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Thread: School Report - what is criteria for marking and comments

  1. #19

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    Again, I am going to be perfectly honest with you and say I don't agree with the way you have rewarded him for his report. I wonder about the long term effect this will have on him if you continue to do this throughout his education because IRL there are no nintendos for good work. Celebrate his achievements yes, but rewarding him with expensive toys for it? It is placing unrealistic expectations on him to perform better and better every time - what will you get for him if his end of year report is better? Children are not performing monkeys.

    You are so lucky to have a little boy who does appear to be intelligent and an overall delightful child it would seem so celebrate that because at the end of the day excelling in academia is only a small part of his life.


  2. #20

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    Did the psychologist who assessed him as gifted discuss strategies with you to help him cope with being put up a grade?
    If not maybe you should re-visit him/her.

  3. #21

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    I don't think I'd even tell my DD what her grades were at 6 years old. I'd just give her the gist - if she was getting Cs, I'd tell her she was doing great. If not, I'd work on the areas where she needed help but I don't think I'd tell her that she was below par in those areas.

    School should be fun at this age. Learning should be fun - not about how well they are doing compared to others.

    I could not agree more about EQ and socialisation. In this life, friends are the most important thing.

    I was a bloody smart kid and I thought that I would be a pushy parent because I used to think that being smart was the most important thing in the world. I thought that I'd be playing Mozart in the womb and trying to teach DD to read, learn her numbers from a very early age. DD is only 11 months old and I've already had loads of people telling me how smart DD is starting on Day One in the hospital when she moved her eyes towards me when I talked. Obviously, I was/am stoked by the compliments but it also makes me VERY wary. It took me until quite late in life to realise that being smart/academically successful is not actually the most important thing in life; it's how well you can relate to other people and the friendships you make with them.

    I don't want her to go down the same path as me where being smart made me different from my family and my peers.

    I get the most joy from seeing DD interact with people and smile and laugh and that's what I'll be concentrating on.

    Sorry if that's a bit of a rant, but I really think we should let kids be kids.

    I think grading kids and letting them know their grades at such a young age is WAY too much pressure regardless of what those grades are.

  4. #22

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    In our family, we do not have any gifted children. Yes, my brother and i did go to uni. I completed a Science degree, an Honours degree and was doing my Masters when i fell pregnant to DS. My brother is an IT nerd! My DH couldn't go to uni due to economic reasons in Turkey but is a hellava lot smarter than i am.
    DS is our pride and joy. The whole community knows who he is because of his achievements.

    May be i am the problem. I do want him to be the best.

    I don't lock him up in the house just doing work. He is a kid. Plays with his friends (non-school ones) often, plays games on the computer, Xbox, PSP or Nintendo, watches telly, helps DH in the backyard me in the kitchen (he loves cooking). We go to parks and picnics in the nicer weather. Yes, he may not be an active kid but i have tried taking him to indoor soccer, swimming and he hates it. I can't force it on him. I've given him many "sport" based ideas but he won't take to it.
    I have asked his teachers if he socialises during lunch and recess or if he sits on the bench watching other children play. Her comments were that he plays with kids his own age from the class below, not with the kids in his own class. He is not as aggressive as other boys and hates play fighting. He is not the social butterfly which i would prefer him to be but that's just how he is. He loves speaking in front of the class (so his teacher tells me) so it's not like he's a recluse.
    He is in a composite class of 1/2 and the main reason he is there is to become the leader (as his teacher told me) rather than be a follower in his previous composite class of 2/3.

    We were going to get his IQ tested but found out that it would cost us around $700 at Monash Uni. The researchers at Monash asked us "what will be achieved once his IQ is found out" and the answer is "nothing" because he already is in the upper year and is probably where he should be. So we decided that there were no benefits for the $700 we were going to pay. They suspected he was moderately gifted.

    When DS got to see his report i was not there. Yes, i did see it prior to him seeing it, but i was not there when he saw it so i couldn't influence his response to the report. I didn't even know of an A-B-C system until i saw his report. His last school used to mark reports using consolidating, established based on the subjects which was a better marking system i believe.

