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6Th Grader in Pre AP Courses

Hi
I have a 6th grade daughter who started school today. Apparently she did well enough on her TAKS last year for the school to place her in Pre AP Math and Language Arts. She loves the Math but doesn't want to do the Language Arts. What do i do? Do I require her to take the course since she is obviously able to handle it, or do I allow her to opt out of it (she has the choice). I keep telling her how much it's going to help her in Junior High and High School, and help with her grades to get into College. I want her to give it a shot for at least 9 weeks but she is very unwilling.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Hi J.. My son is in 9th grade and every core subject is Pre AP. The school pushed for him to be in the gifted and talented program in elementary and he didn't want it. They pushed for pre ap in 6th and he still didn't want it. I didn't push him either. By the 7th grade he decided he would try Math and English. By 8th he added science. Now in 9th he's added his Geography. If she wants it, she will add it in her own time. I will tell you once she takes pre-ap classes and continues to take them, it gets difficult to "go back" to regular classes because she will be doing things she's already done in the pre-ap classes and will probably get bored.

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I did the Pre-AP language Arts, and it's more thought provoking, but MUCH easier. For example, we wrote more and read more, and did better projects- but didn't have much homework other than that. Regular level Language Arts/English however just had busy work and tests ALL the TIME. Always homework and worksheets. Remember also, that some kids need more mental stimulation than busy work, otherwise the boredom from unchallenging activities could hurt their grade. I think any stundent would benefit from it. If she knew the differences between the two classes, she would propably pick the Pre-AP. You could always say, "why don't we try the Pre-AP class first, and if it is too much for you, we can move you back down to the other class." It's hard for kids to understand how this class could help her in the future. Maybe if you could contact the teacher and find out some of the lesson plans, you could propose them to her in a great way and maybe get she will excited.

It sounds like you have a very smart daughter, who has also learned how to voice her own opinion. You should be very proud!! I know it seems tempting to push her into the AP type courses, but I also have to say that I would not recommend it. When I was in school, I took AP classes, stressed over getting good grades, but was not able to pull of an A (very frustrating for a child who has always succeeded) Then, when I applied to college, I was informed that they would not be able to accept my gpa because it was "wieghted" and so I actually had worse grades than if I had not taken those classes at all. I am confident that there is a place for such classes, but I really gave up a lot of otherwise normal teenage activities, and really stressed about my classes. I am a bit of a perfectionist though, so for me I would have been better suited for doing well in the other classes, while maintaining a balanced teenage life. I hope that you feel great about whatever decision the two of you make. Good luck!!

Hi J.!
I don't know if it's a TX thing, and I haven't been out of school THAT long <wink!> but when did they start offering AP classes in 6th grade?!?! My goodness! I would say if she wants out, let her. She's only in the 6th grade and has PLENTY of time to succeed academically (for college entrant purposes) when she's in HS. Does it really count for college in 6th grade anyway??? I agree with the comment that she's only 11 once.

I have a 6th grader as well. She does well in school and we purposely did NOT want any AP courses. I don't know how long you have been here but PISD puts a lot of pressure on kids. I am a PISD substitute teacher for the last 6 yrs. Look back on the news where there were so mnay suicides, drug overdoses and issues there were with Plano.

Right now we are instilling the study values, and allowing her to have a life outside of school (which is hard to do with everything they have thrown at them at the changing point in their life) Diversity

Hopefully this is not offensive to you at all. I would allow her to do what she loves and opt of of something that is not her interest.

As a former AP student and I am now in the education field, it would be greatly beneficial to your daughter to take the class. I was able to skip freshman English in college because of the AP class I took in high school. Express to your daughter that it is an honor to be accepted in a Pre AP course and that the administraters must think highly of her. Unfortunately, it seems to be the case more likely than not that kids are either exceptional in math or English, but rarely both. So it is understandable that she does not want to participate in the Language Arts if that is her weaker subject. But I would definitely encourage her to take the classes and make sure to offer to help her as much as possible in the Language Arts if she is struggling. Good luck!

