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How do I save my relationship with my ds teacher. Everyone says she's the best, but we don't click. When I first signed my son up I told her that I was homeschooled and had began doing that with him, but now he wanted to go to school. She was all smiles. They'd be happy to have him. She was so glad he spoke a foreign language. She assured me we could keep him out of school for our yearly family reunion (overseas) for a week. And that they were there to help us and wanted to make things as easy as possible, etc.. Now after our first Parent Teacher Conference I feel we're at odds. The first thing she told me was your son has A LOT of things to work on. This was before I said a word. Okay. She admitted that he reads past a second grade level or an M, whatever that is, but she added a whole list of things that she did not approve of: he reads too fast, doesn't point to each word lifting his finger between words but runs it under the words as he reads them, doesn't write the ball and stick way, doesn't listen to her instructions instead reads the page and starts working, etc.. I honestly think these things are silly being that her students have only learned three letters of the alphabet so far. If I asked about any reasoning behind an exercise I was told it's the "Kindergarten Way". She said she wanted to warn me that I'd used up all my absent days for the year (four -- he'd been sick) and that I should consider myself warned. I would receive a call if anymore occur. I'm not sure why the relationship changed. What do I do. It seems to me that she knows I teach him at home and resents it for some reason. If you've been a teacher shed some light.

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:grouphug:

I wish I had some good advice for you. From what you wrote, I personally think she's being... ummm... witchy.

 

Who the heck *cares* if he reads quickly or doesn't lift his finger? In fact, I totally DISAGREE with the lifting of the finger idea. I believe that would encourage some pretty choppy, non-fluent reading. And he doesn't write in the ball and stick way? Why does it matter? There are arguably better ways to write than that, anyway. If he can write, he can write, and I don't see how it matters to her.

 

I think you're right--she resents that you teach/taught him for some reason, and she's letting that fuel her ridiculous "complaints". Ick.

 

As for how to mend the relationship, maybe send lots of home-made treats for her? :D She needs a little sweetening up.

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Are you in America? If so, I'd guess that level "M" means his Guided Reading level. I have info on what this means on my blog here. M is very advanced for Kindergarten. It's about at a third grade level.

Second thought is, are we talking about a veteran (some would say "battle-axe") Kindergarten teacher here? That might explain a little bit about what she was thinking when she said the "Kindergarten Way".

I haven't heard about the absence quota, but in most American public schools the school gets money for every day your child is marked present. If your child misses is sick, the school loses money. It could be that your school district is so strapped for money right now that they are becoming heavy handed about absences. The other reason to monitor absences is that after 60 absences a child has to be automatically retained or held back a year. That number might vary in different states.

When I taught I had two children who entered my third/fourth grade classroom who had been homeschooled. One child was a social butterfly and was very eager to be around a full group of kids every day. She also had a big math phobia and cried for the first two weeks of math instruction until I could get through to her. It took me all year to get her on grade level.

The second child was a real introvert, but very bright and above grade level in most areas. She had a hard time knowing when to appropriately participate in class for the first three months. She would follow what we were doing 80% of the time, but then randomly make comments that didn't follow what we were doing. Breaking into the third/fourth grade girl peer social scene was also tough for her at first. By Christmas she was in sync with the whole classroom, and really thriving. But by the end of the year her parents decided to homeschool her again because they wanted more time to pursue her own interests.

I hope some of this helps. Good luck!

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I do not like the whole reading while using a finger. It is meant to be a useful and helpful tool. If it isn't needed or helpful or useful, it shouldn't be forced.

 

Is it possible to schedule another meeting with her and explain that you feel like the two of you seem at odds and that isn't your desire? Ask her if she has any issues over the homeschooling and if she seems like she actually does, you could ask her if she would be more comfortable if your son had a different teacher.

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She feels threatened because you, an individual not trained in educating young children (I'm assuming), have yielded better results than she, a certificated teacher? The things she complained about are silly, and they all have to do with his either being advanced or having been taught in a way that wasn't the "Kindergarten Way" (aka HER way, or the way to which she subscribes). It sounds very single minded and, IMO, is the sign of a poor teacher if she cannot entertain learning other methods or even accepting, let alone challenging, an advanced learner.

 

If you feel she has the intention of "unlearning" him, I'd switch classes or pull him out for the year. I saw this happen with my dc on a smaller scale at a very young age. I believe it's a cruel disservice (to put it nicely).

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:grouphug:

The good news is next year you will deal with a different teacher.

I could be wrong, but I think they have to identify both good and "for improvement" areas, so by the end of the year they can show progress. I could be off on this, but either way don't worry.

My kid last year in K was getting 3rd grade language arts homework and 1st grade math. On our first parent teacher conference the teacher kept saying how immature my kid was and how his maturity was years behind his academic abilities. I got really worried. Then I asked how he compared with other kids in his classroom for maturity and the answer was that he fits right in. My eyes just rolled on the table. So why why why are you telling me he is immature at the age of five when he is perfectly normal for his age???? This story is to illustrate that strange things can happen and not to worry about. Hopefully your child will have a better teacher next year.

