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Tutoring in Math for 1st grade, or other options for advanced math students

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

DS will be in first grade at a "gifted" school.  Our experience so far is that, while the instruction and materials are far in advance of where the public school is, they are still reasonably lockstepped.  DS has some aptitude in math that is above his grade level (he has a third grade math workbook at home that he can do most of the work in).  He could add and subtract multi-digit numbers before K (largely from a great Montessori PS teacher) and an older child taught him how to multiply during recess last year. 


In our last meeting with his K teacher, I really pushed for more challenging math.  It was March, and he had not learned a single new thing in math all year.  Several times she said to me pointedly, "we don't teach multiplication to Kindergarteners."  From my point of view, I don't care whether you teach him early geometry, more advanced arithmetic, multiplication or algebra!  I just want him to learn something new, whatever it is.  She asked us to send home some of the problems DS had been doing at home in the math workbook he asked me to get for him.  After that, she started giving him a bit of multiplication work -- but there were only a few weeks left in school at that point.


The school is now offering one-on-one "tutoring" this year after school as one of its after-school classes.  DH and I discussed it, and then discussed it with DS.  He is a playground fiend, but happily said he'd give up after school playground time to do math after school once a week.  I am somewhat irritated that this is necessary (DS is advanced, but he's not nearly at the level of many of the kiddos on this board, so I don't think accommodating him during regular math class (class size of 18) should be that big of an issue, but maybe I'm wrong there).  I also fear that we might get pushback from the school (DS doesn't "need" tutoring, and isn't teaching him more going to make it harder for his regular teacher to accommodate him?) and also that maybe we should just let it go and accept that the only math he is going to learn will be at home for a few years. 


I don't want to "hothouse" him by any stretch -- but he really is interested in learning more math, and the fact of the matter is that I'm not a math teacher.  I do love math and I could purchase some real math books and try a more organized approach at home if that would be helpful.  What we've taught him about Math has been largely experiental (adding fractions to cook stuff, making change at the grocery store, etc.) or offering him random pages in the math book he wanted when he seems interested (hey - do you know how to do X?  and lots of times he already does, or can figure it out with 3 minutes of explanation from me).  So should I push for the tutoring, do something more organized at home, or just let this take its course without further organized activity at home or school?  Or perhaps another option we haven't thought of yet?


Sorry for the long post, and thanks for reading this far.  Any thoughts/guidance would be much appreciated.

post #2 of 5

Why not wait and see what the first-grade teacher is willing and able to offer? Differentiation tends to be very teacher-specific. You might be pleasantly surprised. 



post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

That's a great reminder that I need to keep an open mind about the differentiation the new teacher could offer.  Unfortunately, the registration period for the after-school classes closes before school starts, so if we do want to do that, we have to do it before I know what she'll do in his regular classroom. And I fear having another year like last one in Math!

post #4 of 5

Personally, I wouldn't opt for afterschool tutoring. He doesn't need MORE time in math. He needs all the time he has to do it in class fixed. I'd just focus on improving the classroom enviroment. Give the teacher a couple weeks to settle in and get to know the kids. Then, set -up a conference and see what can be done. If in-class differentiation doesn't work, advocate for a subject acceleration. Find out if he can at least have computer time during a math session once or twice a week. There are plenty of great computer games for math-minded kids.



post #5 of 5

I'd only do it if they were going to go more in depth and challenge him conceptually, and not just get him to memorize multiplication and division facts. What he needs is more conceptual work, not more busy work. Dd had some good enrichment last year for math. She was in 1st and they were working on challenge problems from about a 2nd grade level (so enrichment problems usually given to 2nd graders). They were fairly complicated where the kids had to figure out a pattern and then compute the results, but they weren't doing multiplication and division. I liked them because they really made dd think.


What curriculum do they use for math? Some of the curricula do include challenge problems.

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