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This last school year my 6yo was in Kindergarten and although he grew tremendously, his writing if anything seems to have gotten worse. We bought the pencil grips, did hand strength activities and worked with him after school but nothing helped. I worry that next year he will struggle because he can't write 1 legible sentence. 

 

For reading they did "sam books" http://www.marriottmd.com/sam/index.html and he didn't enjoy them. His teacher said they are the best though so I found them online free after she suggested we buy a set on ebay for summer study. He made it to 7 during the school year, it was really frustrating for him so I did not push him as hard as I maybe could have. I feel like I need to push him even more now. We have books galore and go to the library many times a week and he loves to hear stories, but not read them. Meanwhile my older son was reading chapter books at 5, and though I don't compare, I do notice the vast difference.

 

I need so much help because next school year he will be transferring to a different school, it's traditional based and very heavy on writing. They teach spalding and saxon math. 

 

He really enjoys busy work and doesn't mind practicing writing but despite that it's not improving. His teacher last school year chalked it up to the fact that he has a speech issue (iep for it) and that is what is making it difficult for him. If anyone has any advice, please share! 

 

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Do you allow television and computer time? If yes, my kids both learned simple reading through leapfrog word factory (and there may be one for sentences too, I don't remember anymore).

 

My son loved watching the new version of Electric Company & he learned a lot! It was on Netflix but that was about 7 years ago. You can probably find them on YouTube. They made learning more difficult blends for my son enjoyable.

 

Lastly, both of my kids really loved an online reading program called "Reading Eggs" (Time4Learning also had great phonics lessons online too, if I remember correctly). Both sites have free lengthy trials, or they did.

 

We also used "Explode the Code", which is a workbook series & my kids both tolerated it very well. I just rotated through several things to make it more enjoyable but they all reinforced one another. Out loud reading time, we liked "I can Read" series (they started with Sam books and Bob books though).

 

There are tons of free resources, readers, online phonics games, lessons, etc. Hopefully someone can link you to those things. I don't remember all that's out there.

 

As for handwriting, my son had a terrible time with it. I mean terrible! His OT recommended broken crayons and golf pencils. This forced him to hold his hand correctly when writing and it really did help. At age 6, we did mazes and tracing, which helped him. We also did copywork (very bitesize amounts), and we used Handwriting without Tears.

 

Honestly though, my son is 13 now and still has poor penmanship. But, it's legible and looks as good as his friends 😊. A lot of the issues with your son's handwriting will develop as he grows. In the meantime, I hope these suggestions help.

 

ETA - if you don't notice improvement with handwriting, you may want to check into dysgraphia. It could be put into your son's IEP if he has it.

Edited by mytwomonkeys
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This last school year my 6yo was in Kindergarten and although he grew tremendously, his writing if anything seems to have gotten worse. We bought the pencil grips, did hand strength activities and worked with him after school but nothing helped. I worry that next year he will struggle because he can't write 1 legible sentence. 

 

For reading they did "sam books" http://www.marriottmd.com/sam/index.html and he didn't enjoy them. His teacher said they are the best though so I found them online free after she suggested we buy a set on ebay for summer study. He made it to 7 during the school year, it was really frustrating for him so I did not push him as hard as I maybe could have. I feel like I need to push him even more now. We have books galore and go to the library many times a week and he loves to hear stories, but not read them. Meanwhile my older son was reading chapter books at 5, and though I don't compare, I do notice the vast difference.

 

I need so much help because next school year he will be transferring to a different school, it's traditional based and very heavy on writing. They teach spalding and saxon math. 

 

He really enjoys busy work and doesn't mind practicing writing but despite that it's not improving. His teacher last school year chalked it up to the fact that he has a speech issue (iep for it) and that is what is making it difficult for him. If anyone has any advice, please share! 

 

If the new school does Spalding, that will be the best thing ever. It is what I would have recommended.

 

Sam books actually have quite a bit of sight-reading involved, so I wouldn't worry about the fact that your son didn't enjoy them.