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I think it's a balancing act and you have to choose your battles wisely. I used to homeschool and had a difficult time adjusting when I enrolled my kids in school and had to give up the complete control I had over what and how my kids are taught. Still, I can't reasonably expect my kids' teachers to make exceptions to their usual SOP for my kids just because I think they're silly or pointless and they are different than my personal preferences. I try to work with their teachers and give them the benefit of the doubt, and when things come up that don't make sense or that need to be addressed (e.g., one teacher seems sloppy with grading homework and counted things wrong that were correct on more than one occasion), I bring them up with the teacher.

 

Nothing in your list of concerns seems especially onerous or outlandish on the teacher's part to me. Giving full attention to the teacher—not working ahead and only passively listening to his/her instruction—was certainly the standard expectation when I was in school, and that's a behavior I would talk to my child about changing. Teachers have no control over school attendance requirements, so that one isn't really even a teacher issue, though she should not have told you initially that it wouldn't be any problem. Maybe you could focus on one or two issues that are your biggest concerns and set up a time to discuss them with her? Sometimes parent-teacher conferences can feel rushed, so meeting at a different time might work better.

Edited by WordGirl
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Mostly just silly stuff. Yes, he needs to listen to the teacher and not just forge ahead. What if she changes the directions from what is on the sheet? The finger thing...silly. Reads to fast? While reading silently or out loud? If out loud, then he does need to work on that. If silently, how is his comprehension? If it is good, then that is just silly. If it is poor, he needs to slow down a little and see if that helps. The attendance is not an issue the teacher can decide. It is usually state mandated. If you go over the allotted days, you can be attending a court session. If he is sick, you need to take him to get a doctor's excuse. Parents cannot be trusted to say that their kid is sick. It must be approved/confirmed by a medical expert. (Or it is an unexcused absence.) Of course, you could always take him to school and have them send him home sick. That works too. You may be able to have your reunion trip approved as an educational trip. Consult with the principal on that one. I know many families who have had their Disney trips approved as excused, educational trips.

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About too many absences: Many states have laws concerning absences. Around here, after 5 you get a call from the school. After 10, the school is required to refer you to the social worker. It doesn't matter if they are excused or unexcused. It is out of the hands of the teacher.

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Yes, he needs to listen to the teacher and not just forge ahead.

If out loud, then he does need to work on that.

 

About too many absences: Many states have laws concerning absences. Around here, after 5 you get a call from the school. After 10, the school is required to refer you to the social worker. It doesn't matter if they are excused or unexcused. It is out of the hands of the teacher.

 

On the absences, I think it is part of No Child Left Behind. Quite a stink around it in the Big City near here, but you might have to check with the admin office at the school because you could be facing truancy charges when you get back if you don't get something in writing before you go. (Seriously. In Writing.)

 

If you plan on keeping him in school, I hope you make an appt with the teacher to further discuss the issues she brought up at PT conferences. I'd make notes, nod my head & assure her that you'll reinforce to your son to listen for instructions before starting the work himself, ask some of the questions brought up here (reading too fast when reading outloud or to himself? Comprehension ok?), etc.

 

There might be things you just have to agree to disagree on (ball & stick handwriting, finger running under words, etc.) but see if she can tell you why it is important (other than "Kindergarten Way") to do a certain way. Try very hard NOT to be combative. When you ask questions, be sweetly inquisitive and you don't have to follow up on everything (like pointing out that ball-and-stick writing has been shown in studies to be much harder to transition to cursive, etc) with a point. Just write the stuff down, nod & smile. Try to show you are working with her.

 

She'll probably still resent you (and possibly your kid). You just have to hold your breath for the rest of the school year if it doesn't get any worse. (I had a friend whose second grade teacher was worse than this, but it started out this way & ramped up very quickly. She pulled him almost exactly a year ago & is happily homeschooling. She did last until 2nd grade, though. :tongue_smilie:)

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In our district, if I complete an excused abscence form and get some work ahead the days gone don't count against my dc. This works as long as we are gone at least 3 days. Our last school dropped your grade by a full later once you missed 10 days regardless of why you missed.

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How do I save my relationship with my ds teacher. Everyone says she's the best, but we don't click. When I first signed my son up I told her that I was homeschooled and had began doing that with him, but now he wanted to go to school. She was all smiles. They'd be happy to have him. She was so glad he spoke a foreign language. She assured me we could keep him out of school for our yearly family reunion (overseas) for a week. And that they were there to help us and wanted to make things as easy as possible, etc.. Now after our first Parent Teacher Conference I feel we're at odds. The first thing she told me was your son has A LOT of things to work on. This was before I said a word. Okay. She admitted that he reads past a second grade level or an M, whatever that is, but she added a whole list of things that she did not approve of: he reads too fast, doesn't point to each word lifting his finger between words but runs it under the words as he reads them, doesn't write the ball and stick way, doesn't listen to her instructions instead reads the page and starts working, etc.. I honestly think these things are silly being that her students have only learned three letters of the alphabet so far. If I asked about any reasoning behind an exercise I was told it's the "Kindergarten Way". She said she wanted to warn me that I'd used up all my absent days for the year (four -- he'd been sick) and that I should consider myself warned. I would receive a call if anymore occur. I'm not sure why the relationship changed. What do I do. It seems to me that she knows I teach him at home and resents it for some reason. If you've been a teacher shed some light.

 

The responses so far have been compassionate, but you asked how to salvage the relationship. I'll take a stab at that.

