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    #247227 - 06/17/20 04:44 PM How to advocate for child who tries to blend in?
    slmw Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 05/31/20
    Posts: 11
    DD8 always tries to blend in and is really shy at school, and doesn't exude her best during assessments. We're in a high performing school district so the teachers can't care less about differentiating gifted from high-achieving. Any tips on how to advocate for something like math acceleration with kids who try to 'blend in'?

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    #247254 - 06/20/20 09:31 AM Re: How to advocate for child who tries to blend in? [Re: slmw]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4224
    A child who has a gift for math... an interest in math and affinity for math... a love of math... would typically be asking for extra math at home, and would therefore typically have had substantial exposure to above-grade-level math.

    Creating and maintaining a list of these outside-of-school pursuits may provide documentation helpful for advocacy in the school system.

    Crowd-sourced advocacy tips, resources, and information are gathered in this roundup:
    http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/B...html#Post183916

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    #247255 - 06/20/20 11:18 AM Re: How to advocate for child who tries to blend in? [Re: slmw]
    cricket3 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/09
    Posts: 665
    I think this is extremely difficult, and will depend almost entirely on your school district and/or the individuals there with whom you have to deal.

    I have to disagree with indigo here- my kids were certainly talented in math, but the hypercompetetive-ness of the school math league and AMC contests was very off-putting to them, beginning in 5th and 6th grade. It was enough to keep them from participating. As a matter of fact, near,y all our school’s “enrichment” was in the form of contests, bees and other competitions, the results of which were usually broadcast to the school community- a real deal-breaker for kids who are bullied for being different.

    By high school that had lessened (both the bullying and the broadcasting of achievement) and our kids did get some personal benefit from scoring highly on the AMC, even qualifying for AIME, but it was not enough to get them to overcome their strong desire to fly under the radar.

    Their relative abilities stood out most starkly during elementary school (or perhaps they had not yet become adept at hiding their talents) but even there, the school had a strict policy of not accelerating, etc, so we looked for challenge and enrichment outside of the school environment. And that would be my advice, unless you have a willing partner in your district.

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    #247256 - 06/20/20 01:28 PM Re: How to advocate for child who tries to blend in? [Re: slmw]
    spaghetti Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/05/15
    Posts: 441
    Around that age, my dd wrote a letter to the principal explaining how her brain would get bored and do other things. She gave a cautionary tale of her best friend who was under challenged and how when they got together, her friend's brain started to turn back on.
    And she explained the horrible fate she'd have if she forgot how to use her brain.

    Very high performing district obsessively interested in equity. Got a grade skip. From the get go, I told my child that I would only advocate for her after she tried. She needed to have full buy in. No way would I advocate on her behalf. At least in this district where they feel like pushy parents = child abuse, that was the only way to go.

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    #247259 - 06/20/20 06:10 PM Re: How to advocate for child who tries to blend in? [Re: indigo]
    pinewood1 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 01/25/19
    Posts: 33
    Originally Posted By: indigo
    A child who has a gift for math... an interest in math and affinity for math... a love of math... would typically be asking for extra math at home, and would therefore typically have had substantial exposure to above-grade-level math.


    ... if their parents recognize their math talent for what it is, and have the knowledge and resources and time to provide this for them. And if the child has the kind of temperament suited for independent study, and has enough time and is in good enough health to pursue it.

    You're making a lot of assumptions here.

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    #247261 - 06/20/20 09:39 PM Re: How to advocate for child who tries to blend in? [Re: cricket3]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1612
    Loc: Australia
    Originally Posted By: cricket3
    I have to disagree with indigo here- my kids were certainly talented in math, but the hypercompetetive-ness of the school math league and AMC contests was very off-putting to them, beginning in 5th and 6th grade. It was enough to keep them from participating. As a matter of fact, near,y all our school’s “enrichment” was in the form of contests, bees and other competitions, the results of which were usually broadcast to the school community- a real deal-breaker for kids who are bullied for being different.


    Yes I have one child in particular who would actively avoid competitions and make sure they did not get selected for any such activities. In fact there have been many years of this child making sure that they aren't noticed in the classroom. This tendency is partly personality, but I also blame the Gr1 teacher, who admitted to holding them back so as not to upset other children they were blowing past after arriving in the classroom fairly equal after a grade skip. The message was received loud and clear that they were making other kids sad or uncomfortable by whizzing through things so easily. Now great effort is put into remaining a B student.

    A few years ago they took up music and have progessed from never-touched-this-instrument to approaching tertiary standard in 3.5 yrs. Which has been much easier in a 1:1 tution scenario, but there are still issues about not wanting to stand out, so certain auditions have been deliberately sabotaged. And there is no history of well developed work habits or commitment to task...