 

That your little 5yo person couldn't write "one legible sentence" does not concern me. I would expect most children in kindergarten to have "problems" doing that. He may still need hand strength activities, but if the new school does Spalding, you should see real growth in his reading and writing skills. You could ask his teacher for advice on how to help your ds at home with Spalding.

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1.  He may just need more time for brain/body maturity and also  more practice (but I would NOT do endless drill and kill at ALL).

2.  The school sounds like it is pushing expectations that are not developmentally appropriate for many kids.  FWIW, there are a LOT of processes that go into writing.  They don't all develop at the same time.  Writing is HARD for many kids and it can take time for all those underlying processes to come together smoothly.

3.  If the new school will be using Spalding, try to make sure they are using it correctly (have been trained in how to properly implement it). 

4.  If he has not had a really good phonics based program prior to now then hopefully he will do better this next year with Spalding (although not all kids do well with Spalding).  If not, I would look for a phonics based program you could be doing at home.

5.  Pushing him when he isn't ready is going to net frustration and possibly do more harm than good.

6.  Pushing him with materials that are not a good fit will probably do the same.

7.  Over the summer, instead of just general "pushing" maybe what would help more is to work through some short light phonics lessons and short hand writing practice but keep lessons from overwhelming him.  Read to him a lot and let him listen to audio books to keep him from falling behind on exposure to vocabulary/grammar/concepts and to hopefully inspire a love of stories.  If he has outside interests, find books that support those interests and read them with him.  

8.  If he continues to struggle with reading and writing you might look into dysgraphia and dyslexia.  Read The Mislabeled Child and also The Dyslexic Advantage by Brock and Fernette Eide and Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz if you are interested.

9. If the writing output expectation for this next year ends up being too much, PLEASE PLEASE don't let this destroy your child's self esteem.  Stay in contact with the school.  Work at getting an evaluation if it becomes necessary and seek out an IEP to get him the help he needs.  

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speech issues sometimes go along with dyslexia and dysgraphia issues      

 

I suggest telling the IEP group handling your son's speech issue that you are concerned about dyslexia and dysgraphia being possible for him and see if they can help get that checked out     Vision could also be an issue--especially if writing is getting worse, maybe it is because vision is a problem.

 

Even if he does not have dyslexia, a program suited to that--very stepwise progression and phonics based would likely help him if he is struggling. We used High Noon. A lot of people on this site use Barton. Other things also exist.

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If your ds is at a level where he can read series books, then I agree that getting hooked on a series is great!  

 

but I am guessing that he cannot yet read well enough to do that and needs a phonetic reading base in place first.  My ds got into Magic Tree House as a series as he was finishing High Noon reading intervention program, but could not have started with the series before he had his basic reading skills in place.

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The school is known for being very good and is ranked in the top 20 for test scores. When I enrolled them they gave us some spalding cards and recommended the spalding app. I feel this method will be so much better for him. We have neighbors who go there and the turnover is low, unlike where we just were so I think that speaks volumes.

 

We got a stack of the Mercy Meyer books today at the library and he liked the first one but refused to try and read, just wanted to listen. He can't read any books on his own yet. His kinder teacher said to keep using those sam books I linked above but they are so dry. I think he's annoyed because they don't even really make sense.

 

I have explode the code but sadly it's not the level I need, it's for 2nd grade. I will see what I can find at the thrift shops though, sometimes I find great stuff but it would be helpful to at least know what I am looking for and what has been a success for others. Thanks for all the advice so far, I really appreciate it.

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When I was 5 I started first grade.  I could do the comprehension stuff, but I had no fine motor skills.

This continued for years.

 

I had horrible handwriting in third grade.  My mother decided that I should write a diary of what happened in the summer, every day.  I hated this so much.  Finally IIRC she dropped this.  I hated physically writing for years.

 

Then all of the sudden it was fine.  Basically I grew into being able to have fine motor skills that would allow me to have good handwriting.  I don't know exactly when this happened, but I know that by high school I was great at it.  But I still hated writing.  And drawing.  And anything that required making a mark on paper. 

