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but..but...but...I'm not READY to start high school!


Dmmetler
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Or even middle school!

 

I'm starting to look at curriculum choices for next year, and looking at where DD is now, what is working, what isn't, and what speed she's going, I'm really thinking that I need to move more solidly into middle and high school content, simply because that's what it seems to take to keep her brain busy and happy.

 

She just turned 7.

 

I've been putting items in my cart at Rainbow Resource, and every single one of them is something like "7th-12th grade" or " 9th-12th grade". Or maybe, if I'm lucky "10 and up" or "12 and up". About the only thing on my wishlist that might be considered elementary would be MCT.

 

I don't know why it bothered me so much less to be looking at mostly 5th/6th grade materials for a 6 yr old than it seems to to find myself looking at 7th-9th grade or so materials for a 7 yr old...but it does.

 

Please reassure me that this is normal and that it will be OK. And that maybe, just maybe, I'll stop having to buy two grade levels or more of curricula a year, in addition to doing lots of extras within the subjects and to extend them to keep this kid involved!

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It is funny you mention MCT for elementary. I have been looking around at other grammar programs and have found that MCT materials are similar to what middle school students are studying. Another example of how we really need to tailor our child(ren)'s education to their specific educational needs. Much luck on your journey:)

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I've got one like that, age eight. I think the almost-five year old will be even worse. I've already resigned myself to buying two years of curricula every year for DD (and wishing I could get three years worth), at the very least. I do think that after this year I will be giving her more and more reading and writing to do, as we do not plan to consider 'graduation' until she is eighteen.

 

There are so many good books out there, fiction and nonfiction, that I think I can occupy her with those for several years. For example, I have my eye on that Joy Hakim US History series and her science series.......and all kinds of classic literature, among other things! DD does a lot of free reading now and I plan to have her gradually do more directed reading over the next year. She just goes right through curricula so I am hoping that having something more substantial to read and think about(and start to write about) will keep that brain busy without me having to rob a bank.

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Or even middle school!

 

I'm starting to look at curriculum choices for next year, and looking at where DD is now, what is working, what isn't, and what speed she's going, I'm really thinking that I need to move more solidly into middle and high school content, simply because that's what it seems to take to keep her brain busy and happy.

 

She just turned 7.

 

I've been putting items in my cart at Rainbow Resource, and every single one of them is something like "7th-12th grade" or " 9th-12th grade". Or maybe, if I'm lucky "10 and up" or "12 and up". About the only thing on my wishlist that might be considered elementary would be MCT.

 

I don't know why it bothered me so much less to be looking at mostly 5th/6th grade materials for a 6 yr old than it seems to to find myself looking at 7th-9th grade or so materials for a 7 yr old...but it does.

 

Please reassure me that this is normal and that it will be OK. And that maybe, just maybe, I'll stop having to buy two grade levels or more of curricula a year, in addition to doing lots of extras within the subjects and to extend them to keep this kid involved!

 

When my son was 5 or 6, I could rarely find anything in the elementary sections of RR or Christian Book (my other favorite place to browse) to interest and challenge him that justified the money I was going to spend on it. When he was 8, it became clear that he was also outgrowing the middle grade sections of these online stores. And here you are asking advice about the same! I'm so glad I'm not alone. :D

 

My son just turned 9 and I am currently exploring using tutors/ distance learning for high school math and science. He's about a third of a way into high school geometry and physics. He asked me a few days ago to begin teaching him high school level literary analysis. I've been wondering about beginning a transcript. He still has his little cuddle toy in bed with him every night.

 

He is who he is. And I try to tell myself it's okay. He will be fine as long as he's happy and still takes so much pleasure in being childlike and enjoying childlike things. But sometimes I do wonder if this is real and I need to pinch myself or if I'm doing something wrong or harming him in some way by giving in.

 

Can it be harmful if this is what they want? I don't know but I do take a lot of comfort in reading this from the Hoagies site:

 

"What is right for the highly, exceptionally, or profoundly gifted child varies widely with each child. The best thing that parents, educators, and others working with that child can do is to actually work with the child. Make adjustments, offer opportunities, and try new placements, even if they are not commonly used for most children. The highly, exceptionally, or profoundly gifted child is not "most children." He is a unique individual, for whom modifications to the program must be made along the way, for both his gifted abilities and his learning disabilities.

And he deserves to be a child, to learn and play, to be taught and teach himself, to grow in physical, intellectual, social / emotional and spiritual ways, to adult-hood. Even if this means Kindergarten at 4, or high school 3 years early, or college courses at 12. And he deserves to play... in his own way, with his own friends, at his favorite games... no matter how different these are from what society sees as "appropriate" for a child of his age."

 

 

Source: http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/highly_profoundly.htm

 

 

All the best!