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    #247262 - 06/21/20 04:51 AM Re: How to advocate for child who tries to blend in? [Re: slmw]
    Eagle Mum Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 02/24/20
    Posts: 39
    Loc: Australia
    I agree with earlier replies that it is more difficult to advocate for a child who is trying to blend in. My eldest was such an example and I didn’t have much success. In the end she had to work quite hard in the final year of school to cover the entire curriculum because she had always been held back by the rest of the year (we are at our local high school though, by choice, which serves an ‘average’ population and didn’t have other particularly high achieving students). My son started at that high school the year after she finished and he already had several maths comp prizes (with a few perfect scores), so they were keen to accelerate him. In primary school, he did the same worksheets as the others, but gave more advanced answers. For example, in Grade 2, he answered the multiplication worksheets using Roman numerals, in binary format and then in other base numerals. Although the teachers didn’t mark his work, they were happy to give him free rein.

    The take home message for me is that teachers respond better when they are shown, not told, that a student is working beyond (and therefore that acceleration is appropriate). I’ve found that revision text books are really useful. I have given my younger kids revision textbooks for up to several grades above their enrolled year. They can usually master a topic in one or two sittings whereas going through the tedious exercises of a standard textbook could take weeks at school. In this way, it has become obvious that they have mastered topics and are ahead. I leave it up to the teachers to decide what to do - I’ve also advised my kids that if they already know the material being taught in class, they can do deeper/ broader research (they bring laptops to school and have access to the internet).


    Edited by Eagle Mum (06/21/20 04:17 PM)

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    #247264 - 06/21/20 07:13 AM Re: How to advocate for child who tries to blend in? [Re: indigo]
    Kai Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/17/09
    Posts: 599
    Originally Posted By: indigo
    A child who has a gift for math... an interest in math and affinity for math... a love of math... would typically be asking for extra math at home, and would therefore typically have had substantial exposure to above-grade-level math.


    Definitely not our experience here.

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    #247265 - 06/21/20 07:32 AM Re: How to advocate for child who tries to blend in? [Re: slmw]
    aeh Online   content
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3612
    I would agree that the range of behavior exhibited by children with a gift and interest for math is wide. There are certainly some who present with a thirst for more math, but there are also others who do not, for many different reasons.

    As an adult, I enjoy math and STEM (no longer professionally, but with graduate STEM training, and remaining among my personal interests), but as a young child, I thought I wasn't good at it, and didn't enjoy it. Fortunately, I had a parent who knew me well enough to recognize that this was a warning sign that there was some kind of educational mismatch, rather than taking these sentiments at face value. By the time I reached middle school age, I was +4 or 5 years in math placement (depending on where you put alg II in the sequence). So clearly, my presentation regarding a love for math in the early elementary years was not predictive of my long-term trajectory.

    But even if a child has a gift and affinity for math--and loves it--in-school modifications are not always the solution most suited to them. So by all means, work cordially and collaboratively with your school system regarding differentiation, but also expand your approach to resources outside of school, in the community, online, etc.

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    #247270 - 06/23/20 02:57 AM Re: How to advocate for child who tries to blend in? [Re: slmw]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4224
    Fascinating responses. However few provided the requested advice, tips, suggestions on how to advocate for math acceleration for a child who tries to blend in. Interestingly, some suggested not advocating. Even more interesting to me were those who stated disagreement with my post while refuting statements I did not actually make... and then appeared to agree with statements I had made.

    While I mentioned "asking for extra math at home" and "outside-of-school pursuits," one poster called me out by name to disagree... while giving a thumbs-down to school competitions... and giving a thumbs-up to challenge and enrichment outside of the school environment.

    Another poster mentioned a child doing fractions at age 4; one can read Common Core Math Standards to see at which grade level fractions (and other math topics) are taught.

    One poster thought that in suggesting kids who love math would typically be asking for extra math at home, I was making a lot of assumptions about:
    parental
    - recognition of math talent,
    - knowledge,
    - resources,
    - time...

    student
    - temperament
    - health.

    I made no such assumptions. However when processing my mention of asking for extra math at home, possibly some may read into that: parent-arranged formal classes, tutoring, camps, online lessons, etc. These are distinct from a child simply asking for extra math at home. I've personally known several children who loved math, found it in everyday life, and authentically gravitated toward it. For example, in recipe cook books, mathematical patterns found in science TV shows, crafts, LEGOs, Lincoln Logs, coloring books, calendars, and more... asked for workbooks (often on display at grocery stores, big-box stores), sought math books when visiting the library. At some point, if a parent is preparing to advocate, a child's projects and book lists could be documented to show child-led activities indicative of a love of math. As mentioned above, math topics can be cross-referenced to Common Core Math Standards.

    A second poster gave a thumbs down to school math competitions, another stated that their child who loved math never asked about extra math at home, and another shared that although they are fond of math now, at a young age they did not think they were good at math.

    That said, it appears that among the responses (and to varying degrees) there is general consensus that:
    - it is more difficult to advocate for a child who hides their ability in order to blend in,
    - math pursuits outside of school may be helpful.

    Other factors mentioned (which may influence the success of any potential math acceleration):
    Positive
    - well-developed work habits
    - commitment to task
    Negative
    - pushy parents
    - bullies

    You know your child best. After reading the personal anecdotes in this thread, and the crowd-sourced advocacy information linked upthread, I'm sure you'll make a good decision for your child.

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