Yes they can, but do they have too? (or) Working up to their potential and asynchronicity, when to push? - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 29 Old 08-01-2009, 10:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If you know your child has the potential do you push them to attain it?
How do you handle the disparity between their interests and capabilities versus motivation and drive?
At what point do you ask them to take more responsibility over their own education?

These are the questions that are being rumbled between DH and I and I'm wondering what your thoughts are.

In our case we have an 8 year old who loves math and science. She is quick with numbers, has some math based ocd's, has always seemed to 'just get it' and is bored with math in school. She has been the top performer in her class but started showing some logical underachievement this past school year (2nd grade). DH and I are gearing up for a meeting the second week of August with the school to discuss math and her response to boredom at our request. We've been musing much about her potential and capabilities versus her own motivation and how much we should be driving her.

Basically, if your child has an interest in something but lacks the personal motivation (read: she's only 8) to follow through do you push them? I'm not a traditional educationalist, I'm a natural geeky unschooler with little vested interest on the specifics of what she knows. We're wondering if she should be driving her passions, "Hey, you wanted to learn algebra so here's the material let me know when you want to do it" or "Let's schedule a time each day to work on this". I think much of this has to do with asynchronicity.

I hope I made myself clear as I have a tendency to be very long winded and did my best to keep this short.
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#2 of 29 Old 08-01-2009, 11:32 PM
 
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We have similar issues, EXOLAX, (and in my case throw in an unschooling ideology) - it will be interesting to see where this thread goes.

Kathy
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#3 of 29 Old 08-01-2009, 11:37 PM
 
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: too. sorry.

Monica , DH :cop , DD (8) , DS1 (5) , DS2 (2/09) , and the pup
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#4 of 29 Old 08-01-2009, 11:54 PM
 
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YK, math is one of the subjects that is taught the most poorly. I wonder how much of this may have to do with the methods her teacher is using.

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#5 of 29 Old 08-02-2009, 12:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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YK, math is one of the subjects that is taught the most poorly. I wonder how much of this may have to do with the methods her teacher is using.
Our first issue is the underachievement but it directly correlates to the math work at school. I'm honestly not sure if the math is taught poorly because I'm not sure how much math she has actually learned there. I don't feel like I would be a good one to judge. They do lots of games and hands-on activities, her teacher gave her extra work for fun..,. They did EM and Singapore in 2nd grade and did testing prior to each unit to give kids at the top, enrichment, and those needing extra help, support. In theory it sounds great, it was just never challenging for DD. I do feel like they fill in some of the gaps she was missing on her own and it's reinforcing a good foundation though.

I believe the issue may simply be that she's managed to get as far as she has on her own by learning through living but she has come to a point where those opportunities are not built into our daily lives. Now that I'm thinking about it she said last year very genuinely that math was always review to her, so much so that she figured there wasn't anything more to learn about math. She definitely needs direction, and we're offering it to her but we've reached that 'text book' point though. I'm not creative enough to go beyond fractions, multiplication and division while cooking. She loves to learn, but I guess we all (myself included) need to work up the motivation to get formal about it. Why am I so reluctant to do that? She wants to be challenged and should be! She begs for it but she doesn't seek it out on her own unless we setup the environment for her. If she wants it so badly why isn't she driving herself? I don't want to push her but we're up against a wall.
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#6 of 29 Old 08-02-2009, 01:16 AM
 
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I think it's asking a lot of a child to be able to orchestrate their own educational experience. They don't know how elementary and secondary learning fit in with the overall distribution of academic disciplines--how could they? We do, often, know, or we know how to find out more about any given subject. So why do we expect that simply setting a book out on the table or in the bookshelf should be enough to inspire them to set up their own learning schedule, complete with practice on difficult items. By the very definition, novices lack the expertise to direct their own learning. We should not demand that gifted children somehow overcome their novice status simply because they are gifted.

