Jump to content


What's with the ads?

Photo

Test Anxiety - Early Elementary


51 replies to this topic

What's with the ads?

#1 Ordinary Shoes

Ordinary Shoes

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1388 posts

Posted 01 February 2018 - 10:57 AM

My daughter is in the 2nd grade. She does very well in school and is somewhat of a perfectionist. She has a spelling test every friday with 15 words. They are required to do 4 spelling activities during the week in their spelling notebook to practice for the test; e.g. write the words on the sidewalk using chalk, type the words with different fonts, etc. One of the activities is a mock spelling test which we always do on thursday night. As part of the activity, they have to write every word they have miss 3 times. 

 

My daughter cries every thursday night unless she spells every word correctly. She doesn't like having to write the misspelled words 3 times. 

 

The teacher has asked me if something is distracting my daughter because she is not doing very well on her spelling tests lately. Before Christmas, she would only misspell one of her words on average. Since coming back from Christmas break, she's misspelled about 5 or 6 words on average. She has misspelled words that she spelled correctly on the mock test and had not issues with through the week. Their words are getting harder to spell; e.g. this week is "eigh" words. This is Catholic school so they always have at least one religion word which are usually hard to spell; e.g. conscience, Reconciliation. She often spells the hard words correctly and misspells the easier words. I think this is because of anxiety. But could also be because the words are getting harder. 

 

I told the teacher that my daughter is doing her spelling activities every night at home and that I think she's anxious during the test. I also told the teacher that she cries every thursday night. 

 

I've not said anything to my daughter about her spelling tests because I don't want her to get more anxious about it. I don't care how she does on her spelling tests in the 2nd grade. But I don't want her to feel nervous and feel bad about herself for missing so many words. She told me the other night that she needs extra help in spelling and could never win the spelling bee. 

 

Any advise to help her deal with her anxiety? Should I continue to play this down or help her to do better on the test so she can get her confidence back? If the best course is to help her to prepare better for the tests, what's the best way to help a young child prepare for a spelling test? 

 

 



#2 OneStepAtATime

OneStepAtATime

    Beekeeping Professor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 33376 posts

Posted 01 February 2018 - 11:10 AM

:grouphug: 

 

I agree test anxiety may be causing her to lock up.  Also, though, the system they are using to teach spelling may be a poor fit for how she learns and internalizes spelling so the method itself may be increasing her anxiety.

 

How are they teaching spelling rules?  Is it all sight word based?  Limited phonics?  Heavy on phonics?  Do they pair lots of homonyms/homophones/homographs together?

 

FWIW, at least for me and my kids, constantly copying a word over and over and over never helped me to retain how the word was spelled long term.  If this method is not actually helping your daughter AND is causing additional anxiety I would discuss with the teacher that you would like to try a different method and just eliminate the copying altogether for a few weeks.  The goal is for her to learn how to accurately spell the words.  If this method isn't working then another method should be tried.  Hopefully the teacher is flexible enough to understand that and be willing to let that happen.  Perhaps you could try additional phonics instruction at home, play some games with the words, create a song or some other method that might help her better connect with the spelling of the words she is struggling with while also hopefully alleviating some of her anxiety.


  • Ordinary Shoes, Tanaqui and texasmom33 like this

#3 wendyroo

wendyroo

    Hive Mind Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2163 posts

Posted 01 February 2018 - 11:14 AM

If it were me, I would talk with the teacher and tell her that we would not be doing the mock tests anymore.  We would diligently work on the assigned spelling words each day, and I would make sure that over the course of the week DD wrote each word at least 3 times, but that I would not be putting my child through the extra stress of the Thursday test.

 

Then, I would ask the teacher to simply not return DD's Friday tests.  Either she could just not hand anything back, or I would provide her with a stack of "form letters" that just said something along the lines of, "Good Job, DD.  I can tell you are working hard on your spelling!!" and she could hand that to DD when everyone else got their test.

 

For my anxious kid, that would be the best plan to emphasize that spelling is important, but that the test results are not.

 

Wendy


  • Frances, TKDmom, AmandaVT and 4 others like this

#4 Ordinary Shoes

Ordinary Shoes

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1388 posts

Posted 01 February 2018 - 11:34 AM

Thanks for the responses. 

 

They use a reading curriculum called SuperKids which is phonics based. I don't know about the spelling rules. Last week and this week, the rule appears to be about "ie" versus "ei." I asked about i before e except after c... and she looked at me blankly. IDK, is that old fashioned? Maybe kids don't learn that rule anymore? 

 

I thought about trying to work on the rules with her so she understands the why of spelling. I think that would help her more than writing the words over and over again. 

 

I'll ask about the teacher not handing back the grades. 

 

Am I wrong to be a little irritated about "conscience" in the second grade? 

 

 



#5 wendyroo

wendyroo

    Hive Mind Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2163 posts

Posted 01 February 2018 - 11:46 AM

Thanks for the responses. 

 

They use a reading curriculum called SuperKids which is phonics based. I don't know about the spelling rules. Last week and this week, the rule appears to be about "ie" versus "ei." I asked about i before e except after c... and she looked at me blankly. IDK, is that old fashioned? Maybe kids don't learn that rule anymore? 

 

I thought about trying to work on the rules with her so she understands the why of spelling. I think that would help her more than writing the words over and over again. 

 

I'll ask about the teacher not handing back the grades. 

 

Am I wrong to be a little irritated about "conscience" in the second grade? 

 

The problem with the "i before e except after c" rule is that it is wrong a lot more often than it is right.  For example, "conscience" is clearly "i before e even after c".

 

You might want to read The ABC's and All Their Tricks.  It could help you explain to your daughter why her spelling words are spelled as they are.

 

Wendy


  • Ordinary Shoes likes this

#6 SKL

SKL

    Qualified Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 27880 posts

Posted 01 February 2018 - 12:42 PM

One thing that helped my kids was to ask them to look at each challenging word and "take a picture in their minds."  I used to quiz them not only on paper but also orally.  (On paper was actually more helpful for mine, but all kids are different.)  Also, we always talked about the phonic elements if there were any that could use review.  I would point out the word part and the phonic rule and look for additional examples in the environment.  I would ask, which letter(s) in this word are silent?  What letter(s) make the 'f' sound?  Things like this increased recall on the test.

 

You might also try going over the spelling list on the morning of the test, of that doesn't tend to increase anxiety.


  • Ordinary Shoes likes this

#7 SKL

SKL

    Qualified Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 27880 posts

Posted 01 February 2018 - 12:44 PM

The problem with the "i before e except after c" rule is that it is wrong a lot more often than it is right.  For example, "conscience" is clearly "i before e even after c".

 

You might want to read The ABC's and All Their Tricks.  It could help you explain to your daughter why her spelling words are spelled as they are.

 

Wendy

 

"I before e except after c, or when sounding like ay as in neighbor and weigh."  And sometimes you have to go back to the root of the words before you spell them.

 

Of course there are always exceptions to every rule.  :)  It's kind of amazing kids learn to spell at all, with all the exceptions.


Edited by SKL, 01 February 2018 - 12:46 PM.

  • Ordinary Shoes likes this

#8 Heigh Ho

Heigh Ho

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 12367 posts

Posted 01 February 2018 - 01:57 PM

I would move her from thinking 'extra help' is bad. She needs to move to understanding that everyone has strength and weaknesses, and if she want to put the extra work in, she will move her weakness to a strength more quickly.

 

As far as never being able to win the spelling bee...may be true.  There may be someone who has a photographic memory and the time to learn a lot of words, so she won't be in that league.  But for now, she could set a goal for herself that effort will earn for her. 

