Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday School Dilemma and Homeschool Challenges

Another Sunday morning and I can't go to church.  Since our van broke down we have been having to take turns in our car.  He usually takes four or I take four of the kids.  Also, Caleb got a bug and his nose just won't clear up so he can't go to nursery.  Nothing major but enough to keep him out of the baby nursery.  The nursery has strict rules but for very good reasons.  I wouldn't want to put my healthy baby in and they constantly get sick from other babies.  Sooo, here I am on Sunday morning with my 3 little ones at home.  

Another complication I have is with Ivy.  Some might remember but back when Ivy was in Kindergarten in a brick and mortar school she wasn't doing well.  However, the teacher didn't enlighten me till February, six months after school started, that Ivy had learned diddly squat and has day dreamed most of the time.  Why, oh, why am I being told so late in the year?  I pulled her as soon as I was shown this and began to homeschool her.  Because we had to start 6 months behind she is that far behind everyone else her age.  That teacher was actually let go at that school.  Anyway, when July came around all the kids at church were put up to the next level in Sunday School without my knowledge so I had no warning.  I figured it wasn't a big deal that Ivy is in a first grade class being that she is only six months behind in her schooling than her classmates.  It's been seven months now and they are telling me they want to switch Ivy back to the Kindergarten Sunday school class since she can't read yet.  What?  Now?  She's made friends in this class, she's almost seven years old.  To go back into where it's five year olds is very embarrassing to her.  No matter how I feel they are going to do it and that's that.  So I have kept Ivy out since she is begging me not to have to go.  She is incredibly embarrassed about it.  I don't blame her so she is home with me today until we can all go to church together and then she'll be sitting with us in the adult's class.

I've already tried talking to the leader.  What do you think?  What would you do?  I asked why being in the first grade class is a problem and they said it's because they want each kid to be able to read one paragraph during the lessons.  I just started homeschooling Ivy for the first grade this past week so she will be learning to read soon.


Lianna said...

You are absolutely right that she should be with her same-age peers in the Sunday school class. You are her mother, and it is your decision.

I am a K-12 licensed teacher, and I almost have a master's degree. I know that best practices in teaching include differentiated instruction and scaffolding. This means that those teachers need to do some professional development to learn how to handle a group of children with different ability levels. Tasks can be made accessible to Ivy with some creativity. For example, instead of reading a paragraph, maybe her job could be to summarize what has been read verbally. Or, maybe you could work with her during the week to memorize a scripture and that could be her contribution instead of reading.

The purpose of Sunday School is religious instruction. Putting Ivy in with a Kindergarten class would be exposing her to content that is too easy for her, and having her sitting in an adult class with you is exposing her to content that is way too difficult. Although she can't read at the level of her same age peers, that doesn't mean that she can't understand the content of the class. The class is about religious instruction, not reading and she has a right to age-appropriate religious instruction.

Not letting her stay in her class could make her believe that she has done something wrong or is bad in some way. This could cause some serious self-confidence issues.

I would suggest talking to the teachers/leaders again and explain your reasons for wanting Ivy to stay in her class. If they don't see reason, go to the pastor or possibly the district superintendent.

Virginia Revoir said...

I didn't know you were a K-12 licensed teacher! That's awesome. :)

Thank you so much for your advice. I didn't want to be one of those over protective mamas that just caused problems. I've kept pretty quiet about it and only expressed how I felt the one time we talked about it. I begged her not to do that to Ivy but she wouldn't listen. Hopefully I can talk with her again about it and she'll change her mind. For now I've been keeping Ivy out.

Lianna said...

Well, I currently don't have a K-12 teaching JOB, but I do have the license and degree. My program focuses a lot on teaching practices and theories though. Someday I'll get a good teaching job, I am sure!

Teachers have to keep in mind what's best for the child at all times, and that is not always what is always easiest for the teacher. It takes more planning and skill to work with kids of different ability levels. Also, what happens to a child at Ivy's age can affect them for the rest of their lives. She would always remember having to be with five year olds when she was seven and the teacher needs to think about that. As parents, we have to advocate for our kids. If it means being an "overprotective mama" so be it! If that means "causing problems" then so be it! We know what's best for our kids, not some Sunday School teacher =)

Good luck =) May the force be with you!

Kerrie said...

Virginia! Okay, so my daughter just turned 7 and can't read. She swam before the boys. She rode a bike before the boys. I try and she has no interest in reading. I know it will click but the outside pressure is annoying. Do people really think she won't be reading when she's 10? This is actually something the State asked about when they were called ... so whoever called on us also stated that she could not read, and this was like 6 months ago. Anyway, I struggle with this with things like Girl Scouts (not doing it) b/c they put you in by age/grade. In your case, I would keep talking to the teacher ... ask how much reading do they do anyway? Like my girl is in a religious ed class and is in for 1st graders and they don't bug her about reading, they just help her. The teacher has been sending home books lately, should I take that as an insult?! Ask any 1st grade teacher and you'll see they can't all read whippy anyway ... b/c they aren't meant to be pushed. Anyway, it's SUNDAY SCHOOL ... who cares? What would Jesus do? He would certainly keep her with her friends and not base her life on READING.

Virginia Revoir said...

Well, I need to mention that a new person took over the Sunday School so she is not seasoned in making these kinds of decisions. I'm trying to just give grace because I know mistakes will be made. The prior leader would've never made that kind of decision.