For me, Shinichi Suzuki's book Ability Development from Age Zero changed the way that I viewed the development of potential. (link here). It's geared toward musical pedagogy, but it applies to every academic discipline--it's only through example, discipline, practice, and ultimately the strength of the primary relationship that children learn to develop their enormous inner potential. Choosing a curriculum that will fit the student, learning it oneself, setting aside a time to teach it every day, and insisting on discipline and practice are much more difficult than simply buying a resource and leaving it in the child's path, but ultimately they build structures that are longer lasting than a passing "interest" in a low level of an academic discipline.
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#7 of 29 Old 08-02-2009, 01:17 AM
 
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I guess my answer is no, they don't have to. Eldest dd is 15 very gifted in piano. She's at the point where in order to continue serious study of piano she needs to be spending at least 2-3 hours a day at it, plus pursuing theory, harmony, history and analysis of music. She really just wants to drop it; she hasn't been motivated for a couple of years and has been coasting along with minimal improvement for more than a year, practicing maybe an hour a week. She's on the point of dropping it, with my blessing and encouragement. Just because she clearly has the potential for a performance career in piano doesn't mean she has to pursue that track, IMO.

I'm of the belief that we all have a ton more potential than we really ever tap into, even non-gifted folk. So the idea of "living up to your potential" is as unrealistic as "always doing your best." No one ever truly does. Life's all about prioritizing time, energy and interests. That's natural and normal.

I do think it's important that kids get to experience really applying themselves to something over a long-term period ... to learn what it is to commit, to rise to challenge, to grapple with things that are difficult at first, to weather a few bumps along the road and emerge with renewed motivation, to reap the rewards of persistence and diligence. But I think it's just fine if that something is martial arts, or starting a small business, or programming C++, or violin, rather than math or writing.

If my child was engaged in something that seemed it was giving him that experience with long-term challenge and persistence, and was currently enduring a little frustration or loss of motivation, in that case I might push -- or "creatively support" -- him to stick with it. I'd say "You've invested a lot in this already, and most of the time you feel good about it and get a lot that's positive from it. Let's see if we can work together to fix what's getting in the way of your enjoyment these days."

But merely because my child seems to have the ability to excel in an area? No, I would never push for that reason.

Miranda

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#8 of 29 Old 08-02-2009, 06:07 AM
 
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I do agree with Miranda that it isn't absolutely necessary to work up to potential. However, I always felt that I did not work up to potential myself and though I am not really unhappy about it I do sometimes wish there had been a bit more of a "push".

Anyway, maybe your dd just needs some inspiration/a reason for wanting to move on to harder math on her own accord. What I mean by that is that maybe instead of "making" her work in a textbook etc. you could find some fun activities that will make her "need" new math skills. I realize that isn't quite that easy as I have to admit that I never need calculus in my daily life (luckily as I was horrible at it!)

I am not quite sure where your dd is at in math but some possible ideas might be:

- Some constructions (bridges?) if she is interested in that kind of thing as presumably you could use some higher math skills for that (sorry for being vague -and possibly wrong - I am definitely not an engineer)

- Statistics seems to be one math area that does have lots of practical use (and I do use that all the time as I love to plan and would like to know how likely some future event is)

- Geometry - Could be used if you have to buy new wallpaper, lay carpet, plan a garden etc.

Not sure if any of this might be helpful. Still, my approach would probably to try to get her interested in some new concept (eg geometry) and then let her take off on her own (or not).
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#9 of 29 Old 08-02-2009, 10:24 AM
 
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You could ask her:

"hey, if mommy bought some cool math books - would you like to work through them together?"

If she is agreeable - I would go for it.

If she is not agreeable, or does not learn best from books, I would research and present to her opportunity in lines with her interest. Chess clubs, lego leagues http://www.usfirst.org/community/fll/, math clubs, camps etc come to mind.

-----------

I do not think people have to pursue all interests. Some gifted people do specialise in one area, but I think many gifted people tend to hop from interest to interest. Indeed "wide range of interests" is often listed as a characteristic of giftedness. I think there is a bit of cultural pressure to have a specialty - but that is not how all gifted people are wired. I do not think it was always this way - the ancient Greeks (I think. Must look up!) loved the idea of academia (which they saw as being good at many things) over specialisation.

I also think many people tend to cycle through interests over a life time. Even if she doesn not focus on math now does not mean she won't later.