 

If she has no hearing problems, I would change the method used for studying the words.  I'd also get the words in advance and start Friday until she develops enough confidence that the method is working that you can start the study on Monday afternoon.  What works for my visual guy:

1.  know the rule, examine word for phonics ...the silent e, the ck sound etc so there is awareness that the word won't always be spelled like it is heard

write the word, saying each letter

close eyes, and say the word , then spell the word while visualizing the letter

2. spell the word backwards, visualizing the entire word while reading right to left .  Look at the word if needed in order to do so.

3. spell the words forwards, visualizing the entire word while reading it left to right.  Look at the word if needed in order to do so.

4. write the word in a short sentence.

 

 


Edited by Heigh Ho, 01 February 2018 - 01:58 PM.

  • Ordinary Shoes and Earthmerlin like this

#9 OneStepAtATime

OneStepAtATime

    Beekeeping Professor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 33376 posts

Posted 01 February 2018 - 03:37 PM

Thanks for the responses. 

 

They use a reading curriculum called SuperKids which is phonics based. I don't know about the spelling rules. Last week and this week, the rule appears to be about "ie" versus "ei." I asked about i before e except after c... and she looked at me blankly. IDK, is that old fashioned? Maybe kids don't learn that rule anymore? 

 

I thought about trying to work on the rules with her so she understands the why of spelling. I think that would help her more than writing the words over and over again. 

 

I'll ask about the teacher not handing back the grades. 

 

Am I wrong to be a little irritated about "conscience" in the second grade? 

That does seem a rather poor word to tackle for a lot of second graders from the spelling side of the equation.

 

I would probably make an appointment to talk with the teacher directly when you both can sit down and have an in depth unhurried discussion.  Ask to see the spelling program they are using.  It may not be truly phonics based, it may be sight word based.  That may not work well for your child. She may need something with more explicit phonics instruction AND incorporate more explicit sight based learning.  Or something else altogether.  Also, their program may combine several skills in one lesson or tackle things that are similar and that may be causing her confusion.  In your example, comparing the ie words to the ei words, how did they approach explaining this in class?  Depending on how the program approaches this, it could work well or it could be a total nightmare.

 

For instance, in DD's 3rd grade class they started using a program that compared several different types of similarly spelled words.  The premise was that if you learned a set of words using a specific vowel combination but did not compare that with other ways of handling/pronouncing/spelling similar vowel combinations it might appear that the child is internalizing the rules but they may get really confused when you introduce exceptions/different vowel combinations, etc.  Unfortunately, hitting her with all of these different ways of approaching this sound/different vowel combinations wasn't clearing things up, it was making it impossible to keep it all straight.  DD was getting so confused.  I was helping her and realized that the way they were approaching the material was EXCEEDINGLY confusing, at least for me and DD.  In fact, words that I had spelled correctly for YEARS I was suddenly AS AN ADULT forgetting how to spell.  I was second guessing myself because they were using all of these similarly spelled words with different rules applied and I was getting where I couldn't remember the correct spelling anymore. It was as if the program was helping me unlearn spelling.  :glare:  :)  Frankly it was awful and I wish they had never used that program.  Maybe it worked for others (although there were other parents whose kids were also struggling).  It did not work for my child. (And even the teacher admitted she thought the word choices were poorly selected.).

 

Dig in deeper.  Find out what program they are using and see if you can determine how it is being implemented in the classroom.   You may have to really work closely with the teacher AND teach your daughter the spelling words using a different approach when she is home.  Your goal is two fold: 1.  Alleviate her anxiety.  2.  Help her find a way to actually learn how to spell effectively.  

 

FWIW, I found that there were many practices in place in the school system that did not work well for all kids.  One size does not fit all.   I had to tweak and adapt what was required from the school to what would actually work for my own kids.  If copying definitions ad nauseum didn't actually help my child learn vocabulary I had to advocate for a different way to learn the definitions, for example. Some teachers were absolutely amenable to that.  After all, the purpose is to learn.  If they cannot learn using the expected methods then a GOOD teacher is usually willing to adjust those methods or support a parent who can.  I had several teachers that were very supportive of DD approaching her homework differently than instructed as long as she was genuinely doing something to learn the material.  One teacher in particular had only ever taught one way and had taught that one way for decades.   She could not shift, could not comprehend that other people might learn the material better using a different method for homework. Honestly I think she thought I was nuts.  LOL.  Hopefully you don't have one of those.

 

Hugs.


  • Ordinary Shoes and Tanaqui like this

#10 Earthmerlin

Earthmerlin

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 657 posts

Posted 01 February 2018 - 04:54 PM

My daughter is in the 2nd grade. She does very well in school and is somewhat of a perfectionist. She has a spelling test every friday with 15 words. They are required to do 4 spelling activities during the week in their spelling notebook to practice for the test; e.g. write the words on the sidewalk using chalk, type the words with different fonts, etc. One of the activities is a mock spelling test which we always do on thursday night. As part of the activity, they have to write every word they have miss 3 times.

My daughter cries every thursday night unless she spells every word correctly. She doesn't like having to write the misspelled words 3 times.

The teacher has asked me if something is distracting my daughter because she is not doing very well on her spelling tests lately. Before Christmas, she would only misspell one of her words on average. Since coming back from Christmas break, she's misspelled about 5 or 6 words on average. She has misspelled words that she spelled correctly on the mock test and had not issues with through the week. Their words are getting harder to spell; e.g. this week is "eigh" words. This is Catholic school so they always have at least one religion word which are usually hard to spell; e.g. conscience, Reconciliation. She often spells the hard words correctly and misspells the easier words. I think this is because of anxiety. But could also be because the words are getting harder.

I told the teacher that my daughter is doing her spelling activities every night at home and that I think she's anxious during the test. I also told the teacher that she cries every thursday night.

I've not said anything to my daughter about her spelling tests because I don't want her to get more anxious about it. I don't care how she does on her spelling tests in the 2nd grade. But I don't want her to feel nervous and feel bad about herself for missing so many words. She told me the other night that she needs extra help in spelling and could never win the spelling bee.

Any advise to help her deal with her anxiety? Should I continue to play this down or help her to do better on the test so she can get her confidence back? If the best course is to help her to prepare better for the tests, what's the best way to help a young child prepare for a spelling test?


I also have a perfectionist who leans towards anxious. She has developed math anxiety this year. I ocassionally take her to a counselor who is helping her deal with such issues. From what I have learned, framing the 'problems' realistically is important as is not shying away from them. What I didn't realize is regular calming practices is equally important so that they can be called upon during times of stress. So she practices deep breathing often in the hopes that she can use this technique to self-soothe when truly needed. My daughter has also made herself 'stress balls' (balloons filled with flour) she likes to use in class. I hope this helps.
  • Ordinary Shoes and fralala like this

#11 Earthmerlin

Earthmerlin

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 657 posts

Posted 01 February 2018 - 05:08 PM

I would move her from thinking 'extra help' is bad. She needs to move to understanding that everyone has strength and weaknesses, and if she want to put the extra work in, she will move her weakness to a strength more quickly.

As far as never being able to win the spelling bee...may be true. There may be someone who has a photographic memory and the time to learn a lot of words, so she won't be in that league. But for now, she could set a goal for herself that effort will earn for her.

If she has no hearing problems, I would change the method used for studying the words. I'd also get the words in advance and start Friday until she develops enough confidence that the method is working that you can start the study on Monday afternoon. What works for my visual guy:
1. know the rule, examine word for phonics ...the silent e, the ck sound etc so there is awareness that the word won't always be spelled like it is heard
write the word, saying each letter
close eyes, and say the word , then spell the word while visualizing the letter
2. spell the word backwards, visualizing the entire word while reading right to left . Look at the word if needed in order to do so.
3. spell the words forwards, visualizing the entire word while reading it left to right. Look at the word if needed in order to do so.
4. write the word in a short sentence.


