Dear parents, I would like to add more ideas to the earlier topic of "When can we determine a child is advanced". My new topic is: "Is skipping a grade the only option for a gifted child?”
Educational standards have changed drastically and I will not get tired of repeating that I am totally satisfied and very happy for your children! My children were not this lucky when I brought them to the US in 1991. They were bored in their math classes! Of course, it made sense for them to take the Regents HS math exams in middle school. Today, this move would not make any sense. First, there is a great academic language component that is added to the standard math curriculum. In other words, a student’s academic math language proficiency has to be at a certain level in order for him/her to be promoted to the next grade level. Second, a student needs to develop a different package of independent mathematical thinking skills for each grade level.
I recommend using The Singapore Primary Mathematics levels by grade materials. These books are aligned with the new American standards in mathematics. However, children come to us from various backgrounds: private, public and home day schools. Each of these institutions deals with the work mentioned above differently. Therefore, not all children sitting in weekly ICA classes are on the same level.
Let us assume, that a child is gifted, and he/she acquires the multi-level body of knowledge mentioned above faster than his classmates, what would I do? Would I promote this child to the next level?
Furthermore, as the end of the year approaches, I would like to share with you some thoughts on the topic "what would I do with my child if he/she is gifted, or too young and not ready to move to the next level"? I would take an alternative route. I would begin introducing this child to a variety of math challenges on his/her level such as books by E. Zaccaro, Brain Maths by Tan Thoo Liang and internationally known and recognized "Kangaroo math competition" as well as many other sources available in books, or online. These sources are all broken in progressive levels and any child, gifted or not, can start learning from them on their own individual level. These sources must be used after the child has successfully completed the age appropriate Singapore Primary Mathematics course, or has completed it but still needs reinforcement in order to proceed to the next grade level. This route will help the child to continue moving forward but at his own pace. Moreover, it is going to play a dual positive effect in the child's mental development. On the one hand, it will help a child to be a better academic math language reader and, on the other hand, it will teach him/her how to think mathematically about various everyday life events.
I am grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts with ICA parents and am looking forward to further discussions on this topic.
Zoya Koza/retired NYC high school math and sp. ed. teacher presently teaching Primary grades math at School-plus and ICA.
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