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Thread: How do i get the school to listen to me?

  1. #1

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    Default How do i get the school to listen to me?

    I have a problem with DS's school.

    Some of you might already know that DS is a gifted child. He is currently in gr 3.

    I made an appt with school principle, his teacher and the school psych last year about DS. He doesn't find the work very challenging and am extremely worried that he will lose interest in school. I spoke to them about what they had to offer in regard to gifted kids, ie any special programs, extended learning programs etc.. They didn't have anything in place at the time but assured me that they were developing a gifted policy and would implement it next year (this year). They kept telling me that my son wasn't the only student in the school which was highly capable and i kept on telling that i was here to speak on behalf of all the kids in the same situation. I wanted an Individual Learning Program made up for him, but they talked their way out of it. They kept telling me that i should just let him be a child and not worry too much about academics. He loves school and i don't want him to hate it.



    One term of 2009 is nearly over and still haven't heard nothing. DS keeps complaining about how easy is homework is. I checked it the other night and he could have done that when he was in prep. It is dismal. He is not being challenged at school. I asked about the work at school and he told me that he finds somethings really easy and some are a challenge. I've bought extra homework books for him to complete but won't do them as they aren't 'school work".

    I would take him out of that school in a flash but it is a school which offers a bus service. DH and I can't take him to school as we both work.

    How do i get the school to listen. I am just so angry.

  2. #2

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    i know exactly what your talking about
    my DS is the same finds the work boring because he finishes it so quickly and easily he doesnt need to try hard.
    it doesnt help he is in a 3/4 composite class and he is in yr4 and ofcourse he has to go over the year 3 stuff again.

    the schoool he goes to have programes for disabled children but not those children who excell at school.

    he is starting to go down hill because he is bored he isnt engaged in class anymore, his homework is so easy he does it in 5 min and its all correct and all working out done.

    when you get the answer let me know.

    i try sitting down with him do harder work and more complicated work but im not his teacher so he wont listen to me.

    going to see the school next term to sort something out
    his homework wasnt even marjked for the first 4 weeks, and we get no feed back no interviews nothing im not happy wiuth the school at the moment.
    thinking of changing him to the catholic school next door.

  3. #3

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    I hear you too. It is so frustrating. DS doesn't listen to me too, when we sit down to complete some of the units in the books which brought for him. He does his homework in 5 mins flat and does the next units in his school maths book to make up the 1 hour homework time i have set him.

    They were asking me in that appt which i had with the school last year in keeping him down in year 2 (since he was excelled a year in school) so he could be with his peer age group. Thank God i told them "no" otherwise he would have been completely bored.

    I want to make another appt with them but then i don't want to be tooo pushy, but then i have to be to get my son a better education.

    It sucks. These kids have real potential.

  4. #4

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    An hour long homework session in Grade 3? You gotta be kidding Turk! If he finishes, good o and let him go play or write stories or something!

    It takes time and MONEY to organise a program like this, and they will probably need at least a few students to make it viable. I'm sure we would all like programs personalised for all our children - it's not going to happen overnight, even if they do have the resources.

  5. #5

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    If he wants to be a scientist, why not get him a book like 101 experiments to do in a shed and the two of you do one of those every other night? And the two of you learn about the science behind it too! That way you can have fun together, do something that won't be covered in school for aaaaages so he won't be as bored in school doing things he has already covered and learn too.

    I loved blowing things up in my friend's shed. His mum encouraged learning and although he did loads of "homework" in the holidays it was fun. My mum refused to let me light a bunsen burner after buying me a science kit. Not as fun.

    I'd have loved to have my parents more interested in my education and doing homework with me! They were never that interested in science though. And I'm not, to be honest. I like being a magician. I know enough science to create fire from water and make bangs and sparks. I just need to get a handwriting segment on powerpoint so it looks as if I'm writing on the board magically as I speak, then tell the kids I think this school is better than hogwarts. I rock.

