There isn't a one size fits all model for educating your child. The school system is designed to help students achieve the basic milestones in education that they should achieve for each grade level. It should also instill in them the hunger to learn more and determine their future goals. Unfortunately, this means that children who are advanced in their grade may sometimes suffer from boredom, especially if they have already mastered the concepts that their classmates are learning. Even worse, this boredom can turn into a lack of interest and sometimes disruptive behavior. So how should parents and teachers handle children who are consistently ahead of the grade?
What Do You Do if Your Child Is Not Being Challenged Enough in School?
The knee-jerk reaction of many parents, when their child routinely becomes bored is to stop accelerating their education outside of school. Children are magnificent learners with a capacity to absorb information in their younger years that is hard to replicate later in life. If your child is a fast learner, don't ever stop feeding their minds and encouraging that educational growth. Instead, if you find your child is becoming distracted, or losing their ambition, because they feel limited by their current education,
- Talk to their teacher - Discuss the issue with their teacher and ask that your child be allowed to work on more challenging material that will fit in the curriculum, such as choosing more advanced books for reports.
- Make your child a mentor - Sometimes peer tutoring can help children better than tutoring by adults. Have your child help others in the class that may be struggling. This can help give them an added purpose and show them how to teach the skills as well as master them.
- Foster their mind outside of school - School isn't the only place where learning should occur. If your child is not getting the mental stimulation they need in the classroom, feed that desire outside of the classroom, by enrolling them in programs and extracurricular activities.
How Should Your Child's School Handle Your Gifted Child?
While you have the responsibility as a parent to continue your child's education, your child's school also has the responsibility to ensure that your child's education continues to move forward even if it is at a faster pace than their peers. Your child's school:
- Should not confuse boredom with misbehavior - Your child's school should be able to recognize that a child is bored and not trying to be disruptive to the class. Too often gifted students can be labeled as hyperactive or distracted if they complete assignments too quickly or let their mind wander on topics they have already mastered.
- Should develop a plan that promotes success - Your child's teacher should recognize a child that is advanced for their class and meet with you to come up with a plan to foster their educational development, whether it is placement in some advanced classes or even a gifted program.
Being Ahead of the Grade is a Good Thing
When a teacher requests that a child be held back a grade it is usually due to the fact that they are afraid they will struggle if they advance to the next level of their education. When a child struggles, they can shut down, become disinterested, or no longer wish to attend school. When a child is ahead of the current curriculum they not only will be less stressed and not struggle, but they will also be more confident and self-assured. This will make them more likely to enjoy school and strive to learn more instead of struggling just to keep up.