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Failing Can Be Your Child's Greatest Success Story! | Families

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Failing Can Be Your Child's Greatest Success Story!
Families, Schools
Failing Can Be Your Child's Greatest Success Story!

This time of year is hard for many parents and teachers. They have to make one of the most difficult decisions a parent or teacher can make, to fail a or pass a child. It is not as easy as you may think, but I will try to make it easier and less painful by sharing my own story with this same struggle. It was not an easy journey. Those who could have made it easier, made more difficult and harder than it had to be.

As a parent I knew my child's reading level was lower than his verbal skills. Verbally he could answer anything and was way above his grade level. I brought these concerns to his teacher as he began third grade last year. I was assured that his reading problems would be addressed. They weren't. The school's idea of a reading class was test prep for the CRCT. This included reading comprehension, plots, characters etc. Don't get me wrong, I know these skills are important for reading, but a child needs to read first. He sat through a school year without the proper help.

Some of this was not totally the school's fault, he has a brilliant gift for making decisions. So he was giving false information on the test, which made it difficult to diagnose the problem. I might also add his teacher went above and beyond to give him one on one reading sessions. There was no apparent reason for the big gap between reading and verbal. He didn't show any outward signs of a typical learning disability.

My child made excellent grades, worked hard and took every extra class thrown his way. Hence, the difficult decision. The teachers and school wanted to wait for CRCT scores before deciding on retaining him. His father and I honestly discussed his education. We asked questions like: Is he on grade level? The answer: no. Can he keep up learning the things he missed on top of the new classes if he were to be promoted? Our answer: no. So as hard as it was, I made the decision to have my child retained.

I let his teacher know what I had decided. They wanted to opt to wait for test scores and I said "No," I didn't need them to tell me what I already knew. What made the decision so hard was because verbally he was above grade level and it was believed that he could float through. Floating wasn't good enough for me. So I was allowed to make the decision. I had him retained.

I'm here today to tell you it was the best decision I have ever made! My son began the school year reading 32 words a minute on a first grade reading level, 1.5 to be exact. He failed the CRCT last year, even in the areas he excelled in, all because he couldn't read. With a lot of hard work and dedication, and do I mean hard work! Some days were 7 and 8 hours long, we even worked on holidays and week-ends. I'm proud to say this was the best school year ever! He not only can read what he wants to, he passed all areas of the CRCT, science, reading, social studies, math and language arts. He excelled in science and missed excelling in reading by only five points!

Failing is not necessarily a bad thing, it's a great tool if used properly. Failing isn't as hard on the child as it is the parents. It takes a lot of pressure off your child so that learning comes easier. Parents are usually worried about what their family and friends will think or say. My child's education has always been my top priority, so I haven't really cared about what others have thought. I do what is best for my child and this has cost me friends (which I have later learned, weren't friends at all). Put all that behind you and  think only about what is  best for your child. I promise you retention could be the best thing that ever happened for your child and you. Don't worry about the talk, it will all be worth it in the end.

Success should be measured by how happy you are and how well you are doing at your pace and not by the pace of others. What is good for them may not be best for you :)

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