I do think some the lessons you can learn from being challenged are really important. On the other hand, I think avoiding power struggles in learning is equally important.

One thing you can do, regardless of your DD's temperment and inclinations, is model doing hard things. Let her know you get frustrated, persevere, problems solve and move on.

Soemtimes kids are afraid to take on new things out of perfectionism (they need to get it perfect or they won't do it). Model lack of perfectionism while you are at.

Good luck!

Kathy
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#10 of 29 Old 08-02-2009, 11:10 AM
 
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Originally Posted by EXOLAX View Post
Now that I'm thinking about it she said last year very genuinely that math was always review to her, so much so that she figured there wasn't anything more to learn about math.
This is how math was for me. The only thing I can really remember learning (in first grade) is that negative numbers "exist." That's it. So I really sympathize. It's hard to want to work on math when it all seems so obvious. I would really recommend posing some fun problems for her to solve on her own, with help from you or other sources only if she asks for it. There are a number of websites you can find that have these sorts of problems. And if she tries to figure out a problem and realizes that she cannot do it with the math she knows now, it may really motivate her to want to learn more. And it may give you some insight into how far ahead she really is.

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I think it's asking a lot of a child to be able to orchestrate their own educational experience. They don't know how elementary and secondary learning fit in with the overall distribution of academic disciplines--how could they? We do, often, know, or we know how to find out more about any given subject. So why do we expect that simply setting a book out on the table or in the bookshelf should be enough to inspire them to set up their own learning schedule, complete with practice on difficult items. By the very definition, novices lack the expertise to direct their own learning. We should not demand that gifted children somehow overcome their novice status simply because they are gifted.
This is really counter to my experience. Certainly there are subjects in which I am so much a novice that if I wanted to learn about them I would need a mentor. But in most areas in which I am a novice I could certainly direct my own learning. And even if I did need a mentor, I would not need that mentor to schedule my time for me. I think you are reading a lot into the definition of "novice" that really does not belong there.

Likewise, my DD is only 3 but if she wants to learn about a subject, she is certainly capable of using the resources at her disposal to learn about it. Sometimes she uses me as a resource. Sometimes she uses a book. Sometimes she uses the computer. Certainly our children rely on us to expose them to a wide variety of topics. But I absolutely do not see the necessity in scheduling a motivated child's time, whether the child is gifted or not. My DD taught herself to read without my scheduling any time. Why would I assume that she could not teach herself algebra (as I did) or physics (as I did) or how to paint with oils (as I did)?
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#11 of 29 Old 08-02-2009, 11:37 AM
 
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Reread post.

They are using both EM and Singapore?!?

EM is spiral and singapore is mastery - talk about confusing!

Which one did she use more?

My own inclination for most gifted children is that they should use a mastery program such as singapore. Spiral and incremental programs are too slow, too heavy on the review and are straight up boring for many gifted kids.
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#12 of 29 Old 08-02-2009, 12:22 PM
 
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Motivation/pushing aside, you may want to consider getting her the Murderous Maths series which have been quite popular with mathematical kids.

http://www.murderousmaths.co.uk/

They are read-only character-based books introducing and explaining maths concepts and tricks. The mathematical child will be able to pick up a lot from the series and it's not more "work".

If she wants to work further on a concept, you can then help her get the relevant materials.

Back to motivation/pushing, tricky one, since not all children desire to achieve or may show inclination to pursue an area in which they have an aptitude. For me, I basically distinguish between what DS1 loves, what he's good at, and what he should know. Things he should know, he HAS to make time for. Things he loves are left lying around the house for him to access freely, and I will make time for it on a regular basis if it's something he needs an adult's collaboration. Things he's good at (but interest waxes and wanes) are also easily accessible, and I would ask him every now and then if he wants me to work with him on something, or say I want to do it and I want him to do it with ME. Sometimes I will combine the things, e.g. art with language, maths with construction.

But he's only 5. As he gets older, I would expect him to meet certain expectations, but how far he wants to go in exceeding the expectations will be up to him. He may prefer to put those energies in something non-academic.
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#13 of 29 Old 08-02-2009, 12:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of the comments. It's adding to our global discussion at home about overall potential, achievement and desire. I don't want to harp on the math as I think this is a global issue but it does serve as a good example.

