How do I tactfully tell my son's teacher she needs to move on to new areas of study?

[deleted account] ( 43 moms have responded )

I apologize in advance if this is choppy--it's the 3rd time I've tried to post it.



J is in 1st grade. His teacher is sweet, and he loves the social aspect of school, but he comes home each evening complaining that they are learning the same material over and over again--and it's not even 1st grade stuff, it's the stuff he learned in kindy!



Last year, in k5, his teacher noted that he "displays a high level of academic achievement" and she made every effort to ensure that his educational needs were met. By the end of the year, he was doing simple multiplication, squares and powers, and basic long division. He was reading longer chapter books--Charlotte's Webb, The Chronicles of Narnia, Spiderwick, and the like.



We are half way through the first grade now and she is still focusing on adding and subtracting multi-digit numbers, and have not even touched on fractions, multiplication, or division. The books they read are what I would consider pre-school level picture books, not the cool metaphoric ones either, just basic early readers.



Our district does not have an official Challenge curriculum until 2nd grade, but K5 & 1st grade teachers are expected to identify academic needs and ensure that they are met for every student. I know that J is not the only one in his class that is beyond simple addition, in fact, I would think most of them would be beyond that, but even if he were, she should be giving him appropriate work, like his k5 teacher did. I was prepared for the fact that a large part of the year would be wasted on review, but this seems excessive--at this rate, they will not reach any new material by the end of the year!



So my question: How can I broach this subject with her without sounding like a judgmental pain trying to tell her how to do her job? I don't want to negatively effect her attitude towards J, but I don't want his education to suffer either. Currently, this curriculum is stuff he figured out how to do on his own before he even started school--he should be moving forward, not backwards. Plus, I feel that this boredom could negatively impact his attitude towards school.



I have looked into private schools, but those in our area are not held to a very strict accountability and appeared sub-par during the interview process. We are in one of the best school districts in our state, but our state schools do suck when compared nationally. I do not feel I am equipped to homeschool him either, so I would like to find a solution within our district.

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Denikka - posted on 01/04/2012

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I agree with Michelle. I didn't start multiplying and dividing until grade 3. Even handwriting (which we started in grade 2) was not supposed to start until grade 3. What your son is doing now seems like general grade 1 work to me.

I would just go in and talk to the teacher. Just mention that the kindergarten teacher allowed for pretty far advancement for your son, so now he's pretty far ahead of the work that's being given.
You could also possibly look into after school programs. Learning centers are not just for kids who are behind, but also can be used for kids who are not being challenged enough in school.
I know, from the child's side, how frustrating it can be to be held back to keep on par with the rest of the class. What helped me was to do my own thing. For example, during math class, we'd be given 2 pages of work to do in 45 minutes. Well, I'd get done in the first 10 minutes and then read a novel or do some research on a topic that interested me. You may suggest that to the teacher; that he be given extra work on his level when he finishes the general class work. It may not be fair for him to be doing extra work, but for me, I felt the problem of boredom was way worse than having to do some extra math problems that actually challenged me.
Good luck :) It's so tough being a gifted child/ahead of your class. I can only imagine how difficult it is from the parental point of view.

Ann - posted on 01/08/2012

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He's in first grade for crying out loud! Back off and let him enjoy being a 6 year old. You could ask the teacher is she could offer some higher level work, but the main thing your child can do is stretch his own brain by reading more, writing, and completing higher level math problems on his own. Do you want a gifted child or a well-rounded, kind, considerate, loving child? Relax and let your child be 6!

Lynn - posted on 01/06/2012

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It does sound like your son is advanced for his age. Congratulations! You're absolutely right to do everything you can to keep him challenged, or he will probably slow down to the lower expectations of the kids around him. Can he "help" others with their work after he's finished? Can he bring workbooks or books to read with his extra time? Does your school do Accelerated Reader, and can he start the testing? You said he's been accepted into an accelerated program, and it sounds like he can start that next year -? If not, I would definetely start looking for a more challenging school or program for him. To find good schools in your area, you can go to www.schooldigger.com and www.greatschools.net You can compare schools' test scores, classroom ratios and you can see how every school is rated against the others in your district or county, and if their rating has gone up or fallen from last year. There may be a more challenging school that's not too far away, that you don't know about.

I take my kids to an accelerated school, and I have to drive them 15 minutes every day since there's no busing, (car pool after school), and hire an asst so I can leave my home preschool to get them to school. It is absolutely worth it to get them the best education I can find!

If you're looking for some great resources to supplement what your son is (not) learning at school, you can go to www.spellingcity.com www.iknowthat.com www.mathfactscafe.com www.brainpopjr.com and workbooks for some extra challenge.

