When Your Child Is A Smartypants

The Princess is a very smart child. I know, every mom thinks her kid is the smartest, prettiest, bestest, superlativiest kid (And all of you mothers are RIGHT), but factually speaking, The Princess is pretty bright.

And I can’t even say that it’s much that I had much to do with – I mean, I wasn’t a flashcard flipping mom and I didn’t play Mozart to my pregnant belly. She just is THAT SMART.

This morning, Hubby and I sat down for parent-teacher conferences – the typically fifteen minute conference stretched to thirty as we discussed our kiddo and our concerns. The biggest concern has been that school will be too easy for her. This comes from life experience: I FLEW through school – right up until I meandered into college thinking I would take the world by storm and life came to a screeching halt. The grades I had once snagged with ease did not come so easily. In fact, I struggled. A lot. There were tears. A lot of them. And OH THE FRUSTRATION.

I don’t want that to happen to her.

Well, wait. I do.

I want her to be frustrated.

I want her to be frustrated in little bits and pieces along the way. I want her to hit a road block and I want her to figure out how to solve the problem. I want her to have to ask the teacher for help. I want her to have to spend a few extra minutes checking and double checking herself. Not all the time, mind you. Just occasionally.

Prior to conferences we talked – do we need to move her to another school district? Skip a grade? The school system that jumps through hoops to help meet Stepson and his special education requirements doesn’t as readily make concessions for kids that are ahead of the game. There’s no gifted program or other such programs in place to enrich the curriculum for kids who might need a little MORE to keep them challenged, engaged and not bored with the whole process.

We’ve been lucky to have hit the Teacher jackpot this year – from the first moment of the conference, as we settled into tiny plastic chairs when The Princess’s teacher said, “I just love your daughter.” It’s been obvious to me throughout the year that she thinks my kiddo is pretty awesome – I believe she also feels a kinship with her – she relates to her. She told us today, “I was The Princess when I was in school. I teach the way I learned.”

Though the teacher didn’t think skipping a grade would really hurt The Princess (though she said that we’d probably need a boost to get her to that level math-wise), she instead urged us to take another route, and is helping us navigate the system to ensure that we keep finding teachers to challenge our daughter – not just in areas where she is already strong.

It’s funny to me – and I commented as we pulled out of the parking lot, “You’d think that if your child was ‘getting it’, and not having difficulty, your conference would be five minutes long – Okay, she’s doing great. See you later! But that’s not the case at all. There’s a whole other realm of things to consider.”

What I know is this:

After thirty minutes with my daughter’s teacher I know that my daughter is not afraid to ask for help when she needs it. The Princess flourishes when helping other students in the class. She cries when she’s reprimanded (Oh yeah, I knew this one already). She talks about the family a lot (particularly about how much I love to bake). For the most part other kids like her but apparently the teacher is experiencing some cattiness already with the second grade girls and oh my god I can’t believe they’re catty already, I thought I had a little longer til that started. We have options for finding a teacher who is a good fit for her for third grade next year and her teacher is helping with that. She’s a nice kid. She’s a good kid and there are people who are not related to her that think so.

Also?

It’s a pain to get out of those little elementary school chairs.

About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.

Comments

  1. My daughter is just 2 1/2, but I’m wondering if we’ll have some of these same issues. You could have been describing my academic life with both your story and the Princess’s, and my kiddo already shows signs of being pretty bright herself. I’ve worried a bit about this already, but I try to just chill out and wait for the time to come when we see for sure if she’s bored in school and figure out how to deal with it then. (And yes, that was one ridiculous run-on sentence from a so-called smartypants!) 🙂

  2. She’s a very bright girl and we know she got it from YOU! 🙂 Glad to hear the teacher had so many fabulous things to say, and she’s got a plan of action for you moving forward. We are in a similar situation with Isaiah, but our school is so small there aren’t any options for choosing a teacher that’s best for him. One teacher for each grade. He is not challenged (except in Math!) and there are no gifted classes available. We can either move him to another school (and then wonder how to transport him form school to child care before/after school every day), or keep him where he is. We’ve talked about skipping a grade also… while he’s ready for that in most areas, he would really struggle with Math if we jumped ahead.