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Funny you say that. I was just giggling today at my son on the couch, tightly clinging to both an x-box controller and a worn-out teddy bear. :001_wub:

 

Around here, it's a stuffed dragon :).

 

:cheers2: Stuffed labrabeagle (we think it's a mixed-breed). ;)

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For my 6 year old who just asked to add a third language to our already hard enough for mama to keep up with curriculum schedule, it's her Woodie & Jessie dolls from the Toy Story movies. :lol:she sleeps with them and carries them everywhere. She also occasionally teaches them long division.

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It's just the nature of the beast. IIRC Deborah Ruf homeschooled her son through six grades in a year or so. I admit it isn't much fun buying Singapore Math books only to have my son blow through them at a rate of a "half year" every 3-4 weeks (though it's nice to free up time for other things). One just winds up compressing the expense and experience of schooling into a much shorter time. I've found that one nice part of having a fast learner is that you don't need to spend much time on explicit instruction, just give plenty of books and other materials and back away. :O)

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Keep in mind also that grade levels are 100% artificial. They are defined by the powers that be's perception of the "average" childs learning pace when they are going to be chained to a class with at least 15 other kids and watching XX hours of TV etc at home as opposed to doing educational things at home even just for an hour....

 

Also note that the grade levels have been in a steady decline for the past 40 years or so...

 

What is "7th grade" or "9th" or even "12th" grade is extremely subjective. Grades mean nothing. When your kids done all the "predetermined" stuff, give her free reign in the used book store on highschool and college level stuff. Let her exhaust her librarys resources and do other stuff.

Its not that big of a deal. Let her go at her pace. :).

 

Much luck :).

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I really don't think workbooks on their own, or just handing books over to kids to "have at it" are the right way to go for any type of learner. A better way is what Dmmetler, the OP, showed on her blog in the candy/math example. That is some serious, (dare I say Constructivist?) learning that you can't get from textbooks.

The challenge for parents is to keep coming up with learning opportunities like that, at a higher and higher level, and to combine them with a good curriculum. Your 7 year old Dmmetler is one year ahead of my 6 year old, so I'll be watching you for more ideas!

Edited by jenbrdsly
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Every child is bound to be different. My son certainly does some serious learning, and math is a particular strength of his due to his general problem-solving abilities. I probably wouldn't try to teach almost any child math as fast as he soaks it up.

 

I also think that there's a place for self-directed exploration (which is well illustrated in the case of DS6 when he tackles a novel problem on his own), but also a very important place for being able to learn abstract information correctly presented. The importance of being able to learn taught information quickly, accurately and deeply only increases as one goes deeper into math and the sciences. Most students are simply incapable of creating the world's greatest theorems and scientific discoveries from scratch.

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I think that parents of gifted children should have a clear and consistent message. Iucounu, you are in a good position to do this with giftedwiki. Too often society says: "Oh, that child is so smart. Just send him off in the corner with an advanced book and he will be fine." In my opinion, that does a huge disservice to gifted children.

Gifted children deserve instruction too. The deserve attention. They deserve good teaching, and they deserve experiences. They do not deserve to have their curiosity or love of learning drowned in busywork, endless workbooks, or too much isolation.

That's why I thought the OP's candy/math example was so great. It is interactive activities like that, combined with the proper level and pace of advanced curriculum, that serve gifted children best. That's why scouring a curriculum website or catalogue can leave a parent frustrated. Textbook learning is only one piece of the puzzle.

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I largely agree. My son was stuffed into a corner with worksheets not so long ago, since the school didn't know what to do with him.

 

Yesterday we met with the district math consultant (here to help turn around our Title I schools), who said that children in second grade need lots of practice and drill in constructing number relationships, so that they can do them many different ways, and that this is preferable to learning new concepts. Now I agree that developing very good number sense is important, which involves leaving plenty of time for manipulation, but this sort of thing (advocating horizontal acceleration, "broader and deeper") has been used in my experience to justify not providing any vertical acceleration at all. I'm just leery of an overemphasis on exploration, when it may be used as an excuse not to provide any meaningful learning. In my son's case, he's so far past all second-grade (and third etc.) math concepts that there's no use in keeping him "studying" them while the rest of the class catches up.

 

I think it's absolutely true that any child is ill-served by learning a bunch of calculation skills and practicing them endlessly, at the expense of gaining true understanding, and this is typically one major use of worksheets. It's also true that using skills and knowledge in practice tends to deepen understanding and improve recall at the same time. In my son's case, he is currently afterschooling using Singapore Math, which he tends to go through quickly (we usually don't use the workbook, just the textbook and a selection of Challenging Word Problems), but he gets plenty of chances to play around during his math enrichment, programming, beginning robotics, etc. If that weren't true, I would probably spend more time during math lessons proper on that sort of thing.

