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What do you do with a smart kid...


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who doesn't always seem so smart?

I've got a 7th grader who works independently; standardized test scores off the chart; I know he's bright, but not a lot of common sense or "street smarts." His school work peaks and valleys, some math tests all correct, some D material! Doesn't do great all the time in grammar, but every question on the ITBS was correct in that area. I'm trying to figure out if this is a common pattern, maybe I should take a different approach (now lots of reading, plus texts that he can self study in), I don't know, just wondering if there was something I should be doing differently since it seems like I'm dealing with 2 different kids at times!

thanks for any words of wisdom...

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Personally, I know of only one thing that will help his issues...time and maturity. Mostly because I WAS that book-smart, tests-well kid with nil common sense. :D


One things that might have helped me sooner (like, before I went to and early admission program for college at 16 and made C's, landed on academic probation and then lost my scholarship and had to go back to high school) would have been explicit teaching of study skills and how to study--when you seldom encounter challenging material, you may not know what to do with it when you do. Things like how to organize study time, different study strategies, and how to know when to ask for help.


He may make the occasional "D" because he ran into a concept he didn't "get" or didn't understand right away (before the mistakes were made). Or, it could be he doesn't apply himself consistently. Have you talked with him about his thought processes leading up to it when he's made a bad grade? It can help if you can figure out what's going on inside his head (I realize this is easier said than done).


Another thing that would have helped me when I ran into early roadblocks was explicit instruction in and supervision of my time management skills. I picked that sort of thing up (to the extent I have) in the military. Nuke school required very set amounts of time be devoted to study, and it was all logged and recorded. That's also where I was explicitly taught study skills...my second stab at college I graduated summa cum laude.

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Ravin, thanks for your response. I can tell you know what you're talking about because you have nailed who my kid is!

We've had intermittent conversations about how to study, how to pick out the important stuff and write it down so you can learn it later; and yes, ask for help!! A few months ago, I was exasperated when I found out he had spent 2 hours doing math because he couldn't figure something out. And, I think he does not apply himself all the time... time management, totally right there too. Again, not too long ago, he had been in his room all morning doing schoolwork and what was completed? English. He finally admitted he had been birdwatching most of the time.

Over the summer, we'll review this stuff.. studying, knowing when you are stuck, no half hearted efforts, planning your day...

I kept thinking, is he doing too little, too much, too dull, too overwhelming? thanks for the encouragement; if all he needs is some slight handholding to get his brain on a straighter path, I can handle it.


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