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The failing format of school for some kids: School daze part one

I have had issues with the format of school probably since early on when it was apparent Noah would not so easily conform. But as long as the school was working with us, I figured lets go with the flow and take the best we can from it, as long as we can.

As long as we can seems to have ended.

I received my son's 5th grade schedule in the mail at the end of the school year, and probably spent a good week really trying to understand it. Eventually I passed it on to him, maybe he would know better. Though I kind of thought that if I didn’t get it, he sure wouldn’t.

And he didn’t.

Last year he had a homeroom teacher, who was also his Science, and Social Studies teacher, and Spanish part of the year. He also had a separate teacher for Language and Math; these were “pull out” classes with a special education teacher and aide with a small class of no more than 12 kids. And like all students separate teachers for Music, Art, Gym and Computers. The latter 4 classes are also confusingly scheduled on a 6 day cycle, meaning they are taking the 5 days of the week and making it into 6, so if art is a day 1, you will have that the first day of school if it’s on a Monday, but you won’t have it next Monday, you will have it on Tuesday. This system has been confusing to me, I think I would better respect it if it was only one or 2 classes like this, maybe making music 3 days and art 3 because of being strapped, but personally, here at home I would just work those classes into the other ones. Frankly there is always time for music. I also don’t see why computers aren’t every day, this is 2014.

But this crazy 6 days out of 5 isn’t the issue, it’s just one part. This year the idea is to have him go to homeroom, then to language who is a different teacher, then to the “special” class of art or music or gym, then Math (different teacher, this makes the 4th teacher of the day and it’s not even lunch) then it is lunch, then back to math, then science, but only half of the year, the other half of the year its social studies, except on day 6 when its Spanish (also a different teacher for science and social studies, but I think the same one teaches Spanish)

Not confusing at all.

So why is Science and Social Studies only important to be studied half of the year? And how will he retain any Spanish when it comes every 6 days, well don’t forget the weekends, so really it’s longer. My sister said Well he won’t, I don’t think learning has anything to do with it. And as far as I can tell it doesn’t. The fact is in NJ we don’t use standardized testing for social studies at all, and we don’t test science in 5th grade. But aren’t these classes important? Heck, you learn math and language in these classes as well, you have to write, sometimes add. But most importantly how can future citizens ever legitimately complain or fix things if they don’t’ understand our history? Won’t that make for a lot of confusion and conjecture out there where people constantly blame the wrong thing? Oh wait, like now.

I really wonder if parents read the schedules, or are they ok with this. Because I am not ok with any of this. I do understand for some kids, this may be fine or they will adapt. But it isn’t for kids with IEP’s and special needs, especially since this is why you have an IEP. (if you have no idea what an IEP is, then your child is not this type. IEP is Individual Education Plan a legal contract/plan for kids who have different abilities and disabilites)

But most importantly, how can a kid who has trouble transitioning (due mostly to anxiety and sensory issues) be expected to transition over 8 times in a 5 hour period and be totally complainant? Transitions are a typical problem for kids on the spectrum, it really seems this is not setting him or any kid like him up to succeed, let alone be a joy when he gets home. I can imagine the added anxiety will continue to add to the problem of being able to remember his homework and of course where he has to go…and do it in three minutes. I suppose we can’t expect much, if you add water to a bucket with a hole in it, it doesn’t matter how much you practice putting that water in, it is going to leak.

Part 2 will link here.