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    #4015 - 10/23/07 07:46 AM How do you know when the challenge is right?
    doodlebug Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/06
    Posts: 433
    Loc: Illinios
    We are coming up on report cards and teacher conferences so I'm interested in opinions and BTDT experiences that might help with this first meeting with our teachers.

    As I've posted elsewhere here, my son is whole grade accelerated into 2nd and twice accelerated into math with 3rd grade. The issue is that he is getting straight A's and doesn't seem to be challenged really at all. There are SOME areas of reading we are working on - he seems to interpret reading material pretty literally and so his comprehension is relatively lower than other areas. But last year he took the Stanford Achievement Test at school, end of first grade, and scored in the 99th% overall. Only missed 3/114 questions. Overall, the reading material does NOT seem challenging and he brings home papers with As or 100% on them.

    The same is true with math. Our school uses the Saxon math program and there are bits and pieces in 3rd grade that are new, but he picks these up quickly and then has to repeat the task over and over on homework - that's how Saxon works. He does more advanced math at home just for fun!

    Both teachers think that he is being challenged. I'm not sure why and am eager to talk to them in person. We have only been emailing so far. So, my question is what do we do now? At the beginning of the year they were saying that they were prepared to modify math, but I'm not sure what to ask for, if anything at this point. I just feel like he could be learning more if they would let him go at his own pace.

    Do accelerated kids still get all As or is that a sign that there still isn't enough challenge?!

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    #4016 - 10/23/07 08:35 AM Re: How do you know when the challenge is right? [Re: doodlebug]
    Ania Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/07/06
    Posts: 802
    Loc: Home :)
    Debbie, I am going to repeat my mantra - when you accelerate your kids they are not going to be in a class of smarter student, they will only be in a class of older students.
    My DS (sorry for repeating myself) was placed in Algebra 1 for his 5th grade. He was taking that class with a few 6th graders, but majority of kids were in grade 8th. He was still getting A and was the only one in the class being able to answer challenge problems. Was he being challenged? Yes, he was challenged to learn more but I do not think that this is necessarily the way to go. When you have time, read this http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/Resources/AoPS_R_A_Calculus.php
    I have always known intuitively that going faster and faster is not as good as going deeper. But what can you do if the system is only offering faster? I am thankful for that and am supplementing at home with challenging problems.
    It is much easier to challenge and supplement at home a kid who is in elementary school. In middle and high school things become way more structured, there is more to do, even in regular easy classes, there is just less time.
    Our son has already fallen into calculus trap. He will be done with pre calc when graduating from 8th grade and ready to take AP Calculus BC in 9th grade. Is it good for him? - of course not. But there is nothing better being offerd at this time.
    He earns As accross the board. It is absolutely not relevant to his learning.
    I am really exhausted in spending so much energy on educating my kids - just making sure thay learn according to their ability. I had much more wind beneath my wings when they were younger, thinking that by improving things for my kids I will also improve things for others. But it is so difficult to change anything, and time goes by so fast, that by the time any changes are put into the system it is more often than not too late for your own kids to take advantage of it.
    But probably the most frustrating thing about it is that most of the time I feel like the only crusader (not on this board of course :-), like other parents do not get that in order to learn you need to be challenged.

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    #4018 - 10/23/07 09:52 AM Re: How do you know when the challenge is right? [Re: Dottie]
    doodlebug Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/06
    Posts: 433
    Loc: Illinios
    Yes!!!! Ania, you hit the nail on the head for me! This is so true for us, even at this early stage. I had been warned about the cons of acceleration with that exact caveat: the pace of the instruction will still be the same. And I guess this is what we are running in to, not only in math but in everything else. He just is not getting the DEPTH he craves - that's it!

    Some examples (me thinking out loud):
    last night he started a "game" of us giving each other problems like this: "If the movie starts at 6:00 and is one hour long, what time is it when the movie is half over?" He gave me that one, then asked me to give him one ("but not the same, Mom"). After a few of these I asked if this is what they were doing in school and he said no. It was from the 2nd grade level math puzzles and games book I bought last spring at the teacher store when we were homeschooling (but that he is just now doing for "fun" at home)!

    When we read his 2nd grade reading text stories at home, my husband and I have him answer the "Think and Respond" questions at the end, we talk about words he didn't know (definitions), and we talk about the type of story it is, the characters, etc. He now goes right to the "Think and Respond" questions on his own. They always seem new to him, he says they don't go over them in class. They apparently just read the story. He is starting now to "dissect" other stories we read at home and want to talk about the plot, the characters and expand his understanding of the story.

    There is a little social studies and science stuff going on and he was thrilled with an experiment they did to create stalagmites (or is it stalagtites?!) in a jar at school. He was so excited to tell me all the details - but this is the first such experiment he's told us about since school started.

    Sooooo.....what do I do???!!! How do I ask for, and more importantly, GET more depth in instruction????? I don't just want to keep accelerating him through classes. That doesn't seem to make sense to us. Has anyone succeeded, in the public schools, to get the depth needed?



