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What to do??

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 20 total)
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  • #254763
    mistyhollowsmistyhollows
    Member

    Ok, so here’s our problem that needs the ALS think tank :laugh:

    I have an 8 yr old child in yr 3 who has literacy levels assessed at somewhere around a 10-11 yr old and reading levels way, way over that by an independent assessor. Everything else is age level.

    Our child currently goes to a private school who charge us an arm and a leg, who I am constantly having to ask to provide extension work, check levels every year. Although we live in a large country town, the local school that we are zoned for you wouldn’t send your child to in a pink fit. Unfortunately, the Dept of Ed won’t build a school in our area because the numbers at the other school are dropping for ‘some reason’ and until they are at capacity they refuse to build a school in our area. That ain’t ever going to happen, and they know it.

    So, we have tried to get our child into another local school out of zone who have a fantastic name and is the school for kids that need extension etc etc. The problem we have is that we can’t get our child in there because the principal has a list as long as his arm of other kids also trying to get in.

    So, we looked at distance ed through ACC. They would prefer our child to be in the face to face day school due to the extension needed. That school is 3 hrs drive away (one way):S .

    I have a meeting at our current school with our childs teacher tomorrow and I feel like I’m tearing my hair out but at this stage they’re our best option. Besides, our child wants to stay at this school, has a great group of friends, is settled etc etc.

    My question is this. Has anyone else had to deal with going to a school to ask for extension work? What responses have you had and how on earth do you deal with the teachers? I feel like I’m constantly banging my head on a brick wall. They seem happy to help the kids who need extra help and are below par but don’t seem willing at this stage to extend the others.

    Thanks.

    #493719
    HobbyFarmFunHobbyFarmFun
    Member

    My eldest girl is a bit similar to yours – fantastic literacy skills, well above her age/grade level. Initially, when she started school the class teacher’s way of extending her was having her go up to the Grade 2’s for reading groups (daughter’s Grade 1 teacher was a freshly graduated teacher and really didn’t have a clue what to do for my daughter, so one of the more experienced Grade 2 teachers took her on to extend her). I have a friend who is in guidance and had her assessed when she was towards the end of Grade 1 so she could access the gifted and talented programs at school (we’ve used public schools, not private). The projects undertaken there weren’t necessarily ‘literacy’ extention as the current thinking was (and probably still is) that such children should be extended outwards (wider experiences, etc) rather than extended upwards in the area they already excel at – initially I wasn’t real impressed with that approach as I thought she should have her literacy skills specifically challenged so she wouldn’t get bored and also I didn’t want her to go from excelling to just toddling along with the others. My guidance friend reassured me that it was highly unlikely that would happen – and that it isn’t necessarily desirable for her to be pushed too far beyond her peers anyway. So we played along, and haven’t regretted it. We encouraged her in music (she now plays several instruments), art, drama, dance, sport, and Girl Guides – she’s always been a voracious reader, so library visits were a regular thing too. Do you have a gifted and talented program at school? Over the years, some of the things they did there were writing articles for the school newsletter, video based projects (ads to promote the fete), science experiments, literary competitions (Dorothea Mackellar poetry comp), etc. My daughter has been virtually a straight A student throughout school, is now in Grade 11 and undertaking a killer academic load with seeming ease (Maths B, Maths C, Chemistry, Physics, English, Drama), is in the school stage band, school volleyball team, and outside of school takes piano lessons, does Pony Club, and is training as a Junior Guide Leader – and she reads novels every spare minute she’s got! Her literacy scores are still well above average, but most of the ‘extension’ has been embedded in the other things she does, how the teachers have used her to help others in the class, and/or the way she naturally extends herself to do that little bit extra on assignments, etc because her literacy skills are more advanced. So I guess all that boils down to is to try thinking of ways of extending her outwards, projects, etc. instead of being focussed on pushing the literacy in particular. Hope that helps some!

    #493720
    bluezbanditbluezbandit
    Member

    great advice Hobbyfarmfun.