I agree that kids learn at their own pace. In reality, they don't even need to read in that class, the teacher just wants them to do it. Also important to note, that teacher has never liked me for some reason and refuses to talk to me for the last few years. I've tried to find out why but she refuses to say why, even to her sisters because they asked her. Hmmm... this is the second time she's picked on one of my kids in her class. Kyle experienced odd stuff like this too. I know there are no perfect people in church. I continue to be really kind to her and never want to be rude back. I just don't want her to take it out on my kids.

Anonymous said...

My children all went through the public school system and are doing very well. Deans list in college, great jobs, service to the community, etc. I taught them all to read when they were four. Children learn to read in kindergarten. Why were you not teaching her to read during the first six months that she was in kindergarten? Not sure why this was the kindergarten teacher's fault. They always give an assessment around the six month mark. But you should have known before then that there was a problem, and worked with your daughter to get her up to where she should have been.

Anonymous said...

I could understand why the teacher never liked you. You blame teachers and everyone else for your children's problems. You have since I started reading your blog. You should pray about that.

Virginia Revoir said...

Well, let us put aside the fact that you are too chicken to reveal your identity. I will let that weirdness go. :P The most opinionated people I know always post anonymously.

Of course we had meetings all the time with the Kindergarten teacher and she constantly said Ivy was doing great. Little did I know the whole class wasn't doing great. There is a reason she was fired. You don't say there is progress where there is none after a year.

Some schools do not teach kids how to read in Kindergarten. You have to remember that is somewhat new. When I was little Kindergarten was about playing, learning ABC's and the sounds, and learning numbers. Reading came in first grade. Because of daycare and kids getting that kind of learning much earlier, they have made some adjustments in public school. So no, this school did not teach how to read in Kindergarten nor is the program I am using at home for homeschool.

None of my children have been bad in any of these classes. They are actually known for reading ahead of their peers. I'm really proud of my kids and have gotten many compliments from their teachers at church. Just because one lady doesn't like me doesn't mean it's the end of the world. I'm not the type of lady to cry over the one person who doesn't like me.

Next time, please at least have the courage to post who you are if you are gonna be so "bold" to comment with such harsh words.

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

I'm so glad that anonymous was able to teach her children to read at the age of four. And Dean's list. My, how impressive.

She's absolutely right, you know, Virginia. Anyone who does not get exactly the same results she does is probably not trying hard enough. Or praying enough. I can tell you for an absolute fact that my youngest son would not be so severely autistic *if only* I were as good a parent as anonymous!

I really do need to pray about that some more.

*siiiigh* I just love the internetz at times like this. You have such interesting trolls, m'dear.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work! Anonymous is just jealous!
Ps its jessica birkenhauer :)

Jessi said...

What? I can't believe they require kids to read in Sunday school. I am a Sunday school teacher for girls her age. It is not school, she doesn't need to know how to read. I have never heard of a Sunday school being like this, it just seems so odd to me. It is supposed to be about the Bible, not requiring them all to read aloud. I would just have her sit with me too, not put her in with the little kids.

Virginia Revoir said...

In response to Anonymous writing this,

"Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Sunday School Dilemma and Homeschool Challenges":

How does one "reveal an identity" when one does not have a blog to sign into before commenting? Are you asking for a first and last name? Surely, your sense of entitlement does not run that deep, does it? Other Anon, there is nothing to be jealous of, and even if there was, I'm not the jealous type. My kids are grown and have already begun making their way in the world. It's a great feeling, not a jealous one.

At any rate, when a parent has the attitude that it is always someone else's fault, life has a way of teaching some hard lessons. You are already experiencing the non fruit of your non labors because your child has to either miss Sunday school or be embarrassed by attending with the younger children. Even if the teacher told you that she was doing great, you should have known that she wasn't. It's simply a matter of being involved enough to notice."

When I care about what you think or what anyone else thinks, I'll let you know. For now I'll just enjoy life, my kids, my wonderful husband, and my relationship with Christ. I'm not gonna be biting my nails and waiting in anticipation for your next encouraging or intelligent comment. Thanks though for visiting my blog! :) More visitors the better.

Kerrie McLoughlin said...

Wow. I don't get follow-up comments off your blog but I hafta figure out how b/c your anonymous angry person is annoying! i get those every now and then. i don't know why they read when they don't like us ... it's like they WANT to be mad! what a horrible feeling! what a depressing life. living well is truly the best revenge against the haters. hey, lady, the great thing about homeschooling is that our kids don't have to put up with overbearing parents like YOU! people like you, who only subscribe to the party line of "read by X" and "ride a bike by this age", are sad because you can't think for yourself. you do what you are told and have taught your kids the same. Dean's List? Who cares?! If my kids make that, fine. If they go HVAC school and life HAPPY lives and NEVER put mean comments on blogs, I will know I did an AMAZING job as a mother by the way, you don't HAVE to be anonymous. you can usually just get a Google account and log in that way. Very simple. Maybe they didn't teach that in school. why don't you come on over to MY blog and try to bully ME?

Kerrie McLoughlin said...

did you know we can tell by our sitemeter where you are blogging from? and jenny, it didn't seem to me that you were shirking responsibility or blaming anyone. you were trying to solve a problem with your kids. nobody is perfect. not even anonymous's kids. i wonder what they REALLY think of their mom who sits on the internet making crappy comments ...

Virginia Revoir said...

There used to be an option here to get follow up comments. I don't know where it went. :P

Thank you for your comment, Kerrie. It does seem kinda creepy how she follows people she can't stand. I don't have that kind of time on my hands. I just follow those I want to follow.