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Reread post.
They are using both EM and Singapore?!?
EM is spiral and singapore is mastery - talk about confusing!
Which one did she use more?
It is interesting. The primary model is EM and they supplement in class with Singapore. In the 3 day/week enrichment pullout it's not EM at all but a conglomeration of materials from other sources that are in theme with the primary EM unit. Her interest waxes and wanes depending on the primary EM unit. She is less interested (ie, doesn't have time for it) when the unit is on telling time or money, a little more interested in geometry and passionate about algebra, fractions and higher level equations. She's all about the numbers.
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#14 of 29 Old 08-02-2009, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Back to motivation/pushing, tricky one, since not all children desire to achieve or may show inclination to pursue an area in which they have an aptitude. For me, I basically distinguish between what DS1 loves, what he's good at, and what he should know. Things he should know, he HAS to make time for. Things he loves are left lying around the house for him to access freely, and I will make time for it on a regular basis if it's something he needs an adult's collaboration. Things he's good at (but interest waxes and wanes) are also easily accessible, and I would ask him every now and then if he wants me to work with him on something, or say I want to do it and I want him to do it with ME. Sometimes I will combine the things, e.g. art with language, maths with construction.
Thanks, you've saved me lots of typing because this is what we have done with our kids at home. We have a house rich in materials for our girls to explore and we follow a similar model to the above. They have free access to many resources, activities, games etc. and they will choose them independently. Many of the specific suggestions on this thread we have done but with our 8 year old we are too a point where her expressed wishes don't seem to meet her internal drive, but should they be balanced?

We purchased the "Hands on Equations" kit for her thanks to chatter here about it after we saw her doing algebra on her own. She has free access to it, excels at it (intuited the first 6 or so lessons without any explanation) and really enjoys it. She only works on it if I or DH asks if she wants too and then not always. She keeps challenging math workbooks in the car to do for fun and will occasionally work on some in the morning before I wake up (she's an early riser, I am not ) so she is motivated and self driven. Throughout the summer she has maintained an expressed love for maths and still complains about it being boring at school. She'll say "I want more challenging math work!" and DH and I are sitting here looking around our house rich in materials slightly confused.

We have no power struggles over work with her, but like I've said we are not pushing her. We feel as if we need to sit down with her and say, "We hear you want more challenging math work and we have supplied many resources for you to get that. If you really want to do it you need to make it a priority and set a goal for yourself. We will help facilitate that for you in any way we can.". It seems like an obvious answer to the issue, but she's only 8. I want her to be a kid, not push herself (she is a perfectionist), and not place herself in some little box surrounded by labels. I am reluctant in part because I do not want to start pushing her. Other then the obvious, I don't think an 8 year old 'needs' to learn algebra. FWIW this is the conversation we plan to have with her.
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#15 of 29 Old 08-02-2009, 02:38 PM
 
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Advanced math may be something that she kind of wants to do and kind of doesn't want to do. I think I felt like this about the piano when I was a kid. I complained about it, saying that I didn't want to practice. I loved the lessons themselves but the drudgery of practicing was boring and maybe I wanted to do other things. But my mom said, "You have to practice 45 minutes a day or we'll stop the lessons. I'll set a timer, you'll play, and when it goes off, you can stop playing." I think I was mostly okay with that and I'm glad she made me do it because I still have decent musical abilities now, even though I go through phases of actually using them. If your DD continually complains that she isn't doing advanced math, maybe she would appreciate you insisting upon a regular schedule of math learning. If she were given an advanced math class in school, surely she'd be happy with it, right? If school can schedule her time for work that doesn't really benefit her, why shouldn't you schedule her time for work that she may really need?

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#16 of 29 Old 08-02-2009, 03:24 PM
 
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Throughout the summer she has maintained an expressed love for maths and still complains about it being boring at school. She'll say "I want more challenging math work!" and DH and I are sitting here looking around our house rich in materials slightly confused.
My Ds is like this, he very much will want to learn about a topic, but he can't (yet) organize the learning himself or get himself started (He is also 8). He has trouble with transitions between activities also, so it's really really hard for him to get going on something. I've learned I need to schedule time where I organize the materials and ask him to come sit down and get started. Once he is started he can keep going for a long time!

