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SD's Education

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

So today starts the 7th and final week we have SD for summer visitation. Since SD's school gets out earlier than schools here, SD did not have tutoring the first week of her visit, so SD has only had 5 weeks of tutoring twice a week for 2 hours a day so far. Unfortunately, SD's tutor is away tomorrow on vacation so SD will only have tutoring one day this week. In the 6 weeks we have had SD she went from being able to count consistently to 12 to being able to count to 100, knowing her 10's from 0 - 100, knowing 14 capital letters to all 26, knowing 9 lowercase letters to all 26, and knowing 16 letter sounds to knowing all 26. 

Yesterday, DH initiated a conversation with BM regarding SD's upcoming school year and what grade BM will be registering SD for on August 1st. BM basically said she wants to register SD for 1st grade, but wants her assessed when SD comes back and doesn't want to have her repeat kindergarten again like was agreed upon in the meeting with SD's teacher and principal days before school ended, etc. DH and I are on the fence about SD moving on or not because of the whole transition of schools, moving, etc. Plus our biggest concern is SD gets the same amount of help when with BM this year, doesn't meet the benchmarks to move on to the next grade, loses her confidence we spent all summer working on, and then next summer DH and I spend the whole summer playing catch up again. Two weekends ago was my birthday and we spent it at the beach, we did not work on anything educational for just those two days and SD acted as if she lost half of what she had improved on from just 2 days of not keeping up with her learning. SD did not want to do it so instead started guessing and trying other tactics to get out of it.

Since we realized this, SD has gone to tutoring, listened/sang along everyday to the educational songs on the areas we are working on, doing 2-3 workbook pages on numbers and letters, playing games after dinner such as alphabet go fish, etc. To sum it up, in addition to the tutoring, both DH and I have been spending an hour or two between the two of us every day working with SD. SD now knows all the benchmarks she was supposed to in May. SD can now also write her numbers 1 - 10 correctly and all the letters of the alphabet which she could not before. 

DH has tabled the conversation with BM until SD's tutor does her final assessment on Thursday, but is torn how to address the topic. DH wants us all to be involved in the talking to SD's new teacher, not have BM talk to the teacher and then just relay the information like we know BM wants. BM and DH have joint legal custody so in theory BM cannot just put SD in any grade she wants, but at the same time BM is the one there not DH. In addition to all of this BM last October said she did not want to push SD onto 1st grade if SD isn't ready and now BM is saying SD is ready without even seeing her or anything. Both BM and BM's DH thought SD had a learning disability and dyslexia from October until basically May when the Educational Committee said they strongly believe SD does not have any learning disabilities like they had been saying for months. 

Our guess is BM just doesn't want to look bad that SD is repeating kindergarten her first year in school while under BM's care. Part of us thinks SD could be ready, but it all depends on if BM will keep up the level of support and work at home that SD needs to succeed. DH and I have spoken to many elementary school educators and in their professional opinion believe kindergarten is the best time for SD to repeat especially when SD is just turning 6 at the end of this coming week and with all the change in SD's life, it would be good for SD to excel and then move on being completely and totally ready. After this visit we are not scheduled to see SD again until spring break since their agreement was that BM gets SD's full winter break in even years and DH in odd years, so we have no opportunity to help SD unless over facetime until spring break and at that point, the school year is 3/4 over already.

After a solid week of SD doing all of this consistently she is very proud and wants to show off how she can do all of the things we have been working on, plus after having a talk with her about how guessing doesn't get her out of doing things she doesn't want to do. See below on my comment explaining that.


ESMOD's picture

without more support.. i wouldn't hold much hope for her to keep her momentum.  i mean.. even with you she lost 1/2 of her progress with just 2 days off.. and that kind of seems extreme.. like almost a learning disability level?

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

because SD did not want to count or do her alphabet. Instead SD started guessing all over the place, thinking that DH and I would just give up and not make SD do it. Well, that is not what happened, instead SD just had to start over again and again, finally when realizing she wasn't going to get out of it and reminding her to count to her 10's when she forgets what number comes next, SD was able to do it, like an hour later. The next day, counted to 100 the first try and did all her letters and sounds. The day after that again SD didn't want to do it, so she tried a cry and throw herself on the floor method (first time we have ever seen that) and again, didn't sway us away from her doing that. So there was a talk with SD about how guessing, crying, and throwing herself on the ground because she doesn't want to do something, doesn't fly in our house and in the real world. We explained to her that it was frustrating because we know she knows it because she has been doing it and doing all the dramatics just wastes her play time. Guess what?  Since then SD has gotten it right the first time, sometimes having to do the things we taught her when she doesn't remember to figure out what the next number or letter is. We have been telling her from the beginning it is all about practice and with practice you can learn anything.

However, do you think BM will go through all this extra work with SD? Neither DH or I think for a second she will.

Survivingstephell's picture

As long as she spends most of her time with her mother she will be half the student she could be.  You and DH need to accept that.  My prediction is she will grow up thinking school isn't important and become a problem that BM will ship off to you when she is an out of control teenager.  By then it will be too late to turn that ship around.  

If you don't want this to happen then DH needs to get brutally honest with BM, put it out there that he will not be able to fix this later, it needs to be handled NOW and if it's too much for her then he needs to have custody now.  Hold her feet to fire for this lack of parenting.  

it's a choice.  Not an easy one to make but accepting he reproduced with a half wit is the first step.    

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

if she can't handle doing what she needs for SD then he would happily take SD 100% and she would never hear any compliants about it. I don't think BM would ever send SD to us because she cares too much about her self image that she tries to portray of this hard working mom with no help from SD's dad and that he is not involved.

ESMOD's picture

i'm guessing the issue of child support would also be something she would fight... certainly wouldn't want to PAY it herself.


Survivingstephell's picture

That's the leverage then. Money and image manage.  My DH pushed those same buttons when he walked out.  It did work and YSD who had reading issues graduated most decorated of the four, got a scholarship to college.  She moved back in with her mother and has stalled professing into a career.   When the  judge labeled DH a loser that was the last time he went to court. He did what he could but by the time they were teenagers it was a losing battle.  YSS flounders, OSD , we have no idea what she does and OSS cut off both his parents but ended up ok.  It is crap shoot but to not give your kids a foundation to spring from by choice is criminal in my opinion.