Thursday, October 9, 2008

Me....A Calmer Me!

First, I want to address Elizabeth's behavior from the other day. I spoke to her teacher yesterday and we both agree that with Elizabeth's shyness, she can possibly have a fear (somewhat) of asking questions, ie, what to do with the homework. I am not sure if she feels that she will get in trouble, if she would be embarassed, or something along that line. Her teacher assured me that she isn't goofing off (or talking like I used to do in class).

I spoke to her teacher regarding the whole testing vs. scoring vs. reduced lunch vs. the whole crappy situation. (Let me just say, I am still on this with the District, but back to my point). Elizabeth can easily be in what they label as the gifted program. BUT, the gifted program is not want is made such a big deal over for Kindergarten through and including 2nd grade. First of all, Elizabeth's testing was done at the beginning of the year by the recommendation of her Kindergarten teacher. They have put her in accelerated math assignments, has had older girls was reading buddies, etc. In fact, Elizabeth is in a "fast readers" group which has demolished. It demolished due to the fact that whether you are a fast reader or not does not matter if you cannot explain what you read. Elizabeth could not keep up with the other kids because they were going through the motions. That, I truly believe, would of been deterimental to her being that we ALWAYS discuss books and what the story means or about the story. Her teacher challenges her everyday. Her teacher becomes frustrated because she knows Elizabeth knows the answers, but is bashful to express them. When she answers, she whispers.

Anyway, her teacher is an older teacher. I have to say, there is something extra special about the older teachers than the teachers in their younger years. Some, I need to stress, not all. But some of the younger teachers act as they are buddies with the students. That cannot be...So her teacher is from the old school. She gives homework, but really does not believe in too much homework at this age. She believe the work needs to be done in class, where questions come up and the kids learn together by working on things. She is strict and you can see it, but she is also loving.

So back to the gifted program. In talking to her, how can a child be pushed at 5, 6 or even 7. They are still finding themselves. 5, adjusting to school, 6, adjusting to the curriculum of a more regular academic schedule and learning through worksheets, not just through play and visuals. I have a little different feeling about the whole idea of being put in a gifted program, whether you are financial wealthy, whether you get the free or reduced lunch, etc. Our kids have enough burden's in this world these days. So, I am still looking into the "point" thing with the lack of points, if in fact, you can "earn" points just by being in the reduced program, etc. Only because of fairness.

As far as Elizabeth is concerned, we will revisit this. With her shyness, this would not be a good thing for her anyway. And her teacher will be sending home additional work if needed. In fact, she was given a Level 4 Book to read and for us to sit down with her to talk about the stories. So I am satisfied with the "old school" thinking than the rush, rush, rush, push our children and God forbid, have them struggle more...Struggling too much can bring down their confidence. And as long as she is learning every day, being challenged every day, there is NO rush on learning a different grade level's work.


Karen said...

That's such a great attitude. Elizabeth is lucky to have you for a mom!

Debbie said...

Thanks, Karen! I just think I needed to step back and realize what would be the best for Elizabeth and go with that...Are kids are too, too young to be under pressure that does not need to be put on them...It doesn't make them better kids, it makes for more stress...I know you well enough that you would think the same way about the boys!!

Melodie said...

As long as Elizabeth is being challenged, but not pushed too far, she will excel in school.

As for the Gifted program, I don't know if you recall this or not, but the reason Sarah wasn't tested until nearly the end of 1st grade (with the full-scale testing in 2nd grade) was because she was so shy and her teacher didn't think she would test well with a stranger. They can always test her again in a year or so and get dramatically different results. Sarah was still very shy when she was tested, and just barely made it into the program. After a year or so, she had gained so much confidence that if they had tested her again, she would have scored much higher.

Andrea said...

I agree w/ you Debbie. There is no reason to push & add so much on her at this time. Sometimes we all need to step back & see that. I was just talking about something along these lines w/ my Bunco group - they are primarily ladies who have been public school teachers 25+ years & are more "old school". One teaches 2nd grade & was just telling me someone asked her what else should be done for their child since he's so bright - they supplement a lot apparently at home w/ extra assignments, moving ahead to teaching concepts from higher grades,etc. She actually recommended to them to stop moving ahead on their own so much. She said "yes, make sure he's not bored at school...challenge him in an area he's strong...but please allow him to have joy in learning. Let him enjoy learning something new "with" his classmates instead of always being the one who "already knows it"." Her point was that people view that as giving their child an "edge" & sometimes it actually does the opposite & burns them out. I am not implying you were doing that. We aren't either but it made me look at Matthew's strengths a little differently.