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    #97640 - 03/23/11 03:43 PM This is an issue or just a period of adjustment?
    Giftodd Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/25/10
    Posts: 221
    Loc: Australia
    I am after your collective thoughts on what this situation is. My dd, 5.25 yo, started school here in Australia a couple of months ago. As I have mentioned here previously, she started in a grade 1/2 composite class, which is being 'team taught'. This means that while she has one specific teacher who is responsible for her, for the majority of the time two classes are combined, taught by two teachers. One of them (the one that is not dd's 'official' teacher) is not very nice, which I raised in another thread.

    The school has been really willing to try and accommodate dd. There was no issue with having her skip kindergarten, they have her working with the grade twos in some subjects and so on. However they still have her reading basic readers because they want to keep her with her friends (and they keep hinting I should let her have a rest after school and not 'insist' that she reads chapter books - which I don't, they're just what dd chooses to read, which she does - and has done for 12 months - fluently and without effort). The school didn’t tell me about the team teaching before she started, and frankly I would have been instantly concerned that it wouldn’t have suited her – she is a kid who disappears in a group, but is desperately upset when she is then passed over for the more vocal, extroverted kids.

    Initially she found a little group of friends, but in the last week or so she has been moving away from them. When she sees them on the way to school, rather than running to join them she prefers to stay with me and gets upset if they join us. She is still playing with them at lunch and recess. She has told me when other kids have been mean to her and I don’t think that anything has happened to cause her to want to no longer play with them other than the novelty wearing off. While the older, grade two kids (and even kids in other, higher grades) seem drawn to her, she isn’t drawn to them – she’s always gone for the safest person in the room to pair up with.

    I have to say that I have yet to see any evidence that she has learnt anything much. I appreciate that it is only a couple of months in to the school year, but certainly none of her work shows she is doing is anything she wasn’t already doing at 3. She has an SB5 non-verbal score of >99.9%, FSIQ 99.9% (which the gifted specialist tester felt was an underestimate due to test fatigue). Her teachers are happy with how she is going in class.

    At home we have been seeing some frustrating behaviour for the last few months. We’ve seen constant meltdowns and irrational responses that are uncharacteristic, even for her (she can be quite sensitive). I had put them down to starting school, it being such a big change, etc, etc. But last week she had a day off school and she was a different child. Obviously we’ve had weekends and so on, but they’ve been pretty busy these last few months and dd and dh often butt heads because of dd’s current behaviour, so even when they’re quite, they’re still a little full on. This was the first time in ages that it was just the two of us for a full day, with nothing planned. She was a different child. Even dd and dh got along at the end of the day (they have only been having issues since school started – dh, love him, has some unrealistic expectation of how a 5 year old should behave, even an HG one, and her irrational behaviour has been infuriating him). I had, quite frankly, started to wonder if we’d ever see the old her again. Yet there she was, calm and confident in a way that I hadn’t seen for a very long time. It makes me tear up to think of it.

    Back to school and we’re back to the same responses again. I still feel unsure whether this is just adjusting to school or something bigger. Can I really make such an assessment based on one good day? My gut tells me that it’s something bigger and the huge class sizes, lack of peers and boring work are eating away at her. That day was a day where she just got to be herself, with no pressure. But maybe I am just being unrealistic? Maybe she just needs to build some resilience through learning the rough and tumble of the playground? But maybe that will crush her?

    What are your thoughts? Is this an issue or just an adjustment?

    Sorry this is so long. Thanks.
    _________________________
    "If children have interest, then education will follow" - Arthur C Clarke

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    #97676 - 03/23/11 09:25 PM Re: This is an issue or just a period of adjustment? [Re: Giftodd]
    mycupoftea Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 02/27/11
    Posts: 23
    This definitely sounds like an issue. It appears that your dd is not happy to spend all day doing things that she's known for years. Also, her scores place her in the HG+ category, so chances are she has nothing in common with kids her age, or even a little older. She's physically a five year old with a ten year old mind, and there's now way to have a good match. Is it possible for you try talking to her on the weekend, while eating ice cream or something fun? It may be that she's bored to tears in school, and being with older kids won't help because she could keep up academically, but not physically.

    Is homeschooling an option for you? The reason I'm saying that is because I placed my oldest in school and have lived to regret it. He started off a few grade levels ahead in everything, and within a few months in kindergarten he wasn't even reading at home, because his friends could barely read, his teacher said he wasn't supposed to be reading chapter books yet, so he regressed to beginning readers. I have been lucky enough to homeschool my other two, so they're doing much better academically and are much happier than their older brother.

