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Bright 2nd grader & school truancy / part-time home-school?



 
 
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  #71  
Old October 27th 03, 02:36 PM
dejablues
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Default Bright 2nd grader & school truancy / part-time home-school?

Sounds like you have a good situation. Our school doesn't mind if it's a
once-in-a while thing , but to take a child out once a week for the whole
school year is a bit much.
My job is about the best I can have at this time, my boss's wife is an
assistant principal at a high school so he has no problem with me leaving to
go to a conference, pick up a sick child (in fact all my co-workers know the
sound of the nurses voice !)


"Jenrose" wrote in message
s.com...

"dejablues" wrote in message
...

"Vicki" wrote in message
news
Today we received a warning letter for truancy for our 2nd grader.

The
principal said she was concerned about dd's absences. I am not

concerned
about dd's absences--she is bright, she knows the material [she's

missed
five days this month, but received 100 on her test for materials

covered.]
I don't think the teacher is concerned. But the principal said dd is

only
allowed 5 excused absences per semester.

I'm not happy about the possibility of legal sanctions for keeping dd

home
(she was sick this month, but I wouldn't hesitate to take her out of

school
for other things we feel are important.)


You are teaching your daughter that it is OK to skip out on things that

she
*has* to do in order to do things she (or you ) *wants* to do.


sigh
My daughter's school doesn't even blink if a kid misses a day for

something
the parent thinks is important. If kids need to leave early for a music
lesson, they bend over backward to make it easy. They're being taught to
balance priorities in their lives, and it just so happens that for most of
the kids, they love school and school is a high priority and they don't

want
to miss it for anything. Some kids miss occasionally for the start of an

SCA
event, for example, or a major family trip, or whatnot. But you know, in
real life, people GET to make special plans to rearrange their lives

around
the occasional special event or opportunity.

If my daughter was doing such a **** poor job of educating her that it
didn't feel like a missed day would even matter, I wouldn't mind pulling

her
now and then either. As it is, she loves school, hates missing a day, and
we have to browbeat her into missing once in a while for things where it
just doesn't "work" for us to send her to school that day (i.e. when we go
to a special once-a-year event for the weekend and must leave Friday.) But
the school and her teachers don't mind.

Funny thing... I found a job myself where the day they hired me they said,
"We know you're a parent and we want you to know that your family comes
first."

I can miss a day "just because" and not lose my job--they know I'll meet

my
deadlines and they know that flexibility is one of the reasons I stay

there.
I can show up late or leave early. I insisted on finding a job where my
family COULD come first.

My daughter's school succeeded in making going to school "the reward"...

so
that they don't HAVE to punish people outrageously for missing. Most

people
just don't want to miss!

Jenrose




  #72  
Old October 27th 03, 02:50 PM
Ericka Kammerer
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Default Bright 2nd grader & school truancy / part-time home-school?

toypup wrote:

"Ericka Kammerer" wrote in message
...

I certainly won't contest your impression of your
district, as I have no experience of it. We have a similar
program (center based GT program), however, and it is *totally*
different. The kids are delightful, very well behaved, and
highly supportive of the school and school programs--not to
mention that their parents are some of the most highly
active in the whole school, and their efforts benefit the
*whole* school, not just the center based GT part. I'll
agree that the label is unfortunate, though I'm not
sure what the program ought to be called.


I doesn't matter what it's called, everyone will know what it means. We had
a blue bird, red bird program at school where the excellerated readers
started school a little later. The labels didn't mention gifted or
talented, just a different colored bird, but everyone knew what it meant.



I certainly agree with that. Most of the grades in
our school have reading and math groups. They aren't
identified as anything beyond "Mr. Alexander's reading group"
or "Mrs. Grader's math group" and they don't tell the kids
(or the parents, unless you torture it out of them!) which
groups are which, but the kids figure it out in very short
order. Still, I think there is something important about
names, and calling something the "gifted and talented"
program does beg the question of precisely what these
kids are gifted and talented *at* and whether everyone
else is *not* gifted *or* talented (which would be patently
untrue). I'd be happy seeing a somewhat different label,
but I haven't the foggiest idea what it would be. And
really, maybe it wouldn't do any good after all. Even if
you started out with more neutral words, perhaps they'd
just acquire the meanings one hoped to avoid anyway, as
you say.

