S.S. asks from Ridgewood, NY on October 07, 2009
Smart Child That Says He Doesn't like to Learn
My six year old, skiped a grade and is in Second grade. He learns many things very easily. He has been tested. However I think because he hasn't been tested by a person who is experience with this what ever you call it kind of type of child (gifted or autistic) Example: He knows all the Presidents of the US and could tell you how many of them were named George. or tell you how many wore wigs and so on. HOWEVER, he seems to be lazy or unfocused sometimes. And says school is boring. And some homework I know he knows and understands, he just looks at it and says it's too hard. How can I get him to focus? I don't know what to do to explain to him or find ways for him to enjoy school? I feel if it's something he's not interested in he won't try. For a child with his capacity and curiousity to learn I thought he would be happier. He's not.
1 mom found this helpful
So What Happened?™
Thank you everyone for all the wonderful suggestions. I've spoken to the Peditrician and she thinks we should sign him up for after school programs at the museum that he is interested in. We will also ask about a full evaluation. Socially, his best friend is Eight years old. One of requests from the school was to sign him up in a friendship group at school and attend Cub scouts. We've been doing this for a year now. So socialization isn't a concern. He has friends ages 5-8. I'm going to be looking into charter schools in our area. I've looked into Montoserri, we didn't have any in our area. The lovelly Vice Principal at his school was very helpful, but I hate do bother her. However, I will ask for her help and advice agian. I have to. I don't want my child dropping out of school at such a young age. LOL. Again THANK YOU for all your responses. all of them were helpful one way or another. I'll let you know what happens.
P.G. answers from Washington DC on October 08, 2009
You mention the terms "gifted" AND "autistic". Have both terms been used to describe his behavior and manner in school and social situations? These are HUGELY different matters which require correct assesment and then rapid interventions and considerations which are VERY different. You are right: you likely have not received adequate evaluation by experts. Please acquire more professional evaluations and then you will better know how to approach his issue of limited likes, focus and attention to school work.
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S.M. answers from Roanoke on October 14, 2009
Some of what you are describing sounds like Asperger's Syndrome to me. You should read a little about it on the internet and see what you think.
M.L. answers from Washington DC on October 08, 2009
Happier? Not necessarily. Remember, you're thinking about this from an adult perspective. He's still a child, no matter how bright he is at this point.
I've been teaching for 11 years. I have a bachelors in special education, a masters in administration, and am a national board certified teacher. I've run the gamut in so far as teaching; I've taught severe special ed. students (wheelchair bound, mentally challenged), to mild (autistic, apergers syndrome (form of autistm), learning disabled students, etc.), to inclusion classes, to honors, to AP Literature and Composition. I don't know that I would consider myself an expert, but I've worked with many types of students and feel that I can give you some sound advice.
First, you should consult his pediatrician and have him tested by an expert. There is a vast difference between being gifted and being autistic. If he is autistic, then he may display some or all of these characteristics: have little eye contact, difficulty with social relationships with everyone, lack make-believe or play skills, difficulty communicating verbally (starting sentences, etc.), an attachment to an object, little interest in experiences, etc. If you son displays some or all of these characteristics, he may be autistic. Again, have him tested.
Regardless of the outcome of testing, his intelligence may very well be creating a lack of interest in school. In short, he may be bored, even though he skipped a whole grade. Find his interests and go with it. I once had a very bright young man. I taught him when he was in 10th grade. His mother told me when he was 3 years old, he showed an interest in medicine. At 3 years of age, he asked her where babies came from. She took him to the library, showed him how to find books, and explained the process to him. That was 11 years ago. He is a successful doctor. Whatever his interest(s), give him more; challenge him to think and to do, whether this means building something, cooking, etc. Just because he skipped a grade doesn't automatically mean that all of his needs are being met. You need to extend his learning as a parent. Remember, we invest in that which we value. In this case, it would be your child's education.
In regards to him not wanting to do his homework because it is boring or too hard (when you know it isn't), this is the time when revoking privileges works wonders. Actions speak louder than words. By revoking privileges, he'll see that doing homework is important to you. He'll see what you value. It may be hard at first, but as he gets older, he'll take those work/study habits that you help him create today and carry them with him all of his life.
Well, I hope this helps. Let me know how it goes.
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N.C. answers from Washington DC on October 07, 2009
It sounds like you have quite a wonderful child!! And it sounds like he is trying to tell you something. In my opinion, children can be extremely smart, brilliant even, but if they don't have a balance in their social lives and in their physical development and general well-being, they are not going to be happy or motivated to learn. You could surely get him tested to see if he has some learning differences that affect his performance at school.
From another side of things (and what I would recommend first) I would suggest looking into his social life at school (does he have a special friend? Does he like one of his classes a lot? Who does he eat with at lunch?) and try to find out if you think he's happy in his social environment.
When I was a kid I was also deemed to be "gifted" and so my parents accelerated me by putting me in second grade when I was six years old. I was miserable in that class. The teacher refused to let me go to the bathroom when I needed to, I didn't have any friends (7-8 year olds are very different from 6 year olds), and luckily, my parents noticed that I was not happy, so they placed me back with my age group, and I loved school ever since!!
On the other hand, my youngest sister was held back a year in kindergarten for physical development reasons (she was sickly as a child, and needed some extra time in kindergarten). When she entered first grade as a 7-year-old she was extremely happy and confident, and ready.
I have become a real advocate for waiting until your child is ready for something. My son is very much into academics already, and he is only 3, and I work on his alphabet and math and Spanish skills with him when he wants to, but I also make sure he has plenty of time to run and play at the park, and laugh and be silly and eat and sleep well. I haven't given in to the many classes and activities you can sign your child up for. Yes, we do attend occasional events and activities, but there is no pressure.
