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Old 04-20-2018, 03:41 AM
 
Location: Chambers County
1,027 posts, read 1,684,318 times
Reputation: 1035

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We held our son back before 1st grade. What a wonderful decision that was! If there is a need, I highly recommend it!
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Old 04-20-2018, 06:44 AM
 
614 posts, read 419,721 times
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We just finished fifth grade math with my accelerated 9yo. Knowing what I know now, my advice is to really really really try to find a math tutor for the summer that can dial-in to your son's particular math learning style and get him up to speed if he is not being retained.

Fifth grade math is a beast and if he is not going into it completely sound on 2 digit x 3 digit multiplication and at least 1 digit into 3 digit division he will get CLOBBERED.

We use the "Bridges" curriculum in our 4th grade math and it did NOT prepare them for the EngageNY/Eureka curriculum (considered the 'best' standards aligned math curriculum) they faced in 5th grade. Obviously your district may have different options and do a better job than my district. My son said that me making him do long division last summer was the difference between succeeding and failing in 5th grade math.
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Old 04-20-2018, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Brooklyn
48 posts, read 21,226 times
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I think SalamanderSmile and Parentologist made excellent recommendations on the path forward. The situation is that he's learning multiplication at a slower pace than the other kids and now he's missed out on division. I concur with SalamanderSmile that it's important that you get him up to speed on division over the summer. I also concur with Parentologist regarding how to lessen the impact of your daughter on your son's learning. I'm not too familiar with "wrap around" services but maybe between you and your spouse you can somehow manage their afternoons such that one of you can really sit down with your son and walk him through his homework away from the distractions. It sounds like you're already trying to figure out a way to make that happen, so kudos to you!


If at all possible, I would recommend staying by his side while he works, making sure that he stays focused. In my experience this cuts down on time wasted fidgeting and helps him practice honing in on an assignment and knocking it out.


Since he's learning math concepts that may be a bit tricky for him, I would start with the most elementary steps, making sure he actually understands how to solve the problems, not just rewarding him for getting correct answers. If he's having difficulty with a particular step in the division process, create some extra little side problems or visual aids (I use scraps of paper) to let him get some practice on exactly the step he's finding difficult until he's comfortable with it. Praise him for learning how to solve the problem and emphasize how good he's going to feel getting good grades on tests because of his effort learning how to solve the problem. Consider creating incentives for him to do well on tests (which in turn gives him an added reason to pay attention during these study sessions). And he will start to do well on tests, because he knows how to solve the problems.


Sitting down and going through his homework together can be grueling for both of you when he has a lot of homework, but I've found that study breaks really help to break it up into more manageable pieces. I would caution against letting him have screen time during study breaks, as I've noticed the dopamine drop-off when it's time to resume the homework makes it especially painful. Also, starting homework as early in the week as possible is ideal so that he's not slammed with 2 worksheets and vocabulary homework (or whatever the case may be) on Wednesday and Thursday night.


I don't think holding your son back is going to lead to the lasting improvements that you're hoping it will. I suspect that the teachers are mostly recommending it because he hasn't learned division yet. I think there's a way to address this problem without holding him back a year.


**My 9-year-old son's test grades in math went from the 40s-60s up to the 90s using the process I've described above. Every child is different, but I wanted to share that with you with the hopes it may work for yours.**
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Old 04-20-2018, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
16,009 posts, read 15,320,813 times
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You have never mentioned why your child has an IEP (sorry, if I missed it). The school districts in my area rarely will retain a child that has an IEP. Because, if they are in special education because of a learning disability or a cognitive disability they will always be in special education no matter their grade. The very few exceptions would a very, very young, very socially immature very physically small, junior or senior kindergarten student or high school juniors, who stay HS juniors until the year before they turn 21 and then become seniors (for their final year in HS).
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Old 04-20-2018, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Texas
42,024 posts, read 48,859,331 times
Reputation: 66422
Quote:
Originally Posted by nalabama View Post
I was accelerated a grade (straight from 3rd to 5th). Thereafter, I was always the youngest person in my class. Learning and maturing are both processes, but learning is easier in my opinion as you mature. Catching up academically admittedly was easy for me, but I never caught up in the maturity process until graduating college and completing military service. A lot of bad decisions were made during that period trying to appear mature to others. If anything, being held out/back a year to take advantage of athletic scholarships that may have become available would have perhaps been more advantageous for me in the long run.

If your child needs another year to mature and be able to accept the learning opportunities he is presented with, then I can't see a real downside to such a decision. After all, he has the rest of his life to learn everything he needs to know.
Our private school calls it, "The Gift of Time" when they recommend certain late birthday kindergartners to do a year of primer instead of going to first grade.

Seeing the HUGE variation in the K class, I can see the merits in this.

Me? I was a '76 birthday when all my classmates were '74 and '75. Just started school when I was 4 bc I was bored at home. Never had an issue academically (or athletically) keeping up, but girls are different than boys in those respects. Socially never made a difference except having to wait till second semester jr year to get my license.
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Old 05-03-2018, 03:05 PM
 
Location: D.C.
1,671 posts, read 1,449,973 times
Reputation: 2585
Thought I would circle back with our results thus far.


We decided against holding him back. We discussed all of this with him, laid out the pros and cons for both approaches, told him we support whatever decision he makes, but MUST understand that if he continues to the 5th grade and can't keep up without freaking himself out, then that is when we might have to slow this down a year. We thought the 5th would be better because he wouldn't see his classmates the next year (they move on to middle school). We also liked the idea to give him a chance here. Show him that we have faith in him, back him up 100%, and want to work together as a family at his direction on what he says he needs.

