Friday, March 28, 2008

Quit My Job, Flipped Off the Boss, Took My Name Off the Payroll (Screw You Man)

If ever there was a day to quit parenting, man, I tell ya -- today would be a good day to do it.

Report Card Day. I fucking hate report card day.

It's like a glowing neon sign from Griffin's teacher going on and on and on about how she thinks he's a fuck up.

In all honesty yeah, he can do better but come one -- most of these words she tests him on he's never seen. And "punts" -- what kind of kid do you think we're raising here lady? WE'RE NERDS. I barely know what "punts" mean. Shit.

So, buckle down it is. She claims he doesn't even know all the whole alphabet. He does, until you give him independent work. I've spent the last hour listening to "Mom, what comes after S?" "Mom, what comes after T?" Oh my hell, are you kidding me?

So, to all my homeschooling sisters, advice please. We're going to keep him in the public school district but supplement (a shit load) at home. Help me, please.


Kim -today's creative blog said...

do you have other school optoins where you live? Charter schools, magnet schools?
We got our report cards too. Apparently Lucas' "exuberance about life in general sometimes gets in the way of learning" Isn't that an oximoron?

Green-Eyed Momster said...

Doesn't it just blow your mind sometimes? I think you nailed it when you wondered how Aaron could refrain from calling her a dimwitted f-tard. It seems to fit her perfectly. Your son is a genius. He shows you signs every time he does something "different."
All kids learn differently. Every single one of my kids has his/her strengths and his/her weaknesses. My five y.o. loves her laptop. It's a learning toy, runs on batteries, and it's her favorite learning tool. It's called a Bilingual 62 Activity Laptop. Got it at Penney's for $30.00 around Christmas. Don't give up! Good Luck and Hugs! He might be the next Einstein!

Anonymous said...

oh dear. i am so not looking forward to this next year. assuming we put thomas in school.

anyway, there is the book 'teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons' that is pretty good - very scripted, but i just did what i wanted with it. my son isn't too excited about it yet, but the lessons are short.

oh - - he'll love it.

just do what you do - have you checked out any abc videos, like the leapfrog/they might be giants ones?

don't know what else to say off the top of my head - good luck, sister-friend!

Keri Payne said...

Yeah, my son's teacher recommended that I have him put on ADD medication "just for a few years, until he settles down a little". I told her to kiss my a** and she hasn't bothered me again with all that crap. Yes lady, medication is a PERFECT substitute to HAVING TO CONTROL YOUR CLASS. I'd homeschool if I had the means. If you have a kid that's not perfectly average you're better off having them OUT of the public school system. And that's something I NEVER thought I'd say.

Green Kitchen said...

Isn't he in kindergarten? What's going on? I'm confused.

Ali said...

If I thought I could do it without murdering Mark, I'd homeschool in a heartbeat. I've come to the conclusion that if we don't teach him it at home, it doesn't get learned. I just send him to school to let him interact with his peers, because I'm not sure they've TAUGHT him anything at all in 3 years.
Just keep plodding on - you know what's right for him.

house on hill road said...

we have similar issues with jane and math. do you have kumon near you? it is a wonderful program, pretty reasonable and it is working pretty well for us. they have math and reading programs - you can do one or both. good luck.

Anonymous said...

I hate report card days. HATE. The only thing I hate more? Parent-teacher conferences.

PamKittyMorning said...

Ahhh yes, I'm getting the creeps just thinking about it. Weird vocab. I did a lot of work at home with my daughter .. your best friend will be those teacher stores, and those bridge workbooks. They're just for that sort of thing, we did a zillion of them.

My favorite was money, she went to a tutor for a few months because 'kids can't use money, money is for grown ups.' Seemed pretty logical. Good luck. I feel your pain.

Marshamlow said...

I can remember going through a box of old stuff with my mom a few years ago, I came across my first grade report card and read all the teachers comments. I said to my mom, I don't like this woman at all. Just from reading the report card not from any memory I had of first grade because I totally had none. My mom told me that I really did not like her when I was in the first grade either.

I don't home school, but I have tutored kids who struggle with math, mostly high school, and I taught pre-school for awhile, so listen to me! just kidding. My advice is to listen. The best way to learn is to teach ask him how to do stuff and let him explain it to you. I don't know if that makes any sense, but open ended questions, losts of listening, never hold the pencil always let him to the writing.

My other piece of advice is that my oldest daughter had the hardest time because she is so smart and the material was so far below her intelligence level she couldn't force herself to pay attention. It took me years to realize this. Gear his learning around the things that interest him and if you notice his eyes are glazing over with boredom try making the task at hand a bit more complex and interesting.

Hyena In Petticoats said...


I don't have kids, so I know jack-shit about parenting, but I have one name for you:


Homeschooling genius.

