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    #244618 - 01/04/19 01:28 PM Happy but not challenged. How to advocate?
    philly103 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/02/17
    Posts: 74
    DD5 is attending a pretty good pre-k program. Recently, he's been telling people that he likes his school but they don't teach him anything he doesn't know. This came up multiple times over the winter break when people ask him about school.

    He also expressed some concerns about being seen as too different from his classmates so he doesn't want to ask for more challenging work (which they say they'll give him if he asks).

    We wrote a letter to the teachers about this and to see what can be done. The initial response we got said they'd follow up with us but that he seems happy at school with them.

    I'm not sure how to read this situation. My son's 5 so his opinion on school today might not be the same opinion in 2 weeks or a 2 months. Plus he sometimes changes what he tells us to try and get a favorable, to him, result.

    Are there any things I can ask the teachers to get a better grasp of what's going on?

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    #244620 - 01/04/19 01:53 PM Re: Happy but not challenged. How to advocate? [Re: philly103]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4228
    How to advocate in this situation?

    1) Stay closely aligned with your child's thoughts and level of happiness about:
    - whether he learned anything new in school that day,
    - whether he wants to learn something new (open to anything, or interested in learning more in a particular area),
    - whether he perceives there are other children in similar circumstances (potential intellectual/academic peer group),
    - what causes him to believe he would be seen as too different from his classmates if he asked for more challenging work (what someone has said or done to give him this impression)

    2) Learn from the teacher(s) what the "more challenging work" would consist of. For example, would he be learning something new in a small group or cluster of same-age or older children, would he be self-taught, engaged in independent study, or be expected to complete more difficult and/or time-consuming homework to earn the same grade? Would he be tutoring other children? What would he experience?

    3) Document

    4) Manage your expectations about what has been known to be occurring in the education of the gifted, including the unfortunate requirement that children must too often make a choice between meeting academic/intellectual needs -or- meeting social needs.

    5) Here is a roundup on advocacy, including links to crowd-sourced tips for meeting prep.

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    #244621 - 01/07/19 04:19 AM Re: Happy but not challenged. How to advocate? [Re: philly103]
    Isabel Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 03/28/18
    Posts: 22
    Hi! I probably won't be able to help, but I just wanted to share that we are having pretty much the same problem with DS6. I think that having a well-behaved, adaptative child might sometimes be a curse in disguise.
    Our son doesn't even say at school that he already knows many of the contents he is being taught, so every time I try to get him more challenging work I seem to come across as some sort of "tiger mom".
    We have scheduled a meeting with his teacher this month because the school has now complained about some behavioural issues. I'll keep you posted if I get any useful insights!

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    #244636 - 01/10/19 09:06 AM Re: Happy but not challenged. How to advocate? [Re: philly103]
    philly103 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/02/17
    Posts: 74
    Thanks Indigo and Isabel.

    We have a meeting scheduled for later in the month to discuss this.

    We talk everyday about his day, what he liked and didn't like. My impression is that he doesn't think he's supposed to be learning stuff there. Which is fine when it comes to things like world history. Those things don't require the child to "know" that they're learning to absorb the new information. But it also suggests that he's not tuning in because he doesn't think it's important.

    We did find out what made him wonder about being too different. Apparently, there had been a classroom discussion about Kindergarten and some how our son got the impression that if he was too different from the others, he would go to Kindergarten early (I guess based on what you're supposed to know) while they couldn't (because they don't know that stuff yet). This was earlier in the year so I don't know how long it's been percolating in his head before he mentioned it to us.

    There's also the issue of perfectionism, which they are working on. I'll be patient there since it could be impacting a range of things.

    The meeting should be a clarifier on what differentiation looks like for him. If he can phonetically read 4+ syllable words, how do they strengthen other phonetic skills like spelling. Starting with if they even know that he can do this or if they think he's just sight reading. They focus on the development of soft skills just as much as everything else so they might be working on that more aggressively for him.

    I've got a week or so to finish my prep.

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    #245670 - 06/08/19 12:47 PM Re: Happy but not challenged. How to advocate? [Re: philly103]
    homeros2 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 05/25/19
    Posts: 4
    Hi Philly. I just read this and was wondering how the meeting went and if things have changed for your child at school? We find ourselves in a very similar situation: DS5 adapts himself to whatever work or level they give him and reads books silently at school so as not to get remarked on by other children... ('advanced' classmates can recognize their own name, he reads national geo kids independently at home and loves it). We have a meeting planned as well.

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    #245691 - 06/15/19 05:27 PM Re: Happy but not challenged. How to advocate? [Re: homeros2]
    philly103 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/02/17
    Posts: 74
    Originally Posted By: homeros2
    Hi Philly. I just read this and was wondering how the meeting went and if things have changed for your child at school? We find ourselves in a very similar situation: DS5 adapts himself to whatever work or level they give him and reads books silently at school so as not to get remarked on by other children... ('advanced' classmates can recognize their own name, he reads national geo kids independently at home and loves it). We have a meeting planned as well.


    Our meeting ended up going very well. They started changing their approach to him even before the meeting, so we saw some increased engagement going in. They also brought in their learning specialist to the meeting.

    The changes they implemented after the meeting seemed to work well. First, they changed his library options. Since many of the kids are learning to read, the class was picking books from that section of the library. DS5 reads at a 5th grade Lexile level so they opened up the entire library to him but monitored his content choices.

    Also, they moved away from reading to spelling. He's a decent speller but it's more memorization of a huge number of words, rather than focusing on the phonetic breakdown and rules. They made that a point of emphasis for him.

    They also added some journal work instead of writing letters and individual words. It helped him connect the non-math lessons with actual learning since he has to write down his impressions. He's never been a fan of fine motor stuff so this helps there too.

    Math was less impressive but we didn't fuss there. He does Beast Academy at home and I don't mind reinforcing math basics at school. I'd rather a strong foundation at this point. Most importantly, they were very aware of his ability and let him freelance the class work rather than stick with the same script the other kids had.

    The official suggestions for summer work matched his actual ability so we can't complain that this was all superficial. It'll be in his file for the Kindergarten teacher.

    As for what we took in with us to the meeting itself. We brought in some of his personal reading choices and some of his at home math work. But I can't take credit for much since they brought these adjustments to us, not the other way around.

    I hope that helps.

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    #245692 - 06/16/19 03:58 AM Re: Happy but not challenged. How to advocate? [Re: philly103]
    homeros2 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 05/25/19
    Posts: 4
    Thank you very much! I'm glad to hear your school came with good options for your son. I can only hope we will have a similar experience. We would be very happy if we can only get him access to some reading material on his own level at school, for a start. It's good to know it is possible and to feel we're not asking too much.

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    #245743 - 06/25/19 03:40 AM Re: Happy but not challenged. How to advocate? [Re: philly103]
    Brummond Offline
    New Member

    Registered: 05/30/19
    Posts: 1
    Glad you've had such a positive experience in the end. I think this is how it should go everywhere, ideally. I hope they continue to refine and improve their approach to your son.

    Top


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