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Completely stunned August 24, 2011

Posted by mareserinitatis in education, gifted, math, younger son.
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We were anticipating some issues with the younger boy starting school this year.  Primarily, we have a problem: he’s already 2 years ahead in math.  He’s been working through Stanford’s EPGY math program, somewhat irregularly over the summer, and he’s managed to move that far ahead.  This has been kind of a surprise because he initially didn’t seem to be that gifted in math.

We decided to sit down with the principal and his new teacher and talk to them about alternatives.  At first, it was fairly obvious they wanted him to be doing math with the other kids but then to add enrichment or even to go to another class.  The problem is that he’s doing well with the EPGY program, so we’re very reluctant to end that.  He also seems to be going at a much faster pace than we expected.  Even now that he’s nearly two years ahead, he’s still only spent about 3 months to do about a year’s worth of math.  Putting him in an advanced classroom that still moves at a slower pace is probably not going to be good for him.

We went in, hoping that they’d be okay with us giving him other things to do during math time.  They didn’t seem real keen on the idea, and we were really reluctant to try to have him do two sets of math each day…one at a lower level or slower pace and then an additional one that’s right for him.

When it was obvious they didn’t like the ideas we suggested, I just sat there and waited for them to come up with something.  Finally, the principal said he’d be willing to help supervise him in doing some sort of independent study project of his choosing during math time.

I just about keeled over.

We went from them not wanting to pull him of math to do something else to them being willing to let him do his own independent study project?!

The principal apparently used to supervise kids where they did this type of project-based learning, and I get the feeling he misses it.  And I think this would be something the younger boy would love to do.

So, despite the fact that I was feeling very uneasy about what was going to happen, I think we hit the jackpot.

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Comments»

1. Kari - August 24, 2011

I wish our meeting with Stephen’s teachers had gone as well. I have a feeling there will be a struggle getting them to participate with our wishes for Stephen this year.

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mareserinitatis - August 25, 2011

I guess this is why we’ve gone the private school route. It was very hit or miss as far as things went when the older one was in public school. Some teachers were very willing to work with us, others weren’t. It didn’t seem to be an issue of resources or time…just willingness.

We also found, in general, that the cooperative teachers were often the ones that got along far better with the kids.

I hope things go okay for Stephen. Just keep telling him that life gets better once you’re out of school.

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2. fargojones - August 24, 2011

that’s great!

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3. Chris Gammell (@Chris_Gammell) - August 25, 2011

I have to say, I did not see that coming in the story! That’s fantastic though. If it all works out, perhaps try to get him some accolades so it’s encouraged as a program for future students (though not necessarily with the principal every time).

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4. Miss MSE - August 25, 2011

That’s fantastic! I think the worst time in my pre-college academic life was when I spent an entire year learning math I had learned before. Thank goodness for sneaking books into class…

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