"MY best interest?...How can YOU say what MY best interest is?...When I went to YOUR schools, I went to YOUR churches, I went to YOUR institutional learning facilities."-ST
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#17 of 29 Old 08-02-2009, 03:47 PM
 
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More coffee here now so perhaps I will make more sense now.

It seems like she has an expressed desire to go further with math, and the ability, and even the motivation (re: the early morning workbooks).

What she is lacking are the organizational skills and possibly the ability to see the benefit of a regular sustained application of her talents. I think this is too much to expect of an 8yo, even a gifted one, so I do think it's ok for you to be the organizer and the daily motivator.

If you clear a space (mental and physical) daily or regularly for her to pursue math, and organize the initial learning for her, always with the understanding that she can stop when she wants, that may be all that she needs. I don't see that as pushing, but facilitating the part of the learning she can't do on her own yet.

"MY best interest?...How can YOU say what MY best interest is?...When I went to YOUR schools, I went to YOUR churches, I went to YOUR institutional learning facilities."-ST
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#18 of 29 Old 08-02-2009, 06:53 PM
 
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Math, unlike reading, is hard to just do with resources unless there is guidance. Can you get some one to do it with her? Maybe a high school or college student into math.

When I was in HS I did enrichment tutoring a kid in math for a while. We did lots of fun things like playing with mobious strips.

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#19 of 29 Old 08-02-2009, 07:31 PM
 
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I do agree with Miranda that it isn't absolutely necessary to work up to potential. However, I always felt that I did not work up to potential myself and though I am not really unhappy about it I do sometimes wish there had been a bit more of a "push".
I agree with this, but you'd have to find a way to remove school from the equation. It sounds to me as though Life of Fred would be right up her alley; They might give her the push that she needs to enjoy math again. The trouble, though, is that math at school isn't going to be challenging for her without things changing significantly. I think you're on the right track meeting with someone at the school to see if they can't accelerate her in math-- sooner rather than later.

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#20 of 29 Old 08-02-2009, 11:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We've always followed our childrens' lead but now we are wondering if it is truly a passion if she is not initiating the learning. If she's not pushing herself, why should we?

It probably has more to do with her being on summer break then anything.

I like the suggestion of a math tutor. We know at DD's school the enrichment teacher tutors kids after school if they need help. DH and I have considered asking her to do the same for our DD. It's most likely not built into the curriculum so we will have to see next week.

If all else fails we may ask our 14 year old next door neighbor/babysitter to work with DD. They'd both love it actually. The neighbor came over last week after attending a week long medical prep camp. She showed us pictures and shared some of her work but was so excited to bring out 'Bob'. It was a deceased fetal sheep she'd removed from the mother and got to bring home to dissect. The kids are going over this week to help. She said she had a sheep in her bag, but I assumed it was model. I was wondering why she'd brought the box of gloves.... sorry, I digress but I now have the most bizarre pictures of each of our girls with these big smiling grins on their faces holding this tiny dead sheep.
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#21 of 29 Old 08-03-2009, 12:25 AM
 
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We've always followed our childrens' lead but now we are wondering if it is truly a passion if she is not initiating the learning. If she's not pushing herself, why should we?
When I wasn't remotely 'pushed' it felt to me as though I wasn't being encouraged at all. My mom would say, "Sure, go to the library and look it up," but that was all. I internalized the notion that it was just fine for me to coast. That's not a lesson that I particularly want my children to learn, so I intend to do things differently. This isn't to say that "I'm interested in math" will lead to math camps, cram schools, and textbooks out the yinyang but I will certainly encourage regular practice if there's a definite interest and/or talent.