    Ok. Buying the Nintendo was a bit too much since he got a PSP at Christmas but it gives him something to strive for. I don't mind rewarding him as long as he always tries his best at everything he does. Gift for end of year report... dunno yet

  5. #23

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    Just to re-clarify, all Victorian schools now use the new Government reporting system and used to use B-beginning, C-Consolidating, E- Established, which in itself was problematic for the reason the new system is, in that people think it is an A-B-C system which as I said in my previous 2 posts it is not.

    I would still go to the parent-teacher interview with the new teacher to discuss the concerns you have and see if they can explain the system to you - as it seems you still think the new system is an ABC system which it isn't. It's confusing for teachers too.
    To compare with the BCE system if you will, a C is still a C like it was in the old system (Consolidating and where they should be for their year level) but now instead of E it's B (Above, Established)... any more confused!?? HtH!

  6. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Turkish Delight View Post
    In our family, we do not have any gifted children. Yes, my brother and i did go to uni. I completed a Science degree, an Honours degree and was doing my Masters when i fell pregnant to DS. My brother is an IT nerd! My DH couldn't go to uni due to economic reasons in Turkey but is a hellava lot smarter than i am.
    DS is our pride and joy. The whole community knows who he is because of his achievements.

    May be i am the problem. I do want him to be the best.

    ........

    He is not the social butterfly which i would prefer him to be but that's just how he is. He loves speaking in front of the class (so his teacher tells me) so it's not like he's a recluse.
    So I am assuming that this is all quite new and somewhat of a novelty/status thing to have the smartest child? It should not matter if the entire world knows who he is because of his acheivements, because he is not their child. It is great to know that others are proud of him, and no doubt gives you a flush of mummy pride, but this shouldn't be a driving force in pushing him to excell. Your community should be just as proud of him if he failed because he tried his very best.

    And the poor kid can't possibly be everything you want him to be, some kids will never be the social butterfly no matter how much you want them to be - I want my nearly 6yr old daughter to learn to keep her room clean but it isn't ever going to happen. It simply isn't possible for them to be good, even great, at everything they do. It isn't about making them play sport to be a normal kid, it's about letting them decide where their passions lie, not us deciding for them. Encourage them to try new things sure, but we can't make them like football if their heart lies with swimming (as an example) kwim?

    He shouldn't be striving for toys, he should be striving for himself. Because by you giving him a reward it puts him in the mindset that he is performing for you, to please you and all he should be doing is the very best of his ability so HE is happy, and if that means he only ever gets C's then so be it. At this age he just doesn't have the mental capacity to understand what any of this means.

    To put it into perspective, how would you feel if at the end of his education, he decides that he has had enough pressure from learning and always having to be the best and just wants to drop out of life for a while, not go to uni and travel the world or take up surfing or go on the dole or anything else so far removed from academics? I am thinking if this is the way you are now, then at the end of yr12 you are going to be majorly p1ssed off that YOU have invested all this time and effort and HE is throwing it all away.

  7. #25

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    My son was considered gifted. At 8 years of age, he was assessed as having the vocabulary of a 24yo. He also was in the top 1% of students in creative writing in year 5 nationally. Born in December, he was almost always the youngest in his class, but his teachers in grade 1 wanted him to skip a year. But because he was born so late in the year, we decided it was too much pressure on him to be away from kids his own age (and that was our decision, no reflection on yours) so he didn't skip.

    He is 16 now and often talks about how his dad (my XH) put too much pressure on him as a child to excel. He was known in his school for being the 'smart' kid, so he had to work extra hard to be accepted. He also was given extra work by XH during the school holidays and after school (my DD too), and was expected to top his class each and every time. When he sat his test for entry to the Gifted and Talented Program in year 5, he did so while wracked with fever and sick from the flu, because he could not bear the thought that his big sister had gotten in but not him. And when he didn't get in, he cried for days. When he was later accepted on the recommendation of his teacher and the principal, he felt cheated for not having done it the 'right' way - he felt humiliated that his friends and this family might have thought less of him. This is despite the fact that his teacher called him a prodigy, and said he was easily one of the most gifted children he had ever taught.

    Yet now he shows no signs of being above average. He's smart, yes, and incredibly witty, but he dropped out of high school to study Art in Tafe. He also caused me untold amounts of anguish when he hit puberty too, becoming incredibly rebellious, pushing the boundaries more than most kids, because he was clever - too clever sometimes. I still feel sad at all that potential being wasted, but he often tells me he feels like he's living the life he wants to live, not the life we wanted him to live, and as hard as it is for me to accept, I understand that he's happy.

