I'm on here kind of hoping that I could get some advice. My son has just started school - he's in his third week - and I'm feeling a little conflicted. I took him to a poppy peek session when he was about 4 at the suggestion of his kindy teachers and we met Sue and she suggested that he join Small Poppies but there wasn't a group in our area and we just couldn't afford the cost plus the travel costs to get him there so we left it.
He's always been great with letters and reading - I've read some of the stories on here and heard similar things - he recognised the alphabet before 2, he started reading simple books at around 2.5 and now at school he's reading way above his classmates. His teacher has been good and has recognised that he's advanced with his reading, which let's face it, must be difficult to get through 20 new entrants reading every day, but her opinion is that we have 'other things to work on' like his writing - which isn't to the same level - so he's sitting there learning about the letter 'g' and I feel like he's just bored out of his little tree.
I don't want to be one of those pushy parents or for her to feel like I'm trying to force him to do anything but I decided to start doing some work with him at home because he comes home and even though he's been at school for six hours he wants to do more school work.
I just wondered whether anyone had any suggestions for things that I could do or take him to that hopefully aren't expensive.
I don't want to let him down because I can't afford to take him to the kind of things he needs.
I'm guessing that his problem is that his fine motor skills don't match his knowledge so despite the fact he knows what G looks like, knows the sound etc, he can't get an accurate looking G written down as yet.
Unfortunately it's one of those practice makes perfect things - which won't appeal to any bright kid who hates repetition so you'll have to dress it up differently each time so it's not boring.
I would be inclined to just encourage heaps of fine motor skills activities at home - straight lines, circles, copying over letters the correct way (much easier to learn the right way first off than be told you've got it wrong - my eldest started school already writing but it was all capitals and when he was forced to redo in lower case he simply stopped writing at all).
Stuff like lego, drawing, painting with a small brush, anything fiddly really will all increase his fine motor skills and help with his writing. The local jump start (pre school entry group) use playdough to make the letters too.
My youngest son is 5.5 and is still bored silly at school (and testing poorly due to anxiety so the teachers just think I'm an over protective 'one of those' mums *sigh*) and he was very keen to do more school work at home for the first month or so - now he avoids any kind of work like the plague so make the most of it while he's keen!
You need to push hard to get him put up a class. His writing ability is a very poor excuse on the part of the school to keep him with a group still learning their letters. I think it borders on cruelty. He will be bored for a few weeks and then I imagine he will start to make some entertainment ---it will not be the good kind.
Get the school to trial him in the next class up for the rest of the term. Explain to him that to go in the class with interesting school work he'll have to try really hard with his writing.
That's what I'd do. My boy had the same progression as OP's but after 1 school visit it was clear to me that a higher class was needed and I suggested 'a trial' to the school. I knew he would be much happier with some challenge in the day but the school needed an 'out' for their piece of mind.
We got a similar message at our school - the writing wasn't as far ahead as the other areas and that gap in itself was judged to be a potential problem.
There was some concern about the processing speed lag in his tests. That was given more attention than any extension in the many other areas where he was so far ahead. There is a strong focus on "balance." It sometimes seems they're uncomfortable with handling strengths and prefer weaknesses that they can solve.
There is no reason he couldn't practice his writing in a class up - so long as the teacher and the other students don't make a big deal about it. While there are always extracurricular things to do with your child, they spend so much of their day and energy at school so it is worth doing what you can to make it a positive learning experience.
What area do you live in? I have heard that Small Poppies will be opening again in Glenfield if you live over that way?
It is not un-common for children's writing skills to not match their other abilities. I would agree with Shar about the fine-motor skills work. I used to work in a school doing work with children on both fine-motor, and gross motor skills and there are many fun activities you can do that would help. Playing games like pick up sticks and marbles. Sewing (we used hessian, thick cotton and large plastic needles) - doing origami. All these types of activities will help.
I think it is a good sign that your son likes to continue school stuff when he gets home. He is obviously enthusiastic about learning. I would just suggest that the discussion with him around his letter formation etc not be too intense or critical that he feels like he is "bad" at it or "failing". That could put him off writing anything at all.
There are lots of things to learn at school, academic, social etc. I would give him time to settle in, and for the teacher to get to know him better, and then make an appointment with her to raise your concerns.
I feel you have written my story (except for the poppies, without a car and it being so far away) My son started in Feb.
Also having to sit on the mat listening to letter sounds. He is in the top reading group, but still no trouble with sounds. Couldn't hold a pencil and due to having to do picture plans for story writing will take the easy way out and not like the stories he dictates to me at home, instead it is "I went to the park" so he can draw the picture quickly.
Took a story to school, but I think the teacher thinks I made it up and not him, though she hasn't said it.
No descriptive language etc, or interesting topics like space and blasting off 'kaboom' to catch comets in a net to make into mirrors, or being attacked by UFO's but catching him in a rope and dragging him into a path of a comet to save earth.
Off to a teacher interview very soon (within half an hour, logged in here to give me some direction on type of questions I should ask)
He is already tuning out and the teacher is getting annoyed at him not focusing, (he told me he was thinking about how strange it would be if rocks rolled into class and everyone had rock pets and the teacher had to teach them as well) Just off into his own imaginary world.
Sigh. I have to be strong, but how much can you discuss in a 10 min interview?
Okay, so doing a new running record for reading to see what level reading he is now on. Good
Writing, is improving.
Found out he isn't interacting with other kids, goes off in his own dream world and wanders around, though is polite and talks to them when asks to join in by the teacher on duty. Bit worried about this. This is what I did and hated school and worked out it was something to be endured, not enjoyed.
He doesn't ask questions in class (saves them for home) trying to encourage him to ask more but he is reluctant to, due to bad experiences with adults laughing at the type of questions he asks. What can you do?
I hate teacher interviews.