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Determining ability to learn? **UPDATED**

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

How do you find out your child's "upper level" in terms of thier ability to learn, especially in the area of math? I have no idea where the "sweet spot" is for her in terms of being optimally or properly challenged.

How do I find this out? How have you all found this out?

I'm now feeling more of a sense of urgency to discover this, mainly because she will be moving to middle school next year, and pretty much from here on out, what she does academically will start shaping and determining what she can become, and where she will go. My husband would be considered gifted too (most likely me too), but 30-40 years ago, other than IQ testing, not too much was done for kids like him (us). I finally asked him two years ago what his IQ was. He informed me that is was 157 when tested (I know, depending on the test and the testing circumstances, this an be a bit off). He has told me stories about being unchallenged/frustrated all through his schooling years, and as my daughter is a carbon copy of her daddy, I'm hoping to affect change with her schooling experience. Additionally, I have FINALLY convinced my husband that we need to do further testing for her (and soon for her 4 year old brother), so that we can get more information as to what to do and how far to go to improve her educational setting.

Well maybe a some background information on my daughter would be helpful.

My 12 yo DD took the CogAT twice at her school; once in the fall of 2nd grade: Verbal 84, Quantitative 50, and Nonverbal 89; and in the fall of 3rd grade: Verbal 98, Quantitative 31, Nonverbal 98 (qualifying her for gifted services). Her school district has slowly but surely eroded the GLO program to where it really doesn't exist - it went from a district who was staffed with a district-wide director of gifted services with a designated gifted teacher at every school for pull-out (with all the teachers working on/achieving their certifcation in gifted education) and offering parent seminars, to probably just enough in the annual budget to cover testing and maybe a little more, with a teacher designated at each school to act as a "consultant" in addition to their own, seperate classroom duties, and the other teachers not able to/unwilling to pay out of their pockets to get their certification (and I sure don't blame them at all!). But at least the school moved to the clustering model a few years ago, and at least she has been grouped together with other gifted kids.

I sent her to a play preschool for 2 years, which she loved and the experience did boatloads for her socialization. She started reading by the end of K, so not an early reader, but showed the classic signs of giftedness by speaking clearly early with a large vocabulary, loved doing math, and generally was curious about EVERYTHING. Little did I know, but I spent a lot of time unschooling her! And she also showed some of the not-so-positive signs, such as intensity, difficult transitions, and behavioral issues (at home, not at school), double dose of stubborn, and had huge crying fits which could last up to 45 minutes.

Looking back now, there were signs and evidence that she wasn't challenged in school, certainly as seen in her progress reports starting back before she was tested, but it wasn't so obvious because I moved her out of our home school district mid-way through 1st grade to a school that has multiage classes, which allowed her, at least to some degree, to work ahead at her own pace. She also had teachers that "got" her, and were able to keep her somewhat challenged (and two of these teachers were very close to completing their certification, and have gifted kids of their own). Fast forward to this year, 6th grade. It became clear early on that she really is just coasting, and not really learning a lot (especially in math). I have brought it to her teachers' attention a few times, but with classes of 35 students each, it's been hard for them to challenge her.

So I am meeting with the counselor at the middle school on Friday. I have to figure out what they do for gifted kids, and specifically what they will do for my DD. Other than being a slow starter and/or a slowly gained confidence in math, she has always breezed through school with (almost) all A's. She reads at a 10th grade level, has a remarkable memory for information (especially science/animal based), and has scored very well on state-wide testing. She is also what I lovingly call an "odd duck"; for example, a few years ago she decided that she thought origami seemed cool, so she looked up how to do it on the internet and taught herself. She is a voracious and speedy reader; she can plow through 10-15 books a week (at least 200-300 pages in length - usually YA/Teen and sometimes Adult fiction, with a fair amount of various non-fiction). She takes at least 3-4 non-school books to school to read whenever she can (which can be a fair amount). There are times at home I actually have to tell her to STOP reading. I don't know if what I'm typing to describe her does her personality justice!

Even with a chaotic 7th grade level math class this year, she is getting an A without a lot of effort. And rumor has it, that once she starts a particular level of math next year, she will not be allowed to move up during the year (hope this is not true!). This is troubling to hear, because if that is true, it could mean they are not as flexible (i.e. compacting/acceleration) with gifted kids as I would have hoped. And specifically troubling for a subject, such as math, since it seems to me it is a hard to enrich or go in depth with this subject, as compared to something like Language Arts/English, Social Studies, etc. So she might be doomed to spend the year not learning much.

So again, what would you do and/or what have you done to figure out your child's "upper level" in terms of their ability to learn?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

***See update within the thread!***


Edited by oaksie68 - 5/14/12 at 12:31pm
post #2 of 21

I'm not really sure it matters. I'm of the belief that all of us have far more learning potential than we ever completely tap into, and that what's important is to be happy, be kind, to be learning something, and to have at least one area of life (it could be completely extra-curricular) where some consistent self-paced challenge is encountered. 