  6. #6

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    Yeah, one hour Lulu. He does have a lot of homework from the school but completes a section within 10 minutes and then we do revision or he does a few extra units from the following weeks. We break up his homework so he does some of it each night. Or else he spends the 5 hours between after school and bedtime listening to his Ipod or on his PSP which i think is way too much.

    We went to Toys R Us last weekend and saw an experiment kit and a mobile solar system. We brought him the solar system as he is so interested in space at the moment and were contemplating on buying the experiment kit in a few weeks. We told him about the science kit and his eyes lit up. I guess i'll be buying it sooner rather than later.

    I'm not after anything special, just instead of doing grade 3 maths and english he could do grade 4 or 5. His report at the end of last year showed him as havig the skills at working at the upper end of grade 4 maths and english (in grade 2 or IRL in grade 1). Even if he is doing this extended learning now in school , i want to see it come through on his homework as well. I really don't think this would cost too much money.

  7. #7

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    Have you got a National Geographic shop around? They are sooooooo cool, and have heaps of experiments and models etc.

    If he is listening to his Ipod so much, why don't you load it with a second (or 3rd if he's already bilingual!) language - try Icelandic or Dutch if you want something hard!!

    There is a school close to me that does all their other classes in the ESL language chosen, that keeps most of the little buggers full!

  8. #8

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    I agree Lulu, 1 hour homework for year 3 is a bit much no matter how gifted the child. Homework at this age is not supposed to be difficult. It is revision so it should be able to be completed quite easily (apart from research topics). Homework at this age covers the work they have been doing in class.

    I wouldn't be concerned about the homework at all. Writing a personal homework sheet does take time for the teacher and you can extend him yourself at home. I would be more concerned about the classroom. That is where you don't want him to get bored. Is the teacher giving him extension work when he finishes so quickly or does he just sit there? I would be focusing more on the extension work rather than the personalised program. Extension work can start right away. As Lulu said a personalised program takes a lot of preparation and money.

    Extend him yourself at home but don't push it. Even gifted and talented children need to be kids. That's great you found some science kits. There are some really good ones that challenge the mind of young ones and old ones too.

  9. #9

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    If you can afford it maybe look into a private tutor who is a school teacher and can set him tasks at the higher grades curriculum. My best friend is a primary school teacher and has done this for a few families where she lives as the rule is that you can't tutor kids at your school because it could be seen as a conflict of interest.

    She writes up homework tasks that fit in with the higher classes curriculum but doesn't cover the whole thing as otherwise your DS will get bored next year when he does that stuff in class - or they may be able to set harder tasks on the topics he is currently studying at school.

    My best friend doesn't charge too much for her tutoring services but as the teacher sets their own rate there are some teachers out there that charge too much. Could you look into something like this?

  10. #10

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    What are you going to do long term Turk?
    If he does go ahead they way you want, he will finish primary school in grade 4-5. What would happen then?
    Are there any High schools local with gifted programs in place already?

  11. #11

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    Even the Year 5 Opportuntiy Classes would be something to look at if there are any in your area. Sorry I didn't check what state you are in. That is for NSW.

  12. #12

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    I don't know where you are but NSW have as association for gifted and talented children (just google it) which offers advice and support for parents as well as advocacy and runs their own programs in the afternoon and on weekends.

    I can imagine that each state would have a similar organisation.

    I think that you have to be proactive in the education of your DS and not just rely on the school to provide a special program.

    To play the devil's advocate for a moment - why should your kid get special treatment at school and get more resources spent on them than others? Lets imagine that there was a kid there who was brilliant at basket ball - should the school employ a special coach for them and write a special sports curriculum so that they can oneday play for the NRL. No, it just wouldn't happen, the parents would be the ones paying for speical lessons and taking the child all over town to play games and buying uniforms and paying for camps etc - noone would be expecting the sports curriculum to be rewritten just becuase little Susie didn't like playing hockey.

    Schools have very limited resources and I personally think that while there are many truly wonderful and dedicated teachers in our schools in Australia if you want more than they are able to offer then you have to go out and find it for yourself. Please also try to remember that if they are setting different homework for kids then it is twice as much work the the teacher. They have to come up with two entire sets - one for the class and one for your DS and then there is also the marking at the other end - it is much easier to mark 20 the same.