Otherwise, my advice is Stick To Your Guns. You know your son better than any teacher ever will, and I think supplementing the schooling is a great idea. There's only so much individual attention you can get inside a system, and your willingness to make up the shortfall is freaking admirable - more than a lot of parents would even bother thinking about, as far as I can tell.

Good luck!

Leah xxx

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who teaches new entrants in New Zealand (5 yr olds). She tells me that the first sign that a kid is really bright is that they UNDER achieve.I'm guessing you already know this boy of yours is bright. Short of finding another school for him (or begging for a different teacher) I'm not sure what to do. I sure as heck wouldn't be racing to remedial classes or anything. He's a BABY for heaven's sake. Waaaay too soon to be worrying about classroom performance. The trick I guess is to find a way to let him do things at his own pace while somehow buffering him from a teacher with a BAD attitude.

Laurie said...

Read this book:
Why Gender Matters

Seriously. Read it. It is, first, very, very interesting, and might make you and Aaron understand each other and laugh. Secondly, it will confirm what traceytreasure said, that your son is a genius.

Your child is in KINDERGARTEN, for god's sake! Tell the teacher that your are sorry she is under so much pressure to defy the laws of child development (courtesy of NCLB), but that when he is at home, he will continue to learn about the world in the way that he has been doing. He has more background knowledge that most kids- and possibly adults- and when his brain is GOOD AND READY, he'll crack the code. Until then, he is inferring, problem-solving, analyzing and synthesizing, and using a vocabulary the size of Rhode Island.

Remember, I'm a classroom teacher as well as a parent of a couple of "different" learners. You are under no obligation to provide the school with a typical learner, or an advanced achiever.

xoxox laurie

MichelleB said...

I so feel your pain. It's like a repeat of what I went through. My son is now (almost) 16 and gets great grades. However, he still can't spell. He sent me a text telling me that his friend wanted an "i tons geft kard" (iTunes gift card) for his birthday. *sigh* At this point I just constantly point out to him that HE will have to decide that he wants to learn to spell, and do it. Phonetics meant (and still mean) NOTHING to him.

I wish I had a magic key to give you, but I don't. Try to figure out how he learns, and gear your "help" that way. Yeah, I know, fat lot of help.

montague said...

ugh. that just about broke my heart. i wish i had some useful advice, but since im kid-less i fall short of anything useless. all i'll say is that teacher sounds mean. and your boy? he'll be fine! in fact, he'll be excellent!

Chara Michele said...

That sounds frustrating... I do think it is awesome though that you are willing to stand up to the teacher, since really you spend more time with your kids & have a much better idea of what they need to learn & already know.

futuregirl said...

I *still* have to sing the song when I'm alphabetizing. I get really mixed up after H.

Wendy said...

Lots of good advice up there. I'll have to remember that one about not holding the pencil.

My thoughts are this... read to him as much as you can. Get books on tape (except get them on cd, cause the tapes always break) at the library along with the actual books themselves sometimes. Go to the library as often as you can and let him get anything that interests him. If you focus too much on 'teaching' him to read, it may kill any love of reading that's there. Also, consider the possibility that he may be a 'visual spatial' leaner. Those kids HATE phonetic spelling, but do really well if you just tell them what the word is. They just remember it. Just reading with them (and pointing to the words as you go) is the best way for those types of kids to learn. It's the old-school Electric Company way.

And if you're interested in math, there's a lot of cool stuff online for free, but most of it is for older kids. He might be able to do it, though. Umm, let me look up a few of them,

The Maths File Game Show
BBC Schools

and this one is gorgeous (it might work best if you two do it together)...

Good luck. Since I just started the whole homeschooling thing, I'm just getting my resources all sorted out, but eventually I hope to have a bunch of links up on my site.

Stephanie ODea said...

hugs, mama. I like the teach your child to read in 100 lessons book and starfall.
learning pages has great dittos if he likes worksheets.

tv off is the best way for us to get anything done.


Anonymous said...

I don't like his teacher!!!!! Reminds me of some of my own, and I swear to God, I may be the only one who thinks this, but I am a f***** genius!
I'm sending you some cyber soup.

BeldameBruno said...

THIS is why I quit teaching. You get the bright little ones, and a few really supportive parents, and a system that sucks! In the public school system I had to choose between being a 'good teacher' which was turning me into a nitwit bitch or a 'failing teacher' who made learning interesting. I just didn't have the skill to do both. My favorite kids were always the 'bad' kids or the 'can't sit still kids'. The kids that fit well in the system BUGGED the shit out of me. I always thought they (and their PARENTS) were complete idiot fucktards!
YOU and especially your SON are doing great as far as I'm concerned. So... learn the alphabet, sing songs, paint, observe nature, WHATEVER! Just remember our public school system turns out graduates who read at an average eighth grade level, with NO knowledge of history, and an inability to read a map or think critically.
Believe me: you are probably WAY Way WAY smarter than his teacher. I was always thought most of my colleagues were morons. (Not all, just most).
Anyhoo. Enough of this tirade. (See why I quit)
Check out alternative schools. Magnet & Charter schools rock.
Your son is just FINE, and your frustration justified.

