Tuesday, February 17, 2009



Griffin has been struggling to read and write ever since he started school... he got a small amount of help while we were in Palmerston North... and I let the new school know way, way in advance that he had learning difficulties and would NEED Reading Recovery help as soon as he arrived ...

We arrived at the START of September last year... they did not have any help set up for him. I was told he would be put into Reading Recovery at the beginning of this year.

Yesterday afternoon his teacher told me that he was TOO OLD for the Reading Recovery programme now! WHAT THE FUCK!!!!!

I am totally LIVID, I cannot believe this is happening. Griffin is 7.3 years old, he cannot read or write beyond a 5 year old level (if that)... and he is not going to be getting any help?

I was so upset his teacher offered to take him for 1/4 of an hour BEFORE school, starting next week. She is so very nice... but I don't think 1/4 hr a day is going to help him much.

So my job today is to try and find some outside help for him.. which we will obviously have to pay for. So be it. Griffin is not an idiot, far from it.... but he does need help in this area. I feel so sad for him. He is already realising that he can't read and write like his classmates. I don't want his self esteem to suffer, I don't want HIM to suffer because an inadequate education system let him down. Like, they KNEW (both schools) he needed help....

... can you see the steam coming out of me ears from there?

On a happier note... Teddy seems to be getting better! He isn't so miserable looking, he's wagging his tail a bit... and he is tolerating the new food... and not scratching so much .. THANK GOD!

I am going to my patchwork class this morning... I am going to DE - STRESS and just enjoy some GROWN UP company. (wonder if I can take some rum?)

I have talked to the Principal... got the run around.. but she did promise that they would do SOMETHING for him. In the meantime, I have approached his teacher to see if she would be interesting in doing some private tuition .. she said probably 'yes'... will wait on that.

The Patchwork Class: was a hoot! About 9 ladies, varying ages... I had a wonderful time! Lots of jokes and natter... SOME sewing going on too! They all stay after 'class time' and order lunch from the downstairs coffee shop...so I did too... it is really NEAT and I can't wait till next week to go again. Thank god something is going well.

When I finish today's little project I will show you all. .... bet you are on the edges of your seats waiting for that! LOL

Enough suspense:

This is my view while at my sewing machine... in the garage....

And this is what I'm making today... once it's finished it will be a little lavender bag for me Mum's drawer... I'm gunna make her a few... all different colours of course! They are partly hand sewn and partly machine sewn. Fiddly friggin things, but cute. I love working with different colours and patterns, it's fun.

We have dinner guests... I invited Lynn and her daughter to dinner (private blogger), so I better pull finger and do something about that!

KAREN: Oh Ok, so they are 'Cathedral Window Blocks'... I kinda enjoyed making the first one so...

I just made two more!

End of Day: our dinner guests (Lynn and Lauren) have left... we had the most lovely visit. Today has been the NICEST day I've had in ages... well let's not count first thing when I was mad as hell... the rest of the day has ROCKED. I like day's like this. Wish there were more. nite nite.


  1. I recommend SPELD well worth the money, Chris did it for 3 years and helped heaps you have to pay for it yourself and the assessment but money well worth spending. Chris had the same problem when he was 7 we got told that to.... good luck

  2. Ok, there is fume rising from the top of my head right now.. WTF is that school playing at. How can you say a child is to old to help him.

    Chris you need to find out this information (well I think you do) what learning support programs do the school have in place, do they use phonics? What is his actual reading age compared with his chronological age. Why the hell is he to old to get help?? are you kidding me they are saying you are now destined to a life of being behind to the poor boy. Why did they not help him when you first alerted them to this. God do they now know the parents have the best information on any child??
    From my experience there is always something that can be done. At my school we have a learning support register and all children who are behind 6+ months in reading and writing are on there and we monitor them very closely, they might go and work as part of a group or one to one with another teacher or when in class a teacher aide will come to support them depending on their needs. I am pretty sure it is a legal requirement to offer support to children who are behind.

    But all else said if this was me, I would go to the principal and depend to know the above things and then say, get some support for my child or I will be contacting the ministry to find out what his rights are, as at the moment you are not providing him with an adequate education.

    God I am angry, know wonder people get pissed of at the education system when some schools pull stunts like that.

    Give him a huge hug and I hope things get better for him, as at the moment I am ashamed of his school and teacher.

    Much love

  3. My Mum was a remedial reading teacher, She mainly had older students - it was always boys in their teens by the time she got them. I have heard fantastic things about SPELD as well.