 

I'm not knocking the OP's candy example in the slightest. I have oodles of manipulatives, and have seen that they work great, though we wound up not using them for a long period. Early on I started engaging DS6 verbally to do a lot of number manipulation, with the aim of increasing his ability to think abstractly. When he constructs or manipulates an expression, for instance, I might ask him what other ways it could be neatly constructed or manipulated. This sort of play probably overlaps a lot of hands-on activities when it's done correctly. But early on, I remember even constructing homemade manipulatives, like a handmade fold-over paper widget to illustrate negative numbers. We didn't spend more than a few minutes using it, but it worked fine.

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Uh, the candy wasn't a manipulative in the sense that they're used in elementary school math. She wasn't using them to learn math concepts (although I do have to say she got into decimal calculations that were new to her). Rather, the whole POINT of the exercise, as DD devised it, was to figure out the differences between the different kinds of M&Ms, and to figure out ways of finding those differences, and to draw conclusions.

 

It ended up being a pretty sophisticated project-and really was just something fun she decided she wanted to do after seeing the different kinds of M&Ms in the store.

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Please reassure me that this is normal and that it will be OK. And that maybe, just maybe, I'll stop having to buy two grade levels or more of curricula a year, in addition to doing lots of extras within the subjects and to extend them to keep this kid involved!

 

It will definitely be ok! Or at least I hope so because my big girl is on the same path...:svengo:

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Uh, completely off-topic but thanks for the unintentional clarification of what "candy" is. We tend to assume you mean hard sugar lolls, but actually candy is chocolate. Ooooooh, I see.

 

OP, I understand your hesitation. Enjoy meeting your little girl's needs.

 

 

Kids almost always love "maths" activities that involve "hard sugar lolls" too. Did I say that right?

 

 

I largely agree. My son was stuffed into a corner with worksheets not so long ago, since the school didn't know what to do with him.

 

Yesterday we met with the district math consultant (here to help turn around our Title I schools), who said that children in second grade need lots of practice and drill in constructing number relationships, so that they can do them many different ways, and that this is preferable to learning new concepts. Now I agree that developing very good number sense is important, which involves leaving plenty of time for manipulation, but this sort of thing (advocating horizontal acceleration, "broader and deeper") has been used in my experience to justify not providing any vertical acceleration at all.

 

Iucounu, if you tell me the curriculum your school district uses, I might be able to help you with the "teacher speak" you could use to advocate for your child moving into the appropriate classroom for math time. That's what's happening with my son, and how I helped third grader learners who needed fifth grade math when I was a teacher.

 

Another, school based math program for older levels that I heard about from Keith Devlin, the NPR math guy, (long story there) is: Mind Research's Jiji. I've never been able to figure out how to use it at home though. I think the school gets a site license for it. But perhaps that is something that could happen at your son's school Iococunu, especially if you could write a grant to get it funded. The advantage being that if the classroom teacher was unwilling to move your son up for math, or teach him in a different way, then maybe you could have him do an online math program during math time. But again, that would mean he would be in the corner, icon9.gif so that’s not the best solution.

Edited by jenbrdsly
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Or even middle school!

 

I'm starting to look at curriculum choices for next year, and looking at where DD is now, what is working, what isn't, and what speed she's going, I'm really thinking that I need to move more solidly into middle and high school content, simply because that's what it seems to take to keep her brain busy and happy.

 

She just turned 7.

 

I've been putting items in my cart at Rainbow Resource, and every single one of them is something like "7th-12th grade" or " 9th-12th grade". Or maybe, if I'm lucky "10 and up" or "12 and up". About the only thing on my wishlist that might be considered elementary would be MCT.

 

I don't know why it bothered me so much less to be looking at mostly 5th/6th grade materials for a 6 yr old than it seems to to find myself looking at 7th-9th grade or so materials for a 7 yr old...but it does.

 

Please reassure me that this is normal and that it will be OK. And that maybe, just maybe, I'll stop having to buy two grade levels or more of curricula a year, in addition to doing lots of extras within the subjects and to extend them to keep this kid involved!

 

I think you're doing a fantastic job as a mom+teacher by keeping up with your DD learning pace. You'll be fine :001_smile:

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Iucounu, if you tell me the curriculum your school district uses, I might be able to help you with the "teacher speak" you could use to advocate for your child moving into the appropriate classroom for math time. That's what's happening with my son, and how I helped third grader learners who needed fifth grade math when I was a teacher.
They use Every Day Math. A short summary of our history with the school: late last year, DS was skipped to first grade, then went on to second this year. His teacher at the start of this year was clueless about differentiation, and was the one who stuck him in a corner with fourth-grade SM worksheets. We weren't happy, called for further meetings with the school, after which he was moved to a different classroom, starting this week. His new teacher supposedly already does differentiation, and also has other kids who she says are advanced in math.