 

Honestly, I think you might be expecting things of your son that he is not developmentally ready for, kind of like trying to toilet train a two month old.  If he can't read reasonably by age 7 1/2, then worry.  If he can't write at all by then, then worry.  Keep trying a little, but don't let him feel like an incompetent person because of this.  Most kids are at grade level by 3rd grade, if taught consistently, but they get there at vastly different paces.  And that is as it should be, and not predictive of issues down the road unless they decide that they are incapable and give up.

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The following books are generally meant for older dc than your ds is (7 and up), but if your ds is bothered by books not making sense, maybe he would like them.  My son's first successful reading experience with a book was The Red Cap in the following group: www.highnoonbooks.com/detailHNB.tpl?eqskudatarq=8125-8

‎  This is a book with all short vowels and no blends and limited other sight words. (Not another book by same title which is historical fiction.)  I thought it was amazing how many sensible stories they managed to write with such a limited set of word types.
 
They do not put both a long vowel sound word like "see" and a short vowel word like "sam" together until several levels into the series. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Edited by Pen
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Agreeing with Pen, Highnoon books might work well.

 

On a side note, was your child a young kindergartner?  Or did he turn 6 early? In other words, did he turn 6 early in the school year or midpoint or late?  There is often a huge difference in developmental functionality between just turned 6 and just turned 7.

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My ds has an IEP, so I can speak to that. It's entirely possible that your ds isn't being identified as having SLDs precisely because it's such a "good" school. There's sort of a culture, sometimes, in some schools, where the parents don't want kids labeled so they aren't. Ironically, sometimes less affluent areas are easier to get diagnoses in.

 

Spalding is good stuff, but it's not appropriate for dyslexia. Between K5 and 1st, where he is RIGHT NOW is considered THE optimal time to eval for dyslexia. So you should either make a formal written request (not verbal, not asking, a formal written request) to the school stating that you suspect learning disabilities and request evals. OR go ahead and pay for private evals and make it happen.

 

Around here, I can get the CTOPP with an OG-certified reading tutor for only $75. Some dyslexia schools do it also. The CTOPP plus IQ testing and achievement testing is what they use to diagnose dyslexia at this age. So he has an IEP for speech? What happens is the classroom teacher watches him and makes the request for evals. If you wait for that, he'll be into school, say October, through a grading period, before they refer him. Then the team will meet. He might begin RTI before then. But basically he's left to fail and doesn't have his IEP updated till spring. 

 

If you make the written request NOW, it starts the legal timeline NOW. That's inadequate to say it's his speech. Non-verbal kids learn to read. He probably needs some intervention. He might be dyslexic. He might need OT. He might have SLD writing. My ds is gifted and got all three of his SLDs in K5 based on discrepancy. The ps kept saying they don't do it in K5, but they did. ;)

 

You're not crazy to think you're seeing things. He's at the ideal age/stage for evals. I would definitely get it done, one way or another. If you do private evals, you can take those into the team as evidence to update his IEP. 

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Edited by OhElizabeth
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Spalding can be good but it was not good for my kids who struggled learning to read at all. I have seen kids who read really well really fast since it teaches common words by analyzing them phonetically and learning phonograms. It can get kids reading really well above grade level in not much time but I also seen with my kids and others that it can also very much not work for others with dyslexia or other issues. One thing that can be a. Issue is he many words and patterns they introduce at one time. I saw and knew of several kids from the the traditional school that used Spalding at the tutoring place that uses Barton. I would get his vision checked out too with a COVD if his writing is getting worse despite practice.

Edited by MistyMountain
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If the new school does Spalding, that will be the best thing ever. It is what I would have recommended.

 

Sam books actually have quite a bit of sight-reading involved, so I wouldn't worry about the fact that your son didn't enjoy them.

 

That your little 5yo person couldn't write "one legible sentence" does not concern me. I would expect most children in kindergarten to have "problems" doing that. He may still need hand strength activities, but if the new school does Spalding, you should see real growth in his reading and writing skills. You could ask his teacher for advice on how to help your ds at home with Spalding.

