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New to Afterschool with an "Accelerated Learner"


Guest Iheoma
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I'm new to posting to this board, but I've been reading it since May 2010. I'm not sure to put this on the Accelerated Learner board or here, so please forgive me if this is in the wrong place.

 

My dd(9) is in the 4th grade at a very strong PS. In many ways her school's curriculum is very strong; she's been taking Latin since 2nd grade, she has daily spanish lessons (with a dedicated spanish teacher), there are modern science labs in the school that her teachers reguarly use, ect. The problem is that I don't think that the "Language Arts" and math (Everyday Math-- UGHH!!!) curriculum are worth much for her.

 

So, here is my dilemma. My daughter has been tested for gifted programs in a variety of methods and has done exceedling well. We decided not to put her in a regional gifted program when she was going into 1st grade for a variety of reasons. However on the first day of school this year, the school social worker pulls me aside and shows me dd's most recent standardized scores and tells me that she thinks that dd should be in another school that will be more of a challenge to her. I don't know if my child is a "traditionally" gifted child/acclerated learner or what because she doesn't meet what I've read about being gifted/accelerated. Her grade, IQ testing and standardized scores are universally high, she is not socially awkward, she doesn't display any ADD/ADHD behavior and she's totally appropriately engaged with teachers and peers. She just basically does her work, gets along and comes home. (At times I don't know how Dh and I produced such a child). So I can see why she was not on anyone's radar. Still I don't know why the social worker or her teacher didn't contact me all summer to share this information (end of rant).

 

Anyway, there was no way to even consider moving dd after the first day of school after she had been looking forward to it all summer. My DD's current teacher is very nice and is open to giving her additional "work" but I don't want her to be given "work" but to really expand and broaden her thinking. So, I've started reading more about afterschooling and think it might work her. We began reading "The Story of the World" over the summer but I really would like some advice on a math curriculum that work with "Everyday Stupidity (I mean math)" and something that could engage her with science. Does anyone have similiar experiences with their child and PS. Did you speak with your child's teacher(s) about your plans? How do you prevent burnout (for you and your child)? How did you manage extracurricular activities (dd has 1.5 hours of ballet 3x per week, plus Girl Scouts).

 

Thanks for reading this. I know that's it's really long. I would appreciate your input/advice.

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My oldest is gifted and he was very much as you described your dd. As a matter of fact, a veteran GT teacher once remarked to me that for his "giftedness" he was the most socially normal she'd seen. Also no ADHD issues~~so I do know where you are coming from.

 

My question is: does the district not have some sort of gifted program within the school she attends? She would have to transfer to another school to receive those services? My son (and I) would have balked at that , since he was socially adjusted and had his friends. She really should be able to attend the school in her neighborhood and still receive those services.

 

I've found that I need to provide the enrichment (especially since I'm picky!). Does she have an area of interest? Unless it is math or language arts, she is likely to stiffen to you adding in any additional work. My ds was obsessed with geography/history and so I really just fed that. You can use these boards to get great book ideas, etc. If you are afterschooling an interest, that in itself will prevent burnout, IMHO.

 

As to your question about speaking to my child's teacher, I would say I only did that once when I had to do something about his horrible handwriting (I used HWT). When our school used a more traditional math, I used to supplement with Singapore. After they began Everyday Math I felt that was overkill and I instead added math fact practice. As far as science goes, I realized early on that the school does focus on everything fairly well except nature study, so we did a lot of that. We studied Apologia's Flying Creatures, got field guides, and took nature walks.

 

How to handle extracurriculars? Once my son got into those, our afterschooling was pretty much over. BUT, he continued to read and learn on his own accord in his spare time. My other kids (also GT) do not show this same desire to "dig into" things on their own....I also don't think any of them are as gifted (if that makes sense).

 

HTH, and I'm glad you posted!

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I'm new to posting to this board, but I've been reading it since May 2010. I'm not sure to put this on the Accelerated Learner board or here, so please forgive me if this is in the wrong place.

