When your child struggles at school

When your child struggles at school

I’ve debated whether to post about this subject for a while now. My blog is basically a place to store all our memories, so that the kids can read them all when they get older. It’s basically their journey.

Generally I try and record the special memories, the nice happy ones. After all we live in an Instagram world where we always present our best side to the world and it’s good to be positive. However, everyone’s journey has ups and downs and if I don’t record it all then I’d feel dishonest and like I’m saying I’m ashamed of the bad bits and that is certainly not the case, so I’ve decided I’m going to be open and share everything on here about Oscar’s struggles at schools (and any other obstacles any of us, as a family, have to deal with on our journey).

Since Oscar first started school three years ago, he’s struggled. Initially we were worried that his speech was a little behind and then towards the end of his reception year at school it became obvious that he was struggling with his reading and writing, something that has continued in both Year 1 and 2.

He’s currently in Year 2 and this is the first year he’s actually started to realise he’s struggling with his reading and writing far more than the other children in his class. We read every night and do lots of spelling practice, but it’s just not happening for him.

It’s heartbreaking to watch as he tries so hard, but still struggles. And when you hear that other kids his age are doing basically half of the reading and spelling practice he’s doing and getting better results, it just doesn’t seem fair.

I’ve obviously spoken to his teachers about his struggles and a couple of months ago it was decided that the school would put him on the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Register. At first I was a little shocked when they suggested this as I didn’t actually realise it was quite that bad. However, it was almost a relief that we didn’t have to fight to get him put on the Register and that the school are serious about supporting him.

School are considering carrying out a screening test for dyslexia and having read up more about the condition Oscar has many of the signs, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the reason for his struggles. We have an appointment at school on Wednesday, so I’m hoping to find out more then. We’re also getting his eyes tested and I’ve been trying different ways to help him at home e.g word hunts, whiteboards and memory games. I’ve noticed that if Oscar feels too pressured he struggles even more, so using some really useful ideas from one of our neighbours (who’s also a teacher), I’m trying to make things as fun as possible.

When your child struggles academically you blame yourself, well at least I did initially. I always, naively, assumed that the kids who struggled at school were those who didn’t get any support at home. I questioned whether we were doing enough ‘educational’ stuff with him and whether we needed to do more. I’ve since come to realise that this is just how some kids are and there isn’t anyone to blame (although I do have my opinions on the UK education system, but that’s for another day). We just need to support Oscar as much as possible to help him get there. I suspect he might always find literacy difficult, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be able achieve his dreams.

I’m so proud of my boy, he’s kind, sociable and very clever. Although he may struggle with literacy, he’s amazing at maths and absolutely loves science and geography. He’s also a bit of a computer whizz. And maybe a chef in the making as he’s always keen to help in the kitchen.

I’ve decided to share this on here as I want Oscar to know, when he’s older (as well as now), how proud we are off him and what he’s had overcome on his way to becoming the man he does. I had a good chat with him recently about his struggles and told him that if you can get something easily then often it’s not worth having and having to try hard will make it feel so much more of an achievement when he finally gets there. I talked lots about when I ran the London Marathon and how hard it was, but how much prouder I am of myself because it was so hard.

Just keep trying hard little man and you’ll get there, we’re right behind you all the way…

When your child struggles at school

J xx

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