 

The sticking point seems to be that they only do subject pull-outs during a trial period, to prepare for a grade skip, and in addition that they have a no-triple-promotion/no-double-skip policy in our district! This applies even over multiple years-- according to the principal, he can never be skipped again. From what I can tell he'd easily succeed in all academic areas in a fourth-grade classroom right now, and be able to sustain the writing load, although I'd worry about the social side and am not advocating for another skip (although I did advocate for a math pull-out already-- denied).

 

The assistant principal has said in several meetings that DS is "ahead of where he's supposed to be" and that any vertical acceleration would only cause problems, because the school (which goes to 5th) wouldn't be able to provide for him once he's beyond fifth grade math. (DS6 is about there right now, I believe, due partly to what appears to be roughly a year's difference in level in what they cover in Every Day Math here and the SM levels, as well as his most recent MAP scores.) The assistant principal has argued that DS6 should study the same material as the second grade class-- currently learning multi-digit addition-- except in "more depth", and that DS could go "broader and deeper" by learning about the use throughout history of whatever math the class is studying, presenting his results as a report to the class.

 

In the most recent meeting, the new teacher said that she'd be giving him level-appropriate work at one point, then the principal and math consultant essentially stated together that the focus would be on providing a solid foundation rather than letting him progress in new concepts. The math consultant knew little about my son's actual situation, and I think that he was given a skewed version by the school due to their wish not to accelerate. My wife and I said that we were uncomfortable with him being artificially limited in his ability to proceed at his normal pace, and then I asked the teacher to confirm that she'd be setting an appropriate content level for him-- and when she said yes, the principal broke in to say that the focus would be on enrichment. He and the math consultant also essentially said that the school can only go so far in providing for him.

 

In NH, there is a procedure for escalation when a student's needs aren't provided for. We're not in position to do that right now, as the school is (after not teaching him math for half a year) probably acting reasonably enough to survive a review. If we can prove that his needs aren't being met after some time in the new classroom, I am thinking that that might be an option to actually pursue. For now we're planning to afterschool him in our spare time, and are strongly considering homeschooling him next year.

 

Another, school based math program for older levels that I heard about from Keith Devlin, the NPR math guy, (long story there) is
Interesting, thanks! I don't think the school will go for it. One thing that has happened this year is that we were asked to review online math sites including EPGY and ALEKS, and did so, only to have the principal say that they'd use something called Odyssey Math, to which they already subscribe. I don't know much about it yet, though I reviewed some info and sample materials online. I also don't know when they will actually let him use it in the classroom.

 

One other option we asked for was to afterschool him for math, but send in some written work for him to do during class time. I was really hoping they'd go for that, since it would have done away with all the headaches for them, plus would have made better use of my son's time at school and reduced the time necessary to afterschool him. They didn't go for it, unfortunately.

Edited by Iucounu
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:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug:

Just go with it. The good news is that there is much better selection for jr. and sr. high materials so you'll probably be able to find something appropriately "meaty" just on a different topic.

 

:iagree:

Khan Academy is an excellent resource for young visual learners who are ready for more advanced topics. We cuddled in bed last night and watched this Khan Academy video on exponents. I thought of this thread because dd8's stuffed Winnie The Pooh was right there between us & the iPad. :)

An aside...Ds watched some KA chemistry & calc videos last night as well. Not sure how I survived without a resource like KA as a youngster.

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They use Every Day Math. A short summary of our history with the school: late last year, DS was skipped to first grade, then went on to second this year. His teacher at the start of this year was clueless about differentiation, and was the one who stuck him in a corner with fourth-grade SM worksheets. We weren't happy, called for further meetings with the school, after which he was moved to a different classroom, starting this week. His new teacher supposedly already does differentiation, and also has other kids who she says are advanced in math.

 

 

 

Yet another reason to write our senators and ask them to support gifted education. :mad: In our district, they have a gifted program for the entire school district, which is really great. 1 or two classes at each grade level pulled from a population of about 23,000 K-12 kids.

As a base line, each gifted class starts a grade level up. So the baseline of my son's first grade class is second grade work, but they also let him move up to the 2nd gifted grade class to do third grade math. That is like grade acceleration without having to accelerate, plus you get the Social Emotional benefit of being with kids like you. The teacher has worked with gifted kids for over 20 years. Yada, yada, yada. This is what all gifted kids should have available to them, in my opinion. It doesn't cost the school district any extra money either, except for the testing process.

In your son's situation, as a teacher this is what I would suggest. Everyday Math gets a bum rap, but originally it was designed for gifted kids in mind. So theoretically, there might be something in the program that could work for your son.

When you go into a big meeting with school officials and the district math rep and say "My kid can do all of this advanced work in Singapore," they are probably going to tune you out as soon as they here Singapore. Is that fair? No, but my guess would be that is probably what is happening.

