I Didn’t Shoot the Messenger

But I was sorely tempted.

If you hang out on Facebook, you probably already saw this.

My oldest is 7, he attends virtual charter school which is funded by the state of South Carolina’s public school system. Today I sent an email, through their obnoxious proprietary mail system, to the teacher to make sure everything was up to date and that we were we needed to be.

My kid isn’t a genius. He’s bright, he’s inquisitive, and can almost rival me in the stubborn department.

Last year my son started kindergarten and finished the 1st grade curriculum for phonics and math. They don’t let children complete more than one year in the other subjects: history, science, art, music, and PE.

That was fine, his favorite subjects are history and science and he’d do those all day long, if I facilitated it. Don’t worry, it’s not like I restrict learning activities after school is done for the day, I just don’t force them or do the ones provided by the school after our work is completed. Maybe that means I’m not “up to the task” or not cut out for this. Whatever. He’s ahead, he’s happy, we’re getting through. I think that means we’re doing ok.

What ticked me off is this. The response to my email was, “your son is progressing too quickly in math and will run out of lessons.” They won’t release the third grade curriculum for him until he is in the 2nd grade. She suggested instead of progressing, he should “play learning games.”

Our daily math lesson usually consists of handing him two assessments. If he makes a 100% he’s got the concept mastered. If he doesn’t we go over the lesson(s). ├é┬áSometimes we play a math game, he loves the games.

Is it crazy to want to reach a point where my child is challenged by the curriculum? I don’t really think that’s out of line.

What I’d like is to progress to a point where the lesson is actually needed, so he can learn how to learn. I was a lazy student, I didn’t get that skill until well into college. I relied on my ability to absorb the information from half-listening to my teachers. I coasted with good grades, without doing homework, until after graduation.

My husband? Same story.

What I hate is that each week we have to sit through a one hour online lesson geared toward where the 1st graders should be in the 1st grade curriculum. He’s bored, I’m bored, but we sit through it. I’m sure review is great, yada yada yada. (We also have the same deal for Language Arts, makes me want to stab myself in the eye with a pencil, but I plaster on a smile and redirect his attention to the computer screen every 25 seconds for 45 – 60 minutes)

As far as Language Arts, he’ll finish the 2nd grade program this year. We’ve reached a point where he has to work to remember the spelling words, but he gets them. His reading and comprehension are great. His grammar is good. I’m ok with this. He’s still developing the fine motor skills for good handwriting (and the patience to write is another story entirely, but we’re getting there). So I don’t push him in Language Arts, we’re moving at the expected pace.

Next year he’ll be labeled a 2nd grader, but take 3rd grade English and 3rd grade math.

I need the structure of a program like this one. Where there is a laid out curriculum and some oversight, it helps keep me on track. What I don’t like is this arbitrary crap preventing his progress.


#1 Milehimama on 11.30.10 at 8:11 pm

Oh, for some reason I thought your guy was a little older- forget what I said about MIT, LOL!

Does he actually have to WATCH the 1 hour video, or can he just take the test? If he can just test, then I’d find him a math program he can do more or less independently and let him pursue that, then take the tests as “review drills” to make the school happy.

We had the same deal re:handwriting. I made my oldest a blogger blog (locked so only parents can see it) because for him typing was much easier than writing. Also I was kind of hoping SpellCheck would rub off on him.

#2 Heather on 11.30.10 at 8:12 pm

It’s not a video, it’s a one hour interactive lesson. So I have to hover to make sure he’s not zoning out from boredom. It counts as part of his “grade.”

#3 Angela on 11.30.10 at 9:45 pm

I do not get to hover over Logan, but from what I have heard from his teacher is… it takes me for ever to get him started on his work sheet, but when he gets going it is do much too quickly and I do not know if he is getting it all. My question, is it right? Her, well yes, but I think he may be cheating when I am not looking. I had to laugh, really cheating. I tested him when he got home on the papers he brought home… if he was cheating he would have not known the answers and he did know then.

#4 Melinda on 12.01.10 at 8:20 am

Do you have to participate in this school? Sounds like he needs a different curriculum altogether. We’re currently using Switched on Schoolhouse from Alpha Omega. I think they start at the third grade level. You might consider checking it out.

#5 Katy Moffitt on 12.20.10 at 10:36 pm

Heather, Sounds like you are with K-12? We did that last year with Justin for 8th grade. OMGosh…that was a disaster…he zoned out for those online lessons too. I used to homeschool when the kids were really young. My favorite curriculum that we used was from School of Tomorrow. They have an assessment that the kids take and then the stuff the student works on is what they need to work on. If you need assistance with switching to a different curriculum and getting set up with your own curriculum instead of being with SC virtual school let me know. I can help! Don’t let the school drag your son down…he needs to be challenged.

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