 

I taught ps for 8 years. Some principals require that certain topics/issues be addressed during each parent-teacher conference. Time is limited, so some teachers start with those required areas. I think that can come off quite abruptly. She may have been ticking off a list (the absences sound like that to me, so does the reading 'level').

 

Also, many parents ask at the beginning of a conference, "what does he/she need to work on?" If you asked, she may have felt free to launch into her concerns. (I'd say she should have started with some positive observations, but too late now...)

 

Her belief seems to be that there is a certain way for a kindergarten student to read. Your child is not reading that way and it concerns her. Now, I am not saying she is right, but there it is -- she's his teacher and you're stuck dealing with that.

 

As far as the ball and stick printing, she probably believes that she's preventing problems later on by requiring a certain style. Same goes for his learning to read worksheet instructions. She believes it's important to alert you to what she sees as a problem.

 

If you want to salvage the relationship, I'd just take note of her opinion and carry on. No need to agree.

 

It's not necessarily a vendetta against your after-schooling. She may say this to all the parents whose kids don't yet write perfectly and have what she considers bad reading habits.

 

I think I would have been upset coming out of that conference, too. I think most parents would.

 

But, since you asked, I'm just trying to see things from what might be her perspective. I didn't teach with her style, but knew teachers like her. They are very effective for certain types of kids (generally little type-A girls with tidy clothes) and really difficult for others. I'd not assume it has anything to do with after-schooling unless she says something specific. Good luck to you and your son. He sounds like a boy I would have enjoyed having in my K class.

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My son is no angel; I expected lots of things that he needed to work on, for sure. But I didn't think the reading would be the big issue as there he is obviously WAY ahead. Maybe he does read too fast out loud; that's not the issue. I know he needs to improve his public reading and I've been working on this stuff with him. We read to the baby and record his stories and he is and will continue to improve in this. I just felt that she was very strong in pointing out his reading errors, when the other kids don't even read three letter words, and that she disapproved of me in some way because of this. Hard to place my finger on it so I used some of the things she said as examples. I also totally agree that he needs to listen to his teacher, make eye contact with her, and give a verbal response. If nothing else this is common courtesy. I felt though that she blamed his lack of listening skills on the fact that he can read -- that being advanced in that area is a disservice to him over all. Does that make sense? So my question is not if he should improve in these skills but how to let his teacher know I appreciate her teaching and that we're on the same side, so to speak, without stopping educating him.

I tried to ask her why she chose the ball-and-stick way. If there was a reason she liked that type of print. She got all offensive and said she hated it and that she wasn't the one who picked those type of things it was the school director. So maybe some of this stuff is protocol even for her. She is no witch, she teaches 44 Kindergartners each day (in two classes) and that takes a lot out of anyone.

About the absent days I never realized it is so complicated. This is because I never went to school myself. I'll have to look into this more. Of course, I want the school to get paid as much as possible. At the same time, I think strong family ties can prevent a lot of the issues kids come into throughout their school life. On top of that my son goes to French class every Tuesday afternoon. The school here is a half day. Starting January his half day becomes an afternoon class and he'll have to be absent every Tuesday. He needs this French my dh family is French and we may move overseas in a few years. I guess if worse comes to worse he can drop out of class and be home schooled. He loves school though. What's the best way to go about getting my way and making the system happy too? No child left behind is really big here.

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The school here is a half day. Starting January his half day becomes an afternoon class and he'll have to be absent every Tuesday. He needs this French my dh family is French and we may move overseas in a few years. I guess if worse comes to worse he can drop out of class and be home schooled. He loves school though. What's the best way to go about getting my way and making the system happy too? No child left behind is really big here.

 

You are expecting the school to be ok with him missing one day a week, every week, for half the year?:confused:

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You are expecting the school to be ok with him missing one day a week, every week, for half the year?:confused:

 

Well, it's not January yet. I'm trying to figure it out before January arrives. I guess I'm weighing my options and am still uncertain. He got a scholarship to the French classes so I'd feel bad stopping them. I know once a week is super crazy! I'm hoping I find a solution to this. What would you do?

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The French class becomes whole day in January or the Kindergarten? How to salvage: you really need to make an appointment to speak with the principal and teacher about this. Present it as a wonderful educational opportunity for your son that you are sure the school would want him to have. If it is the Kindergarten becoming full day, the school may very well excuse him once a week for the class. It IS very educational after all! If the French class is going to a full day once a week, that is going to be very difficult for the school to deal with. The system is set up to mass educate children according to the SCHOOL's schedule. Everyone is expected to follow the schedule they are given. The individual really does not fit into the plan. Group needs trump individual needs to a great extent. What you are asking of the school is a bit much (even if it is leaving the school for a half day once a week). Honestly, you seem to feel that the what the school is doing isn't that important. It seems to just be a social outlet for your son. He is already able to do everything they are teaching. He is only there because he enjoys it. His education seems to be a very secondary purpose(at school). He is being educated at home and the French school. Could the teacher be picking this up? School is not daycare. You really cannot pick and choose what parts of it you want to participate in.

Edited by Lolly
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I think you can probably make an arrangement for him to miss one afternoon each week. Plenty of kids have special arrangements -- but those are generally initiated by the school.

