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Okay, so I've already mentioned my community and its gifted program obsessed parents. These parents are very much into their gifted program, but they are also fixated on education in general. The other parents I know who haven't told me their kids are gifted are also similarly obsessed with the educational system. These people seem to know as much about the school as the people who work there.<br><br>
Paradoxically, they want their children to be as advanced as they can be, but then they complain about it too and worry that their children will be bored. None of these parents have children who are below average or even average. I volunteer in the school and I know most of the kids are average, but the parents don't think so. Why the need for the self deception?<br><br>
On a recent conversation I had with my neighbor she said with hyper anxiety in her voice, "well, isn't education everything? If a child doesn't have education what do they have??"<br><br>
And then I started reflecting on this. Do I value education less than these people? And then I realized that I did which was very revealing. I do value intelligence and self education, but I don't value the educational system. I don't think it has any great power to make my kids Einsteins or ruin them or whatever. I think as long at it is average or above your kids are going to be what they are going to be. In a way I feel more free than these other people because I believe that a person's spirit with love and guidance will find its way.
 

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I believe that being forced to sit through years of inappropriate education can be very emotionally damaging. I've been there. DH has been there. I'd have been better off never going to school at all. DH would have been <i>far</i> better off never going to school at all (except for speech therapy, which he did find helpful). I guess that's a big part of why we believe in unschooling. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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I value education, but think that school often gets in the way of it.<br><br>
I love the saying, "We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today."
 

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I'm not a fan of the institute of education. Even as gifted kids back in the 70s/80s, it failed DH and me both tremendously--in very different ways. Considering that I feel that the institution has worsened since then, I really have no desire to participate in it.<br><br>
I'll even go so far as to state that I'm not at all comfortable with the strong focus on academics with gifted programs. I am also not a huge fan of accelerating gifted kids' education. I am much more interested in providing DD with an environment rich in depth and breadth, not one that moves her along quickly. So, I generally stay out of those discussions around here.<br><br>
DD has a strong natural inclination to academic interests, but she also has an extremely strong musical and artistic pull too. I don't feel that she would have all her needs met appropriately in a schooled environment.<br><br>
I am a fan of life-long, self-directed learning. So, we too are homeschoolers with strong unschooling tendencies. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> I hope she never loses her zest for learning. Her current natural interests will likely require advanced learning if she truly wants to achieve them, but we'll worry about that much further along in her future. (She wants to be a vet, or an astronaut, or a midwife, or a UPS driver, etc. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> ).<br><br>
Holli
 

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I do value education. Culture is one of the things that separates us from the animals. BUT<br><br>
"well, isn't education everything? If a child doesn't have education what do they have??"<br><br>
I don't feel like this at all. I don't think that being well educated or gifted makes one a good person. I think that each of us has a part inside us that is divine, and our ability to be in touch with that in ourselves and to see it in others is what really matters. I'm not religious. I never go to church or anything like that.<br><br>
Namasta means "I can see that place in you that is of love, of light and of truth, and when you are in the place in you and I am in that place in me, we are the same. "<br><br>
That's what I want for my kids. Some one can be brilliant and well educated and use it to harm. I think that whatever is going on intellectually needs to be grounded in an understanding of what it means to be fully human.
 

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I wouldn't say I value the educational system, such as it is, but I do value education. I've chosen Montessori education for my child because it encourages him to learn for himself, not wait to be taught something. He has to think, question, and figure things out for himself. There are many life lessons to be taught there. Having said that, I graduate from nursing school in 2 weeks. If I hadn't valued my education and gone to college, I would not be able to have the career I will have.
 

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I agree with your friend. My parents grew up very poor and education was everything for them. They let their love of learning and their drive take them to amazing places. So education was always so important for them. They supported me so much in all my interests and sent me to college for which I thank them all the time, either out loud or in my head. I feel really lucky, but I grew up in a really education obsessed town, and I'm delighted to give that to DD as well. Both DH and I did really well in school and still love learning. So for me, a good education is extremely important. Yeah I said it.
 

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I do value education and the educational system. Our experience with public school and our children has been almost entirely positive. When something doesn't work, we talk to the school and fix it as a team. We've never been treated poorly, ignored, or disreguarded as a crazy parent. The few negatives have had to do with <b>other</b> people's children and their parent's refusal to be accountable for them.<br><br>
Access to a free education is invaluable. Certainly there are some serious flaws with the current system but the institution isn't entirely to blame. I wouldn't even say it's largely to blame. We can't see failure in our schools without recognizing the dramatic changes in community and parenting trends. The general lack of respect and feelings of entitlement poisen the classrooms of even the best of teachers. I'm sorry but public school can't take credit for this. This started at home.
 