    • She is very similar to your kiddo – the teacher said she’d be okay skipping – BUT she’d need work to get her up to speed with math if she skipped a year. And likewise, when the school couldn’t provide education for stepson, they had to provide transportation to a school that could. That’s not the case for The Princess — so, HOPEFULLY, this sit-down with the principal lets us roll with third grade with a FABULOUS teacher.

  3. My 2nd grade teacher wanted me to skip the 3rd grade. My parents decided against it because I was born in July and already quite a bit younger than most of my classmates. I don’t know if they thought I would have a difficult time socially or what the overarching concern was. As I progressed in school I became increasingly bored and distracted. By the time I was in 5th grade I was testing at 8th grade levels but getting D’s or Incomplete in most subjects and my parents were being told that I just wasn’t interested in school. I always wonder what school might have been like if I felt special and smart. Maybe if I got that someplace else or looked for it someplace else I might have had the encouragement I needed. I don’t know that this qualifies as advice exactly. Your post just reminded me of what my experience was like. Hopefully you can get something out of it.

    • Thank you for commenting, Daniel. Part of me really thinks she’d be okay skipping (most of her friends from our neighborhood are a year or two ahead of her, and thus she’s always been a lil bit older than her age) – but I’m going to give the school a chance to work with us for her. FINGERS CROSSED!!!

  4. My boyfriend is dealing with this same issue with his 1st grade son, Riley. He spoke with a gifted education specialist, and her recommendation was that he have both IQ and aptitude tests performed, so that he could enter into discussions with the teacher/principal with firm data in hand. Riley’s test scores showed that he was performing well over his grade level. And he’s way smart.

    Ken and Riley’s mom met with the principal and the teacher and the principal developed a plan. First, a specialist from the school came in and tested Riley’s math skills some more. Then, they set up weekly “math buddy” sessions with a 3rd grader that either the specialist or the principal sit in on. At these sessions, they’re given packets with more complex word problems. Riley is also allowed to bring in his own math homework from a workbook and he does that after he’s finished up the class math homework.

    It’s still to be seen if this is challenging enough, or if skipping a grade would be the right course. It was encouraging to see the Principal take this on as an interesting challenge and to see him committed to making school challenging for Riley.

    I will say that part of what made this possible, is that Riley has a major health condition that makes him eligible for a Federal program that calls for his needs to be addressed — these needs have in the past been related to having options relative to P.E., but Ken used that framework as his mechanism for approaching the Principal rather than trying first to work through the teacher. I don’t think this is necessarily critical, but it did make it a little easier to require the school to do something. I think, though, that the Principal would’ve taken it on regardless.

    And finally, Ken find a math tutor for Riley. He comes over every other week and does workbook stuff.

    • Keep me posted how this goes – I’m super impressed with Riley’s school – I think their willingness to work with y’all is excellent.

  5. I got this page from someone on Tumblr where you were talking about deciding whether to skip her ahead. I was in 1st grade for only a couple of weeks and then I got skipped. I am not so incredibly smarter than everyone my age, I just already knew how to read and I was bored. I could have been given different activities to do but instead they tossed me into 2nd grade. I was always the baby for the rest of schooling of course, but also the first graders resented me for being “too smart” and the second graders resented me for being some freak kid invading their class. I was socially shunned by my peers and spent the rest of my pre-college education being insecure and scared to excel. Who wants to be Hermione Granger? I didn’t want to be “cool and popular” but I did want to be accepted as a human being. Being told you’re super smart just makes you think you don’t have to try at anything, and then when you finally do, you don’t want to do those things. Challenge the child within their grade, or at home. I could have been a leader or a confident person or a mentor or even a teacher’s pet but instead I was a nerd goober pariah freak.

    • I hope she never feels that she doesn’t have to try – that is what I want to avoid. That’s why I’m hoping we get to a point where things don’t come quite as easily to her.

      Thank you so much for sharing your perspective.

  6. I was in the same place as she was in school, however my school offered a G/T program that I went into so many hours a week as opposed to skipping a grade. I think whatever course you all decide it will be the best decision. Include her in the discussions and see how she really feels about it all.

    Most of all, try your hardest not to overstress yourself. Things will fall into place as they always do.

  7. Why do they make us sit in those god-forsaken chairs? To give them power over us? How hard is it to bring in two folding chairs?

    I swear I read the whole post, but the last line got to me.

  8. Lols that’s one fine article about being a mom. Moms ARE so great!
    John

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