Jump to content

Menu

How Do I Get What I Want From School?


Recommended Posts

DD is in 4th grade at PS and loves it. It's her first year since K and I knew she'd love it as she loved preschool, kindergarten, and all the other group classes she's had. Pulling her out of school is not an option I want to consider.

 

She is somewhat gifted in math; maybe not a super genius, but it's definitely where she excels. She completed 4th grade MM last year and we supplemented with Dreambox, Prodigy Math, and AOPS's alcumus. We did MM just for my benefit to make sure we weren't missing anything, but in Dreambox and Prodigy she was placed in 6th-8th grade levels. Before enrolling, I spoke with the principal and was assured that they do 5 levels of differentiation in the classroom and she could be challenged in her regular classroom and we would not be wasting time. I gave them a copy of her standardized test scores that showed she was off the charts in math. I do not want a grade skip because math is the only subject where she's significantly ahead and she's young for the grade already. 

 

What I see her bringing home and what the teacher discusses they are doing in her weekly e-mail is extremely basic for her- stuff she was doing easily several years ago. DD loves it because it takes her no time and leaves her more time to play, but she's starting to get in trouble for talking to kids and not focusing in class. I suspect it's because she is bored when they are talking about stuff she knows. I'm concerned that she will lose her skills, waste her time, and begin to dislike school. 

 

She's only been in school for a month and they just had their first math assessment last week. DD said it did not even cover many things she knows how to do so even if she maxes out that test, it won't give the school a complete picture of her abilities. Should I be patient and wait for what the principal promised or talk to the teacher right away? I don't want to be the parent who insists her kid is a genius, but I know DD is several years ahead of what she's doing in class. They are using Envision math which is one step ahead of Everyday Math, IMO, and not very challenging even for average kids.

 

I had the same issue with DS in 5th grade and ended up pulling him out of school because they never followed through. I had so many conferences, they immediately recognized he was ahead of the curriculum, they kept promising things that never happened, and we lost patience. They only went to 5th grade at that school, so there was no higher level to send him to. This is a new school and I want our experience to be different. What I want is for them to either do differentiation in the classroom like they promised (maybe w/math groupings by level), or to at least send her to a 5th grade class for math only. Has anyone had success negotiating something like this without being a jerk? 

 

I also don't want to afterschool her as my solution because she gets home late already and is tired. She excels at math but she doesn't love it. She loves playing. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good luck. There is a pretty good chance you won't get what you want from the school. I have not heard of anybody who managed to get a gifted kid accommodated the way you envision. The "differentiation" in the classroom, if it really exists, my not span the range your DD needs.

 

Despite very willing teachers who all saw and acknowledged the problem, we never received any differentiation, and my gifted kids were bored out of their skull in school until I pulled them out to homeschool. It was not the teachers' fault; they were overworked and had no time. The 5th grade teacher tried somewhat, but he also had kids in the class who added with their fingers and did not have any spare time or energy for gifted students.

 

 

Edited by regentrude
  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I don't believe in in-class differentiation. IME it only entails giving the student a slightly harder rote worksheet, and then offering no checks or support for it.

 

At my son's school they stick him out in the hallway with review and year-end-test books during math time, and he's been placing out of math that way. It's not ideal, but it's not horrible. I'm not sure what the plan is for when he passes the end-of-elementary school-math test. Hopefully we can line up some math enrichment books for him to do, or to continue to higher math with an online component. But he'd still be doing it all on his own. Which he doesn't mind so much, but I do.

 

I'm lucky that there is no such thing as homework here for elementary school, so I'm able to wrangle at least a good hour of afterschooling every day. I try to minimize work with a pencil, and keep the topics fun. The other day we drew special right triangles. That sort of thing. Watching aops videos is also fun to my kid, but he really likes math.

 

Not sure if your DD's school would let her test out of this year's math or not. If they do, you could maybe request that she's offered a separate enrichment book or an alternate program on the computer during math time.

 

As for not being a jerk....well, I think if you go in with an "I want to help find a solution" attitude people should respond favorably. But some people are nasty no matter how nicely you try to help your own child, so....idk. I think after a month the teacher should have her own observations to match what you're telling her (showing previous math work doesn't count, neither does test scores necessarily, teachers only trust what they themselves see in front of them).

 

I understand not wanting to skip. It's tough.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

No luck here either.  My daughter sounds similar in some ways.  She pretty much hates math, whips it out to get it done, makes dumb clerical errors, and gets scores that make it look like she is behind rather than ahead.  Last night I got that spark to come into her eyes when I suggested different ways to play with the numbers.  But I can't always do that.

 

Homeschooling isn't for us either.  Supplementing at home has been mostly a fail because, like your daughter, my kid would rather play.  Though she does like math story books.

 

Thinking more about this issue, I think a good resource would be an adult who had a similar situation as a kid.  My brother used to read college textbooks for his fun reading.  One of my sisters had fun with an antique elementary algebra book.  Also, lots of opportunities for practical application may help.  Budgeting an allowance, building things, cooking, etc.  Are there any fun puzzle books out there that use math?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

Not sure if your DD's school would let her test out of this year's math or not. If they do, you could maybe request that she's offered a separate enrichment book or an alternate program on the computer during math time.

 

 

They might let her do this. They are all about the tests around here! I could give her a practice test at home and see how she does or if there are any gaps. They have practice tests online. DS tested out of Algebra and he said the test was 99% easy with a few questions on subjects he'd never seen. I'd want to make sure that there weren't any random terms thrown in there that she doesn't know. 

 

Why would the principal talk about 5 levels of differentiation if they don't do it, though? She was so positive about their abilities to meet all kids on their own levels and that it was their priority. It's supposed to be a very high achieving school so I expect that there are other kids like DD in her grade. When I was a kid we were pulled out for math.