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The general idea is this: education is a gateway. And what it does is provide choices and opportunity. A "poorly educated person" or someone without the opportunity to become educated has very few choices to become who they want to be. They do not have exposure to ideas, they do not have access to advancement in their chosen interests, they are not able to fully participate in our society.<br><br>
There is a reason why establishing schools is always high on the list of national priorities when countries emerge from crisis, from Afghanistan to Haiti. People will hold school under trees in refugee camps, in huts and in fields. They scratch letters in the dirt. They all gather around a single book. In "Three Cups of Tea", Greg Mortenson describes in heart breaking detail how a small villiage in Pakistan wanted a school above all else. Go back in time and the Greeks and Romans had schools thouands of years ago. More recently, American slaves risked all and died in their quest for education and literacy. In every remote village you will find a system of introducing children to what we know about the world. The concept of education is universal. The way it is done can be very diverse and it can take many forms. And that educational diversity deserves to be honored and appreciated. Not "liking" one school or even one system does not mean that education as a concept does not have value.<br><br>
Is education "everything"? Surely not. But it does mean security, access, opportunity, and influence. How and where those are chosen to be applied is up to the individual. But without a way to learn how the world works, understand some of what is known, and aquire the skills to navigate through it (education!) those things are not so easy.<br><br>
People look at their children and they want them to have a full life. The reality is the further you drop on the "well educated scale", the fewer opportunities there are. Parents know this, even if they do not verbalize it in this way. They also know that the larger social systems at work will take their toll as well. Racism, sexism, classism, etc. and they work to preserve the opportunities their children will have by trying to ensure that they will not be limited by education. I don't blame them. They are grappling with large public systems that are complex and heavy with ins-and-outs and the reality is that gifted students are often percieved as having the most opportunities at the end of the day. Instead of looking down on parents who are responding to a system of funnels that our schools usually create, fight the bigger issues and systems that preserve the values that reinforce the haves and have-nots.<br><br>
OK. I confess. I'm getting a PhD in education so I am biased <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">.
 

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I don't believe education and schooling are necessarily the same thing. For those with no better option to reach higher learning ie: girls in Afghanistan, formal education/schooling is a powerful thing. They can't pick up a book and self- teach. Many people in the US are in a similar boat without our public education system. But I see it as a leveling device for those whose parents who, for whatever reason, can't keep them home. Making sure their child receives a socially accepted education is one of the few things many families see as a "leg up" for their kids. It is a variable they feel they have some control over.<br>
A degree is a tool. I don't see it as an indicator of true education. But our system recognizes it as such, so you often have to get a degree to prove what you know. Do I think my kids need one to be educated, succeed and be happy? No. But if their goals lie in certain directions , a solid "education" certainly gives them options!!<br>
BTW, we homeschool. But DH and I are currently working on degrees. Not because we feel the need to be taught, but because that piece of paper opens doors!
 

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i was raised in a culture where education was extremely valued.<br><br>
not because it made you into a 'better person', but because you would have a better chance at a job and therefore more stability. the higher education you got in general the higher pay you got. that is the exact reason why greg mortenson's schools are welcomed in pakistan.<br><br>
having looked at various school systems in the world both modern and ancient what we have today is terrible. the method we are adopting all over the world is not 'education', it is a way to churn out workers.<br><br>
look at the science the middle eastern countries, the mayans, india developed. in ancient times. have we been able to continue that development. what is truly 'new' in math? calculus was discovered by the greeks and leibnitz and newton just rediscovered it what a few hundred years ago? what has happened since then? science has made great strides going from the macro to the micro world. it isnt because someone asked so what about, just something that we can see now that we didnt earlier.<br><br>
just look at the scholarships available in any college level courses. its all science oriented . why? the companies looking for thier kinda worker supports it. some of those scholarships even come with an internship - further herding.<br><br>
all of this i dont call education. just job training. with budget cuts in CA you see this sooo blatantly. 'arts' classes that are popular, that fulfill GE requirements, that are filled completely are being cut drastically, yet science classes not so much. the people who are truly 'educated', who have a sense of the divine within like Linda on hte Move talked about along with knowledge are not valued by society at all.<br><br>
i am on route to a PhD. Not because I want that job, but only because I know I will be taken seriously in the field i will work at, only if my name has a Dr. preceeding it.<br><br>
i want education to be a combination of the divine and knowledge. by divine i really mean ethics - not religion. that is so not what is going on in this world right now. but that is what ancient schools used to be like in different cultures.<br><br>
progressive schools in CA if they dont already have a strongly established source of funds are closing down here.<br><br>
for my 7 year old second grade is all about math, reading and writing. nothing much else really. do we have to approach learning in this manner. in such a dry way. is it really that important to read and write by say second grade. what about their curiosity? that they bring with them when they enter K?
 