 

Cross-post this on the Accelerated Learner board, too. You will likely get some excellent advice.

 

My dd(9) is in the 4th grade at a very strong PS. In many ways her school's curriculum is very strong; she's been taking Latin since 2nd grade, she has daily spanish lessons (with a dedicated spanish teacher), there are modern science labs in the school that her teachers reguarly use, ect. The problem is that I don't think that the "Language Arts" and math (Everyday Math-- UGHH!!!) curriculum are worth much for her.

 

Latin in 2nd grade? ::Heavens part. Angels sing.:: Do you like the material they use and that they will continue to use?

 

As for language arts, what specifically do you dislike? I supplement with Rod and Staff grammar because my son's school is weak in that area. We do lessons orally. We also read Shakespeare and a few other things to flesh it out. I'm a fan of the Core Knowledge sequence and use some of their recommendations. If you like, you can download it here for free:

 

http://books.coreknowledge.org/home.php?cat=314

 

My son also had EM in first and second grades. (In third he moved to a school that uses Glencoe, which isn't half bad, IMO.)

 

Initially, we had him do Saxon but switched to Singapore by third grade. The lessons in Singapore were not difficult or too time-consuming. Most lessons were done Friday through Sunday during the school year and then finished in summer. It worked very well for him.

 

So, here is my dilemma. My daughter has been tested for gifted programs in a variety of methods and has done exceedling well. We decided not to put her in a regional gifted program when she was going into 1st grade for a variety of reasons. However on the first day of school this year, the school social worker pulls me aside and shows me dd's most recent standardized scores and tells me that she thinks that dd should be in another school that will be more of a challenge to her. I don't know if my child is a "traditionally" gifted child/acclerated learner or what because she doesn't meet what I've read about being gifted/accelerated. Her grade, IQ testing and standardized scores are universally high, she is not socially awkward, she doesn't display any ADD/ADHD behavior and she's totally appropriately engaged with teachers and peers. She just basically does her work, gets along and comes home. (At times I don't know how Dh and I produced such a child). So I can see why she was not on anyone's radar. Still I don't know why the social worker or her teacher didn't contact me all summer to share this information (end of rant).

 

Anyway, there was no way to even consider moving dd after the first day of school after she had been looking forward to it all summer. My DD's current teacher is very nice and is open to giving her additional "work" but I don't want her to be given "work" but to really expand and broaden her thinking. So, I've started reading more about afterschooling and think it might work her. We began reading "The Story of the World" over the summer but I really would like some advice on a math curriculum that work with "Everyday Stupidity (I mean math)" and something that could engage her with science. Does anyone have similiar experiences with their child and PS. Did you speak with your child's teacher(s) about your plans? How do you prevent burnout (for you and your child)? How did you manage extracurricular activities (dd has 1.5 hours of ballet 3x per week, plus Girl Scouts).

 

Could you move her to the other school next year? Be a friendly pest this year and find out exactly what they teach. Make multiple visits if necessary. Ask for syllabi. Ask to see the material that is used even for the years down the road. Ask if they use it and how much they get through in a year. If they are hesitant to show you those things and/or you hear about mostly pleasant-sounding vaguaries, that would be a red flag to me.

 

For science, I like the Prentice Hall Science Explorer series. Posters on the K-8 curriculum board can offer alternative suggestions as well.

 

In the meantime, since your daughter has outside activities, you could ask her present teacher if your dd could study some of your material at school. You'd be lifting the burden from the teacher and using school time wisely. When your daughter comes home, you could then ask her if she was able to read any of it that day and, if so, the two of you could do a quick, informal review.

 

What helps me is to write down general goals and then create a detailed, flexible plan for the year. Summers are scheduled, too, but we always allow for time with friends and to lollygag about.

 

I also try to include many short reviews throughout the day. For example, my son studies vocab for 5-10 minutes during the drive to his morning class.