 

My middle dd is similar in age to yours (she's 13) and has never been tested. She's just started school this year after a lifetime of unschooling. She's at the top of the class in her advanced-stream 9th grade math and science courses, the top of her 8th grade humanities courses, taking advanced (10th-grade) electives and excelling, and her teachers tell me it's clear she could do more. About 75% of what she's doing in math this year is a repeat of stuff she already knew, and the rest comes very intuitively to her. But she's happy with the minimal work she's doing; she has outside interests that take up a lot of her time and energy, so there's no need for school to be "hard" or more work for her. She's busy with violin, choir and soccer, and is on the board of directors of the local Youth Centre Society. We have no plans to push for further acceleration or challenge. We will never know whether she was capable of doing Calculus at age 14 -- but so what?

 

I would encourage you to look at the big picture of your dd's growth as a human being, rather than getting caught up in numbers and levels and such. If you've got a child who is happy, kind, interested and interesting, you probably don't need much more than that.

 

Miranda

post #3 of 21

In a similar vein as moominmama's response, at this stage of the game, what's more important is what your daughter wants, what her motivation level is, and what her goals are.  As you can see from the high variation in her cognitive scores, you don't have a solid handle on her cognitive abilities besides knowing that they are clearly high as evidenced by her achievement.  At this level, it also matters how they break out the classes to progress into algebra.  If you're already in Common Core math sequences, then a high performing child might be placed directly into algebra next year if the district is following the CC recommendations.  Our district is mandating CC8 for all kids before algebra, though the CC recommendations are not to do CC8 for high performing kids.  If you're not yet in CCM yet, the question will be if she's expected to do 8th grade math, pre-algebra, or algebra.  Where do you think she's appropriately placed academically?  Motivation-wise?

 

If she's bored, asking for more, and wants to go into the STEM fields (science, technology, enegineering, math), then talk to the school about ways to allow her to go faster and deeper in the math.  That might mean allowing her to skip a year, or putting her with a classroom of kids who are similarly inclined with a teacher who challenges kids.

 

If she's not asking for more, then she's not going to perform well when it gets harder due to the faster pace or missing little bits. 
 

post #4 of 21

Well, I guess my answer is a little bit different than pp's.

 

Of course you want your dd to be happy and kind.  But school-wise, I think you definitely want to make sure she's met at her level.

 

My son has been really unhappy in his gifted magnet school this year and we ended up doing testing and found out he's PG.  That is tremendous information for us, as now we know that even in his HGT classes, he's just not getting what he needs.  

 

We're in the process of working with the school to figure out additional challenges for him next year.  It looks like he's going to get a mentor to work with him a couple of times a week on a passion project that will take the entire year.  He is beyond thrilled.  And even though we haven't shared the results of the testing with him --at all-- he knows we're focussing on making sure he's adequately challenged, so he's started advocating for himself.  He recently told me that he really wants to work at a faster pace in math and he's wondering if there's anyway he can do an online curriculum.  I didn't even know he knew about that possibility, but he's giving it some thought and is just plain tired of being bored.  So I'm also going to look into an online course for him-- he even wants to start over the summer.  If the school can't or won't make enough accommodations, we feel that we have enough information about him now that we're comfortable pulling him out of school several days a week so that he can pursue his learning passions. Without testing, we would not have even considered such an option.

 

In short, my answer is to get some testing done.  Then you'll know the level of giftedness and the areas in which your dd should be especially challenged.   My son was really depressed earlier this year, and that's why we started the testing process and I'm so glad we did.  But I'm also disappointed in myself that I didn't have more information earlier.

 

 

post #5 of 21

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaimom View Post

Well, I guess my answer is a little bit different than pp's.

 

Of course you want your dd to be happy and kind.  ......   My son was really depressed earlier this year, and that's why we started the testing process and I'm so glad we did.  

 

I can envision a number of reasons to do testing. But the OPs dd has already been tested twice, and the question is really about pushing to find the limits of her academic level. As tempting as it is to think that testing can reveal that, I don't think it can very often -- or at least it hasn't in her dd's case. 

 

Miranda

post #6 of 21

You just described me as a kid almost perfectly! smile.gif  My DS is only 12 months, so I have no experience on this as a parent (yet? He shares many of those same traits with his mama! winky.gif) but have boatloads as a gifted kid.  My opinion is kind of a combination of PPs above.

 

I am very glad you are taking the initiative to get your daughter proper testing and placements.  I was consistently in gifted classes, got a full ride to college and law school - and I was never, ever truly challenged.  I was the college kid who stayed out partying all night until dawn, crammed for 20 min. and got an A on the test - when all my classmates studied for weeks.  I was the kid who turned in a 20-page paper I hammered out in less than an hour, and had teachers begging me to switch my major to English and asking to enter it into writing contests (which of course I didn't' allow, because I knew I hadn't even tried).  It was extremely frustrating and depressing.  I would hide out in the library trying to find something new, different, and challenging.