I agree that dealing with perfectionism is necessary. I say that as a parent with a perfectionist! It rears its head quite a bit & so dealing w/ the root cause seems the most effective strategy. It's not easy and I don't have all the answers but I know that I must keep reminding my daughter she need not be perfect but yet needs to give it her all nonetheless. It's a life lesson in the making. It's tough at times but the goal is a more realistic self-perception and acceptance (which makes it worth the current effort).
  • Heigh Ho and Ordinary Shoes like this

#12 Ordinary Shoes

Ordinary Shoes

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1388 posts

Posted 01 February 2018 - 07:28 PM

I asked the teacher today if we could try some different spelling activities (devised by me - no extra work for her). She said no. She said we can re-evaluate this in a few weeks. 

 

Obviously I have to be more involved in the spelling to help DD learn the spelling rule that is being taught that week. I've been pretty hands off; just "do your spelling," that's it. 

 

I'll work with her a little bit closer on spelling over the next few weeks and see how things go. If it's still a problem, I'll talk to the teacher again. 

 

I'm not sure about a counselor yet. We're meeting with a feeding specialist next week to discuss my daughter's pickiness which is getting worse. I don't want to put too much on her. 

 

 



#13 OneStepAtATime

OneStepAtATime

    Beekeeping Professor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 33376 posts

Posted 01 February 2018 - 09:09 PM

I asked the teacher today if we could try some different spelling activities (devised by me - no extra work for her). She said no. She said we can re-evaluate this in a few weeks. 

 

Obviously I have to be more involved in the spelling to help DD learn the spelling rule that is being taught that week. I've been pretty hands off; just "do your spelling," that's it. 

 

I'll work with her a little bit closer on spelling over the next few weeks and see how things go. If it's still a problem, I'll talk to the teacher again. 

 

I'm not sure about a counselor yet. We're meeting with a feeding specialist next week to discuss my daughter's pickiness which is getting worse. I don't want to put too much on her. 

Oooookaaaayyyyy.....

 

FWIW, my mother was a teacher, my grandfather and grandmother were teachers, I have cousins who are teachers, and I have taught in a classroom several times so I am not without experience or background in how challenging teaching in a classroom setting can be.  I have the utmost respect for people willing to teach in a classroom. 

 

That being said, I must say I am EXCEEDINGLY disappointed in this teacher.  If the parent is willing to work with their child at home to find an approach that might work better for addressing struggles, and improving actually learning of the material, that is awesome.  The goal should be TO HELP THE CHILD LEARN, not follow lock step with what everyone else is doing even if it isn't working just because that is what everyone is doing.  My way or the highway regardless of how well they are learning with that approach is, honestly, a poor way to approach learning.  You are not asking her to completely rearrange her classroom or actually change anything at all in her classroom.  All you are asking her for is some understanding while you try different approaches at home to find a positive and more effective way to work on the trouble areas in your child's spelling.

 

I'm sorry she wasn't more flexible and open-minded.  Hopefully you can find ways to help your child despite the inflexibility of the teacher.

 

As for her feeding issues, those can be anxiety driven which can be tied to perfectionism (anxiety and perfectionism often go hand in hand and feed off each other).  If she is feeling more anxious it can cause her to be more and more "picky" in her eating habits.  

 

Whatever course of action you take, please keep your child's mental health at the forefront.  Long term mental health trumps spelling tests by miles and miles.  

 

:grouphug:


  • Heigh Ho, wendyroo, AmandaVT and 4 others like this

#14 texasmom33

texasmom33

    Runaway of the Establishment Incorporated

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 6589 posts

Posted 01 February 2018 - 11:16 PM

I'm not an afterschooler, but I saw your post on the main board and wanted to chime in. I'm probably going to come at this from a bit of a more aggressive angle. I've spent the last seven years undoing the damage that test anxiety and unsympathetic teachers caused for my oldest. It only took ONE bad year and it caused a cascade of problems. 

 

I agree with a lot of what has been said above. But I want to make sure it is pointed out that she is having anxiety because the expectations are completely unrealistic for her. I would leave perfectionism out of it. The demand is inappropriate for this child. It doesn't matter if the other kids aren't bothered by it. Something is not right here and she is trying to tell you something. You aren't going to pep talk her out of it by telling her the tests don't matter. She can grow and mature out of it, but please don't let anyone at the school tell you it's simply a matter of perfectionism and just keep testing her and talking to her about it, and she'll be fine. In my experience, it's not going to work. It's just going to get worse. From what you're saying it already might be manifesting in her eating habits. That is a massive red flag. 

 

I absolutely would NOT accept the teacher's stance on this. I would go above her head to either the counselor or the AP. And yes, I had my child in private school so I realize that there is (or was for me) that nagging fear in the back of your head that they'll say, "sorry then, you're free to leave." I let that fear shut me up. Which is why I'm posting this to you. If that's their take then maybe she is better off somewhere else. If I had the ability to go back in time, I would aggressively pursue other options and not let the teacher patronize me into silence.

 

There are so many other options, as other pp are providing. Test her at home. Don't test. Try those other options. But do SOMETHING. There is more than one way to skin a cat. Do not be like me and wait until your child is vomiting and heaving over tests because she is so terrified of failing (even when she knew everything cold) over something so stupid as a third grade benchmark. Don't just ask her to keep knuckling under something and someone that is obviously causing her distress, and wait for her to outgrow it. I know it might sound like I'm over reacting to something as simple as a spelling test, but it's never as simple as the subject at hand. It spreads across and undermines confidence in so many other categories. She also needs to know you're in her corner and you don't think it's her. She also needs to hear that from someone at the school, because kids pick up on signals from teachers and sometimes I think that carries more weight than it does from parents, when it comes to confidence in one's intelligence and abilities. Particularly with girls who need outside validation, which, let's face it, a lot of us do. 

 

You can teach her to deal with perfectionism. You can teach her to deal with stress. You can eventually teach her how to deal with tests, and all three issues combined as she matures. But it does not have to be over something as trite as spelling, or in the second grade, or at the hand of an unsympathetic teacher. It really doesn't have to. And believe me, it is much harder to undo it than to prevent it getting worse. 

 

I know you are in a tough position. But please, do consider taking this above the teacher on this one. Go talk to the counselor- he or she should be very familiar with this type of issue. Your dd is not the only one who deals with this. A sympathetic counselor was a life saver for us. I would highly encourage you to not waste a day and contact the counselor ASAP, while documenting your discussions with the teacher as well while they're fresh. I wouldn't stop on this with "let's wait and see." I would push. Even if it pushed us right out of the door. I am not a special snowflake parent at all, but I am really tired of seeing kids bullied by teachers in ways that seem minor and inconsequential, but they aren't. The older I get the more passionate I get about it. 

 

Sorry if this came off a bit heavy. I just get riled up. :) 

 

 


  • Tibbie Dunbar, AmandaVT, Ordinary Shoes and 3 others like this

#15 Tsuga

Tsuga

    WannaBee

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 7914 posts

Posted 01 February 2018 - 11:41 PM

I asked the teacher today if we could try some different spelling activities (devised by me - no extra work for her). She said no. She said we can re-evaluate this in a few weeks. 

 

Obviously I have to be more involved in the spelling to help DD learn the spelling rule that is being taught that week. I've been pretty hands off; just "do your spelling," that's it. 

 

I'll work with her a little bit closer on spelling over the next few weeks and see how things go. If it's still a problem, I'll talk to the teacher again. 

 

I'm not sure about a counselor yet. We're meeting with a feeding specialist next week to discuss my daughter's pickiness which is getting worse. I don't want to put too much on her. 

 

:grouphug:  Picky eating is so hard.