    He says being smart felt like a burden, and I know that I too perhaps didn't have to skills to deal with a gifted child, thinking the best thing for him was to allow his dad to push him to be the best he could be. Because as parents, that's what we want - for our kids to live to their fullest potential. But somewhere along the way, it felt to him like our love was conditional on him being the brightest and the smartest. That if he wasn't the best, then he wasn't good enough for us.

    Now our natural instinct is to push, we are parents who want the very best for our kids, But it's sooo much pressure on them to have their parents, their friends and their community expect them to deliver each and every time. I completely get why your son was crying - his whole identity is wrapped up in what people see him to be, and not living up to it is difficult for him to accept. Perhaps as his parent, this is what you should be focussing on - helping him accept that he is more than just a gifted child, that that is only one part of who he is. I don't doubt that you have his welfare at heart, but even as parents, we cannot possibly know how our children's minds work, and we have to expect that we too need to learn how to balance their intellectual and emotional needs. You sometimes don't see the signs that something is out of balance until it's too late, but I do believe your son crying over his report card is a glaringly obvious sign that you need to redress the balance.

    JMO, though, and you can take it or leave it. Like I said I can see the mistakes I made in hindsight, so feel like those hard lessons I have learnt might help you too. I wish I had known better, or even been more watchful, back then when my son was young, perhaps I would have sought to develop the skills I needed to deal with his gift in a way that nurtured all of him, and not just one aspect of him.
    Last edited by sushee; July 21st, 2008 at 11:04 AM.

  8. #26

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    TD, you are right about the IQ testing, there isn't much point knowing the score. You know where his is academically.
    I'm pleased to hear he plays with the kids his age.
    A gift for the end of year report? A big hug and lots of kisses for doing his best, regardless of the scores.

    Look, team sports aren't for everyone. Some kids take like a duck to water (although its a must that every aussie kid can swim well ). I didn't like netball and stuff but I liked tennis where you can beat your own best iykwim?

    He has PLENTY of time to be the best, PLENTY. I'd back off the pressure whilst he is in his Primary School years. You can help and support him through the Secondary years where the scores start becoming important for Uni.

    I would have flown through so many things if I didn't end up with a crippling fear of failure. I was used to it all coming easy and being the best at everything. I wasn't used to NOT winning, and I was mortified when I didn't.

    I still have to work through it now as an adult. I've had the golden ring so close to my hand but the thought of actually getting it scares me more than NOT getting it.

    Sometimes they have to fail to lose the FEAR of failing, so always let him know you want him to be HIS best, not yours .

    xoxoxoxo

  9. #27

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    I am thinking if this is the way you are now, then at the end of yr12 you are going to be majorly p1ssed off that YOU have invested all this time and effort and HE is throwing it all away.
    I would be totally annoyed! Not just with him but with anyone who does this. We live in such a lucky country, we should all use all the opportunities that are given to us. Most people around the world don't have what we have here and so many kids nowadays take it for granted. I sometimes ask him what he would like to be when he grows up (not that it matters now but just curious) and he tells me he wants to be a plumber or a mechanic some days or a vet working out in the wild some other days He once said "Geez, i can't make up my mind on what i want to be" and i told him that it didn't matter now. Yes, i would be totally peeved if he chose to do something more hands on than academically or lived off the dole because i know that he is capable of so much more. But then again, if he is happy as to what he wants to do, then fine. I might rant and rave at the start but then give in as i want the best for him, and if he's happy working on pipes or cables, then fine so be it.

    I would have sought to develop the skills I needed to deal with his gift in a way that nurtured all of him, and not just one aspect of him.
    I am trying to nurture all of him, but i get peeved of trying. He doesn't want to do any sports or any extra-curricular activities but watch telly or play games.

    Sushee -i wish you luck with your boy.

  10. #28

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    TD,

    my son could have been a surgeon, but he wants to be an artist, and I feel like I am blessed that he's happy with his decision, even if it's not my ideal occupation for him. Nurturing isn't necessarily about directing your son to sports or other such organised activities, but teaching him (and yourself) to appreciate him as a whole person. I can't explain how to do that - you're his mum, only you and your DH will know how to help him understand that his gift is only one aspect of him.