 

I tutored for a family who pulled their two kids out for a half-day each week. I believe they had had to demonstrate that those days weren't real 'absensces,' but rather an alternative education plan. I don't think the teachers were thrilled (it can make more work for the teacher to have a student miss some instruction each week), but it really isn't up to them what a family chooses to do with their child.

 

I'd start making arrangements as soon as possible if I were you. Good luck!

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Are you sure the teacher doesn't mean your son is reading fast but not comprehending? I used to work one-on-one with my children's fellow classmates and noticed some kids regarded reading as a race -- that reading quickly was the goal -- and they weren't comprehending. In those cases, I tried to slow the child down a little and ask questions along the way to check comprehension. Maybe you could write the teacher a short e-mail thanking her for her input at the conference and then ask if she wouldn't mind clarifying the reading comment for you. The goal is to show you appreciate what the teacher does and want to help her with her job by working with your son.

 

Also, her snippiness that day might have nothing to do with you. It could be that she had a difficult parent before you came, or maybe she was given some bad news about her job. I've noticed that teachers who are receptive and happy the first day are generally that way throughout the year. The ones who are surly and have body language that says "I hate being here" (arms crossed, scowling, unreceptive to parents and kids) on the first day tend to have been bad news bears for us. Thankfully, there haven't been many of them! If your son still likes her, that would be a good sign, too.

 

Regarding the French classes, it wouldn't hurt to ask the school if you could pull your son out on those days. He is doing well, so that would be in your favor. One problem the school might have is that if your son is allowed to do this, other parents might want to do something similar. I've found that private schools tend to be more lenient, but I suppose that could be because they don't receive funding. Not sure.

 

Good luck.

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How do I save my relationship with my ds teacher. Everyone says she's the best, but we don't click. When I first signed my son up I told her that I was homeschooled and had began doing that with him, but now he wanted to go to school. She was all smiles. They'd be happy to have him. She was so glad he spoke a foreign language. She assured me we could keep him out of school for our yearly family reunion (overseas) for a week. And that they were there to help us and wanted to make things as easy as possible, etc.. Now after our first Parent Teacher Conference I feel we're at odds. The first thing she told me was your son has A LOT of things to work on. This was before I said a word. Okay. She admitted that he reads past a second grade level or an M, whatever that is, but she added a whole list of things that she did not approve of: he reads too fast, doesn't point to each word lifting his finger between words but runs it under the words as he reads them, doesn't write the ball and stick way, doesn't listen to her instructions instead reads the page and starts working, etc.. I honestly think these things are silly being that her students have only learned three letters of the alphabet so far. If I asked about any reasoning behind an exercise I was told it's the "Kindergarten Way". She said she wanted to warn me that I'd used up all my absent days for the year (four -- he'd been sick) and that I should consider myself warned. I would receive a call if anymore occur. I'm not sure why the relationship changed. What do I do. It seems to me that she knows I teach him at home and resents it for some reason. If you've been a teacher shed some light.

bring him home again, she seems to looking for a fight

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The teacher is thinking of the DRA skills progression. If you run your son up high in some skills and not others, he'll have a rough time in a group instructional setting that is grouped by grade level objectives. So, if reading aloud with appropriate speed and drama is a 2nd grade objective that he can't do, but his comprehension is on the 5th grade level, there is going to be some difficulty in placement in the future. He'd be better off from her point of view spending time on the 2nd grade skill set and mastering it than on the 5th grade one. Reading is a big issue because over half of the instructional time in K-2 is devoted to the language arts (LA or ELA, E being for English). I wouldn't view it as 'pointing out errors' but thank her for her observations and constructive feedback.

 

It is considered inappropriate to compare your child to another. Just compare your child to the grade level objectives.

 

 

 

Yes, it makes sense. It makes sense because listening comprehension is part of the language arts. In my state the students are tested on listening comprehension as part of their ELA eval starting in Gr. 3. Even in K, there is pressure on the teachers to be 100% successful in acheiving grade level listening comprehension.

 

 

 

In public school, the teacher does not choose the handwriting style - that's done by an administrator or a committee.

 

22 in a K class is a handful.

 

I'm sensing that you want a pat on the back for having a child who is ahead. The teacher can't do that, as it is not politically correct. Her job is to get everyone to the K finish line, not cater to 'advantaged' families. I think she may be confused as to what you expect the school to teach your child since you are providing literacy instruction at home. I don't think she'll sense genuine appreciation if she hasn't had the opportunity to teach him anything new.

 

teacher can and DO 'pat parents on the back" though i do not think OP is looking for that.

 

My DN's teacher is constantly telling sis that her son (9) is advanced in sceince; my BFF DD's teacher talks about the amazing reader that girl is -- teacher DO express to parents that children are ahead -- there is nothing 'un PC' about admitting a child has a skill or a strenght that her or his classmates don't have -- please. :lol:

 

no one expect a teacher to cater to the advanced students -- BUT it is, perfectly fine to ADMIT they are advanced.

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Around here, after 5 you get a call from the school. After 10, the school is required to refer you to the social worker. It doesn't matter if they are excused or unexcused.

 

 

:ohmy: Do they refer me to a social worker where I have the option to contact him/her, or do they refer the social worker to me? Are you in California?

 

Just curious.

