I would like to add more ideas to the earlier topic "When can we say that a child is advanced". My new topic is: "Is skipping a grade the only option for a gifted child? The educational standards has changed drastically and I will not get tired 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 literally bored in their math classes! Of course, it made sense for my children to take 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 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 to use 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 background: private, public and home day schools. Each of these institutions deals with the load of work I mentioned above differently. Therefore, not all children sitting in ICA weekly 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?
As the end of the year approaching, I would like to share with you some of my thoughts on the topic "what would I do with my child if he/she is gifted, or too young or just not ready yet 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" and 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 these sources 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 one side, 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 the ICA audience and I 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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