 

With my younger daughter who was having some anxiety -- "my mind just goes blank and I think about everything else!"-- I worked with her on getting to a happy place. Worst case scenario, at least she learns how to relax, even if it doesn't help her do well on the test. And that's more how I presented it. I said I didn't want her to be so worried at school because it's just paper and I know that she could do well in a work environment if she had time. So we talked about getting a happy place. I talked about my happy place, where I'm at a mountain lake, the sun is shining, the berries are ripe and I am sitting there with a book and there's a cool breeze on the lake.

 

Her happy place is basically living in a real-life Candyland, lol. So we talked about closing your eyes, breathing in, and going to that place.

 

It doesn't matter whether you remember the words, just remember that you are loved. And if that helps you do your best, great. If you still can't remember, just remember your whole family loves you and believes in you.

 

This has really helped. She doesn't always get 100% but she is usually much more proud of her score and she isn't afraid of the tests.


  • Ordinary Shoes and Earthmerlin like this

#16 Earthmerlin

Earthmerlin

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 657 posts

Posted 02 February 2018 - 05:47 AM

Oooookaaaayyyyy.....

FWIW, my mother was a teacher, my grandfather and grandmother were teachers, I have cousins who are teachers, and I have taught in a classroom several times so I am not without experience or background in how challenging teaching in a classroom setting can be. I have the utmost respect for people willing to teach in a classroom.

That being said, I must say I am EXCEEDINGLY disappointed in this teacher. If the parent is willing to work with their child at home to find an approach that might work better for addressing struggles, and improving actually learning of the material, that is awesome. The goal should be TO HELP THE CHILD LEARN, not follow lock step with what everyone else is doing even if it isn't working just because that is what everyone is doing. My way or the highway regardless of how well they are learning with that approach is, honestly, a poor way to approach learning. You are not asking her to completely rearrange her classroom or actually change anything at all in her classroom. All you are asking her for is some understanding while you try different approaches at home to find a positive and more effective way to work on the trouble areas in your child's spelling.

I'm sorry she wasn't more flexible and open-minded. Hopefully you can find ways to help your child despite the inflexibility of the teacher.

As for her feeding issues, those can be anxiety driven which can be tied to perfectionism (anxiety and perfectionism often go hand in hand and feed off each other). If she is feeling more anxious it can cause her to be more and more "picky" in her eating habits.

Whatever course of action you take, please keep your child's mental health at the forefront. Long term mental health trumps spelling tests by miles and miles.

:grouphug:


I agree wholeheartedly (as a public school educator [to boot]). My comments above re: anxiety are still how I feel--they need to be addressed (this is from personal experience w/ my child). However, flexibility is key in education as well. What works for one kid doesn't for another and it's the teacher's job to not only keep this in mind but emcourage/celebrate it when it arises. To me, that's a sign of a welcoming and accepting classroom culture.
  • Heigh Ho, Ordinary Shoes and OneStepAtATime like this

#17 Tanaqui

Tanaqui

    Qualified Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 8602 posts

Posted 02 February 2018 - 05:58 AM

"I before e except after c, or when sounding like ay as in neighbor and weigh."  And sometimes you have to go back to the root of the words before you spell them.

 

Or even more accurately: When it says ee, then it's i before e, but not after c. This makes it clear that words like "theist" don't count - the ei there doesn't represent the single sound ee.

 

Homework in elementary school has not ever been shown to improve learning. I would have no qualms whatsoever about writing a note to the teacher saying just that and opting out of this assignment permanently - with or without her permission. And yes, this is the hill I'm willing to die on. Your kid is crying over this stupid assignment. Her teacher evidently doesn't care. That's not okay.


  • Tibbie Dunbar, Ordinary Shoes, OneStepAtATime and 3 others like this

#18 Heigh Ho

Heigh Ho

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 12367 posts

Posted 02 February 2018 - 10:25 AM

I asked the teacher today if we could try some different spelling activities (devised by me - no extra work for her). She said no. She said we can re-evaluate this in a few weeks. 

 

Obviously I have to be more involved in the spelling to help DD learn the spelling rule that is being taught that week. I've been pretty hands off; just "do your spelling," that's it. 

 

I'll work with her a little bit closer on spelling over the next few weeks and see how things go. If it's still a problem, I'll talk to the teacher again. 

 

I'm not sure about a counselor yet. We're meeting with a feeding specialist next week to discuss my daughter's pickiness which is getting worse. I don't want to put too much on her. 

 

It would be helpful to talk with the school psychologist.  They have a lot of experience with perfectionism and can help your dc and her teacher in a way that both will accept.  In the meantime, check out the concept of 'smile quotient'.

 

My son's teacher didn't come back with the 'do nothing' solution.  As others wrote, teachers that are serious about learning will work with you -- they don't want to send your child to remediation, they don't want the dc to roll over and quit, and they know they are to help your child learn how to learn.  My lad didn't have a serious teacher, but since it was a fully included classroom she dropped his assignment down to sn level...seven words a week, the most basic..and graded just those seven until I went thru the other spelling learning methods and we found what worked.  His problem was similar to that listed above regarding ie and ee ...the spelling program wasn't telling the children the precise rules ..combine that with his visual memory of what he had read, and there was a mishmash in his mind.


Edited by Heigh Ho, 02 February 2018 - 10:26 AM.

  • Ordinary Shoes likes this

#19 Ordinary Shoes

Ordinary Shoes

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1388 posts

Posted 02 February 2018 - 11:30 AM

Thanks for the advice. 

 

The school doesn't have a counselor or a psychologist. 

 

We make our daughter do her HW because the consequence for not doing HW is staying in at recess. Allegedly that is against state law but I'm not sure whether the law applies to private schools. Regardless of the law, that was the same consequence of not doing HW in my daughter's public kindergarten. (Yes, kinder where my daughter had about 45 minutes a day of HW. That's one of the main reasons why we transferred her to private school.) 

 

I generally like DD's 2nd grade teacher. She's gotten my daughter excited about science and math. My daughter has always been a strong math student but she always claimed to not like math. Now she's excited about math. I think she also likes my daughter personally. I think the reason she is not flexible about the spelling HW is that other parents have asked the same thing and she wants to give a consistent answer. 

 

We did not do the mock spelling test last night and there were no tears. We told our daughter that she had to choose a different spelling activity other than taking the mock spelling test. 

 

I was talking to DD last night before bed trying to gauge how she felt about school. She told me about how her paper about why she liked her school couldn't be read at Mass for Catholic Schools Week because she didn't finish it in time. She was trying to make it "exciting." My daughter is starting to like to write. She spends a lot of time on her HW writing assignments and turns in pages of work (only one page is expected). DD cried a little when she was telling me that story. 

 

Then she told me that she never has time to read in class because she never finishes her work until right before they are supposed to check it. This is a recurring theme. She had the same issue in 1st grade. I see all of the work she does in school. She gets almost every question right. I talk about it with her so I know she understands the material. 

 

I think it's the same issue. She wants it to be perfect. 

 

I'm worried that because she has no free time to read in class that she's getting enough practice in reading. She reads every night before bed. All she wants to read is the Princess in Black series and the Dragonmasters books. She has access to so many books. We talk about books to buy and she says she wants to buy a particular book. I order it from Amazon and she won't read it. 

 

I wish I could tell her to put aside the stupid worksheet in school and read a book. 

 

 



#20 Heigh Ho

Heigh Ho

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 12367 posts

Posted 02 February 2018 - 12:01 PM

If she reads every night, and she is progressing , she's good in reading.

 

It sounds like she is placed appropriately if she is getting done before time is up.  


