The Fourth Grade Blues
When did fourth grade become so difficult? My daughter who has always brought home fantastic grades and rarely needed homework to be reviewed is now struggling with the fourth grade. She definitely already has the fourth grade blues and school has just begun.
Her teacher has told me that fourth grade is the big life changing grade and that this is when they learn how to study correctly: meaning making up study guides and flash cards. This is the time when they are preparing for the rest of their school days and they need to decide what type of learner they are.
My daughter is definitely a visual learner like myself, but even when I re-created tests where she needs to match up the science or spelling words that she had memorized, she does not do so well with her practice tests. While I was significantly disappointed in her initial grades, I really tried to be positive and tell her that we will just have to start studying earlier and look for new ways of learning until we both get it.
One of the things we struggle with is that the basics are taught differently now than when I went to school many many years ago. Last night while looking at her first introduction at division, I could see the answer right away, but the assignment called for estimating- finding two numbers that could be close to the answer, but not really solving the problem. We understood the assignment and ran right through it, but I am not sure how that prepares one for division. I thought you learn your multiplication facts and go from there.
I think that as parents all we can do is to give positive reinforcements, but then if they still don’t get it, we have to take different measures such as looking for internet sites to help us solve things, or as a last resort- get tutors. I use a site for college algebra and have now showed Megan the site Khanaccademy.org which is a free site playing instructional videos on a subject and then gives a small test to see if you have understood the lesson. It is very child friendly and Megan seemed to enjoy it when we reviewed it the other day.
- Study habits are important and cannot be stressed enough. I’ve found a few things like having soft music playing in the background helps Megan concentrate on what she is reviewing.
- Being in the right frame of mind is key. If she is not ready to study, we shouldn’t even try but at the same time, procrastination cannot be allowed.
- Also sitting at the table with my daughter seems to give her more courage to attempt a homework assignment than if I am in the kitchen preparing dinner. Yes, this can be difficult at times when as moms we have so much to do, but sacrifices have to be made.
We made a little progress since she has gained a little confidence in herself and yesterday she actually brought home an A on a spelling test but it did not come without several hours of homework each night. I am not sure who is back in fourth grade myself or her.