Have you considered going onto the Everyday math website, and trying to order as much of the fourth grade Everyday math as you could. Then have your son start doing that instead of Singapore. Then, when you go into a meeting you can say, "But look! This is your own material and my son can already do it." You would need to keep a very careful portfolio of everything he did.

I did something similar to this when my son was in Kindergarten. I just went out and bought the Houghton Mifflin 2nd grade books on my own and started having him plug away at it. Then, when he was being moved into the gifted program at 1st grade, and I started hearing the "enrichment, go deeper in second grade etc speech", I pulled out his portfolio of 2nd grade Houghton Mifflin and showed them that he had already done it. By the end of elementary school, I will have to drive him to middle school for math, and at the end of middle school, I will have to drive him to high school. I'm not sure how this will work out, but that's the plan.:001_huh:

For Afterschooling, have you looked into Hands on Equations yet? Your son might think that was fun. Dreambox Math is also coming out with a fourth and fifth grade curriculum later this year.

I have a final thought for going into a "big math meeting", and it involves creating a journal showing that your child can solve specific types of word problems, and explain his/her thinking in words and pictures. I know the specific thing that fifth or sixth grade Constructivist math teachers would look for, but it is hard to describe without a picture or a blog post behind it. :tongue_smilie:I'll have to work one up soon!

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Gifted children deserve instruction too. The deserve attention. They deserve good teaching, and they deserve experiences. They do not deserve to have their curiosity or love of learning drowned in busywork, endless workbooks, or too much isolation.

 

I struggle with this for dd8. Her preference would be isolation -- with a book in hand. She is so easy to teach because she is an excellent self-educator. Hand her a grammar text & a worksheet and her output is spot on. Hand her a science or history book and then ask for a summary and she nails it. I could easily let her slide by but I know she deserves more. She needs to dialogue, process, mull over the new info. We never get to much lit analysis because she reads too fast. She will read Where The Red Fern Grows today and then be on to some new book tomorrow. I can't keep up.

 

I'm rambling now and not sure where my thoughts are going.

 

Jen, I bet you were a fabulous teacher in your glory days of public elementary ed. It sounds like you got lucky with a fantastic education yourself. My elementary years were abysmal at best. Single mom, terrible school. I missed our challenge program by a couple points in 5th grade. I went from the top to the bottom in middle school -- largely due to choices that were out of my control in terms of family disunity. I also got sucked into peer pressure. School was not my priority at all. What a waste of a few years. By 10th, my parents saw the futility of my education and put me in a private school. My teacher, Dr. Sharon Bridwell (and eventual co-founder of Potters School) saw my potential. She pushed me to the limit. I was never the same. Top scores, high ambition. God is so good. :)

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When my son was in middle school, we drove him to the high school for classes. The scheduling worked well for us, but the material used was still not very challenging. All of his high school classes have been mind-numbingly boring for him even though they're considered advanced. Thankfully, he has AoPS and other material to keep him going.

 

However, I'd love for him to have someone like Zuming Feng (Exeter math teacher) personally guide him along, but those sorts of teachers are few and far between. It's difficult to find them even in the decent schools. We've toyed with the idea of sending him to Illinois Math and Science Academy (my two older kids got in, but only the oldest attended), but I dislike sending my teen off to a boarding school. Even though the kids there are very bright, the school has its share of drug, alcohol and sex problems.

 

For us, we are going to continue supplementing math. I just wish my son could test out of the school's math at the beginning of the year and then work independently on his own. At least his math teacher allows him to work independently during class, but he still has to do the problems. Meh.

 

Good luck to those of you with kids in schools.

 

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I did get lucky with a great public education myself, because I grew up in San Diego and they have a GATE program and a Seminar program, both of which are always in danger of being cut because they get extra funds. The Seminar program was started after Sputnik (spelling?) when people were concerned America was falling behind. The other reason the Seminar program was founded was that so many gifted kids in San Diego were dropping out.

Beth, your story is so sad/inspiring to me! It really shows that there are so many important parts to the equation, including good teachers AND family situation. There are several kids in my son's class who missed the CoGAT cut off by a few points, but their parents were able to afford private testing. Then there is the whole question of the $40 test prep book that some people can afford and some can't. (Which is why I made my own free unofficial Cogat prep on my blog.) That's a roundabout way of saying if you Beth were my kid I would have I have gotten you into the 5th grade Challenge program one way or another! : ) Thank goodness you ended up in a good place regardless.

MBM, you continue to be my role model for all things math. :)

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Yet another reason to write our senators and ask them to support gifted education. :mad: In our district, they have a gifted program for the entire school district, which is really great. 1 or two classes at each grade level pulled from a population of about 23,000 K-12 kids.