(Just my opinion; YMMV. )

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#22 of 29 Old 08-03-2009, 02:57 AM
 
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When I wasn't remotely 'pushed' it felt to me as though I wasn't being encouraged at all. My mom would say, "Sure, go to the library and look it up," but that was all. I internalized the notion that it was just fine for me to coast.
(Just my opinion; YMMV. )
That was me as well. I remember I always wanted the structure and challenge to be provided from the outside in order to excel. If there wasn't external challenge after all there was always reading. So if I was interested, it was easy to assimilate huge amounts of information on a subject, but in order to achieve mastery at something that you actually DO, I feel more direction can be beneficial.

You can always try it out - wouldn't your daughter just resist if she felt pushed beyond her comfort level?

MeDH DS1 10/06 DD 08/10 DS2 10/12with SB and
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#23 of 29 Old 08-03-2009, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What she is lacking are the organizational skills and possibly the ability to see the benefit of a regular sustained application of her talents. I think this is too much to expect of an 8yo, even a gifted one, so I do think it's ok for you to be the organizer and the daily motivator.
This is where I was going. Is it a lack of organizational skills, a lack of drive, a lack of interest, or simply that she views school as the place to do traditional learning and doesn't want to do it at home.

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Originally Posted by eilonwy View Post
[color=Indigo]When I wasn't remotely 'pushed' it felt to me as though I wasn't being encouraged at all. My mom would say, "Sure, go to the library and look it up," but that was all. I internalized the notion that it was just fine for me to coast.
We're already dealing with 'coasting' issues at school so we would not want to do anything to counter the help we're trying to get her for that. You bring up a very valid point as she needs and rightly deserves the challenge but the impression she gives us is that she doesn't want it to come from home. She isn't asking us to teach her maths, she's complaining her school doesn't and she wants them too. If she were to come to me and say "I want to learn algebra" we'd sit down and do it, but she isn't asking, she's just complaining about a broken system. We're not sure if it's frustration with the system and she just wants a fix for that or if it's true interest.

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You can always try it out - wouldn't your daughter just resist if she felt pushed beyond her comfort level?
The only way we will know the answer to our own questions as above will be to do a little pushing and see how she responds. If she resists we will work on another solution for her, like a tutor, while we deal with the school. We just don't want to push a specific subject on her if it's not something she's truly passionate about. We're going to try it out and see how it goes with her. I imagine her response will give us the answer.
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#24 of 29 Old 08-03-2009, 12:50 PM
 
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[color=Indigo]When I wasn't remotely 'pushed' it felt to me as though I wasn't being encouraged at all. ]
I felt like this - a lot. I would have appreciated more direction and more "pushiness" in *some* areas.

I read through the thread quickly, and I didn't see anyone mention anything about perfectionism and how it relates to being pushed. I have to tread very carefully with ds because if I even sound a bit pushy (which is really never my intent,) he has a tendency to back way off. When he's ready, he holds the bar far higher than I would. I've learned to make suggestions and then wait to see what happens.

My philosophy is sometimes you can't even lead a horse to water, but you can point in the general direction of the drinking hole.

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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#25 of 29 Old 08-03-2009, 07:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by EXOLAX View Post



She isn't asking us to teach her maths, she's complaining her school doesn't and she wants them too. If she were to come to me and say "I want to learn algebra" we'd sit down and do it, but she isn't asking, she's just complaining about a broken system. We're not sure if it's frustration with the system and she just wants a fix for that or if it's true interest.

.
I hear you - and I feel for you.

My DS is HSed now (going into grade 8 in September, wow!), but he did go to school part time from 3-6.

There were issues at school and he did not, at the time, want to withdraw from school. He wanted me to fix them. The truth is I was unable to. I wish, I genuinely wish I could have "fixed" it for him - but I couldn't. The school did not see things the way my son and I saw things, and he did not want to transfer schools.

Anyhow, at some point in grade 6 I had to tell him - I cannot fix this. I keep trying and trying, and I will keep trying - but thus far it is not working.

It is possible that school will never be able to meet her math needs. It might be easier all round if she accept that you will try - but that meeting her needs in this area might be best done out of school.

Maybe your not there yet and maybe your school will come through for you. I hope so. Just keep this in mind in case you ever feel like you are beating your head against a wall.

Good luck!

