impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math

Posted by: mom2R&R

impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/01/16 04:07 AM

Our first grader is currently in a third grade math class and has been recommended to take a 4/5 combo as a second grader, followed by a 5/6 combo as a 3rd grader. Then the school system says he will need to bus to the middle school to do their version of pre-algebra in 4th grade and algebra 1 in 5th grade.

My concerns are that one, a fourth grader will have a difficult time in a class with 7th graders in a middle school. Apparently there are not any other elementary school students that would be doing this with him. I am considering advocating for him taking AOP online pre algebra during 4th grade instead, so that he is still in his elementary school, and doesn't miss the first 40 minutes of his school day by taking the bus from middle school. Anyone with experience bussing to middle school for math?

The second problem is, he needs to take 4 credit of math in high school to graduate (state requirement). It seems that will be 4 AP/college level courses. I'm concerned we are dictating so much of what his high school experience and course load will be at the age of six! Part of me just wants to take it one year at a time, but the school system sat down with us trying to give us a long-term-view of the impacts of his early acceleration and it has me second-guessing these placements. Any thoughts?
Posted by: geofizz

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/01/16 04:47 AM

Does Algebra not count as a HS class when taken at the middle school? Here, kids taking Algebra early start earning high school credits early.
Does the middle school cluster kids who took the 5/6 at elementary together? That would decrease the age gap by one if they do. Ours does, so it was also a high achieving/gifted cohort, which has also helped with the age gap.

Ideally, the schools coordinate so that math is what he misses while he's at the middle school. That happened for one of my kids but not the other. It's a scheduling nightmare.

The laws in this state make it pretty much impossible to homeschool just one subject, something I looked into for my kids for math. I never approached the school about it, so I don't know if they would have worked with me.

But you have a few years to consider it. If you choose the homeschool option, you can teach him laterally instead of following what we call the death march through arithmetic.

Our guiding principle for subject accelerations and compactions has been to meet the needs of the child in front of us. If the compacted class will meet his needs and the non-compacted won't, then do it and address the consequences of what he migh be ready for or might not be ready for later.

I would look into the homework load of the compacted class. If it's done like some schools - all the problems and all the units of 3 years in two- then consider whether or not he's going to thrive with that much work. If it's compacted by removing repitition, taught by someone who digs gifted kids and gets that because he 's younger and so might write more largely, struggle with emotional control, and with fitting in, then go for it.

We've never encountered any social problems with my kids being accelerated in their acceleated placement - the older kids have always accepted mine. We've even seen only the most minor problems with grade/age peers, and they would have been problems either way.
Posted by: Malraux

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/01/16 06:04 AM

With respect to high school credits, does your state allow dual enrollment? That is, instead of worrying about taking enough classes in the high school, get the credits he needs from taking classes at a local college. It gets the college credit directly, rather than through the AP process.

Additionally, I agree to worry about the future in the future. Worry about things right now.
Posted by: blackcat

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/01/16 06:26 AM

DS in third grade is sent to the 6th grade for math. When this occurred, I don't think anyone was thinking about the future, they just sent him to where he needed to be. So, next year, he needs pre-algebra. We still don't have a plan, but the school district is setting up a program for highly gifted kids in the school (how convenient!) and they accepted DS there, so I'm hoping there will be other kids at his level. I did talk to another school district and they said that they bus kids up to 3 years (two years in terms of age since a lot of kids are accelerated one year), and it has worked out fine for them to bus elementary to the middle school or middle school to the high school. I think they have a "college in the schools" program for kids who max out high school material.

Really, the only thing that has been a challenge so far in terms of moving DS that much has been his handwriting issues, but he has dysgraphia (or something close to it). The kids don't take issue with the fact that he is so young, and act like they are in awe of him.

Not sure how it will work further down the line, though...

I did tell the school that we need to be flexible. That if he struggles down the line he will repeat whatever course it is, and they agreed.
Posted by: indigo

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/01/16 08:08 AM

My two cents: While acceleration may not be the ideal solution, the cost of NOT accelerating may present more negatives, such as:
- lack of challenge leading to boredom,
- loss of sense of discovery, exploration, curiosity,
- development of an unwillingness to struggle and risk making mistakes,
- dearth of opportunities to learn from one's mistakes/failures,
- failure to develop perseverance and resilience,
- lack of respect for other people and their struggles/failures.
- More at this post.