 

SKL, DD is like yours. She excels in problem solving, word problems, and mental math, and games, but makes mistakes with pencil and paper tests. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They might let her do this. They are all about the tests around here! I could give her a practice test at home and see how she does or if there are any gaps. They have practice tests online. DS tested out of Algebra and he said the test was 99% easy with a few questions on subjects he'd never seen. I'd want to make sure that there weren't any random terms thrown in there that she doesn't know. 

 

Why would the principal talk about 5 levels of differentiation if they don't do it, though? She was so positive about their abilities to meet all kids on their own levels and that it was their priority. It's supposed to be a very high achieving school so I expect that there are other kids like DD in her grade. When I was a kid we were pulled out for math.

 

SKL, DD is like yours. She excels in problem solving, word problems, and mental math, and games, but makes mistakes with pencil and paper tests. 

 

 

I think the five levels refer to levels of support for each section. I haven't seen EnVision Math in particular, but if you're able to find the teacher support materials I'd bet you'd find the "normal" stream (corresponding to the problem sets in the textbook), two levels of "intervention" below that, and then two levels "enrichment" above. Separately, these things are fine as far as they go. But I don't really see how a teacher is supposed to use all five at the same time in a classroom and also provide the appropriate follow-up. 

 

Also, the problem here is not just that your DD is picking up the topic quickly, but that she already knows the topic. None of the five levels are designed for that. The highest level of enrichment might be harder word problems, a logic puzzle, or an extension "investigation," but it will still be centered on a concept your DD has already mastered. She may find the enrichment interesting enough not to act out from boredom. But I don't think it's a long-term solution.

 

It could be worthwhile to look at the year-end test and see if there's anything new she's expected to learn this year. If not, how about next year? 

 

BTW - my DS can also be quite sloppy on calculations. But when I told him that if he did the school books correctly he'd "never have to do that baby math again" he suddenly got more accurate.  :001_rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's sad, the first thing I thought when I read the title was, "You don't." 

 

They might do SOMETHING for you, but in my very limited experience: When they say all classrooms offer differentiation, it really means: whether and how well they actually do it is the luck of the draw... mostly in the form of the teacher/class you get that year. And even if you have a great year with a teacher who can really differentiate well (and who has a classroom mix that allows it) the next year might be terrible.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

BTW - my DS can also be quite sloppy on calculations. But when I told him that if he did the school books correctly he'd "never have to do that baby math again" he suddenly got more accurate.  :001_rolleyes:

 

When my daughter was in 2nd grade, they did give her a few challenge worksheets reserved for the better math students.  But they were not any more interesting.  This only happened a few times; not sure whether the teacher abandoned the "differentiation" or my kid simply didn't bother to qualify for it.

 

It would not be honest for me to tell my kids she'll never have to do that boring stuff again if she does it well this time.

 

My other kid is barely hanging on concept-wise, so I don't diss the curriculum as being for "babies."  The truth is that my kid ought to be more detail-oriented.  But even if she was, math would be boring.  Sigh.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If her classroom has computers, the teacher could let her do her math on computer during class time.

I won't expect a k-5 teacher to differentiate for a 4th grader who can do Alcumus questions. The teacher who could differentiate for my kids had taught math in high school and community colleges, and is taking a breather by teaching K-5 for a few years. My kids also had k-5 math teachers who can't teach past 5th grade.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In your shoes I would thank my lucky stars that most of the school experience is positive and educationally appropriate and I would write off their math instruction entirely.  

 

I would tell DD to lay low during math instruction time at school; just get through it, crank out the easy problems they assign and then read or draw or do whatever early finishers are allowed to do.  Maybe they would even allow her to bring in some Math Mammoth pages to do.  In elementary I used to bring in Kumon type math workbooks - that is how I taught myself algebra.  I also spend a couple hours a day making intricate dioramas out of scrap paper and another couple hours shelving books in the library.  

 

Then, if I were you, I would do Math Mammoth 5 at home.  I know you don't want to afteschool, but I think there are other solutions.  What about spending an hour over the weekend going through a couple lessons and then having her spend just ten minutes each morning doing some of the problems.  Or sending the pages to school with her to complete.

 

I would also look ahead to see what her options will be in middle school.  Do they offer algebra in 8th?  7th?  6th?  How do students qualify for those classes if they exist?  If the earliest algebra is 7th, is there any chance she could place into it in 6th if she tests at a certain level?

 

The answers to those questions might help you determine how you want to approach math instruction in the upcoming years.

 

Wendy

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

How math differentiation was handled at my daughter's elementary school in the early grades was pull outs with parent volunteers. This was a high achieving school with involved parents. My area skews Asian and engineering so there were plenty of kids after schooled in maths and thus accelerated. From 3rd grade on, kids had math grouped by achievement scores.

 

Other than that, I would look into computer/iPad based math that does not demand a lot from teacher or school. All the best.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We started after schooling in kindergarten. My 6th grader is just wrapped up his first go round through geometry, has started alg 2.  We don't worry about grade or subject acceleration.  Since all school math is review, and he only spends minutes on it, he  has more time for other subjects and sports. He enjoys taking advanced math outside of school because he goes at  at his own pace  ( for example, alg1 took nearly 1 1/2 years). I'm sure he could have handled the math with older kids if he was pushed, but we aren't trying to prove anything. Around 9th grade (H.S.), we will deal with appropriate placement.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are having to homeschool math for this exact reason. The school uses EngageNY on grade level, which is fine, but DD is at the equivalent of 8th in their S&S. Test Scores or no, they flat out refused to place her in EITHER 7th or 8th grade math. In the end, it's working OK for DD. I'm assuring she's challenged in math, she does her math homework during seminar (glorified study hall), and is keeping the easy skills fresh by helping her fellow 6th graders. Would the school be open to you providing additional materials or could they offer a walk-to option where your child does math with older students?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with the others - don't hold your breath on appropriate differentiation at this level.