Sam books have absolutely no sight reading in them if taught properly. They are meant to be fully decodable with the code as taught to that point, and after the first book, only have 1 or 2 new pieces of the code for each book. They are amazing.

 

It sounds like there may be dyslexia

 

Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk

Edited by scoutingmom
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IF your ds is dyslexic, then not only would he probably need a reading program more specifically geared to dyslexia than Spalding, but also Saxon is likely to be extremely frustrating to him for math because it is a very wordy math program. Although the new school may generally be excellent, it may or may not be a good fit for your particular child. Keep open-minded to the idea that it may not be a good fit for him, and that your concern now about trying to get him ready for this "traditional" school may be a flag of warning that the fit may not be right.

 

IF your ds is dyslexic, then the HighNoon books I suggested would probably only be useful as part of its own (or some other) reading intervention program, not as stand alone decodable (phonics) books.

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Well, gee, I am glad he is leaving the school where the teacher keeps pushing the Sam books even though he dislikes them! (And with apologies to those who enjoy them, I did click the link after the above post stating that they're amazing-- that sounded so promising!-- but I can't exactly blame him. Do they really have comprehension questions at the end for stories whose only storyline is "See Sam!" or was it my imagination?) There are PLENTY of other options for learning to read, so many that I am frankly quite puzzled that there is this obsession with using this particular resource on the part of his teacher.

 

Mercy Watson is amazing, but those books contain a complex vocabulary-- they are far from being easy readers. My kids have used the kindergarten readers from CKLA (Like Sam, they're available for free; however, they are a little more modern and introduce the code logically in the sequence of most frequent spellings.)

 

How are this child's gross motor skills? I'd think summer would be a great opportunity to get outside and play together to work on fine and gross motor activities. It's great that he doesn't mind busy work, but maybe drawing with sidewalk chalk, climbing on jungle gyms, playing in sand, swimming, and so forth would actually be just as productive and more fun. I haven't used the Spalding cards but are they something that could be combined with movement, like hops or jumps or spins? I believe there's often a connection between gross motor and fine motor skills, so I'd really want to maximize his free time with those things vs. workbooks or drills.

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Agreeing with Pen, Highnoon books might work well.

 

On a side note, was your child a young kindergartner?  Or did he turn 6 early? In other words, did he turn 6 early in the school year or midpoint or late?  There is often a huge difference in developmental functionality between just turned 6 and just turned 7.

He turned 6 in Jan so he's basically in the middle age wise for his grade. 

 

Around here, I can get the CTOPP with an OG-certified reading tutor for only $75. Some dyslexia schools do it also. The CTOPP plus IQ testing and achievement testing is what they use to diagnose dyslexia at this age. So he has an IEP for speech? What happens is the classroom teacher watches him and makes the request for evals. If you wait for that, he'll be into school, say October, through a grading period, before they refer him. Then the team will meet. He might begin RTI before then. But basically he's left to fail and doesn't have his IEP updated till spring. 

 

If you make the written request NOW, it starts the legal timeline NOW. That's inadequate to say it's his speech. Non-verbal kids learn to read. He probably needs some intervention. He might be dyslexic. He might need OT. He might have SLD writing. My ds is gifted and got all three of his SLDs in K5 based on discrepancy. The ps kept saying they don't do it in K5, but they did. ;)

 

You're not crazy to think you're seeing things. He's at the ideal age/stage for evals. I would definitely get it done, one way or another. If you do private evals, you can take those into the team as evidence to update his IEP. 

 

 

I will contact the school district and find out what the process is to submit a letter to request further testing. They know we are coming from a charter and when I told them I never met with anyone in person to go over the iep last school year they were shocked.

 

The speech pathologist told me at the end of the year, that we'll meet in OCT to update the iep. 

 

I really wanted to hold him back but the more we discussed it the more we came to realize that if anything, it would be better to hold back in 1st. Kindergarten would bore him,but he'd have more time to develop his fine motor skills without as much pressure. I have cousins who were held back for other reasons (sports) in Kindergarten and my aunt said it was the best decision she ever made. We're not doing that though but if the next school year tanks we will. He did good in K, don't get me wrong, but the lack of being able to get letters formed on paper was a hinder. 

