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SD6 starts first grade in September but she's not willing to read or even try!

I.hate.cats's picture

This summer has been a complete nightmare dealing with BM over school, daycare, therapist and extra circulars. DH and I became more and more involved in SD6's schooling and I guess you can say life in general when she started going to an actual school instead of the daycare where BM works. He argued with her about putting SD in a real school for 4K (which is like pre-Kindergarten) to no avail, as BM insisted the daycare program was great, blah, blah, blah. He never got any information or feedback from the daycare AT ALL and outside of BM's occasional complaint or request that DH pick SD6 up early since her behavior was out of hand that day, he was kept completely in the dark due to her employment there. Even now, after we've gone to the daycare, complained to the assistant director, the director, the district manager and made several calls to the Licensing Board that oversees the daycare, we STILL haven't gotten anywhere with them. Luckily SD6's kindergarten teacher and the school social worker thought it was important that DH knew what was going on and the more involved we became, the problems we discovered.

By February, SD6's behavior was still troublesome, her lack of sleep was becoming a real issue and she was falling farther behind academically due to her slow progress and lack of fundamentals starting out. We kept in constant contact with her teacher and had met with her on several occasions to work out ways to help SD. We also began taking her 2 nights per week instead of just one, which turned into her spending more and more time with us. The more I worked with SD, the more I realized not only was she pretty far behind, but it was obvious that BM never read to her, hadn't worked on the basics of letters and letter sounds, etc. and without having had that exposure or any time in a structured setting, she seemed almost incapable of sitting still and listening. What made it worse was she had almost no DESIRE to learn! BS14 was an early reader, I read to him all the time and he couldn't wait to learn to read himself. SD6's teacher had expressed many concerns over the year from SD6's behavior to her overall attitude about trying if she didn't immediately succeed and instead of having the mindset of a child who was going to be seven in just a few months, she acted more like a three to four year old.

Like everything else, BM dropped the ball on summer school and we picked it up, enrolling her by us after getting a letter from BM's school district that said SD wasn't enrolled with them. DH has fought with her all the way on summer school since BM has insisted that attending the daycare and taking their "phonics program" would be best. We got the information on it and even the word program is a stretch. It's 20 min of learning letters for children ages 3+! SD knows all of her letters and their sounds, she just has no desire to learn. She regularly says "I can't read" or "I don't want to read", "I hate reading" etc. Her writing skills are just as poor and it's another thing she doesn't want to practice. We have her all week because DH took his vacation time per the divorce decree just so SD could get another week of summer school in. The biggest problem is SD's ATTITUDE about learning. She actually told us out of the blue the other day that she'd rather be pretty and popular than to be smart, which is so crazy to me to even have thought about something like that, much less have that attitude which is just one of the many reasons we have her in therapy. She told her therapist that she's mean to the other kids at school and they won't hit her back because they're afraid of her. She's already gotten a bad reputation because of her behavior, she was made fun of because BM dressed her in ragged or ill fitting clothes and never brushed her hair and there were several times that she tried to talk to a classmate after school and the parents would literally pull their children away from her.

We're really worried about what's going to happen when she starts school again in September. Our court date is two weeks after school starts and I'm hoping that doesn't bite us in the butt when it comes to the change of placement but realistically, I'm pretty sure that she'll have problems right off the jump between the month of attending that damn daycare, not getting any structure or enough sleep at BM's and the fact that the other kids aren't likely to give her a fresh start. Once BM gets the court paperwork, she's not going to let DH have an hour more than the court order gives him, which not only sucks but it's going to hurt SD. I don't know if I can change SD's attitude about learning in the meantime but if anyone has any suggestions???


Disneyfan's picture

She knows letters and sounds. What about sight words?

There should have been at least 3 three running records done last year. What was her reading level at the end of kindergarten? If she's starting first grade at level C or D, she should be fine.

Kudos to the day care for using a phonics based program.

I.hate.cats's picture

Yes, we've kept meticulously thorough records of our contact with the teacher, copies of her report card and test scores, as well as several assignments from school. By the end of the year, she hadn't mastered the sight words or wise words as they call them here. She struggles with basics words despite knowing the letters she just gets frustrated and refuses to sound them out, she just gives up.

Her teacher documented that she was below where she should be startist out and that she not only was below expectations but her progress was also extremely slow as well by January. She recommended summer school by February and reiterated it in her last trimester comments on her report card. She's also documented her attitude toward learning and giving up without trying and we've spoken with her at length about the issues she's experienced.

Furthermore, we have BM lying about having enrolled her for summer school, the daycare listing her age as 5 on the unsigned paperwork as well as their assessment which shows that their program isn't going to help her as she knows her letters and sounds already. The daycare is a large chain with TONS of complaints about their centers, not to mention the 30 licensing violations this particular center has had over the last two years.

BM actually told DH that all SD needs is her because she's a teacher. Then we laughed and laughed. She's a babysitter with a few early childhood education classes under her belt, none of which encouraged her to help SD at all over the last two years, which her now ex boyfriend verified, though we've heard it from SD all along.

We have everything documented from sleep deprivation and lack of medical, dental and psychological care to poor adjustment to school, and unstable home life with BM and her inability to follow through with her teacher, any extra curriculars, any actual tutoring, therapist apts, etc. What's sad is that SD is such a smart kid with so much potential and DH has practically begged BM to either handle things herself or stop interfering with what help we're providing.

We've already filed for contempt because of the issues with summer school and the daycare, which will be heard on the same date as the change of placement and child support modification.

I will check out sparklebox. I'd love to be able to show her that learning and reading are fun!