 

I would suggest first asking to test out of the grade level in order to subject accelerate.  There are logistical difficulties with subject acceleration because most elementary schools don't have all classrooms doing math at the same time.  If she can test out but subject acceleration isn't an option, ask the teacher about sending in your own math materials for your dd to work on during math time.  If needed, you can give instruction in the evenings and then send in "homework" for her to do at school though note that this is a significant commitment.  With this sort of arrangement, you are more likely to get what you want the less effort you are asking from the teacher, i.e., make this as easy as possible on the teacher.

 

Alternatively, you can let her do the school math as a form of easy review and afterschool math on your own as time allows.  Meanwhile, start researching middle school math acceleration options - what schools offer algebra and geometry in the middle school and how is placement determined.  For example, our local PS will put only those who score gifted in algebra 1 in 7th, advanced students in algebra 1 in 8th, and regular students in algebra 1 in 9th.  Our charter's placement testing has changed over time.  For middle school placement testing, I recommend finding out as much as you can about what test they use, what math books and then review/prep accordingly, especially immediately prior to the tests.  Math for grades 5-8 (including prealgebra) is not hard to compact for a bright student, so it's possible to get through multiple levels in a short time

Edited by wapiti
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've put three gifted kids through public elementary... tour first step is contact the teacher... in our school by 4th grade different teachers were teaching math at different levels and it was completely normal for kids to swap classes for math

It is possible another teacher is teaching a higher level and she could really just go to Mr C's room for 30 minutes. If there is a g/t teacher or coordinator for the school I'd go to them next if no accommodation was available in the classroom(s). Then finally to the principal if none of that gets you anywhere (though generally an administrator will step in if you take it to the g/t coordinator.

 

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the five levels refer to levels of support for each section. I haven't seen EnVision Math in particular, but if you're able to find the teacher support materials I'd bet you'd find the "normal" stream (corresponding to the problem sets in the textbook), two levels of "intervention" below that, and then two levels "enrichment" above. Separately, these things are fine as far as they go. But I don't really see how a teacher is supposed to use all five at the same time in a classroom and also provide the appropriate follow-up. 

 

Also, the problem here is not just that your DD is picking up the topic quickly, but that she already knows the topic. None of the five levels are designed for that. The highest level of enrichment might be harder word problems, a logic puzzle, or an extension "investigation," but it will still be centered on a concept your DD has already mastered. She may find the enrichment interesting enough not to act out from boredom. But I don't think it's a long-term solution.

 

It could be worthwhile to look at the year-end test and see if there's anything new she's expected to learn this year. If not, how about next year? 

 

BTW - my DS can also be quite sloppy on calculations. But when I told him that if he did the school books correctly he'd "never have to do that baby math again" he suddenly got more accurate.  :001_rolleyes:

 

This was very helpful! I think that must be what the principal meant. We were obviously talking about 2 different things. DD scored better on the same standardized math tests than DDs in 7th grade who are on grade level and she's only been officially taught through 4th grade. I've already looked at the end of year test and she won't learn anything new. She can do most of the next year's end of year test as well. With alcumus, she's only doing the prealgebra, so it's not like it's super hard. She loves trying to find the easy trick to the problems. 

 

I tried sending in math for DS when we were in a similar situation. The school agreed to it but in practice the teachers kept telling him to stop. DD is much better than he was. I don't think teachers like having kids not participating with the class in the classroom.

 

I'll give DD the end of year tests and take them to her teacher and see if we can work something out w/computers or something. They are supposedly really flexible and cooperative and my experience so far has been really positive compared to the previous school. I'm still hopeful. DD gets home at 4:45, so after school is really hard, but maybe we could do MM5 before school. She was only spending 10min on it anyway, and I could have her continue the fun computer based stuff on the weekends. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We found the problem with differentiation is the other parents. If their child is struggling to become proficient, they resent every minute the teacher spends differentiating for an above grade level child. 4th and 5th are tough, almost everything is a repeat of 3rd, but with larger numbers or fractions, so no challenge.

 

My son's teacher was able to provide POD packets if offered to all, that was worthwhile. She was also able to hand him an older text with more challenging material, but of course other students objected. She kindly explained that fast finishers may do anything non disruptive they pleased, but the admin did not back her. The AR program was next on their sights. Its a no child gets ahead world in a fully included setting. You will have to move to find a classroom that has instruction available...an asian or techy area or a very wealthy area.

Edited by Heigh Ho
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't mean to hijack this thread but I'm really struggling with trying to understand how other families afterschool math. How do you get your kids to tolerate doing math in the evening?

For my lady friend who is working and has two kids in public school, her kids go to an afterschool day care that does homework help for an hour, math enrichment, chinese class and music class on site. K-5 finish by 2pm while 6-8th finish at 3:30pm. She or her husband picks up her kids at around 6:30pm. So after they have dinner at around 7:30pm, they basically do whatever enrichment they want and sleep.

 

I after school with SM when my boys were in school. It took us maximum of 30mins daily for SM2A-6B. We skipped SM1.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't mean to hijack this thread but I'm really struggling with trying to understand how other families afterschool math. How do you get your kids to tolerate doing math in the evening? We've done a little bit of this for about a year now. I do about as much as my DD will tolerate in the evenings which is limited. 

 

Afterschooling other subjects has been pretty easy because DD loves to listen to me read to her and talk about what we've read. We have great conversations and I can really see the benefit of what we do at home. 

 

But math is another story. Math involves her sitting at her desk and writing and that's often too much for her at 6:30 or 7 in the evening after having spent all day at school. 

