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    #240103 - 10/16/17 09:27 AM Need help with advocacy
    MamaRachel Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 06/22/16
    Posts: 23
    Loc: SW Washington (Portland OR)
    Background... DS9 is ready for more math and has been for years. We've been passive, allowing him to do the easy math at school, while using Beast Academy at home.

    DS9 is now enrolled in JH CTY math, using at home. Ask was for DS9 to use that curriculum in place of the Ready 4 math curriculum (iReady series). Child pre-tested in September at early grade 5 level in most, mid-6 in geometry (thank you BA 3A!). School has never provided out-of-level instruction. School has provided "extension worksheets" with 1) no instruction 2) no correction / review. I think extension worksheets are not suitable without instruction. If DS9 knows how to do the problem, he gets it correct. If he doesn't, he makes up his own way to figure it out, sometimes right, mostly wrong, and never gets feedback

    Reply from teacher:
    Quote:

    removed for privacy. Basically teacher saying "I think DS should do the regular work even though he tests out of it because it might get more challenging later in the year."

    We will not support your program (JHU CTY).


    What I want to say is that this is not acceptable. DS9 has proven on their own pre-test that he knows the grade 4 curriculum, as he pre-tested in early Grade 5. AS this was a month ago, he's now completed another 1/2 grade of JH CTY at home. I'm confident he'd test mid or late grade 5 if retested today.

    Not only does he not need to sit through a lesson on math he already knows, he needs acceleration to new topics. He also needs a much faster pace. When I serve up math at home, he gobbles it up and learns it quickly.

    I've reviewed the grade 4 book completely (found a PDF of the teacher-instruction online). I am certain my child knows this material. Their pretest shows that he knows this material.

    The teacher mentions he wants DS to do the regular lesson, follow along, pay attention, and participate. DS is bored. Of course he is doodling, not participating (he's never been a huge participant in class out-loud), not paying attention. If the teacher had to sit through a training on something he already knows 100%, he'd be texting his wife, checking in on his sports teams, or doodling too. It's unfair to expect a 9YO to be / act captivated by something so boring to him.

    The school knows he is bright in math. He scored first place in the Math is Cool qualifier and represented the school at the state contest last year. That competition was for 4th graders and he was only in 3rd grade. He did better than that entire class of 4th graders just 6-months ago.

    This child, at age 4, told me that 1/2 of a 5K race is the same as 1/4 of a 10K race. His VSI is 147. Right now he "hates math" because it's so boring. I'm teaching him number theory and pre-algebra at home and for the first time he thinks math is actually fun. I wish I'd started advocating years ago.

    We will have a parent conference in the next 2 weeks. I need some help with words. I need some help really advocating for this kid. We've BTDT. They resist acceleration because he doesn't know the next thing but he's never been given the opportunity to learn it.



    Edited by MamaRachel (10/19/17 09:29 AM)
    _________________________
    Boys age 7&9 grades 2&4.
    SW Washington State (near Portland, OR)

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    #240106 - 10/16/17 10:14 AM Re: Need help with advocacy [Re: MamaRachel]
    ElizabethN Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/17/12
    Posts: 1390
    Loc: Seattle area
    Is he in public school? If so, you might want to consider pulling him out of school math entirely and homeschooling him in that subject. It is your right in Washington state to send a kid to school part-time if you want.

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    #240108 - 10/16/17 10:25 AM Re: Need help with advocacy [Re: ElizabethN]
    MamaRachel Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 06/22/16
    Posts: 23
    Loc: SW Washington (Portland OR)
    Originally Posted By: ElizabethN
    Is he in public school? If so, you might want to consider pulling him out of school math entirely and homeschooling him in that subject. It is your right in Washington state to send a kid to school part-time if you want.


    I've seen this suggested before. Does anyone have any stories of "how"? I am *this close* to going with this method. I'm almost informally asking for this now, by asking for him to do the CTY math instead of their curriculum.

