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Changing from Private to Public School
Q: My daughter just entered third grade in a public school. She used to attend a private school. The class work is similar to what she did in kindergarten and first grade! I spoke with her teacher twice about how bored she is in class. Our finances are not such that we are able to put her back in private school this year. What can I do to make sure she will be challenged and will actually learn something this year?
A: When children change schools, there can be problems because the curriculums simply aren't the same. The private school may have had a more challenging curriculum. Instead of speaking to the teacher about how bored your daughter is, why not ask the teacher what material will be covered this year in third grade. You may well be surprised to learn that there will be lots of new material for your daughter to learn and that time now is being spent on review so that everyone will have a solid foundation for future work.
Are you encouraging your daughter to complain about being bored because she hears you saying that so much of what she is studying is repetitious? Does the teacher feel your child is acting bored in class or she is an enthusiastic learner? Your daughter may be enjoying school far more than you imagine.
Even though you are not able to send your daughter to private school right now, keep in mind that our public school system does have a lot to offer. To get the most challenging education for your child, you need to get the teacher on your side. Find out if the teacher thinks that your daughter really does know most of the material taught in class and if there are others like her. Then talk to the teacher about what strategies he or she uses to challenge these children. Plenty can be done for your daughter from being part of a gifted and talented program to enrichment activities in the classroom. For example, she might be exempted from a regular assignment to write sentences to write paragraphs on the same topic.
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Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.