  • vonfirmath likes this

#21 Tanaqui

Tanaqui

    Qualified Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 8602 posts

Posted 02 February 2018 - 12:52 PM

We make our daughter do her HW because the consequence for not doing HW is staying in at recess. Allegedly that is against state law but I'm not sure whether the law applies to private schools. Regardless of the law, that was the same consequence of not doing HW in my daughter's public kindergarten. (Yes, kinder where my daughter had about 45 minutes a day of HW. That's one of the main reasons why we transferred her to private school.)

 

If that's the case, then I'd still engage in some civil disobedience. Nobody but you needs to know if she actually was tested on her words on Thursday or if you just wrote them out and she copied them down. Nobody but you needs to know if she actually wrote her words on the sidewalk in chalk, or typed them up, or if you did those things (or just checked the box that she did them). It's okay to be dishonest to protect yourself or somebody else from harm.


  • Ordinary Shoes, Have kids -- will travel and texasmom33 like this

#22 Ordinary Shoes

Ordinary Shoes

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1388 posts

Posted 03 February 2018 - 11:41 AM

I reviewed next week's spelling list last night and identified all of the spelling rules and phonograms in the words. So I'm ready to go through the list with my daughter. 

 

I think I might buy some magnetic letter tiles at Lakeshore Learning so my daughter doesn't have to write the words doing her work with me because she has to write the words for her homework. 

 

WRT "civl disobedience," I'm not sure how I could do it without my daughter knowing that it's being done. I don't want her to learning that lying is okay. 

 

Although I've noticed that it seems like the teacher might not actually check the spelling notebook. I noticed that I forgot to sign the pages the last few weeks and no one said anything. 

 

 


  • texasmom33 likes this

#23 Heigh Ho

Heigh Ho

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 12367 posts

Posted 03 February 2018 - 06:32 PM

I reviewed next week's spelling list last night and identified all of the spelling rules and phonograms in the words. So I'm ready to go through the list with my daughter. 

 

I think I might buy some magnetic letter tiles at Lakeshore Learning so my daughter doesn't have to write the words doing her work with me because she has to write the words for her homework. 

 

WRT "civl disobedience," I'm not sure how I could do it without my daughter knowing that it's being done. I don't want her to learning that lying is okay. 

 

Although I've noticed that it seems like the teacher might not actually check the spelling notebook. I noticed that I forgot to sign the pages the last few weeks and no one said anything. 

 

Instead of magnetic letter tiles, I would like to recommend a whiteboard and markers.  They will be useful for years, and fat markers have two great advantages for spelling:  they aren't tiring the fingers like a pencil does, and they get more of the body involved in writing, so there is more that is remembered. anytime you can do multisensory, you enhance memory. 


  • Ordinary Shoes likes this

#24 Tanaqui

Tanaqui

    Qualified Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 8602 posts

Posted 03 February 2018 - 07:26 PM

WRT "civl disobedience," I'm not sure how I could do it without my daughter knowing that it's being done. I don't want her to learning that lying is okay.

 

You do you, but I have explicitly told my kids just what I said in my post. Lying is okay when it is done to protect you or another person from harm. Lying is NOT okay when it is likely to harm others with no benefit to anybody but yourself, when it's to get out of the consequences of your own bad behavior*, when it is boastful, or when you're under oath. It's NEVER okay to tell a stupidly obvious lie, because that's just insulting. It MAY be okay to tell a "white lie" to protect somebody's feelings... you have to take the long-term results into account, though. It may be better to be honest in a nice way.

 

In my experience, most kids are capable of surprisingly more nuance than we think.

 

* Unless those consequences are likely to be disproportionately harmful, in which case we're back to point one. If you end up in a dystopian universe where there is summary execution for shoplifting, dude, lie through your teeth.


  • Ordinary Shoes and texasmom33 like this

#25 Earthmerlin

Earthmerlin

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 657 posts

Posted 03 February 2018 - 07:36 PM

I reviewed next week's spelling list last night and identified all of the spelling rules and phonograms in the words. So I'm ready to go through the list with my daughter.

I think I might buy some magnetic letter tiles at Lakeshore Learning so my daughter doesn't have to write the words doing her work with me because she has to write the words for her homework.

WRT "civl disobedience," I'm not sure how I could do it without my daughter knowing that it's being done. I don't want her to learning that lying is okay.

Although I've noticed that it seems like the teacher might not actually check the spelling notebook. I noticed that I forgot to sign the pages the last few weeks and no one said anything.


Oh, you could also make words from Play-doh or Scrabble tiles!
  • Ordinary Shoes likes this

#26 Earthmerlin

Earthmerlin

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 657 posts

Posted 03 February 2018 - 07:40 PM

Oh, you could also make words from Play-doh or Scrabble tiles!


Go back to 'preschool' days and have her finger write words in a sand/cornmeal/fllour tray.
  • Heigh Ho, Ordinary Shoes and texasmom33 like this

#27 Heigh Ho

Heigh Ho

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 12367 posts

Posted 04 February 2018 - 08:31 AM

Go back to 'preschool' days and have her finger write words in a sand/cornmeal/fllour tray.

 

People have dropped that for everyday due to the cleanliness issues and the realization that using food for nonfood purposes is offensive to many families. 

 

The marker board is helpful because it gives more resistance than the sand/cornmeal/flour does..that's excellent feedback to the brain. Also, if fat markers are used, they help the fingers learn the correct pencil grip.  Note markers should be low odor.

 

One trick the OP can use for her dc when the dc isn't happy writing on paper is papermate flair markers...they give enough resistance and have a fat enough body that dc find them less tiring and better at allowing sensory feedback. Some dc find the contrast of the marker color on paper to be easier on the eyes than pencil on paper.


  • Ordinary Shoes likes this

#28 Earthmerlin

Earthmerlin

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 657 posts

Posted 04 February 2018 - 01:35 PM

Ordinary Shoes, it sounds like using magnetic letters and such may be the right approach for now--turning an inevitable (unpleasant) task into a more pleasant one by presenting engaging activities in a warm environment. When my daughter started showing math test anxiety this year, I not only advocated for her in the classroom but counter-balanced it with 'feel good', enriching, and supportive activities at home. While I would have preferred not to do 'damage control' I feel I nonetheless curbed the issue and we still enjoy math (which I hope will be the prevailing sentiment).

Edited by Earthmerlin, 04 February 2018 - 01:36 PM.

  • Ordinary Shoes and Tsuga like this

#29 Ordinary Shoes

Ordinary Shoes

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1388 posts

Posted 05 February 2018 - 05:39 PM

I'm thinking more about this issue in the context of anxiety. I've read about the connection between picky eating and anxiety. 

 

I wonder if I have a larger problem here. If so, I'm not sure how to solve it. We could transfer our daughter to a private Montessori school but she would miss her friends. 

 

I went through the spelling words with my daughter yesterday. There were tears. She was upset because she has been out playing with her friends. She asked to watch a family movie (we watched the 2015 version of Heidi - very good!) so we told her that meant that she needed to have her homework done by 6:30 so she had to come in from playing with her friends to finish her HW. She had Mass homework and Reconciliation preparation HW plus a short discussion about her spelling words. 

 

The spelling list didn't make much sense to me but I'm sure there's some rationale for it. Most of the words used "aw" sound using "a," "augh," and "ough." Then there were a few words with the "ough" phonogram making the "oo" sound and "uf" sounds. My daughter asked to watch the Youtube video of Ricky Ricardo trying to read a book with words with "ough." English is tricky, just ask Ricky. That lightened the mood a little bit. Her hard church word this week is "confession." We talked about how "si" makes the "sh" sound when it's not at the beginning of the first syllable. That annoyed her because it was at the beginning of the 3rd syllable. 

 

She said she was crying because she didn't having to do homework on the weekend. I told her that I wished she didn't have weekend HW either. 

 

 


Edited by Ordinary Shoes, 05 February 2018 - 06:22 PM.