    DH and I both work full-time, in demanding careers. I can't be home every day during the school day to teach. DH doesn't have the aptitude or patience for maths (he's extremely strong in ELA though, we balance well there).

    Why I think I can't do this:

    DS9 is very busy, and dislikes doing math at home, at night, because it eats up his free time (he swims 3-4 days per week for 90 minutes meaning evenings are tight already).

    If I say I'm "homeschooling" him in this subject, do I have to have him at the school for fewer hours in the day? How does that work?

    How have other families made this work?
    _________________________
    Boys age 7&9 grades 2&4.
    SW Washington State (near Portland, OR)

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    #240109 - 10/16/17 10:27 AM Re: Need help with advocacy [Re: Portia]
    MamaRachel Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 06/22/16
    Posts: 23
    Loc: SW Washington (Portland OR)
    Originally Posted By: Portia
    I was never successful with advocacy. I hope the others will guide you with the voice you need.

    That said, you mentioned BA as an excellent program for your son. The upper levels, Art of Problem Solving, are accredited. Try to see if they will accept AoPS. He can do the class at home, then work on the problems during "regular" math time. Any questsions, AoPS provides support. The only school support he would need would revolve around technology. Pre-Alg would be a great starting point as it does a wonderful review prior math concepts.


    JH CTY is also accredited and I made sure the school knows that. They are saying no. The reason I picked JH CTY is because there is an instructor available rather than relying on a completely self-taught instruction via workbooks. It's SO expensive though. Ugh.
    _________________________
    Boys age 7&9 grades 2&4.
    SW Washington State (near Portland, OR)

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    #240116 - 10/16/17 01:45 PM Re: Need help with advocacy [Re: spaghetti]
    MamaRachel Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 06/22/16
    Posts: 23
    Loc: SW Washington (Portland OR)
    Originally Posted By: spaghetti
    Check your state laws to be sure that "partial homeschooling" is allowed and how to do it.

    If it is allowed, educate yourself fully on how it works and work out a schedule with the principal.


    I've been searching for information on the application of this law and am coming up empty. If someone has direct experience, or knows where I can find some success stories, I'd appreciate some feedback on this particular topic.


    Originally Posted By: spaghetti

    If he is going to stay in school for math, you may have to push them with logic and not let them squirm. You see in her letter a lot of "I believe" and "I'd like". You can ask her what she bases that on, ask if other kids that test early 5th are asked to repeat 4th. If they mention gaps, ask what testing they have that shows gaps.


    Funny enough, I just logged into the JH CTY math program and see that my DS did a unit today, taking the quiz at 11:40AM. The email says "after this and this, then he can do your thing" so he must have completed those required lessons quickly if he had time to work through an entire unit during the day. This is good news, and I'm tempted to see how this moves forward without ruffling feathers too much.

    I do like your approach for calling out the soft words. The teacher (male - btw, not that it's super relevant), doesn't cite evidence of his need to repeat the content other than these soft "feeling" words. I have the iReady test results in front of me. I can cite data. I will use this method in the meeting. Good idea, thank you.

    Originally Posted By: spaghetti


    Math teachers, especially, have drilled into them that if you skip anything, you will have gaps. There are a lot of kids who do well in lower level math and then flounder when they hit more abstract math. They hear a lot about it and the need to make sure those foundations are super strong. Then you come along and want to blow all that up. But blow it up you must.

    At home, make sure you are not scaffolding too much, because even if he can do higher math, he needs the maturity to be able to approach problems, think them through and stick with it til he has an answer. My kids were advanced in math-- and accelerated 2-5 years (depending on when) and this was something that needed maturity. But one year accelerated, seriously, math in elementary repeats and repeats and repeats.



    I'm not sure I understand what you mean by scaffolding too much.

    ??

    I thought scaffolding was teaching multiple approaches, practice, then allowing the student to take control of how they approach each problem using increasing difficulty? Do I not understand scaffolding correctly? How could that be too much? Can you elaborate here?