Best wishes,
Ericka




  #73  
Old October 27th 03, 03:07 PM
Ericka Kammerer
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Default Bright 2nd grader & school truancy / part-time home-school?

Jenrose wrote:


My daughter's school doesn't even blink if a kid misses a day for something
the parent thinks is important. If kids need to leave early for a music
lesson, they bend over backward to make it easy. They're being taught to
balance priorities in their lives, and it just so happens that for most of
the kids, they love school and school is a high priority and they don't want
to miss it for anything. Some kids miss occasionally for the start of an SCA
event, for example, or a major family trip, or whatnot. But you know, in
real life, people GET to make special plans to rearrange their lives around
the occasional special event or opportunity.



I don't think it's so much the occasional special event
that's a problem. Our school will also work with families in
those situations, as will most of the teachers. But there's a
world of difference between the occasional opportunity and
a child who, for one reason or another, is barely in the
classroom enough to establish a routine. In the OP's case,
we're talking about a child who has missed several days due
to illness, who has and will miss more for assorted special
and family events, and whom the OP wants to take out even
MORE frequently (up to a day a week) for enrichment activities!
In that scenario, the child is missing more than 20 percent
of school! At that point, I think you've presented a very
difficult position for the teacher and the administration.
If the education isn't adequate, by all means find a way to
get the child the education she needs, but I just don't see
how the proposed scenario is going to work well for *anyone*.
If flexibility is the name of the game, then full time
homeschooling really seems to be the best option, and then
one figures out a way to achieve the social goals along
with it. If that's not acceptable and the child needs to
stay in the public school system, then I think it's important
to do that in a way that shows some respect to the teacher
and classmates as well as providing the appropriate
enrichment activities.


Funny thing... I found a job myself where the day they hired me they said,
"We know you're a parent and we want you to know that your family comes
first."

I can miss a day "just because" and not lose my job--they know I'll meet my
deadlines and they know that flexibility is one of the reasons I stay there.
I can show up late or leave early. I insisted on finding a job where my
family COULD come first.



But you have a job where the nature of the job makes
that possible. I have one of those too, and it's a really
nice way to go. But there *are* jobs where that isn't
possible. The way most classrooms are organized, the job
of learning/teaching isn't one that can be done in a situation
where the child is missing 20+ percent of school. Is the
teacher *really* supposed to sit down each week and plan
*everything* to accommodate the fact that a particular child
is going to regularly miss a day that week? The teacher
must not schedule anything that would affect her grades that
day? And, of course, it would be a shame to schedule anything
particularly interesting or special that day, since this is
a child who most needs those sorts of enriching activities.
And what about group work? Will this child be excused from
all group work so that her group won't be at a disadvantage
by her absence? Or will all group work have to be scheduled
around her schedule? And what about specials (music, PE, art,
computer, etc.)? If the day she's skipping has one or more
of those, then she's missing *all* of that activity, so what
should happen with those grades? Should she be given a way
to make those up?
Now, one could argue that classes should be designed
differently so that they had the flexibility to deal with
this sort of thing. However, that would pretty much mean
that they'd have to go to a sef-paced, self-directed sort
of class. This would be a huge change, would probably
require a significantly lower teacher:student ratio, and
would wreak havoc with all the "accountability" testing
and whatnot that has been implemented by our elected
officials over the last several years.


My daughter's school succeeded in making going to school "the reward"... so
that they don't HAVE to punish people outrageously for missing. Most people
just don't want to miss!



I think most schools can be accommodating to some
degree. Even if it's that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
to spend two weeks on safari, they'll usually work to
concoct some sort of project the child can do resulting
from the trip itself, and that plus a little makeup work
will eliminate the problem. But handling a situation
where the child is regularly missing as much school as
the OP proposed is a really different situation, in my
opinion at least.

Best wishes,
Ericka

  #74  
Old October 27th 03, 03:19 PM
Ericka Kammerer
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Bright 2nd grader & school truancy / part-time home-school?

Jenrose wrote:


I balk at the notion that a parent should "have" to homeschool to get a
gifted child what they need (although I would have yanked my kid out of
school so fast if it hadn't been great for her...) or that it should take
"extra" time outside of school hours. Kids are in school for what, 29-30
hours per week? That's PLENTY to learn what they need to learn.