Sarah and Jack said...

For learning the alphabet/reading/spelling, Jack really likes the hooked on phonics stuff. He asks to "play" it about a 100 times a day. We also have a lot of leapfrog type gadgets: the word whammer on the fridge, my first leap pad, etc. I am surprised at how effective they can be.

Like Erin suggested with Kumon, you can buy the Kumon books at barnes and noble. So far I have only used the very basic ones: tracing and cutting, but Jack likes those too.

There is a good, down to earth book called One Mind at a Time that you might like to read for yourself.

Someone else already pointed out one learning style. There is a big complicated thing about Gardner and his theory of learning styles (you can read a little here on wiki:, but when I am tutoring a child, the first thing I do is try and sort out what learning style they are. So, if he was a musical learner, I would lean heavily on music, like TMBG's ABC's. If he was indeed B-K, I would have him moving as we learned. Put the letters into a hopscotch game, have him pace the floor as he recites the spelling lists, etc.

And I am not entirely versed on Griffin, but does he have an IEP of some kind? (I tried catching up one day, but I didn't get out of 2006 I dont think! LOL)

You can email me if you want to blab endlessly about education, clearly I could go on and on. :-)

Anonymous said...

i don't have kids, but i'm a teach for america teacher who teaches high school english and reading in inner-city miami. i also facilitate secondary literacy sessions with adults who (like myself) are trained in other fields, but who have decided to work in education.
(my mother reads your blog and forwarded this entry to me. i'm no expert, but here goes...)

first, no matter what, assume this: you and this teacher both want your kid to learn. you are on the same team.

she should have a list of griffin's learning objectives, as well as the dates by which she wants the kids to master them (called a "long term plan" or "scope and sequence"). get this; then ask for a tracking sheet of his mastery on each objective. a good teacher will have this and will gladly give it to you. then, you can use this information to target your at-home intervention. yep, be THAT PARENT. (fact: i love it when i encounter THAT PARENT.)

and question her on the information she's given you thus far: is he confused on recitation of the alphabet? or is confused on the sounds the letters make? (these would suggest a difficulty with something called phonemic awareness--a student's ability to discern between sounds.) or is he having difficulty attaching the letter names to the symbol? or is it associating letter sounds with symbols? (those are phonics problems.) different difficulties warrant different approaches.

above all, keep the conversation flowing: griffin has to sit in that classroom for another term, and you want it to be useful to him. and i think parents should be really involved in their kid's (or kids') education(s): it will benefit your child, and everyone else's!

Wendy said...

Oh, I just thought of another one (if you didn't already read it on my blog months ago)... turn of the sound on your tv and let them follow the subtitles for awhile. It works especially well if it's a movie they're familiar with.

Jersey Knitting Mama said...

Griffin is still in kindergarten right? Shouldn't he be playing? and learning from play? Every child learns at a different pace. In montessori school don't teach children how to read until 3rd grade. My son with SID is going into public kindergarten next year, I am not looking forward to report cards and parent teacher conference either. Fingers crossed! At home, he will learn at his own pace.

Anonymous said...

You need a better teacher for him next year. No kid should be in a classroom where his teacher thinks he's a fuck up. Even if she doesn't say it, the feeling comes through.
We went through a hellish 2nd grade with our son with a hag like that, and it almost ruined him. I had to take him out of school completely, homeschool him a year, and now he's in public 4th grade with a teacher who knows how to encourage him, not just tear him down. And he is doing great. It's amazing what a nurturing-type teacher can do for smart kids who get bored and hate to follow through with anything, without making them feel bad about themselves.

Anonymous said...

I threw 100 Easy Lessons against the wall. What finally worked for Joel was Explode the Code (a funky workbook series and you can start where you want, choose the skip the 1/2 numbers for review, etc.). The pictures are funky and they teach words that aren't as common, like twill @#$%. Anyway, we actually did Hooked on Phonics first and then incorporated Explode the Code. Oh, and there's some book by Cynthia Tobias about The Way They Learn ... i think they have it at the library and i've heard great things about it.

you are smart to supplement him at home. if it gets to be too much doing that PLUS homework, remember homeschooling isn't so freaky anymore and only takes, like, double the amount of time they would be spending on homework.

hang in there. i don't know how you deal with these stupid-ass teachers in the first place, especially since griffin has always been so intelligent, just in different ways from others.