S.F. asks from Vine Grove, KY on February 11, 2007
How to Approach My Son's Teacher
I've been mulling this problem about in my head for a bit now, and I cannot come to any conclusion as to how to resolve it. So now it's time to call in the experts, lol.
My 6 year old son is in 1st grade this year. For kindergarten, he was in a split class with 1st graders and had a year of pre-school to develop his social skills. Airyk is VERY smart for his age....and that's not just a proud mommy talking. Lately he's been telling me that he's bored at school, especially in math class, and I can see where he's coming from. He's been adding and subtracting single digit numbers for a long time now. At the beginning of the year, I had a conference with his main teacher because he had been bringing home what can only be called "baby" books fromt he library I thought she had his reading level marked wrong. (His school uses a computer test to measure reading levels and the kids can only check out books within a certain level of what their level is, she re-tested him for us and adjusted his level to something more appropriate for him.) His reading level is currently at a 2.6 which means he's reading on a 2nd grade 6 month level. Excellent....now back to the math problem. His main teacher is not his math teacher and I've never met his math teacher, nor received any communication from her other than to sign his math tests. I don't want to insist on them giving him harder work when I know that math is tricky and if you skip a bit of it, you may end up getting lost later on. How do I handle this? Do I just reinforce the fact that his dad and I are proud of him no matter what, but that he just has to stick through this, or do I ask for a conference with his teacher? One of our favorite saying around home is "We know how smart you are, but not everyone belives us, so you're just going to have to prove it to them." I'm afraid that he's going to start acting up just because he's bored, and that will lead to a whole other set of problems (they love the AD/HD label around here)
edit-- a bit of additional info: Hubby and I feel that skipping grades is not really an option for him. He went into kindergarten at 4 years old (turned 5 a week later) so most of his classmates are a year or 2 older than him. Neither one of us thinks that he will emotionally be able to handle skipping grades because there's already a significant age diffrence for him to deal with.
So What Happened?™
Thanks to everyone for their advice and encouragement. It seems as if this problem has resolved itself. His math homework last night was new concepts to him (Algebra pre-cursors, 5+7=12, 12-5=7, he had to recognize the relationships in the problems) that required him to actually think about his answers and why he got the answers. I'm going to step back a bit and see how quick it takes him to master this skill and see if the work is going to become more challenging on it's own, but if not, I will make a conference
A.C. answers from Evansville on February 12, 2007
I would deffinetly approach his math teacher. I doubt she will take offense. She will probably be glad you are so involved with your child. My daughter is in preschool now, and I am already amazed at the parents who just push everything off on the teacher and don't do extra things. I have heard everything from "I work, I don't have time" to "I am just lazy". It really blew me away. Be proud of your son and his accomplishments. The teacher will know the best way to challenge your son so he doesn't get behind.
S.M. answers from Indianapolis on February 12, 2007
Does he always receive a 100% on his tests? I used to be a first grade teacher and I had the same conference with a parent of one of my students. Sure, he knew how to add and subtract... he was even beyond those basics. However, he did not understand the concept of adding and subtracting. He didn't understand or know the vocabulary used. Such as "addition", "subtraction", "equals", "sum", etc. That may be why they aren't moving him on to more difficult math. You may want to conference or just call the teacher and let him/her know that you would like your son to be challenged a little more. That is usually what we like to hear from parents. It's almost like we need "permission" so we don't get "punished" for doing it. Know what I mean? I suggest that you just give him/her a call, express your concerns... but understand yourself that he does need to do what all the other children are doing in math. However, after he finishes doing the "easy" stuff, then he can do some more challenging things. I always had "extra" stuff for those who finished their assignments early... things requiring higher order thinking skills. Good luck and I'm so glad to hear he's doing so well!