  4. I can hear your fustration!! In our school reading recovery (RR) is only 15 mins with each child, 5 days a week, so his teacher is offering as much as he would get with the RR teacher. Is it possible to talk to the RR teacher and she if they are willing to tutor him as well as the teacher. This would be out of school I guess. The more help he gets the better. This is of course along with the help you are already giving him. Big hugs.

  5. Lots of boys are neurologically behind girls at this age, just like lots of boys are short. It has NOTHING to do with how SMART these kids are.

    Does he like bugs? Bats? Frogs? Take a bunch of easy books out of the library about 'em with pictures. He will learn so much better with your (or a tutor's) loving coaching than he ever would from these so-called teaching experts at school and "friends" who want to pressure him when he is not ready. I would have a few words to say about the education establishment but will save them for my homeschool blog LOL.


  6. You've had some helpful suggestions, hope something gets sorted soon. It's like they've put Griffin in the "too hard" basket.

  7. I'm sure I've asked before, but have they looked at dyslexia? This was on Wikipedia:

    "Dyslexia is a learning disability that manifests primarily as a difficulty with written language, particularly with reading. It is separate and distinct from reading difficulties resulting from other causes, such as a non-neurological deficiency with vision or hearing, or from poor or inadequate reading instruction.[1]

    Evidence suggests that dyslexia results from differences in how the brain processes written and spoken language. Although dyslexia is thought to be the result of a neurological difference, it is not an intellectual disability. Dyslexia is diagnosed in people of all levels of intelligence.[2]"

  8. You have some really good advice here, Chris. Is it time for me to pray? If so, I will pray that the extra help he needs will become available immediately. Jump on it now and don't stop jumping until you are satisfied.

    Hugs to you both!

  9. It was once a week for an hour with about an hour of homework each week, Chris improved heaps with it, the reason we stopped was because he was doing correspondence and was getting lots of one on one. The assessment ranges from $200 plus depending on where you live, the lessons are about $30-$40 an hour. They usually are school teachers or ex teachers that do the work, Lynise is a SPELD tutor or was anyway....

  10. Poor lil munchkin. :( I was that way with math throughout school. A tutor helped tremendously!

  11. Anonymous10:47 AM

    Hi Chris,
    I totally agree with Vic. The school (government) has a responsibility to provide adequate education for all children attending their schools! Poor Griffin its about him and his future; I'm so sad for him. I am sure you will not give up and fight for him to get extra help. In the meantime it could be worth trying to organise a tutor for him; it could help his confidence. My two girls are teachers and they have (and do) tutor children after hours (usually at the child's home). It is usually parents who approach them and as long as there is no conflict of interest the schools are happy for them to do it.

  12. HUGS to you and Griffin...the school system sucks here too... here with the no child left behind bullshit act they pass the kid on weather they are ready or not so they can get their grant moneys... it is bullshit (did I mention it is bullshit) and the kid is who suffers.
    I hope you are able to find someone who can help him and figure out the key to why he struggles in this area... for me it was dyslexia, for cory it was ADHD and for martha pure hardheadedness that a year of repeating the 8th grade seems to have partially cured.
    more hugs to you guys!

  13. Mrs. C and I are on the same page. My now-12yo struggled until last year, when I put him in a class for reading improvement. It pushed him over the edge, and now he can read just fine, but he still doesn't like it.

    I'm very anti-public school for the most part, so I won't say what I'm *really* thinking. Praying Griffin gets the help he needs, but please know, reading is developmental, and it says NOTHING about him or his intelligence that he can't read well yet.

  14. Anonymous12:50 PM

    I would talk to the Principal - failing that the Ministry of education to see if they can organise any other support, failing that - go to your local MP....

  15. Chris, I hope you are able to find a solution to this soon. It is very kind of the classroom teacher to offer 15 minutes of her time, this is a great help.Griffin should be reading every single day, and long periods at a time isn't necessary to improve his standard. Have you ever done the reading recovery program? If you were armed with some strategies, you can help him too, although often it's very frustrating for parents to help their youngsters with reading. I would make an appointment to see the principal and request that he be assessed by the learning support teacher. Good luck.

  16. Another thing I forgot to add. My middle child is mildly ASD, which means he's quite quirky and really needs assistance to stay focused. If he was in the state system, there would be no funding, and no assistance for him. There are so many kids that need help, that often there are kids who need help who fall under the radar, because they aren't 'bad enough'. Hope you get some satisfaction with the principal.

  17. GRRRR! Just as well Griffin has you to ensure he gets the best help possible. Too many kids like him with parents that don't/won't care slip through the net and never reach their full potential.