 

As a base line, each gifted class starts a grade level up. So the baseline of my son's first grade class is second grade work, but they also let him move up to the 2nd gifted grade class to do third grade math. That is like grade acceleration without having to accelerate, plus you get the Social Emotional benefit of being with kids like you. The teacher has worked with gifted kids for over 20 years. Yada, yada, yada. This is what all gifted kids should have available to them, in my opinion. It doesn't cost the school district any extra money either, except for the testing process.

That sounds great, and I agree completely. For the kids who graduate early, the testing probably pays for itself.

 

When you go into a big meeting with school officials and the district math rep and say "My kid can do all of this advanced work in Singapore," they are probably going to tune you out as soon as they here Singapore. Is that fair? No, but my guess would be that is probably what is happening.

We don't actually tend to do that. The teacher from the first part of this year just happened to predominantly pick SM worksheets. When we talk to the school we typically just explain what he can do, and bring up his test scores, plus what he did in school last year. Going into the last round of meetings they knew that we had held off on afterschooling him this school year (we started up again after they dragged their feet in those meetings, but haven't mentioned it). In any event they really can't have gotten the impression that we dislike their general choices of curriculum, as we've tried to take a somewhat soft approach so far.

 

Have you considered going onto the Everyday math website, and trying to order as much of the fourth grade Everyday math as you could. Then have your son start doing that instead of Singapore. Then, when you go into a meeting you can say, "But look! This is your own material and my son can already do it." You would need to keep a very careful portfolio of everything he did.

I will think about it, and thanks for the advice. Money is tight for us right now, and we've bought Singapore through the end of grade 5.

For Afterschooling, have you looked into Hands on Equations yet? Your son might think that was fun. Dreambox Math is also coming out with a fourth and fifth grade curriculum later this year.

Haven't had a chance to look at Dreambox yet, but Hands On Equations is on the radar.

 

I have a final thought for going into a "big math meeting", and it involves creating a journal showing that your child can solve specific types of word problems, and explain his/her thinking in words and pictures. I know the specific thing that fifth or sixth grade Constructivist math teachers would look for, but it is hard to describe without a picture or a blog post behind it. :tongue_smilie:I'll have to work one up soon!

Sounds cool. I already showed them samples of types of problems he can do-- including one worksheet from the last teacher, where he had given the answer "Not enough information to do the problem" and drawn a diagram. The problem stated that a boy left home and walked X distance to the library, then Y distance from there to the store, and asked how far he would have to walk home if he went straight home. (The teacher marked his answer wrong and gave an answer calculated by just adding X + Y.) His diagram had a little house and a library, with a circle around the library and a label for the radius showing that it was Y distance, and a bunch of lines from the house to the circle showing that they were of different lengths. I feel like any halfway decent math teacher would have recognized his reasoning, but in this case the teacher just marked him wrong and he never had a chance to explain his reasoning further to her.

 

I'm really hoping that we don't have to homeschool next year, because it will make things tougher for us in a lot of ways. A lot is riding on this teacher and whether she decides to do right by him. I greatly appreciate the advice.

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I'm really hoping that we don't have to homeschool next year, because it will make things tougher for us in a lot of ways. A lot is riding on this teacher and whether she decides to do right by him. I greatly appreciate the advice.

Okay, I'm just going to go ahead and sound like a total know it all today, Sorry! But... another thought occurred to me and that was would it be possible for the school district to move your child to a different(better) school?

I've taught at a Title 1 school before and as a teacher you get crushed by so many issues related to poverty, that it would be a lot harder for any teacher to do great differentiated instruction between kids who were still learning to read, and your child who could do fourth grade work.

As horrible and un PC as it is to say, at a more affluent school the learning spectrum would probably be a lot narrower, and your child would fit in better.

The teachers and principal at your school probably want the best possible outcome for your child, although that can sometimes be hard to feel. So maybe, if you asked really nicely, there would be some way they could pull some strings and get your child into a neighboring school, if you could provide transportation.

I'm not saying homeschooling isn't a good alternative, but in case that wasn't your first choice, this would be another idea.

Oh, and all of this reminiscing about how lucky I was when I was growing up in San Diego has inspired me to kick start my own grass roots campaign to get Seminar Alumni to show our support for the program. Iucounu, is there any way you could share this on the Davidson Gifted Board and encourage other people who were in gifted ed programs when they were little, to write letters to their former school districts too?

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Okay, I'm just going to go ahead and sound like a total know it all today, Sorry! But... another thought occurred to me and that was would it be possible for the school district to move your child to a different(better) school?

The way it works in New Hampshire is that one has to complain to the superintendent that one's child isn't being properly provided for at the child's current school, along with a petition to be allowed to go to a different school. Then the superintendent can either agree, in which case one is free to take the child to any public school where the child meets any admission criteria (most are open-enrollment), or the superintendent can disagree, in which case one has to appeal to the state.

 

So the short answer is yes, it's possible, but we'd be responsible for any extra transportation, and the district might not agree right away due to worries stemming from their Title I status. They would probably want to show that they can solve the problems in-house, which is what we've seen so far. But there are some decent schools near enough to us, including a really good school system two towns over.