Kitty - posted on 01/06/2012

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Looks like you may need to look into homeschooling him. You have way too high of expectations for a 1st grade class. Multiplication and division is introduced in the 2nd and 3rd grade. Chapter books that you describe are 2nd grade material. You would be able to keep up with what your child needs by homeschooling him. It really is easy and he will get ALOT more social interaction that way, as well.
Keep in mind that the teachers hands are bound by the system, as well. They are told that they can not help the kids who are excelling...they have to help the bottom of the rung so that they get the grade to get more money for the school. She may have also been giving a schedule of when and how long she has to stay on a subject. Look at the child who is at the bottom of the rung and you will see why she is going over this material...but then again, it sounds like normal 1st grade material!
I homeschool. My child is ahead of the game, as most homeschool children are. My kids see and play with friends LOTS more than their public school counterparts. We go more places, they learn more firsthand and less in books. They are more active, love to learn and look forward to "school work". They are allowed to be kids, and we have a lot more family time. ALL research studies show how homeschool kids are above in academic, social, behavioral, and creative thought. This does sound like something you really should look in to...either that or do not complain when the teacher does grade level materials. The K5 teacher should have told you the level she was giving your child. But please do not burn him out...he is WAY too young for that.

Sylvia - posted on 01/06/2012

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Where I live, kids in grade 1 are most certainly not expected to read chapter books or add multiple-digit numbers, let alone subtract, multiply or divide them. Good grief!

Don't get me wrong -- I think it's amazing and great that your son can do this stuff. (I have a friend IRL whose 5-year-old also reads chapter books and does long division in his head. He taught himself to read when he was 2. He's really enjoying kindergarten, but she's freaking out a bit about what's going to happen as he moves through the system.) But I would be very, very surprised if any significant proportion of his classmates are at that level. So I don't think you really have any legitimate basis for going to his teacher and telling her she needs to move on -- she has to teach *all* the kids, not just yours.

If he's bored by school, though, you clearly need to do *something*, because that's not a good trend. Talk to the teacher and tell her he's tested into this Challenge program, whatever that is, and can she do anything to help him prepare for that? If he's good at working independently, presumably there are enrichment things he could be doing while the rest of the class is working on parts of the regular curriculum that he's already good a good grasp on. Or -- to borrow the time-tested solution deployed by primary teachers when I was that age -- can he bring a book to school to read when he gets bored?

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[deleted account]

Thanks, that template would be awesome. I have heard of IEP's on here before, but I have never heard of them in terms of real life, if that makes sense. I don't know anyone in real life who uses one or knows anything about them.



I was hesitant to give him additional work / tutoring outside of school because he needs time to play, but after some thought we decided to go to the book store and let him pick some things out. He chose a math book for gifted second graders that has puzzle type questions in it (what numbers come next according to this pattern, what shape is out of order, time zone word problems, and those type things) and a Full curriculum 3rd grade book that actually teaches. It is divided into 5 subjects, and each subject is divided into units. Each unit has a "teaching page" then a couple of activity pages that explore different ways to apply the knowledge. I like it better than the book he uses at school which has the learning page, then 3 pages of the same kind of question. That said, I think 3rd grade might be a bit far ahead for him, but it's the one he wanted, and thus far, he is flying through it.

KJ - posted on 01/30/2012

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Hi Kelly,



Having read the replies and as a Primary, Secondary and Special Needs teacher perhaps I can help a little as I understand this from both the teaching side and the parent of gifted and talented children.



Firstly the other mums are smack on the money from the teaching stand point...teachers are required to "teach to the middle" but are also required to identify and put in place strategies to accommodate ALL students no matter if they are struggling or gifted.



I would suggest you speak to a deputy or the Principal about having the teacher create what is called an IEP (Individual Education Plan). This plan is designed to assess where the student is at, identify goals and strategies on how to get him there and what resources (person and material) will be used to accomplish these goals.



An IEP is both a planning tool and a device used to measure the progress of the student. It ensures the teacher stays on track with what she needs to be planning and teaching the student and gives the parents and student clear knowledge of what is being done and assessed.



Yes having gifted children in your class means you have to work a bit harder for them but in my view that is just one of the rewards of teaching.



If you wish to email me directly I will send you a template for an IEP which you can take to the school.



If the school refuse to assist you with this I would recommend having your child tutored twice a week for about 1 hour each session and asking the tutor to set him some fun homework tasks so J does not lose his thirst for learning.



If this can not be done due to cost or time perhaps you can visit your local educational materials store and purchase some extra materials for J to challenge himself with.



Hope this has helped. :)

Kat - posted on 01/21/2012

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You can add enrichments to your son's curriculm, by doing more difficult tasks at home. Or you can demand the school test him for a gifted program, If there are areas of higher IQ then you can do an ARD meeting and arrange your son to go to a higher level classroom during the hour that the subject will be taught. Don't skip more than 1 grade because foundation principals could be overlooked in the process.

Julie - posted on 01/19/2012

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Meet with the teacher without your son's knowledge... asking her a few key questions: (you don't want him to get a sense that he is pitting you against the teacher)

* Would she care if he read once his work is done?

* Would she care if he were able to help a slower student with their work?

* Is there extra busy-work he can do?

* Can he help with simple chores around the room - washing boards. etc.,

I had high achievers and this is what we did ...

It taught the kids to be servants and helpers and they are very admired in our community!

;o)

[deleted account]

I understand that he is gifted now--when I wrote the original post, I did not realize he was that advanced, I just thought the teacher was teaching too slowly. I realize now, after looking at our state curriculum, that she is teaching to that, and it's just slow. I didn't think he was gifted--you would see if you met him. When I think of gifted kids, I think of shy, bookish kids who enjoy school work (as long as it's on their level), but J is not like that--he plays sports, he's very social, has lots of friends, and really prefers playing to any kind of work. Giving him extra workbooks and such outside of school does not help--it makes him mad because schools is the place for those things, after school time is for play.



