help me advocate for my son to be accelerated for science (4th grade to 6th+ grade) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 12-09-2013, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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help me! I have been meeting and meeting and meeting, going in circles with my son's school. It is a public montessori school, and he is in a 4th/5th grade class. he has symptoms of inattention, problems planning and completing work... so we are working with a psychologist to do the full testing and get some guidance from him...

 

However, in the mean time my son is miserable at school. He does far more advanced stuff at home then he does at school and I don't know why.

 

During a meeting with the school, I asked about accelerating him for science. The administrator said, "oh could he go to Teacher X's class (5th and 6th split)." My son's teacher replied "no I would have him work with Teacher Z (who is the middle school 7th-8th science and math teacher)." So my son's teacher knows he is capable of working at a much higher level for this subject. Because he rarely finishes stuff and seems emotional and spacy for other work ... I don't now what they will do for math...

 

But has anyone successfully accelerated their child from 4th to 7th grade science? Especially a seemingly 2E child?

 

What was the process?


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#2 of 10 Old 12-09-2013, 10:31 PM
 
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I haven't accelerated within a school, but my homeschooling experience has very much been that a space cadet child will do much better in every respect with work at the correct level.

 

One question I'd have would be the output expected. I know more than one boy that age who would absolutely be able to do, and be interested in, the material and concepts, but might balk at the excessive written work expected here (very much like the recent Atlantic article, many hours of not especially challenging work). It might be helpful to confirm that the workload is not overwhelming, or at least problem-solving rather than rote, or if there can be accommodations.

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#3 of 10 Old 12-09-2013, 11:07 PM
 
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Hmm, my eldest had a two year jump in science but it was set-up differently. She had a full grade skip and then a subject acceleration in math starting 4th grade and science starting 6th grade. It really only worked because she was very organized, socially savvy and happened to be in a middle school that had 2 accelerated 8th grade science options (so she didn't have to repeat.) My youngest is a very different creature. He has major organizational and handwriting issues and while could certainly comprehend 6th grade material in 4th grade, would have struggled with the heavy, largely hand-written homework load our 6th graders get in science. In fact, he struggled with it in 6th grade. We thought he had it all figured out for 7th grade but then puberty hit and 8th grade is a struggle again. It's science specifically that he's tanking on (more so than any other class)... well, not "tanking" but dropping entirely due to missing assignments that tend to be more random.. less routine.

 

Not saying this would happen to your son. I have no real knowledge of the school nor the child in question.... just sharing our story. For us, subject acceleration worked really well for our uber organized kid... more rocky with our more scattered child. For him, being in a more accelerated school helped so that he didn't have the extra organizational stresses of switching classes, being responsible for homework for multiple teachers, ect. In-class differentiation helped as well.

 

Some else to consider... sex ed starts in 6th grade in our district. While I have no issues with a 4th grade learning about sex, I'm not sure I'd want them learning it  in that environment alongside kids several years older. It's easy enough to get excused out of it but something to watch for.

 

Again, I don't really know enough about your situation. Moving up might be perfectly sound in your own situation. 

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#4 of 10 Old 12-10-2013, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I haven't accelerated within a school, but my homeschooling experience has very much been that a space cadet child will do much better in every respect with work at the correct level.

 

One question I'd have would be the output expected. I know more than one boy that age who would absolutely be able to do, and be interested in, the material and concepts, but might balk at the excessive written work expected here (very much like the recent Atlantic article, many hours of not especially challenging work). It might be helpful to confirm that the workload is not overwhelming, or at least problem-solving rather than rote, or if there can be accommodations.


Yes, I definitely am interested in this. I think because it is a Montessori school and a mixed age classroom already that it would be fairly easy to adapt the content to not have a huge amount of output. Honestly, I think it would motivate him to do more, because it would be more interesting.


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#5 of 10 Old 12-10-2013, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmm, my eldest had a two year jump in science but it was set-up differently. She had a full grade skip and then a subject acceleration in math starting 4th grade and science starting 6th grade. It really only worked because she was very organized, socially savvy and happened to be in a middle school that had 2 accelerated 8th grade science options (so she didn't have to repeat.) My youngest is a very different creature. He has major organizational and handwriting issues and while could certainly comprehend 6th grade material in 4th grade, would have struggled with the heavy, largely hand-written homework load our 6th graders get in science. In fact, he struggled with it in 6th grade. We thought he had it all figured out for 7th grade but then puberty hit and 8th grade is a struggle again. It's science specifically that he's tanking on (more so than any other class)... well, not "tanking" but dropping entirely due to missing assignments that tend to be more random.. less routine.

 

Not saying this would happen to your son. I have no real knowledge of the school nor the child in question.... just sharing our story. For us, subject acceleration worked really well for our uber organized kid... more rocky with our more scattered child. For him, being in a more accelerated school helped so that he didn't have the extra organizational stresses of switching classes, being responsible for homework for multiple teachers, ect. In-class differentiation helped as well.

 

Some else to consider... sex ed starts in 6th grade in our district. While I have no issues with a 4th grade learning about sex, I'm not sure I'd want them learning it  in that environment alongside kids several years older. It's easy enough to get excused out of it but something to watch for.

 

Again, I don't really know enough about your situation. Moving up might be perfectly sound in your own situation. 


whatsnextmom, thank you for your input! Since he is in a 4th/5th grade classroom, he is doing a lot of 5th grade work already for many subjects-- almost an informal grade skip of sorts. Also, since it is a montessori school, there is no formal homework since the structure of the class is that they are completing the work at school. If they don't complete something, it does come home.

