Omaha Mama's picture Omaha Mama

That's a lot to chew on my friend! I forwarded an email to you today (before I came to read this) about Stephen Shore. A man on the spectrum who didn't speak until he was four, but didn't find a place that "fit" until he was in a university setting. I think if kids can find a way to keep learning, keep growing, that the plodding through that is required sometimes can build a little character. Is that too 1950's a hypothesis? In my history of education class we learned about the first schools where kids merely memorized the alphabet, some Bible verses, and the math facts. No real exploration, no freedom of thought. Would a Montessori program be more fitting for your L? I don't know the answer but I hope that in years to come he finds a teacher who can light a fire. They need to differentiate for your guy. They need to give him choices in his work. Couldn't they show mastery through other projects, rather than worksheets? Our district stresses learning in different ways and letting kids stretch their academic muscles, even if they don't all fit in the same "box". I hope that L can find some of that. Something that makes him want to try. Something.

A topic that makes me ramble, for sure. It's one that I have no answers for, but always appreciate discussions about.

Aliki McElreath's picture Aliki McElreath

Thanks for you valuable insights as always, Omaha. Sometimes I feel as if I'm a broken record, but I need to work some of these thoughts out and writing about our frustrations helps. He's just having a bad year, and the options around here just aren't good. We'll see the year out and then take it from there, but while I'm pondering all this I'm hearing so many similar stories from other parents, too, so I know I'm not alone.

Also, as a college teacher, I'm really afraid of what this next generation of kids will be like when they come to college. What will their educational needs be? Will they be met? How will they learn?

Some good old-fashioned schooling isn't a bad thing--I don't think education needs to be entertaining and exciting all the time, but the big difference is that in the "old days" kids weren't tested the way they are now, and then labeled as a result of the EOGs and other assessments.

Omaha Mama's picture Omaha Mama

Is he a 3rd grader? Man, that was a BAD year for me. Then 4th grade was awesome. Fifth grade was terrible. Sixth grade was a lot of fun. Maybe he'll be number-minded like me and enjoy the even numbered years better. :0)

I totally get the need to think "outloud" by writing. I find it to be great therapy. For what it's worth, I think your kids are lucky to have such engaged parents and can tell you from experience that it WILL pay off.

Aliki McElreath's picture Aliki McElreath

Yes--third grade is proving to be a real challenge. I try and keep perspective by telling myself that it's just "a year" and that kids get good teachers and bad teachers, and this doesn't mean next year will be bad as well.

But it's hard...this perspective!