Honor Roll child is functionally illiterate? Anyone else discovered this?
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  1. #1
    JRT is offline Junior Member
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    Aug 2018

    Unhappy Honor Roll child is functionally illiterate? Anyone else discovered this?


    I realize this is a rather odd title for a post. My child "graduated" from a public elementary school this summer. His grades were all A's and B's. He was on the honor roll and received the Presidents Award for Academic Excellence for being on honor roll every term for his entire elementary school career. We didn't have homework in 4th or 5th grade so we had to rely on looking at the few papers he brought home to see what he was working on and how he was doing. On standardized tests my son performed HORRIBLY. He testing on reading level but just barely, and he was well below the national average on math. So low that it was shocking. I called school administrators and his counselor to ask how can we be getting straight A's in class, and on these tests it shows the child is under performing by a lot! I was assured that he probably just has text anxiety and the fact he gets good grades shows he understands it in class. At parent teacher meetings we would ask "why doesn't he have to spell correctly?" and were told "its ok as long as spell correct can figure out what the word is". We asked about his math and were told "he's doing great, he struggles sometimes but seems to get it when working in a group". In short...we continually asked teachers, counselors and administrators how he was doing...and they all said FINE. And, as I said, his grades reflected that.

    We just started Time4Learning. I'm VERY MUCH enjoying working with my son on lessons. I sit with him during most of the lessons because he struggles if I'm not there to help him understand questions. We've been spending 4 or 5 hours a day working together and it's been flying by! Now, back to my thread title..... What I have have noticed, in just our first few weeks of time for learning, is that my son is functionally illiterate. He reads the words but does NOT understand them. He struggled so badly with 6th grade math, we've already reverted back to 5th grade math to try and "start over" and get him caught up. During writing lessons he doesn't use proper sentence structure. Not even the most basic things like capitalizing and correct punctuation. He cannot spell. Just one easy example. He typed vechable for vegetable. Google couldn't even decipher it to offer the correct spelling. He cannot come up with simple ideas for sentences to create even a small paragraph.

    As we sit and go over our lessons and I see just exactly how much he struggles with, I feel like I have failed my son and I'm stunned that I didn't catch this sooner. Has anyone else had a similar experience? A child who got straight A's in school who clearly didn't understand what he was learning? I'm so glad we chose to start homeschooling. I think my child would have been irretrievably lost had we not.

  2. #2
    hearthstone_academy's Avatar
    hearthstone_academy is offline Administrator
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    Nov 2006
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    Default Re: Honor Roll child is functionally illiterate? Anyone else discovered this?

    I think this is probably quite common. Your son is fortunate that you intervened.

    My kids have always been homeschooled, but I was an A student in public school. When I started to homeschool my kids, I was appalled at how much I had never learned. Because of the grades I received in school, I had always thought I was pretty smart. I had to study my kids' second grade social studies at night before I taught them the next day, though.

    I think I've learned as much as my children through homeschooling them over the past twenty-some years!

    It will be interesting to see if others have stories that are similar to your child's and mine. Thanks for sharing!

    Mom of six . . . current students and homeschool graduates. Enjoying using Time4Learning since 2006!

  3. #3
    pblanton is offline Junior Member Newbie
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    Sep 2018

    Default Re: Honor Roll child is functionally illiterate? Anyone else discovered this?

    My son is 14 and I've just begun to homeschool him this year. I've beat myself up for not starting it a couple years ago, but I can't change the past. He has been in a private school for the last 7 years and was in a public school before that. He has autism and with his learning disability, he's a couple of grades behind (generally).
    Although I am VERY grateful to the teachers at his private school for helping get his behavior under control and find ways to get him to learn, the last couple of years haven't been very productive. He was always saying that he felt he was learning the same things over and over - they teach the kids in one classroom (small school) and all of them are at different levels. I didn't want to think that he might not be getting the education he needed and even called a meeting with his teachers to find out what level he was on. Of course, they loved our son and wanted to make him look like he was progressing well, so we didn't really get the info we needed.
    I started homeschooling him this year in 6th grade in everything, except for social studies (8th grade), since he has a great interest in that subject and studies it all on his own. We struggled massively in math and I finally realized that, although he knew the processes and procedures for doing 6th grade math problems, he couldn't even do the basic equations (3+2=5, 2x8=16). It would take him 20 minutes, just to do a division or multiplication problem, so I made the decision to put him back in 2nd grade math on time4learning and do flashcards with him. I hate that he's so far behind already, but I don't know what else to do. i'm hoping I can start him back in 6th grade in the spring, but i'm not optimistic.
    I still speak to his teacher at the private school and we discussed his problems in math. I'm not sure what the answer is and she assured me that she had tried everything she could to get him to learn the basics. I'm glad he's doing well in the other subjects, but of course, he's still 2 grades behind.
    Anyway, I was very in the dark on how he was doing in school - mainly, what grade he was functioning at. Other homeschool moms talk about getting high school credit and dual enrollment in college. It was a little unnerving at first, because I was in the mindset that he was on their kids' level. But, he's not and probably never will be. So, I bought a "GED for dummies" book and am setting his goals toward that.
    Your son will probably catch up to his peers if he doesn't have an obvious learning disability. Tutors and extra books work wonders for some kids. Just don't beat yourself up for trusting his teachers and school staff who obviously couldn't take the time to realize he wasn't progressing like he should. You caught it quick enough and he has a few years to catch up. All you can do is trudge along and adjust the process as you go. Good luck. we all need it.

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