Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Brandon's teacher

I met with Brandon's teacher a few days after school started. I summed up what he learned in homeschool and gave her some work samples. She seemed skeptical of homeschooling like many public school teachers I know. My favorite part of the conversation was when she asked how Chelmsford Schools decided when he was ready to go on to the next level. Her question revealed her complete lack of knowledge in this area. I told her, "They have no say in the matter".

At that meeting I said that I was looking to see him work on his multiplication, division, and subtracting using borrowing, this year. Several weeks later, he was still bringing home the same 1st grade level work, which is addition and subtraction (no borrowing), even the hundreds chart!!

I wrote her a note asking if she could supplement the math work and that I would like to replace some of the homework she sent home with something more challenging for him. In her written reply, she blew me off! And I quote... "It is fine if you would like to supplement the assignments but I would ask that he also complete the class assignments. This will match the activities we are doing in the classroom and will be aligned with the state standards. This is important for his success on the MCAS testing that he will take in the spring."

I roll my eyes at the "educationese". Teacher's love using that, especially when dealing with homeschoolers. "aligned with the state standards". Puh-lease. Need I remind her that this school itself is not up to state standards, with a majority of the children "needing improvement" in math MCAS testing.

Last night Brandon's homework was to find and record items that come in groups. How cute. Wolfie probably would have gotten more from that assignment. Brandon already knows what a group is. And perhaps it's their precursor to multiplication, but as I said before, Brandon knows most of his times tables AND he understands them too; so once again, it was a pointless activity.

My friend pointed out that I was doing the entire class a favor by asking her to raise her standards. But unfortunately, I can see that I am getting no where with her and I was thinking that the most fair way of handling this would be for him to go to a fourth grade classroom for math. After all, we can't expect him to teach himself fourth grade math through worksheets. And we can't expect the teacher to teach two different math lessons.

So I will discuss this with her, but I am not expecting a warm response.


  • At 2:28 PM, Blogger Ben Meyer said…

    I remember that the first several weeks of elementary school was always review and simple stuff so the teacher could gauge where you were. One thing you can look into is to find if he could be in the "red" group or something ;) Either way no matter what make sure you don't talk badly about her in front of him because if you don't respect his teacher he wont either which is much worse.

  • At 10:43 PM, Blogger halkoo said…

    I taught fourth grade for several years and although we did start the year with some extensive review of + and - we got into mult. and div. as well fractions in short order. I hope you and Brandon's teacher can work together for his good!

  • At 7:51 AM, Blogger Deena said…

    I know what you guys are saying; it's such a fine line between advocating for your child and "going against" his teacher. I'm really trying to keep things warm and friendly with her. I don't want to make her job harder than it is, but I still have a responsibility to my son I'm trying to fulfill.

  • At 3:36 PM, Blogger Bruce said…

    Yup. Go with, not against the teacher. I remember Jesus saying to respect the pharisees and teachers of the law, and to do all that they command--and then go beyond. Same here, with the appropriate changes.

    With one of my kids, an elementary teacher was frustrated with his/her performance. In conference with her, I told her that I thought her job was "to assist me in teaching my children." Her response was, "Finally, someone who understands what I do..." No that wasn't it, it was more like "furious." But the principal got between us, and we ended on a minimally civil tone.


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