 

I'm still learning how to navigate this whole iep thing and I just want to make sure he gets the support he needs. 

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Honestly, I think you might be expecting things of your son that he is not developmentally ready for, kind of like trying to toilet train a two month old.  If he can't read reasonably by age 7 1/2, then worry.  If he can't write at all by then, then worry.  Keep trying a little, but don't let him feel like an incompetent person because of this.  Most kids are at grade level by 3rd grade, if taught consistently, but they get there at vastly different paces.  And that is as it should be, and not predictive of issues down the road unless they decide that they are incapable and give up.

 

:iagree:

 

My first son learned to read at age four, my second son at age seven. He did not write well at all until third grade. Boys in particular can develop more slowly in the areas needed for reading and writing. I had this son work on his fine motor skills by coloring with colored pencils until he was ready for writing, and then he just took off. I also read aloud to him a lot.

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He turned 6 in Jan so he's basically in the middle age wise for his grade. 

 

 

I will contact the school district and find out what the process is to submit a letter to request further testing. They know we are coming from a charter and when I told them I never met with anyone in person to go over the iep last school year they were shocked.

 

The speech pathologist told me at the end of the year, that we'll meet in OCT to update the iep. 

 

I really wanted to hold him back but the more we discussed it the more we came to realize that if anything, it would be better to hold back in 1st. Kindergarten would bore him,but he'd have more time to develop his fine motor skills without as much pressure. I have cousins who were held back for other reasons (sports) in Kindergarten and my aunt said it was the best decision she ever made. We're not doing that though but if the next school year tanks we will. He did good in K, don't get me wrong, but the lack of being able to get letters formed on paper was a hinder. 

 

I'm still learning how to navigate this whole iep thing and I just want to make sure he gets the support he needs. 

 

You should get the NOLO book on the IEP process from your library. Ours had it as an ebook, so I could get it right away. It has everything you need. 

 

It's not encumbent upon you to make the request perfectly. Write or type the letter, date and sign it. PHOTOCOPY it. Hand the original to the secretary at the school. In theory you can email it to the school, but I would not. I would actually physically take it to them. Then you have your signed, dated copy that starts the legal timeline. They know this and they'll get it to the person they want it to. They might give it to the principal who then gives it to the SN coor. They'll know their path. But don't think you have to wait. The timeline is long, so the sooner you start the clock ticking the better.

 

Exactly. They're saying they'll watch him for a grading period and then update his IEP.  You'll definitely want to make the written request, saying you suspect SLDs and request he be eval'd for them.

Edited by OhElizabeth
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I would try working on writing with large air writing and then on a white board to get fluency with the motions of each letter.  

 
Some fun ways to work on phonics:
 
Fun blending with my cards:
 
 
My phonics concentration game:
 
 
Read, Write, Type, online:
 
 
And, not as fun but effective, Blend Phonics/Webster Speller combo.  The motivation when you get to "4th grade level words" like ba-ker and sha-dy is great, plus with Spalding you will need to be working on a lot of different sound spelling patterns so it will be good to get exposure to higher level things, but many boys do better with just learning a bit at a time, especially if they struggle, I have had several boys who had a hard time with Spalding do well with Blend Phonics and Webster.  You may have to modify and simplify some of the upper level Greek and Latin things and just do up to 4th and 5th grade words in Webster, but you may be surprised, I've had some kindergarten students read the 12th grade level words broken up into syllables once they learn the syllabary.
 
 
You can also do frequent review of the one page chart here and use it when you are reading books, although word lists are much more efficient than books and sentences.  Using the chart makes learning the sounds faster and more fun, also easier on you, less time saying "what does short a say?" etc, at first you just help them look things up on the chart, then they learn to look the sounds up on their own.
 