 

I am not writing this to make myself sound like a smarty-pants - I am writing it in a plea to please, please, make sure your daughter is challenged and doesn't go through that!  I used to get papers back from teachers - marked with one or two typos, and the rest accolades.  That was NOT helpful - no matter what a person's ability level, they need to be pushed - they need to be challenged - they need to learn how they can improve and grow. 

 

That said...one of the first things that struck me about your post is you don't mention how your daughter feels about her current/future placements in her subjects (particularly math).  How does your daughter feel?  Is she interested in accelerated math?  What subjects does she like?  Is she happy with her academics?

 

Let me tell you - I could have done more in math and science, my teachers knew it - but it was just flat out not my passion.  Just because your daughter *could* achieve more in her classes does not mean she needs to or even should.  Let her have a couple classes that are just for breathing room, if she prefers.  She can't give 100% to everything.  Letting her take a few easy courses doesn't mean she won't reach her "potential" - it gives her the space to focus on and excel in the areas she loves most - and to be a well-rounded human being. thumb.gif  It also gives her time for extracurriculars, socializing, etc. instead of being too bogged down in homework for all her subjects (as fun as homework can be...there is more to life!).  

 

Good luck!  I hope you find the balance that works best for your daughter - just please make sure she is very involved in all the decision making.

 

ETA: Disregard the errors in this post, please - chasing a one year old!

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 

 

Responses in blue within the original posts (for the most part!).

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

I'm not really sure it matters. I'm of the belief that all of us have far more learning potential than we ever completely tap into, and that what's important is to be happy, be kind, to be learning something, and to have at least one area of life (it could be completely extra-curricular) where some consistent self-paced challenge is encountered. 

 

I agree with this statement.  My husband and I try to learn something  new each day.  As for extra-curriculars, she is in band (finally decided to pick up an instrument!  Some of my best memories of school was when I was in band!), and is in Girl Scouts, and when an interesting after school enrichment class/club has been available, she has participated in that (Future Engineer Club, Odyssey of the Mind).

 

My middle dd is similar in age to yours (she's 13) and has never been tested. She's just started school this year after a lifetime of unschooling. She's at the top of the class in her advanced-stream 9th grade math and science courses, the top of her 8th grade humanities courses, taking advanced (10th-grade) electives and excelling, and her teachers tell me it's clear she could do more. About 75% of what she's doing in math this year is a repeat of stuff she already knew, and the rest comes very intuitively to her. But she's happy with the minimal work she's doing; she has outside interests that take up a lot of her time and energy, so there's no need for school to be "hard" or more work for her. She's busy with violin, choir and soccer, and is on the board of directors of the local Youth Centre Society. We have no plans to push for further acceleration or challenge. We will never know whether she was capable of doing Calculus at age 14 -- but so what?

 

It sounds like your DD's school was able to be flexible and place her in classes appropriate with her academic abilities, not merely her age.  That is what I am hoping for.  Other than being placed in 8th grade math next year, I'm not sure what else we can/should do for her, hence the asking the question of how to figure out how to get her placed by her academic abilities, not just within her grade, or a little ahead, so I'm feeling like I need to figure out where the best placement for her is.

 

I would encourage you to look at the big picture of your dd's growth as a human being, rather than getting caught up in numbers and levels and such. If you've got a child who is happy, kind, interested and interesting, you probably don't need much more than that.

 

I have been subscribing to this philosophy (did a play-based preschool, found a multiage program, etc.), and up until now, i think that it worked well.  I have been trying to work on helping her develop into a well rounded person.  But she's not so happy with what has happened this year, and neither am I.  But I didn't push the academics this year, prefering she continue her social development before heading off to middle school.  And until a few weeks ago, I really didn't even know what her testing numbers truly meant, other than qualifying her for gifted services (that are really no longer available to her in her present district). 

 

Miranda

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

In a similar vein as moominmama's response, at this stage of the game, what's more important is what your daughter wants, what her motivation level is, and what her goals are.  As you can see from the high variation in her cognitive scores, you don't have a solid handle on her cognitive abilities besides knowing that they are clearly high as evidenced by her achievement.  At this level, it also matters how they break out the classes to progress into algebra.  If you're already in Common Core math sequences, then a high performing child might be placed directly into algebra next year if the district is following the CC recommendations.  Our district is mandating CC8 for all kids before algebra, though the CC recommendations are not to do CC8 for high performing kids.  If you're not yet in CCM yet, the question will be if she's expected to do 8th grade math, pre-algebra, or algebra.  Where do you think she's appropriately placed academically?  Motivation-wise?

