My son is going to be retained......

Discussion in 'General Education' started by skittleroo, Apr 7, 2010.

  1. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Apr 7, 2010

    My first grader is going to be retained in first grade. I feel pretty much like a failure of a mother right now. And, I am a teacher. In fact, I am a great teacher. So I feel even more guilty for somehow not picking up on his struggles until first grade.

    He has made huge gains, but....not enough to do well in 2nd. He came to first not read AT ALL. He didn't even know how to blend a cvc word and now he knows about 60 sight words and beginning to learn silent e rule.

    He is EXTREMELY ADHD and can barely see out of one eye (the other he has good eyesight).

    I am teaching him at home, but after working all day it is hard to give him what I give my own students. He wasn't taught anything in kinder and even first grade isn't in a great school ( no guided reading at all).

    I feel sooooo bad. Logically I know it's not the end of the world and I definitely don't want him to go to 2nd and wind up hating himself and school (he is a July birthday so he even looks and acts like my kinders).
    I just can't help feeling so much guilt................:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(:(
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Apr 7, 2010

    Can you send him to a better school next year? Don't beat yourself up over this. It sounds like he has made progress this year. He is achieving in spite of his disabilities.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    You are NOT a bad mom. You are a mom who wants only the best for your child. And it's killing you that you can't make this better for him. That makes you an incredible mom.

    You can give him everything you have, and he still won't mature on your timetable or on anyone else's. So you're giving him the gift of time: a year in which he doesn't have to work 10 times harder than the other kids to be half as good as them. You're giving him the chance to be the smartest kid in the class, to feel good about himself as he grows into his potential.

    It can't possibly be easy. But you're a good mom. You know it. We all know it. His teacher knows it. And your son knows it.

    Later, when he looks back at this period in his life, he'll thank you.
     
  5. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Apr 7, 2010

    I'm sure that is one of the worst things a parent who's a teacher wants to hear & I'm sorry. Now, you may be looking back on how you did things & think what you coulda, shoulda, woulda, but no use rehashing all that (just in case you are). On the other hand, you may be thinking that you did the best you could & worked very hard.

    I'd look into another school too.

    Good luck!
     
  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    If he needs to be retained, now is the time to do it.

    My DH was retained TWICE. He spent two years in kindergarten, and he probably needed to be retained a second year in first grade. They didn't because he was already retained once. He ended up being retained in sixth grade . . . and he STILL has negative thoughts about it, even after all these years.

    He is blind in one eye and has Aspergers. He can be hard to deal with as an adult, and I can't imagine how he was as a student.

    MIL refused SED services in elementary, which is a whole other issue, but she did move him to a small private school where he got a lot more attention. He did much better there.
     
  7. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Apr 7, 2010

    thank you everyone. I do know this is right. It just hurts to know your child struggles.

    Alice, thank you. I like how you talk about him not having to work 10 times harder to be half as good. I would never want that for my child. I love him dearly. I know he can do this - he just isn't fully ready.

    I just can't help to feel heartbroken (and this wasn't a surprise - he has struggled all year).

    I just feel like I have let him down. And this is particularly hard because it is what I do for a living. I give so much to my students, yet my own son - I can't give as much:(
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Apr 7, 2010

    I know you would give him your kidney if you could.

    You can't give him maturity-- only God and some time will give him that. You're giving him the time.

    Of course it hurts like crazy. But don't let anyone-- especially yourself- convince you that there's anything you could have done to prevent this from happening. He's a unique individual, even at age 5. He's growing at his own pace.
     
  9. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Been there. It is ok...it will be the best thing you can do for him. I am a mother of a 16 year old that we placed in a Transitional 1st grade class and a 7 year old that I retained. Best thing I ever did for both. They are both A students. My son was one of only 4 boys that was invited into the National Honor Society in his class this year. He is ranked 4th in his class. I am so glad I gave him an extra year. That extra year is wonderful for both of us.
     
  10. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    You are not a bad mom at all. I would ask his teacher what she has been doing as interventions. We cannot retain a student if we didn't start our Tiered system that supports struggling students. It is a requirement to do guided reading every day at my school.
     
  11. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    oh thank you soooo much for that!!!! That is what I have to stay focused on - that he can become successful. I work hard with him and will continue to do so..... this does make me feel better.
     
  12. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Apr 7, 2010

    Grade levels can be very arbitrary! At the school I teach at now, we barely refer to them-it's mostly by age, and even that is rare. We want students to reach academic milestones on their own terms, without being rushed or pressured. We have kinders who are scribbing, and others who are working with 'upper elementary' on writing. So anyhow, I would see this as just allowing him the time he needs to reach his goals! At our school, he would just be considered 'upper elementary', not a first or a second grader!!
     
  13. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Apr 7, 2010

    Your son is just progressing on his own timeline. You, as a parent, can support that. And, recognizing that he needs more time in the same grade is a major achievement.

