The decision


Its not easy to make the decision to retain your child. Especially when you were retained and the horror that followed that.

I remember being teased with crystal clear memories and all.

Luckily our daughter goes to a charter Montessori school. Yes they do exist!

In the last three years I have come to embrace the Montessori method in a way that I never did in my years of teaching.

They have the unique balance to make sure that the kids are able to pass the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assesment Test) . It has been amazing to watch this process these past three years and to see my daughter flourish in school.

When second grade began last year and our daughter was placed in the lowest level learning group within the classroom I was dead set against her being retained.

As the year progressed and we worked with her on her homework and listened to her read aloud, the more I researched FCAT and looked at their parameters, the more I realized it would probably be in her best interest to retain her.

Not because her grades were so bad, not because she is not grasping the concepts, but because she does her best work when she is confident in her skills. Reading and math happen to be skills that she struggles with.  We all know math and I don’t get along. At All! So it is really not surprising.

Her teachers said they could tell she has been read to and likes to read she just needs the self confidence in herself.  She has it in her head she is not a good reader.  Unlike me she enjoys reading out loud. I loathe reading out loud. Guess why? Because I am self conscience of how I sound! So I can relate to her not being so confident.

Luckily in the Montessori setting there is little distinction in what grade you are in. I have cringed a little bit when she tells people she is being retained. I feel like I need to protect her from the world’s harsh views. Inevitably after she tells someone and they process what she says they look to me. I want to yell She is NOT slow SHE IS NOT STUPID. She is learning at her own pace!

She has made tremendous progress this summer with reading. We made weekly (at least) trips to the library. We have stuck to the twenty minutes of reading a day rule. I have seen improvement and I have seen improvement in her confidence in words….She is asking me less and less how to pronounce the words. Even the way she asks for help has changed. Instead of struggling with pronouncing the word now she asks which way it is said. Still feeling out the silent letters and the different sounds vowels make.

Maria Montessori said, “One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.”

This is so true and just reassures me that we made the right decision. If she isn’t comfortable and happy with her learning environment she isn’t going to learn or more importantly retain that learning.


3 responses »

  1. All kids learn at their own pace. Wouldn’t it be awesome if somehow the grade level system was gone completely, and instead all kids got the chance to move at their own place? They could take more advanced classes at the things they were good at and enjoyed, while getting extra help to thoroughly learn the things they weren’t great at. And nobody would have to say, “I’m being retained,” or “I failed.” They could just say, “I am great at reading, and I am working hard at getting better at math!” (I guess I’m a dreamer, huh… but if I could open my own school that is what it would be like.)


    • Actually thats not far off from what Montessori is like…There is more peer counciling than anything student to teacher and Grade levels really don’t matter much there… But they also have to meet state guidelines…Which sucks as bad now as it did when I was going through it


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