 

She can be VERY motivated in the right circumstances.  Her CogAT testing was over three years ago, and i wouldn't be surprised to see her Quantitative score be dramatically higher, were she to take the test now.  I have to find out more about the system(s) her district uses to teach math, but I do know that she ended up skipping 6th grade math (and probably got a couple of questions wrong on her state-wide testing this year).  One question that I'm going to ask the counselor at the middle school is if she could do 8th grade math over the summer, to then be advanced next year to algebra or whatever (can you tell math is not my thing, but my husband's?)

 

If she's bored, asking for more, and wants to go into the STEM fields (science, technology, enegineering, math), then talk to the school about ways to allow her to go faster and deeper in the math.  That might mean allowing her to skip a year, or putting her with a classroom of kids who are similarly inclined with a teacher who challenges kids.

 

She does want to go into the STEM fields - she absolutely adores geology and astronomy, but shows great interest in other areas like computers and chemistry.  And you HAVE to be advanced/good at math to succeed in those fields!  I'm hoping, especially if she can work through 8th grade math this summer, that they will advance her to the next level, essentially placing her 2 grades ahead.  I'll have to find out how willing they are to make the accomodations you suggest.

 

 

If she's not asking for more, then she's not going to perform well when it gets harder due to the faster pace or missing little bits. 

 

While she isn't articulating the need, her attitude and behavior speaks volumes about this.  After taking some things out of her diet a few years ago, a lot of her negative, intense emotions and behaviors diminished greatly.  Now this year, same diet, some of the negative stuff is back (and this is not impeding pueberty talking either!), and I attributed that to lack of challenge.
 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaimom View Post

Well, I guess my answer is a little bit different than pp's.

 

Of course you want your dd to be happy and kind.  But school-wise, I think you definitely want to make sure she's met at her level.

 

Yes!  I can see the (not-so-good) after effects of this with DH with his school experience.

 

My son has been really unhappy in his gifted magnet school this year and we ended up doing testing and found out he's PG.  That is tremendous information for us, as now we know that even in his HGT classes, he's just not getting what he needs.  

 

We're in the process of working with the school to figure out additional challenges for him next year.  It looks like he's going to get a mentor to work with him a couple of times a week on a passion project that will take the entire year.  He is beyond thrilled.  And even though we haven't shared the results of the testing with him --at all-- he knows we're focussing on making sure he's adequately challenged, so he's started advocating for himself.  He recently told me that he really wants to work at a faster pace in math and he's wondering if there's anyway he can do an online curriculum.  I didn't even know he knew about that possibility, but he's giving it some thought and is just plain tired of being bored.  So I'm also going to look into an online course for him-- he even wants to start over the summer.  If the school can't or won't make enough accommodations, we feel that we have enough information about him now that we're comfortable pulling him out of school several days a week so that he can pursue his learning passions. Without testing, we would not have even considered such an option.

 

I am hoping that there can be some give and take with the school about necessary changes.  I think supplementing with online classes is something I'm going to look into.

 

In short, my answer is to get some testing done.  Then you'll know the level of giftedness and the areas in which your dd should be especially challenged.   My son was really depressed earlier this year, and that's why we started the testing process and I'm so glad we did.  But I'm also disappointed in myself that I didn't have more information earlier.

 

Yes, this is the main reason I want further testing.  While I don't want to get hung up on numbers, I feel it is essential  to get this infomation so that I am able to help her get what she needs!  And I too am kicking myself that I didn't pull the trigger on further testing sooner.

 

 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

 

 

I can envision a number of reasons to do testing. But the OPs dd has already been tested twice, and the question is really about pushing to find the limits of her academic level. As tempting as it is to think that testing can reveal that, I don't think it can very often -- or at least it hasn't in her dd's case. 

 

Miranda

 

Just to be clear, I mean to have her tested one-on-one with a psychologist who specializes in testing gifted youth.  Specifically, I want to have her IQ tested, because as I have come to understand, if you child is HG or PG, their schooling needs are quite different, and if this is the case for DD, I'll really need to find a different solution/school for her to attend, because it'll be very unlikely, even with great flexibility, that the school will be able to accomodate her learning needs.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pickle18 View Post

You just described me as a kid almost perfectly! smile.gif  My DS is only 12 months, so I have no experience on this as a parent (yet? He shares many of those same traits with his mama! winky.gif) but have boatloads as a gifted kid.  My opinion is kind of a combination of PPs above.

 

I am very glad you are taking the initiative to get your daughter proper testing and placements.  I was consistently in gifted classes, got a full ride to college and law school - and I was never, ever truly challenged.  I was the college kid who stayed out partying all night until dawn, crammed for 20 min. and got an A on the test - when all my classmates studied for weeks.  I was the kid who turned in a 20-page paper I hammered out in less than an hour, and had teachers begging me to switch my major to English and asking to enter it into writing contests (which of course I didn't' allow, because I knew I hadn't even tried).  It was extremely frustrating and depressing.  I would hide out in the library trying to find something new, different, and challenging.

 

Yep, I want to avoid this for my DD.