 

If your daughter is an early riser, a good time to study is before school when her mind is fresh. However, it's important she's well rested, so don't do this unless you are sure she's getting enough sleep.

 

If you see signs of stress, then cut back and reconsider your plans.

 

HTH and good luck!

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For Language Arts you might consider Michael Clay Thompson (MCT) published by Royal Fireworks Press (which specializes in materials for gifted children). A search for "MCT" will bring up a great number of threads from the MCT fan-base (one could almost say "cult" :D). Third or Fourth Grade is the time to start. Having a First Grader we have not begun MCT yet, but I'm chomping at the bit.

 

For Math I like Primary Mathematics (Singapore) and MEP (Mathematics Enhancement Programme). Math Mammoth (MM) is another like-minded program that many people on this forum enjoy (but that I haven't used). These are good because they really get the child looking at the structural underpinnings of math and are efficient time wise.

 

Bill

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We decided not to put her in a regional gifted program when she was going into 1st grade for a variety of reasons.

 

However on the first day of school this year, the school social worker pulls me aside and shows me dd's most recent standardized scores and tells me that she thinks that dd should be in another school that will be more of a challenge to her.

 

Anyway, there was no way to even consider moving dd after the first day of school after she had been looking forward to it all summer. My DD's current teacher is very nice and is open to giving her additional "work" but I don't want her to be given "work" but to really expand and broaden her thinking.

 

I understand why you don't want to pull her from this school, why you didn't put her in the regional school in the 1st grade. I will always be grateful to my parents for doing the same thing with me. I was finally settled in a school and couldn't stand the thought of switching schools AGAIN (we moved a lot, then they wanted me to switch to a special school? No way!)

 

That being said, you still need to make sure she's challenged in her current school and getting the attention she needs. Her teacher sounds like she wants to help, but with 20-30 other students in the classroom - many of whom will be squeaky wheels, your well mannered daughter may get forgotten (ask me how I know!). So take the advice below and get the curricula, syllabi, and be the friendly neighborhood helicopter mom to the school. Make friends with the social worker who approached you about moving her and get her on your side.

 

It benefits the school to keep your daughter there so it's to their benefit to keep you and her happy. She's pulling up their overall test scores so they'll like keeping her there. Use that to get her the enrichment she needs. And consider moving her next year if you don't get what she needs - tell her and the school that it's always a possibility. That was she'll be prepared and the school will know you're serious about enrichment.

 

 

Latin in 2nd grade? ::Heavens part. Angels sing.:: Do you like the material they use and that they will continue to use?

 

Could you move her to the other school next year? Be a friendly pest this year and find out exactly what they teach. Make multiple visits if necessary. Ask for syllabi. Ask to see the material that is used even for the years down the road. Ask if they use it and how much they get through in a year. If they are hesitant to show you those things and/or you hear about mostly pleasant-sounding vaguaries, that would be a red flag to me.

 

In the meantime, since your daughter has outside activities, you could ask her present teacher if your dd could study some of your material at school. You'd be lifting the burden from the teacher and using school time wisely. When your daughter comes home, you could then ask her if she was able to read any of it that day and, if so, the two of you could do a quick, informal review.

 

If you see signs of stress, then cut back and reconsider your plans.

 

HTH and good luck!

:iagree:

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Thanks for all of the advice!!:001_smile:

 

Here are the answers to a couple of questions about my dd's situation. We declined a position at the regional gifted school when she was entering the first grade for social reasons. We just moved to a new home and my daughter would have been bussed to a school quite a distance from our home. As a child that just turned 6 (her birthday is in late July) we just didn't think that she was emotionally ready for that experience. I spoke with her 1st grade teacher and worked with her to help provide more challenging projects and experiences for dd. I also volunteered in her class at least weekly so I could really keep an eye on things. It was a good year so DH and I decided to stick with the school. I didn't want to even consider moving dd after this school year began because 3rd grade was an emotionally draining year for her. The teacher was quite authoritarian and there were several "mean girl" issues in the classroom. DD and I learned in early July she would have a really inspiring and more nuturing teacher for 4th grade and she looked forward to it until September. I just couldn't take that away from her.