    #493721
    mistyhollowsmistyhollows
    Member

    Thanks so much hobbyfarmfun, that is exactly what we have been trying to do by extending him outwards not upwards. I don’t actually want him going up a grade unless absolutely necessary for literacy and would prefer his teacher extend him laterally in class but at the moment he is bored with what they’re doing and his teacher’s getting ready to retire. He always has his head stuck in a book and he is doing projects on star wars and various animals etc at home off his own bat. The star wars info books are great and he’s eating them up. The school do have an extension program in yrs 5 & 6 so we’re a bit away from that yet. He has started learning guitar this year and is involved in other sporting activities. I have also got a friend who is homeschooling and I am using that program at home as well for poetry and history activities when he is getting bored at home and just needs to sit down :laugh: . What we are really hoping for is for the school to give a bit more support to home and I guess we’ll see how that pans out tomorrow.

    Thank you so much for all of that info though. It was exactly what we needed 🙂 🙂

    Edit. I should also add in that we are subscribing to the Csiro’s kids science magazines and site and he is involved in school drama and choir so through that we are trying to stretch him into other areas that he is interested in.

    Keeps you busy too :laugh:

    #493722
    mistyhollowsmistyhollows
    Member

    On the other hand hobbyfarmfun, I have a 4 yr old who is possibly going to be brighter than the rest of us put together. He is already doing kindy level maths at home and I have started a full on preschool program at home with him amongst other things like gymnastics just to keep him occupied on the day’s he’s actually not at preschool and has such an analytical mind and just works things out. It’s great to watch but really scary wondering how on earth am I going to keep up with him?? Perhaps the 1st child is the practice run :woohoo:

    To be honest it scares the living daylights out of me and is exhausting but rewarding and we wouldn’t have them any other way.

    #493723
    HobbyFarmFunHobbyFarmFun
    Member

    mistyhollows post=308520 wrote: Keeps you busy too :laugh:

    My word it does! I joke with my neighbour about hoppping on the hamster wheel when each school term starts LOL. Our week is a pretty hectic schedule with before school & after school activities.

    We actually have 3 children, I wrote above about the eldest. The youngest (another daughter) is just as bright – was reading before she started school because she was so desperate to catch up to her siblings. She was in the second last year in QLD of preschool instead of prep, and ‘preschool’ guidelines technically didn’t encourage ‘reading’ as such, but the teacher organised for us to borrow readers from the Grade 1’s and she was catered for. I made up little sheets/activities for her to do for each reader so she had some comprehension stuff as well. She’s now 10 1/2, in Grade 6, and another one who achieves at school almost effortlessly. She also has been involved in the school’s gifted and talented program – without our initiating it. Again, she’s involved with music (instrumental as well as choir), sports, Pony Club, Girl Guides, and another voracious reader.

    We really actually worry more about the middle child – a boy who is an average achiever. He’s a very laid back type kid and doesn’t have that drive to excel that the girls seem to. School work isn’t high on his priority list and it is hard to motivate him in that direction. He does pretty well, he’s actually quite a bright kid – just too lazy! I also think it gets him down a bit that his sisters do so well at school – deep down I think he thinks ‘why should I bother – I’ll never do as well as them’ and so he doesn’t bother putting in the effort. He’s not musically inclined (he tried, but it was too much like hard work so he gave that up pretty quick), but loves his school sport and does Scouts which keeps him (and us) busy.

    Between the 3 of them, they sure keep me out of trouble!

    #493724
    mistyhollowsmistyhollows
    Member

    HobbyFarmFun post=308542 wrote: I joke with my neighbour about hoppping on the hamster wheel when each school term starts LOL. Our week is a pretty hectic schedule with before school & after school activities.

    :laugh: I have never thought of it as a hampster wheel HobbyFarmFun but it does tend to get that way! I have actually cut back on activities as the kids just get too tired. They are a lot younger than yours though.

    We had a meeting with his teacher this afternoon which went really well. They are going to finally work on a program of extending him, looking at putting him in yr 4 for reading etc next term. The main goal for us though is to get him extending laterally a bit more with other activities. So I feel like we have achieved something for him and he is so much happier tonight as are we.

