What Do You Do with a Capable Kid?

The reason I ask is that I don’t think there is a definitive answer.

My son and I had a discussion the other day in which we decided, and I think rightfully so, that today’s As are yesterday’s Cs, so it is not only the gifted kid that gets the As necessarily.  It’s the gifted kids that

tend

to

be

bored.

The reason that I bring this up is that problems like this tend to occur in our family, and I really am no smarter about it than I was when the hubby and I faced it.  I am, however, a WHOLE LOT MORE PROTECTIVE  and far less patient.

Before I rant, I should probably tell you that back in the day, my dad was skipped from first to third grade.  The skipping of grades stimulated him intellectually, but he would probably be the first to tell you that, although he does a lot of things in the community, he is not the most social person in the world.  He IS social.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s just that he is not comfortable in groups, I guess, although over time he has learned how to handle himself.

Now.  Fast forward a little to the hubby’s and my son.  We had an engaging little boy who loved to learn, and I have to say that his nursery school and kindergarten teachers handled him rather well.  Imagine, then, our dismay when, at the teacher conference, the son’s teacher advised us to put him in a private school because, well, he needed to be stimulated.  Left to his own devices, he amused himself, often in ways that teachers consider annoying.

So…having held our little boy with a late August birthday back from kindergarten until the year he turned six, that being the wisdom of the day, what were we to do?

We sent him to a parochial school.  Lutheran, although it really doesn’t matter.  He was in a combined first and second grade classroom and, to keep him busy, the teacher allowed him to do the second grade work.  Which he did.  And got As.  It was when he took the Iowa tests for both grades and scored higher on the second grade one than he did on the first that the school told us we should have him tested.  Which we did, resulting in his going on to third grade.  Which was a disaster mostly because, you know, even though he was a smart kid, he still acted like…a kid.  Which, apparently, wasn’t acceptable.

Having been hit over the head with this several times, it took an concussion (the son’s, not mine) which was left untreated and is a whole other story I may blog about some time, to make us pull the son from that school.   When he went back to public school, he was mightily relieved to find that discipline was handed out more even-handedly.

What he learned at the Lutheran school, though, was that it was NOT OK to be different.  Better to fit in.  Always.

I have always felt bad about that and have, in fact, apologized to the son several times.  He was our first.  We were learning.

Now along comes his oldest.  The child will be six next week.  He started first grade at the end of August.  Because he is reading chapter books and his math skills have moved on to simple multiplication, the son and his wife were told that their boy would be in a combined first/second grade classroom.

Which didn’t happen.

And now the grandson is bored and finding ways to cope …

Do you see the pattern?

All grandmotherly swelling with pride aside, I think the kid is probably bored stiff in a first grade classroom.  The teacher, instead of giving him extra work, expects him to sit quietly and occupy himself after he repeats work that he has been doing since preschool.  No offence, but how many compliant boys do you know?  I know far more who, when they are bored, tend to get in trouble, so the answer, to me at least, would seem to be to keep such a child stimulated.

But I am not elementary certified.

So…I am asking for feedback here.  This little guy really likes to learn.  His parents don’t want to see that love of learning quashed, and neither do I.  What are their options in a public school?

These are the ones I have suggested so far:

1. Ask that his reading level be tested and he be placed appropriately.   Last year he was in a combined kindergarten/first grade classroom, and he did both reading and math with the first graders.

2. Make the activities that are acceptable to fill the time between when he gets done and when the other kids get done clear to him.  He gets adults, really he does.  All you have to do is talk to him.

3.  One of the problems he has is with transitions.  Ask how those are being handled.  He has the fundamentals of telling time down.  Maybe it would help if he knew how long he had to wait before the activity changed.

Like I said, my certification is secondary, not elementary.  I know there are homeschoolers and former teachers who read my blog.  I want to plumb the depths of your combined knowledge.  How do we help this kid so that he can be happy in school and staying out of trouble?

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1 Response to “What Do You Do with a Capable Kid?”


  1. 1 The Nephew September 10, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    I know almost nothing about public edifacation, at least from the inside of it. One thing I feel I should mention though, is that the A.C.E. Christian curriculum I was taught with from the 5th grade on is designed to be administered at the same speed that the child is able to learn it. (It’s pretty easy to do, but I have no idea if there is a school in RJ that uses it.) Many of the children who attend our local K-12 A.C.E. school either graduate early, or attend college through post-secondary while continuing the A.C.E. curriculum on the side for extra credit.


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