Adding a link to a thread called what kids don't learn, which contains an article listing 10 essential skills which are developed through effort, such as experiencing appropriate academic & intellectual challenge... skills which people may not develop without this level of challenge.

A single-subject acceleration (such as math) affords the child the opportunity to be with academic/intellectual peers for math while also spending some time with chronological age peers for other subjects.

Here are some links to old forum discussions which may be of interest:
1. Thread called Polling Davidson forum members on acceleration, which discusses whole-grade acceleration (grade skip) and has many links to other threads with thoughtful responses on children's experiences with having older friends/peers/classmates. A list of these links is also summarized in this post from a thread called Considering a grade skip.
2. Post linking to "The Right Fit" authored by Tamara Fisher, from archives of her column Unwrapping the Gifted, for Education Week.

Bottom line: Think in terms of matching the program to the child, rather than matching the child to the program. Take each year at a time, and adjust as needed to facilitate your unique child's academic, intellectual, social, and emotional growth and well-being.
Posted by: playandlearn

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/01/16 08:13 AM

For #1, I do think online learning could be a wonderful alternative. My DD is doing it this year in 5th grade and is loving it. We are also talking about next year's arrangement. She could take online geometry (offered by our district free of charge, but it's a "regular" geometry course), or more in-depth (more proofs) geometry with 8th graders. But we are also wondering about AoPS, because I don't feel that the "in-depth" geometry is really much better than the regular course, and most likely DD will be bored pretty soon anyways.

For #2, ask your district. If they have had dealt with similar situations before, they would know what to expect. We asked and they gave us a few routes that DD could go in middle and high school, including busing to high school while in middle school, and taking classes at local colleges while in high school. But for us it's a bit different in that DD doesn't really care that much about math. She takes advanced math these days just because it makes school days more fun than sitting in the regular math class (she does very little math at home and finishes most stuff at school). She wants to be a musician. So in high school, if she doesn't change her mind, our priority would be to ensure she has time to practice her instruments...
Posted by: mom2R&R

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/01/16 09:09 AM

Geofizz- Yes, algebra would go on his high school transcript, but apparently a new rule says that must take 4 years of math in high school as well. I'm still unclear about these details and who knows, it could change in the next 8 years before he's in high school. Our state doesn't allow you to homeschool for one subject either, I looked into that because it seemed like a good option.

Thank you for your statement, "Our guiding principle for subject accelerations and compactions has been to meet the needs of the child in front of us." I think that's true and what we need to remember.
Posted by: mom2R&R

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/01/16 09:12 AM

Malraux- We will need to look into dual-enrollement. We do have a magnet program in the county for middle and high school with a science, math and computer focus. It offers many math courses above calculus (which I know nothing about, having never taken them). I'm not certain how that will work yet, but they do offer the courses in the high school.
Posted by: mom2R&R

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/01/16 09:13 AM

Portia- I was just looking at the pre-algebra course through AoPS. It may be an option for us in 4th grade, rather than going to middle school. Did you do both parts over the course of one school year? How did the course work for you?
Posted by: mom2R&R

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/01/16 09:18 AM

blackcat- Thank you for sharing your son's experience. Our schools system also has a program for the highly gifted starting in 4th grade, which apparently includes about the top 3%. I have been told that he still will not have peers at his level of acceleration though because the school system is very hesitant and resistant toward allowing any acceleration before 4th grade. I completely agree that we need to remember to be flexible, and repeat any material necessary.
Posted by: mom2R&R

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/01/16 09:20 AM

Indigo- thank you so much for reminding me of this; the cost of not accelerating and matching the program to my child. I know this is true, but I also get caught up in how difficult/complicated the acceleration may be in the future and I start to second guess myself. Thanks!
Posted by: mom2R&R

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/01/16 09:23 AM

playandlearn- I'm glad to hear that your DD is loving the online learning. I love to hear success stories! It's great that you're also trying to protect her time for practicing music in the future. We've already started mentioning to our DS6 that he might love math and science now, but it's also ok to change your favorite subject and want to focus on something else.
Posted by: mom2R&R

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/01/16 02:05 PM

Originally Posted By: Portia
Originally Posted By: mom2R&R
Portia- I was just looking at the pre-algebra course through AoPS. It may be an option for us in 4th grade, rather than going to middle school. Did you do both parts over the course of one school year? How did the course work for you?


