Thursday, January 8, 2009

Advanced Classes Quandry

As you know, I have four kids. I homeschooled the older three until Michael was in 5th grade, Alyssa was in 3rd grade and Ben was in 2nd grade. We had moved to a good school district, Jonathan was 2 and completely into everything and it was just too hard to work and focus on school. I felt that I had given them a good start and I still do. By the time Michael was in junior high, we were going through the divorce. Michael had been put in pre-AP Math and pre-AP English in junior high based on his TAKS test from 6th grade. Emotionally he wasn't coping well and with the extra pressure, his dad opted to pull him out of one of the classes. He never took another pre-AP class and has done just fine.

Alyssa and Ben, however, have been in pre-AP classes all through junior high and Alyssa in high school. Ben is in the National Junior Honor Society. Alyssa has applied for the International Baccalaureate program next year. There is a little pressure, but they seem to be handling it and understand the importance of the opportunities this will bring them.

Now, Jonathan was invited to be in the STEPS class the third semester of 3rd grade. I was actually surprised and called the counselor at the school to ask a few questions. The reason I was surprised is because, at that point, he was struggling with reading and spelling. She explained to me that the class is for gifted and talented kids. These kids are ones who think "outside the box" which is totally how Jonathan is. He can take a pile of Legos and make the craziest things out of it. He doesn't view life like the rest of us. The gifted and talented program has very little to do with reading and spelling and more about less general thinking. Does that make sense?

He was put in PEAKS in fourth grade(this year)and he hates it. I don't know what to do. I had talked to my brother, Andy, about this last year when the initial invitation came up. He has a friend, Patty, who has two boys about the ages of Ben and Jonathan. One (or maybe both) of them had been asked to be in the same class and she knew him better than to let him be in the class. I, on the other hand, felt like it was an opportunity that we should not let pass. I am now saying - I think I was probably wrong.

He wasn't really happy last year and I wasn't going to put him in again this year. The school counselor talked me into keeping him in the class. This year is different. The classes count toward their Reading grade. The class is a great class, but I'm not sure Jonathan is up for it. He is pulling the "I'm sick" thing, he says his teacher "hates him" and tells him to "get his life straight", which I only half believe. I did email the teacher to discuss the matter. That was over a month ago. I still have not heard from her. I know for sure that he will not be in the class next year. The end of the 3rd semester is over this week, so I am going to call the school and have her pulled from the class for the final semester. I just don't want him to think he can get by and not have to try and work hard. He is doing much better in his reading and spelling.

He is such a happy boy and I just love his free spirit. I mean, look at him in that picture! He is so cute and funny and happy. I don't want to bring that spirit down.
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