 

I am not writing this to make myself sound like a smarty-pants - I am writing it in a plea to please, please, make sure your daughter is challenged and doesn't go through that!  I used to get papers back from teachers - marked with one or two typos, and the rest accolades.  That was NOT helpful - no matter what a person's ability level, they need to be pushed - they need to be challenged - they need to learn how they can improve and grow. 

 

I agree, and I am concerned that she already sees things that take effort as frustrating, and she just gives up.   I'm concerned that she is equating school sucess/good grades = to innate ability, NOT effort, which is a dangerous place to live.  She will hit challenges, and how she learns now will impact how she handles these challenges/frustrations in the future. 

 

That said...one of the first things that struck me about your post is you don't mention how your daughter feels about her current/future placements in her subjects (particularly math).  How does your daughter feel?  Is she interested in accelerated math?  What subjects does she like?  Is she happy with her academics?

 

She talks about being frustrated in math right now - she picks up the concepts easily, and it bothers her to have those concepts repeated over and over when she just wants to move on.  It's hard to describe, but I know she is just coasting (in every subject, not just math), not putting forth much effort most of the time, and doesn't seem to have/show much joy for what she is experiencing at school.  It just seems to be  someplace she has to go, although she has some great friends (most are other gifted kids she is grouped with), and she enjoys the social part of school.  Nose in a book on the way to school, reluctantly stops reading to get out of the car to go into school, nose in a book the minute her but hits the seat in the car.  And in some of our recent talks, she has talked about not wanting to appear "smart"; she says she is embarrassed when a teacher or student acknowledges something exceptional that she has done at school.  I want her to feel happy and successful in those situations, not embarrassed.  I think this again points to how she thinks about learning - that her "successes" are because of innate ability, and not effort on her part, so nothing to be "proud" about.

 

Let me tell you - I could have done more in math and science, my teachers knew it - but it was just flat out not my passion.  Just because your daughter *could* achieve more in her classes does not mean she needs to or even should.  Let her have a couple classes that are just for breathing room, if she prefers.  She can't give 100% to everything.  Letting her take a few easy courses doesn't mean she won't reach her "potential" - it gives her the space to focus on and excel in the areas she loves most - and to be a well-rounded human being. thumb.gif  It also gives her time for extracurriculars, socializing, etc. instead of being too bogged down in homework for all her subjects (as fun as homework can be...there is more to life!).  

 

Yes, I agree with this.  STEM is her interest, although she loves to read, and loves to write.  Right now, she has all the time in the world for her extra-ciriculars and socializing.  I just need to help her find more challenge, while preserving some of the down time.

 

Good luck!  I hope you find the balance that works best for your daughter - just please make sure she is very involved in all the decision making.

 

Yes, I have been talking to her about this, but I think I might be verging on repeating myself, causing her to tune me out.  I'm turing to this forum to seek imput from those of you who've BTDT, for yourselves and/or your kids.

 

ETA: Disregard the errors in this post, please - chasing a one year old!

 

 Thanks for the feedback, it's giving me things to think about. 

post #8 of 21
With the details you've included and her motivation, I'd push to have her on a track that will get her to calculus by the time she graduates from high school. I'd start there with the councilor, and back up with the achievement scores to get her on that track for next year. Tell her that a professor of geophysics & undergrad major advisor at a major public university tells you that undergraduate geology and astronomy students are most successful if they have calculus before college.

Ask that she take an algebra readiness test if you meet resistance. Have her study ahead of time to ensure she aces it. From what you say, I bet she does.

My experience is that once you get the middle school level, achievement testing holds a lot more sway than cognitive scores.

Details on the need to learn to confront challenge and perservere through things as they get hard is a supporting argument,.


(on ipad with no spell check)
post #9 of 21

 

I agree, and I am concerned that she already sees things that take effort as frustrating, and she just gives up.   I'm concerned that she is equating school sucess/good grades = to innate ability, NOT effort, which is a dangerous place to live.  She will hit challenges, and how she learns now will impact how she handles these challenges/frustrations in the future. 

 

YES - this was me, exactly.  It is a hard place to be in.  Everyone thinks a kid knowing that they are "smart" should be a confidence booster - but it's a double-edged sword, because when you try something new, you feel like you should be able to master it immediately because you're so "smart" and so many things come so easily - and it's easy to get frustrated and give up.  I used to feel like a total failure whenever I encountered something difficult - I didn't know how to deal with it well at all. You don't want her categorically dismissing subjects or skills because she didn't master them immediately.  

 

It's odd, isn't it?  How the very talent (for lack of a better word) that could led her to conquer multiple fields has the potential for constricting her.