We did allow the test, he took it last week and scored with an IQ of 172 according to the WISC-IV w/ extended norms. They do not give a grade level because this test is designed to see what they are able to figure out, rather than what they have already learned. It's scoring goes like this Gifted- 130-145, Highly Gifted 145-160, Exceptionally Gifted 160+, and Profoundly gifted 175+ .



We were informed Monday that the school district is not equipped to handle his needs--the only options being to skip grades, which we don't want, they don't recommend, and J doesn't want to do either. I am going to look into the University programs Julie mentioned above. Unfortunately, private schools in our area are not held to high standards and so are not an option.



I feel like I'm doing everything I can, but it's not enough. I'm just running onto walls....

Jill - posted on 01/18/2012

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Also, as for the testing? If he tests with a high IQ in addition to his current acceleration, then the district much treat his special needs, i.e. higher level of learning. Absolutely allow the test, but remember, test scores can frequently be within 5-10% either direction with children his age.

Heather - posted on 01/18/2012

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WOW!! I think with what's going on there really are only 2 choices: Homeschool or tell the school how you feel. As a parent it is YOUR responsibility to make sure your child is getting the best possible education. Talk to the teacher, principal, superentendant, and/or president of the board of education. If you feel that the school cannot provide an appropriate setting for you child to grow, then homeschool! You don't need a teaching degree to do it..just love and determination to see your child succeed. When my son began the 1st grade, the public school said he was academically equivilent to 3rd grade. Homeschooling really is the best option to make sure your child is getting the best possible education!! The K12 program is the best and makes it very easy for parents. Good luck =)

Jill - posted on 01/18/2012

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You need to contact the school counselor and principal. First, send them an email so you have something in writing. Ask them to schedule an IEP meeting for you and your sig other. This is an individual educational plan. Typically used for underachieving or special needs children, you can also use it in a reverse situation such as yours. You will be able to sit down in a meeting (Federally guaranteed no matter what State, typically), and create a special education plan where you will likely send him out of the room to another class for additional instruction, or the teacher will take curriculum from higher grade teachers to insure he continues to be challenged rather than bored at school. Now on my 7th and 8th children, all with special or unique abilities, I can tell you that being proactive in his education from the very beginning is absolutely imperative to his educational well being. Good luck to you and yours.

Stephanie - posted on 01/18/2012

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Sorry but I have to agree with others that you're expectations are a tad out of whack. I am the mother of gifted kids and I would never/have never expected a teacher to alter her curriculum to appease me or my kids. You have to understand if you're going to utilize the public school system that the majority rules. I assure you the majority of the 6 yr olds at your sons school are NOT ready for fractions or to read book on the level you described,. If your child is as advanced as you've saying he is you need to find a way to put him into private school OR ask about having him skip a grade or two.



My oldest was always bored and frustrated with the work he did in class, and still is, in the 8th grade. The way we combated his boredom was with projects, workbooks and classes outside of his regular M-F school day. This was helpful as well because it allowed him to socialize with other gifted children.



I would certainly look into the option of cyber school too. This allows the children to work COMPLETELY at their own pace,. The curriculum is designed specifically for the child. They're not held back (or pushed forward) by what Janie or Johnny in the next desk need, they take assessments and work from their exact level.



I think you need to calm down and explore other options. I totally agree with the other poster that this is a SIX YEAR OLD we're discussing. Feed his brain but feed his spirit too. Also, I make this recommendation from a place of experience, push him to make meaningful social connections at school. Gifted kids are often awkward socially.

[deleted account]

J wants to stay at his school, in his class, but he wants his teacher to teach different things. I'm trying to tell him why this is not possible, but he is just refusing to accept that.



I was very hesitant to test him--I have ADD and always scored highly on those tests, but I struggled and floundered in most of the gifted programs in which I was placed. J is not me though.



He HATES extra work, he wants alternate work. He doesn't want to spend time at all on the regular work, but he needs alternate instruction as well. He enjoys reading, and reads a lot, but his desire lies in physics and spatial areas, which he can be exposed to through reading, but cannot fully understand without instruction--instruction I am not qualified to give.



I will look into the university programs. I was not aware that they offered resources for children. Financially, most options are open to us--we are not rich, but finances should not be a barrier. The problem is access--our area has very little to offer in terms of private schools. It's not that we don't have them, just that those we have are not any more equipped to deal with J than the district is.



While this whole issue is causing me a giant headache, I don't want him to be forced to slow down just to accommodate others. I want to embrace his "gift" and give him the opportunity to realize his full potential.

Julie - posted on 01/16/2012

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Hi Kelly,

Once you start researching on the websites I suggested and do some additional reading on your own I think you will find that between the research for advanced students and growth and development of humans, gifted students will vary from year to year in their testing, and how well they do in what subject, due to their developing brain (as most people do). The characteristics for gifted and talented students are also similar to autistic/asperger students (who are highly intelligent) ,ADD/ADHD students (who can also be very intelligent), but their learning differences overshadow how smart they are. Even other students with learning differences or chronic medical conditions are often overlooked (twice and thrice exceptional students) because they learn to compensate or have covered it up.

