Q & A About a 2nd Grader & Johns Hopkins

So, while many of you might be getting close to winding down the school year, we’re over two months away from that around here. Thanks to a later school calendar, lots of scattered holidays, and a fair number of weather-related closings, we’ll be going to school until, I believe, June 21st.

 

This means that A. still has a couple of months of math to complete before the end of his second grade year. Here are the answers to some of the questions you all have asked me through the months:

 

What types of things does he learn in “4th Grade Math”?

 

Well, lots of things. Fractions, decimals, long division, basic geometry, statistics, sets, subsets, and more. To be honest, some of this is stuff I didn’t see until junior high, even on the highest math track. I don’t think this course is really based on what a “typical” fourth grader might be doing. It’s pretty intense.

 

Will he finish it by year’s end?

 

He’s done, actually. He recently started the 5th grade curriculum and is making steady progress. I’m not sure he’ll be able to finish it by June, but that’s okay.

 

Was any of it hard for him?

 

Yes. The computer-based skills were hard. There was a real learning curve in getting used to the mouse and using the keyboard. We’re big “go play outside” people around here and our children do not have much tech exposure. It didn’t take him too long to adapt, but he was “behind” the other gifted little girl in computer skills at the start of the year.

 

Do you like it? Is it a good fit?

 

There are good and bad things about it. It’s good because it enables A. to work at his own pace and do a math level that is beyond anything offered in the school. It’s bad because he’s the only one doing it and, thus, doesn’t have a lot of peer-interaction during math time. Still, we’re grateful that he has this option and we’re happy that he stays in the classroom to do it.

 

How do his peers react?

 

They’re funny. Most of them just don’t really have any reaction to it, but some of them love to follow along with A’s progress. He taught a couple friends a few simple multiplication problems and they think they’re hot stuff now. Kids at this age are awesome because they just don’t get all hung up on this stuff the way their parents do.

 

How does his school adapt for gifted students in upper elementary?

 

We’re very fortunate in that our district has a gifted coordinator, so she oversees most of the programming for our gifted population. (A. was an exception by being “identified” at the tender age of four. That doesn’t usually happen here.) Anyway, as the years go on, we’ll continue to have meetings and make decisions for how to best meet A’s needs. Believe it or not, they’ve already had conversations with us about college coursework, so I’m guessing that will be in our future. I anticipate that the rest of his elementary years will be more of the same– accelerated math and reading at a high level. But time will tell!

 

And, finally…

 

Which one of you does he get this from?

 

The answer to this is: both and neither. My husband and I are both good at math. We took the honors classes and did well. We have both been described as math nerds at some point. This is good because we can actually help this kid with his homework if he needs it. However, neither of us is really like A. Truthfully, if A. is like anyone, he is most like my older brother. That’s why I love seeing the two of them together. :)

 

 

Did I miss anything? Let me know!

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5 comments to Q & A About a 2nd Grader & Johns Hopkins

  • Laraba

    So does A. crave the acceleration in math? I’ve heard that one sign of a truly gifted child is that they push themselves intellectually.
    Our 7 yo daughter, last year when she was 6, commented to me during a conversation that she didn’t understand what division is. I said, “Well, you don’t know what multiplication is, either.” She proceeded to show me that yes, she totally understood multiplication. I had her start playing a times tables games. In 3 weeks, she had learned the entire times tables through 12′s. I think she might be gifted but she is totally content with drawing a lot and playing with her 5 year old sister. Since she’s not unhappy with the status quo, I’m just doing accelerated 1st grade work with her (she just started adding larger numbers) and focusing more attention on the older 4, especially our 8 yo son who is struggling more than the others academically. It is an interesting situation to be in and I’m praying for wisdom with her.

    • It sounds to me like you’re doing a great job of providing the challenges and information that your daughter needs and craves right now, while still letting her enjoy being a kid– that’s how we roll around here, too! :)

      Honestly, A. just adores math and naturally asks questions that take him deeper into the learning. Our gifted coordinator, Dr. C, maintains that “the most gifted children don’t get bored– they find a way to make it interesting. Extremely bright and talented children get bored, but the most gifted ones do not.” I have no idea if that’s true, but A’s classroom teacher said that she never knew what Dr. C. was talking about until she had A. in her class. He never complains about things being too simple– he just pursues something deeper with it. It’s kind of cool to see, actually. :)

  • Sarah

    I appreciate how you’ve shared bits of A.’s educational situation. My just turned 5 year old is reading quite well on a 3rd grade level, can quickly add 2 place numbers in his head, knows several times tables, and understands how to figure out those he doesn’t know. He’s just beginning to become interested in division and is starting to do some simple problems in his head without realizing what he’s doing right away (“Mom, there’s 8 of xxx and 4 of us, that means we each get 2!”).

    We live in a very rural district and the gifted program here is nil. His classmates are learning to count to 20, recognize the letters in their name, etc. In October we made the decision to switch him to a different, private school where he is still able to socialize with kids his own age (because he definitely needs that!) but can pursue his interests at his own pace. It has made all the difference in his behavior and attitude…but we are still struggling with our options for the future. The private school is not cheap by any means but seems his best option, at this point.

    • It’s so fascinating to see what all these amazing little minds can decode! :) It sounds like you all have made an excellent educational choice for your son, but I can absolutely believe that it’s pricey. I find it so very unfortunate that the gifted population is not better-supported, universally. Really and truly, these children are ALSO “special needs” and should be entitled to a free and appropriate public education. Too many school systems assume, “they’re smart– they’ll do fine no matter what.” But that’s not entirely accurate, nor is it fair. :(

  • Sonja

    My 6 yo is not gifted, but he’s definitely extremely bright. He’s able to understand (but not work on his own) my 6th grader’s math problems. He tries to help my 3rd grader with math homework. This is where my problem lies. My 3rd grader is very smart, he’s on the honor roll, top of his class, etc. but he can’t stand that his little brother can understand concepts he struggles with. The 6 yo is totally clueless as to why his brother gets upset at him, and he is not a show off or condescending. I am planning to homeschool next year, mainly because their academic needs are not being met at the private school. The public school was going to put my 6yo in regular kindergarten even though he is way past that! You really are blessed to have so many professionals guiding you through this maze! I am floundering!

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