  • Tsuga likes this

#30 texasmom33

texasmom33

    Runaway of the Establishment Incorporated

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 6589 posts

Posted 05 February 2018 - 05:50 PM

Have you talked to anyone above your dd's teacher's pay grade? I know you said they don't have a counselor, but at that point I would go to the Principal or at least the AP before considering switching or giving up hope. 


  • Ordinary Shoes likes this

#31 Have kids -- will travel

Have kids -- will travel

    Hive Mind Level 3 Worker: Honeymaking Bee

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 164 posts

Posted 06 February 2018 - 10:10 PM

Late to the topic, but I agree that you don't have to do what the teacher says. Teachers can be well-intentioned but still misguided. One of the best things my mom ever did for me -- a perfectionist with a strong need to obey authority -- was tell me that I could pick my books to read, rather than read the school's books in second grade. I hated the school's books, since I had levelled out of the regular books and was getting textbooks. My mom let me go to the library and read what I wanted. The teacher never asked why I wasn't reading the books I was supposed to.

 

My first grader's spelling words are very difficult. He's had apprentice, vibration, and beautician. He's not a natural speller.

 

We do what works for him. He enjoys a writing app I got him to practice. It's a finger tracing app, and he types in the spelling words himself. That counts as one of your spelling activities. We do a mock test, but it's all low stress. The tricky words get a star, and as he learns the words, the stars go away. He feels motivated to see that progress.

 

Still, for spelling tests, he always makes extra mistakes. We tell him that mistakes are fine, and that we're proud of his results. This has helped a lot, because there were definitely tears about not getting everything perfect.

 

Don't listen to the teacher. Do what is right for your child.


  • Ordinary Shoes and Tanaqui like this

#32 Heigh Ho

Heigh Ho

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 12367 posts

Posted 08 February 2018 - 12:20 PM

If you change 'hw' to 'chores' are you also getting tears? 

Is the problem really homework, or is it that the dc wants to control her day and make it all play and entertainment?



#33 Ordinary Shoes

Ordinary Shoes

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1388 posts

Posted 08 February 2018 - 11:35 PM

If you change 'hw' to 'chores' are you also getting tears? 

Is the problem really homework, or is it that the dc wants to control her day and make it all play and entertainment?

 

No, we don't usually get tears when it's chores or some reason she has to stop playing. I think this is HW. I think she resents it deeply. I think she knows that she shouldn't have to do it and she resents it. I think she's knows that the HW is a waste of time. It's possible that I'm projecting because I know the HW is a waste of time. But she knows that her HW is never hard and that she whips through it quickly and it doesn't actually help her with her studies. 

 

It's hard not to sympathize because I don't think 8 YOs should be doing HW either. I never had HW at that age. 



#34 Heigh Ho

Heigh Ho

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 12367 posts

Posted 09 February 2018 - 08:41 AM

i didn't have formal homework at 8 either, but I was responsible for studying spelling and math facts if needed using my spare time in school (in addition to assigned time at school) and/or home time as well as doing independent reading at home.  I did not have homework because I did what my teacher instructed...my sibling did not and he had hw.  I figured out quickly that I wasn't interested in following his path.  My mother was not responsible for signing off that we did hw, it was expected as part of the contract with school that all would do our parts. The public library was also open at times the children could visit, as was the school library and the adults made sure we used the opportunity.

 

My experience, as a parent, tutor, and parent volunteer, is that whipping thru homework is done for two reasons:  either the student has mastery, or they are missing the concept and wagging.  The wagging comes from not following the teacher's instructions in how to learn the material, or not having the skills to follow the instructions..i.e. don't have study skills that were taught in previous years.  Spelling is an endeavour that takes memory techniques. A copying activity isn't going to work unless the child is actively practicing a technique that will store the word in the memory.  Storing the associated rule is helpful too.  A pretest does not help learn, it flags what isn't learned and shows you what needs to be studied more.  One of the techniques taught back in the dark ages was to pretest before studying on the first day of the week, then study what you didn't know. You might test yourself again later in the week, but you didn't expect a pretest to teach you a word.  Time spent on what you did know was only helpful if you didn't 'know it by heart', and needed the spaced repetition -- which is really what the hw is doing for those who have started to learn the word.  Many techniques have been mentioned above.  What techniques are being used in your child's classroom? What is your child using at school?  What is your child using at home?  Good luck. 

 


Edited by Heigh Ho, 09 February 2018 - 09:25 AM.

  • Ordinary Shoes likes this

#35 Ordinary Shoes

Ordinary Shoes

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1388 posts

Posted 09 February 2018 - 02:20 PM

I don't know what methods they use at school for spelling. The at home activities don't seem to be that helpful to my daughter. They are activities like do jumping jacks while spelling the word (this is her favorite activity), writing the word in sand, writing the words in chalk outside, calculating a value for the word which each letter assigned a numerical value, and writing the words multiple times. 

 

None of these activities seem to help my daughter to learn the spelling rules. 

 



#36 SKL

SKL

    Qualified Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 27880 posts

Posted 09 February 2018 - 03:08 PM

You say the spelling homework is too easy.  Maybe it would be better if you chose the hardest options given for the homework.

 

When my kids were 6, they were required to write sentences using their spelling words.  This allowed a lot of opportunity to make it interesting.  Could they use two or more of the spelling words in the same sentence?  Could they use all the spelling words in a more-or-less logical paragraph / essay?  Could they write rhymes, jokes, seasonally-relevant statements ...



#37 Ordinary Shoes

Ordinary Shoes

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1388 posts

Posted 09 February 2018 - 05:20 PM

I don't think it's too easy. I just don't think it's particularly effective. 

 

Regardless, I don't think there should be any spelling HW at all. 

 

 


  • texasmom33 likes this

#38 Heigh Ho

Heigh Ho

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 12367 posts

Posted 10 February 2018 - 11:46 AM

I don't know what methods they use at school for spelling. The at home activities don't seem to be that helpful to my daughter. They are activities like do jumping jacks while spelling the word (this is her favorite activity), writing the word in sand, writing the words in chalk outside, calculating a value for the word which each letter assigned a numerical value, and writing the words multiple times. 

 

None of these activities seem to help my daughter to learn the spelling rules. 

 

The work in school is what is meant to teach the rules.  In second grade, my son would often have to define the words, sort the words into alphabetical order, and use the words in a complex sentence as seatwork after participating in the daily lesson which taught the sound-letter correspondences. His hw was study them any way that worked for him..not being an auditory learner, he had to go with a visual method (see it forward, spell it forward, spell it backward, write it on the markerboard).  Other students have other preferred methods. 

 

These activities listed as homework choice have a purpose called 'spaced repetition' -- an opportunity for her to review what she has learned, and to move the rules and the spelling into permanent memory.  If they don't work, you do something else, or you figure out what is being missed in class. It doesn't sound from your posts as she is able to recollect what was learned in class.  Perhaps that is something to discuss with her and with the teacher, as it is preventing her from learning the spelling rules and developing the memory techniques to learn the words and have them stick in her mind.  


Edited by Heigh Ho, 10 February 2018 - 12:22 PM.


#39 Ordinary Shoes

Ordinary Shoes

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1388 posts

Posted 10 February 2018 - 03:15 PM

I'm not sure that she's not remembering the rules from class. She usually does very well on her spelling tests. It's only been recently that she's started missing more words on her tests, even though she can spell them correctly at home. I think she's getting nervous during the tests and second guessing herself and then making mistakes on the test. 

 

I'm not really concerned about her spelling. I'm concerned about her getting nervous during her tests. I'm also concerned that she sometimes cries when she has to do her HW. 