Sure, they should have programs and opportunities for
gifted kids. But if they *don't*, then besides agitating for
them to have appropriate programs, one has to find a solution
that is workable in the current environment. And believe me,
having *been* a gifted kid in a school (at various times--I
was in a lot of different schools) where there were no programs,
I would *NOT* have wanted a solution where my folks pulled me
out of school once a week! I was already different enough,
thank you very much. Doing something that made it painfully
obvious that everyone else was having to accommodate me would
have been much worse. We found other solutions that worked
within the classroom structure. Sometimes I'd go to the
library (to read, to help, or to do special projects) *after*
I'd done the work for my regular class. Sometimes the
teacher would give me extra projects to do when I was
bored. There were always plenty of ways to keep me from
being bored in class when we looked for them.


Some of the ways bright kids can "get more out" of existing units.

Rather than doing ordinary spelling like the other kids, the better spellers
are in "dictionary" spelling where they basically pick out their own words.

snip
When writing assignments are given, in a 1-3 class, the first graders write
a few sentences and draw a picture. The third graders write a few
paragraphs. The brighter kids might write a page or two. In fifth grade, my
daughter is touch-typing 1-2 page papers.

Reading...is always at the kid's level.


snip


Math is done by grade level, but is so open-ended that kids who fly get to
work on really neat logic problems and word problems while kids who are
working on the basic concepts spend more time with teacher and
helping/getting help from peers


snip


The upshot is, my "highly gifted" kid has been educated right along with all
the other kids for the past 5 years and aside from insisting on some
alternatives to learning the alphabet (which she knew before she was 2) in
K, I've not had to play the "gifted" card since she started 1st grade. Her
teachers just provide *all* the kids with a good education, no matter how
slow or fast they learn. All children learn better from an enriched,
interesting educational environment. ALL children can benefit from hands-on
learning.



But you'll notice that none of your suggestions involved
taking your child out of school every week! Your child is
working *within* a very nice system--and using adaptations
that the OP very likely *could* get implemented for her
child with a little effort! Personally, I think that's a
much better approach than trying to "fix" things by bailing
on the regular classroom once a week. It's far less likely
to cause problems or resentment, and it's likely much easier
for the teacher to accommodate.

Best wishes,
Ericka

  #75  
Old October 27th 03, 05:01 PM
Cathy Kearns
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Posts: n/a
Default Bright 2nd grader & school truancy / part-time home-school?


"Ericka Kammerer" wrote in message
...
toypup wrote:

I certainly agree with that. Most of the grades in
our school have reading and math groups. They aren't
identified as anything beyond "Mr. Alexander's reading group"
or "Mrs. Grader's math group" and they don't tell the kids
(or the parents, unless you torture it out of them!) which
groups are which, but the kids figure it out in very short
order.


There is an advantage of leaving it to the kids to figure out.
Even when they do figure it out, they don't have the heft
of the school administration behind them. There's always
that seed of doubt. But once the labels start....

I talked to one child in a profoundly gifted program.
Her class was small, and they were bringing in
another child. She has her doubts about this
child, after all, she came from the "only" gifted
program. "She might be pretty stupid." Made
me wonder exactly what they were teaching
the profoundly gifted kids.

Still, I think there is something important about
names, and calling something the "gifted and talented"
program does beg the question of precisely what these
kids are gifted and talented *at* and whether everyone
else is *not* gifted *or* talented (which would be patently
untrue).


But I agree, the label implies they are gifted and talented
at everything, which is cruel to both kids on both sides.

I'd be happy seeing a somewhat different label,
but I haven't the foggiest idea what it would be. And
really, maybe it wouldn't do any good after all. Even if
you started out with more neutral words, perhaps they'd
just acquire the meanings one hoped to avoid anyway, as
you say.


Why not start with what exactly the program does. Is
it an accelerated program in academics? Could be called
the "Accelerated Academics" program. Does it not
accelerate, but covers the subjects in more depth,
call it the "Comprehensive Studies" program.
Heck, head on down to whichever program has the
kids doing creative writing and have them look through
the Thesaurus for good names.

Best wishes,
Ericka






  #76  
Old October 27th 03, 05:20 PM
Banty
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Posts: n/a
Default Bright 2nd grader & school truancy / part-time home-school?

In article , Ericka Kammerer says...

toypup wrote:


I doesn't matter what it's called, everyone will know what it means. We had
a blue bird, red bird program at school where the excellerated readers
started school a little later. The labels didn't mention gifted or
talented, just a different colored bird, but everyone knew what it meant.