    Your patchwork class sounds great. Do you hand sew? It's something I've often thought about but don't know if I'd have the patience. I guess if I started now I might have something for the first grandchild (which isn't even on the horizon yet!)

  18. Anonymous2:07 PM

    Oh my god Chris. That's a cathedral window block... No one likes doing them but you have and it looks amazing. I haven't even tried.. look too fiddly for me.
    How did you learn that in one morning and complete it.
    Sounds like you had heaps of fun. Can't wait to see what you do next time.

  19. I hate to say it Chris but the schools are so pushed now with bigger classrooms etc, I know that is no excuse but in the end a lot of Chris's improvement came from me working with him each night for about 15 minutes, when G is reading do you and him read a page each, stuff like that worked well with us also the educational shops have awesome games and resources and computer games that the kids do not even feel like they are learning. I got heaps of phonic books and educational games and him and I or the three of us would sit there and play them and do the books everyday. This made a huge impact another thing is go to the teacher and ask if they have any resources that you and G can do together. Online you can print of heaps of stuff that G could do at home. Oh another thing when you go to the library ask them for there talking books another thing Chris enjoyed. School is going to be a group learning setting often between 25 and 30 kids whereas home is where you can give one on one learning and I am sure you will see his learning go ahead in leaps and bounds. Home I feel is one of the best places the kids can learn stuff with, you can give them one on one and with all the resources available on the net all it takes is a bit of your time, you can't rely on the school, it took me 4 years to get funding for Chris but in the meantime, I worked with him at home doing stuff everyday which helped heaps.

  20. Anonymous2:16 PM

    You've been busy!

    You are good to stay on the school about Griffin to get him the help he needs!

    I'm glad to hear little Teddy is feeling better.

    Your pictures of your projects makes me want to dig out my material and sewing machine and make something.

    I am going to make your meatloaf sometime! You hide a lot in there you sneak!

  21. Anonymous2:40 PM

    Good luck with Griffin - at least you are doing something about it. We had Zac's nephew at the age of 15 over for a week in the holidays to find he couldn't read basic words (2 years ago). Zac's mum had some money put aside for the grandkids for their tertiary education so she used some of that money - I paid it directly into the tutors account as the nephew's mother can't really be trusted with such things. I am sure the school system bought this to the mother's attention, but as she is poorly educated & basically lives on welfare, & has put her head in the sand. It was very frustrating & no wonder the poor kid was failing school. 12 months of tutoring & he passed year 10 & has gone on to year 11 this year. You are so right to be all over the school & to be getting on top of it now. Sorry for the rant! PS not to worry about deleting the the other blog - it served its purpose & allowed you to vent in a safe environment!

  22. This bloody country has an extremely fucked up education system. It lets kids fall through the cracks and leaves them behind. It's bullshit.

    I have a close friend in Tauranga who has a child who is dyspraxic and also a nephew, whom I think I have mentioned before. They both went through the public system here and both got house doctors (straight out of medical school) doing their assessments and both said there was nothing wrong with them other than a few speech delays. TJ now has a teacher aide in her class and Caleb (my nephew) has gone through Seabrook McKenzie privately down here and they have put him in a programme to help with his learning difficulties. Both kids are 6 and can not even point at the words in a reader. Yet the public system said both were fine.

    There seems to be a hell of a lot of laziness in the public sector and a shit load of passing the buck.

    Time to fight for your Grandson Chris and fight hard!!

  23. Any chance of the pattern for the little bags? It looks like something I might be able to manage. Although I'd have to buy a sewing machine ... after getting rid of my old one when we moved cos I hadn't used it in yonks! Always the way, isn't it?!

  24. well I have to disagree with Jules. I can't say any of the teachers I know are lazy. In fact when working full time I got to school around the 7.30am mark to get organised and would often have parents dropping their children off at the same time (so they could get to their jobs on time) dispite the fact that we weren't suppose to have children at school before 8am.

    When the 3 oclock bell would go I would then be at school until at least 5pm (often 6 or 7pm) with meetings, then getting books, journals, and photocopying done for the next days lessons.

    When at Intermediate I had a range of five varying levels of reading/writing (some students reading 4 - 5 years above, while some 3 - 4 below and every age in between). The reality of a school day is that teachers are often stretched beyond what they are humanly capable and to suggest that a lot of teachers are lazy pisses me off more then anyone could possible imagine.