    Anyway, it looks like there is more than meets the eye with your dd and it warrants attention before her personality changes completely (my ds11 changed completely, and has stayed that way).
    _________________________
    Wisdom begins with wonder. – Socrates

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    #97682 - 03/24/11 12:03 AM Re: This is an issue or just a period of adjustment? [Re: Giftodd]
    jesse Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/10/09
    Posts: 283
    Loc: twilightzone
    Originally Posted By: Giftodd
    she is a kid who disappears in a group, but is desperately upset when she is then passed over for the more vocal, extroverted kids.


    My kid is like that. My kid had more melt-downs and frustrations when in school also. Everything changed for the better once my kid was out. The teacher made kid feel incapable of some things, but if you ask kid, kid loved the teacher and trusted the teacher's kindness. frown


    Trust your gut. Something about this is bothering you. Believe yourself. This isn't really going to work for your DD.

    When you are not there, teachers say things, as sweetly as they say it, some of those things just aren't right for our gifted kids. We can't expect teachers to understand our gifted kids because they've never seen one nor can they believe it -- it is hard for parents to believe just how gifted their kids are, and we're taught not to brag, etc etc -- so you are really the only one who "gets" her and is her safe haven.

    Often my kid would need to de-stress afterschool and on weekends. No other extra activities -- real calm and quiet time. There would be sit down time during snack where the things that happened at school can be discussed.

    Do you have spring break? Or can you pull her out a Fri/Mon and get a long weekend so you can have more time with her and have her settle down and you can see how she is feeling?

    Gifted kids are asynchronous. Even though she is able grade in many areas, her emotions and how to manage them, etc could be like a 4.5 yr old, or a 6 year old one day, and a 9 year old another.

    smile Best wishes!

    ps. If possible, don't wait till the end of the year. We waited and regretted it extremely. The extra months staying there was damaging to our child.


    Edited by jesse (03/24/11 12:04 AM)
    Edit Reason: ps.

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    #97685 - 03/24/11 03:52 AM Re: This is an issue or just a period of adjustment? [Re: Giftodd]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    Originally Posted By: Giftodd
    I I had, quite frankly, started to wonder if we’d ever see the old her again. Yet there she was, calm and confident in a way that I hadn’t seen for a very long time. It makes me tear up to think of it.

    Something needs to change and it needs to change now.
    Let's look at the score card -
    1) Is she learning? No
    2) Is she enjoying her classmates? No
    3) Is she exposed to a bullying teacher, and another adult who is mimicing a bullying teacher? Yes
    4) Is she falling appart emotionally at home in a way that is breaking your family peace? Yes

    (BTW - you DH might well have too high expectations, or he might be reacting to the situation appropriately - you have a little girl on your hands who is much more stressed and acting out than she was just a few months ago.)
    5) Does the school 'get' your DD and support you as a parent? No (chapter books comments)
    6) Is there anything in either classroom 1st or 2nd that is likely to be learning-friendly for your daughter? No
    7) Is this likely to improve anytime soon? No

    You have 3 choices:
    1) a small private school with a philosophy that everyone learns at their readiness level and practice in applying this philosophy, if you can find one or start one.
    2) Ask the school to allow DD to visit 3rd grade and spend 6 weeks there to see if the social part clicks. If that doesn't work try 4th grade for 6 weeks. Keep going until either social or academic clicks. It won't have to be perfect for your DD to have a less toxic environment.
    3) Homeschool, individually or with a coop - if you can find one or start one.

    Practice saying: 'Oh, I think she's too young for school at the level she needs, we'll try again next year.' in a calm and assured voice.

    I have left out a step if you aren't ready to believe me when I say, 1/2 is over for your child.
    Possible middle step: Make a portfolio of your DD's learning readiness level:
    1) Figure out what level of reading system our school uses to judge reading books. Lexile?
    2) Gather up 5 or 10 favorite current books your DD is reading, then google their titles with the name of the system, as in 'Little House on the Praire Lexile'
    3) Make a chart - then find out what grade has a 'top reading group' that is reading books at her level. That's where she needs to be for the reading segment of school.
    4) Math - Download some placement tests and get her to take them while you sit next to her. If possible, have her explain what she is doing to assure yourself that she understands. Have her write the answers in her own sweet handwriting to assure the teachers that she did it herself.
    Originally Posted By: http://www.singaporemath.com/Placement_s/12.htm
    Math Placement
    These placement tests and answer keys may be printed out and used by individuals at no cost. They may not be copied or incorporated into any other document. ...
    www.singaporemath.com/Placement_s/12.htm