    My intention for this kid is only to keep him challenged. That's it. He is so bored at school. I'm not trying to get him ahead, pushing super hard. In fact, I wish I didn't have to serve up this additional math because it sure would be easier on everyone. The fact is that it doesn't matter whether I teach it or not, he's going to grasp this stuff so much faster than many peers.

    Originally Posted By: spaghetti

    You are right that with a sport, and increasing homework with age, the after schooling may become less appealing to him. But it may also be really hard for them to move him up in math if they don't have the structure for it-- scheduling this year, then what next year? I can assure you that your child is not the only one who can benefit. And THAT is what I told them. Surely, my child is not the only one who is ready for this. Do you think we could have a group of kids to do 5th grade math this year? If teacher looked at 5th grade curriculum, it doesn't bode well. I'd hope she KNOWS 5th grade curriculum since she's prepping the kids for it. I'm guessing she is not strong in math herself and if that's the case, you will need to make her more comfortable by bringing the expert info in.

    Suggest pre-tests where he tests out of a whole unit and then does the math you provide and agree on a passing score (85%?)

    We tried and tried for that, but alas, it's just really hard for them to let go of the "strong foundation" and "can't have too much practice". Even if you tell them your child is bored or hates math, they won't see it as not enough math challenge, they'll see it as tuning out and missing important things. BTDT

    Good luck! Thankfully we had math acceleration built in to our schools.


    Our school does pre-test, as I have those results in front of me. What I see is that it doesn't matter. Pre-test, pass, do what you have demonstrated mastery of anyway... That's where we are today.

    I have to be honest. As much as I care about the whole school and supporting other kids, the easiest solution for me to win with is going to be with my one child (well, two, but the 2nd is a different case study). I can't say I don't care about the other kids, because I do, but they are not my focus. I've tried that for the last two years. I've attended school board meetings and been highly involved with working with the development of a HiCap program. I'm on the parent-advisory committee.

    It's all unicorns. The words the district uses do not translate into actions at the classroom level. I can advocate for whole-school change but the bureaucracy will prevent it from impacting my kids. I have to put my actual effort into individual accommodations rather than fixing a broken system at this time.

    Why am I such a chicken when I get in front of the people that matter? Does anyone else experience this? I can prepare and prepare, and they start talking and I shut-down in these meetings, allowing them to use their method. Again and again I've been disappointed. This is where I need to change my approach. I need to be more firm. I just don't want things to be adversarial. I'm afraid of the repercussions of that long-term as I have to work with these people for the next 11 years.
    _________________________
    Boys age 7&9 grades 2&4.
    SW Washington State (near Portland, OR)

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    #240117 - 10/16/17 02:26 PM Re: Need help with advocacy [Re: MamaRachel]
    longcut Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/25/15
    Posts: 266
    As someone who has done part-time dual enrollment homeschool, it is very specific to your state law as to what you can do. There may be a minimum number of academic hours that must be done outside the school to count as part-time, and those hours, here, at least, could not be done at the school (they would not be responsible for the child on their grounds when not considered a full-time student). Meaning, we could not do a class at home in the evening, and send work to do in the classroom; the child had to leave the school for the minimum hours per day. Our school was also not flexible regarding alternate curriculum and would not allow substitution; very by the book on district policy. So, it depends really on your school administrator, laws, and district policies. But it's a great solution if you can swing it. It was a stop-gap for us until GT services kicked in.

    Also, meeting with school people was intimidating to me the first couple times. It took me a while to convince myself that we were a team, and they are just people (doing their jobs, and caring about kids) not my own personal authority figures. ;-) It takes practice and a sort of mental plan of how to accomplish shared goals -- a happy, growing kid -- with input from all sides. And knowing you won't win all the battles -- the teacher has multiple kids, so you have to figure out what is reasonably done, and what rights you have that fall under the district goals (like, if measurable growth is part of a mission statement, then you ask how we can ensure measurable growth, and challenge in the zone of proximal development; I love that one, I think aeh first tuned me into ZPD).