 

Thanks for the curriculum suggestions. I think my biggest concern in LA is the lack of grammar instruction. I'm going to look into the suggestions made in this area. The math is - well EM - so I'll take a look at those suggestions as well.

 

Regarding latin instruction -- We live close to a major university and the latin teacher is a former classics professor. The curriculum during 2nd grade focuses on vocabulary (lots of talk about derivations) and early Greek and then Roman history. 3rd grade is the same, just more vocabulary and introduction to Mythology. 4-6th grade continue in the same manner. Kids participate in the city wide Latin Olympics starting in 4th grade. I'm very happy with the instruction so far.

 

DH and I have decided that dd will go to another school next year and have started speaking with her about that already. I try to resist being a "helicopter parent" but I know that I need to do at least a bit of that this year for dd. Again, I really appreciate the advice/insight.

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I don't know if my child is a "traditionally" gifted child/acclerated learner or what because she doesn't meet what I've read about being gifted/accelerated. Her grade, IQ testing and standardized scores are universally high, she is not socially awkward, she doesn't display any ADD/ADHD behavior and she's totally appropriately engaged with teachers and peers. She just basically does her work, gets along and comes home.

 

 

You're describing my dd to a tee! I also wouldn't necessarily call my dd "gifted", but what do I know? She's just diligent, curious, excited about learning, etc.

 

Dd was chosen for our district's gifted program which starts in 3rd grade, one day a week. I spend some time in that classroom every week, and the difference between that classroom and a traditional classroom is astounding! The teacher doesn't talk down or condescend to the kids; she uses vocabulary that, even if they may not know what it means, she exudes every confidence that they are capable of understanding her; she forces them to think on a deeper level than what they're used to, not only by her expectations of them, but with more challenging content too.

 

In the traditional classroom, what I began noticing with my dd was it was great that she was smart and nothing stumped her in class, but that was just the problem - she had never had to think deeply about anything they gave her. Everything she was presented with came to her quickly and easily in a traditional classroom, so when she first entered the gifted program one day a week, she hated it because she actually had to think! It was extremely challenging to her simply because she wasn't used to having to work for answers. But now (year 2) she loves it and is considering the full-time gifted program that will be available to her next year.

 

 

You're right to be leary of Everyday Math. My dc are subjected to TERC Investigations at their school, but we've always homeschooled with Saxon. It's proving extremely effective in keeping them on top and blocking the fuzzy methods of those reform programs from setting in, but we're also one year ahead of their grade level in Saxon. Ds, 3rd grade, is using Saxon 4 and Dd, 4th grade, is now in 6/5. In most topics, this has kept us ahead of the sequence of Investigations, but there have been a couple times I've had to offer dd a crash course when I saw her beginning to favor reform methods on topics we hadn't had enough practice with in Saxon yet.

 

Older Saxon editions are the antithesis of programs like EM and TERC. Singapore is also good, but I feel it needs more added practice. I'm happy to talk about how we work it if you're interested.

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I don't know if my child is a "traditionally" gifted child/acclerated learner or what because she doesn't meet what I've read about being gifted/accelerated. Her grade, IQ testing and standardized scores are universally high, she is not socially awkward, she doesn't display any ADD/ADHD behavior and she's totally appropriately engaged with teachers and peers.

 

Just want to comment on this: it is a myth that gifted children must have behavioral problems. Absolute nonsense.

Many gifted kids are never identified as such (unless the district tests all students) if they cause no trouble. An IQ test is part of the diagnostics for behavioral problems and thus some students with issues are identified gifted when one looks for causes for their behavior.

My kids are both gifted, very accelerated - and completely normal. They are not awkward, have no attention issues (which, btw have nothing to do with IQ at all), can interact appropriately - which is true for the majority of gifted people I know.

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