Oh, and all of this reminiscing about how lucky I was when I was growing up in San Diego has inspired me to kick start my own grass roots campaign to get Seminar Alumni to show our support for the program. Iucounu, is there any way you could share this on the Davidson Gifted Board and encourage other people who were in gifted ed programs when they were little, to write letters to their former school districts too?

I'd feel weird doing that, though it's a good idea. I only started posting there again fairly recently. I think that there's not really a reason for you to stay away, though-- I think your link and idea would be well received. You shouldn't let one bad egg spoil things for you over there. :)

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Iocounu, I'm not sure where you live in New Hampshire, but Massachusetts has some fantastic afterschool/weekend math programs--even for kids as young as yours. Off the top of my head is the Russian School of Mathematics (RSM). My son went to Idea Math camp last summer and met some of the kids who had been going to RSM since they were very young. It sounds like a wonderful resource. Maybe you could contact someone there who could offer some suggestions. Here is the link to their branch in Andover:

 

http://www.russianschool.com/andover.html

 

They appear to have a summer camp in NH, too, but I don't know if they teach math. Maybe.

 

Your son is still a bit young, but Idea Math offers weekend programs for kids starting around 6th grade, but those are in Lexington, MA. Some of the RSM kids go to this, too.

 

Last of all, Kathy in Richmond, who posts here, is the director of the new-ish Epsilon summer camps for gifted wee kids ages 8 to 11. I believe it's a camp for families. After that, kids could probably easily move on to Math Path. Summer math camps can be life-changing experiences for kids who love math. Link here:

 

http://www.epsiloncamp.org/

 

HTH.

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Okay, I'm going to overcome my perfectionism issues, in that I wrote this bit to go with my SAT word for Sunday January 8th (vinaceous), instead of today (omniuim-gatherum), but here is my blog post "Math Without Worksheets". Having a lot of examples like this in a portfolio for your child would be a good way to prepare for a "big math meeting" in a Constructivist district. By the end of fourth grade, a child should be able to do this all on his/her own without the adult doing any writing.

 

Iucocunu, what you are describing in your district sounds completely legal and legitimate, but in truth stacked against families coming from Title 1 schools. If the school district was dealing with a family that they perceived to have a big chunk of change available to hire a lawyer at whim (or if the parent was a lawyer), it is possible that things would be different. Or for example, if you had brought a tape-recorder to your last meeting, that might have caused them to stand to attention. I'm not saying you should hire a lawyer, I'm just saying that I know about things like that have happened.

 

When I was teaching in East Palo Alto (former murder capital of America) there was this program called the Tinsley Transfer program. A while back, parents from East Palo Alto sued the county I think, for the poor education their kids were receiving in the Ravenswood School District. They won the right to create a lottery that allowed lucky Kindergarteners to be bussed to neighboring districts that were much better.

 

I am a really big supporter of public schools and teachers, but oh my gosh, the stories I could tell you about Ravenswood!

 

I think maybe your best bet is to appear as professional, educated, "in-the-know" and friendly as possible. Make them want to help you, and not just your child. If you do decide to pursue a different school, meet with your son's principal in person one more time, and if that didn't work write a letter. Be clear that you aren't asking for special treatment, you are just asking for the "least restrictive environment possible" for your child. Use those exact words, because they are important words in Special Education.

 

Say that you are really impressed and thankful about how the school and the teachers have bent themself over backwards for your child, and given him every possible opportunity available, but obviously, this school placement isn't working. Have this written out in bullet points, of all the things that have already been tried. If you are seeing signs of emotional distress in your son, say that too. Then very nicely, ask the principal if there was another school within the district that would be a better fit for your child? Or perhaps a private school the district might consider sending your child to instead?

 

As a teacher, I don't think that is asking too much. Grade acceleration is a radical alternative that I would only use if there wasn't a gifted program available. You've tried grade acceleration already, and that still isn't working. Just looking at those facts, you have a really good case for moving to a different school. It would all be in how you asked though.

 

--MBM You’ve got me really thinking about Math Camps! There is one for gifted kids at a University nearby, but my son isn't old enough yet.

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Okay, I'm going to overcome my perfectionism issues, in that I wrote this bit to go with my SAT word for Sunday January 8th (vinaceous), instead of today (omnium-gatherum), but here is my blog post "Math Without Worksheets". Having a lot of examples like this in a portfolio for your child would be a good way to prepare for a "big math meeting" in a Constructivist district. By the end of fourth grade, a child should be able to do this all on his/her own without the adult doing any writing.