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    #240118 - 10/16/17 02:36 PM Re: Need help with advocacy [Re: MamaRachel]
    BenjaminL Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/30/12
    Posts: 144
    Loc: Seattle
    http://washhomeschool.org/advocacy/part-time-enrollment/
    has info on WA State partial homeschooling.

    You're going to need to file a declaration of intent to homeschool with your district and that's usually about it.

    I'm going to assume you're in Vancouver in which case its here:
    http://vansd.org/student-welfare-attendance/alternative-education/

    But I believe you can find the form on every school district's site .

    That said, its a pain in the neck to do and if after-schooling is working you might consider having your son treat the math in school like review and just letting it be.






    Edited by BenjaminL (10/16/17 02:37 PM)

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    #240119 - 10/16/17 02:52 PM Re: Need help with advocacy [Re: longcut]
    MamaRachel Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 06/22/16
    Posts: 23
    Loc: SW Washington (Portland OR)
    Originally Posted By: longcut
    There may be a minimum number of academic hours that must be done outside the school to count as part-time, and those hours, here, at least, could not be done at the school (they would not be responsible for the child on their grounds when not considered a full-time student).


    This would be a hard-stop for us, as we both work full-time. That's exactly what I'm afraid of with this path.
    _________________________
    Boys age 7&9 grades 2&4.
    SW Washington State (near Portland, OR)

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    #240120 - 10/16/17 02:56 PM Re: Need help with advocacy [Re: MamaRachel]
    Dude Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/11
    Posts: 2856
    It seems like you're having no problem with words at all, because you could pretty much copy and paste this, with some minor edits for audience:

    Quote:
    this is not acceptable. DS9 has proven on their own pre-test that he knows the grade 4 curriculum, as he pre-tested in early Grade 5. AS this was a month ago, he's now completed another 1/2 grade of JH CTY at home. I'm confident he'd test mid or late grade 5 if retested today.

    Not only does he not need to sit through a lesson on math he already knows, he needs acceleration to new topics. He also needs a much faster pace. When I serve up math at home, he gobbles it up and learns it quickly.

    I've reviewed the grade 4 book completely (found a PDF of the teacher-instruction online). I am certain my child knows this material. Their pretest shows that he knows this material.


    And then add a bit about what you'd like to see instead. Done.

    It's clear, it's strong, it's well-supported, and it's not confrontational.

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    #240121 - 10/16/17 03:03 PM Re: Need help with advocacy [Re: MamaRachel]
    Dude Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/11
    Posts: 2856
    Originally Posted By: MamaRachel
    It's all unicorns. The words the district uses do not translate into actions at the classroom level. I can advocate for whole-school change but the bureaucracy will prevent it from impacting my kids. I have to put my actual effort into individual accommodations rather than fixing a broken system at this time.


    Been there. And I can tell you that no amount or skill of advocacy will extract a single action from the school that they absolutely will not perform. Sometimes you're tilting at windmills. But you never know until you try.

    Quote:
    Why am I such a chicken when I get in front of the people that matter? Does anyone else experience this? I can prepare and prepare, and they start talking and I shut-down in these meetings, allowing them to use their method. Again and again I've been disappointed. This is where I need to change my approach. I need to be more firm. I just don't want things to be adversarial. I'm afraid of the repercussions of that long-term as I have to work with these people for the next 11 years.


    Probably a personality thing - some people are just better suited to conflict than others. It's for this very reason that I was brought into meetings. Is your DH better suited, and available? Otherwise, I would suggest you come in with notes on the major topics you want to address, and do what you need to to redirect the conversation to your core points when it starts veering off the track.

    Be prepared that it may turn adversarial no matter what you do, because you can't control other people's reactions. But you're there to ensure your DS gets a proper education, not to make friends.

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