Friday, April 5, 2013

When my Intellectually Gifted Child Hits an Academic Wall




There are two ‘Academic Walls’ that concern me when I am talking about my daughter.  The first is when I know she personally can go further, but those teaching her at school are not letting her.  The second wall is when she gets an assignment she will actually have to work at, it won’t be so easy that she can just fly through it with little to no effort.

For the first problem, I ran into that on a limited scale this year.  At our school (I am sure it is also at others, as it was also at her old school) there is a program called Accelerated Reading (AR).  When my daughter was in first grade the excelled at reading, and by the end of her first grade year she was reading at a fourth grade level.  I continued her reading through the summer by directing her toward chapter books developed for 3 grade readers.  Since she was going into the second grade I did not want to force fourth grade level books on her so that she ended up despising reading, I also did not want to give her books that were so easy she was not challenged at all.  We settled on the Judy Moody series, which she fell in love with.



Then she went into second grade and took her STAR test.  As I understand it, this test placed her in the 2.5-3.0 range for reading.  While I wasn't thrilled with this, I accepted it – but the poor thing is still in there.  Now she has taken another STAR test and despite being placed in 3.0-3.5 range, she must read five more books before going into that level.  As the summer approaches I find I will be directing her toward the same level of books this year as I did last year.

The personal dilemma I run into is:  I know her teacher is ensuring her success, but I fear she might also be holding her back.  I realize now, at the end of the year, is the solution for this is the same solution for when she hits the other academic wall.

I have seen her hit this wall this year … well it was more of a large speed bump, kind of a picture of what is to come.  This year is the first year my daughter has had reading homework (you know writing this out I realize this may be the reason for her teacher’s hesitation – but I don’t think so)where she was required to read a story then answer questions about that story.  As long as the answer to the question was written out in black and white, there was no problem.  It was when she had to come up with an answer based on her own conclusions that she ran into problem.  My lovely girl is very literal, and could not understand that the book wouldn’t just tell her the answer somewhere.  This took about three months of cajoling, tantrums, discussions, and more with her before this became easy for her as well; but it was tough going for a bit there.

The best resolution, beyond what I am already doing, for both of these issues is to ensure I keep an open line of communication with her teacher:  ‘Partnering’ with them.  I have been guilty of trying to fix/do everything on my own – but really, to enable my daughter to learn the best she can is to get all sides of the story.  The dynamic with her teacher is very different from the dynamic between all of us here at home.  Next year I intend to go straight to her third grade teacher with a list of questions and concerns.  Granted it is a small list, for now, but I want to make sure all of us are on the same page.

-This is a continuation of the writing series I started with:  The Concerns of Raising an Intellectually Gifted Child

14 comments:

  1. I think you are doing great with your daughter, very great parenting and growth.

    I'm a new follower from the blog hop.

    My daughter is in Kindergarten and reading Junie B Jones with help. We will have to check out the Moody next year.

    Laura
    BookofLouLou: Jesus and Gypsy Soul
    http://bookofloulou.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank you Laura, I try - it can be tough to balance between pushing just enough and too hard, but I think I will get it if I work at it hard enough.

      Both series are great - another series she loves, and it has a wide range of levels, is the Magic Treehouse series.

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  2. I'm enjoying your blog. :-) I hoe you are enjoying mine as well. I nominated you or the Liebster award. You can check the post out here - http://trialsofastayathomemom.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/liebster-blog-award/

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    1. I do love keeping up with you - you have some great cooking posts as well as parenting posts - I always enjoy checking out what you have posted.

      And I am deeply honored about the award, you are too kind! I still need to get a post about this done - this week!

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  3. Hiya! Love your blog! I have nominated you for a Liebster Award! Chek it out here; http://wildwonderfulgingerssnaps.blogspot.com/2013/04/leibster-3-goes-tome.html

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    1. It is my week for awards - wow - you guys are just amazing, thank you SO much!!

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  4. Hey there! Stopping by from from the Blog Hop! Just wanted to let you know I am now following all of your social networks and via Bloglovin' & GFC :o) Hope you'll check me out too! You can find me here:

    Blog url
    http://www.croppedstories.blogspot.com

    Facebook
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cropped-Stories/615495055132216

    Twitter
    https://twitter.com/croppedstories

    Google+
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/102758509830977850235/posts

    Bloglovin'
    http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/3718883

    Pinterest
    http://pinterest.com/croppedstories/

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    1. Thanks so much for the visit - I loved your site and got you followed back ... expect to be seeing comments from me from now on! :-D

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  5. My two boys are a bit behind when it comes to the reading & writing in school. It's been very helpful to team up with the teachers - definitely! Good luck. =0)
    ~Kim
    www.2justByou.com

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    1. Thank you! My sister is running into that from her twins; I learn from her experiences often and am happy to read when people confirm what I am thinking.

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  6. Parenting and education can be difficult at times. Keep up the great work!! New follower from the blog hop! Would love a visit and follow back. Have a blessed day!

    http://threesistersandus.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you! Of course we visited back -- well I did, I suppose it is just men, unless you count the lint in my pocked it! :-D Thank you for the visit, I appreciate it and I commented over on your blog.

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  7. Hey! I found your blog through a blog hop. I don't have kids, but I graduated from Yale a few years ago and I like to believe I'm smart (which may or may not be true). For what it's worth I think your continued advocacy will make all the difference in your daughter's academic life. As for choosing a reading level for her, have you thought about giving her a selection of books within a certain range of difficulty (3.0-4.0 maybe) and talking with her about how some of the books will be easy for her and some of them will be harder, but you want her to try some of the harder books and ask you for help with the words she doesn't understand. I think you're right about the second kind of hurdle because eventually she is going to get to an assignment she will have to work at. For me that didn't come until my freshman year of college and it was really jarring and made the first year of college way harder than it should have been. Maybe if I had had to work at a level that was challenging but not impossible all along it wouldn't have been so tough.

    Ashley @ http://downsizingashley.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank you so much for your input, Ashley. I do try to grab from a range, and don't steer her away from the more difficult books (she is also reading Ramona series, which is squarely in the 4th grade level) one thing I did not think about is discussing the difference in the levels and getting help with the words. We do encourage using a dictionary to look up words (bought her a pocket one this year), but sometimes discussing a word lends itself to better comprehension - thank you so much for that input.

      and the other way .. what you are describing is exactly what I hope to avoid. I figure it is my job to teach how to get OVER that hurdle as opposed to avoiding it. There is something I read about gifted child vs. bright child: how a bright child has always studied hard and is confident in their abilities as opposed to a gifted child that has had thing come to them naturally and is overly critical in thier ability - thus when they hit that bump, they don't think, "OK, got to figure a way around this." they think, "Why isn't this easy for me? I must be stupid!" The latter is what I really hope to avoid - I suppose it is just about retraining that inner dialogue.

      Again, thank you for your input, I truly appreciate it!

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