I went into the conference expecting to hear praise for my child who taught himself how to read and can count well past 100 (when he feels like it).
“As you know, T is a very bright child…”
“…The only problem I see is that social-emotional development. He gets overwhelmed during large group activities. He has difficulty speaking up and making eye contact – especially with teachers. When speaking to others, he usually talks softly and stares at the floor.”
It’s the classic case of a child acting differently a school setting than at home. I get that. I just didn’t know the proper reaction. Did she want me to be in shock, or agree with her? Because I don’t. I don’t consider this a “delay” of any kind.
T is a bright child. Outside of school, his social development is exactly where it should be. He loves talking to people, asking questions, and he has an endless supply of love for everyone. He does get overwhelmed in large groups, but mostly if they involve too many children. He prefers the company of adults. He has difficulty speaking up, but he knows it. He tells me he is “shy” and I see no problem with that.
He has trouble making himself go to sleep (whether at night or during nap time) because he just “has so much to talk about”. And, to be honest, he hasn’t needed a daily nap for over a year now. But it’s hard to explain to a 5-year-old that he needs to lie quietly for an hour and a half when he knows he has plenty of energy to finish the day.
She handed me the summary form from his pre-K assessment, and that was where the true shock lie.
Language and Literacy – T can write his name. He knows 26/26 letters.
Mathematics – Can count 20+. Sorts by color, shape, size. Knows his #1-10. Counts 15+ objects.
I asked her, “I understand that this is just making sure he meets the standards for Kindergarten, but do you know that T can read? That he can count to 100+?”
She told me that she’s only notating the skills that need to be met before transitioning into Kindergarten. He can count to 20, so that’s all she puts on the assessment. Apparently we don’t need to notate when a child can exceed the standards.
The standards also don’t require a child to be able to read before Kindergarten, so he’s never been assessed. I firmly believe nobody at the school even knows my child can read. How many other children in his classroom is this happening to?
I’m not getting on a high horse. I don’t think my child is the most brilliant 5-year-old in the history of ever. I’m not marching to the director to demand special treatment.
I know that T is not the type of kid to walk into the classroom and demand to show off his reading to his teacher. He was proud enough to read to his Grami, and to me, but he’s actually much more reserved when it comes down to it.
I just don’t want my son to grow up thinking he only has to do the bare minimum to get by. I want him to be constantly challenged, to be constantly learning. And I know that a lot of that, is going to have to come from me.
My mom (Grami) is constantly buying him workbooks that are beyond his “age level”. When he asks me what something says, I encourage him to sound out the letters himself. When he asks me a question, I try my best to give him an actual answer (although, on several occasions, I have had to admit: I don’t know).
I’m not in a position where I’d be able to homeschool him. And, honestly, I’m not sure that would be the best environment for T. The best thing I can do for his success in the future, is to take charge of his education. If the school won’t challenge him, won’t push him past meeting “standards”, then I’ll do it.