 
With speech problems, there may also be phonemic awareness issues. You need to fix phonemic awareness for phonics to be effective. You can read about that on my dyslexia page, scroll down about 1/3 of the way to phonemic awareness section in bold:
 
 
And, a phonemic awareness test:
 
 
If there is a bit of phonemic awareness problem, you can work on spelling and oral blending while fixing phonemic awareness, once you make progress, add in phonics.
 
 
 
Edited by ElizabethB
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I'm sure your reasons for considering two years of 1st grade instead of two years of kindergarten are sound. But I thought I'd interject the idea that it will likely be much easier for him to repeat the grade while starting a new school. The other kids will not know that he has been through K before. But if he takes first grade twice at the new school, any new friends he makes will move on, while he stays behind in first grade. Everyone will know, and it does have a social and emotional impact.

 

Just something to consider.

 

Since he already has an IEP, I agree with requesting that the new school update the evaluations and evaluate for language, reading, and math learning disabilities, along with the speech.

 

I don't understand how you can have an IEP without ever having met with anyone at the school. Did he have one as a preschooler that carried over? Or did the school develop one for him without your input? To be frank, it is highly unusual, and possible illegal for the school to develop an IEP without a parental meeting (unless the parent refuses to attend -- there are regulations for that). You should use that fact to push for a proper IEP team meeting at your new school ASAP. October is not soon enough, and you don't have to accept that suggestion.

 

The NOLO book is really good. You should also be able to find information about the IEP process on your state's department of education website. I referred to our state's website over and over again during the development of my kids' IEPs. Really understanding the process and your rights will help you a lot.

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I agree that it may be better emotionally to start K at new school than have to repeat 1st.  Especially if he has no LD but just needs some more time.

 

If he does have an LD then iep help for it may be less if he is only in K, where expectations and thus gap between what he can do and what is is supposed to do less.

 

Does he have poor fine motor skills in general, or only for writing?  My ds had excellent fine motor skills generally (could manipulate tools, sew, draw, etc. well), but trouble writing letters/words which was a clue to dyslexia/dysgraphia rather than something else.  But also, if your ds cannot read, if words do not yet make sense, writing also probably does not make sense and is just copying of shapes without understanding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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sorry      sentence go garbled

 

 

what I meant was that for IEP help they sometimes look at where the child is as compared to grade level expectations...  the bigger the gap the more help is likely to be given

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He had an iep from prek that carried over to the new school. They did their own evaluation too but did not revise the plan much at all. I happened to come in to volunteer and was able to sit in on the speech therapy once. I was not impressed when I saw it was basically playing bingo and looking at a chart and saying the sound. In prek he worked with the speech therapist on ipads and did much more language based games. I asked in second quarter if we'd meet to go over the iep and was told sure you can come in whenever, which was never the case in the other school. It was always these are the 2 days you can meet with us and then we'd meet every quarter. I will fail my son if I keep him at this school. My older son was just tested and as I suspected, he's gifted. I pushed that school to have him tested and it never happened. The moment I enrolled into the public, he was tested. Now with them both qualifying for services on different ends, this public school is already going above and beyond what the charter did for us.

 

The school they were at was a for profit charter which now I realize is not such a good thing. Parents were asked almost weekly to contribute supplies for this and that. I'm ready to move on. My oldest son had been at the school since K so this coming school year will be his first time at a new school, whereas for my 6yo this will be his 3rd. I already feel like I failed the older one since he was bored all these years and made up for it by coming up with my own enrichment plans when the school did nothing for him. 

 

If he my 6yo needs to repeat 1st after this school year we will absolutely switch schools again. I know in the long run it's not the best fit for him, but for now I think it's the better option for now. However I did choose this new school thinking we'd keep him back in . His teacher really did not think he needed to be held back despite his struggles with writing. She swore she's held kids back and if she really felt he needed to be she would advocate for that. I think she may have said that though because they were introducing a "transitional first grade" for the coming school year and he would be placed in that class with kids who need extra help. Sounded good but I'm not willing to risk it, especially with it being "new". 

 

I will check into all these links and get the books requested. 

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