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    #92251 - 01/07/11 09:40 PM Do I need to do more for my 9-year old?
    namaste Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 01/07/11
    Posts: 11
    DD (9) is currently in a 3rd grade classroom working one year ahead in reading and math. Her test scores would put her at the 85th percentile if she were in the 6th grade in math. Similar in reading.

    She loves school, is not bored except with the homework, but she does it. She seems happy, is in the same school as her younger brother, and takes piano which she loves and excels at, plus a language course.

    She's not in the social mainstream at school, but isn't bothered by that.

    The school is pretty good but not great. It's a public school with an advanced program that is going away next year, but the kids will still be grouped by level in math, so she and her group will be getting 5th grade math next year.

    Is it enough? She's happy. She qualifies for the school district's accelerated program (2 years ahead) but that would take her out of the neighborhood school where she knows many families, and involve about a hour commute total each day, and take her away from her brother. We could also look at private options. But what would that do for her? Accelerate her math? To what end, and at what cost?

    I want her to fulfill her potential, but does that mean maxing out at school? She works hard at piano and her language course. Does she need to be challenged more during the school day?

    We just aren't sure we should change anything. What are the pros and cons?

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    #92253 - 01/07/11 09:58 PM Re: Do I need to do more for my 9-year old? [Re: namaste]
    aculady Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/31/10
    Posts: 1040
    Is there an option where she can use EPGY or ALEKS or Khan Academy or some other online curriculum on a classroom or library computer for subject acceleration while staying with her classmates for things like PE, art, etc.? This might be the best of both worlds, and would avoid the commute.

    Is staying in the same school with her brother important to her, to him, or to you? It can be difficult to be the younger sibling of a very bright older sibling - sadly, teachers often have expectations of younger sibs that are based on their impressions of what the older ones were like, and your son might not appreciate growing up in his sister's shadow at the school.

    It really is important that kids learn to work hard - not just complete busy work, but actually exert themselves to master the material. Otherwise, when they finally hit material that *is* at a level of challenge, sometime in college, say, they won't know how to study and organize their thinking, and they will have a very difficult time of it.

    I can't begin to tell you what the right solution is for your family, but I hope this gave you some ideas that may be helpful in clarifying your thoughts.

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    #92272 - 01/08/11 06:15 AM Re: Do I need to do more for my 9-year old? [Re: namaste]
    ColinsMum Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/08
    Posts: 1898
    Loc: Scotland
    Yes, IMO your 9yo needs to be challenged in mathematics if she is to realise her mathematical potential. Being challenged in other areas is better than being challenged nowhere, but it's no substitute for being challenged in mathematics, because the essence of mathematics is struggling with problems that are not easy for you, and if she doesn't get the chance to do that she isn't really learning mathematics. I could talk for hours from personal experience about the deleterious effects of getting all the way through school without ever finding anything hard in maths...

    ... but fortunately someone has done the talk and videoed it so I don't have to. Here's a talk Richard Rusczyk gave on this topic which I think every parent of a child who's ahead in maths should watch:
    http://mathprize.atfoundation.org/archive/2009/rusczyk
    Btw, Alcumus, run by RR's artofproblemsolving organisation, is free and my DS likes it very much.
    _________________________
    Email: my username, followed by 2, at google's mail

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    #92276 - 01/08/11 07:19 AM Re: Do I need to do more for my 9-year old? [Re: namaste]
    Tallulah Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/25/10
    Posts: 480
    I know a lot of people say that if they're happy you should leave it be. But I would be happier never ever being challenged, never having to fail at anything, never having to do homework or really think hard about something.

    Is that a good thing? Or should I have to learn to learn, learn to fail and try again, learn to work at something.

    I think rising to a challenge is an invaluable life skill, so I do push the school to teach at an appropriate level. For me it's not about potential, but about working at something that's difficult instead of cruising through.

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    #92291 - 01/08/11 10:01 AM Re: Do I need to do more for my 9-year old? [Re: namaste]
    namaste Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 01/07/11
    Posts: 11
    Thank you Acculady, ColinsMum and Tallulah! It already feels better just having someone to talk with about this!

    It is important to both her and her brother to be together. They are close and really like being in the same school. They know the same kids and teachers and talk about what goes on in PE and Music. DS is very social and knows everyone in the school practically, bright in his own right (but at grade level or slightly above) and I don't feel overshadowed by DD.

    DD does wrestle with piano. That's the one place where she learns to stay calm and take a problem apart and work it until she figures it out. And she loves it.

    She takes Chinese because that's her birth country and I figure that's key to identity development. She likes her teacher but it's not too rigorous...no homework.

    She's very interested in sewing and design, and has been for years. I can't sew to save my life so from time to time we do a 4-week sewing lesson session with a neighborhood woman who guides groups of kids through projects.

    So life is crammed right now. She loves piano. She likes Chinese and it's important to her. She plays a lot and reads and just messes around. I don't want to load her up, but I do want the time she spends at school to be put to good use.

    I'm going to watch the Ruscyzyk talk now.

    Thanks again for the company on this journey! Can't talk to my usual "circle" about it because they aren't really there with their kids.

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