 

She talks about being frustrated in math right now - she picks up the concepts easily, and it bothers her to have those concepts repeated over and over when she just wants to move on.  It's hard to describe, but I know she is just coasting (in every subject, not just math), not putting forth much effort most of the time, and doesn't seem to have/show much joy for what she is experiencing at school.  It just seems to be  someplace she has to go, although she has some great friends (most are other gifted kids she is grouped with), and she enjoys the social part of school.  Nose in a book on the way to school, reluctantly stops reading to get out of the car to go into school, nose in a book the minute her but hits the seat in the car.  And in some of our recent talks, she has talked about not wanting to appear "smart"; she says she is embarrassed when a teacher or student acknowledges something exceptional that she has done at school.  I want her to feel happy and successful in those situations, not embarrassed.  I think this again points to how she thinks about learning - that her "successes" are because of innate ability, and not effort on her part, so nothing to be "proud" about.

 

Thanks!  This was alot more background, so it gives a more clear picture.  I definitely think she needs your help to find a better spot for her.  Also, I still struggle with the embarassment factor!  I think you nailed it - once she can learn to use her innate abilities as a starting point, and stretch her comfort zone through effort, she will feel more comfortable - because then, she will be "doing something." thumb.gif (in fact, I hadn't quite put that together myself - thanks!)

post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

With the details you've included and her motivation, I'd push to have her on a track that will get her to calculus by the time she graduates from high school. I'd start there with the councilor, and back up with the achievement scores to get her on that track for next year. Tell her that a professor of geophysics & undergrad major advisor at a major public university tells you that undergraduate geology and astronomy students are most successful if they have calculus before college.
Ask that she take an algebra readiness test if you meet resistance. Have her study ahead of time to ensure she aces it. From what you say, I bet she does.
My experience is that once you get the middle school level, achievement testing holds a lot more sway than cognitive scores.
Details on the need to learn to confront challenge and perservere through things as they get hard is a supporting argument,.
(on ipad with no spell check)

 

 thumbsup.gif  Thank you for this!  This definitely gives me something concrete to discuss with the counselor tomorrow.  Do you or does anyone else have suggestions for websites/workbooks to help her to a) figure out what concepts she currently knows and b) prepare her for taking algebra.  I will ask the school specifics about their math program, and if there is any work (like books, workbooks) that they recommend. 

 

Can you think of other topics of conversation/questions to ask (i.e. what would you all ask if you were in my shoes)?

post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pickle18 View Post

 

I agree, and I am concerned that she already sees things that take effort as frustrating, and she just gives up.   I'm concerned that she is equating school sucess/good grades = to innate ability, NOT effort, which is a dangerous place to live.  She will hit challenges, and how she learns now will impact how she handles these challenges/frustrations in the future. 

 

YES - this was me, exactly.  It is a hard place to be in.  Everyone thinks a kid knowing that they are "smart" should be a confidence booster - but it's a double-edged sword, because when you try something new, you feel like you should be able to master it immediately because you're so "smart" and so many things come so easily - and it's easy to get frustrated and give up.  I used to feel like a total failure whenever I encountered something difficult - I didn't know how to deal with it well at all. You don't want her categorically dismissing subjects or skills because she didn't master them immediately.  

 

It's odd, isn't it?  How the very talent (for lack of a better word) that could led her to conquer multiple fields has the potential for constricting her.

 

She talks about being frustrated in math right now - she picks up the concepts easily, and it bothers her to have those concepts repeated over and over when she just wants to move on.  It's hard to describe, but I know she is just coasting (in every subject, not just math), not putting forth much effort most of the time, and doesn't seem to have/show much joy for what she is experiencing at school.  It just seems to be  someplace she has to go, although she has some great friends (most are other gifted kids she is grouped with), and she enjoys the social part of school.  Nose in a book on the way to school, reluctantly stops reading to get out of the car to go into school, nose in a book the minute her but hits the seat in the car.  And in some of our recent talks, she has talked about not wanting to appear "smart"; she says she is embarrassed when a teacher or student acknowledges something exceptional that she has done at school.  I want her to feel happy and successful in those situations, not embarrassed.  I think this again points to how she thinks about learning - that her "successes" are because of innate ability, and not effort on her part, so nothing to be "proud" about.

 

Thanks!  This was alot more background, so it gives a more clear picture.  I definitely think she needs your help to find a better spot for her.  Also, I still struggle with the embarassment factor!  I think you nailed it - once she can learn to use her innate abilities as a starting point, and stretch her comfort zone through effort, she will feel more comfortable - because then, she will be "doing something." thumb.gif (in fact, I hadn't quite put that together myself - thanks!)

 

Thanks for your insight! I think she does need to get a few challenging situations under her belt that she works through and comes out successful on the other side!  And that's neat that you made that connection.

