Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Struggles

Ok, we're back from our first meeting with our "contact" teacher. She's the person who will be coordinating our education efforts, monitoring how well we meet standards and benchmarks for the grade, etc, etc.

I really like our teacher. I don't really like the whole education process. One point that's bugging me immensely is the target reading fluency for second grade. By the end of the year my child should be able to read (out loud) 94 words/minute. If you've ever spoken with Chris you know that while he may talk non-stop he does not talk fast. I don't think he can say 94 words in a minute much less read 94 words out loud in a minute. I understand that it's progress the school is looking for. Progress is great. Progress is our goal. Setting an arbitrary standard (and yes, I do think it's pretty arbitrary) and then having to work toward it makes no sense to me. Shouldn't our goal be to have him improve fluency period. Goals are important. I'd like to set some goals that are more achievable and in line with my child's abilities.

My son has really poor fine and gross motor skills. His speech is greatly affected by lack of fine motor control. He speaks slowly, pendanticly, and in a monotone. One of the standards for second grade reading involves reading with appropriate expression. Does my child have to have an IEP in order to account for his lack of expression while reading or speaking? Will meeting once a week with the special ed director improve his motor skills, speech, and expressive abilities? I don't want to be running all over the valley to interventions again this school year. We've been there, done that, and don't have a lot of improvement to show for it.

Why is it so important that all stages of reading be taught with intensive writing? If the writing is physically very hard, shouldn't it move at a different pace than the reading? If my child has different challenges than the average child does that mean he needs to be in special education? Why isn't it enough that as a homeschooler he gets one on one time with his teacher? He makes so much progress every summer. Quatifiable, visible progress. During the school year he doesn't gain nearly as much in terms of skills or knowledge.

What's the difference between school time and summer time? We stay home in the summer and don't deal with interventions (expect speech). Could it be that all the time taken up by "special ed" actually leaves him farther behind? Is it possible that allowing him to remain focused on his daily routine is more beneficial than running around meeting with "experts?" By Jove, I think I've got it! If being part of the charter school means weekly meetings or interventions I don't think we want to participate in it.

4 comments:

Amy said...

Just remember that you are home schooling because you want to do what is best for your children to learn and achieve. If the charter school isn't going to help with that, then it isn't right for your family.

Marbel said...

I feel for you. We don't have the same struggles in our house, but we've had similar. I hope it works out well for you and your son.

j4luck said...

You may already know about this website:
http://www.readingrockets.org/
It has some great articles and resources for parents and teachers about reading. There are videos, lessons, articles, tips, blogs, and other resources all focused on helping kids become more proficient readers. It's worth checking out to see if there is anything that may help meet that fluency goal.
Good luck!

Janet said...

Hmmm... my concern wouldn't be so much whether his reading ability meets the fluency goal. I don't think his speech will allow him to meet the goal. Speaking and reading out loud (for someone who struggles to articulate) have very little to do with how well he actually reads.

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