Being gifted/advanced, never means you are great in everything. That's why I mentioned the perfectionism before. Teachers have actually told my student and I they don't score perfectly all the time so they haven't showed "mastery". My advice is to document who, when, where, what, etc. you talk to, about, why, and save all notes, report cards, progress reports, tests, and examples of work - especially if it's showing a pattern or a point you've been trying to prove to the schools (or there's something interesting they've drawn or written on the paper...).

Is your gut telling you not to homeschool, do the online school, or the public school? I take it a day at a time. If something isn't right I ask questions, research, call, email, talk to my students, whatever I need to do, even if people get mad at me. Homeschool wasn't an option, neither is online school (though some colleges offer free courses, no credit, online), and private is definitely out. I look at this as an ongoing opportunity to increase my managment skills, and it makes sure I am continually learning about a variety of subjects, laws, community groups, etc. I probably would never have learned about if it weren't for my children. The library and local colleges can be great resources for advanced programs/books for your student to read. The University of CT and John Hopkins University( through gr. 8), Stanford University, and University of Maryland all have programs for gifted children. I think it's the College of William and Mary that actually teaches teachers about gifted students supposedly. What does your student want to do?

[deleted account]

Thank you, Julie. He took the WISC-IV last Tuesday, we got the results today. School was closed for MLK day, but we met with the principal and the official who gave and graded the test. He scored a 172 and was labeled "exceptionally gifted / border-line profound." I'm not sure what that means exactly, but I know he's smart.



Of course there were several pages of sub-test scores along with the over-all score that I am still trying to comprehend. He is not "globally gifted" but is gifted in several areas mostly having to do with the way he processes information....of course, from what I could tell, they all seemed to deal with that :P



They told us flat out that the district is not prepared for a child with his needs. His only option within the district is to skip grades, but even that was not recommended for children "at his level of intellect". This irks the crap out of me. If he were behind, they would HAVE to find a way to accommodate his needs.



His best option is homeschooling through an online program for gifted children, but I seriously do not feel I'm qualified for that. You know that gut feeling that just tells you sometimes not to do something.....should I listen to it??

Julie - posted on 01/16/2012

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Welcome to the frustrating world of education. I will tell you right now as long as your child gets good grades (not failing), is not a behavior problem at the school, not much will be done, unless you have the resources, have an IEP or 504, or are at a particular age to get the programs you need. In another state, my oldest was in the honors/challenge program (taught 1 yr ahead). My youngest, qualified, but was never accepted for some reason. We moved a few years ago, and in the new state, they aren't recognized as advanced. I've talked to guidance, teachers, county, state, and either received no reply or the "no academic impact" excuse. Students who are gifted hate busy work so giving them extra work is not the answer. They want to be challenged. Let them decide what they want to do. It's their education, help them learn to advocate. Extra books to read, or if the extra book is causing conflict, read ahead in the book in class (even if it's not assigned/ever covered), paper to draw or write on (you should see all the drawings on the papers that come home). True friends, the ones they can relate to, I find are older or younger, so being in classes with older students will actually be good for them. Teachers, when they are cooperative and understanding, can be wonderful, but we have found few of those. Peers, esp. group work, are a challenge, or when the class grades each other's work. Perfectionism...isolating themselves because others are stupid, including the teachers. Wondering why the rules aren't being followed, why don't people know this...be prepared to have wonderful discussions every day after school. At least we do, which is when my students get to discuss their ideas that they wish they could have at school. They haven't lost their thirst/love of learning despite the public education system. That comes from within and from the people around you telling you can do it and showing you how to accomplish it. Also be prepared for bullies, defense mechanisms, underachieving, twice exceptionality, your student not speaking to anyone at school about stuff at school, but speaking to you once home. Keep the communication lines open at all costs - no matter how often you get yelled/ stared angrily at.

Some websites to check out:

www.hoagiesgifted.org

www.nagc.org

www.sengifted.org

www.cectag.org

www.freespiritpublishing.com (great books on gifted kids for gifted kids)

There are recent studies that show putting gifted students in a regular classroom slows the gifted student down. Maryland's gifted and talented group (McGate) had a link to it I believe since heterogenous grouping is a big topic there. Have you checked out ed.gov ? It sounded like you had checked out your state education page and your district page. Good luck! Take care.

Laura - posted on 01/11/2012

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Teachers are being forced more (at least in my area) to teach in prep for these "end of grade" exams that start in the 2nd or 3rd grade. It's a lot of review, but sometimes a few students need it, sometimes at the expense of the other kids getting bored and restless. The best thing to do is ask the teacher if there are extra workbooks and activities that she can assign your child, or allow your child to bring home, so that you can continue to build on the foundation she's laid. We've always supplemented the kids with activities at home using workbooks (from the Dollar Tree, love them!) and giving rewards when the books are completed. At some point, the school should off a program like Beta Club, or EG (exceptionally gifted), etc....they all have different names, but it allows those children a chance to do interesting things outside the normal classwork. You may even consider looking into having your child advance a grade. If all else fails, there are some private schools with acclerated programs if you can swing it, but keep in mind, it's better to be at the top of the class than struggling to stay in the middle. Getting A's and doing well right now is going to build his confidence for when the harder stuff comes. Good luck.