 

But on the other hand, like with the OP, I don't feel that my DD's needs are being met at school in math. They don't officially differentiate but they supposedly provide more challenging material to children who are ready for it. But my DD isn't all that interested in math so she doesn't ask for challenges and she always takes her time doing her work so there isn't time for extra work. She's not gifted but is bright and is probably at least a grade ahead in math. 

 

I read on this forum about kids doing Singapore at home and I can't figure out how I could do that in our home without tears. School breaks aren't that much easier because I'm still at work all day and DD is at camp. She often came home from camp even more tired than from school. 

 

I can't imagine how we could do even the little bit we do if we were out of the house in the evenings. We were out of the house one night this week and it's thrown the whole week off. DD had math homework last night plus an extra challenge worksheet. The challenge worksheet led to tears because DD was exhausted because we didn't get home until late the night before. 

 

We might be unusual.  My kids both have pretty good stamina and don't feel exhausted after school - even when they were <5yo we could do an hour or two in the evening.

 

We have always prioritized physical exercise.  We try to do at least an hour of it every day after school.  I think that helps us lengthen the "schooling" day.  We also don't have a super early wake-up time (about 7am).

 

If I were you, I would first try to increase the physical activity in the evenings, and then gradually add a little bit of "school" work (or other mental challenge) here and there.  You might start with something hands-on such as a kid-friendly museum or library visit.

 

As far as math, when my kids were 4/5 we mostly did story math - either little mathy books, or questions I would ask in the car, or hands-on play ideas I came up with on the fly.  I started with Singapore (and other) supplements when they were about 6yo.

 

Before Singapore, your daughter might prefer something more colorful and simple to ease her in.  My kids liked FlashKids, Kumon basic workbooks, and BrainQuest.  If even that won't work for her right now, look for story books based on math, which you can read and then discuss.  My kids liked MathStart, Sir Cumference, and others.

 

ETA:  it gets different as they get older and have a lot more homework.  Right now, I do very little afterschooling of math on school nights.  I put them in a one-hour weekend class, which gives homework, and I encourage them to finish up some mindless workbooks we have lying around.  I might pull out the old supplements if I feel they need it to keep up in class.  But presently, we do a goodly amount of math homework every night, so adding more would seem to be counterproductive.  Instead, I look for ways to incorporate math concepts into other activities.

Edited by SKL
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't mean to hijack this thread but I'm really struggling with trying to understand how other families afterschool math. How do you get your kids to tolerate doing math in the evening? We've done a little bit of this for about a year now. I do about as much as my DD will tolerate in the evenings which is limited. 

 

 

We did this--until grade 4. By that time, DS was exhausted with a not particularly warm and fuzzy public school day, and some extracurricular, and pointless homework, to add math in any significant way. As Arcadia mentions, Singapore is extremely afterschool-able. That's what we used.

 

Other families put their kids in math programs as part of their after school "extracurriculars".And others utilize summer prep programs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My boys were bored stiff after full inclusion started. They had been grouped by instructional need previously, and felt no need to waste time watching reteach. Very happy to have real math books instead of procedures such as the nines finger trick to memorize. They wanted to learn and be competent. And it didnt take long enough to detract from their free time.we found SM works well before school, Zaccaro while winding down after dark. Part of that was because they had a good foundation from K to 2, all of their teachers had math degrees in addition to a masters in teaching and gifted cert from uconn, plus were close to retirement.

Edited by Heigh Ho
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regarding kids tolerating afterschooling, what I see is that it is very much culture driven. When the families around you afterschool, the kids may not like it, but they will accept that it is what it is and not put up much of a fight if at all. When afterschooling is not the norm, that's when the struggle is real. I say this because I am surrounded by families like that. These kids will get signed to Kumon or do math and reading at home, then they will get signed up for math club and Science Olympiad and robotics etc. where they will meet yet more kids whose family culture is like that. In that context, afterschooling is what all your friends do, so at the most what happens is that they will commiserate together but rarely rebel.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regarding kids tolerating afterschooling, what I see is that it is very much culture driven. When the families around you afterschool, the kids may not like it, but they will accept that it is what it is and not put up much of a fight if at all. When afterschooling is not the norm, that's when the struggle is real. I say this because I am surrounded by families like that. These kids will get signed to Kumon or do math and reading at home, then they will get signed up for math club and Science Olympiad and robotics etc. where they will meet yet more kids whose family culture is like that. In that context, afterschooling is what all your friends do, so at the most what happens is that they will commiserate together but rarely rebel.

 

Agree, but I would also add that this is one reason why, in my case, it was easier to afterschool when my kids were younger.  They did not realize most of their classmates' parents stop at just getting the homework done.  I do think that some kids start going to out-of-school tutoring as they get older, but I haven't heard my kids mentioning that yet, so I guess maybe it isn't a thing yet in their 5th grade world.

 

We still do some, but it's a much harder sell.  :)

 

ETA we do have a gifted pull-out in my kids' school, but they aren't in it, so we need to do our enrichment at home.  :)

Edited by SKL
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would push for the testing out of this year's math and then she can either work on math you provide or read during math class.  In the evenings you can check on her work and teach her what needs to be taught.   Then the next day during class she can work on her math until she is finished or hits a wall.   Since she will have time during math class to work problems, then afterschooling shouldn't take long.  

 

In the meantime, I wouldn't ask my daughter to be quiet during math class.   Being the squeaky wheel can be a good thing, and if she is obviously bored and bothers the teacher during the math class I don't see a problem with that.   You want the teacher letting your daughter work on what you provide to be preferable to the teacher.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agree, but I would also add that this is one reason why, in my case, it was easier to afterschool when my kids were younger. They did not realize most of their classmates' parents stop at just getting the homework done. I do think that some kids start going to out-of-school tutoring as they get older, but I haven't heard my kids mentioning that yet, so I guess maybe it isn't a thing yet in their 5th grade world.

