View Full Version : Advice On Afterschooling or Teaching while in PS

04-11-2011, 06:25 PM
Before I get started here I want to say I switch my username from ms.pans to pansypower. I was not feeling creative the day I started here and I remembered how much I like my current username.

So we are planning to give HS a trial run this summer but I am having a hard time waiting with one of my sons. He is currently in kinder and I have seen alot of changes in him this year. He and his twin are in different classes and his twin seems to be learning and doing more this year. For instance, Y is learning about compound words and reading very well while G is focusing on letters and sounds and is hardly reading.

When I show my son the sight word list he can read a good amount but when I attempt to read an easy reader with him he seems not to recognize the words. Last night I told him the word THERE an every page in a book but he would not remember it. He also seems to be relying on pictures a lot which I know is normal but its as if he would rather guess then even attempt to read a word. Again last night he kept wanting to say the word ant for every word just cause there were ants in the picture but the words he was reading did not start with an A. I have seen my son's self-esteem decline this year. I think because he sees everything his twin is learning and because he is getting in more trouble since he has picked up some bad habits since K started. He is in a class with 17 boys and a few girls. They seem like a rambunctious bunch. My son does not need to review letters and sounds individually but it seems that is all they do in his class. He brings home homework that he can finish in two minutes and does not seem to need much help.

I do not think he is too smart for kindergarten but I do think he is way ahead of his class and does not find the work challenging or motivating. Sorry to ramble, I am basically looking for ways I can help him this next month in a half without overwhelming him. It seems almost too late to step in, almost like I should let him finish the year, give him a break and then start seeing where he is and what I need to do to help him.

Advice please?

04-11-2011, 07:34 PM
First of all, even twins learn at different ages, so it might not just be his teacher, it could be that he's just slightly behind his brother in reading development. However, I dont think any additional pressure is helpful. I'd focus more on assuring him that whatever issues are bothering him (reading slower or getting in trouble) . . . ack, I was going to say it will all be better when you are homeschooling, but you havent decided yet. My point is that he doesnt need more stress. If he WANTS to be reading more, then help him to do so. If he's too stressed to focus more right now, it can wait. Many home school kids (esp boys) dont really read fluently until a bit later - the difference is, in school, the late readers are seen as failures. They are given hours and hours of reading instruction, often losing time from classes they really like like recess or art. By the time they are developmentally ready to read, they have learned to hate reading because they have been labled as 'dumb' at reading. Home school kids who are allowed to develop at their own pace can still love reading even if they dont start until 8, because they havent been labled as dumb, and their moms can just read the material to them until they are ready to do it themselves.

My two older kids could read chapter books by 2nd grade. My current 2nd grader is just really getting to the point where he can read picture books by himself, even if they have 3-4 chapters on a page. He wont do it voluntarily, while his older sister read Harry Potter 1 alone at that age, and his older brother read A Wrinkle in Time at that age. I'm not worried.

One of the hardest things to learn, as a home school parent, is that you dont need to answer to outside standards about where your kid is in various academic areas - you need to learn to recognize what your child is ready for, and provide that without stressing them out too much or slowing them down too much.

ack, sorry if that book wasnt relevant . . .

04-11-2011, 07:50 PM
I am also thinking he is still to young for reading. Honestly, this is one of the only areas I see him behind. Y does seem to be learning more because he comes home with more topics to discuss and seems to know them pretty well. So I still think the classroom structure for G is of lower quality.

G seems to be a different learner than Y or most school kids. Ever since he was a baby I noticed that he learns best by doing and manipulating, more of a hands on approach. I have always thought this would be a challenge for him in school and it seems my hunch may have been right.

I have discussed with DH that it may not be G's time to begin reading and that we should not worry but it is still hard for us to see one having a better experience and one changing in what seems a negative way. I have seen that Y has made a few good friends this year while G has not gotten super close to another kid or a few like his brother. Maybe that is why he seems to have changed in self-esteem its probably hard for him to see his brother make new bonds so easily.

I guess all of ya'll can understand it’s just hard to see our kids struggle or not get the best in education or anything else for that matter. Getting to the end of K is emotional for me but not in a my kids are getting big way more in a my kids are gone all day and I miss the hell out of them way. I can’t wait for this time to pass and I am anxious to be more actively involved with their education on a daily basis.