[deleted account]

His teacher emailed me over the weekend about taking the WISC-IV test with extended norms, and his principal also agreed. I debated about whether or not to let him take it, but ultimately decided it couldn't hurt, so he took it today. His teacher should have results back by the end of the week, which is apparently very quick, but they don't test many kids this time of year. I know nothing about this test--in fact, never even heard of it until Saturday.

I did get a look at the curriculum for the state, and the teacher is teaching to it; however I am still shocked at the material. I don't think J is that advanced, but the material really is very simple stuff--stuff he was doing before kindy. I don't want to sound like I don't appreciate what his teacher is doing--she is a WONDERFUL teacher, J is just getting frustrated and I don't want him to start dreading school.

Anyone have any experience with the WISC-IV testing? It is used to identify kids who have special educational needs, but that is all I know. The principal and guidance councilor said that it would tell them more about how he thinks and his ability to reason and learn, more than just what he knows and doesn't know.

Jenna - posted on 01/10/2012

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Join the school board so you can help determine the curriculum that the district uses. Honestly, she is probably following the district's mandated curriculum and isn't really prepared to give him other work without him feeling like he's working more than the other students. If you think he's that advanced, perhaps you can talk with the principal and teacher about having him tested to move up a grade. My parents did that with me when I was in third grade and after the testing and the option to move up was given, I declined (my parents let me choose) because I wanted to stay with kids my own age.

Often, too, if you suggest what exactly it is she can do with him that is different, she will be much more likely to be able to do it. I was a public school teacher, and while I would recognize the gifted kids and the high achievers, I didn't always have a whole slew of ideas up my sleeve of how to teach them. For example, when I was in third grade, the class was learning cursive, but I had already learned it in second grade where we used to live. So instead, my teacher let me write a book of stories (I loved to write stories). She gave me a book of story starter ideas, reviewed with me the key elements of a good story, and let me at it. After they were written and she had looked them over, I rewrote them as a final copy in cursive, so I still got a grade for cursive and still did cursive when the rest of the class did cursive. But it was my parents who brought the fact that learning cursive when I already knew it was boring to her attention and made the suggestion that I do something to help me practice cursive but that would challenge me.

Also, all states have a state-wide mandated standards in each core area (math, reading, science, social studies, music, art, etc.), things that kids at that grade level are supposed to know by the end of the year, and the school districts try to purchase curriculum that most closely matches the state's standards. You can often find those online on your state board of education's website. You can look and see what is mandated by the state and compare it to what he is learning and see if there are any discrepancies. If there are, perhaps you can ask about that and see if anything can change.

Also, just a little tidbit, the first years of school are the foundation for all learning, so it's no surprise there's a lot of review to make sure they all have it before moving on to harder stuff. Makes it a bit unfair for kids who pick it up quickly, but it's necessary to build a strong foundation for learning.

Danielle - posted on 01/10/2012

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I was going to say that they usually don't start this until the end of second grade/ early third grade.

Britni - posted on 01/09/2012

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If you are afraid of homeschooling try cyber school. They give you the curiculm so you won't have any "holes" as you put it. You can move as fast as you want in any area until he is being challenged. My children do it. It is a lot like homeschool but you don't have to find your own curriculm. My 2nd and 3rd graders are very advanced in reading (have read the harry potter series etc.) and they tested into 6th and 12th grade word reg and reading comp so there is no ceiling as your teacher put it. Hope that helps

Tammy - posted on 01/09/2012

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I asked my daughter's teachers why they repeat the same material over and over again and the answer I mostly got was that the more it's repeated, the more it becomes second nature in the child and then they will never forget it.

Betty - posted on 01/09/2012

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My daughter had the same problem in 1st grade. I had asked my cousin about it who is a 1st grade teacher at another school and she told me (along with other people) that 1st grade is the time that they need to know how to add 1-10 + 1-10 and subtract 1-10 - 1-10 by heart so every day they go over it and over it again and again. My daughter who is really good at math and likes it HATED math in 1st grade. It is very tedious and boring but unfortunately they have to do it. My daughter luckily is back to liking math this year (2nd grade) because they are learning new stuff.

Sylvia - posted on 01/09/2012

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Kelly, I don't have any experience-based advice on the testing (my kid is in no danger of having to be tested for a gifted program LOL) but I just wanted to say that I applaud you for prioritizing and protecting your son's unstructured play time!!

[deleted account]

Obviously, I want a well rounded, loving, considerate child, I could care less whether he is "gifted" or not, which I'm still not sure I entirely believe--"bright", yes, "gifted" seems a stretch--you'd know if you met him; he's an average 7 year old--he likes baseball, cars, and wooden blocks. He plays tag & hid 'n' seek with his friends. He's just frustrated with school right now; he feels it's a "waste of time" and I can kind of see his point.

