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In your years of teaching in the public school setting, has anyone ever had students placed in their classroom that have never been to school at all? Help!!

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Yes, it happens at my school with kids from war-torn countries. It usually takes a while for them to get used to how school works. You can’t just recommend them for special education testing because they haven’t even been taught yet, but I would try to get the counselor, Title I (if you have it) and any other support services you can get in your room to help them.

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Talk to your school counselor about the deficiencies these children have. The counselor should then talk to the parents and may recommend getting the children tested. They really need to be tested to see exactly where their academic level is so that a plan of action can be put in place to help them. Also, see if the counselor would also have someone from the special education department come and observe the children for a couple of days as well. This will start the documentation trail. Keep samples copies of their work too.

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Dealing with this now it’s quite the challenge

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It definitely is.!

Yes this year!! “Home schooled!” Second grade and doesn’t know the letters in the alphabet not to mention the sounds they make!

Very true sadly

These students in particular should be in 2nd grade, but they are no where near that level academically. They have severe speech delays and it is as if they have been sheltered. Reportedly they have never been up anywhere even to a store. Mom said they were homeschooled, but if they were at all it is not evident. They cannot even form letters or numbers correctly and have no idea how to trace…How do you give them grades when they can’t even do grade level work? Mom did not want them in school period, but when it was found that they existed she was forced to enroll them. They came for two days, and then missed over a week, and then were back again. It’s almost as if they have been living in a cave somewhere. We don’t even know where to start!

That is so sad…these poor babies. They don’t get to choose the environment they are born into unfortunately. I mean how do you even begin to give grades for students such as this? We can give them work more on their level, but when they are assigned to a higher grade level than they are capable, how do you reflect this in grading?

Yes two brothers whose mother was a show girl and hooker in Las Vegas. She would drop fast food in the room for them and that was most of their contact with the outer world. No social skills, manners or concept of any social skills

So sad!

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I’m an ESL teacher so yes, or students who haven’t been to school since they were children. It’s difficult, especially because they also usually have come from very traumatic circumstances where schooling wasn’t an option. Just a matter of trying your best, being understanding, and know that they are trying their best too :)

I’ve had some Hmong kids…. Tough job😞

Yes. Every year we have a few middle school enrollments who were "homeschooled" through elementary. (I use scare quotes because in these cases schooling obviously did not occur.) I've also taught refugee kids who never had formal schooling. The buddy system is your friend. So is leaning on your specialists (ESL, Title I, etc).

Yes. Students who recently immigrated and worked more than they went to school, or who couldn’t afford school because of the materials or uniform or transportation costs. It requires a lot of patience and teaching them basics of appropriate classroom behavior. They will get it eventually.

As a long time ELD-ESL teacher this happened to me so many times. Just a matter of working with whatever skills the student has and building on these. What experience can the student share with peers ( self esteem values) Use as much realia as possible, large illustrations and [ useful] tech.

Here is an alternate story. I pulled my own child out of school and homeschooled her because she was more academically advanced than her teacher was willing to cope with. When the students in her kindergarten class were coloring letters and singing songs about the letter sounds she was already able to read. I asked if she could sit in the back of the room and read during this time and was told she would have to do what the other kids did. Same thing with math. They were counting and sorting manipulatives and she could add and subtract with borrowing and carrying. I gave up trying to get her needs met there and purchased materials for her that allowed her to move at her own pace. We joined scouts and gymnastics etc, so she had socialization opportunities. At the age when kids start third grade she had made a friend in the neighborhood of her same age and asked if she could go to school too. I said if you want to you can and we went up and enrolled her. The school insisted on testing her. When the scores came back they asked me to consider putting her in 4th grade because she scored so high. I told them she is going to be learning how to do “school” this year and I would rather she not be academically challenged at the same time. I knew she had never had to follow a schedule or stop working on one thing to do another. The only lines she had been in were at store checkouts or purchasing tickets. It was a good choice.

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