We did both parts over the course of 1 year. The online class is all typing, so I taught it at home. This year, we will try the online class for Alg 1. I found a good rule of thumb for us was 5 sections a week. Most chapters are the 5 sections, but some were a bit longer, so we took 2 weeks for those chapters. By doing it at home, the course is not accredited, but it was an excellent introduction to the way the course is taught and we had a bit more flexibility. We had a bit of an adjustment period at first, but I have not seen anything of the caliber math in any other textbook. DS also has a math mentor at our local university who also recommended AoPS.


I think if we were homeschooling we would do the same, but so far that is not our plan, so I would need the accreditation of the online version.
Posted by: jack'smom

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/01/16 04:59 PM

My son in 7th grade is accelerated two years in math. He's taking Algebra I and acing it. Through the public school, he will take Calculus AB and BC in high school.
However, I expect he will skip Pre-Calculus in high school, which would make him 3 years accelerated in math. He could then in high school take AP Stats, AP Calc AB and AP Calc BC.
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/01/16 06:53 PM

Our dd is grade accelerated one year (now in 6th) and she does the Algebra I class with the 8th graders. She will do honours Geometry next year and be bused to the regional high school to do it.

She did the AoPS Alg I class over a year ago and finds the school one way less demanding. Given our druthers you would just so AoPS at home but so far the district hasn't bought into that (yet).

I don't care about graduating high school as I understand that colleges do not require it.

YMMV
Posted by: longcut

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/01/16 08:09 PM

Originally Posted By: mom2R&R
Geofizz- Yes, algebra would go on his high school transcript, but apparently a new rule says that must take 4 years of math in high school as well. I'm still unclear about these details and who knows, it could change in the next 8 years before he's in high school.


If it is anything like our state, we're required to have 3 years of math (6 credits) in high school (9-12), being sequential with a minimum of Algebra II. This means you could accelerate and take Algebra II in 8th grade, which counts toward the state standards minimums, but then still must take 3 years of math during HS for a diploma. Ours won't count the earlier HS-level classes toward HS transcript.
Posted by: mom2R&R

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/02/16 06:00 AM

Originally Posted By: longcut
Originally Posted By: mom2R&R
Geofizz- Yes, algebra would go on his high school transcript, but apparently a new rule says that must take 4 years of math in high school as well. I'm still unclear about these details and who knows, it could change in the next 8 years before he's in high school.


If it is anything like our state, we're required to have 3 years of math (6 credits) in high school (9-12), being sequential with a minimum of Algebra II. This means you could accelerate and take Algebra II in 8th grade, which counts toward the state standards minimums, but then still must take 3 years of math during HS for a diploma. Ours won't count the earlier HS-level classes toward HS transcript.


Yes, long cut, it seems that is how our state is moving as well, except they require 4 years. You used to be exempt from the 4-year-requirements if you passed calculus, but now they specify,
"NEW STATE REQUIREMENT FOR STUDENTS GRADUATING IN 2018 AND LATER:
Students graduating in 2018 and later must be enrolled in a math course each year in grades 9 through 12. This may result in students earning more than 4 credits in math for graduation."
Posted by: ultramarina

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/02/16 06:16 AM

I would personally not want to send a 4th-grader to a middle school for math. JMO. 5th grade, okay.
Posted by: mom2R&R

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/02/16 06:55 AM

Originally Posted By: Portia
Originally Posted By: mom2R&R


Yes, long cut, it seems that is how our state is moving as well, except they require 4 years. You used to be exempt from the 4-year-requirements if you passed calculus, but now they specify,
"NEW STATE REQUIREMENT FOR STUDENTS GRADUATING IN 2018 AND LATER:
Students graduating in 2018 and later must be enrolled in a math course each year in grades 9 through 12. This may result in students earning more than 4 credits in math for graduation."


How does the school suggest to resolve the problem of finishing all math prior to 12th grade?


Well, at the magnet science/math high school they offer Calc, BC Calc, functions, analysis, linear algebra, AP Statistics, vector calculus, complex variables... etc. I don't even know what some of those classes are, but I guess their point is they offer enough for him to keep taking math.
Posted by: Peter

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/02/16 09:49 AM

Does he excel in other classes, too?

If so, you should think about grade skipping.