04-11-2011, 10:15 PM
He sounds like he doesn't have the phonemic awareness for reading yet.
My 9 year old, who has dyslexia, was very very very similar. We had her diagnosed at age 6 with signs like you are describing.
Not saying your son is dyslexic. Just something to think about.

I would work on Phonemic Awareness. Scottish Rite recommended this one to us while we waited for her lab class to start. http://www.linguisystems.com/itemdetail.php?itemid=10017

My daughters are 11 mos apart, so I can definitely understand how hard it is to watch one twin falling behind another. My youngest soared ahead of her sister while we were going through the testing. I had a 4 year old reading chapter books and a 5 year old that could not consistently recognize letters of the alphabet.

04-11-2011, 10:40 PM
Teri, DH mentioned dyslexia as well. Apparently he had it growing up and he thought G may have it as well. Especially because he does recognize the words on their own but when presented in a sentence he does not.

We went by Barnes and Noble today and picked up a few phonics flashcard sets and a phonics board games. We are gonna play with those after school and try to ease up on our expectations a bit. He is in kindergarten after all. I guess another downside of PS is the pressure to keep up or meet a certain standard.

04-12-2011, 09:50 AM
If he is in public school right now, you might want to ask them about an evaluation. It is not typical to evaluate before age 8. We were so lucky to live in the Dallas area where a huge chunk of dyslexia research happens. Libby was part of a pilot research project to look into intervening earlier than 8 years. The five kids in her class were all 6 when they started. The results were AMAZING.
If your husband is dyslexic (because it never goes away), I would really look into it. It tends to run in families.
On the flip side, it also means he is very intelligent and creative! :D

04-15-2011, 03:56 PM
I wanted to second dbmamaz. If you choose to homeshcool, some of the fear and stigma associated with working at a pace that suits him will vanish.

A fun after school game to reinforce reading and phonemic skills would be letter smash/bumper cars. Make letter cards. Index card cut in half are fine. If he has a tough time writing, use foam letter stickers or other fairly large lettler stickers or paint on with stencils. As you make the cards, don't refer to the letters by their names only by their sounds. Use the short vowel sound as the reference for the vowel cards. Making the cards and I would make a double set will start to help him physically manipulate a glyph while associating the glyph with its sound. Then work with singing vowels first. Let him slide the card across the table while singing the vowel. Singing is just an easier way of saying, sustain the vowel sound until the card stops moving. Then take a consonate card like 't' and practice the sound with just that card. 'T' cannot be sustained, so he can only make the sound when he physically touches the card. Bounce the finger back up as the sound completes. Play with individual cards, sliding sounds that may be sustained and tapping or bumping sounds that can not be sustained.
Then have him sing the vowel across the table until it bumps the a consonant card. When it touches the t card the sound 't' is produced. The 't' sound cannot be produced until the vowel card physically bumps the 't' card. I always explain that the consonant is saying hello back to the vowel when it makes its sound. Play with differing letter combinations. Sing the vowels into consonants first. Get this down pretty well.
Then start blending a beginning consonant sound into the singing vowel, always physically moving the cards by sliding to allow the letters to bump into each other the faciliate the phoneme change. Here is a link for a little info on vowels and consonants: http://www.uta.edu/english/tim/courses/4301f98/2sept.html
I think the best sounds for the initial blending of beginning consonant to vowels are fricatives and nasals because they can be sustained. As you move to the other consonant types, use language like the 't' is sneaking up on the 'a' sound. When it touches the 'a' it will say its sound and scare the vowel into singing out its sound--making a 'ta-a-a-a' sound. Demonstrate this first and do it together several times. You can pm me if you need more explicit instruction.

04-15-2011, 06:47 PM
Thanks for the information! This sounds like it would be great for my son that likes to be more hands on!

04-17-2011, 01:56 PM
Every child is unique in both their learning abilities but also their learning style.Try to avoid comparing your twins, they can be a different as day and night. I am nothing at all like my twin and we have totally different learning styles.

Your best indication will be your child. If he wants to read then he's ready to start. If he needs a different approach then give it to him. Don't fall into the "school" knows best trap because no one knows your child better than you. A teacher might be wonderful for 99% of the class but if your child is the 1% then that wonderful teacher isn't a fit. Find out what works for your child and what makes him happy. Keep the learning fun and don't worry about how he compares to other kid.

If you decide to officially home school then don't doubt your abilities. If you've raised twins to grade school level then you are MORE than qualified to continue your child's education. No one knows your children better or will have more vested interest in their education than you.