Monday, August 08, 2011

French Class

Conor is starting first grade in two weeks. For some reason that seems so much older to me than kindergarten. It has a real number!

We are very happy with the French immersion program he is in. His receptive French is pretty good although he still is quite shy about speaking French.

Two things we still think about in our schooling decision.

1) Did we do the right thing by holding him back a year? He is bored at school. The most fun thing about school is riding the bus home. Scooby Doo is WAY more exciting than school has ever been. I don't know if this is a Conor thing (I loved school; I'm not sure he does), a boy thing (school is not as much fun for boys as girls in general), or an age thing (he needs to be in second grade now; certainly his math is way beyond what they are doing now). I don't know if it is the right decision for now, but it certainly was the right decision then. Can you imagine starting kindergarten, living in a new house, while we remodel the old house, while two small and needy twins move into the family? Conor was chewing his nails down to the nub at that point without starting kindergarten. I think it would have been beyond his capacity to cope had we started school.

2) Are we doing enough to help him read? It's the parents' responsibility to teach children English until they get into the third grade at an immersion program. We read a lot, but are we doing enough? Probably not, but Conor is actually reading pretty well. He just did an activity from our first grade activity book and could read nearly every word. He's not reading a lot on his own, but he is figuring out words by sounding them out.

So I'm not bragging on him, OK? We have neighborhood friends whose children were reading chapter books before kindergarten and Hippogriff's older son was doing 5th grade math at 5 years old. It's just that I don't want Conor to be so bored by school. I'd like the love of learning to not be extinguished by 2nd grade. We expect him to have quite a few more years of schooling after that.

Any advice you have on keeping boys interested in school would be vastly appreciated!


Donna Lanclos, Atkins Library Ethnographer said...

Anita, he's not started 1st grade yet, don't panic. Lots will depend on who his teacher is, and he may well get someone who, if they see he is bored, will give him new and challenging things to do.

Don't hamster-wheel it yet.

Kathy D said...

I wouldn't worry about it either. Michael was bored too--some of it is a Dougherty thing, some of it is a boy thing. Then he discovered Harry Potter books, and had a young,cute math teacher in 2nd grade, and all of the sudden his proficiency and engagement sky-rocketed...

Carroll said...

Ditto the above two commenters' comments. Plus, definitely advise you to discuss your concerns early-on with the new teacher. I don't remember the details about this school's philosophy (if you ever shared them) but would bet that any teacher worth their salt should be easily able to enrich Conor's program to the point where he ends up feeling like a rock star, and loving school in general. If not, then keep the dialogue going, for sure!

Our older boy was an apathetic reader through first grade. Only slightly less-so in 2nd. By the end of 3rd, he was reading at a late-2nd level. But the summer between 3rd & 4th he discovered the Encyclopedia Brown series, devoured it, and went on to finish most of another series a level higher. By the time school started in Fall of his 4th grade year, he was reading at a 5th grade level. Bottom line? they bloom when they are ready, and the less "pressure" involved in the loving support you are surely providing, the happier you all will be. My former reluctant reader recently bought a copy of War and Peace in an airport bookstore because he had finished the two books he'd brought along on the first leg of the flight and wanted something he knew would last the rest of the trip.Conor will be just fine!