I know I can give him activities after school, but I don't want to use his afternoons for academics, that is what school time is for, and he needs his afternoons for play and other activities. Furthermore, it doesn't do anything to address the situation at school, which is where the problem lies. He does help other kids, but the bulk of class time is instruction, while work is done at home, so there is little opportunity for that.

His teacher emailed me this weekend to address a comment he made to her in class, so I brought these issues up with her and she was very receptive.

She has looked through the coloring book he brings from home and said the work is far beyond 1st grade--its one of those coloring/activity books from Barnes&Noble, I picked it up after story time one morning. She wants him to take an "intelligence test" called the WISC-IV with Extended Norms. Has anyone ever heard of this test?
He tested into the Challenge program by taking the PASS test (our state achievement test), but it has a second grade "ceiling" and his teacher thinks that he may have "hit the ceiling" so she wants to do this one. I don't even understand half this terminology! The school will be administering it, but it is not a standard test all students take.

Should I let him take it? I can't see how it would hurt, but I don't see how it will help either....

Shawn - posted on 01/08/2012

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The problem isn't the teacher, it's that your son needs to be stimulated intellectually. Get him a tutor for after school, take him to museums and science exhibits, buy him books and let him read. The teacher has more than one child in class, and what she is teaching is right on with the average child, problem is... you got yourself a genious and the average public school doesn't have the resources to deal with that or to stimulate his mind the way he needs. So either you find a school that has more resources or you pick up the slack.

Sylvia - posted on 01/08/2012

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On a semi-related note, elementary schools have Honor Rolls now? o_O That's new. (And fortunately it doesn't seem to have arrived in my province yet.)

I find myself agreeing with both Toni and Ann. In that I am 100% in favour of "backing off and letting kids be kids" -- I think there's WAY too much academic pressure on young kids, and it's totally counterproductive and absolutely does not result in more or better learning (here's a really interesting article about this issue: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/arch...) -- but I also get that some kids *like* schoolwork, most kids enjoy being challenged (provided the challenge is not unreasonable), and if the issue is that the kid is bored by the current pace of his classroom, some additional academic enrichment outside of school might actually be a good thing. As long as it doesn't come at the expense of imaginative play, that is!

Toni - posted on 01/08/2012

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I have the same issues with my DS. He is almost 7 and a first grader too. His Kindy teacher challanged him more, but I have tried talking to his 1st grade teacher and not a lot of luck. As pp said, you have to be your child's advocate. Teachers teach to the masses. I've taught and understand. That's why I challenge my child at home. We read chapter books, and do workbooks outside of school. That way he stays in the game.



Also, It's ignorant to say "let him be a 6 yr old." School is a place of learning and children should enjoy it. When they're bored then school is a place that they want to avoid.Why give your child a sour taste for school early?

Ashley - posted on 01/08/2012

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i tx we dont do multiplying/ dividing until 3rd either. like one other post said, just talk to the teacher and see if they can test your child for the gifted and talented classes, most schools offer them. and if he is that advanced they can always bump him up in grades. might be something to consider

Gladys - posted on 01/07/2012

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My son is in 2nd grade the teacher he had was complaining that my son was always talking and behaving bad which it was weird because he was never like that. So when his dad & my self visited the teacher we went over the things they do. We didn't see nothing wrong on his school work he was getting good grades as usual. So i started wondering what the problems was and talking to my son because he was always getting a bad behavior everyday which he never did before in Pre-k or kinder or 1st grade. When my son told me he finishes his work and see other kids talking he wants to talk too. So i figured it most be that she's not giving him enough work or things that are interested to me... it got to the point that i had to talk to the vice principal and he had to be changed from class.. the problem was not him it was the teacher. I did not want him to fall behind or start hating school because it was too easy (not fun for him) so i had to make sure his attitude for school did not change. He started with the new teacher exactly a month after school started he's still having his good grades, i've never had any complaints about his behavior, no complaints from or the teacher. The new teacher has him helping other kids that are slower than him or are not understanding the class work and everything is back to normal the same way it was the previous years. I suggest you tell the teacher exactly how your son feels and maybe you can work together if she's really there to help the kids. In my case it wasn't that way. My son needed a more advance class where he gets challenges and the teacher he first had just did not care. I think she had personal issues and she was under investigation. You don't need to tell her how to do her job just express your son's feelings and concerns and yours too and see how you can work together. My son is in an academy school so they have several classrooms of the same grade maybe you should try changing him if that's going to help him. It worked for my son and he still is Honor Roll since Kinder.

Michelle - posted on 01/07/2012

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Schools are supposed to teach to the middle, and get additional help for the gifted and remedial students. But somewhere along the way we stopped funding special education (both gifted and remedial) properly. Consequently, teachers find themselves having to teach to the bottom to ensure they meet the minimum requirements set by the state/government and ignoring the fact that no one else is progressing properly because of it!
The Challenge program sounds interesting, sounds like you're interested in it so I would try it. If he's old for his grade skipping would probably be an ok option too if you find the 2nd grade challenge isn't challenging enough. My biggest suggestion would be that as your child grows older, and especially if you're seeing problems, no matter what schooling option, talk to your child about it. I know a lot of people who were homeschooled or homeschooled their kids. One put her daughter in private school when she asked to go to "regular school" as a highschooler. Her son she homeschooled all the way through. One public school advocate finally pulled her daughter in jr. high and found it was the best possible option for her even though it meant they had to sell their house so one person could stay home. One friend in college couldn't imagine being happier with homeschooling, another wished she'd been in regular classrooms because it would have made the transition to college easier.
I guess my point of the long rambling post is that if we acknowledge every child is different, why can't we acknowledge their needs and opinions should be taken into account in deciding the education style that works best? Some kids are motivated and challenged just fine by regular schools, others aren't. If only we could teach every child they way they would learn best, imagine the achievements of all our kids :)