 

We still do some, but it's a much harder sell. :)

 

ETA we do have a gifted pull-out in my kids' school, but they aren't in it, so we need to do our enrichment at home. :)

That is what I mean by the struggle is real. You are swimming against the current if there are no peers like you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our issue is mainly driven by fatigue and a lack of interest in academics in the evening after a long day at school.

At 6, you can do a lot via real life activities and games. If you want suggestions on anything in particular just post.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

Our issue is mainly driven by fatigue and a lack of interest in academics in the evening after a long day at school. 

 

This is us too. She's just brain tired and sitting still tired. I'm thinking I'll turn it into special mom/DD time with treats and few worksheets. We can do MM and AOPS on white boards and I'll bring my enthusiasm A-game. I think a math club would be good for her but she thinks it's nerdy and I don't even know if they have one.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see what you are saying but I don't think this is our issue. My DD's only 6 and she really has no idea what other families do at night. I'm sure that will change as she gets older but as for now, she thinks every family is just like ours.

 

Our issue is mainly driven by fatigue and a lack of interest in academics in the evening after a long day at school.

I would then focus on interest driven, read out louds, math games etc for after school. Then bring out the big guns during break if you are with them or sign them up for academic enrichment camps.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm always looking for suggestions for math games. We have the RightStart Games and Zeus on the Loose.

At your daughter's age, and any other k-8 age actually, what I found lacking in public schools locally for math was visual spatial skills and logic/problem solving. These skills are covered in math clubs and Julia Robinson math festivals but little is covered in class time

 

My kids have enjoyed Thinkfun games for logic and they have enjoyed

 

Pentominos and Tangrams

http://www.cimt.org.uk/resources/puzzles/index.htm

 

Kanoodle Pyramid puzzle game (<$10)

Link is to the guide so you can see what its about https://www.learningresources.com/text/pdf/2978_EIguide.pdf

 

 

I don't know what is in RightStart games but here is a pdf of the 24 game

https://www.ru.ac.za/media/rhodesuniversity/content/sanc/documents/Maths%2024%20-%20cards.pdf

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm always looking for suggestions for math games. We have the RightStart Games and Zeus on the Loose. She particularly likes Zeus on the Loose. We also have Albert's Insomnia which we've only played once. IIRC, it would be easier to play if you use multiplication and she's not there yet. She can do a lot of multiplication in her head using skip counting but she will tell you that she doesn't know how to "times." I make up math stories for her and I always include multiplication and division in them and she can grasp the concepts but does not understand the mechanics and has not seen the algorithm.

 

We do xtramath to practice math facts and I just bought DragonBox for her. I hate to rely on electronics but it's a lot easier to get her to play DragonBox on my iPad than get her to listen to me talk about math at 7 PM.

 

We have Zacarro's book and we've worked through some of those problems. She can do it but she's not very interested in it.

 

Any other suggestions? Sorry for the thread hijack, OP.

Sure...darts, marble arches, finger bowling, count dads change, jump rope, hopscotch, and horse.

 

Darts can be a velcro version

Marble arches is a box with arches cut into the side and each is worth a certain amount of points Shoot your marbles, tally up and see who won.

Finger bowling is usually at the dollar store.. marble with ten pins...line them up, sshoot and score as traditionally done ( simplify for first grader)

Count change...empty dads pocket and count the change each evening.correct answers wins a nickel, which can be saved towards a small treat.

Jump rope and hopscotch...skip count while jumping rope, label the hopscotch squares and gameify...hop on odd numbers, numbers that add to five, etc.

Horse you know, vary it by playing like golf. Use chalk to set up 3 spots, each person shoots from that spot till they make a basket. Score for the hole is number of attempts, tally all three 'holes', low score wins. Expand your course when its too easy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't mean to hijack this thread but I'm really struggling with trying to understand how other families afterschool math. How do you get your kids to tolerate doing math in the evening? We've done a little bit of this for about a year now. I do about as much as my DD will tolerate in the evenings which is limited. 

 

Afterschooling other subjects has been pretty easy because DD loves to listen to me read to her and talk about what we've read. We have great conversations and I can really see the benefit of what we do at home. 

 

But math is another story. Math involves her sitting at her desk and writing and that's often too much for her at 6:30 or 7 in the evening after having spent all day at school. 

 

But on the other hand, like with the OP, I don't feel that my DD's needs are being met at school in math. They don't officially differentiate but they supposedly provide more challenging material to children who are ready for it. But my DD isn't all that interested in math so she doesn't ask for challenges and she always takes her time doing her work so there isn't time for extra work. She's not gifted but is bright and is probably at least a grade ahead in math. 

 

I read on this forum about kids doing Singapore at home and I can't figure out how I could do that in our home without tears. School breaks aren't that much easier because I'm still at work all day and DD is at camp. She often came home from camp even more tired than from school. 

 

I can't imagine how we could do even the little bit we do if we were out of the house in the evenings. We were out of the house one night this week and it's thrown the whole week off. DD had math homework last night plus an extra challenge worksheet. The challenge worksheet led to tears because DD was exhausted because we didn't get home until late the night before. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  How do we do it? First we started young, and then it is year round.  Summers are focused on starting a new class and getting 1/2 through by the Fall., and the  rest by Spring.   During the school year, he gets out at 3:00, and starts school homework by 3:45,or  4:00, at the latest. Then the after schooling begins and it is limited to 1 hour sessions 4/week. Up until now, it was m-t, no weekends. But now in the 6th gr, there is little more hw, and more frequently, so we now do it Fri  and Mon right after he completed school hw.  He is done on school nights with all work by 6:00. On Sat & Sun he starts at 8:00 a.m. The carrot is that no extras happen before all work is done. Since he is not allowed tv, or non school related computer time during the week, he is very motivated to get through it.   In the rare times he balks on the weekend, i just ask him to tell me if we are cancelling golf, tennis, robotics, math circle, karting or any thing he was planning on doing.

