I don’t talk about the kids’ abilities much, but mostly because they don’t seem all that out of the ordinary to me.
The girls are proving themselves to be of fairly high ability for their ages. Not necessarily globally that I can tell, because while they are interested in some of the math manipulatives we have at home, they aren’t doing advanced math calculations. Oldest daughter is much more capable of higher math than they do at school – multi-digit addition and subtraction. She took a mild interest in learning multiplication and we spent some time on it. Occasionally she does some extra worksheets at home.
She doesn’t do a ton extra, but I usually keep her in charge of taking score if we play dice games, or she’ll add up the contents of her piggy bank and sum them on paper.
But, overall, she’s not “math-obsessed”. More like, “math curious”.
Her main strength right now is reading. She was formally assessed last week. Each beginning of the school year, they assess the kids reading and comprehension levels with the Developmental Reading Assessment program. Ideally the way it works, you have the child read a story, then test the child and then give them reading materials slightly above their levels to challenge them and keep their vocabulary and comprehension growing.
The range of reading levels for your typical 2nd grader correspond to 18 at the low end to 28 at the high end. Oldest daughter came home after assessment day and told me, “mom, the teacher kept having to give me more quizzes until she couldn’t go any higher”. I suspected and checked later online that the story she stopped on was a level 38. That corresponds to a late 3rd grade, early 4th grade reading level.
Given the fact she is halfway through Harry Potter 4 which is almost a 6th grade reading level, this doesn’t surprise me at all.
Middle daughter (kindergarten age) just came home from school yesterday and told me she was assessed at school too. First of all, this is nothing short of a little MIRACLE, given the fact she was selectively mute at school just 2 years ago. One of my biggest concerns for her was how were they going to assess her reading ability if she won’t speak. Guess I don’t have to worry anymore.
She was given 4 quizzes to do and from what I can tell, she finished at level 14 (the ceiling for K is 18 which is end of first grade/beginning of second grade levels). They hope kindergartners leave kindergarten reading at a level 3. Middle dd also told me she thought they weren’t done assessing her. I suppose I’ll find out today if they do. Given the fact that she just finished reading her first chapter book, the Magic Treehouse Dinosaurs Before Dark to me over the summer, it wouldn’t surprise me if she reaches the ceiling.
So…like every attentive (uh, helicopter? JUST KIDDING!) parent asks themselves…what does this mean and where do you go from here if your children walk in the door reading close to 2+ levels above their grade level in a public school setting? And, well, they don’t even have a similar assessment program for math (though I’m told it’s in development), so who knows what their real abilities are.
I know this varies widely from school to school. In our school, they do have pullout reading programs for advanced instruction. Except I saw their advanced instruction last year. Not even close to oldest daughter’s comprehension level. But it’s a start. Some (many) public schools don’t have that.
I just don’t know if it starts in K. Oldest daughter never went into any pullout programs for K. But most likely that was due to the fact she started off the year at a level 3 and didn’t reach level 18 until the 3rd quarter.
But for middle daughter starting K at a level 14 (at the minimum), I hope they will consider moving her up to the first grade reading groups. I don’t know if they do this exact thing, but I do know that oldest daughter told me some kids in her K class spent some time in first grade. I never found out why.
I just can’t fathom middle daughter having to “learn how to read” with her classmates, when she is fluently reading now. If middle daughter comes home today and tells me there is more assessments done, I’m going to make an inquiry to find out exactly where she’s at and how to keep her engaged (remember, NEVER EVER use the word BORED to school officials, they don’t take to it well). So far, she hasn’t come home and told me anything was boring, which is a good thing. But, she’s learning the alphabet, and basically doing coloring sheets in school right now. Fortunately, she is not complaining. Apparently she makes her coloring more interesting by using multiple colors within the letters she’s supposed to color.
She does need a tiny bit of help with writing skills, though probably not for long. Her pencil grasp is good, but she tends to have “shaky” letters. But, she’s a trooper and is working on that at home. She had the hardest time writing the lowercase “g”, but she has been a trooper, and has been practicing – or rather trying to perfect – her g’s.
At any rate…I’m curious as to how the year is going to go for them and me. Last year, oldest daughter kept asking me to read and discuss books with her, and teach her multiplication and do science projects.
Right now, I’ve been so burnt out by doing extra stuff with them (and by moping about not having a life of my own), but at the same time, I don’t want them to suffer because mama can’t get her act together.
Needless to say, I’m frustrated. I see my girls blossoming, doing well, showing signs of “potential”…all the while knowing they will reach a certain point in their lives when the choice to advance in a career or stay home with a family will have to be made.
My issues of course are giving me problems, namely in the sense of a deep sense of responsibility to them to be a facilitator in their growth, while being painfully aware my own growth and development has stopped. I know, it’s “temporary”, but it’s exceedingly frustrating.
I know I don’t want to do what my mom did – went after her goals without a care to us children and how it might affect us, but I also don’t want to lose myself completely either.
Does it have to be resolved this minute? No. Do I have to be troubled by it this right now? No. So why am I? I have no idea.