 

I think the anxiety could be helped by being more confident in the spelling rules. I think she knows them but doesn't know that she knows them so she second guesses herself. 

 

The crying during HW shouldn't happen for an 8 YO. An 8 YO should not cry over something that has no demonstrable benefits like HW in early elementary school. 

 

 


  • texasmom33 likes this

#40 Heigh Ho

Heigh Ho

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 12367 posts

Posted 10 February 2018 - 04:15 PM

 

 

I think the anxiety could be helped by being more confident in the spelling rules. I think she knows them but doesn't know that she knows them so she second guesses herself. 

 

The crying during HW shouldn't happen for an 8 YO. An 8 YO should not cry over something that has no demonstrable benefits like HW in early elementary school. 

 

 

I don't know how that scenario occurs in spelling..usually it is that they sense the words are getting more difficult to remember, and the rules more numerous, and they need more practice to get to the same level of internal assurance that they are ready for the quiz.  That's with no change in how the words are given in the test and what they are supposed to do on the test. 

 

    You mentioned in an earlier post that there is a feeling of not being able to win a spelling contest....is the winner the high scorer in all the weekly tests?  Could that be the anxiety...a desire to win this contest, but a feeling that its not certain?

 

Crying shouldn't happen over studying.  Words should be used to express what the trouble is.  Then people can help.  If she doesn't want to study, you can certainly excuse her. 



#41 texasmom33

texasmom33

    Runaway of the Establishment Incorporated

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 6589 posts

Posted 11 February 2018 - 12:29 AM

I'm not sure that she's not remembering the rules from class. She usually does very well on her spelling tests. It's only been recently that she's started missing more words on her tests, even though she can spell them correctly at home. I think she's getting nervous during the tests and second guessing herself and then making mistakes on the test.

I'm not really concerned about her spelling. I'm concerned about her getting nervous during her tests. I'm also concerned that she sometimes cries when she has to do her HW.

I think the anxiety could be helped by being more confident in the spelling rules. I think she knows them but doesn't know that she knows them so she second guesses herself.

The crying during HW shouldn't happen for an 8 YO. An 8 YO should not cry over something that has no demonstrable benefits like HW in early elementary school.


This was our situation pretty much with math. Luckily the following year in school Dd got an amazing teacher who recognied the anxiety causing the mistakes on tests and referred her to the counselor but it was a really long road back. I totally agree it’s not reasonable for her to cry over homework. The teacher shouldn’t be putting her in that position. It’s just not worth it.

I also disagree with PP and wouldn’t expect her to be able to articulate the issues. She’s 8. I know grown women who cry when frustrated and can’t articulate, so I’d hardly expect more from an 8 year old. She’s frustrated, maybe embarrassed, and confused of why she is having so many issues with tests and wondering what she’s doing wrong. That’s a lot to process at 8, and most don’t have the insight to realize it’s not them. It’s just a stupid school hoop, even if being told that by a loving parent. I just want to say hugs to you both. It’s hard. :(
  • Ordinary Shoes likes this

#42 Heigh Ho

Heigh Ho

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 12367 posts

Posted 11 February 2018 - 10:18 AM

I also disagree with PP and wouldn’t expect her to be able to articulate the issues. She’s 8. I know grown women who cry when frustrated and can’t articulate, so I’d hardly expect more from an 8 year old. She’s frustrated, maybe embarrassed, and confused of why she is having so many issues with tests and wondering what she’s doing wrong. That’s a lot to process at 8, and most don’t have the insight to realize it’s not them. It’s just a stupid school hoop, even if being told that by a loving parent. I just want to say hugs to you both. It’s hard. :(

 

I am also coming from the position as a parent with a child who couldn't learn in certain classrooms. Fortunately we have a school psych to help.

 

To clarify, as the PP, I don't expect an 8 year old to articulate the issues.  I expect an 8 year old more than halfway thru the school year to use words, not tears, as a first response to needing extra help when that help is available and has been provided.   The second response I advocate is not  your response -- tears, nor is it  the OP's response -- giving up....my response is put the work in.  Why do I say that?  BTDT.  Its not the spelling that matters, its the not learning how to learn the lesson in class combined with not taking advantage of the extra help and not developing the memory techniques that are the red flags...those are necessay student skills that can be learned by the end of the year, if the time is put in at school.  Spelling can be remediated any time (did it after 6th for my dc via MegaWords)....but somewhere, sometime, one has to learn the skill of learning how to learn from a classroom setting when one is coming from a position of weakness and one has to learn the memory techniques.  I'll agree there is a hoop here, its a sorting hoop.   

There's also the matter of the competition that was mentioned...and 2nd grade is a good place to learn how to handle being the challenger and more appropriate coping skills.


Edited by Heigh Ho, 11 February 2018 - 11:19 AM.


#43 Ordinary Shoes

Ordinary Shoes

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1388 posts

Posted 11 February 2018 - 12:37 PM

RE the not taking advantage of extra help because she cried last week when I tried to help her with her spelling. That was because she had to come inside and stop playing with her friends because she had 3 HW assignments to complete on a sunday evening. We could hear all of the other kids on the street still playing. My daughter was angry and I don't blame her. She's 8. 8 YOs should be able to play on sunday evenings instead of doing HW. To be clear, she doesn't have more HW than the other kids on the street but the other kids in public school don't have weekend HW. 

 

I don't think she's not learning the spelling rules in class. She spells the words correctly at home demonstrating that she is learning the rules. She gets nervous during the tests and misspells words that I know she knows how to spell. I know that she can spell them because she's gotten them correct on the mock spelling test and spells them correctly when we discuss it in the car. She must have the memory techniques if she can spell the words correctly during the week. 

 

I need to reiterate that I don't care if she does poorly on her spelling tests. She's reading well above grade level and spells the words correctly other times. She could get 0% on the tests and I would not care. 

 

I do care that she cries when she has to do her spelling HW and I care that she gets nervous when she's taking the test. 

 

I'll repeat myself - 8 YOs should not have any HW besides maybe reading. A 2nd grader who is in school for 7 hours should have more than enough time in school to practice spelling words enough to know them. There is no demonstrated benefit to early elementary school HW. There is also no demonstrated benefit to weekly spelling tests and standard elementary school spelling homework. 

 

Even though early elementary school HW is a waste of everyone's time, we still have to do it because the consequence for not doing it is no recess and depriving a child of recess is very bad. 

 

As I see it, there are many parts of school that are actually damaging to children. Our job as parents who send our children to flawed schools is to lessen the harm from school. Some children are harmed academically because the way they learn does not match how they are taught in school. Other children, like my daughter, are harmed emotionally. 

 

Maybe something drastic would work like telling my daughter to intentionally miss every word on the test and see that there are no consequences. The teacher might complain but there is nothing she could do about it. If you are afraid of failure, sometimes failing and realizing that the sky doesn't fall is helpful. 

 

 


  • Frances, Earthmerlin and texasmom33 like this

#44 SKL

SKL

    Qualified Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 27880 posts

Posted 11 February 2018 - 02:31 PM

There have been various threads about helping kids who are stymied by perfectionism, in the accelerated learner forums.  Maybe they would be helpful.

 

I do think your daughter needs to understand that getting a 100% or an A on the spelling test is not the be-all and end-all.  Whether she does homework or not, that seems like it's going to be an issue until she learns to deal with it.

 

Personally I don't think it's worthwhile to put so much mental energy into whether or not an 8yo has homework.  Fact is, most 8yos do nowadays (and most 6yos for that matter) and that's not going to change no matter what you do.  Even if 8yo isn't the right age for homework in your opinion, when it finally is "the right age," your daughter is going to have to get used to it, so why not now, when the work isn't actually difficult?

