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Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Do you think your child's education is too simple?

Asked by Simone_De_Beauvoir (38980points) January 13th, 2012

I’m basically talking about K-12 here..if you have ever thought your kid’s education was too easy/too simple/not challenging, did you say anything to the teacher? And, additionally, what else did you do when you felt this way?

Lately, I’ve been thinking Alexey’s kindergarten experience is lacking. I’ve been thinking that here in the U.S. the system caters to the lowest common denominator…it’s very American-like…let’s support all kinds and so do simple academics…I grew up in Russia where it was the opposite…catering to the highest common denominator, making everyone feel not quite up to par…so to speak…neither system is right, I get that, but I do wish his education was more challenging…so I’ve enrolled him in Kumon classes and am on a wait list for this Russian academy (Saturday school) and we do additional homeschooling…but anyway, what did you do?

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16 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

One thing I always remember is in my psychology class in high school. One of our assignments was to make a freaking poster with a quote from a psychologist on it….....I just remember thinking: this is just stupid. Although I did still learn some actual psychology lol.

augustlan's avatar

My two older kids attended a magnet program for gifted kids in elementary school. Unfortunately, the program doesn’t exist beyond 5th grade here, so when the first one got to middle school it was quite an adjustment! The magnet kids were a good two years above grade level, but the middle school insisted that putting them in grade level honors classes was the best they could do. It took almost half a year of fighting with the school to get my oldest into the appropriate math class, and they never made any adjustments for the other subjects, except offering ‘enrichment’ opportunities outside of class.

Thankfully, the hard work paid off somewhat by the time my second child got there. They put her in the appropriate math class right away. But all other classes were on grade level honors classes, with enrichment. By the time my third child got to middle school, they were routinely evaluating students’ math levels from the get go, and she was placed in a higher level math, too, even though she hadn’t been in the magnet program. By high school, things are ok again, because they have a much wider range of classes to choose from. They’re in a school with a focus on AP classes, so it’s working out fine.

TLDR: Yes, and I fought the school and was somewhat successful.

digitalimpression's avatar

I don’t expect much from K-12 except a basic education. I take it upon myself as a parent to instill the more important skill of self-education.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@digitalimpression By doing what? I need specific examples.

john65pennington's avatar

Do you believe the teachers pass undeserving students, from one grade to another, just to make a state quota?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@john65pennington Yes, but that’s just one part of the puzzle. Relevance?

digitalimpression's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir It varies greatly depending on the kiddo. E.G. One of my kids is very interested in rocks, volcanoes, and a slew of other geological things. For him, I take him to science museums, answer his specific questions just using pen and paper or looking up an article that explains it better. Teachers in K-12 don’t have the liberty of one on one instruction like this. I have accepted that there is not going to be a “right” answer for public schooling, which is why I only expect a basic education from them.

Charles's avatar

Also depends on the neighborhood and school district. If your school is loaded with ESL kids, it is less likely these kids will be pushing the envelope academically. If your school has a bunch of kids whose parents are highly educated, then more likely the peer pressure and parental pressure will ensure the coursework is as challenging as possible.

YARNLADY's avatar

I mostly homeschooled my kids, although they did choose to go to public school a couple of years, just to see what it was like.

I hated the only learn on school days attitude public schools foster, and grades are important instead of actually learning the subject.

cazzie's avatar

Completely. The schooling section of my son’s education is horribly nightmarish. He is ridiculously bright and the offerings of the school are hindering his education.

cookieman's avatar

We’ve felt this way about my daughter’s education since kindergarten (she’s in third grade now).

Her teachers are great, her school (private catholic) has a good curriculum. They have good equipment (smart boards, Lego labs), but they still teach solid foundational skills (even penmanship). She takes computers, Spanish, and art separate from her main class.

So, you’d think we’d be thrilled right? Yeah, except she’s often bored. She blows through her homework on the car ride home. She finishes her classwork ahead of schedule and sits around for an hour.

And don’t get me wrong, my kids no genius. She’s bright for sure, but there’s at least six other kids in her class equally bright. I think they’re all bored. But, as you say, they teach to the lowest-common-denominator.

We have spoken to the principal as well as her teachers, and they offer no solutions.

So, what have we done to supplement this? Whatever we decided to add in, I very much didn’t want it to be structured like school. So we offer a variety of options.

My mother-in-law speaks only Italian to my daughter and teaches her all the old family recipes. My wife teaches her Spanish beyond what they cover in school. She takes weekly piano lessons. We rewrite songs together (usually making them about her dog). We drive a lot, so I’ll play word and math games with her for hours (hangman, story retention, currency games, multiplication & division tables – all verbally, no paper). She also has some great educational apps on the iPad (language, geography, etc.). And so on.

We try to supplement what they’re covering class and add in some oddball stuff to round her out more. Ultimately, it’s gotta be fun.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I learned things in fifth grade that my father (who is 30 years older than I am) didn’t learn until high school. My wife (who is three years younger than I am) learned programming in her computer classes, whereas I learned how to use certain programs (as well as HTML). My sister (who is eight years younger than I am) learned things in third grade that I didn’t learn until fifth grade. The general trend in education is for it to get harder sooner.

That said, school is not meant to entirely consume a child’s life. If there is to be time for piano lessons, soccer practice, dance class, and science fairs, students can’t be getting six hours of homework a night. The notion that a child’s education is the sole responsibility of public school teachers is ludicrous. One of the main purposes of primary and secondary education is to prepare students for outside learning. This requires leaving them a little time and brain-space to do so.

linguaphile's avatar

Last year, my daughter was in 2nd grade but reading on the mid-4th grade level, but struggling with math. I felt like a regular classroom was boring her in reading and making her cry in math so I put her in a Montessori program where they would address both her advanced reading skills and her lagging math skills. One year later, she’s still in Montessori and reading on the 7th grade level and was able to catch up enough to be slightly ahead of grade level in math, all while learning independence, self-discipline and accountability.

I don’t look forward to when she’s back in a regular classroom :( I expect to have to address that as needed when the time comes.

augustlan's avatar

@cprevite When our oldest was nominated for the magnet program, we did a lot of research about the best place to put her, because the magnet school was quite far away. Her home school told us there was no way they could address her needs there, so we looked into nearby private schools. It turned out the private schools can’t really handle the ‘fringe’ kids (those who are very behind or very ahead.) I guess because they’re generally small schools, they aim right for the middle. So we bit the bullet, and sent her and her sister to the magnet school. Best thing we ever did for them, I think. Do you have magnet schools for G&T kids in your area?

cookieman's avatar

@augustlan: I don’t know. I’ve heard magnet schools mentioned (here on Fluther). I need to look into that. Thanks for the reminder Auggie.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I got put into a private school (Montessori) where kids kind of moved themselves into pods of like-learning rather than grouped by age or grade. It seemed most kids liked to compete so we were always onto something new and I ended up a few grades advanced of peers in public school.

Outside schooling/exposure helped a lot I think. We had Boys Club & Girls Club, parents were encouraged to find community sponsored stuff to sign us up for be it music, art, outdoors trips, museum clubs. The attitude was school was only part of education, family time was another school and your outside-of-school friends were your social studies. Sounds like you’re making the most of what you can find available.

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