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Sadly, I can answer some of the absentee/truancy issues. Schools typically allow 10 excused absences per year (5 per semester). An excused absence is a parent note. (You can have unlimited doctor's notes). They get very grouchy when you go over that amount. Regardless of your child's grades, they will send you a nasty note stating that education is very important and you should strive to send your child to school every day. Furthermore, if you don't you could be taken to jail and/or pay a fine (per the note).

 

When my middle daughter was in Kindergarten (and doing so well that her teacher told me she felt she was highly gifted and had her do different things from the rest of her class), she began having chronic and daily stomach pain. She missed 17 days before our doctor noticed that she hadn't grown at all (height or weight) in nearly a year and a half. She tested positive for Celiac Disease and they scheduled a biopsy. I received my nasty note from the school and called to explain it to them. The truancy officer was very unsympathetic and told me to send her to school or else.

 

I had to get the principal to intervene.

 

It's ridiculous, but it's meant to keep parents (who aren't as concerned about education as the OP is) bringing their kids to school. So, I roll my eyes and try to be understanding.

 

Make sure you are very detailed in your excuses to the school so if they pull those out to look at them, you look reasonable. Regarding your trip, go talk to the principal and ask them to excuse it in advance. It wouldn't hurt to let them know that you feel strongly when a child is sick, they should be home and that you work with your child at home. If they ever do send you a truancy note, it's better that they know you, than to consider you a stranger. (Truancy is beyond teacher's control.)

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Sadly, I can answer some of the absentee/truancy issues. Schools typically allow 10 excused absences per year (5 per semester). An excused absence is a parent note. (You can have unlimited doctor's notes). They get very grouchy when you go over that amount. Regardless of your child's grades, they will send you a nasty note stating that education is very important and you should strive to send your child to school every day. Furthermore, if you don't you could be taken to jail and/or pay a fine (per the note).

 

When my middle daughter was in Kindergarten (and doing so well that her teacher told me she felt she was highly gifted and had her do different things from the rest of her class), she began having chronic and daily stomach pain. She missed 17 days before our doctor noticed that she hadn't grown at all (height or weight) in nearly a year and a half. She tested positive for Celiac Disease and they scheduled a biopsy. I received my nasty note from the school and called to explain it to them. The truancy officer was very unsympathetic and told me to send her to school or else.

 

I had to get the principal to intervene.

 

It's ridiculous, but it's meant to keep parents (who aren't as concerned about education as the OP is) bringing their kids to school. So, I roll my eyes and try to be understanding.

 

Make sure you are very detailed in your excuses to the school so if they pull those out to look at them, you look reasonable. Regarding your trip, go talk to the principal and ask them to excuse it in advance. It wouldn't hurt to let them know that you feel strongly when a child is sick, they should be home and that you work with your child at home. If they ever do send you a truancy note, it's better that they know you, than to consider you a stranger. (Truancy is beyond teacher's control.)

Well said.

I just thought I'd add that all of those strict truancy laws are there for a reason. When I use to teach in East Palo Alto, CA I'd have kids come and go from Mexico all the time due to poverty issues, and lack of parental understanding about the importance of regular attendance. In one year I had 40 students altogether, even though I only had 20 kids at a time.

On the other side of the coin, when I grew up my best friend who came from an advantaged home was also a child actor. She was also constantly missing school due to auditions. It was absolutely horrible on her academically. She ended up missing so much. I can't believe her mother didn't see that, but she had $ signs in sight.

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Sadly, I can answer some of the absentee/truancy issues. Schools typically allow 10 excused absences per year (5 per semester). An excused absence is a parent note. (You can have unlimited doctor's notes). They get very grouchy when you go over that amount. Regardless of your child's grades, they will send you a nasty note stating that education is very important and you should strive to send your child to school every day. Furthermore, if you don't you could be taken to jail and/or pay a fine (per the note).

 

When my middle daughter was in Kindergarten (and doing so well that her teacher told me she felt she was highly gifted and had her do different things from the rest of her class), she began having chronic and daily stomach pain. She missed 17 days before our doctor noticed that she hadn't grown at all (height or weight) in nearly a year and a half. She tested positive for Celiac Disease and they scheduled a biopsy. I received my nasty note from the school and called to explain it to them. The truancy officer was very unsympathetic and told me to send her to school or else.

 

I had to get the principal to intervene.

 

It's ridiculous, but it's meant to keep parents (who aren't as concerned about education as the OP is) bringing their kids to school. So, I roll my eyes and try to be understanding.

 

Make sure you are very detailed in your excuses to the school so if they pull those out to look at them, you look reasonable. Regarding your trip, go talk to the principal and ask them to excuse it in advance. It wouldn't hurt to let them know that you feel strongly when a child is sick, they should be home and that you work with your child at home. If they ever do send you a truancy note, it's better that they know you, than to consider you a stranger. (Truancy is beyond teacher's control.)

 

What is considered an excused absence varies by school district. Here, a parental note for illness is not considered excused. It must come from a doctor's office. (I believe most places are that way now.) Missing school due to a death in the family is only excused if you bring in proof of the death; then the person must be a close relative (usually best to get the okay before you leave! Grandma is usually approved. Great-aunt Bernice is not.). School field trips/activities are always excused. Trips approved in advanced are excused, but get it in writing because you will need proof that it was approved. Elementary often will approve family trips, but high school pretty much just refuses.

