Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Jono Reads Dostoevski

Although this picture was taken a couple of years ago, it symbolizes the topic of today's post. To imagine what we look like today, add ten more pounds to me and use a Sharpie marker to draw a mustache on Jono. Go ahead, draw it right on your computer monitor. Then scroll up and down to make it jump from his upper lip to his forhead like a unibrow with teleportation abilities.

This is turning into a strange post.

Anyway, this morning M and I donned our parental hiking boots and strapped on our involved-parent water bottles to make the one-block trek to Jono's elementary school. I was a little nervous because we had a meeting with, gulp, the first grade teacher. We are concerned he might need to repeat first grade because his reading was not strong enough. But we were reassured today that he is now reading at a first grade, mid-year level. Just right. He has made tremendous progress since the beginning of the year. We are still thinking about holding him back, however. It would mean that when he did enter second grade, he would be more mature and academically stronger.

What are your thoughts? Have you held a child back? How did it go? It seems there is less stigma attached to this than there was when I was in school back in the 70's. Please share your comments.


Jeff McQ said...

We held our first grader back years ago (he's now 17) for similar reasons, and overall it was very hard on him. Yes, he was a "little" slow, though passing, but he was such a social animal that it was devastating for him to have all his friends move forward without him. The Christian school he was in also had this thing about excessive performance standards where most of the parents we knew felt like utter failures. (!) And in his case, holding him back didn't do all that much good; years later, we discovered his reading issues were because he was dyslexic, not because of developmental immaturity. (He's been home schooled since 3rd grade, by the way.)

For obvious reasons, this experience has shaped my opinion that we should be slow to hold children back. If it's obvious they aren't "getting it", that's one thing...but if it's about trying to turn a B/C student into an A student, I think the negatives of holding a child back might outweigh the positives.

Just one person's opinion...

Anonymous said...

I agree with jeff mcq. If the child is having so much trouble he won't be able to function effectivelly in second grade, hold him back. However, if he is working on grade level but you are concerned about his skills, a much better solution would be to invest in Hooked on Phoenics and a good tutor over the summer and let him go ahead. Holding him back is a last ditch solution.

Tressa said...

Hey, I held my daughter back in Kindergarten at the same school. I wouldnt mind discussing this more with you. Your sweet wifey knows how to get ahold of me if she needs to.
But all I can say is this: Holding a child back for the right reasons, the pros can outweigh the cons.
I do not regret our decision, and have seen a huge improvement, she is now in 2nd grade.

Anonymous said...

you asked for my thougts so here they fly...

I wouldn't make a decision like that without 30 days of prayer and fasting and journaling. Not fasting for 30days now. But give yourselves some time and space to hear Jesus and his thoughts. He did make that little boy of yours, and I have a feeling he has your answer.
Your a great writer so journaling should be a cup o tea.
I would also recommend "bringing up boy" by James Dobson if you haven't read it yet.

I"m in the hold him back camp.

i think our big boys are in the same grade level.
If I had it to do over again I would have held our oldest child back He is a precoucious learner (read at 4) and seemed ready for school so we homeschooled kinder and sent him to first. If the earth spun on Acemdemics alone we would be thrilled. Unfortunately he's the youngest in his grade and his life is branded by grade, so socially, in sports and the like one can often tell he's the youngest. He'll be the last to drive too. :-( He's is also very small for his age and being a boy that doesn't help. He's doing o.k. but I could see the advantage of holding him back would have really been wise for us giving him a confident grounding to run from.
Our youngest son however is the older group in his class and we see the advantages from social, to academics, to sports and everything in between.

I think the challenge coin is dual sided and can hurt on the front end, or hurt just as much or worse on the latter end, if you HAD to retain him later when he is more self aware.
I think being in the school your in it wouldn't be as obvious because of size and the teachers there are SO amazing. If he's a social butterfly he'll see it as an opportunity to expand his social circle perhaps.

I'm sure you will blog us into your decision when you've made it. May Jesus show you exactly what to do my friend