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    Joined: May 2016
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    I�m new to this board and have been following some of the posts on math acceleration with interest as I have an 8-year-old daughter who has the opportunity to skip a few years of math. Her teacher recently called us in to meet with her and the school curriculum person and suggested having her jump two years of math so that when she is in 3rd grade in the fall she would go to 5th grade math.

    I am hesitant to do this. My reasoning is that our daughter is perfectly happy doing grade level math and has not complained of being bored. I know she finds the work very easy but both she and I are okay with that as she�s very busy with sports, music and other activities. I really like that she�s enjoying being a child and don�t want her to feel any academic pressure at this age. She is very social and confident and part of my thinking is that right now I feel like she�s so in sync with her friends that I don�t want to rock the boat. What if having her skip a few years of a subject makes her feel like she�s different and not in a good way?

    My husband is focused on the fact that the teacher said that based on her scores that the next two grade levels up would still be easy for her. He wants us to do what the school recommends and thinks that it might motivate her to start to enjoying math as much as she enjoys sports and music and start to develop an identity of herself as someone who is good at school.

    The two of us have been in a kind of at a deadlock on this issue for a few weeks. I�m now second-guessing myself and worried I�m projecting my own biases of the perfect childhood on to my daughter. Can any of you walk me through your own thinking process and explain what tipped the scales in favor of one decision or another? Are there other issues that I should be thinking about but am not?

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    Wow, I see a lot of good points, well presented, on both sides. This is tough! I'm sure you will hear stories from others that either decision could lead to great success.

    My own philosophy is to follow the child's direction, so I agree with you. However, your husband has a very good point as well: maybe your daughter will like math more if she is exposed to more engaging content.

    My DD11's experience is not exactly like this, but we have chosen to let her take the lead and tell us what she needed. I knew she was really good at math when she was in K and 1st grade, but didn't do anything because she didn't really care about math. She has been obsessed with music and theatre since K, so she is always busy anyways. Since maybe the end of 3rd grade she expressed an interest in math. So we bought Singapore Math books for her to do at home. We didn't set a routine for her. Sometimes she would do Singapore Math everyday for a week; then the next week she wouldn't touch it at all. We just let her do whatever with it. Then at the end of 4th grade, she asked me about acceleration at school. I talked with the school and the district and settled on a plan for math. So in 5th grade she was accelerated at school and finished 6th and 7th grade math, pre-algebra and algebra. In the fall when she starts 6th grade she will take accelerated geometry.

    My DD is the type of kids who have very specific ideas about what she wants to do. So we are comfortable letting her take the lead. Sometimes she doesn't want to explore acceleration even though we wish she would (such as world languages). But if she is comfortable with a group of kids or a teacher or simply doesn't feel the need to rush forward, I think it's OK. Kids are kids and having a relaxed childhood is a luxury these days but really has its merit.

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    If she is opposed to the subject acceleration, then yeah, I would not push it. A bad attitude, which she alone controls, can sink the success regardless of what everyone else wants.

    If she is neutral on the subject, I might suggest a trial semester or quarter. Passive underachievement is a potential concern; that is, you don't want her to avoid challenge and take the easy route just because its not required. That said, obviously this is not a singular life changing opportunity, there will be time to re evaluate the choice later.

    Last edited by Malraux; 06/03/16 12:57 PM.
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    I have read through a bunch of threads on acceleration here and learned a lot about the pros and cons, and I now accept that it's really dependent on multiple factors and there is no one answer perfect for each year or child.

    What I can offer from my own kids is that my DS asked for more, wanted more, absorbs it like crazy, and he's benefited from acceleration. DD8 goes in waves -- she picks math up easily, asks questions and learns quickly when she feels like it, but she likes to be in control. I find if she's not getting some challenge, she has coping difficulty when she does encounter frustration -- it overflows in other areas. She needed to be encouraged a little bit more. It really, really meant a lot this year to have her teacher give her higher-level material. She gained confidence that she had lost because she was frustrated with redundancy. I feel like she needs more math acceleration next year, and am exploring options, but I don't want to rush her through, so much as widen her exposure and deeper problem solving skills.

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    A compromise may be to tell the school that you'd like to try it, but it needs to be flexible. If she feels stressed, pressured, or unhappy, then you'd like her moved back down.

    DD10 has a full grade acceleration (she is finishing 5th grade) and then a subject acceleration for math.
    Her math teacher recommended a further acceleration to Algebra next year for high school credit. They recommended an algebra readiness test. I said "no" and told them to put her in pre-algebra next year. I know my daughter and because she is 2e she would be stressed out by a high school level course (esp. at age 10 with a disability!).

    My son, on the other hand...we have accelerated him 3 years for math and he has done fine. He is in third grade and goes to sixth grade for math. He loves it, and he loves being w/ the older kids. He is also 2e and there are some physical challenges (in his case it is his handwriting). But we are trying to find ways to work around it. What works for one kid is a bad idea for another. Sometimes you just need to try it and see how it goes.

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    I'd be in the try it camp (with an agreement for the length of time before reevaluating). To be clear, I am projecting some of my own biases, particularly about girls being so friend focused that they hide their smarts (there's a fair amount of research on this point, which might suggest that there could be some social reason she isn't complaining about the work being too easy). That has long-term implications.

    If her friends are going to treat her differently if she takes math in another room, are those really long-term friends? What's the lesson there?

    This is of course, completely a family decision. Note though that it is pretty unusual for a teacher to proactively approach a family with this suggestion. I'd be sure I understand that teacher's thinking and what she/he is observing.

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    You've received great responses. I'll just add that when a child finds academics to be routinely very easy, the child may become accustomed to coasting along, without valuing effort. In fact, some may even begin to despise effort.

    Evidently too much coasting along can cause brain changes, making it difficult for a child to apply themselves and learn new things when they do meet a challenge worthy of their potential.

    Single-subject acceleration allows the child to keep their chronological-age peers while also meeting more closely matched academic/intellectual peers.

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    Great responses above so I don't have much to add. I am voting for trying it out for a period of time and re-evaluate.


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    Originally Posted by Virginiamomq
    I am hesitant to do this. My reasoning is that our daughter is perfectly happy doing grade level math and has not complained of being bored. I know she finds the work very easy but both she and I are okay with that as shes very busy with sports, music and other activities. I really like that shes enjoying being a child and dont want her to feel any academic pressure at this age. She is very social and confident and part of my thinking is that right now I feel like shes so in sync with her friends that I dont want to rock the boat.

    Your dd might continue to be just as happy, and find math just as easy, with the skip - so if she's not opposed to it, I'd give it a try.

    On the flip side, if your dd is highly capable at math today, she will still be highly capable at math next year and the year after. Unless she's screaming for more, more, more, she's not likely to lose much ground by not subject-accelerating in early elementary, and she'll most likely have other opportunities to accelerate when she's closer to middle school.

    Good luck with your decision,

    polarbear

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    I have questions for you.

    Would the 5th grade math be in the same building?
    Would it be in the same slot as 3rd grade math is held?
    Would there be any other differences in her schedule due to the change?
    Does the school have a plan to help her with the daily transitions?
    What does your DD think? I would suggest here that most kids might have a knee-jerk reaction that they don't want any change, but that might evolve if she has a few days to think about it and ask her own questions.

    I would overall be in the pro-acceleration camp, too. But I do think that I would want the logistical questions above answered.

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