    It's ok to use a Saxon or whatever other system your school uses, but not necessary.
    5) Bring the evidence to school and insist (cry if necessary) that at math time, she goes to the room where the stuff she is ready to learn is being taught. Don't worry about how long or short a time before she bolts ahead. Don't worry about how many kids or how old the kids will be, because with the social part it's a spin of the wheel - kids really do rise to the occasion if they are in an ok place academically, at least much of the time. If it doesn't work out, there is always homeschooling.

    Finally - for the behavior issues, time for my favorite recommendation - the only parenting book that I've every found to understand my kid and my family:
    Quote:
    Amazon.com: Transforming the Difficult Child Workbook: An ...
    13 reviews - $16.47 - In stock
    www.amazon.com › ... › Special Needs ›


    Get the workbook and ask any questions you need here.
    Love and More Love,
    Grinity





    _________________________
    Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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    #97718 - 03/24/11 11:38 AM Re: This is an issue or just a period of adjustment? [Re: Giftodd]
    Justin
    Unregistered


    If only I read your post a year ago....

    Who knows what is best to do. I can tell you that last year our situation was similar in many ways. I insisted ds finish the school year and even sent him back this year. I'm seeing damage done. I failed to have the insight MoN has above. Nice, willing is only so much and not enough if your dd's needs aren't getting met. A lot of kids go to school because they have to learn. I think it is a real problem when some kids go to school because they have a need to learn, then aren't allowed to. I wonder if your dd were able to learn at her own pace and level, she'd be happy with her group of friends for playtime. I don't have a clue about how to handle the recognition issue. What do you do when your kid sees others get accolades for things that seem remedial, yet constantly gets a subtle message that for them it is precocious or bragging?

    I believe most teach because they love kids and love to have them learn. Sometimes it is about finding the right way to communicate with the teacher and sometimes about finding a right teacher. I've finally accepted that there is a teacher, who is a great person, who is just not compatible with my kid no matter what effort is put in. That's ok. But it means I have the responsibility the change that. Wish I saw all this a year ago though.

    Best to you.

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    #97741 - 03/24/11 04:13 PM Re: This is an issue or just a period of adjustment? [Re: Giftodd]
    st pauli girl Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/29/08
    Posts: 1917
    Have you talked with the teachers about how unhappy your DD is? My DS was pretty unhappy the first few months (at least) of kindergarten, his first FT school experience. When the kindergarten teacher heard us say in a meeting (asking for more challenging materials) that our DS told me he hated school and every day was a struggle to get him to go, she took it to heart. First she said that DS seemed very happy in school, but then the team worked to find some solutions to get more appropriate academice, which DS finally liked. I would try very hard to get the school to see that your DD needs more challenges and that she's unhappy. (Sometimes kids only act out at home, and so the teacher sees a happy, compliant kid and thinks there's no problems.) Is there another teacher/classroom that your DD might fit into better?


    My DS still didn't like school, even after getting differentiation and a grade skip to second. And I'm not sure if he ever will really like it (he feels it's a waste of whatever he could choose to do with his day). He is currently in a good fit academically, with intellectual peers, and we are not getting any complaints about going to school, even though we must drive 45 miles to get there. That might be as close to "liking school" as we get.

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    #97747 - 03/24/11 08:04 PM Re: This is an issue or just a period of adjustment? [Re: Giftodd]
    Giftodd Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/25/10
    Posts: 221
    Loc: Australia
    Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful responses.

    I went in to help in classroom today and was shocked. DD is in a reading group that is lower than her spelling group (weird to me on a number of levels, but particularly in light of the fact that her spelling capability is about 5 grades below her reading...)

    DD cried on and off throughout the whole time I was there. I don't think that's what she normally does, but I think she just couldn't hold back while I was there. She was so frustrated in her reading group, working with kids who are struggling with what seem to my completely skewed eye, very basic ('key' for example). She spent her time in her reading group trying to control their behaviour and was getting increasingly upset that they weren't taking their task seriously.