    I didn't even know my son loved art until he was much older - apparently his dad was quite scornful at his early attempts and this dissuaded him from displaying his love of it. Instead he played video games (like you his dad bought him the latest gadgets whenever he did well). When my XH and I split up, I banned video games in my house, and that's when art came back into my son's life, as well as skateboarding, cyclings and copious amount of new friends, as it turned out.

    Talk to your son and really listen to him - you may get some insight into the other side of him. I don't know how much he will reveal but it might be a start. Or if you really don't know how to nurture the whole person that he is, than perhaps speaking to a counsellor might help? You too need the skills and the tools to deal with your son. Don't expect to know all the answers right away.

  11. #29

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    I can understand completely that you would be upset if he seemingly threw it all away to do something that you are less than happy with but it is so hard when you leave school to find your identity that is really yours and not one thats been superimposed over the top of you by your parents. I have seen so many kids go off to uni and turn into a completely different person by the way they dress, the things that interest them and the people they mix with because they were given the opportunity to experience life for themselves and they could choose what they wanted instead of what their parents wanted them to be. A friend of my MIL was absolutely mortified when her ralph loren wearing son came back home during his first uni holidays in full goth attire - right down to the nose and brow ring and black hair dye. She really struggled to accept that he found an identity that was separate from the one she groomed him for. I think she is at terms with it now and though he has moved on from Goth, he is somewhere in the middle now and happy as a pig in the proverbial.

    I have also seen young adults completely burn out from the pressure of it all - I have seen kids battle depression from the expectation of their parents to succeed. But if they are happy doing what they want to do, then isn't that success in itself? Finding true happiness is so hard these days. If I had to choose between money and success for my children and just being happy leading the life they want to live - it would be the latter every time. Because being successful doesn't guarantee you happiness and a full and rich life.

    All we can do is nurture them and what they want to do - if he is happy to watch a bit of TV and play games then thats fine, he is still only a little boy and he may be ready for sports in a few more years, and he may take to it really well then because that is what HE wants to do. My son has only just started playing aussie rules this year at 7 - we asked him last year if he wanted to play and he didn't, so we didn't push it. This year he did ask and he is having a ball and really enjoying it because he wanted to do it.

    Once they are old enough we need to follow their lead a little more instead of them following ours. All within reason of course, but this will help them form their own interest and identity so maybe if they do make that shift once they are adults, it isn't such a big adjustment for us to make.

  12. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Turkish Delight View Post
    I

    I am trying to nurture all of him, but i get peeved of trying. He doesn't want to do any sports or any extra-curricular activities but watch telly or play games.
    You're obviously trying to be the best Mum you can to him. I guess that to me what nurturing the whole person means is that we don't focus on achievements but on qualities because it's our qualities that make us good, bad or indifferent. It doesn't mater if a person is a wonderful athlete or a genius if they're lacking in humanity and decency. With my boys I try (don't always succeed ) to congratulate them for effort regardless of the outcome and to make a big fuss over things like being kind or polite or sharing or forgiving or well mannered and so on. I hope to instill self-esteem based on those kind of qualities rather than physical and mental achievements. Athleticism and intelligence can be robbed from us in a moment but not our manners or our kindness. If our self-identity rests on being a great swimmer and we break our back then we're bereft of our identity. If it rests on being a kindly and polite person then we can break our back and we'll still have our positive self-identity intact.
    I worry that if I make too much of a fuss over their achievements that my sons will think that my pride in them (or much worse, my love for them) rests on those achievements rather than their innate good qualities that have nothing to do with achievement.

  13. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Turkish Delight View Post
    Yes, i would be totally peeved if he chose to do something more hands on than academically or lived off the dole because i know that he is capable of so much more. But then again, if he is happy as to what he wants to do, then fine. I might rant and rave at the start but then give in as i want the best for him, and if he's happy working on pipes or cables, then fine so be it.
    I wonder if he's picking up on this (since he's such an intelligent child) and that's why he was so upset?

    My exP was very smart, probably not as much as your son but he did Physics, Calculus, and Trigonometry and Geography in high school, and got very high marks (As and Bs) despite being taught in English when his first language is Greek. He was even granted special access by his school in partnership with a University to learn Ancient Greek at university level (which is a completely different to modern greek btw), and got straight As, so basically he's multi-lingual. And you know what he's doing now? Nothing. He's living with his parents, he's unemployed, and some 10 000 dollars in debt. He didn't even finish high school.