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I'm sensing that you want a pat on the back for having a child who is ahead. The teacher can't do that, as it is not politically correct. Her job is to get everyone to the K finish line, not cater to 'advantaged' families. I think she may be confused as to what you expect the school to teach your child since you are providing literacy instruction at home. I don't think she'll sense genuine appreciation if she hasn't had the opportunity to teach him anything new.

 

No. Not really. If I wanted to feel good about my sons education I'd have kept him home and listened to Grandma sing his praises. I really think the school is doing him a lot of good. I appreciate his teacher, and want her to feel that I do. Maybe like someone else said her attitude that day was due to something else. Maybe she was just having a rough day. Also it's possible she stereo-typed me with other parents who have/are teaching their kid at home and that led to some of the feelings and warnings. I'm gonna go with giving her the benefit of the doubt. Between parents and the school board she must be in a tight place.

I need to do something about those absent days though. The French school holds classes every Tuesday for kids 5-8. One class is in the morning (11-2) and one in the afternoon (2-4). I don't get to chose since he has a scholarship. I know those kids are not home schooled so there must be a way around this. Will ask next week.

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Anybody knows how to excuse a trip as an educational trip? (of couse also turn in the required homework prior to leaving).

 

Some districts in California let students sign up for independent study if they go on a trip over a week so the school district can still get the attendance money. It is around 35 dollars a day per student. My cousin took two of her elementary kids out of school to visit relatives in another country. The boys each missed 8 days of school. Before they left one teacher wanted her to sign up for independent study and the other didn't believe it was necessary (they both scored Advanced on the state test-STAR). She was not willing to have only one child do work and she wanted plenty of time to show her kids around the country. When she got back the school secretary gave her a sheet of paper that had a suggested donation to the school of 500 dollars for they school days her boys missed. She didn't pay it and in the end no one brought up the absences again.

 

If you live in a basic aid district then the school usually doesn't care about attendance because they don't lose money since they don't calculate ADA (average daily attendance). I am pretty sure Roadrunner that you must live in one if the district spends the amount you mentioned per student a couple of months ago.

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Some districts in California let students sign up for independent study if they go on a trip over a week so the school district can still get the attendance money. It is around 35 dollars a day per student. My cousin took two of her elementary kids out of school to visit relatives in another country. The boys each missed 8 days of school. Before they left one teacher wanted her to sign up for independent study and the other didn't believe it was necessary (they both scored Advanced on the state test-STAR). She was not willing to have only one child do work and she wanted plenty of time to show her kids around the country. When she got back the school secretary gave her a sheet of paper that had a suggested donation to the school of 500 dollars for they school days her boys missed. She didn't pay it and in the end no one brought up the absences again.

 

If you live in a basic aid district then the school usually doesn't care about attendance because they don't lose money since they don't calculate ADA (average daily attendance). I am pretty sure Roadrunner that you must live in one if the district spends the amount you mentioned per student a couple of months ago.

 

 

Wow this is complicated. Thank you!

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Wow how awful. I believe the teacher is suppose to be evaluating whether your child has met the kindergarten standards. I think she should have told that you child is excelling in all areas. Also I think there should have been some discussion of him being identified as gifted. She should be concerned about how to keep him challenged. There should not be other concerns. I think she is intimidated by your teaching ability. The attendance issues are ridiculous. A kid can be out sick 4 days with one virus. I can't believe the sick policy is so strict. Here in NJ you can't have more than 10 "unexcused" absences. Also educational trips count as excused.

 

Lori

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I wanted to post again and try to help with the resolving issues you are having. Having children with special needs, I find myself on the opposite side of the teacher at times, and it takes a lot of diplomacy to keep everyone happy and comfortable.

 

First, I have to tell you that having that many kindergartners is a lot. Our district is economically deprived and still managed to keep 12 kids per kindergarten class. It appeared from your post that she is managing about 22 per class with two different classes she oversees - a total of 44 kindy kids. That's a lot of kids and a lot of parents. I believe your first (happy) meeting was when she didn't have a ton of them to do and your most recent (stressed) meeting came at a time when she felt personally stressed.

 

I would buy a small thank you gift - (I typically buy a pound cake from the bakery or anything that is small but a nice gesture) and write a thank you note to her. "Dear Teacher, Thank you for taking the time to meet with me the other day. I appreciate your taking the time to discuss my child's school performance. We discussed so many things that day, that I'm afraid I left with a lot of questions and things I didn't really understand. Would it be possible for us to meet again? Please know that I'm committed to working closely with you so that 'child' can be successful in kindergarten. Please let me know what day and time works out best with your schedule."

 

When you meet, remind her that you were homeschooled and that some things may be new to you. (If she's feeling threatened that you were homeschooled/homeschooler, this will hopefully calm her down). Let her know that you were unfamiliar with the school absence policy and that you appreciate her calling it to your attention. Then ask her who is in charge of enforcing that policy at the school level (typically the ass't principal). {Side note - you should have received a handbook outlining that at the start of the school year - either read it or go ask for one if they didn't give it to you. Then, make a meeting with the person in charge and let them know you didn't understand the policy until now and ask what you should do when your child is sick for several days but you don't want to take him to the doctor. If your child did see a doctor, ask if you can bring in a doctor's note and have the excuses changed to doctor's note.} If she wants your child to work on comprehension, assure her that you will help with that at home. If there are behavioral issues, let her know that you have a zero tolerance policy on your children being disrespectful and will address that with him. I've found that if teachers are nervous, they come off as defensive. By letting her know that you want to work with her, she will hopefully see you as the parent of one less child to stress over. (Teachers can absolutely tell which parents work with their children and which do not).