 

 

  Many question me about my demands on him.  I explain time wise it is a wash.  He does other work in math class, and the time he would have spent on math hw, is spent on other things.  More importantly, he enjoys the attention his accomplishment brings. He likes being the bmoc academically.  All awards, trophy, etc,, and there are many,  go immediately up it on his "wall of fame.' 

 

 BTW, 7:00 is way too late to expect a young kid to learn,something new.  I am helping a struggling college student.  The firts thing I did was examine his study habits. He would start at 10:30p.m and then stay until he was done around 1:30--2:00a.m.  Got him to study his two hardest subjects during the day, and then anything else early evening.   Grades went significantly up.

Edited by gstharr
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why would the principal talk about 5 levels of differentiation if they don't do it, though? She was so positive about their abilities to meet all kids on their own levels and that it was their priority. It's supposed to be a very high achieving school so I expect that there are other kids like DD in her grade.

I didn't bother dealing with the principal even though my kids principal at that time was a K-8 math curriculum specialist before becoming a principal.

It is the teachers who have to deal with my kid so I have to come up with feasible plans that makes it as easy as possible to implement without my neighbors being annoyed at my kid for being "too smart". My kid was afterschooling with the aops intro to algebra book in 4th, so I do not expect a teacher to differentiate to that level in a B&M k-8th public school. If they let my kid do his own thing quietly during class time, I am happy.

 

His public school teachers tested him for English and Math until he could not get 100%. They are lots more patient than me. My oldest was accelerated in English too in public school except that was easier because they turn a blind eye to him not finishing busywork and let him read any book he want above grade level for book reports.

 

For myself, I find davidson young scholar helpful for the unofficial parent support groups even though my kids don't benefit much from dys. Whether it is afterschooling or homeschooling, a parent support group for accelerated kids is helpful. My kids want to go back to brick and mortar for high school and I find it easier to advocate/negotiate at high school level. They are more flexible for high school then in k-8th.

Edited by Arcadia
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why would the principal talk about 5 levels of differentiation if they don't do it, though? She was so positive about their abilities to meet all kids on their own levels and that it was their priority. It's supposed to be a very high achieving school so I expect that there are other kids like DD in her grade. When I was a kid we were pulled out for math.

 

SKL, DD is like yours. She excels in problem solving, word problems, and mental math, and games, but makes mistakes with pencil and paper tests. 

 

5 levels of differentiation probably does -not- mean 5 grades of differentiation.

 

My son's teachers have been able to differentiate -- but that never meant teaching him math that was several grades above what he was doing. They gave the more advanced students projects to do -- playing with the numbers in new ways, basically.  And introduced a taste of algebra the end of 2nd grade. (Then went back in 3rd to mostly the regular math -- but advancing at their own pace. When they completed one objective, they moved on to the next and everyone got homework at their own level... but it meant being slow writing could get you stuck at a math skill you knew very well but could not write fast enough.)

 

And I'm not sure it is a good thing for kids if one teacher COULD teach them math that far ahead. When I was in 5th grade, I had a teacher in 5th grade that let us work at our own pace. And had a packet of work that went so far she thought no one could finish it during the year.  I got in a competition with another student and both of us ended up finishing it.  I learned -nothing new- in math during 6th and 7th grade math. It was all review. I was SO happy to get to Algebra I in 8th grade and new stuff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll give DD the end of year tests and take them to her teacher and see if we can work something out w/computers or something.

Just a caution. Don't administer the end of year tests yourself. Request that they administer them so they believe the results. If you bring them in, they could question the results.

 

Also, this means she can do them when she's not tired, maybe in a pull out session when the rest of the class is doing their regular math lesson.

Edited by RootAnn
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll give DD the end of year tests and take them to her teacher and see if we can work something out w/computers or something.

I agree with RootAnn, let the school proctor the end of year tests. My kids teachers were pleasantly shocked that they were tired before my boys were after an afternoon of testing.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 levels of differentiation probably does -not- mean 5 grades of differentiation.

 

My son's teachers have been able to differentiate -- but that never meant teaching him math that was several grades above what he was doing. They gave the more advanced students projects to do -- playing with the numbers in new ways, basically.  And introduced a taste of algebra the end of 2nd grade. (Then went back in 3rd to mostly the regular math -- but advancing at their own pace. When they completed one objective, they moved on to the next and everyone got homework at their own level... but it meant being slow writing could get you stuck at a math skill you knew very well but could not write fast enough.)

 

And I'm not sure it is a good thing for kids if one teacher COULD teach them math that far ahead. When I was in 5th grade, I had a teacher in 5th grade that let us work at our own pace. And had a packet of work that went so far she thought no one could finish it during the year.  I got in a competition with another student and both of us ended up finishing it.  I learned -nothing new- in math during 6th and 7th grade math. It was all review. I was SO happy to get to Algebra I in 8th grade and new stuff.

 

The problem wasn't the teacher that let you work ahead.  It was the next ones, that wouldn't.  

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The problem wasn't the teacher that let you work ahead.  It was the next ones, that wouldn't.  

 

Wouldn't -- or were never asked?

 

In any case, I'm not sure this is a reasonable expectation to ask of a teacher. "I know you signed up and prepared to teach 6th grade gifted math. But this student zoomed through that math and really picks it up. Oh and she knows 7th grade math too so can you start her on algebra 1? While you are teaching other kids this other math.

 

Sometimes I wish I had been homeschooled. This is quite reasonable for a parent to do. Or a one on one tutor. Not so much in a group environment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The problem is your school. I went to small schools and had individualized learning. Read text,think, ask questions, etc. Period 1 was always individualized learning in my high school. My teacher was competent and every student learned.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wouldn't -- or were never asked?