    I remember one mom who would not let her son repeat PS, as my suggestion. He came home from K after a week, and told his mom that he was not ready, and needed to go back to PS. That boy is now CEO of a thriving business.
     
  14. Leatherette

    Leatherette Comrade

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    Apr 7, 2010

    I feel you. I am not in exactly the same situation, but being a teacher/mom puts you in this position of feeling that your own children reflect not only your abilities as a mom, but your abilities as a teacher as well.

    I am mom to two wonderful, non-perfect kids, and have been called to the principal's office to talk about my kids' behavior (nothing huge, but still) several times this year. And the principal is my boss!!:dunno:

    Sort of like the minister's kids, right?

    My daughter has a disability and a health plan, but no retentions at this point.

    You're a great mom.
     
  15. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Apr 8, 2010

    Fight the retaining if you do not think he should be retained.
     
  16. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Apr 8, 2010

    I haven't been through this but in some ways I do know exactly how you feel. My youngest has had a lot of struggles for the past 2 school years. He is behind in everything. I wanted to retain him last year and nobody agreed with that. I couldn't understand what was happening. Then things escalated this year and we figured out he didn't have maturity issues as much as he didn't other issues. Now we know he is actually gifted but because he was out of class so much for disruptions, he wasn't getting instruction. To make matters even more confusing, he wasn't displaying the same behaviors at home but he did display them in multiple settings. We were confused, felt guilty, didn't know what to do or how to help. Now he is in a special program and though it has only been 6 weeks, I see a tremendous difference. It is hard to have a child though that is labeled ED because there is a stigma to that. People somehow think it is related to putting in too many teaching hours or how I raised him or not getting enough discipline, etc. I have to ignore all of that and focus on what's best for him. I still stay confused, concerned and feel the guilt at times but the more time passes, the more I come to terms with it.

    It's hard because we wonder if we are screwing up and if we could have done something more, but in all honesty, it is like Alice says....we can't put them on our time table nor can we force our expectations. It does, however, make me cringe every time I hear a teacher say, in frustration, if only the parents worked more with this child at home.... My own personal experience helps me understand that even with the best intentions, there are children who have their own difficulties. That's okay. Remember that quote about different children opening their gifts at different times...that certainly applies here.
     
  17. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    The older he gets the happier you will be with the decision. I am so glad my 16 year old is a sophmore instead of a junior. I have one more year to "save and protect" him before I send him to college. I have one more year to enjoy him. I am so GLAD I did it. Please look only at the positive. My daughter was 5 and there were 7 year olds in her class. My husband looked down the line and didn't want his tenth grade daughter with 17 year old boys, so we retained. She had all the skills plus more, but she was so small and young. It was the best decision. She is "popular" she told my mom. All her friends want to play with her. She is the leader of the class...not the follower! I want leaders not followers! This can be a good thing if you focus on the posititve. I know. I lived it. By the way, the hardest sale was my dad--an elementary principal. He was so mad at me over my son. Now my mom (my dad died) tells me she is so glad we didn't listen to them. She knows we made the right choice.
     
  18. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I have taught 4th grade for years and I can't tell you how many times I go to work with Cumulative folders and only then discover that one of my strong kids repeated K or 1st. It's a maturity issue with so many of them. They get what they need and just continue to fly. Chances are it will be that way with your son. He's so young that it won't have the same feel as repeating a higher grade.
     
  19. gigi

    gigi Groupie

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    I retained my son is second grade, and although he wasn't happy about it, it was the best thing I ever did. He had a horrible first grade experience, picture this cute little boy, blond curly hair and an eye patch due to problems and operations, and the teacher, although meaning well, let him play whenever he wanted to. I got nowhere with her. We were able to get him into a teachers classroom for second grade that had our daughter, and although he made progress, she and we agreed that he shouldn't continue to third grade...the child was struggling! We had to fight to retain him, but he repeated second grade with the same teacher and viola! he blossomed and now owns his own comic book store!
    I felt the guilt and the pain as I teach pre and k, but honestly it wasn't about us it was what was best for our son.
     
  20. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    By the way, since I have retained both of my kids--one Transitional first and the other Kind--parents are more willing to listen to me. It is amazing what I can explain to parents. I now teach Transitional 1st (that is why my daughter didn't go) and when teachers need parents to really listen, they call me in for conferences. It carries weight with my parents that I have really been in their shoes. Most of the time when I start talking about what we saw with our children, parents realize that they are seeing the same thing. I have a 85 to 90% success rate talking "difficult" parents into listening to the regular classroom teacher. That has been a side benefit from all of this.
     
  21. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I am going to hold back my boy in K this year. He can do the work Ok but he is just not ready for 1st maturity wise. His birthday is in June so he just turned 5 going into K. And now days the K curriculum is what 1st grade was 15 years ago.
    k-1 is the best time to hold them back a year. Neither you or your son are failures. It sounds like he is making good gains.
     
