Monday, December 17, 2012

Skills for school

Well, we went to the interview for Small Modox Girls School.  As I suspected, they wanted Thing 2 to get some speech therapy.  (I have heard so many conflicting reports on whether Thing 2 needs it that I've taken a "wait and see" approach.  Her vocabulary and syntax are fine, but she sounds like Elmer Fudd.)  However, she also recommended OT.  Why?  Because Thing 2 can only form a few letters.
We are, of course, talking about a four-year-old.  How many of us could write when we were four?  My own preschool spent time and energy teaching me how to color and cut paper--and I've done the same.  Sure, we play with the Handwriting Without Tears preschool book, but I just don't make a big deal out of it.  Because she's FOUR!
Meanwhile Thing 1, who just turned six--literally, like three weeks ago--was able to read 96 out of 100 sight words, but her sounding out is rough.  (Yeah, she's a VSL--I could have told them that.)  They recommended enrolling her in first grade stat--otherwise she'd fall behind.
And here's where they raise the ire of the Queen.
The Powers That Be determined that Thing 1 functions on the level of the average first grader.  However, there's a jump in ability between first and second grade, and Thing 1 might not be able to bridge the gap if I kept teaching her.  OK, but, what if I put her in your program, and she still falls through the cracks?  "Well, you have to have bitachon."  Sorry, but I save my bitachon for Hashem.  In fact, aren't we NOT supposed to put our trust in people?  Moreover, if she already functions at the level of the average first grader (and we're in the month of December--so, not even the half-way point) then isn't there a good chance that Thing 1 will continue to progress and then be at the level of the average second grader by June?


  1. Don't worry about the preschooler's handwriting. That's ridiculous.

    I do recommend speech therapy for articulation, though. You don't want a 12 year old who sounds even a little bit like Elmer Fudd. Trust me. You'd be surprised how often that doesn't get better on its own.

    Did they actually say "well, you'll have to have bitachon"?? That is bizarre.

    I hope you're not offended that I offered my opinions. That's all they are, opinions.

  2. I was going to go for speech therapy at the age of five--but I had been considering it. Meanwhile, did I mention that this is a kid who built a cone out of sticks in the park when she was two? By herself? OT my foot!

  3. So, they said that she wouldn't be able to bridge the gap if... did they say you kept teaching her or they said if you kept "homeschooling" her? I'm willing to bet it was the latter. The reason being is that I know all too well that these people think that you are sitting around eating Bon Bons and watching soaps and that your child is just bright. The reality is that school means paying 10k a year per child for some 19 year old FFB who can't spell to babysit 30 kids, one of which being yours and sending home work for you to tutor them for 5 hours every night. I would really like them to explain to me why this is better than YOU with a bachelor's and a brain tutoring your own two kids at once for about 1k a year in books and supplies. It seems like an obvious choice to me, especially since the economy is in the crap can and going to work and putting them in school you'd make about or less than the cost of tuition. You would then have to pay another stranger to watch them in the summer and probably send them to camp which costs even more money. It's one thing if a woman is a lawyer or something where she makes good money, but for a woman who's just going to go work some crappy office job, as is now the norm for a woman with less than a master's, it's not worth it.

    Furthermore, they are lying to you that your child is only right on par with everyone else. I am around all sort of kids who attend Orthodox schools-MANY at or around age. Two years ago she was reading better than most of them read at the age she is now. When I tell people that I was able to read when I turned 5 and I'm surprised that their 6 year old kids can't, over and over again they tell me that children don't learn to read until at least 1st grade which is 6 years old now. Also, in the Jewish schools, she would still be in preschool because it's 6 at or after the first of the year as people are telling me. Parents are telling me they changed it like this because they aren't just flunking 75% of the kids in either 1st or 2nd like they did when we were in school. They are starting them late instead.

    I also agree with waiting until 5 to worry about speech. My sister and cousins all had speech problems and I'm pretty sure neither of them had speech. Their issues ironed themselves out.

    Anyway, people will tell me I don't know what I'm talking about because I don't have my own kids, but most of my personal observations fall in line with what experts (ahem who DO mostly have kids as well as PhDs in all the right fields)say. If you want your kids to do well, you should invest your time and energy in them. I will add to that that my mixed reactions to the recent self esteem trend. While it's important to build a child's self esteem, I think emptily telling them they are wonderful is setting them up for disappointment later on. It's important to show them they can do something themselves but be there to help them if they struggle. One of the kids I babysit is one of these 6 year olds whose mother said they don't learn to read too much yet and displayed a "meh, the school will do it" kind of reaction. I pulled out a book and made her read it. When she got to a big a word, I said things like, "yeah, that's a big one let's work on it." I would cover parts of the word with my fingers and have her work through it in pieces then uncover for an "all together now" reveal, as was done for me when I learned to read. Well, let me tell you, her mother told me the next time I watched her that now she was realizing she could read and asking to read with a parent and maybe their full time nanny. So maybe I don't have my own kids but I've dealt with these things.

  4. Oh and I meant to comment, T2 is really just FOUR she's not even 4 and a quarter yet. I don't remember her exact birthday but I believe it's right before mine so it wasn't that long ago. I just googled if a 4 year old should know how to write and it said that turning four they are starting and by 5 they should have at least their name, but could be the whole alphabet. She has plenty of time before the deadline to write her name.

    Also for anyone new to your blog: Thing 1 is your oldest daughter, 2 the other, Queen is usually the blogwriter (though blog writer calls her mom Queen, too) and builder is the husband and father of things with whom there is an ongoing "dance" as his first choice is brick and mortar school not homeschooling. Too bad Jews don't have part time schools for partial homeschoolers like the Xtians have.

  5. Actually, my mom is Queen Mom (like Mrs. Wallis). I'm the AztecQueen.

  6. which can get confusing as you are both Queens and moms....


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