December 02, 2008,
J.C. asks from Frisco, TX on August 16, 2006
6Th Grader in Pre AP Courses
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.
K.M. answers from Dallas on December 02, 2008
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.
L.A. answers from Dallas on August 17, 2006
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.
A. answers from Dallas on August 16, 2006
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!!
T.L. answers from Dallas on August 17, 2006
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.
T.F. answers from Dallas on August 16, 2006
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.
D.L. answers from Dallas on August 17, 2006
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!
E.S. answers from Dallas on August 16, 2006
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!
T.O. answers from Dallas on August 17, 2006
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.
A.K. answers from Dallas on August 17, 2006
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.