After receiving feedback from my daughter's school at the end of kindergarten, my husband and I are trying to figure out what the best next step is for her schooling: first grade with "differentiation" within the classroom, first grade with subject acceleration, or accelerate to second grade. In order to get a better gauge of where she is at developmentally as well as her knowledge and ability level we are going to try some summer homeschooling. Toward this end, I am in need of resources to assess her now and after we work on things over the summer so that we can make an informed decision about how to handle next school year.
My understanding is that this new common core curriculum the schools are adopting is about one grade level ahead of where the curriculum used to be (i.e. first graders are now learning what used to be mostly second grade curriculum). We have been told that by second grade kids really need to be developmentally ready to think critically, have a strong number sense, etc. and that not all children are ready to do so at that age.
In the schools they use the DIBELS (language/reading) and TENS (math) to assess her ability level in kindergarten, but these are one minute timed- how fast can you go- tests that seem to only assess how well you can perform under pressure and only the most basic of skills. They have offered us the ITBS for further information, which from my understanding is the typical test given when grade acceleration is being considered, but again is mostly a skills test. How do we get at the development portion?
Any ideas would be very welcome! Thank you!
Mama to Avalon 1/07 , Austin 1/10 in between and Avery 12/11
One of my concerns jumping from k to 2nd would be were her handwriting skills are compared to what is expected in 2nd grade.
but everything has pros and cons
The Iowa Acceleration Scale is commonly used by schools to assess the appropriateness of grade skips. It is a holistic way of getting a solid picture: I would ask your school's gifted resource person if s/he is familiar with it. As a mom to gifted kids who were unschooled and schooled at various ages, I think your issue is not really a homeschooling issue: homeschoolers aren't really trying to gauge their children's fit with and make decisions about school placement. I think you'd be best posting on the gifted and learning at school boards.
Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up
For math, you could use the Singapore Math placement tests to get an idea what level she's at and what concepts might be covered in first or second grade. My understanding is that Singapore Math is pretty much in line with Common Core expectations. Their placement guide says their 1B and 2A levels are what an average 2nd grader should be doing, so if your DD understands the concepts in 1A and seems ready to learn what's in 1B, that would be an indication she's ready for second grade next year. You can probably get a sense of how developmentally ready she is for 2nd grade math just by trying to teach some of it to her this summer.
My state (Vermont) has a web page where you can see sample items from the standardized test they give every year starting in 3rd grade. They give the test in the fall, so the 3rd grade one is testing what was learned in 2nd grade and would give you an idea what kind of reading, writing and math skills kids in Vermont are expected to have by the end of 2nd grade (and what kinds of critical thinking skills kids are expected to use in answering the questions.) You may be able to find examples from your state's standardized test also. Just looking at the questions and asking yourself whether it seems likely that she would be ready to answer them a year from now wouldn't provide evidence of her developmental readiness that you could use to convince anyone else, but it might be helpful to you. (And if it turns out she's actually able to answer at least some of the questions now, that could be good evidence to show the school.)
Like Linda on the move, I would wonder about her handwriting skills and endurance. If you google "first [or second] grade writing samples" you can get an idea what's typical.
As a homeschooler I just read your questions and they are so out of our reality that they made no sense to me. It doesn't sound like you want to homeschool her, but rather augment her schooling. Those are very different goals. I agree with others that a different forum might make better sense.
If you are interested in learning about homeschooling for the sake of homeschooling, my favorite books are:
This is a gentle book. It acknowledges there are many fine way to educate children. Some parents feel their children will do best in a typical school environment. Other parents feel their children will do best by homeschooling. Both ways are equally okay. At no time does it insult anyone's choices. After reassuring the reader that this book is not anti-school, it then goes on to address some of the major (incorrect) assumptions people have about homeschooling. Of course the first is socialization.
After the writers bring up a common concern, they gently inform the reader about the realities of modern-day homeschooling. As I read the book, I was reconvinced of our decision to homeschool. For me, the book made homeschooling so appealing.
This is probably the best parenting book I have ever read. How you can offer your kids the skills they need to follow their passions and succeed (as they define it) in the world. Although it is geared to homeschoolers, most of this can be applied to children who attend school. She discusses Montessori, Charlotte Mason, A Thomas Jefferson Education (a form of classical education,) and unschooling. She has researched how many highly successful people were educated as they grew up. Although all were homeschooled for some period of time, many also went to school for awhile as well. She discusses people like Thomas Edison, Teddy Roosevelt, Pierre Curie, Agatha Christie, Margaret Leakey, and many, many others. The bottom line is to help your child find their passions and teach them the creativity and skills to attain their goals.
Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.
Thank you ladies! I will look up those books and resources and I will try posting in a different forum for additional responses. I appreciate the feedback!
Mama to Avalon 1/07 , Austin 1/10 in between and Avery 12/11