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I am a fan of life-long, self-directed learning, too, but I actually value formal education highly.<br><br>
That said, I wish I were better educated. I am highly educated but there is still so much structure, theory, discipline, ways to make sense of the world that I am lacking, and I attribute it to a system in which I was made to tread water instead of learn for a large part of my time until I decided to abandon my PhD and left for the workplace.<br><br>
I think there are limits to what life-long self-directed learning can do for you: both my husband and I have passions that we like to explore that way and that we can pursue through hobbies, volunteering and free-lancing, but our self-expression in these is limited by time (after all, we need to hold down day-jobs to pay the bills...), by the lack of pieces of paper that would tell others that we are as good as any professional in this field and also by more intangible things such as a lack of vocabulary, attitude and yes, theory and structure in a field that I have not been formally educated in and that maybe mean that I am <i>not</i> as good as any professional in this field...<br><br>
I wish I got the chance to show that I could do more, could hold my own, but without the formal education to prove it I am afraid that many doors are closed to me. And it means that I am never properly challenged in the workplace either, even though I am in theory in a high-powered career field.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>no5no5</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15376634"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I believe that being forced to sit through years of inappropriate education can be very emotionally damaging. I've been there. DH has been there. I'd have been better off never going to school at all. DH would have been <i>far</i> better off never going to school at all (except for speech therapy, which he did find helpful). I guess that's a big part of why we believe in unschooling. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"></div>
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I totally agree with that! And it is not only inappropriate education, but also "peer socialization" and feeling like an outcast for years on end. I think that it is possible that a school environment with similar children and an education that is truly at their level might be wonderful for gifted kids, but failing that, I think unschooling is much healthier! I know I don't want the experience I had in school for my children, and I think it is extremely hard to avoid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Marimami</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15376727"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><br>
I'll even go so far as to state that I'm not at all comfortable with the strong focus on academics with gifted programs. I am also not a huge fan of accelerating gifted kids' education. <b>I am much more interested in providing DD with an environment rich in depth and breadth, not one that moves her along quickly.</b> So, I generally stay out of those discussions around here.<br><br><br><br>
Holli</div>
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I'm so glad you wrote this. I completely agree.<br><br>
I wonder what the origins are of this trend of moving kids along very quickly. My intuition tells me it has something to do with definitions of giftedness and intelligence, the idea that a smart child does things faster and is ahead of her peers.<br><br>
I've seen kids who can read early and the parents want them advanced, but it you scratch the surface you find that the kids might not have the best comprehension or ability to use punctuation well. If they are grade skipped they might miss that stuff and they might never learn it very well at all which is kind of scary. I've been on internet forums where people say they have very high IQs, but they can write so poorly..Of course they chalk all their problems up to a learning disability, but maybe it's because they never applied themselves to learn it. Likewise, like my son you can have children who understand math concepts much earlier than they are taught in school, but that doesn't mean you should just advance them. They still need the drills and all the other minor topics too. Or they just need to enjoy and play around with some of the concepts they already know instead of just saying well you know that well so let's just keep moving along. Also, a young child can do algebra and this sounds impressive, but this can mean so many different things. Doing algebra well and just doing algebra are different things entirely.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>connieculkins</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15377788"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I wonder what the origins are of this trend of moving kids along very quickly. My intuition tells me it has something to do with definitions of giftedness and intelligence, the idea that a smart child does things faster and is ahead of her peers.</div>
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I'm confused. Gifted kids do learn faster, and are ahead of their peers, all other things being equal. Gifted kids do need a faster-paced education, simply because they learn more quickly.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>connieculkins</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15377788"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I've seen kids who can read early and the parents want them advanced, but it you scratch the surface you find that the kids might not have the best comprehension or ability to use punctuation well. If they are grade skipped they might miss that stuff and they might never learn it very well at all which is kind of scary. I've been on internet forums where people say they have very high IQs, but they can write so poorly..Of course they chalk all their problems up to a learning disability, but maybe it's because they never applied themselves to learn it.</div>
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My DH is highly gifted. He is a well-published, highly-awarded, medical doctor. He is also dyslexic and has ADHD. He struggles to write, and he has been able to improve his writing ability a good deal. But he will never have the kind of writing skills that would enable him to sit down and write a post on the internet without any typos. Never. He could sit & work on that until the cows come home, and he will <i>never</i> be able to.<br><br>
If you choose to believe that people on the internet are lying to you about their abilities, that's your prerogative. But implying that someone who has problems writing either can't be gifted or hasn't bothered to try is really thoughtless.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>connieculkins</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15377788"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Likewise, like my son you can have children who understand math concepts much earlier than they are taught in school, but that doesn't mean you should just advance them. They still need the drills and all the other minor topics too. Or they just need to enjoy and play around with some of the concepts they already know instead of just saying well you know that well so let's just keep moving along. Also, a young child can do algebra and this sounds impressive, but this can mean so many different things. Doing algebra well and just doing algebra are different things entirely.</div>
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Do you think if you spent an hour each day for a year being drilled on how to make toast, you'd become a better cook?
 