 

There are standards that teachers must meet or they receive negative reviews and scores from administration. Once you find out what SHE needs to get done for the year, you'll find what she's worried about. Honestly, if I had to worry about teaching the kids in my daughter's FIRST GRADE class how to read (and there are only 16 in the class), I'd be a nervous wreck. In defense of teachers, they have to work with a lot of challenges these days. There are more special ed kids in the class without extra supports. There are many parents who battle and challenge the school on every little detail. And many of the academic standards they are forced to teach, make little to no sense.

 

Oh, and if you have the time, offer to volunteer in the classroom and help with holiday parties or craft days. And, if you have the funds, ask if she needs anything for the classroom (paper, tissues, sanitizer, etc).

 

Good luck with everything :)

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Anybody knows how to excuse a trip as an educational trip? (of couse also turn in the required homework prior to leaving).

 

A lot of it depends on your relationship with the school. If it IS an educational trip, I'd make a list of the things you will be doing (visiting a museum, spending a day studying sea-life, etc) and go talk to the person who can excuse the absences (typically the principal). If it's not an educational trip (and you have a good relationship), you can explain the trip and it will probably be excused anyway. (My in-laws once paid for three school days and a week-end at the beach for our family - I explained that scenario and the principal laughed and told me she would be skipping school too).

 

If you have a bad relationship with the school, I've found that they are really unpleasant to deal with until it turns around. Luckily, i'm rarely in that situation but it's tough when you are.

 

ETA - also it depends on the grade - elem/middle school won't be a problem. Once you're in high school, it takes an act of God it seems to get things excused.

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A lot of it depends on your relationship with the school. If it IS an educational trip, I'd make a list of the things you will be doing (visiting a museum, spending a day studying sea-life, etc) and go talk to the person who can excuse the absences (typically the principal). If it's not an educational trip (and you have a good relationship), you can explain the trip and it will probably be excused anyway. (My in-laws once paid for three school days and a week-end at the beach for our family - I explained that scenario and the principal laughed and told me she would be skipping school too).

 

If you have a bad relationship with the school, I've found that they are really unpleasant to deal with until it turns around. Luckily, i'm rarely in that situation but it's tough when you are.

 

ETA - also it depends on the grade - elem/middle school won't be a problem. Once you're in high school, it takes an act of God it seems to get things excused.

 

Note taken! All smiles during the parent teacher conference. :lol:

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Just a follow-up note on the absentee-ism issue. I found that my state (Nebraska) changed the definition of truancy to include excused absences (official doctor visits, family trips, field trips, competitions, etc.) in 2010. A 2011 law required the school districts in the biggest city of our state to "share" information on students with the Office of Probation, Health & Human Services, and Juvenile Justice.

 

Most people (including me) didn't know about the law change. Some are finding out when they get their "first" or "second" warning letter about too many absences.

 

Good luck!

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It is considered inappropriate to compare your child to another. Just compare your child to the grade level objectives.

 

That may be so in the ideal world, but I can tell you if I sent my 1st grader to public school right now, I would absolutely (whether in my mind or aloud) be aware of the fact that he is reading at a 4th grade level, and probably ahead of the majority of his classmates. Her child being ahead of his peers presents an issue that should be addressed not as a "problem" but as a gift. The teacher should be asking herself "How can we nurture this ability, yet at the same time address some of his deficiencies?"

 

I'm sensing that you want a pat on the back for having a child who is ahead.

 

I don't get this sense at all.

Edited by Halcyon
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Just a follow-up note on the absentee-ism issue. I found that my state (Nebraska) changed the definition of truancy to include excused absences (official doctor visits, family trips, field trips, competitions, etc.) in 2010. A 2011 law required the school districts in the biggest city of our state to "share" information on students with the Office of Probation, Health & Human Services, and Juvenile Justice.

 

Most people (including me) didn't know about the law change. Some are finding out when they get their "first" or "second" warning letter about too many absences.

 

 

:001_huh: I would have been in trouble the year I had pneumonia. It took several weeks before I was back to normal even after the worst of it was over, and I don't even remember how many days I missed.

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I'm just throwing it out to have some discussion as an aide to the OP in picking through what she has experienced. Teacher conferences are so fast, it's hard to think on your feet when you are a newb vs someone who is experienced. Feel free to express what you think, if you think it would be helpful.

 

I appreciate your comments they were what I was looking for. Straightforward thoughts about things I hadn't known teachers face. And I'm glad you told me that it's inappropriate to measure your kids with the classmates but rather to measure them against content. I didn't know this and might have offended a friend someday if you hadn't brought it to my attention here. I talked with my sons teacher the other day and she was more how she'd been the first time I met her. I think it'll be fine.

Edited by toawh
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She feels threatened because you, an individual not trained in educating young children (I'm assuming), have yielded better results than she, a certificated teacher? The things she complained about are silly, and they all have to do with his either being advanced or having been taught in a way that wasn't the "Kindergarten Way" (aka HER way, or the way to which she subscribes). It sounds very single minded and, IMO, is the sign of a poor teacher if she cannot entertain learning other methods or even accepting, let alone challenging, an advanced learner.