Joanie - posted on 01/07/2012

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My family is located in SC as well. I'm not sure what area you are in but we are in the Myrtle Beach area. I am blessed to have 3 very intelligent children as well. My step son graduated from high school at 15, and my 9 year old daughter is very advanced for her age as well. luckily I haven't had to deal with the very smart 3yr old and school yet. lol I understand your frustration on finding a school that can keep your child interested and engaged. My husband and I ended up placing his son in an online high school because of the trouble he was getting into at school. He would get very bored in class and then start disruptions and with the online school he could choose subjects that interested him and do them at his own pace. It was the best route with him and we couldn't of been happier.

Now my daughter is in a charter school here. We had moved from TN 2 years ago and I dreaded finding a school for her because the school we were leaving was an excellent school that thrived in challenging their students. They had a reading program in place in every grade and tested their students yearly to have them read the right level for them. When we moved I think finding the right school made me more nervous than moving and finding a new place! But we settled on a charter school due to the small class size and more teacher attention. The school has a GT program, offers clubs and some sports. I think every teacher in the school knows my daughter. I have found that the charter school challenges them beyond the state req. curriculum.

If a charter school is not an option where you are or even if it is, I would talk to his teacher and ask her opinion and express your fears of his boredom and of the trouble it may cause. She might surprise you in how open she may be. The others here are right, the teachers usually do have to "help" the kids that are doing poorly, I do think that it should be addressed but at the same time I don't think that it should hold all of the class back... (I hope that didn't come out sounding bad, I really didn't mean it that way.) start with the teacher, if that doesn't yield results look into charter schools and home schooling... you might just surprise yourself :)

Kitty - posted on 01/06/2012

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As for social skills and friends..this one reason my kids DO NOT go to a brick and mortar school! I want them to have lots of friends and be able to talk and play with them. Most homeschoolers have one main issue...they have to CUT BACK on the social things in order to get any schoolwork done! LOL And if 12 plus years of public school did not prepare you to be able to teach an Elementary aged child...do you really want HIM to go thru that? Think about it! As for gaps..you will be amazed how well he does and thrives...we ALL have gaps in our education for one reason or another, but there is a reason that most homeschoolers graduate at age 15...and why Ivy League colleges have spots available ONLY to homeschoolers--they want them badly! Here is my thesis...it has TONS of empirical studies that were done showing what I am saying. And the key to any good homeschooler--finding a good homeschool group to belong to!
http://jacksonvillehomeschoolkids.yolasi...
Am I biased? yep! Did I try public school? yep! I even got a Teacher's certification ! I will NEVER work there and I will not send my kids ever again.
As for being unqualified...you would amaze yourself! But again, think about it--if you feel unqualified to teach 1st and 2nd grade....do you really want your child to go thru what you did and feel just as unprepared? You are more than qualified! trust me! :) And he will shock you with how he does. And of course he does not want to sit for homework!! He is a little kid who just had to spend 6-8 hours SITTING!! plus, the average HSer spends 3 hours a day--3 days a week on bookwork. And each child is different....and there are a thousand ways to teach your child....including independently! And you get to learn it all over again with your child, see him grow up, see him interact, notice how more polite and respectful he is because he is always with you. Peer pressure is not a real issue, and neither is having the top of something...they are creative, independent and learn how to live in the real world.
When is the last time YOU sat in a room with everyone the same age as you and you had to do everything one person told you without question?? It's not the real world...the real world is varying ages, races and social classes...the real world is everyone helping one another. The real world is where you CAN ask and you can excel in one area, and work longer in another...
I have an 18 year old who is graduating with her Associates this year. I have a 5 year old who is doing 1st and 2nd grade material. I have a 7 year old who is doing 4th grade material...and each of them have more friends than I can keep track of. And they can talk to anyone--anytime, politely, without attitude and with compassion. It is possible...you just have to take the first step...and contact a local homeschool group. Best source? Yahoo Groups! put in homeschooling and your town and find one that suits YOUR style...look online and research differing styles, look at online programs....look at Moving Beyond the Page...look at all the great opportunities your child will have! And almost every town has a whole slew of "Homeschool Days" and classes that can be taken during the day and (especially at this age) he will learn MORE from visiting a place and asking questions than he will ever learn with just a book.

[deleted account]

The school did talk to us about having him start 2nd grade this year instead of 1st so that he could go ahead and take part in Challenge (this is like the "gifted and talented" program--kids are pulled out of class for certain subjects, but remain with their peers for others), but I held him back. I just didn't feel he was ready for 2nd grade and I worried a lot about the social effects on him. He is one of the older kids in class b/c of a late birthday, but due to severe insomnia when he was a baby/toddler he is very, very small for his age. I am beginning to feel I've made a big mistake. He is attached to his friends now, if I move him up now, he will be plopped into a grade with no friends, and everyone will be bigger and older, and have their own friends, and thus, not so welcoming.

