April 4, 2014 § 2 Comments

The spring brings up questions of retention for students.

My son is an October birthday so he got an extra year of preschool. He has always been one of the oldest children in his class. My daughter is a late August birthday so she only had two years of preschool. She had always been the youngest children in her grade.

The question of retention started the year my daughter was transitioning from preschool to kindergarten. It just didn’t seem right that she would be going to Kindergarten, she needed that extra year that my son had. I can’t remember the exact reasoning but I was told that because of certain laws she couldn’t repeat a year in the public integrated preschool. We had to choose between pulling her out, which would mean all of her speech, O.T. And P.T. Services would stop and have to be done privately on top of finding an appropriate private preschool. That choice didn’t make sense to is so we forged ahead with Kindergarten.

Kindergarten went “o.k” as well as first grade. Toward the end of first grade I knew in my gut that she wasn’t ready for second grade. After all I teach first and second grade. I KNOW how typical first grade student performs and a typical second grade student can do. She wasn’t ready. I was asked the question at her IEP meeting and no one felt the need for retention.

Second grade started, it was horrible!! The first day of school was a complete disaster. She ripped up a paper that was way to hard for her and a teacher got upset, said my daughter was being aggressive (by ripping up the paper) and physically dragged her out of the classroom. I WAS HORRIFIED! My daughter still talks about this incident and how much she that teacher.

Needless to say, I knew then I should have trusted my gut. First of all it was going to be over my dead body if she ever worked with that horrible teacher again and secondly I knew I couldn’t send her back into second grade for a year of frustration. So I kept her home, called a meeting and put her back in first grade. The school was shocked. I mean who retains their child after school has started?

I really didn’t see it as having a choice.
My bottom line was, yes it will be rough for a week or two but not as rough as second grade would have been. Also, she was 7 – do you remember many details about being 7? In the grand scheme of life this was not a big deal. Now she is one of the oldest kids in her grade.

It was so worth it. She is now ready to move to middle school next year. I can’t imagine what her life would have become had I left her with that teacher who dragged her out if the room. Instead, she got a second chance.

I am pro-retention especially in the younger grades if needed. A second chance is always a good thing. There are people who are dead set against retention because some studies report it has no real affect on the outcome of the child. I could not disagree more.

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§ 2 Responses to Retention

  • Olive davis says:

    👍😜. I always go with my gut instincts. It never fails. You know her best.

  • Thank you for sharing your story with us. A child’s comfort with material and her social situation is just as important as her ability to learn that material. There is so much pressure today for children to ‘achieve’ early and often that we overlook their needs to work at their own pace.

    On top of that, school choice is increasingly becoming an argument against accommodating for children’s needs in public schools. In reality, very few families are in a financial situation to afford private school or homeschool. Hopefully stories like yours will raise awareness of children’s unique needs.

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