 

In any case, I'm not sure this is a reasonable expectation to ask of a teacher. "I know you signed up and prepared to teach 6th grade gifted math. But this student zoomed through that math and really picks it up. Oh and she knows 7th grade math too so can you start her on algebra 1? While you are teaching other kids this other math.

 

Sometimes I wish I had been homeschooled. This is quite reasonable for a parent to do. Or a one on one tutor. Not so much in a group environment.

 

It really isn't that hard.   Any child that has zoomed ahead won't need lectures.   Just toss the kid the next book and answer questions like you would for any child in the class.   The book will have a teacher manual with homework answers and tests in it.  

 

From 3rd grade on, that is what my husband did.  He is mathy, and as a college freshman he tested into PDE (partial differential equations), which is skipping a minimum of cal 1-2 and DE.   The reason it started was that he was causing problems in 3rd grade math from boredom.   So, the teacher sent him to the window seat that was lined with math books.   He quietly sat there and did his work.   From then on, the teacher had a choice: let him do his own work or have a trouble maker in class.  He'd surpassed the teachers math knowledge by junior high, and they stopped resisting.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't had any luck with any teacher really differentiating math instruction despite my child being in a school with plenty of kids who exceed grade level standards. My son is in 4th grade and at least 50% of kids in his grade exceeded math standards on the 3rd grade state math rest (smarter balance), 35% met standards, 10% nearly met, and 5% were below standards. The teachers teach grade level material to that 35% that met standards, then help the 15% below standards. The kids above grade level don't get challenged much. Many of the kids who exceeded standards are after schooled either by parents at home or they go to Kumon or mathnasium. My son knows almost all the best math students are doing something else besides the math homework (which takes my son about 7 minutes to complete). We afterschool on the 185 days school is not in session- summers, weekends, etc. because my boys usually have sports practices or games after school.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My experience matches Nart's.

 

The school's job is to get the kids across the 'passed-the-assessment' line. Any kids that come in already near/over that line, get sat in front of a worksheet and told to work  quietly while the teacher spends most of her 'differentiated-instruction' time with the At-level, Tier I and Tier II kids.

 

Sad, but true, schools are held to the standard of 'pass-the-assessment'. If the standard was every student must improve by x, then we may see real differentiation in schools.

 

If you happen to be at a school with few average to below-average students, then you may end up with more than just the promise of differentiation that we most get. But I don't think that the differentiation that most schools are prepared to offer is the same differentiation that most parents are requesting.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our local school decided to have math be at same time for all grades so that children could move to the classroom where the work best fit their math level during math time. Maybe 6th grade or whichever level she would be at has / would be able to have math at the same time and she could go there?

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My 2nd grade DS#2 just switched to full-time public school this year on his request.  I've spent the last 7 weeks quite engaged with the school personnel trying to get his educational needs met.  It's been a seriously stressful and draining process, but we're headed in the right direction!  

 

It sounds like our situation is maybe a little unusual in that he has not been getting along well in his classes and has quickly become a major distraction to other kids and disciplinary problem for the staff.  They couldn't ignore him.  There's also a high likelihood that he's twice exceptional, and the process of fighting to get the SLDs I suspect tested and accommodated for has run right alongside my advocating for appropriately challenging material in his areas of aptitude (which I tell them will make him less disruptive, lol).  There's a bit of a backstory on his grade placement too -- he jumped 1st grade this year but it wasn't technically a grade skip because his birthday is a few days before the Oct cutoff.  

 

So, by the end of the second week of school I'd been met outside by teachers at pick up, sent notes, emailed, and finally summoned to a meeting with the principal due to DS#2's behavior, wandering, and... quirks.  She suggested that DS#2 was struggling and that it might be better to move him back into 1st grade (which would mean a different school).  This was not gonna fly with me, so I asserted the legality of his grade placement and formally requested he be tested for learning disabilities.  Then I went home and began gathering test scores and other evidence that he was working at or above grade level in all subjects.  

 

I've had meetings with the sped team, the IEP coordinator, the GT coordinator, the principal, and, of course, several of his teachers.  I'm probably the most annoying parent they've ever met, lol.  They are still administering tests and doing evaluations, but it looks like this week will be the final set, maybe.  

 

As of my most recent correspondence with the school, they have decided to switch DS#2 to the 4th-5th grade class for math instruction.  It sounds like they're leaning heavily toward moving him back to the 2nd-3rd grade class for the rest of the period (they're very concerned he will cause trouble with the older kids), but they're willing to give it a trial run and see how he does first.  I'm feeling cautiously very optimistic!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My 2nd grade DS#2 just switched to full-time public school this year on his request.  I've spent the last 7 weeks quite engaged with the school personnel trying to get his educational needs met.  It's been a seriously stressful and draining process, but we're headed in the right direction!  

 

It sounds like our situation is maybe a little unusual in that he has not been getting along well in his classes and has quickly become a major distraction to other kids and disciplinary problem for the staff.  They couldn't ignore him.  There's also a high likelihood that he's twice exceptional, and the process of fighting to get the SLDs I suspect tested and accommodated for has run right alongside my advocating for appropriately challenging material in his areas of aptitude (which I tell them will make him less disruptive, lol).  There's a bit of a backstory on his grade placement too -- he jumped 1st grade this year but it wasn't technically a grade skip because his birthday is a few days before the Oct cutoff.  

 

So, by the end of the second week of school I'd been met outside by teachers at pick up, sent notes, emailed, and finally summoned to a meeting with the principal due to DS#2's behavior, wandering, and... quirks.  She suggested that DS#2 was struggling and that it might be better to move him back into 1st grade (which would mean a different school).  This was not gonna fly with me, so I asserted the legality of his grade placement and formally requested he be tested for learning disabilities.  Then I went home and began gathering test scores and other evidence that he was working at or above grade level in all subjects.  

