Need help with education options for 2nd grader - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 09-29-2011, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Background: my second grade boy has been at a spanish immersion school since kindergarten.  He has never been evaluated for IQ but has had an academic assessment (privately,not through school at end of kinder) and he placed very far above grade level, some areas at grade 6.  He was a very early reader and has a natural curiosity which I have gone to great lengths to nourish.  I was very interested in homeschooling him after he had a go at kinder but husband put the kabosh on it.  He wanted to give it a good solid try before pulling him out.  One reason is that we have 3 younger boys who would be garaunteed a spot at the immersion public school, otherwise its a slim chance enrollment via lottery.  

Dh won that one.


First grade was decent.  He managed to make lots of friends.  Many of them in our neighborhood which is very nice.  He is a very social guy.  Now second grade.  I am not impressed.  The GT program is looking grim.  Meets once per week for 45 minutes (as far as I can tell, there has been no communication as to how it's all going to work). 


Here is the problem:  so far there is alot of busy work homework which my son finds very boring.  Writing and rewriting the words of the week, math worksheets that my 4 year old can do.  Not to mention reading logs for both english and spanish reading.  In a month they will have a fund raising read-a-thon where they have to log time read as well.  My son is a voracious reader by nature.  Getting the time in is not a problem.  I have a problem with all the forcing of loging time read.  It takes the joy out of it for our whole family.  I understand that some kids need this kind of homework and reading enforcement, but he certainly does not.  He is there for 6.5 hours per day.  Then more of this nonsense at home (sorry for my attitude!).  It takes away from family time and...learning time!  He learns by leaps and bounds in summer at it all comes to a screeching halt when school starts.


I'm just not feeling it.


What are my options?  Homeschooling? What else?  He is currently enrolled in EPGY open enrollment as an extra activity that he enjoys.  But, once again, time is a factor.


Interested in hearing your thoughts and if you have had a similar situation or feelings.




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#2 of 8 Old 09-29-2011, 04:22 PM
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Could you just do the reading logs for him? Even in 5th grade, my DD's teacher didn't care who did the writing on the log and I did it for my DD because she hated writing it each day.

Have you discussed the homework issue with the teacher? The beginning of the year is usually review and the teacher getting to know the kids. I'd ask for different homework.

When I talked to my DD about the reading log, she said whatever we did was fine, it wasn't really for kids like her that they did reading logs.

Also, if your son is still in immersion, I find it hard to believe that all his learning stops during the school year.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#3 of 8 Old 09-29-2011, 04:30 PM
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Oh, yeah, I can definitely relate.

Actually, I was not in any GT programs, and i never really fit in socially, so i probably had a lot more problems than you have with your son. I can understand how boring it is for him, but unless he finds some other option, it's something that you'll tolerate. You could challenge him after school and on weekends though, like quiz him on the spelling and definitions of each word and quiz him to see if he can do the math in his head- no counting on fingers or pen/paper allowed! Challenge him with writing stories, essays, etc. Teach him about varying sentence structures, etc. Maybe give him a word and see if he can come up with a creative sentence to use the word in? As for math, again.... teach him decimals, long division, etc. Anything to keep his interest on weekends etc... Oh, do you allow your son to read the newspaper? sometimes that helps w/ the stimulation issue- have him read it daily in the mornings and evenings, weekends, etc. then discuss with him what he just read- even the stock reports! OK, just kidding... Also, write down each book that he reads as soon as he finishes it. Enforce that. Also use a timer, for logging time reading.

hope this helps!
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#4 of 8 Old 09-29-2011, 04:49 PM
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Not to mention reading logs for both english and spanish reading.  In a month they will have a fund raising read-a-thon where they have to log time read as well. 



by this you mean he must write down the time spend-15 mins here 30 here?



I would first speak to the teach if it was a case of filling out a time card I would opt out (regardless of what the teacher wants) IF you can show comprehension that to me is far more meaningful.


As with the other busy work - see when the teacher plans to end that and take what you are being told and weigh your options-personally I favor HS and NO busy work at all, a log to me would simple me a list (for HS reference) and I would focus on enjoyment, comprehension and challenge-but that is me.

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#5 of 8 Old 09-29-2011, 05:18 PM
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Do they have a set amount of time that they're supposed to read? My 2nd grader is supposed to read 30 minutes a night, my 5th grader 40. (Or maybe it's 20 and 30, I forget). Then we just have to sign off that they did it. My kids read. Dd especially reads probably 2-3 hours a day. If for some reason, they don't get the 'required' amount in, we sign anyway. We only have to sign M-F, and my kids do reading every night because it's part of the bedtime routine (they read 15/20 minutes respectively, then we read aloud to them for 10-15 minutes.) On average, they get way more reading than they need (ds reads the sports page, the ESPN website, his books...). So I don't mind giving them a pass when we're out late and need to get to bed.