    I have given over 13 years of my working life to this profession and have seen how society now expects teachers to be responible for such a range of complex needs and issues that its just impossible to achieve. Lockwood Smith has a lot to answer for when he closed down special needs units and decided that all children should be mainstreamed. (without adequate funding and support in place).

    In 2005 my class was made up of 29 11 year olds. Within that class I had one child in a wheelchair, three with ADHD (on retalin) one with asperger's syndrome, two with dyslexia, and one with autism.

    Thats eight children with special needs, and only one had been assessed as needing the support of a teacher aid (and only 10 hours a week)

    The teachers simply can not be everything to everybody and I know that my class is not unique. Many of my teaching friends are still trying to carry out effective teaching under these conditions. I would love someone to show me a lazy teacher, as from my experience we go WAY beyond what should be expected.

    I could go on about how much so called 'holiday time' is spent at school in planning meetings, but I think I've said enough. Rant over

    (PS: I didn't even address your actual post. I saw the 'lazy teacher' comment and just saw red. sorry)

  25. Very pretty art project love the fabrics.
    I read a book by Raymond Moor called Successful Home Schooling. i am NOT recommending you homeschool, however the book explains a very interesting perspective on how and whn children learn, learning styles and when to worry. Mr Moore is a proponent of the wait until 8 philosophy that believes that children s cognitive thinking doesn't even kick in until they are at least 8 years old. One of my girls was very slow with figuring out how to read and then she passed everybody.
    Schools are full of excuses, they are big beurocratic systems, I'm glad the boy has YOU. The book has a lot of helpful suggestions on how to help your child learn and figuring out what their learning style is.

  26. When I came to America when I was five, I couldn't read, speak, or write (English). Luckily for me, they had special programs for kids who couldn't read. Sorry to hear they don't have that for older kids. Good luck finding a program for Giffin.

  27. no darlin, I understand your frustration, and believe me I would feel annoyed at being promised something then the school changing their mind as well. (not fair)
    I don't understand the school saying that he is too old for reading recovery as I know of older children then Griffin who do rr.

  28. Hope Griffin gets the helps he needs....I know you will see to it! Of course, reading at home helps a lot too.
    Sorry to hear you have been stressed lately....I just got caught up on your last week or two. Don't know what's going on but sorry to hear you had to go private blog too. Just to let you know I'm thinking about you! Weird thing is that you were in a dream of mine last night....I was just meeting you for the first time but then I had to rush off to do my x-ray stuff. ha! Am I freaking you out!
    Nice sewing your are doing....
    Take care.

  29. Hi Chris... thanks for mentioning the "blighted ovum" on my blog comments. It makes it easier for me to Google so I can try to work out what happened.

    But, really, I think it was just the luck of the draw. Cross everything for us re: trying for another! xxx

  30. I can well understand your fury with the school, don't give up,keep on nagging them until you get something done about it.

    Good luck mate!

  31. They would look nice joined together as a quilt?? yes they would!!!!!!

  32. It is certainly great to know that you had a (mostly) good day! The squares are beautiful - you are so talented!

    Keep fighting for Griffin at the school - there should be some help for him there!

    Good luck!

  33. Sounds like the school is just trying to pass the buck on this one. They should provide help plain and simple.

    The remainder of the days sounds like fun. Glad to hear you enjoy the class.

    It seems that you finally starting to settled in. Take time to feel at home.

  34. Poor little man. The whole situation is so frustrating! My mother is a teacher and even she is angry about the education system. (That should tell you something.)

    Like Ann(ie) said, I also had difficulties with math all throughout school. My math teachers didn't have the time to figure how I learned best, nor did they teach in a way that all the students could grasp.

    I had a tutor during high school who helped a lot. Prior to that I was barely scraping by with C's and D's in math.

    Then years later in college, there was a professor that I understood, and she could actually teach the course. Finally I made an A in math by working my hiney off!

  35. I think that looks like a fun class. I haven't visited for a while, but I always enjoy your stream-of-thought way of writing!

  36. Good luck to you and little Griffin...hopefully the teacher will tutor him and help him achieve success so his self esteem doesn't end up in the toilet...we have a son in which the school system failed and he ended up dropping out of high school and it breaks my ♥....he has such strength in other areas...we are just praying that he realizes it soon...it's a daily struggle...what a Great and FUN class you are taking...you are doing a wonderful job and lavender is such a great fragrance...your mum should just love these.

  37. OMG - surely they knew how old Griffin was when they first told you something would be put into place! Hope you find him some extra help - good on you for being conscious of his self esteem needs at such a young age!

    Patchwork project looks great - and sounds like you may have found a class (and people) that suit you well.


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