    I am definitely going to speak to the teacher - I think it would be unfair not to, but I am wondering if in part, the problem is bigger than just not getting the right work. I think the huge class size means that the kids don't really have any connection to a teacher and there is constant noise, even when there are tests going on. The teachers didn't really get a chance to come around and see what each group of kids were doing, and so some kids just sat and chatted for an hour. With the exception of the 15 minute period where I was working with her group, dd was pretty much left to her own devices. I could see she was overwhelmed.

    I wish I had thought to ask about the structure of the classroom - though it would appear the school deliberately kept it all a bit quiet. I just assumed it would be a teacher and the class. DD likes to feel connected. The team teaching was brought up at a parent information night earlier in the year by one of the parents whose child was unhappy and none of the rest of us had realised that was what they were doing (including those parents who had had children at the school for a couple of years).

    Having seen dd in class today was a real eye opener. I've never really appreciated her difference, and in fact have often doubted it. Sure, she's a great reader but she just seemed like a normal kid in so many ways. I assumed with a bit of tweaking school would be fine. Sure her scores are high, but she was tested young. This morning it was like looking at her with fresh eyes. She's not just a great reader, she's a completely different kind of kid. I could see the other kids were completely bewildered by both her insistence that they stay on task and her frustration throughout the morning. Poor little guy.

    I am going to check out some other options. We'll talk to the teacher, but if I am honest, I'm not confident that it will be a good fit even if they do up the work. We had a couple of back up schools in mind if this didn't work out so I will approach them. I now feel like I have a much better understanding of what I am looking for. If not, I guess will finally have to confront my homeschooling denial , at least for a period (no issues with others doing it - I just don't feel remotely qualified, and if I am honest I am not keen to take on such a formal role in dd's life).


    Edited by Giftodd (03/25/11 01:16 AM)
    _________________________
    "If children have interest, then education will follow" - Arthur C Clarke

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    #97751 - 03/24/11 11:25 PM Re: This is an issue or just a period of adjustment? [Re: Giftodd]
    La Texican Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/10/10
    Posts: 1777
    Loc: South Texas
    Poor fellah. Now I have an opinion. Get her out.
    _________________________
    Youth lives by personality, age lives by calculation. -- Aristotle on a calendar

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    #97769 - 03/25/11 06:10 AM Re: This is an issue or just a period of adjustment? [Re: Giftodd]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    Originally Posted By: Giftodd

    I went in to help in classroom today and was shocked...
    DD cried on and off throughout the whole time I was there....She was so frustrated in her reading group, working with kids who are struggling with what seem to my completely skewed eye, very basic ('key' for example). She spent her time in her reading group trying to control their behaviour and was getting increasingly upset that they weren't taking their task seriously.


    Gifted Denial - not just a river in Egypt, but a natural outcome of all the clumping that people who have choices do in their lives. Problem is that kids have very little freedom to just 'wander over' to the classroom that feels most comfortable to her if it isn't where her agemates are.

    I would encourage you to look into those back up choices, but also to go sit and weep in the principle's office and show the high level of frustration you are feeling right now. It's entirely possible that things could be fixed in the public school, and FAST, if they school can be shown how deep your emotional distress is in a 'non-attacking' way.

    Why in the world would you DD be placed in a low reading group? Are there other reading groups in the overall class she could be placed with? Did they put her there to 'teach' the other kids? If so I call a foul.

    I think it's entirely possible that your DD is in the highest reading group in the room - we are so far removed from reality, we all need bumperstickers that say: 'Reality Is'

    Or maybe your DD is shy in that environment and the teachers zipped through her assesment and missed the boat. That happens, especially in the first few months of school.

    I'm so glad you went in there to see with your own eyes!
    Grinity
    _________________________
    Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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    #98052 - 03/28/11 01:57 PM Re: This is an issue or just a period of adjustment? [Re: Giftodd]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    Thanks Giftodd -

    quote: Lol - it hasn't actually helped me with a resolution yet - the teacher is evading all attempts for a sit down meeting and told me yesterday she would not consider my request for her to scratch the surface with dd!


    This is just plain weird - whatever did she mean?
    If your school uses email, it's time to request a sit down meeting via email, and cc the principal.
    If you school doesn't use email, bring a written letter requesting a sit down meeting and cc the principal.

    Usually that's enough to get things rolling. OTOH, remember that if there are no other kids working at her readiness level, then she is in the wrong room. It's not fair to ask the teacher to write a whole seperate curriculum for one kid, and it never provides the kid-kid interaction which is the great charm of bricks and mortar school.

    Gah,
    Grinity
    _________________________
    Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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