How is it that you didn't know about it? Did you not sign her class registration form at the end of the school year last year? Just wondering because it seemed like you were a little surprised with it. I agree with some of the other moms though. I'm a teacher, high school, and I can tell you some of those students really stress with those AP courses. If she's okay with one and not the other, give her room to experiment this year. . . she's only in sixth grade and can add Pre-AP classes later. When my daughter was in sixth, we had transferred in and she didn't have any testing done. For seventh, we had her tested and they only put her in 2 classes. After speaking with the counselor though, we asked for 3 of them and she bloomed. Our daughter who was content with high b's suddenly loved the challenge and did better. In fact this year, she has four pre-ap classes. One thing she did mention to me in the middle of last year was that she enjoyed her pre-ap classes so much better because she didn't have to mess with those students who just goofed off all the time. She had fun, made friends, and became actively involved in school. When we discussed her classes for this year, before I signed her form for the counselors, I made sure this is what she wanted. I think we should pick and chose our battles. If she's okay with one and not the other . . . let her try it out. You may find she'll like the classroom environment better in a pre-ap classroom and next year opt to take more. Good luck either way!

Let her opt out. She can do AP in High-school, if she wants and get the extra credit then. She can always over-achieve in life.... she can't always be 11.

Per my own experience, I would say, please, let her opt out, if that's what she wants. I was pushed into taking AP, Honors, Gifted and Talented classes all of my school life and have many regrets about it. I don't know that it necessarily did much good, but my family wanted me to be "challenged" and live up to my "potential", but I hated it. I always felt like an outsider or one of the "smart kids" that wasn't normal and I didn't enjoy it. I never really liked school and I think that had a lot to do with it. I continued onto college (community) but never chose a career- I'm a SAHM now after being a nanny since graduating high school. I think if I had liked school more I would've stayed longer in college and chosen a career. If you want her to enjoy school and stay internally motivated to be there and learn, don't push her. Encourage her, yes, but if she is adamant about not wanting to take Language Arts, let her decide. Hope this helps.

Hi J.. My son is in 9th grade and every core subject is Pre AP. The school pushed for him to be in the gifted and talented program in elementary and he didn't want it. They pushed for pre ap in 6th and he still didn't want it. I didn't push him either. By the 7th grade he decided he would try Math and English. By 8th he added science. Now in 9th he's added his Geography. If she wants it, she will add it in her own time. I will tell you once she takes pre-ap classes and continues to take them, it gets difficult to "go back" to regular classes because she will be doing things she's already done in the pre-ap classes and will probably get bored.

I think it's wonderful that she did so well on the test and that she is willing to go ahead and try out a Pre AP class. I wouldn't recommend pushing her to take both, let her try out just the one Pre Ap class and see how she does. When I was in middle school about to go to highschool the counselors actually recommended students only trying one Pre Ap class their freshman year, they wanted to make sure the kids could handle it, instead of getting in over their head and getting frustrated and having them suffer in all of their classes. I took one Pre Ap class my freshman year and was in regular English. But after a couple of weeks the teacher called my parents and said that I was so bored in that class and recommended that I move up to the Pre Ap class. This may even happen to your daughter, she may find that the regular English class is too boring and she may want an extra challenge. But I do know that taking on too many Pre Ap classes is very hard and you have a lot more homework! I know that Pre Ap Language Arts require a lot of mandatory reading, and maybe that doesn't appeal to her. I remember 6th grade was a really hard year for me, not just school but emotionally and physically. I had enough going on going through puberty and everything, that I don't know if I could have handled too many hard classes! She's also at an age where she can start other extracurricular activities (band, choir, athletics, etc.) Colleges don't just look at grades, they look at what other activities you're involved in. There should be a balance between both. She's at a tender age right now so I would praise her for doing so well and doing the Pre Ap math class, and gently encourage her to try the Pre Ap English next school year, if all goes well this year. Good job on raising such an intelligent daughter, I'm sure everything will work out!

Is there a teacher who she really admires(d) that might coax her to do it?? Are any of her friends in it? Seems like those might be motivators. I will say though, it's probably better, from a teacher perspective, for her to make great grades in the regular one than do lousy in the pre-AP one just to "show mom"...KWIM? I think your idea of puching her to try it is good. Can they pull her out before the 9 weeks if necessary?
Good luck!
R.

What is it about the language class that makes her not want the advanced level? If she opts out of pre-AP this year, will she miss out on the advaced track entirely? I would ask this because she may decide that the regular class is boring and want pre-AP or AP later on.
As far as grades making a difference for college, that won't start counting for or against her until high school (9th grade).
Speaking as someone who was in advanced/AP classes through jr. high and high school, sometimes you just want a break from the extra workload, extra expectations, etc. I opted out of AP science classes in high school, but took AP in other areas. I was glad I did because I got to take a class that was an "easy A" and I had the time in my schedule to work on the yearbook staff. It didn't hurt my education a bit. I went on to major in biology and graduate with honors from college.

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