    They are all so different aren’t they. Both our boys have the lazy factor at times as well, it’s a matter of finding out what their interests are and working at them. Our eldest is very structured and learns visually where as I’m still trying to work out the little one :laugh: . Like I said to a friend the other day though, it’s a good problem to have and probably keeps us all out of trouble. :woohoo:

    #493725
    BelBel
    Member

    Glad to hear I’m not the only one feeling similar frustration. DD6yrs is in year 1 this year. She got the ‘academic award’ last year and is reading/spelling etc with ease. She finds school work very easy and as a result she doesn’t put in the effort she could. I’ve asked for her to be extended, but the teacher has said that she doesn’t recognise that she’s doing particularly well. I’ve tried to explain that she ‘switches off’ if the work isn’t challenging enough, but they don’t seem to understand. Her hand-writing isn’t particularly neat and she doesn’t try very hard with her homework, but I know this is partly because she knows she can already write/read etc, so doesn’t feel the need to try harder. The teacher this year has kept her back with her reading levels so she can concentrate on fluency/expression, but she finds the words really easy, and hence it is boring to her and she doesn’t concentrate. I found school easy as a child and as a result I didn’t try hard and developed bad study habits that I still have now. I don’t want her to fail, but I do want her to know that to excel and do well, effort is required. I don’t want her to ‘cruise’ – I want her to make the most of her abilities. They don’t have any ‘literacy groups’ or similar groups in her class – they aim for all students to be on the same middle ground. It gets very frustrating….

    sorry about the whinge:blush:

    #493726
    donnamacdonnamac
    Member

    Several years ago we asked the teacher to send home more advanced readers for our son because the ones they allowed him to have were way too easy. The teacher refused and told us to join the local library. He had been a member since he was a toddler and we had been taking him every week for years. Grrrr. We were otherwise happy with the school and our son was happy. We just had to provided interesting reading material ourselves, as we had always done, and wait for the year to finish with that teacher.

    #493727
    LindyChookLindyChook
    Member

    Im home schooling 2 x year 8’s and 2 x year 9’s and they are all over the place as they excel at different things. Home schooling has been the only place my kids have been able to learn at THEIR own pace. Ive found it to be such a blessing and they are starting to catch up to each other. One of the yr 9’s is doing science from my uni texts and my son was 5 years behind in maths but now only one year behind. They often ask for more work and know they can do an extra subject (elective) if they wish as school is at home and they can study anytime they like. Ive also been able to get them reading which was a sore topic when they were at school and one daughter just finished the whole Twilight series which she started on Monday. We have a library in our home which the kids love and our local library (52kms away) gets used regularly. I am amazed at the difference in my kids and no matter how many people try to shoot us down about home schooling they are excelling beautifully.

    #493728
    GrethGreth
    Member

    Relax.

    Your child is at least as good as any other, prob better, so why do you need to extend and push him/her? My girl is reading way above her year level too, my son did when he was smaller and the toddler is showing great skills too.

    If the reading is fine, then don’t push it any further, look at musical skills, sports, something else. Go wider rather than deeper.

    It isn’t the school who teaches the kids, it is what happens at home. So don’t pay a mint for a ‘good’ school, make yourself into a ‘good teacher’ instead. You obviously are already on a great track, don’t think that it is the money you spend which is making your child an acheiver, It isn’t.

    It is something about your attitude and the natural gifts of your child which make the kid great. Sit back and enjoy your shared reading skills and tickle your child’s interest in some other endevours.

    #493729
    tigerzeyztigerzeyz
    Member

    Our daughter who is ten now had issues with the school for the first couple of years because they weren’t interested in giving her extension work. When she was in year two, I gave up on talking to the teacher who was close to retirement and only focused on the “difficult” kids (as she called them) rather than the ones who were well behaved but excelling and getting bored in her class. Instead, I went and talked to the deputy principal, who said that they would think about what to do. Besides giving her a couple of projects to do (eg, whenever she finished her work she could work on writing stories) there really wasn’t much progress. However, after I got her assessed privately as being gifted, I went back to the school armed with the the education department;s policies on gifted education, and by year three they began to recognise not only hers, but also the giftedness of several other children in the school, and got one particular teacher trained as the “gifted education teacher” to advise other teachers on how to provide extension work, or embed higher levels of learning into everyday school work. Then the next year a new principal arrived, and hallelujah, his own children who attended the school were gifted! Within a few months he had set up a gifted and talented program and my daugher has now had the chance to really build her interests in many different areas. She is also involved in a variety of activities / interests out of school hours to keep her focused, other wise she gets irritable and annoying when bored. So…from my experience, my advice would be approach the principal rather than the teacher, investigate gifted education policies and do what you can outside of school hours to nurture this bright young mind 🙂

    #493730
    mistyhollowsmistyhollows
    Member

    Greth post=308638 wrote: Relax.

    Your child is at least as good as any other, prob better, so why do you need to extend and push him/her? My girl is reading way above her year level too, my son did when he was smaller and the toddler is showing great skills too.