    Maybe try to make the books that you have bought more fun - if he was inspired by them he would be sitting down and doing them himself without being conjoled into it - or give them to his teacher and ask them to give them to him. That way he is doing more work, he thinks that it is homework, you can mark it for him so as not to increase the work the the teacher and everyone seems to win.

  13. #13

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    grrrrrrrrr. i just lost a post.

    He already is learning Turkish at his current school as a second language and is also learning Spanish on the weekends at the Victorian School of Languages. So he'll have 3 languages. He likes learning Spanish, so it's not like i'm forcing him to go. I'll upload some Spanish phrases or something onto his Ipod for him to learn. Good idea Lulu.

    I'll have to take him shopping one day soon as he really loves the National Geographic shop but we don't spend much time in there as DD plays up and its more like quick into Safeway/Coles, the bakery and out again. We'll leave DD with DH and go together.

    I'll have to ask him as to whether he finishes the work in the class and just sits there or if the teacher gives him other work to go on with. I really need to speak to the teacher to find out what she is doing with him.

    Re: the tutoring. I guess i'll have to research that one to find how much teachers charge per session. TK1999, how much does your friend charge, just so it gives me a ballpark figure.

    RE: the longterm... I would like to get him to sit entrance exams into Haileybury or someother good private school when he reaches year 7. I wish i had the $20k to spend each year on his education.

    Muppity, you are so right in your example. Nothing more to say!

  14. #14

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    Depending on what the parents and child's needs are (ie what year level work is she looking at), how far it is out of her normal travel (ie petrol costs but this was mainly during the $1.50/L days), how many sessions per week (ie the more sessions the lower the rate) - she might charge anywhere between $20-$60 an hour. I think she has only charged one family $60 per hour as they only wanted one session each fortnight and were about 30km out of her way... from memory (I forgot to ask her when I was on the phone to her) it was prior to the Basic Skills Test that is done in Year 3/4 here in NSW.

    One of her colleagues charges a flat rate of $70 an hour regardless of what level work it is or how often it is per week... I think that is a bit over the top but each to their own.

  15. #15

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    Turk, don't worry about weather its a private school or not, look for the ones that already have accelerated programs.

    Bugger the cost - he WILL get an academic scholarship no matter where you send him! Haileybury seems to roll out all the good lookin ones too

    Does Caulfield Grammar have a campus out your way too, I have a feeling they have programs in place.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Muppity View Post
    I don't know where you are but NSW have as association for gifted and talented children (just google it) which offers advice and support for parents as well as advocacy and runs their own programs in the afternoon and on weekends.
    I can absolutely attest for how fantastic the NSWAGTC is. There is other services in other states, as well as an Australian association, but NSWAGTC is by far the most organised service in the country. People in SEQLD become members and travel across the border to tweed to participate - the service is simply that much better.

    Now, my kids school does have Opportunity Classes. Its a wonderful school - but the OC doesnt start until year 5, and its not helpful as two of my kids have already been bored out of school by kindy. Yes - painting and colouring in is fun - but boooooooooooring. They shot through the reading levels in the first half of the year, and then stagnated - which is where the problem of ignoring giftedness starts. Lyta used to get so bored of the standard work that when she finished and had to "sit and wait" she got up and went wandering through the school visiting her siblings in the middle of class! The teacher never even noticed her leave..

    Instead the school does now have PLPs for every student. Both my kids are Visual-Spatial, so that changes how we approach their learning. This is where while I can see Muppity's point, I am going to have to disagree. If they are not taking into account the different ways that children learn - then some children are not learning. I certainly understand schools have finite funding and are doing what they can - but just like medicine - that's no reason for them not to grow, change and become a better service to all students - not just the average. You dont go to a doctor with lung cancer and walk away with amoxycillian because on average, they mostly see people with flu's. You get care tailored to your needs. It may take time, but children deserve the same in an educational setting.

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