If you actually have to log the time, then I'd do an estimate. Maybe you can keep track roughly for him, or average out the last 3 weeks' worth and just put that number down. So, if he reads an average of 60 minutes a day, put that down. If it's 45, put that down. The teachers don't actually care what the number is! They just want to know the kids are reading. They want to instill the habit in kids who wouldn't otherwise read. Your son doesn't fit that category, so really, I think an 'estimation' will do. Sometimes, it's OK to just make up a number. (It'd be better if you did this rather than your son.)

As far as the homework, I would e-mail the teacher (if they like to communicate that way) and express your concerns in a way that makes it clear you want to work with your son's teacher to make sure your child is getting challenged. Here's the deal: 2nd grade is a "catch up" year. It's where they make sure the kids who weren't really reading by the end of first grade can read. Some kids really aren't ready before 7-8. It's where they make sure the kids know their basic number facts. It's kinda boring unless specially accommodations are made. You have a right to ask for those.

I've been in contact with dd's teacher twice this year already. In my last e-mail, one of the things that I said was "She's certainly not learning to extend herself. Her homework takes her about 3 minutes a night. I really don’t want to set her up to think she doesn’t have to work hard at school. (I’ve met far too many of those as a professor. They’re both a pain and heartbreaking.)"

Now, there's some research to show that homework in the early grades isn't all that great anyway, so if it's truly busy work, either have him do it and explain that the teacher needs to know that he knows, or talk to the teacher about him simply not doing it. Since dd's homework truly does take her 2-3 minutes, it's not a heavy drain on her time.

Right now the major thing that would keep me in the program is the fact that he's learning Spanish. If my kids could have done an immersion school I would have jumped at it in a heartbeat. But you may not feel as strongly about that part, and may want to prioritize other things.

In addition to the EPGY program, what about something like music lessons? A sport? Dd has to practice piano about 25 minutes a day, and it is definitely teaching her the value of hard work in a way that her school work currently isn't. She's also just joined a children's choir (she loves music) and takes swimming lessons. 3 activities is my limit (actually 3 days of activities is my limit. So, ds does soccer alone because it meets MW with games on Saturday.)

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#6 of 8 Old 09-30-2011, 10:22 AM
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We are 3 weeks into second grade here.  I am working on eliminating the busy work so DD doesn't have to spend any more time on stuff that isn't actually helping her learn something. 


Dd's teacher offered to give her a different spelling list starting next week, so I am hoping that means the end of those wordlist worksheets.


DD's class has to read, but in second grade they work on writing about what they read, not logging it.  So, each night she has to write the title of something she read, and then write about a character, the setting, or some other element, depending on that day's assignment. That's more useful, I think.


Early last year DD complained of not learning anything, so we came up with a learning plan for her, and we revisit and revise it as needed.  She wrote down stuff she wanted to learn, and we discussed how to go about learning those things.  It includes things such as: learn how to make brownies and pumpkin pie, how to speak Chinese, learn an instrument, sewing, swim underwater, karate, and do "complicated" math.  I wanted to add an academic subject that wouldn't conflict with school, so I picked history, and we are working on ancient history first, and I allowed DD to pick the region to study. She picked China and Ireland. We need to add "how to build a robot" to the list, as that is her current obsession....


I think the list has been very helpful. It helps us prioritize, when it seems there is no end to what she wants to learn, and over time it helps DD see that she really is learning things, even if not much of that learning takes place at school. 


I have arranged for 3 activities for DD this semester.

1- Irish dance, which requires learning/memorizing many series of steps (and requires lots of jumping up and down- great for someone with her energy!)

2- Math Circle ("designed for students who enjoy math and want the added challenge of exciting topics that are normally outside the school curriculum")

3- Viola lessons, at her school, after school.

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#7 of 8 Old 10-02-2011, 11:05 PM
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Is it possible to do partial enrollment where you are such that he could attend some classes at the school but not all of them?  So you could do English/reading/grammar at home (and whatever other subject is of serious interest to him) and the rest at the school?  In many states, it's a legal option that nobody likes to tell you or talk about.  loveeyes.gif  But doing that would keep him in the immersion environment for a portion of the day, and still hold your spot for the younger kids.

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#8 of 8 Old 10-19-2011, 06:14 AM - Thread Starter
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ThAnks for the suggestions everyone.  


Once again I find myself drawn to the idea of homeschooling. I will look into partial enrollment. 

Mama to DS1 (4/04) DS2 (HBAC 11/06) DS3 (HBAC 12/08) DS4 (HBAC 1/11). Wife to one handsome hard working DH.
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