Thursday, February 10, 2011

her school work is driving her to tears!

My daughter is struggling in school. Precious Madison is nine years old and in the third grade. It really doesn't seem to bother Madison at all that she is bringing home D's and even some F's on tests. It certainly bothers me though. I feel that it is my fault. I am the parent who is home, who is suppose to be ensuring that all my children are learning and preparing for studies and tests. It is up to me right? I am so torn.

My oldest, Luke, is ten years old and in fourth grade. He is a completely different student than Madison. Luke is independent and absorbs his studies right off the bat. It seems to come naturally for him. Sweet Madison, on the other hand, her strengths come in different areas. She is very smart but tends to get distracted very easily and rushes to get school work done so she can move on to better things. The rushing causes her to make mistakes, often silly mistakes. Maddie's technical knowledge and kindness of heart(except for her little brother, Micah, whom she constantly fights with and tends to be less than kind to) towards others is amazing and beautiful to see in a nine year old girl. I couldn't be more proud of her!

But I am concerned. I struggle with traditional school in a few aspects. We have considered homeschooling for our children but have not taken the plunge. There have been times, especially this school year, that I have been faced with traditional school teachers not realizing that children learn differently and at different paces. A teacher sees a child progressing at a slower and different pace and a huge red flag is thrown up. To me, that is not necessarily a bad thing.  Each child is so individualized and commands different learning techniques. That is what makes us so unique and special! I know it is probably impossible for most school teachers to adhere to all their students many different ways of learning. The teacher has her/his own way of teaching and therefore all their students are expected to learn that way. Especially in a classroom of 25+ children. But this is exactly where I am, and have been, having a problem with traditional schooling. Now that my own children are getting older and coming in to their own, so to speak, at school, I am finding out how each of my three school age children are such different learners. Madison is very hands on and needs a visual explanation to help her absorb her learning. It may take her four or five times, sometimes more, to really grasp what she are studying and be ready to hash it out on a quiz or test. Maybe she gets nervous during test taking. Maybe she is too worried what other kids around her are doing and what number they are on. I just don't know.

Of course my husband and I have talked to Madison about her performance in school. More than once. As I said before, it really doesn't seem to bother her. She is just in third grade. Should it truly be bothering her at this tender age? She gets so stressed and distraught doing her homework at times. She ends up in tears. I end up in tears. It just doesn't seem right. She is in school from 7:45am to 3pm. She comes home with more work to be finished and some nights the workload is very heavy. Am I wrong in thinking homework should be at a minimum? I think homework should be a quick review and more emphasise on installing a love for reading. I believe reading at this age should be a priority. But after the hours of homework, dinner and bath there is no time for reading. Sigh.

Madison is so precious. She is a joy and brings laughter and femininity to a house full of wild boys. She is so smart. I just want to do right by her, you know. I want her to enjoy school and learning. I want her desire for learning to last a lifetime. I do not want her to get discouraged and think for a second that she is not smart. But I am afraid that is what is beginning to happen.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we figure all this out. I would love to hear from any of you that might want to share your own school stories. What works for your family in terms of studying? Do you home school? Is your child struggling? Please leave a comment.       

7 comments:

Bellismom said...

If you go to this website http://www.learningstyles.net/en/our-assessments you can purchase a learning styles test for just $5. Help her with the assessment and it will show you the best way for her to learn. I've studied learning styles a good bit so I can give you some tips on stuff to try with her if you need them! I'm working on my MA in Special Ed right now and if it makes you feel any better they now make a huge emphasis on learning styles and how important it is to understand that students learn differently. Hope she will run into some teachers in her future her understand that!

the ref said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! This is awesome and so encouraging. My first grader will really benefit from this as well!

Bellismom said...

No problem! And seriously...please feel free to ask me if you need some ideas! My email is amanda.st.smith@gmail.com

Gina said...

My middle daughter is not very academic. She would prefer to be drawing, playing, running around than actually sitting down and learning from paper. Her school encourages her to present projects in a way that draws on her strengths (like dressing up and presenting the info as though she were a tv presenter) rather than how some other students might (for example very detailed power point presentations, way beyond what our middle child could do)

Our school have also encouraged us to use free internet sites that are designed to make learning fun:
http://www.coolmath4kids.com/ for Maths

and they also have some computer learning programs that we have access to through a school log in:
Lexia for English
Mathletics for Maths

We also paid $70 for one year of access to Smart Kiddies which was excellent for English and Maths.

I guess you need to find a way that she likes to learn which is easier said than done. We agonise between wanting our daughter to learn more and be better able to understand class content so that she gets a good start in life and also wanting her to be happy, accepting her as she is and knowing that someday she may be an actress or a mad fashion designer and happier than any of her siblings!

I hope you can find that happy balance. It is a learning curve you are not alone...

Staci said...

I understand what you are talking about. My son is in second grade and I have the sameproblem with him not worrying about whether or not something is done right because he is more interested in what is coming next or when he can go play. If I tell him somehing has to be corrected he gets mad and tries to talk me into letting him do it later. As you well know, "later" isn't always a good time with 4 kids in the house! Math is never an issue. He LOVES it and picks it up quickly. It is reading that we struggle with. He is what his teacher calls an "average" second grader when it comes to reading. The thing is though, he doesn't WANT to read. His dad and I are always reading and we read to the kids all the time but he could do without it. I know he could really enjoy it if he kept practicing but he doesn't want to. I buy him books that go along with his interests (Star Wars, Sports, and anything Military at this point) and he will read those on his own in bed. I just know that 3rd grade is going to be much harder and I don't want him falling behind.

Erin said...

So sorry that your daughter is having a hard time in school. My girls are not school age yet. My oldest will start kindergarten in the fall. I definitely have many of the same issues with traditional school that you do. I wish you the best of luck! Sorry I don't have any advise.

the ref said...

Gina and Staci,
Thank you both for sharing about your childs same struggles. I am trying not to let it upset me. My first grader, Micah, is really the same way. He would rahter be outside climbing, jumping throwing the ball, etc. I am focusing on reading with both of them. I think everything else will fall into place. I want to do right by them ya know. Thanks for the website suggestions!