I liked the blog post. I can start gathering more info. Right now we just chuck the written work he does for Singapore, since we restarted afterschooling in December. His math portfolio right now has a bunch of written work he did last year to complete Sunshine Math through the end of third grade (they use that as standard enrichment here), and work sent home from school. The schoolwork has some useful bits, including some sheets where he drew graphics to illustrate his thoughts and wrote his answer, for example when he wrote "Not enough information to solve the problem" and diagrammed why, but he hasn't typically explained in words why he arrived at a certain answer unless the worksheet called for it. I see value in being able to explain in different ways how one arrived at an answer, as well as being able to arrive via different routes.

 

We sensed a new stubbornness at the last meeting, which worries us. The new teacher didn't send any math work home, which also worries us that they may be trying to hide that the new plan is for our son to be "enriched" as he studies their second grade math. We still plan to give it at least 2-3 weeks before pushing further, since the new teacher may be a miracle worker and our son may be well-served at last (I really don't much mind afterschooling him, except to the extent it takes away from famliy time; I just want him to be happy and productive at school).

Iucocunu, what you are describing in your district sounds completely legal and legitimate, but in truth stacked against families coming from Title 1 schools. If the school district was dealing with a family that they perceived to have a big chunk of change available to hire a lawyer at whim (or if the parent was a lawyer), it is possible that things would be different. Or for example, if you had brought a tape-recorder to your last meeting, that might have caused them to stand to attention.

I am a lawyer. In the past we've toyed with the idea of bringing a tape recorder, but decided against it because we thought it would seem like we were trying to build a body of evidence against them-- and they were already touchy due to an apparent initial perception that we were just being pushy parents, and the fact that they'd failed to identify him. I felt at one point that I had to work extra hard to be reasonable, just to counteract the fact that I'm an attorney! :) I will definitely consider bringing my voice recorder to the next meeting. We've just about had it.

I think maybe your best bet is to appear as professional, educated, "in-the-know" and friendly as possible. Make them want to help you, and not just your child. If you do decide to pursue a different school, meet with your son's principal in person one more time, and if that didn't work write a letter. Be clear that you aren't asking for special treatment, you are just asking for the "least restrictive environment possible" for your child. Use those exact words, because they are important words in Special Education.

We will take all of your advocacy advice, and thanks. Up to now we've done our best to sprinkle our conversation believably with terms like "evidence based practice", have provided them with resources including access to a family advocate specializing in highly gifted children, and have done a ton of reading. I think our next step may be to push further on our partial homeschooling/afterschooling plan, if the new teacher and plan don't pan out. We're a bit in the dark right now on exactly what math concepts he'll be taught by her and how, as well as how much he'll be able to advance using their Odyssey Math computer-based learning.

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Iocounu, I'm not sure where you live in New Hampshire, but Massachusetts has some fantastic afterschool/weekend math programs--even for kids as young as yours. Off the top of my head is the Russian School of Mathematics (RSM). My son went to Idea Math camp last summer and met some of the kids who had been going to RSM since they were very young. It sounds like a wonderful resource. Maybe you could contact someone there who could offer some suggestions. Here is the link to their branch in Andover:

 

http://www.russianschool.com/andover.html

 

They appear to have a summer camp in NH, too, but I don't know if they teach math. Maybe.

 

Your son is still a bit young, but Idea Math offers weekend programs for kids starting around 6th grade, but those are in Lexington, MA. Some of the RSM kids go to this, too.

 

Last of all, Kathy in Richmond, who posts here, is the director of the new-ish Epsilon summer camps for gifted wee kids ages 8 to 11. I believe it's a camp for families. After that, kids could probably easily move on to Math Path. Summer math camps can be life-changing experiences for kids who love math. Link here:

 

http://www.epsiloncamp.org/

 

HTH.

Thank you for all the info. The RSM does sound good, and we would make a stretch to get him to Andover, but just can't afford it right now. Hopefully things will be better for us in a few months. The Epsilon camp looks like it might be a great fit in a couple of years.

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I forgot to mention that Idea Math is run by Zuming Feng, a math teacher at Exeter who coaches arguably the best high school math team in the U.S. at this point. I know kids here in Chicago who could go to Illinois Math and Science Academy (a publicly-funded boarding school where kids can intern at places like Fermi Lab, etc.), which is maybe $3K per year but opt for Exeter instead, which is a lot more than $3K, just to study with Dr. Feng. You have a few years to go, of course.

http://ideamath.org/Lexington.htm

 

Also, math rings/circles can be a terrific way to expose your son to unusual math ideas and methods. I think most are free or very low cost. Some offer activities for children, too. Might be worth checking out at some point.

 

http://www.mathcircles.org/

 

Good luck. The Northeast is a wonderful area for kids who like math.

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MBM, do you know anything about Continental Math League?

 

I've only read a little about it. No experience here.

It seems similar to MathCounts, but I don't know how it differs. Someone on the AoPS forums would probably know, though. I would think that if a kid likes math contests, it could be a good addition.

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