Busing to middle school for 2 years will disrupt a lot of classes. My DD skipped kinder and took the State tests (6th, 7th and 8th grades Math) after 5th grade to do Algebra 1 in 6th grade. So, she did not have to bus to middle school. She still need to bus to HS for Algebra 2 next year. She will have 2 other kids from the same MS going with her otherwise we would not go for it.
Posted by: mecreature

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/02/16 01:25 PM

Originally Posted By: ultramarina
I would personally not want to send a 4th-grader to a middle school for math. JMO. 5th grade, okay.


This was out thinking with our ds when he was in 4th.
We did AoPS Prealgebra at home after school.
Posted by: ashley

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/02/16 01:55 PM

Originally Posted By: mom2R&R
Then the school system says he will need to bus to the middle school to do their version of pre-algebra in 4th grade and algebra 1 in 5th grade.


I have a 3rd grader who has finished 5th grade math and we were offered the bus option to middle school next year for math. My DS was thrilled at the opportunity to ride a shuttle bus daily because we drop him off at school by car and he wishes that he could take a bus to school! But, we turned the opportunity down and instead asked the school to differentiate for DS in his regular classroom and the teacher plans to provide customized work packets for him and teach him in the extra help hours after school if he had gaps that needed to be filled.
we chose to not take up the bus option because my DS is 8 (almost 9) and he is naive and does not know how to handle himself if there are bullying situations involving older kids. He was in a mixed age math class before and got severely bullied when two older kids realized that he had overshot them in the math level that he was working on. The situation was addressed immediately, but, I found my DS in tears when I went to pick him up on the day of the incident. He is a kid who is brave, very social, very verbal and knows to ask for help if there is trouble. But, multiple kids bullying him and mocking him was too much for him to handle as he really liked and trusted that group and thought of them as friends.
So, I think that for my DS, I will not move him to middle school for math until he is around 10 years of age hopefully more street smart.
Posted by: mom2R&R

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/02/16 06:44 PM

Originally Posted By: Peter
Does he excel in other classes, too?

If so, you should think about grade skipping.

Busing to middle school for 2 years will disrupt a lot of classes. My DD skipped kinder and took the State tests (6th, 7th and 8th grades Math) after 5th grade to do Algebra 1 in 6th grade. So, she did not have to bus to middle school. She still need to bus to HS for Algebra 2 next year. She will have 2 other kids from the same MS going with her otherwise we would not go for it.



We did discuss briefly grade acceleration. He is about 1 grade ahead in reading, maybe a little more and his writing is above average, but not a year ahead. He is also one of the youngest in his class and just sort of keeping his head above water socially/emotionally. We're not saying we won't accelerate down the line, but right now it doesn't seem like the right choice.
Posted by: mom2R&R

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/02/16 07:05 PM

Originally Posted By: ultramarina
I would personally not want to send a 4th-grader to a middle school for math. JMO. 5th grade, okay.


That's my general feeling as well. Now I suppose I ask the school system, how do we meet his needs and not send him to middle school at age 9?
Posted by: aeh

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/02/16 07:10 PM

As I alluded on the current grade-skipping thread, we had a fourth-grade-age student in a multi-age class with 6/7/8th graders, doing pre-algebra, which worked out well, granted, in a tiny private school, so not entirely analogous. The following year (fifth-grade age, seventh-grade placement) was algebra I, in a two-person class with an eighth grader. I don't think it's so much the age of the classmates in general, as it is the temperament and maturity of the specific student, the attitude of the receiving teacher, and the composition of the receiving classroom. In a medium-to-large middle school, there is also the factor of negotiating the campus.

More importantly, though, I think it is unnecessary to worry so many steps down the line. It is highly likely that the plan will have to be revised again between now and fourth grade. I would make placement and programming decisions based on what your child needs in the next six months to a year, and then re-visit it on a regular basis.
Posted by: brownie

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/03/16 06:36 AM

My 7th grader took Algebra in 6th (not 7th) but in his case we are fortunate in a way that there will be about 30 kids in the district on this math track. He will have to bus to the high school early in the AM next year. The drawbacks are loss of time with transporting, getting up earlier, and missing his beloved jazz band which meets before school 1x a week.

It will not count for HS graduation, but he will take Pre-calc, AP Calc, AP Stats and AP comp sci likely for his math credits while in high school. We also had an admissions counselor at a highly competitive school tell our gifted parents group that kids should take discrete math before college! For us, that would mean outsourcing it unless the offerings change in the next 4 years.
Posted by: AnnieQuill

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/03/16 08:06 PM

Being stuck in a lower level class is torture, and as long as a kid is getting social interaction its gonna be okay. did you try asking him? 6 year olds understand a lot, and at the very least he gets an option to say no. if you ask it's not dictation, its cooperation. And as he gets older, KEEP asking. and could those high school level classes count as high school credits?