I don't mean to lecture, but make a Mommy Check to see if your son is doing well socially, then maybe look into learning styles, and also make sure his school environment is one that fits his unique skills and needs. Best wishes!
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S.T. answers from Washington DC on October 08, 2009
that is precisely the reason i homeschooled my kids.....not the same exact issues, but my concern that the glorious process of learning was being twisted into something boring, tedious, generally not-desirable because there is no way a kid who is an eager fast learner can get the stimulation he needs in a public school venue. if that's not an option you've got an interesting challenge. it will be up to you to make sure that he's in a school that is willing to work with your kid's academic AND social development, which in this sort of kid are often at odds. you will be expected to medicate him to help with the focus (and how ironic is that?)
you cannot explain to a child that school *should* be fun. either he's enjoying the experience or he's not, no amount of logic or rationalizing will change that for him. figure out ways to keep his mind engaged, look at the homework yourself and utilize what you know about your kid's interests and his learning style and get creative about how to mesh them (eg if he's learning about the civil war, have him re-enact a battle that they're studying in school with stuffed animals, and video it.)
you are his advocate. without making unreasonable demands on the natural limitations of the school and staff, make sure they understand what he needs and work with them to provide him with an enriching environment. make sure that YOU understand as completely as you can what his learning style is and what types of challenges this poses. encourage him. you're at a time of delicate balance where that keen intellect can be dulled down by boredom and lack of the type of stimulation it requires to get him engaged.
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A.B. answers from Washington DC on October 08, 2009
If you have no interest in homeschooling, then consider different school choices: Montessori, Waldorf, independent or a public school with a good TAG program that might challenge him at his age-level. Around grade 4, though, most public and private schools lose the hands-on, experiential teaching techniques that make learning fun and emphasize testing, so you might find yourself in the same boat later. If you live in the DC metropolitan area, there are really good private schools like The Lab School of Washington, Sidwell Friends, etc. that might be worth considering. They're very expensive but offer scholarships if cost is a concern. If you suspect some attention deficits, that usually is not determined until a child is 9 years old and is still showing signs of significant inattention. If you need more info., email offline.
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S.W. answers from Norfolk on October 08, 2009
I went through some similar issues with my now 8 year old son. We just started our second year of homeschooling and LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! He can work on things that really interest him, attend co-ops and enrichment classes, etc. You may want to check it out. If you want more info you can contact me and I can point you in the right direction. One good place to start is www.vahomeschoolers.org
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K.F. answers from Washington DC on October 08, 2009
A lot of times the smarter ones are the 'boreder' ones. My DSS came home after Kindergarten one day and had announced he already learned everything, so he didn't have to go back. Of course, he had to go back....but he was too smart for his own good....he didn't skip grades, but all through elementary for both he and my DSD, they were bored and learning more quickly. I don't think skipping or not skipping grades will really change this, you just have to explain that school is important and it's his job to go. As for the homework, make sure he doesn't have any privileges till AFTER he finishes, as a reward, so even if learning is not incentive enough for him to complete it, I'm sure TV, video games, or dessert would be. Over time he will learn to be more studious - he is just maturing, so give it some time. And make sure you coach him through assignments - let him know that you have faith in his abilities and he can have such and such when he is done. Also, let him know you will check it afterwards...this helps kids stay accountable. My DSS just started Jr High and his classes are much harder now - so where he coasted through ES, he has to work extra hard now, and that has been an adjustment....my DSD is in 3rd grade now and she finds free time to be more creative, so she will write in her journal and read, etc when she finishes before other students do - a creative outlet like that helps cut down on her talking/socializing with other students that need more time for their work.
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C.J. answers from Washington DC on October 08, 2009
1. gifted and autism are not interchangeable. a lot of gifted people are nowhere on the autism scale and vice versa. if you are seriously concerned that he is autistic, you didn't include any examples of why you do, but if you do, by all means have him evaluated.
2. this might be a case for not skipping grades. many of the adults i know now that were the youngest in there class because of skipping grades or getting in under the cut-off wish their parents had not pushed. one said that she had a hard time in english literature because she was not mature enough to understand some of the themes she was reading. just because you can read all the words in hamlet does not mean you understand it. there was a 14 yo in one of my upper level college physics classes and i felt bad for him. instead of finding a place to sit in the cafeteria, going to homecoming with his friends because he's too young to date, school football games or even chess club or debate team, he was sitting in a university class and utterly one dimensional. i couldn't think but that the parents were kind of selfish.
especially in a time when parents are holding their kids, especially boys, back your son is going to be much, much younger than other boys in the class. at his age learning to get along with his peers and maturity is more important than US history. seriously, does it matter which presidents wore wigs? have you talked to his teacher? or the principal? what do they say? someone suggested montessori and maybe that's not a bad idea, he can be with his peers and learn at his own pace.
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S.G. answers from Lynchburg on October 08, 2009
School IS boring to a bright child. My son could write by age three, read by 4 and a 1/2, so Kindergarten was about socialization only, and he skipped first grade entirely. Think about school this way.... 1 plus 1 is 2 ...1 plus 1 is 2, 1 plus 1 is 2.. 1 plus 1 is 2 ....Repetition is how most children learn, but a gifted child may pick it up as soon as he hears it (photographic memory). So hearing it over and over again is boring, and they tune out.
My son is now in fourth grade, and it has always been a challenge to find interesting things for him at school. We basically "home school" after school, going more in-depth with what he's studying, and finding areas of interest that re-spark his desires to learn.
Good luck, hope this helps you to understand his point of view.
S. SAHWM of four
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