I was 70% in favor of not holding him back when I posted last. After talking with him, I heard what I was needed to hear to go 100%. In short, he is afraid of failing. Those are his words exactly. Afraid of failing. Not that he doesn't want to try. Not that he could care less about school and the "whatever" response. But that he is afraid of failing. His honest response.

So, with that now on the table, we met with the school and had a great conversation. All are on board with our plan, and agree with us. At the end of the day, the ONE thing I simply cannot do to him is chip at his confidence. And to hold him back this year, when he's been making good progress but just behind, would risk doing just that. I worried that we would have an easy and solid year next year because he already knew it, but then slide backwards again later on, and have to deal with the double-whammy of the social aspect of being held back. I just could not risk it. I have family members who were true Road Scholars. One has one of the highest IQ's ever registered in her entire state. Another finished college with honors. Both have not had productive and happy adult lives, and it all stems back to their own personal self confidence levels. At some point along their way, something happened that chipped away at that, and they never recovered. One of them hasn't held a job since George W. Bush was President (he turned 50 recently). Me? I was a 2.0 student at best, but not afraid to try and loaded with self confidence. I'm doing pretty well these days as a mid-40's professional.

So anyway, enough about my soapbox. Here is what we've done thus far, and already seeing great progress.

We have hired two math tutors, but not "authority figure" types. They are high school kids. Last night I spied on one of his sessions (division/fractions). He was struggling, and I was getting nervous. But he likes her. Then, I hear her say "want me to show you how I was taught how to do this?" He said "yes please". She showed him one time how she does fractions divisions. And it clicked. I could see the stress melt off of him through the video camera (have one in the basement where they were working). I sat on the sofa upstairs watching. Watching him do the next problem a little more easily, and then the next problem even a little more easily, and so on. By the 5th math problem, he was able to do it completely on his own without having to ask for help. I will admit that I started to cry when he got up and hugged her. My heart just melted. THAT is a kid who is afraid to fail, and I watched him for the first time in two years feel like he wasn't a failure anymore. I balled like a child.

So, we're getting the 5th grade math and reading books in a few weeks. They've agreed to let him take a peak forward over the summer so he won't be shell shocked once he starts. I thought this would be a good idea to help combat against the "freaking yourself out" syndrome. He does that sometimes when he is nervous. He has agreed to three tutor sessions a week for the remainder of this school year. One for reading, and two for math. And then 5 sessions a week during the summer. Basically one hour of intense focus a day. Our goal (and I think we'll get there now) is to get caught up to 4th grade and have a little time to roll into early 5th grade before 5th grade actually starts.

He may not be a Road Scholar. But if he can climb this mountain (and I know he can), the amount of personal self confidence he will feel will be one of his greatest strengths for life. But if he can't, then he will realize that yes, maybe I do need to take a step back and try this again. My hope is that he will come to that decision without too much prompting. But from what I've seen thus far in this short amount of time, switching up tutors from adults to older kids, has seemed to open his mind and calmed his anxiety way down.

"I am afraid to fail." The most magical words I could have ever wanted to hear in this situation. I told him that his dad couldn't be more proud of him, and that I will do whatever he says he needs to get over this mountain, every step of the way. We know we're likely going to be making a few changes along the way, not expecting a silver bullet fix. He liked hearing that. So, we're off to 5th Grade!
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Old 05-03-2018, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Central, NJ
2,261 posts, read 4,730,825 times
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Thanks for updating. It sounds like you are all dealing with it perfectly!
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Old 05-03-2018, 07:21 PM
 
Location: Denver CO
18,481 posts, read 9,497,717 times
Reputation: 26938
wow, what a great update! I'm so happy you found the right solution for your son- and I'll confess I got a bit teary myself when reading your description of how he reacted to figuring out how to work the problems and gaining more confidence with each one he mastered.

I think the ongoing tutoring, esp. over the summer sounds like a great plan. They say that there is so much drop off for kids over the summer - he'll be at a great advantage to have all the 4th grade work current in his mind, plus a little jump on the 5th grade materials.

I know as a parent, I can't be happy if my son is upset, and nothing makes me happier than seeing him happy, I'm really glad for both of you!!
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Old 05-04-2018, 06:06 AM
 
Location: Brooklyn
48 posts, read 21,226 times
Reputation: 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by NC211 View Post
Then, I hear her say "want me to show you how I was taught how to do this?" He said "yes please". She showed him one time how she does fractions divisions. And it clicked. I could see the stress melt off of him through the video camera (have one in the basement where they were working). I sat on the sofa upstairs watching. Watching him do the next problem a little more easily, and then the next problem even a little more easily, and so on. By the 5th math problem, he was able to do it completely on his own without having to ask for help. I will admit that I started to cry when he got up and hugged her. My heart just melted. THAT is a kid who is afraid to fail, and I watched him for the first time in two years feel like he wasn't a failure anymore. I balled like a child.
I'm with emm74, I got teary reading this too. I'm so happy for him, that he's getting this fear off his shoulders and he's learning. I'm happy for you all, that it seems you've found a path forward that works for him. It sounds like this tutor is very gifted at empathy, which is a great quality in a tutor. I think this path forward will be much more fruitful in the long term than holding him back.
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Old 05-08-2018, 04:21 PM
 
Location: East Coast
2,625 posts, read 1,470,962 times
Reputation: 3758
This is exactly why it is so important not to start kids in K too early. Because them starting late in K is not a big deal, but being held back later on is a HUGE deal. Plus, if he didn't really learn the material the first time around, why would he learn it if they just teach it to him the same way again?

Perhaps it would be best for him to repeat 4th grade, BUT at a different (most likely a private) school. Research schools that are particularly adept at handling your child's particular learning needs. It will be a huge hassle, and may be expensive, but this is your child and you have to do everything you can to enable him to succeed.

Good luck.

Oops -- posted before I saw the update. Glad it is going well, but be sure to keep on top of it.
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