I certainly agree with that. Most of the grades in
our school have reading and math groups. They aren't
identified as anything beyond "Mr. Alexander's reading group"
or "Mrs. Grader's math group" and they don't tell the kids
(or the parents, unless you torture it out of them!) which
groups are which, but the kids figure it out in very short
order. Still, I think there is something important about
names, and calling something the "gifted and talented"
program does beg the question of precisely what these
kids are gifted and talented *at* and whether everyone
else is *not* gifted *or* talented (which would be patently
untrue). I'd be happy seeing a somewhat different label,
but I haven't the foggiest idea what it would be. And
really, maybe it wouldn't do any good after all. Even if
you started out with more neutral words, perhaps they'd
just acquire the meanings one hoped to avoid anyway, as
you say.


I've often heard "accelerated" and always thought that was a pretty good
non-judgemental term.

Banty

  #77  
Old October 27th 03, 05:27 PM
Banty
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Posts: n/a
Default Bright 2nd grader & school truancy / part-time home-school?

In article , Ericka Kammerer says...

Banty wrote:

In article , Ericka Kammerer says...


from the classroom anyway. I guess I was assuming that
neighborhood friends and friends from other activities
would be unaffected by this odd school division, but
apparently it extended beyond school?


??

Perhaps you're thinking of a program where the kids are together in a class even
for lunch and PE and recess and everything else?



I hadn't realized before your last post that you
were talking about jr. high. I was thinking in terms
of elementary school. In my son's elementary school,
they have lunch as a class. I think they sometimes mix
two classes together in PE, but there's not a lot of
time for socializing there. As I said in another post,
there's also only limited interaction at recess.


By junior high, those between-class periods and - especially - who sits with who
during lunch, and PE which mixes classes (at least did for the program I was
in), and in recess in earlier grades the kids see each other. And often
gravitate to their neighborhood friends. It doesn't have to extend beyond
school.



I don't know what it will be like for my kids
when they get to jr. high, but I was in the same program
my older son is now in this school district when I was
in jr. high (egads...can it really be 25 years ago!?).
We did mingle at lunch, but there was almost no between
class time (barely enough to get from class to class if
you hustled).


But in junior high it's a really big deal - who you sit with at lunch, who
you're waiting for at the bottom of the stairs to return a sweater left behind
from a slumber party. If you're 'not supposed' to be doing stuff like that with
people you've known for years suddenly, it's very very impactful and apparent.

After school - we were in two different communities, base vs. town. But the
at-school expectations voiced by "why were you talking to *her*??" rings loud in
junior high ears.

I moved into the area for 7th grade and
was put into this center-based program. Unlike kids not
in the program, I was with the same group of kids for all
my core academics and was then mainstreamed for PE and band
(and maybe one or two other classes over two years--I forget
which, precisely). Anyway, because I had a good four classes
with the same group of people, I knew them best and gravitated
toward them to find friends.


Well, you moved into the area, and didn't know anyone else yet. And soon went
to classes. But usually, there are other previous connections.

But I'm not saying finding friends from your classroom mostly is bad or
anything. But would it have been apparent to you if there was an expectation
not be have much to do with kids from ordinary classes in your case?

Banty

  #78  
Old October 27th 03, 06:15 PM
Ericka Kammerer
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Bright 2nd grader & school truancy / part-time home-school?

Banty wrote:


But I'm not saying finding friends from your classroom mostly is bad or
anything. But would it have been apparent to you if there was an expectation
not be have much to do with kids from ordinary classes in your case?



I wouldn't want to stake my life on it, and of course
the old memory could be failing after 25 years ;-) But my
recollection is that there wasn't any of that. While most
of my friends came from my classes (because I spent the most
time with them) I did know others who had friends from
other classes, whether they were neighborhood friends or
friends from electives, and that didn't seem to be a problem.
Band and drama were common places where kids from both
programs interacted, and there were some friendships formed
there for kids who were heavily into music or theater.
Maybe I was just clueless, but I really didn't notice any
of the animosity you described in your situation. There
was certainly a sense of intellectual superiority in
a few kids, but I didn't notice it to be any different
from the same sense in similar mainstreamed kids ;-)

Best wishes,
Ericka

  #80  
Old October 27th 03, 10:01 PM
Jenrose
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Posts: n/a
Default Bright 2nd grader & school truancy / part-time home-school?