Kathy
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#26 of 29 Old 08-04-2009, 12:18 AM
 
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It might be the case that your daughter is interested in doing more, but is also at a point where she would actually have to start working beyond her initial intuitive understanding to get further in math. She might need a more structured environment to help her to find a way to tackle the next things she needs to learn. I think the idea of either requesting enrichment in school, or finding someone mathy to give her some challenges and help her go to the next level is great.

On the other hand, she could be looking for more depth of learning, but not be sure how to express is -- are there other related things like computer programming or designing and building something that interests her, or logic puzzles or statistics that would engage her in finding more ways to use her math ability? Is there a group or club where you are that might use these skills somehow, even if it has mostly older kids or adults?

Jill , mom to Andrew (09/04), Aaron(01/07), and Emma (11/09)
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#27 of 29 Old 08-05-2009, 02:22 AM
 
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I haven't read all the responses, but if you are looking for more "real life" applications of math, you could do quilting (for geometry and trigonometry), circuit building for logic, poker for probability, or computer programming. You might need to find someone else to teach some of that stuff, or you could learn together. I'm a computer programmer and I think teaching logic (not, and, or, xor) is a big hole in the general math curriculum, and I think it is something that elementary students could grasp. Good luck!

Laura - Mom to Selena 3/2007 and Allie 5/2009
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#28 of 29 Old 08-08-2009, 11:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I haven't read all the responses, but if you are looking for more "real life" applications of math, you could do quilting (for geometry and trigonometry), circuit building for logic, poker for probability, or computer programming. You might need to find someone else to teach some of that stuff, or you could learn together. I'm a computer programmer and I think teaching logic (not, and, or, xor) is a big hole in the general math curriculum, and I think it is something that elementary students could grasp. Good luck!
Pre-momma days I did web app development w/ database integration (SQL Programming) and NT/Linux/Unix server admin. DH is a big geek too. We do lots of this stuff but it only happens if we initiate it, and then not always. We just started feeling like we were pushing and she wasn't interested even though she professed to be.
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#29 of 29 Old 08-09-2009, 12:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We had a very casual chat with DD earlier this week. We had told her we were going to her school to chat with folks there about 3rd grade and asked if there was anything she'd like us to discuss with them (she may write a letter herself for us to take in). She said she wants more challenging math and gave us some specific ideas for school.

She wants differentiated education, does not want to be accelerated to a different grade even for one subject and wants a guarantee that she will receive challenging math work. She will tolerate and do the boring/review work if she is also given challenging work which they define and hold her accountable for. She wants to go to grade level enrichment w/o having to do the unit pre-test to get in.

We told her that we will do whatever we can with the school to ensure she is challenged but also mentioned that all her educational needs/desires may not be met in school especially in the manner of her choosing. She is willing to negotiate her terms if the challenging work is present. We also discussed how there are things that some schools just aren't capable of teaching and used her Kung Fu as an example.

That said we also told her that we can challenge her at home and offer enrichment ourselves, she doesn't need to rely on school for text book education. We told her we did not want to push her into anything, but if she really wanted to learn something we would support her in anyway. She said she loves doing the algebra but most of the time when I offer she would rather do something else. She suggested that we set a time each day to work on it and on her own determined that the best time would be right after she brushed her teeth before bedtime. We agreed and offered flexibility and gave her the keys.

So it's been all week (except for one night when she had a friend sleepover) that right after brushing her teeth she has gathered up all of her algebra materials and sat down on the floor to get setup. DH or I have gone over wordlessly to help facilitate, no prompting from anyone.

I am reminded from this experience that she is different then I. She is scheduled and organized and rather inflexible. I am the opposite. While the thought of sitting down and doing algebra right before bedtime each night might give me the chills, I delight in the entire process we have gone through and thus, in doing it.

We will meet with her school on Wednesday to work on a solution on that front. We will continue to work with her at night before bed for as long as she wants and we have chatted with the neighbor about enrichment tutoring as well as DD loves that idea. Now it really sounds like overkill, but we gave her options and she is jumping on each and every one. She obviously is motivated and the desire is there: she wants DH or I to work on algebra with her and the neighbor to help her master long division. She has a plan.
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