Here's the background. My kids are just starting this year at our local public school. They've been to a week and a half so far. Previously they were at a small hippie crunchy private school where everybody knew everybody and the teachers all knew where the kids were academically before they even started class, but the school unexpectedly folded over the summer. We were planning to make the transition away from private school to public and/or charter next year so this is just a year early on our timetable.
Both our girls are pretty bright. Dd2 (7, almost 8) is a little more driven and will push herself a bit more. She's taken off with reading, for example, and is reading the 3rd Harry Potter book right now, but she still loves Junie B Jones (ugh) and consumes those like candy (good thing she can read them herself, because I won't read them to her!!). Her math skills are similar. I would think she's doing slightly above average work for a second grader, but not profoundly gifted or anything. She can do some multiplication that she has memorized (9x7=63), but is not working calculus problems in her spare time or anything.
So, that's the background, my question is what should I, as a parent, expect the academic work of second grade to look like at the beginning of the year? We've been getting a few math worksheets coming home and a few explanations of what they will be doing and it all seems really, really easy like adding single digit numbers and pictures of 5 rocks + 4 rocks. Is this just an assessment period? That's basically what I've been thinking/hoping/telling dd2, who is eager to do something a little more challenging. The teacher is new to the school this year and taught 5th grade last year, so I have a slight concern in the back of my mind that she's underestimating at least some of the kids' abilities.
The school we're in is a great school, but it does have a quite a few kids from lower economic backgrounds and a fairly large immigrant population that do not have english as a first language. The school does have a dual language spanish program so many of the hispanic kids, as well as many who are not native speakers, are in that. We came in too late to participate in that so we are in the traditional program. We're in a college town, though, and overall it's like Lake Woebegone and all the kids are above average. We do have a lot of really bright/gifted/academically-motivated kids and the schools, including ours, have a lot of different programs to serve them. I think there are 3 or 4 different programs for gifted kids in the elementary school alone.
So my thought is that this is just an assessment period in the first few weeks of school and the work will start to be on a more appropriate level as the teacher starts to know what each kid can do, but because this is our first year in this school and this kind of school, and because it's the teacher's first year teaching 2nd grade I just want some reassurance that this is what's supposed to be happening at this time in the school year.
Can somebody tell me that it's all okay?