 

You could help by scheduling homework time at a time when the other kids in the neighborhood are not out playing.  Personally I always let my kids go out and play when other kids were out.  I felt it was important for them to do that.  We did the homework at other times.  Sometimes in the car, during dinner, or after waking up early on a school morning.  Sometimes I let it go past bedtime rather than cut outdoor play.  Fact is, the balance between work, play, and sleep is a very tough one to keep, and I often fail at that; but there are times when we need to be flexible about all three of those important things.

 

I agree that spelling homework is not the most valuable activity for an advanced 8yo, but in my experience, when homework is a regular part of the day / week, it is much less likely to become a point of contention.  This is one reason why I always had a pile of "mom work" ready in case there was no assigned homework.  Academic review was simply part of the day, every day.


  • Earthmerlin likes this

#45 Earthmerlin

Earthmerlin

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 657 posts

Posted 15 February 2018 - 05:14 AM

RE the not taking advantage of extra help because she cried last week when I tried to help her with her spelling. That was because she had to come inside and stop playing with her friends because she had 3 HW assignments to complete on a sunday evening. We could hear all of the other kids on the street still playing. My daughter was angry and I don't blame her. She's 8. 8 YOs should be able to play on sunday evenings instead of doing HW. To be clear, she doesn't have more HW than the other kids on the street but the other kids in public school don't have weekend HW.

I don't think she's not learning the spelling rules in class. She spells the words correctly at home demonstrating that she is learning the rules. She gets nervous during the tests and misspells words that I know she knows how to spell. I know that she can spell them because she's gotten them correct on the mock spelling test and spells them correctly when we discuss it in the car. She must have the memory techniques if she can spell the words correctly during the week.

I need to reiterate that I don't care if she does poorly on her spelling tests. She's reading well above grade level and spells the words correctly other times. She could get 0% on the tests and I would not care.

I do care that she cries when she has to do her spelling HW and I care that she gets nervous when she's taking the test.

I'll repeat myself - 8 YOs should not have any HW besides maybe reading. A 2nd grader who is in school for 7 hours should have more than enough time in school to practice spelling words enough to know them. There is no demonstrated benefit to early elementary school HW. There is also no demonstrated benefit to weekly spelling tests and standard elementary school spelling homework.

Even though early elementary school HW is a waste of everyone's time, we still have to do it because the consequence for not doing it is no recess and depriving a child of recess is very bad.

As I see it, there are many parts of school that are actually damaging to children. Our job as parents who send our children to flawed schools is to lessen the harm from school. Some children are harmed academically because the way they learn does not match how they are taught in school. Other children, like my daughter, are harmed emotionally.

Maybe something drastic would work like telling my daughter to intentionally miss every word on the test and see that there are no consequences. The teacher might complain but there is nothing she could do about it. If you are afraid of failure, sometimes failing and realizing that the sky doesn't fall is helpful.


I had been thinking to suggest to just wing it for a week or two and see how that plays out.

#46 Earthmerlin

Earthmerlin

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 657 posts

Posted 15 February 2018 - 05:28 AM

There have been various threads about helping kids who are stymied by perfectionism, in the accelerated learner forums. Maybe they would be helpful.

I do think your daughter needs to understand that getting a 100% or an A on the spelling test is not the be-all and end-all. Whether she does homework or not, that seems like it's going to be an issue until she learns to deal with it.

Personally I don't think it's worthwhile to put so much mental energy into whether or not an 8yo has homework. Fact is, most 8yos do nowadays (and most 6yos for that matter) and that's not going to change no matter what you do. Even if 8yo isn't the right age for homework in your opinion, when it finally is "the right age," your daughter is going to have to get used to it, so why not now, when the work isn't actually difficult?

You could help by scheduling homework time at a time when the other kids in the neighborhood are not out playing. Personally I always let my kids go out and play when other kids were out. I felt it was important for them to do that. We did the homework at other times. Sometimes in the car, during dinner, or after waking up early on a school morning. Sometimes I let it go past bedtime rather than cut outdoor play. Fact is, the balance between work, play, and sleep is a very tough one to keep, and I often fail at that; but there are times when we need to be flexible about all three of those important things.

I agree that spelling homework is not the most valuable activity for an advanced 8yo, but in my experience, when homework is a regular part of the day / week, it is much less likely to become a point of contention. This is one reason why I always had a pile of "mom work" ready in case there was no assigned homework. Academic review was simply part of the day, every day.


I also agree it sounds like budding anxiety &/or perfectionism (I could be wrong though). My daughter leans towards anxious and she's learning coping mechanisms to keep it in check. She's 8 so it'll be a childhood journey but I am already seeing some beneftis as she matures. Honestly, I think knowing how to quell worries is a life skill so I try to look at it that way.

I think a lot of her HW is kinda silly too. I honestly like her spelling HW though because a) she's not a natural speller & b) it teaches word or sound families. I slip in my own words (her common misspelled words) from time to time, LOL. Knowing her HW isn't always necessary (in my eyes) or top notch stuff, I don't hover over it. Instead I prefer to instill responsibilty and expect my daughter to keep her affairs in order. She's got a pretty good track record so I'm happy with my decision.

I make exceptions with projects--we work on those together--as I like to teach time management and task analysis still. Plus she will occassionally ask for math help so I'll naturally provide it. Maybe self-directed spelling HW might work for your daughter too?

#47 gstharr

gstharr

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 588 posts

Posted 20 February 2018 - 08:32 PM

I went to a highly selective university with a young woman who had severe test anxiety. I don't know how smart she actually was, but she was easily the smartest person in our study group.  She had to drop out junior year because she could not pass an exam.  I do not know what happened to her.   To me, you need to look at yourself. It does not seem reasonable for a child that age to have test anxiety. How could a child know the significance or importance of a test unless the parents are explaining it to the child that you must be perfect, or expressing disappointment after the test.  Sure, some will say that that never express disappointment overtly, but the kids can pick up on the subliminal..  With my 7th grader, who is taking precalc, and competes in above grade level math competition ,i I tell ,him, before every exam-- have fun--whatever he gets, I will be proud of him for trying.  He mostly surprises me with his results. On occasion, I am disappointed. But I keep my disappointment inside. I give him a  big hug, tell him how proud I am of him , and that we will get them next time. i DON'T EVER TELL HIM THAT HE COULD HAVE DONE BETTER IF.. BLAH, BLAH. Next time is usually successful/.



#48 Ordinary Shoes

Ordinary Shoes

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1388 posts

Posted 21 February 2018 - 01:26 PM

I really don't think this is us making her stressed about her spelling tests. We never even comment on how she does on the tests. I see it in the folder and don't say anything about it. 

 

BTW, DD has done much better on the last 2 spelling tests. She has missed only one word. We haven't had any tears about spelling HW either. We have modified the HW a little bit to make it more fun. For example, last week I used an app on Alexa for the spelling test. DD thought that was pretty fun. We've shortened some of the activities too. 

 

 


  • Earthmerlin likes this

#49 Earthmerlin

Earthmerlin

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 657 posts

Posted 21 February 2018 - 04:53 PM

I really don't think this is us making her stressed about her spelling tests. We never even comment on how she does on the tests. I see it in the folder and don't say anything about it.

BTW, DD has done much better on the last 2 spelling tests. She has missed only one word. We haven't had any tears about spelling HW either. We have modified the HW a little bit to make it more fun. For example, last week I used an app on Alexa for the spelling test. DD thought that was pretty fun. We've shortened some of the activities too.


Good to hear! The levity and brevity of things is helping, I'm sure. What's the Alexa app? We have her.....perhaps I should enlist Alexa's help with HW.😏

#50 Ordinary Shoes

Ordinary Shoes

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1388 posts

Posted 21 February 2018 - 05:37 PM

I can't remember the name of the Alexa skill that we used. There are several spelling skills.