I know the teacher doesn't have much time to cater to him, and I didn't want to sound like I don't appreciate all that she is doing, which is why I was asking for polite ways to do it, but if this sounds like normal first grade stuff, then she doesn't need to move on. He does take a book to read, but that is causing some issues. He doesn't want to put it down for group activities and often starts reading it before he finishes the work at hand. Today he told his teacher "I don't know why I have to do it--I proved I knew how yesterday!" (Obviously we had a little talk when he got home, but he did have a point...)


I do want to consider homeschooling, but I feel VASTLY unqualified for it. I am afraid that I will leave "holes" in his education, focusing too much on the subjects I am good at and neglecting or glossing over those I struggle with. I also worry about holding his attention and being disciplined with it myself. I can barely get him to sit still for the 10 minutes of homework the teacher gives him every evening....on the other hand, he will sit for hours with his workbooks or a drawing pad and pencil....I worry about his social interaction--he does have friends in taekwondo & baseball, but the bulk of interaction with kids his own age is at school.

When he's around other kids his age, he seems so normal...

Melissa - posted on 01/06/2012

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My impression is that you have an exceptional child. Although you may think that the others are also around his level they most likely aren't. You must be your child's advocate. You have to take it upon yourself to challenge your learner. You have to find ways for him to be challenged . You may not think yourself capable of homeschooling but there are fabulous resources available online that help a great deal. Due to financial constraints, I could not homeschool but found a fabulous project based public charter school that helps learners work at their own levels. I also supplemented my daughters schoolwork with extra activities. All this has made for a happier educational experience for all. I think like most regular public school in this day and age, teachers are overworked , with too many student and state mandated curriculum that only prepares kids to take more tests not for the real world. Exposé your child to art, music, athletics, and make correlations between the arts, math and sciences. Life is one big teaching moment and it doesn't stop at the exit door to the school.

Jolene - posted on 01/05/2012

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Unfortunately, the teacher will not likely have the time to stop what she is teaching the majority and focus on teaching more advanced topics to your son because most of the kids on his grade are at the level she's teaching. I have to agree with others who say that the things your son is able to do isn't taught until about 3rd grade. If he's as advanced as you say, however, it seems like he might benefit from skipping a grade. I know it sounds extreme, but for a kindergartner to be able to do long division is extremely advanced! Good luck!

Michelle - posted on 01/05/2012

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I would first approach the teacher, tell her your child's identified for challenge program and can she recommend some resources to help him be more prepared? It may not always be a class, it could be study books and the like that even if you have to purchase will help augment his current work just like in K.

If the 1st teacher is unresponsive, if you're still in the same school, can you ask the kindergarten teacher for some ideas? She might have some additional challenge thoughts.

[deleted account]

Thank you. He has already been accepted to the Challenge program; they usually test at the end of 1st grade, but he took the test in kindy. I am concerned that, doing the 1st grade work he is doing now, he will not be prepared for the Challenge program when he enters it.



His 5k teacher did tell me she was teaching him advanced material to prepare for the Challenge program, but she did not mention that it was so far advanced. I thought she was just doing some of the basic grade level maths on a deeper level, and books with more complex plots. Apparently not?



I have considered after school programs, but he already has so much going on after school with music and Taekwondo. Baseball will be starting up soon as well, so while I know he would be interested, I just don't fell he has time for anymore commitments. I'm not sure that would help with the boredom at school anyway. He is happy at home exploring on his own.

Amy - posted on 01/05/2012

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Schools have to teach to teach to the masses so while your son is advanced his classmates probably aren't so therefore the repetitive work. Unfortunately you can't tell the teacher its time to move on because some of his classmates may not have mastered it. You can reach out to the teacher and express your concerns that your son has shared. Nicely explain that your son seems to be losing interest because he was challenged so much last year and that your afraid he may start acting up in class due to his boredom. My sons teacher is very receptive and gets back to me immediately when I e-mail her. You could also mention that you think the challenging curriculum next year would be beneficial for him and see if you can focus on getting him into the program by the end of this school year so that you don't encounter this problem next year!

My son is in kindergarten and when they sent home his first report card I was looking at what subjects they will be covering throughout the year and my son is already able to do it so I feel for you when it comes to curriculum not being challenging enough. As he gets older my husband and I will look into a magnet school as an option since many of them focus on specific areas like music, math, or science. Good luck.

[deleted account]

We are in South Carolina, US. I don't really know what the regular curriculum is, but I know the work he brought home in kindy was far more advanced than his 1st grade stuff. I have been told that he is somewhat advanced, but this seems a bit much to me.

Michelle - posted on 01/04/2012

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I am not sure where you live but where we are at they don't start multiplying and dividing until gr. 3 so what they are doing seems on par with the 1st grade. I would just go to the teacher and talk to her about your child in particular. Tell her he is coming home complaining that the work is not challenging enough and could she maybe see about giving him some stuff to challenge him .

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