 

I will definitely find out. Thanks!

 

I would love to hear more about the steps you went through to have a grade sip... I would love to have this information now so I can work this out with the psych.


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#6 of 10 Old 12-10-2013, 12:07 PM
 
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My youngest was radically accelerated from 4th last year to 7th this year with further acceleration to 8th grade science and 9th grade math. It was quite simple in our case and has worked well. However there are three factors in our case that made it work well. First my dd has been mostly homeschooled under a program supervised by our local school and was able to work at an advanced level and demonstrate her capabilities within the school's paradigm prior to making our request. Secondly she's very mature for her age in terms of her social affinities and her organizational skills. Finally, the school is a k-12 school where there aren't really distinctions between elementary, middle and high school.

So it was a fairly easy sell for us and it has worked well so far. She's got high 90's and is just about optimally challenged.

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#7 of 10 Old 12-10-2013, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My youngest was radically accelerated from 4th last year to 7th this year with further acceleration to 8th grade science and 9th grade math. It was quite simple in our case and has worked well. However there are three factors in our case that made it work well. First my dd has been mostly homeschooled under a program supervised by our local school and was able to work at an advanced level and demonstrate her capabilities within the school's paradigm prior to making our request. Secondly she's very mature for her age in terms of her social affinities and her organizational skills. Finally, the school is a k-12 school where there aren't really distinctions between elementary, middle and high school.



So it was a fairly easy sell for us and it has worked well so far. She's got high 90's and is just about optimally challenged.



Miranda

 



thank you, moominmamma! I think this would work because the 7/8th is just down the hall from my son's class... so it is a contained school.

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#8 of 10 Old 12-10-2013, 10:54 PM
 
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That's good logistically. However from the standpoint of persuading the school there are a couple of other pieces of the puzzle that you might need to consider: how to convince them that he's socially and organizationally ready for the move and (perhaps a less difficult sell) that he's more than capable of learning at that level.

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#9 of 10 Old 12-11-2013, 10:06 AM
 
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I would love to hear more about the steps you went through to have a grade sip... I would love to have this information now so I can work this out with the psych.

 

Honestly, DD's skip was pretty easy. She started K reading 5th grade level novels and writing about 2nd/3rd grade level. She was only counting to maybe 20 but once presented with math curriculum, finished the K and 1st grade books within the first 6 weeks of school. The school took a lot of different approaches including having the morning kindie teacher come in to work with her a couple times a week, sending DD to the library to work with the librarian, giving DD accelerated work and free access to the computers (with programs we provided.) By Christmas DD had totally withdrawn, refused accelerated work and would spend the class staring at the walls. The principal called us in and suggested a grade skip. We were hesitant so compromised on subject acceleration... mornings with the 1st grade and rejoining the K after lunch. Within 2 weeks it was clear that DD belonged in the higher grade. It was not only easier to accommodate her but it was a better social fit. DD really was the ideal candidate. She was smart but also organized, laser-focused and driven. She knew how to get along in varied social settings but not particularly invested in fitting in. She was assertive about her needs and worked with adults well. It was good for her. At 15 she moved into a college/high school hybrid program. She's now 16, a senior and applying to universities.

 

My DS was also offered a grade skip in K but we chose not to. He barely made the age cut-off in a heavily red-shirting district... basically he was an older 4 when he started alongside solid 6 year-olds without the skip. DS was advanced but NOT focused, not organized, not driven and too social (and social standing incredibly important to him.) In first grade, we moved him into a Spanish Immersion school with accelerated academics (heavily project based which he not only loved but lends itself to self-accommodation.) He did get subject acceleration in math and a GATE pull-out during science. He started a 3rd language in 3rd grade. The academic offerings along with DS's less ambitious nature made it a good fit. He is newly 13 and in 8th grade. I'm actually quite grateful that he's not in 9th grade as puberty has him scattered and struggling to stay on top of things from an organizational stand-point. Hoping it'll settle down a bit by 9th grade.

 

Grade skips can be really helpful but it's all about the individual. It was good for our DD but would not have been good for my DS despite their actually testing in the same percentile IQ wise. As to convincing the school... it's difficult to do when a child isn't proving themselves in the current classroom. Have you looked into other schooling options? Maybe what he needs is not a skip but a different style of learning environment?


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#10 of 10 Old 12-11-2013, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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 By Christmas DD had totally withdrawn, refused accelerated work and would spend the class staring at the walls.

Thank you, this is very helpful. As far as the learning environment, he would do well at my other school aged children's school and he is #1 on the waiting list there. We are just waiting for the space. This is in some ways a more traditional, structured school then Montessori, but still alternative and child centered. They have a great TAG program, which is very well integrated into the whole school. My other kids are doing so well there.

 

The public Montessori school in some ways is really good. And my son is proving himself in some ways (such as Science and Reading/literature). He is off the charts in both of those areas and is in independent study for those areas. Remember that he is a 4th grader in a 4/5 class... so to be independent study for these areas already is significant. He not only exceeds the 4th grade, but 5th grade standards as well. 

 

He is totally underachieving (I hate that word, but you guys know what I mean) in math (which used to be his strongest area) and writing.

 

I think with the math he feels like what you describe your daughter as... I think if he started to be accelerated on the science, even working with the middle school (still at the same school) teacher even once a week, it would make a huge difference to him. They can then integrate the math with the science and draw him out that way.


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