, and learning activities. She passed him to first grade when he didn't know his ABCs. She made that fact seem okay when she told me that "he'll eventually catch up."
Partly, it was my fault for not holding him back.
My son has been in remedial reading classes since the beginning of school this year. He made some progress at the beginning and has since plateaued. I could never understand why he wasn't making further progress until this last Friday when I told him to write his ABCs and he could NOT.
How did this happen? Have I really been that oblivious to the fact that my oldest son is failing that badly?
Then after an hour of listening to my seven year old cry today that he was a failure, I finally wrote my son's first grade teacher an email which in its finality says:
If me pulling my son
out of public school and homeschooling him is what it takes to get back on track I will do it. At this point public school has failed XXXX , and that is sad considering that he is only seven years old. It is not solely one person’s fault, but rather a combination of faults from the principal to his Kindergarten teacher to his parents—including me. I understand that by pulling XXXX out of public school for a semester may guarantee that he repeats first grade, however I feel with the current situation that he will probably repeat it anyway. This is my last opportunity to help XXXX out at home full time... XXXX
cannot do both public school and additional schooling at home right now. He is already overwhelmed and burned out. Either we need a working and successful plan for XXXX at school or I need to take him out of school for a semester. I want XXXX to succeed and I want him to feel confident about himself. I just don’t want to put him into another remedial program at school and discover ten weeks down the road that it didn’t really help him. At least at home I will be able to better gauge his progress. XXXX
Tell me what you think.
I'll tell you how it goes.