 

It's nice to think that I am understanding her and her needs for the future (and not just in schooling either).  I guess all MY schooling is paying off ;-P

post #12 of 21

Thank you!  You are a great mom!!! thumb.gif  I don't know that I have anything else to add, other than that calculus before college sounds completely doable to me - it's what I did, for whatever that is worth - and I'm sure Geofizz (who is much more qualified to speak to this than me!) is right that it's a big advantage.  Good luck!

post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 

So I met with the MS counselor today. Overall, I think it went as well as I could have expected.  After talking for a while about the kind of person/student my DD is (and after looking at my DD's statewide testing scores), she was the first to present the idea of having her take an Algebra readiness test.  She sent one home with me for my DD to take, and after my DH looked at it, he remarked, "There is only one thing that she doesn't already know".  If she gets at least an 80 on it, she will consult with the Algebra teacher to see if an Algebra placement is the right way to go.  Although if she completely aces it, there should be no doubt about her placement (and they offer 4 Algebra classes at the MS).  And the counselor didn't bat an eye when I said that given her STEM track interest, my DD needs to complete Calculus by the end of HS.  (Thank you Geofizz for your information!  And as you can see, it was VERY helpful!  As someone who is "in the know" in the

field(s) of (some of) my DD's interests,  any pearls of wisdom or suggestions on how to support my daughter with her interests?)

 

The MS principal (former math teacher) came in for part of the meeting, and was a little less enthusiastic about accelerating her as much, sharing his personal story of following that same path with one of his daughters, but thinking she needed more time to grow cognitively.  But he agreed with the MS counselor and me that having her take the readiness test to give us concrete information about where she is was a good idea.

 

As for the rest of the class placements, since she has been identified as gifted, she automatically gets placed in honors classes.  But depending how the recent RIFs handed down and enrollment numbers pan out, there could be a situation that they need to have mixed classes of honor students and regular students in the same class, but clustering groups of gifted kids together.  She's had that in Elementary School, and it worked well in the multiage classes, but not so much in 6th grade, so I'm not too fond of that possibility.  And the projected number of students in the classes are looking to be about 33.  Not too fond of that either.  But most of the teaching staff has been at the school for quite some time (with great academic success, at least by state-wide testing scores, and as designated by the state).

 

On a brighter note, the topics that get covered in 7th grade science are very geology and astronomy heavy, and the teacher at the school who is tagged as the gifted "consultant" is a science teacher, with a strong background in geology.  And this same teacher takes some of the advanced/gifted kids and mentors the students' given "passion" project.  I really have to have a talk with DD about what her "passion" project might be.   

 

Our school district is doing the best they can, but they are small (in an affluent area, but with a population that keeps voting down various bonds), and all of the cuts really hurt.  But as I'm cautiously optimistic, and as I don't really feel I have too many other viable, realistic alternatives,  I'm going to have her go there.  I have a feeling I'm going to become my DD's teachers new best friend.    I really hope that I can work with the school to make DD's MS experience interesting and challenging, and that it will prepare her well for HS and beyond.

 

And I'm still going to go ahead and have DD tested further. 

post #14 of 21

Yay!

 

There are lots of algebra readiness tests online.  I'd just have her practice on a few, help her learn topics that might be gaps, and give her the test.

 

As for developing interests:

 

Look for Expanding Your Horizons in your area.  Hopefully you have one and it hasn't passed yet for the year.

Stick with Girl Scouts through high school.  Girls going into the STEM fields need every ounce of self confidence and leadership skills they can get.

Contact the Geology, Physics (where astronomy is housed), and Chemistry departments at ASU and ask to be put on their outreach email lists.  They should have occasional open houses, guest lectures for the public, "roof nights" or other astronomy activities, etc.  Look for outdoor ed summer camps that will focus on geology and astronomy.
 

She's doing all the right things, and she's lucky to have a mom looking out for her!

post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

Yay!

 

There are lots of algebra readiness tests online.  I'd just have her practice on a few, help her learn topics that might be gaps, and give her the test.

 

As for developing interests:

 

Look for Expanding Your Horizons in your area.  Hopefully you have one and it hasn't passed yet for the year.

Stick with Girl Scouts through high school.  Girls going into the STEM fields need every ounce of self confidence and leadership skills they can get.

Contact the Geology, Physics (where astronomy is housed), and Chemistry departments at ASU and ask to be put on their outreach email lists.  They should have occasional open houses, guest lectures for the public, "roof nights" or other astronomy activities, etc.  Look for outdoor ed summer camps that will focus on geology and astronomy.
 

She's doing all the right things, and she's lucky to have a mom looking out for her!

 

I'll look for some tests online, that's a great idea. I'm going to give her a couple of days to recouperate from her GS camping trip this weekend.

 

And thanks for the great ideas about how to support her. She plans on staying in GS for at least two more years; we both LOVE her leaders, and she is good friends with the girs in her troop. As to the benefit of being in GS, she had a tremendous growth opportunity this weekend while camping with her troop and other troops. One of the activities was a high ropes course. I guess she had a bit of a panic when it came to climbing the tree to get the the line. But apparently she dug deep and found her courage to complete the task! Her only other experience like that was climbing what is called the "7 Peaks of Phoenix" last summer with her daddy and a group of other adults. She kept wanting to quit before reaching each peak, but perservered and finished anyways. Both of these were great for her understanding that you need to keep trying, even when you aren't sure you can finish.  It wasn't in the academic setting, but it still applies.