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My motto is that "education is important but school not so much". The educational system is just one way to learn. There are many ways of learning and getting an education. The classroom is just one way; not better, just one option out of many, equally valid options available. An educated citizenry is necessary for a democracy to work. Publicly funded education is a good way to ensure that both rich and poor can afford it.
 

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Interesting discussion.<br><br>
I think that for many people, education is a reasonable response to a perception (in the case of connieculkins' neighbours, perhaps) or reality (girls in Afghanistan) of a precarious position.
 

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<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>connieculkins</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15377788"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">If they are grade skipped they might miss that stuff and they might never learn it very well at all which is kind of scary. I've been on internet forums where people say they have very high IQs, but they can write so poorly..Of course they chalk all their problems up to a learning disability, but maybe it's because they never applied themselves to learn it. Likewise, like my son you can have children who understand math concepts much earlier than they are taught in school, but that doesn't mean you should just advance them. They still need the drills and all the other minor topics too. Or they just need to enjoy and play around with some of the concepts they already know instead of just saying well you know that well so let's just keep moving along. Also, a young child can do algebra and this sounds impressive, but this can mean so many different things. Doing algebra well and just doing algebra are different things entirely.</div>
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We have a school system where you spend the first several weeks of the year reviewing the content learned the previous year.<br>
Then it's time to learn a new concept or skill. First you review the previously learned concept that it is building upon then move onto the new skill.<br>
You then drill the new skill<br>
Then you review the new skill and test on it before moving onto the next skill.<br>
Then at the end of the year you review the stuff learned during that school year.<br><br>
You really don't think that a kid can pick up something they missed the first time in all that review?<br>
You really think that level of review and drilling is appropriate for a kid who may have mastered that skill a good bit prior to even entering that grade?<br><br>
I remember the most painful part of school being how slow things went and the level of repetition. I wasn't even gifted. I was merely bright. I can't imagine subjecting my child to that if I have the option not to.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>connieculkins</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15377788"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I wonder what the origins are of this trend of moving kids along very quickly. My intuition tells me it has something to do with definitions of giftedness and intelligence, the idea that a smart child does things faster and is ahead of her peers.<br><br>
I've seen kids who can read early and the parents want them advanced, but it you scratch the surface you find that the kids might not have the best comprehension or ability to use punctuation well. If they are grade skipped they might miss that stuff and they might never learn it very well at all which is kind of scary. I've been on internet forums where people say they have very high IQs, but they can write so poorly..Of course they chalk all their problems up to a learning disability, but maybe it's because they never applied themselves to learn it. Likewise, like my son you can have children who understand math concepts much earlier than they are taught in school, but that doesn't mean you should just advance them. They still need the drills and all the other minor topics too. Or they just need to enjoy and play around with some of the concepts they already know instead of just saying well you know that well so let's just keep moving along. Also, a young child can do algebra and this sounds impressive, but this can mean so many different things. Doing algebra well and just doing algebra are different things entirely.</div>
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I say this as gently as possible, but this demonstrates how much we have a culture have "bought into the system". Even those who profess to have "rejected the system" still use it as a given. "Grade levels" are not sent by G-d. They are a constructed reality based on averages of averages with some "we think this is good" sprinkled on top. As a structure, they are based on a "manufacturing" system that arose along with our industrual revolution to cope with all the children of booming cities who needed schools. Like a car goes down the assembly line, a child who "stops at each grade" has all that is in that "grade" poured into them and at the end... voila! A complete car! Er, education! When you see that grade levels are just what we have come up with to try to educate huge numbers of children, you see that grade skipping is not really anything big. Why assume that all children work at the same pace in all subjects because of age? It is a baseline. And that baseline does not fit everyone.<br><br>