 

If you feel she has the intention of "unlearning" him, I'd switch classes or pull him out for the year. I saw this happen with my dc on a smaller scale at a very young age. I believe it's a cruel disservice (to put it nicely).

 

:iagree:

 

Wow! Your teacher sounds exactly like the experience my now 2nd grader had in K, including the "kindergarten Way." My daughter would even come home saying she had to learn everything all over again the Kindergarten way. Her teacher, I felt, was annoyed that my daughter was way ahead and insisted she learn things from the teacher only, since she had the certificate. I think her teacher felt useless in teaching my daughter so she would nit-pick about anything she could find. It didn't matter how well she read or what she knew about math, this teacher was just bent on putting her down and it really affected my daughter's confidence about what she thought she knew. It's even a private school where they are supposed to cater to you.

 

Everyone without exception views this K teacher as the best ever. Two years later and I still don't get it. I wouldn't even bother trying to make amends. You didn't do anything wrong, she needs to adjust and support your kid's abilities and not punish him for it.

 

I've experienced teachers that either encourage you to "supplement" at home, or prefer you to leave the "real learning" to the teacher. I don't think teachers on the whole see homeschooling/afterschooling as real learning since the mom/dad is not a certified teacher.

 

Good luck :grouphug:

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Are you in America? If so, I'd guess that level "M" means his Guided Reading level. I have info on what this means on my blog here. M is very advanced for Kindergarten. It's about at a third grade level.

 

Second thought is, are we talking about a veteran (some would say "battle-axe") Kindergarten teacher here? That might explain a little bit about what she was thinking when she said the "Kindergarten Way".

 

I haven't heard about the absence quota, but in most American public schools the school gets money for every day your child is marked present. If your child misses is sick, the school loses money. It could be that your school district is so strapped for money right now that they are becoming heavy handed about absences. The other reason to monitor absences is that after 60 absences a child has to be automatically retained or held back a year. That number might vary in different states.

 

When I taught I had two children who entered my third/fourth grade classroom who had been homeschooled. One child was a social butterfly and was very eager to be around a full group of kids every day. She also had a big math phobia and cried for the first two weeks of math instruction until I could get through to her. It took me all year to get her on grade level.

 

The second child was a real introvert, but very bright and above grade level in most areas. She had a hard time knowing when to appropriately participate in class for the first three months. She would follow what we were doing 80% of the time, but then randomly make comments that didn't follow what we were doing. Breaking into the third/fourth grade girl peer social scene was also tough for her at first. By Christmas she was in sync with the whole classroom, and really thriving. But by the end of the year her parents decided to homeschool her again because they wanted more time to pursue her own interests.

 

I hope some of this helps. Good luck!

:iagree:

Former K-6 schoolteacher as well and I agree with the above post.

 

I had numerous students who were homeschooled and there is always a transition period for them to adjust to the "group" (or Hive) mentality of how the classroom runs. And honestly? It is just Kindergarten. Years from now, those remarks won't mean much. Try not to panic, OP.

 

It may be that this teacher has never had homeschoolers? Or she is being nit-picky over small trivial matters. Or she is intimidated by the child's academic abilities. And sometimes, parents and teachers just clash personality wise.

 

There is a big difference between excused absences and unexcused absences. If you go over your limit with absences, many schools will use it as an excuse to not promote the student to the next grade or a truant officer is called to the home. You can request an independent study packet for the upcoming week vacation the OP wants to do... but there is a special form to be filled out in advance. It has to be approved by the prinicipal ($$ counts for ADA) and then the teacher has to prepare a packet of lessons for the student to do as homework while on vacation. Turn it in and officially on the books he was not "absent" but legally doing independent study. Basically a loophole. ;)

 

Don't take it personally, but you cannot change her into liking the OP. Smile and pass the bean dip. Make a mental note to never have this teacher for other children again. Sorry this happened.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Some districts in California let students sign up for independent study if they go on a trip over a week so the school district can still get the attendance money. It is around 35 dollars a day per student. My cousin took two of her elementary kids out of school to visit relatives in another country. The boys each missed 8 days of school. Before they left one teacher wanted her to sign up for independent study and the other didn't believe it was necessary (they both scored Advanced on the state test-STAR). She was not willing to have only one child do work and she wanted plenty of time to show her kids around the country. When she got back the school secretary gave her a sheet of paper that had a suggested donation to the school of 500 dollars for they school days her boys missed. She didn't pay it and in the end no one brought up the absences again.

 

If you live in a basic aid district then the school usually doesn't care about attendance because they don't lose money since they don't calculate ADA (average daily attendance). I am pretty sure Roadrunner that you must live in one if the district spends the amount you mentioned per student a couple of months ago.

:svengo:

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Haven't read the whole thread. As to the French classes - one option that can work is to get your child officially declared "gifted", which means he'd have an IEP. If it's in the IEP, you can do pretty much anything, including go to French classes, so long as you and the school agree on it. The IEP protects the school against issues with absence audits from the state. So that's one way to approach it. (At his age, they may not want to test for gifted. In my state, they have to do it if you ask, even if it's not part of their usual approach. Each state is different.)

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