J.P. answers from Wheeling on February 13, 2007
YOU MUST BE SO PROUD OF YOUR SON!! I REALLY DONT KNOW IF TEACHERS COMPREHEND THAT SOME KIDS ARE JUST MORE ACADEMICALLY ADVANCED THAN OTHERS. I KNOW THAT LAST WEEK MY 7 YEAR OLD SON READ A HARRY POTTER BOOK(384PAGES) AND HE WAS SO PROUD THAT HE WAS GOING TO GO TO SCHOOL TO TAKE HIS AR TEST (THE COMPUTERIZED READING TEST) AND WHEN HE CAME HOME THAT NIGHT HE WAS SOOOO UPSET. HIS 2ND GRADE TEACHER ACTUALLY TOLD HIM THAT THE BOOK WAS OUT OF HIS LEVEL AND THAT HE WAS NOT ALLOWED TO TAKE THE TEST....THIS REALLY CONFUSED MY SON..I MEAN HOW COULD IT BE OUT OF HIS LEVEL IF HE ALREADY READ IT. SHE EXPECTED HIM TO READ "BABY BOOKS" TOO. I DECIDED I WOULD TALK TO HER AND TELL HER THAT I APPRECIATED HER OPINIONS AND ALL THAT HAPPY STUFF BUT THAT I THOUGHT MY SON SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO TRY WHAT HE WANTS ACADEMICALLY(REASONABLY SPEAKING OF COURSE)SO HE TOOK THE TEST EVENTUALLY. I WOULD REALLY RECOMMEND TALKING TO YOUR SON ABOUT WHAT HE WANTS AND MAKE SURE THAT HE WANTS THE EXTRA CHALLENGES (IM SURE HE DOES AS MOST KIDS LIKE TO SHOW HOW BRIGHT THEY ARE) AND THEN TALK TO HIS TEACHER...TELL THEM EXACTLY HOW YOU FEEL. I THINK THAT THERE ARE ONLY A FEW GOOD TEACHERS LEFT IN THIS WORLD..AND I DO MEAN THOSE WHO DO IT BC THEY LOVE IT AND IF HIS TEACHER IS ONE OF THOSE RARE ONES SHE WOULD BE DELIGHTED TO HAVE A PARENT AND A STUDENT WANTING TO LEARN MORE. MAYBE SHE SEES IT TOO BUT DOESNT WANT TO PUSH HIM. AND THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN THAT FINE LINE OF PUSHING AND CHALLENGING. DOES THE SCHOOL OFFER GIFTED PROGRAMS OR ANYTHING EXTRA??EVEN SOMETHING LIKE THAT MAY KEEP HIS MIND GOING SO HE DOES NOT BECOME RESTLESS. OUR SCHOOLS ARE LIKE YOURS...ALWAYS READY TO CALL ANY ACT OF NORMAL CHILDHOOD ADD/ADHD.....JUST TALK TO THE TEACHER...IF NOTHING RESULTS FROM IT OR IF SHE BLOWS YOU OFF (THEY TOO OFTEN DO THAT WHEN THEY DO NOT AGREE) THEN GO TO THE PRINCIPAL...AND CONTINUE UNTIL YOU HAVE WHAT IS BEST FOR YOUR SON....JUST KEEP CHECKING WITH HIM TO MAKE SURE ITS WHAT HE WANTS......YOU ARE DOING A WONDERFUL JOB WITH YOUR SON...GOOD LUCK
E.M. answers from Louisville on February 12, 2007
Depending on which area you live in many schools offer a "advanced program" i would ask if your school has one if they do not then i would deff. talk to the teacher or even the principal and see if he can be moved to a higher math class even if its a 2nd grade class.... he doesn't have to move up in all his classes just the one. good luck!
B.C. answers from Indianapolis on February 12, 2007
There is nothing wrong with communicating with a teacher - that is your right as a parent! Feel free to call or send a note to the teacher with your concerns. I know they welcome communication at my son's school. You have nothing to lose!
If I child WANTS to be challenged, run with it! Because in a year or 2, they may decide they don't WANT to be challenged! Take advantage now of your child telling you he is ready for more! And be proud!
J.C. answers from Fort Wayne on February 12, 2007
I totally agree, everyone JUMPS at the first chance to say "oh, it might be ADHD" THat's ridiculous. I mean, come on, how many people had that when I was in school? Hardly any! Now it seems like mothers want their kids to have it because it somehow excuses their bad behavior to them. GET CONTROL OF THEIR BEHAVIOR is my words of wisdom to those mothers. Stop relying on medications!
Sorry about that, now back to your question. It seems easy to me, but I don't have first graders yet. I would call his teacher and ask for the number of his math teacher. I would talk to them and tell him/her "I thought it best to call and inform you that my son is saying he's been bored lately in math class. He knows a lot of what you guys are going over right now, and I figured it's best to let you know so that you can maybe adjust something for him so that he stays interested." Or something like that.
D.S. answers from Indianapolis on February 12, 2007
If I were you I would ask for the meeting. Let them know how your son and you are feeling. Maybe they can keep him in his class and give him a little extra work that is more challenging! I do understand your frustration. My daughter too is in 1st grade and is very intellegent. We struggle with the reading, not the math! She reads very well and does her math, but hasn't complained of it being boring! But, I also work with her on the side and she is in a private school, in fact the best in this state! So her work is a little more challenging. Request the conference get the teachers opinion, and keep them informed. As a teacher, I appreciate it when the parents are involved and express their concerns in a positive way. Let them know you support them, but you also want your son to stay focused in class and keep him interested in school. Getting bored now can lead to not wanting to go to school later! Good luck and God Bless!
D.P. answers from Indianapolis on February 12, 2007
I would just call and talk to the teacher. it is great to be proactive and no one knows your child better than you! good luck!