    He spent all of his schooling trying to impress his parents, and nothing he did was ever good enough. It got to the point where half way through year 12, he gave up. He stopped doing his homework, started going out and partying every weekend, etc. He just decided that he would rather have friends than try to live up to impossible standards. In the end, he didn't even do his exams and so he doesn't have a high school diploma, let alone a TER.

    I know that's not what you're doing with your son, but it may not matter. If he feels like you're always pushing him further, that nothing he does is enough, he may just get sick of trying and give up. And the truth is, so what if he becomes a plumber or a mechanic? These jobs may not have as much prestige or money (though if you're a business owner you can do very well for yourself) but that doesn't mean they're not as good as other careers. My stepdad is extreemly intelligent, did all of the highest subjects in school, and became a teacher (back when it was a well-paid profession!). Now he's a handyman! But he still uses his smarts all the time, mostly to annoy my mum and me

    This reminds me of a girl I went to high school with actually, I bumped into her 2 years after I dropped out of high school, and she'd just received her TER. She got a 98 point something and you know what she said? "But I don't care about it, I just wanna DANCE!" She didn't even try to get that result, she was just that smart. It seemed like a waste to me at the time but that's just how it goes eh.
    Last edited by Neenee Jellybeanie; September 19th, 2008 at 02:40 AM.

  14. #32
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    I was a gifted child.

    I was not skipped ahead. I asked my dad why (DD seems to be very bright, it's hard to guess how bright at 2.5) and he said "We didn't feel we needed to make you learn, we couldn't STOP you learning!". I have an MA, i worked *just* hard enough through school and uni to get decent (B) grades. I had and have no desire to excel. My mind is capable of A's but even A's don't "stretch" me so what's the point? I have PhD-level depth understanding of about 100 micro-subjects (i.e. enough to put in a PhD but not enough to produce a whole one on one subject), and i love to learn that way. My teachers used to call me the humming bird because i was always whirring away, flitting from one thing to the next.

    What happens if you do nothing? If you don't offer or deny any resources, don't press or forbid any activities, what does he want to do? If he's NOT asking independently for learning resources my guess would be that he is an above-average boy with advanced abilities. If he is relentlessly working on something, finding things out and reading until 2am under the duvet then he might be gifted. If he is the former you are going to burn him out by his teens, and will likely end up with a very angry bitter young man who feels he spent his whole childhood trying desperately to be something he's not, and if he's the latter you're probably going to turn him off learning forever by pushing him.

    You can hothouse a pumkin seed. You can put it in with the tomatoes, give it tomato food, treat it JUST like a tomato and train the leaves and stems to resemble a tomato plant as closely as possible, but when the fruit comes it WILL be a pumpkin. If you treat a pumkin plant like a tomato plant you're gonna end up with a sad, under-developed little pumpkin, if you treat it like a pumpkin plant you'll get a fat, healthy pumpkin.

    He is a little little boy. You and your approval are the centre of his world. But that will change when he hits his teens. Be VERY VERY sure when you decide what to do about his learning that you are not abusing your position as respected and beloved parent, because once your position is gone you will lose the respect and love again. Abuse of power is an ugly way to encourage your child. If i were you i would ask his teacher to seal the report and send it to you in future, not discuss his grades with him, wind back on ALL of his extra-curricular intellectual activities that aren't demanded by him and generally take a big step off all this. If he cannot keep up with his class without you pushing him he doesn't belong in that class.

    Studies have consistently shown that pushing a child early on makes no difference to high school finishing grades and causes a DECLINE in university entry. If you destroy his love of learning now by making it an area of stress and expectation he will choose a life where he never has to learn again. If he IS gifted he will be the sort of person who will live out their 75 years LOVING to learn, why would you want to destroy that love so early on by putting all this pressure on him?

    If you push him to learning he would not have been capable of without the pushing he will end up hating you. If you push him to learning he would be capable of but didn't necessarily seek he will end up hating himself for being so smart that you even tried. Which would you rather?

    Bx

  15. #33

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    Hoobley I need to spread the love but bravo on that post.
    As a teacher I agree with everything Bec has said, at his age you should more more concerned about his social development since he is fine academically.

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