I am a stringent believer in the idea that school is not for socialization. and if your child is old enough to go to school with seventh graders, he can probably make friend with them if he wants too.

Where does he want to be?
Posted by: mom2R&R

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/05/16 06:02 PM

Thank you all for your wisdom, which has helped calm my nerves. While I appreciate the school system trying to give a bigger picture, we think we need to take this year by year right now. (thank you aeh!) Also, AnnieQuill, we have asked him briefly and he is very excited about 4th grade math with many of the same 3rd graders he's in class with now. He doesn't really understand compacted 4/5 and we didn't get into it too much. We're just trying to focus on the fact that right now he loves math class and is doing well, so we'll continue until one of those things change.

Funny story- Today I volunteered to help his first-grade class at the school book fair. While I was helping other kids figure out if that had enough money for what they wanted, he was finished buying, read the picture book he bought, and then went to his teacher to ask if it was ok if he went upstairs to math. He didn't want to miss it. :-)
Posted by: trio

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/05/16 08:13 PM

We have a 5 yo who attends Math Circle with 8 and 9 year olds, goes to math in the Grade 5 class, and talks algebra etc with middle schoolers who share the building. At home he kept on sneaking to the basement and reading my university textbooks until I finally bought him some elementary books.

To echo aeh, take it one year at a time and follow your child's pace. My advice to my child's teachers is that they should neither actively press the accelerator nor obstruct him. Sitting in on Math Circle, it seems that the biggest challenge is with children just a couple of years older: he thinks their juvenile humor is hilarious and sophisticated, and is frustrated that he can't keep up with them when there are tasks demanding more advanced motor skills. Though they are not actively mean to him, they are also not always very conscious that he is younger and thus less robust both physically and psychologically. (imo this is just because 8 year olds tend to be a bit oblivious) The much older children are very kind to him and recognize and respect his abilities while understanding that he's still just a baby. A lot of older children have younger siblings, and innocence can be protective.

I do think it is helpful for a young math-oriented child to spend time around others who love math and are working at their level. This helps to foster both a collegial and collaborative atmosphere, and is much less lonely than reading a book or working on a computer.

Even if your child does keep up a blistering pace in math I wouldn't worry too much about deciding their high school courses or workload. Speaking as a math person, much of math through typical second year university courses really is not difficult for those mathematically inclined. Doing multivariable calculus, linear algebra and differential equations will not add substantially to your child's workload: it will be different math than the courses typically covered in high school, but certainly no more work. Things do get more intellectually challenging once you start getting into analysis and advanced abstract math topics, but even then it is about deeper thinking rather than more time or larger amounts of work. This is very different from content-dense arts or science subjects, where university level courses do require increasing amounts of time for reading and lab work. Math is about working smarter, not more. It's a search for elegance - the ideal proof is both succinct and complete.
Posted by: Virginiamomq

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/08/16 10:17 AM

mom2R&R, What an amazing child you have and it's wonderful to hear that the school has recognized his talents. We have a meeting coming up for our daughter who is 8 and very advancedm although not as advanced as your child! We are wondering if you could please share how you advocated for acceleration with your school? Did you contact the district first? Did you bring test scores from private evaluations? Research on acceleration and how it benefits children? What was your first clue that your child might benefit from acceleration? In the end, what convinced you to advance your child? Is there anything that would have convinced you to not accelerate? It sounds like your son is doing great but can you tell us the reaction by his peers and other schoolmates? Are they accepting or do you worry about putting him at risk for bullying?
Posted by: ultramarina

Re: impacts of being 3-years-accelerated in math - 05/13/16 07:05 AM

It does depend on the middle school. My middle schooler attends a school with 500+ kids on an open campus (multiple buildings--kids walk outside from building to building). There are occasional fights, bad language, drug and sex references by the kids, etc. Some 8th-graders are the size of adults and can be intimidating to a smaller child. My 6th grader has acclimated to this okay, as she is kind of tough and attended a large and diverse elementary, but for some kids we know, it's been a long road this year. As a fourth-grader, she would have been overwhelmed.