 

I've had meetings with the sped team, the IEP coordinator, the GT coordinator, the principal, and, of course, several of his teachers.  I'm probably the most annoying parent they've ever met, lol.  They are still administering tests and doing evaluations, but it looks like this week will be the final set, maybe.  

 

As of my most recent correspondence with the school, they have decided to switch DS#2 to the 4th-5th grade class for math instruction.  It sounds like they're leaning heavily toward moving him back to the 2nd-3rd grade class for the rest of the period (they're very concerned he will cause trouble with the older kids), but they're willing to give it a trial run and see how he does first.  I'm feeling cautiously very optimistic!

 

That is a really impressive switch to go from "he should be in first" to "he should be in 2nd-3rd".   

 

Rant:   Why do teachers almost always seem to assume that boredom is because the material is too advanced?    It wouldn't even be that hard for the teacher to do an unofficial test themselves.  Get a math worksheet from the 1st grade teacher, and one from the third grade teacher.  Then watch the behavior when doing these.  

Edited by shawthorne44
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is a really impressive switch to go from "he should be in first" to "he should be in 2nd-3rd".   

 

Rant:   Why do teachers almost always seem to assume that boredom is because the material is too advanced?    It wouldn't even be that hard for the teacher to do an unofficial test themselves.  Get a math worksheet from the 1st grade teacher, and one from the third grade teacher.  Then watch the behavior when doing these.  

 

Yeah, it has been a very weird process altogether.  At the start of the year I was asked by his main teacher and a couple others about what level work they should offer him since he was homeschooled the year before and was only 6.  I told his math teacher he needed 4th grade material and she said she could do 3rd and they'd see how that went.  Within a couple of weeks she was telling me that it was too hard for him and that he was struggling to do the work.   That plus the principal suggesting we send him back a grade was incredibly frustrating!

 

I had his math teacher look over his standardized test scores from the year before.  I asked her to sit with him and read the questions with him and listen to his answers (since he doesn't always write what he says).  The scores plus my assertions and her observations convinced her that the material was definitely not challenging him, but that following the directions on the worksheets without someone leaning over his shoulder probably was.  I feel very lucky that she was willing to put that much time into working with him to see what I was talking about.  

 

In any event, with the sped team and his math teacher's observations and all the testing they have done (and they're really done SO MUCH testing), they have decided that he is very capable of doing the 4th grade math work as long as he has "supports."  So I guess maybe we found a back door into subject acceleration through SLDs?  It's a pretty forward-thinking, responsive school though, with a high proportion of atypical kids (on both ends), so I do suspect that they would have worked with us on subject acceleration anyway.  It's one of the reasons I picked this particular school for him.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Update: I sent the teacher a note on Tues along with DD's standardized test scores showing her in the 99th percentile in math and a copy of the end of year MM test from last year.

 

The teacher has already put DD in the math challenge program and bumped her to the highest math group. I think as a prior homeschooler she was put in the middle group by default. They've only had 1 test since they start after Labor Day. The teacher is also meeting with the principal to discuss options w/out me, and then we can all come in. I'm optimistic! It is a relatively wealthy and high achieving school and they talk about wanting to be very proactive and progressive.

 

I'm actually not sure now that she would pass out of their end of year test, however. She can do the math but they use a different vocabulary and math grammar and she would need a brief tutorial on what the questions mean. Or, she may test out but not score as highly as she should without a vocab lesson.

 

 

 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't mean to hijack this thread but I'm really struggling with trying to understand how other families afterschool math. How do you get your kids to tolerate doing math in the evening? We've done a little bit of this for about a year now. I do about as much as my DD will tolerate in the evenings which is limited. 

 

Afterschooling other subjects has been pretty easy because DD loves to listen to me read to her and talk about what we've read. We have great conversations and I can really see the benefit of what we do at home. 

 

But math is another story. Math involves her sitting at her desk and writing and that's often too much for her at 6:30 or 7 in the evening after having spent all day at school. 

 

But on the other hand, like with the OP, I don't feel that my DD's needs are being met at school in math. They don't officially differentiate but they supposedly provide more challenging material to children who are ready for it. But my DD isn't all that interested in math so she doesn't ask for challenges and she always takes her time doing her work so there isn't time for extra work. She's not gifted but is bright and is probably at least a grade ahead in math. 

 

I read on this forum about kids doing Singapore at home and I can't figure out how I could do that in our home without tears. School breaks aren't that much easier because I'm still at work all day and DD is at camp. She often came home from camp even more tired than from school. 

 

I can't imagine how we could do even the little bit we do if we were out of the house in the evenings. We were out of the house one night this week and it's thrown the whole week off. DD had math homework last night plus an extra challenge worksheet. The challenge worksheet led to tears because DD was exhausted because we didn't get home until late the night before. 

 

We do Singapore at home.  The short answer is we don't get tears anymore because math afterschool is habit. 

 

My DD is in 2nd grade, working on SM level 3 at home.  What I do is I make sure she has gotten everything else done first (actual homework which is generally done in after care, piano practice).  Then we set the timer for how long I want to spend on math, and we work until the timer goes off.  (If she's working on an exercise but didn't finish it yet, I send it to school with her the next day as "homework" to do in aftercare.)  Immediately after finishing math in the evening she gets dessert (or some bubblegum if she's full) and 30 minutes of iPad time before bed. 

 

She does better if I'm sitting at the table with her.  So I sit down with her and teach her the lesson, and then when she starts her practice, instead of getting up I have her brother come to the table and I work with him for a while, while still sitting next to her.  She just needs me to *be* there if you know what I mean.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...