  22. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    You are not a bad mom at all. As parents, we can only do so much. I too have a child and teach, and I can say it is tough to do both! I am exhausted after work, and most of you have probably heard me say that I have to nap everyday after work. I too feel like I can't give her what I can to my students, but I think that's normal. Like someone else said, you can't beat yourself up. Think of this as a chance for him to catch up and get what he needs, which will help give him confidence instead of making him feel inadequate. Best to you and your child!
     
  23. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    guys - ---- you have really impacted me with your words of encouragement. I felt so bad (even though I do know it is right). My son is a July birthday, VERY small, VERY immature, ADHD..... He is simply not ready for 2nd.......and I know 100% am ok with that.

    I already knew that he wasn't ready, it just kind of hit home. I know he will wonder why he doesn't get to go to 2nd, but I can't be concerned by that. I have to do what is right.......

    I love hearing success stories of kids that were retained early. He is not a dumb kid. He really is smart, but just not ready......

    I appreciate your stories so much!!!!!
     
  24. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    I love hearing this. It shows me that he won't necessarily be stigmatized for the rest of his school career. Like I said, he really is JUST like my kindergarteners. I wished, wished, wished, I had not put him in kinder. I feel if I waited a year he wouldn't have been retained.
     
  25. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Remember---kids bounce back. If you make it positive, he will make it positive. My son talked to some parents about his experience not to long ago. It was so that they could see what a wonderful gift I gave him. Because of his discussion, they gave that gift to their son. And my son felt so proud to have helped them. Make it about you. "You are going to be the helper next year." "I am going to be able to see you more" "You are so lucky that you get to stay in first a year longer."
    Say the positive---never use the word fail. I told my son when I heard him say that he failed, "You didn't fail. Mom and Dad made a mistake and we had to fix it. We should have given you another year to be a little boy before you had to start to school."
     
  26. Grover

    Grover Cohort

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    I have no idea whether you're a good teacher or a bad teacher, a good parent or a bad parent. What this discussion shows me, though, is that we're dealing with a system that has unrealistic expectations that, in essence, all students can be educated to the same standard at the same pace. The fact that you have such concerns about your own role here suggests that you've internalized that view. If this experience helps you let go of that, it will be a wonderful thing for you and your future students.
     
  27. bros

    bros Phenom

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    He sounds like me :p

    Although I was never retained, mostly because my sped teacher ensured that I would get services (she would hound the case manager weekly to make sure the OT, PT, and SLP would provide the full amount of time in the IEP and not skimp)

    My brother was sort of retained. He had preschool twice because my parents were told that he was not mature enough to attend kindegarten, so we started kindergarten the same year.

    Remember, if you need help with the special education system, that forum I linked you to is always there to help. They are also good for moral support :D
     
  28. Irissa

    Irissa Cohort

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    My best friend's younger brother had to repeat 2nd grade. Their mom is a teacher. He now has a masters in aeronautic engineering and works for Boeing. Things will work out.
     
  29. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    That is a great way to look at the situation. Wonderful!
     
  30. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    I haven't had a chance to read all of the replies so I apologize if I'm repeating something.

    I think that the retention sounds like a good idea based on:
    -his July birthday
    -the fact that you are now seeing some steady progress (i.e. sight words, blending, etc). It shows that he may be in a better place developmentally to do those things.

    I'm just wondering if moving him to a different school is an option? Perhaps even your school where he will be taken better care of. Our district allows a courtesy for teachers to enroll their children.

    At the very least I would consider requesting he be placed a different school in his district. You don't seem thrilled with his current placement and he would avoid the social issues of retention if he could "start fresh" so to speak.
     
  31. Miss84

    Miss84 Comrade

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    Same with me...I was 6 turning 7 in the second grade while my peers were 7 turning 8, even 8 turning 9. Although academically I may have been ready for 3rd grade, I still needed to mature a little bit (what my mom told me). So I repeated the second grade. Did it have a detrimental effect on my life? NO! I went on throughout the rest of my schooling and now I am teaching/in grad school.
     
  32. TAKlinda

    TAKlinda Rookie

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    Apr 13, 2010

    Don't Give Up

    Some students need to be taught using a different strategy. As I don't know the details regarding your child's ability, I will just say that I work with many students that have learning difficulties. The best way to teach reading is to use decoding word lists. Memorizing math facts rarely works for these children so you are better to give them strategies, like counting on, math ladder, related facts, magic nine, etc. I would highly recommend that you do dot patterns with your child daily.

    Good Luck,
    Linda
    Teach All Kids
     
  33. randrin

    randrin Rookie

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    I've often thought that I would have benefited by being held back a year, despite the fact that I was more advanced learning-wise than my peers in the classroom. As a late June baby, I simply wasn't mature enough to handle a lot of my peers. This will be a great opportunity for your son to get a head-start and really feel confident about himself on a level playing field with the rest of his peers.

    --Owen
     

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