    Edited by dajohnson60 (10/23/07 09:53 AM)

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    #4022 - 10/23/07 10:23 AM Re: How do you know when the challenge is right? [Re: Dottie]
    kcab Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/02/07
    Posts: 1603
    Loc: Sparta, apparently
    Originally Posted By: Dottie
    One easy solution I have, that I hope goes over well with DS's teacher involves her "literature groups". Everyone says these are great ideas, and I agree. But why on EARTH doesn't she match up kids of comparable ability? ...


    Oh! I hope she sees the light on that one! Literature circles grouped by ability were just about the only good thing last year for my daughter. Her group was made up of the kids who ended up in the GT program, they had books that were more complex, and I think the discussions in the group engaged her brain.

    Actually, the grouping was not differentiated for the first book and there was a lot of conflict. At least, I heard about a lot of anger and hurt feelings on the walks home, not sure it was expressed in the classroom. The circle composition was changed without any input on my part - I'm not sure why she started out the way she did since I thought grouping by reading ability was her intent from the start.

    Meant to also say - that Calculus Trap article is interesting.


    Edited by kcab (10/23/07 10:31 AM)
    Edit Reason: oh, I'm just forgetful...
    _________________________
    kcab

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    #4026 - 10/23/07 01:42 PM Re: How do you know when the challenge is right? [Re: kcab]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    I'm wondering, too, what do you do if even grade advancement doesn't cut it? How do you avoid the calculus trap?

    I don't want to sound overly dramatic, but honestly, I just despair of figuring out what to do for the next 11 years. Is there nothing but disappointing compromise? Or should I just stop reading these posts about older kids so I don't lose heart?

    *sigh*
    _________________________
    Kriston
    Mom to DS13 and DS10

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    #4027 - 10/23/07 02:21 PM Re: How do you know when the challenge is right? [Re: doodlebug]
    pinkpanther Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/19/07
    Posts: 175
    I would probably address it, but I do agree with some of what the others have said about going faster versus deeper. Deeper seems to be better.

    I teach math, so I will agree that Saxon is awful. It's way too repetitive and skips around a lot. I don't know many teachers who actually like it.

    I can sympathize with you as a parent. My two daughters both only missed 9 SAT questions out of 220 in kindergarten. Neither one of them is adequately challenged in their current situation.

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    #4028 - 10/23/07 02:51 PM Re: How do you know when the challenge is right? [Re: pinkpanther]
    acs Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/05/07
    Posts: 797
    This will not solve the bigger math problem, but I wanted to share the name of a book that my son and I enjoyed together which we used to supplement the more cook-book math. We loved working with the big concepts and where the math ideas came from. And the chapter on infinity saved me from those endless questions like "can one infinity be bigger than another?" that were driving me nuts. It's called "The Heart of Mathematics: An invitation to effective thinking" It's college level, but it worked well for DS at 10/11.

    Apologies if I've posted this before; I just liked it so much I want everyone with a mathy kid to know about it.

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    #4035 - 10/24/07 01:51 PM Re: How do you know when the challenge is right? [Re: acs]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Cool! It sounds like something I should read! smile
    _________________________
    Kriston
    Mom to DS13 and DS10

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    #4037 - 10/24/07 02:50 PM Re: How do you know when the challenge is right? [Re: Dottie]
    doodlebug Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/06
    Posts: 433
    Loc: Illinios
    <sigh>
    I appreciate the responses and the suggestion of the book (although my kiddo won't use it for awhile). I really do. But what the heck do I do *right now*? <second heavy sigh>
    I have a couple of books at home that I guess I'll go through again - about educating young gifted kids in the regular classroom. Maybe there's some suggestions there. And maybe Developing Math Talent will have some suggestions. But I sure would love to hear from anyone who has dealt with this and came up with stuff that worked. That "Calculus Trap" article has both hubby and I worried about the next 12 years!!!!!!

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    #4039 - 10/24/07 03:14 PM Re: How do you know when the challenge is right? [Re: doodlebug]
    kcab Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/02/07
    Posts: 1603
    Loc: Sparta, apparently
    I was going to be helpful and give a link to this IMAC math enrichment class someone sent me an email about, but I have no experience with it and there is something that puts me off about the website. I think it is that there seems to be an underlying belief that students don't think math is fun.... Anyway, the kids I know of who have gone are the ones who are more interested and advanced in math.

    Right at this minute, I'm thinking the way to go is to try to give materials for more depth in the current high-interest topic for my kiddo and hope that doing that supplements the math enough. Should work right now for me, with DS in K, not sure how well it will work later. With DD, I'm trying to teach her about the concepts that she really wishes her teacher would get to in class - I'll be getting that Heart of Mathematics book for her.

    After reading the Calculus Trap article yesterday, I checked out a book on shapes for DS because he is currently very interested in making dice with different numbers of sides. He was engrossed in it right away, trying to duplicate the figures. So, I'm feeling good about that.

    I'll be very interested to hear what you do and how it works out.
    _________________________
    kcab

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