 

I will contact the various departments at ASU, I don't know why I didn't think of it! I should have, given I have been going to various Parent Seminars associated with ASU (they have a Young Scholars Academy), and AAGT.

 

And I have found a week long astronomy camp through U of A (http://astronomycamp.org/information.html ) that she would LOVE, but you have to be at least 13 year old to attend, and it costs something like $1000 (YIKES!), so we'll have to plan ahead to make it possible for next year (thank goodness for generous and supportive aunts, uncles and grandparents.....).

 

Unfortunately we missed the Expanding Your Horizons conferences for our area. But now that I'm aware that they exist, I'll keep them in mind for the future.

 

Thanks for all the support!  It's sometimes hard to know what to do, how much to push the system (and to a small degree, the child).  I want her to thrive in all ways, but I think the path to that is through finding her passion and supporting that.  Finding the middle ground/balance is tricky; thank goodness I have this forum to go to for support/help. 

post #16 of 21

Wow, that camp sounds fabulous.  For $1000, though, wowee.  I had to pay for half the stuff I went on like that when I was a kid.  I saved every penny of babysitting money for years to fund my 7th grade outdoor ed trip, 8th grade DC trip, my high school Girl Scout Wider Op, and my year abroad as an exchange student after high school. 
 

Most departments at larger universities have an "outreach" email list.  Smaller colleges probably have a college-wide list.  You just have to know they exist.  I only know about them because I run one! 

 

Wow, that's cool, though.  Hmmm, DD will be 13 in 4 years...

post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by oaksie68 View Post


I will contact the various departments at ASU, I don't know why I didn't think of it! I should have, given I have been going to various Parent Seminars associated with ASU (they have a Young Scholars Academy), and AAGT.

 

 

http://outreachcollege.arizona.edu/ec2k/catalog_youth.asp?heading_id=200

post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 

(

Quote:

 

Those classes look AWESOME!  There are definitely a few of those that DD would love to do!  But we are either going to be out of town (especially in July, it's HOT in AZ), or having guests.  And they are in Tucson, which is about 2 to 2 1/2 hours from where I live.  But I'm going to watch for these classes for next year, and maybe do a "staycation" in Tucson. 

 

A while ago I found a link to ASU's summer kid's classes, http://community.asu.edu/summer/ which also look great!  They don't know if any are going to work out this year (and I'd dread the drive about an hour, each way - and waiting, but I'll have to suck it up....).

 

I did sign her up for a CSI class at the local (closer) community college - she's looking forward to that.

post #19 of 21

This is a bit late, but I'll chime in with my 2nd daughter's experiences in math  She actually wants to be a writer, but she HATED math through most of elementary school and thought she was bad at it.  She had an awesome 5th grade teacher who kept giving her and some other students as much as they would take of math, finished the 6th grade book, and plunged into 7th grade math.  Her assessment passed the algebra assessment at the end of 5th grade, and she has been doing GREAT in algebra I through 6th grade this year.  She really, really, really likes it, and feels challenged at her true level.  The math dept was very tentative, and we had to really be "those parents" to make it happen, as the 5th grade teacher had been burned by the math dept at the middle school but he encouraged us to push for it.

 

She has really enjoyed being challenged, and has done all the homework, and really is understanding everything.  I hope that she is doing ok cognitively; we really won't know until she hits 9th or 10th grade, but so far she is doing great.  We talk about STEM topics a lot around here; dh is a physicist, I have a biology degree, and lots of fun stuff all the time.  :)

post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekka View Post

This is a bit late, but I'll chime in with my 2nd daughter's experiences in math  She actually wants to be a writer, but she HATED math through most of elementary school and thought she was bad at it.  She had an awesome 5th grade teacher who kept giving her and some other students as much as they would take of math, finished the 6th grade book, and plunged into 7th grade math.  Her assessment passed the algebra assessment at the end of 5th grade, and she has been doing GREAT in algebra I through 6th grade this year.  She really, really, really likes it, and feels challenged at her true level.  The math dept was very tentative, and we had to really be "those parents" to make it happen, as the 5th grade teacher had been burned by the math dept at the middle school but he encouraged us to push for it.

 

She has really enjoyed being challenged, and has done all the homework, and really is understanding everything.  I hope that she is doing ok cognitively; we really won't know until she hits 9th or 10th grade, but so far she is doing great.  We talk about STEM topics a lot around here; dh is a physicist, I have a biology degree, and lots of fun stuff all the time.  :)

 

That's great that she had such a supportive and flexible teacher!  We'll see what happens after she takes her Algebra readiness test.  If she gets moved to Algebra (more like when), we'll see how she does with that.  Don't know what the MS will do if she needs further acceleration.  I guess I'll have to become "that parent" :-D.

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