And yes, issues with depth of knowledge is an issue. However, people learn in "waves". True depth of understanding of ideas takes time. Also, different parts of the brain learn skills at different paces and levels. The brain is not finished growing and hashing out decision making skills and high level depth of understanding and emotional maturity until the mid-20's. Until then, things come in peices. The fact that a child might have good reading skills but not excellent comprehension only means that peice has not come yet. It does not diminish the accomplishments they DO have nor necessarily indicate a deficit. It means that the puzzle is still in progress. Things like "Reading" are complex; made up of many moving parts. The idea that they are not all yet in the same level is not hard to imagine.<br><br>
Additionally (and I say this as gently as possible) "trusting that with love and guidance their sprit will find their way" is reflective of priveledge. I cannot imagine an African American mother in the south Bronx whose child has a 50/50 rate of graduation, whose teachers are all subs or 1st year, whose building is crumbling and upon graduation finds they are not prepared for other choices and do not have access or resources in "finding their way". We who experience priveldge can afford to release some of these ideas and trust because the system is set up to return that priveledge. Those who do not take enormous risks with loosing odds when they "trust" that somehow their children will "find their way".
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>JollyGG</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15378576"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">We have a school system where you spend the first several weeks of the year reviewing the content learned the previous year.<br>
Then it's time to learn a new concept or skill. First you review the previously learned concept that it is building upon then move onto the new skill.<br>
You then drill the new skill<br>
Then you review the new skill and test on it before moving onto the next skill.<br>
Then at the end of the year you review the stuff learned during that school year.<br><br>
You really don't think that a kid can pick up something they missed the first time in all that review?<br>
You really think that level of review and drilling is appropriate for a kid who may have mastered that skill a good bit prior to even entering that grade?<br><br>
I remember the most painful part of school being how slow things went and the level of repetition. I wasn't even gifted. I was merely bright. I can't imagine subjecting my child to that if I have the option not to.</div>
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I have every confidence that my kids could go down the hall to the classroom two grades above their own and be just fine except with the written output load. Especially if they did that in September <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>alexsam</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15378691"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I say this as gently as possible, but this demonstrates how much we have a culture have "bought into the system". Even those who profess to have "rejected the system" still use it as a given. "Grade levels" are not sent by G-d. They are a constructed reality based on averages of averages with some "we think this is good" sprinkled on top. As a structure, they are based on a "manufacturing" system that arose along with our industrual revolution to cope with all the children of booming cities who needed schools. Like a car goes down the assembly line, a child who "stops at each grade" has all that is in that "grade" poured into them and at the end... voila! A complete car! Er, education! When you see that grade levels are just what we have come up with to try to educate huge numbers of children, you see that grade skipping is not really anything big. Why assume that all children work at the same pace in all subjects because of age? It is a baseline. And that baseline does not fit everyone.<br><br>
And yes, issues with depth of knowledge is an issue. However, people learn in "waves". True depth of understanding of ideas takes time. Also, different parts of the brain learn skills at different paces and levels. The brain is not finished growing and hashing out decision making skills and high level depth of understanding and emotional maturity until the mid-20's. Until then, things come in peices. The fact that a child might have good reading skills but not excellent comprehension only means that peice has not come yet. It does not diminish the accomplishments they DO have nor necessarily indicate a deficit. It means that the puzzle is still in progress. Things like "Reading" are complex; made up of many moving parts. The idea that they are not all yet in the same level is not hard to imagine.<br><br>
Additionally (and I say this as gently as possible) "trusting that with love and guidance their sprit will find their way" is reflective of priveledge. I cannot imagine an African American mother in the south Bronx whose child has a 50/50 rate of graduation, whose teachers are all subs or 1st year, whose building is crumbling and upon graduation finds they are not prepared for other choices and do not have access or resources in "finding their way". We who experience priveldge can afford to release some of these ideas and trust because the system is set up to return that priveledge. Those who do not take enormous risks with loosing odds when they "trust" that somehow their children will "find their way".</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/flowersforyou.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Flowersforyou"><br><br>
Context is really important.
 
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