    If the reading is fine, then don’t push it any further, look at musical skills, sports, something else. Go wider rather than deeper.

    It isn’t the school who teaches the kids, it is what happens at home. So don’t pay a mint for a ‘good’ school, make yourself into a ‘good teacher’ instead. You obviously are already on a great track, don’t think that it is the money you spend which is making your child an acheiver, It isn’t.

    It is something about your attitude and the natural gifts of your child which make the kid great. Sit back and enjoy your shared reading skills and tickle your child’s interest in some other endevours.

    Ahh Greth, I wish sometimes I could relax about it all but we are in the situation that the local school we are zoned for is a school I would never ever send my child to, it is not in the town we live in but the closest public school as there is none in our area. There kids there whack each other over the head with garbage bin lids for entertainment at lunch time. Yes, that really does happen :ohmy:

    We had a meeting with his teacher yesterday and finally after us jumping up and down and getting an external assessment done they have agreed that he needs to have extension and are looking at options. One is to have him put in yr 4 for literacy next term when all the reading groups are restructured. There is a group of kids at the top of his class who are all very high level readers and he is just one of them. They are also going to put a bit more into interesting him in class through other means. For example they had him making up a comic strip the other day. Extending him into thinking more laterally. There is no point in extending them upwards if they are not extending outwards. If he is bored in class he will not learn and will stop being motivated to learn.

    I have to disagree when you say it isn’t the school that teaches, it’s what happens at home. I believe it is a partnership between the parents and the school each supporting the other. I could not do what I do at home with him in so many areas without the school and the school needs us to support what they do.

    His teacher was fantastic yesterday. We are trying to extend him laterally and have been for some time in other areas but up until now were feeling that there was a gap in the schooling. This is now being rectified. He is involved in sports and music and science etc etc. I am constantly having to come up with new ideas to interest him as much as he comes up with new things to interest himself.

    I don’t believe it’s the money you spend on your childs education that makes or doesn’t make him/her an achiever. In our situation however, the public school we are zoned for is not adequate in any way shape or form. I guess I have a level of standards I expect and that school is just no where near anything. When it takes a year 3 class 1 hr in that school to read 1 page of a book you have to question what is going on there.

    I think I relate to you tigerzeye when you say that your child gets irritable and annoying when bored, we have the same here which is why we are doing everything within our power as parents to give him the best opportunities we can. Thankfully our school is now prepared to do something to support us, I just wish I didn’t have to go to the length of getting a private assessment done to have that happen.

    So like you said tigerzeyz we are doing everything we can to nurture his bright, young mind. I will never go wondering if I did everything I could to help him along. I simply want my children to have the opportunity to be whatever they want to be when they grow up, whatever that is.

    #493731
    GrethGreth
    Member

    I have read and respect what you say, misty, and above all the message coming thru is that you know what is going on, and you care, that is most important.

    My primary school kid also has a teacher close to retirement, he doesn’t give her any extension work, but… She is year 1, her class is reception to yeat 2, so the kids work at their own level. He will help her do year 2 work if she is ready, other kids her age might stick at reception level work if that suits them. The school is relaxed enough that he can do this easily.

    He is a good teacher, in nearly every way, I do giggle a bit when their writing practice reads “Rob is the cutest man alive” but that is part of his charm.

    Schools simply dont understand every child, not the way you understand them and can help them. My son had a really hard time in primary school until year 6 when he went on a camp, his scouting background and sense of humour delighted and pleased everyone at that camp, suddenly he went to being a well liked person, when he had been misunderstood for years. I always knew how good he was, and where he shone, but noone else saw it until they saw him outside school rules.

    And kids care about your approval, more than they will ever care about what a teacher does or says. If the parent doesn’t care about school, be sure the child never will, that doesn’t apply to you, I can tell you care.

    #493732
    vickivicki
    Member

    Here’s my opinion for what it’s worth.

    Your child wants to be with her friends.

    She is only ahead on literacy.

    Allow her to be where she feels safe and happy, especially for the formative years. This, I believe strongly, is the most important focus you should have. It’s the basis for encouraging resiliency.

    As for the literacy, try to provide good literature that she enjoys reading and someone with whom she can discuss literature, poetry, philosophy occasionally.

    Re-think things in high school years.

    Vicki.

    (Primary school teacher and school counsellor)

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