"Ericka Kammerer" wrote in message
...
Jenrose wrote:



But you have a job where the nature of the job makes
that possible. I have one of those too, and it's a really
nice way to go. But there *are* jobs where that isn't
possible. The way most classrooms are organized, the job
of learning/teaching isn't one that can be done in a situation
where the child is missing 20+ percent of school. Is the
teacher *really* supposed to sit down each week and plan
*everything* to accommodate the fact that a particular child
is going to regularly miss a day that week?


No. However....

The teacher
must not schedule anything that would affect her grades that
day? And, of course, it would be a shame to schedule anything
particularly interesting or special that day, since this is
a child who most needs those sorts of enriching activities.
And what about group work? Will this child be excused from
all group work so that her group won't be at a disadvantage
by her absence? Or will all group work have to be scheduled
around her schedule? And what about specials (music, PE, art,
computer, etc.)? If the day she's skipping has one or more
of those, then she's missing *all* of that activity, so what
should happen with those grades? Should she be given a way
to make those up?


In an environment which focuses on education (rather than grades) and
provides enough group work, special activities, enrichment, etc., there will
be both the flexibility for a child to miss a class (without it affecting
non-existing grades) and enough learning going on that maybe the parents
don't feel they *need* to pull the child out to keep her learning.

Now, one could argue that classes should be designed
differently so that they had the flexibility to deal with
this sort of thing. However, that would pretty much mean
that they'd have to go to a sef-paced, self-directed sort
of class. This would be a huge change, would probably
require a significantly lower teacher:student ratio, and
would wreak havoc with all the "accountability" testing
and whatnot that has been implemented by our elected
officials over the last several years.


My daughter's classes are not self-paced, per se, nor self-directed. And the
teacher/student ratio varies from 24:1 to 28:1, although we have enough
parent volunteers that there are usually other adults around. Honestly, when
you get a bunch of kids with different ability levels together, ditch the
whole "letter grade" system, encourage group learning environments and make
the curriculum one which allows children to do assignments to their ability
rather than to one "objective" standard, then yes, you can accomplish an
education with the same basic resources any public school should have. Our
kids have to take the testing just like everyone else, and they do well on
it. The *only* "problem" our school had on the national testing
was...attendance. That is, enough parents opted out of the generalized
testing that it was a black mark...the only black mark. Funny, the kids are
still learning.

But the teachers give the assignments, and the general direction, but they
do tailor their expectations to each kid. Removing the tyranny of graded
assignments and placing instead actual *feedback* to kids and encouragement
to learn and develop rather than 'get better grades' and suddenly you get a
group of engaged kids who like helping each other out, like learning, and
who don't have to be ability grouped, ostracized or otherwise isolated for
being brighter than average OR slower than average.


My daughter's school succeeded in making going to school "the reward"...

so
that they don't HAVE to punish people outrageously for missing. Most

people
just don't want to miss!



I think most schools can be accommodating to some
degree. Even if it's that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
to spend two weeks on safari, they'll usually work to
concoct some sort of project the child can do resulting
from the trip itself, and that plus a little makeup work
will eliminate the problem. But handling a situation
where the child is regularly missing as much school as
the OP proposed is a really different situation, in my
opinion at least.


My opinion is that a bright kid whose parents feel the kid needs to be out
of school once a week to get a decent education is a symptom of a school
that is failing to provide an adequate education. The irony is that getting
kids engaged in learning just does not have to be all that hard.

School does not have to be boring. It does not have to be "paced to the
slowest learner in the class". It does not have to be demoralizing for kids
who take longer to learn. It does not have to be centered on getting
grades--it should be centered on learning! I got great grades all the way
through high school--it taught me to cram for tests but little else. I'm
great at cramming for tests, btw... but have lousy retention of what I
learn. My daughter on the other hand tends to really internalize what she
learns, has great study habits, etc. Just this year, in 5th grade, she gets
points on her assignments for the first time. And she is so into the extra
credit for it's own sake that she often comes back with a zillion extra
points on her paper and it's irrelevant to her. She's so not about the
numbers.

To me, a bored bright child is as scary or scarier than a child who is
struggling to learn. Both are fully capable of acting out in frustration and
disrupting the environment for other kids. Why not use curriculums that
actually keep both kids from getting too frustrated? Curriculums that keep
them learning?

Jenrose


 




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