Miss Erin has a late birthday. Thanks to the lack of planning which produced a November baby, our youngest child was ineligible to start kindergarten the year she turned five. Instead she entered the elementary halls three months short of her sixth birthday. The friends of her pre-K years left her behind for the formal classroom setting in 2005, and we turned to children from the next round of babies born in the Spring and Summer after our girl for playmates. This summer we will pursue the possibility of catching back up to the grade level of her older friends in the fourth grade rather than entering third grade this Fall.
Erin has expressed trepidation at leaving her friends behind should she pass the series of exams with scores above 90% enabling her to "skip" a grade. This year's teacher says to absolutely test the child for gifted and talented enrichment programming, and she observes the maturity and social ability to fit in with older peers. Erin's reading, writing, and vocabulary skills produce no great concern for her ability to do well on the reading test. Her math skills are potentially on level with much of what a teacher friend describes in the fourth graders after the brain drain of summer vacation. The primary potential for "uh-oh" is that Science and Social Studies are presented as formal subjects beginning in the third grade once the foundational 3 R's have been cemented.
In our current weekly trips to Panera for "coffeecino", we have moved from studying Mark to following Abraham in Genesis. Last week's entry took us to the maps at the back of the Bible where Erin showed proficiency in map skills from comprehension of scale, utilization of the legend ("... also called a key, Mommy."), and finding fixed points with coordinates while talking about the journey undertaken in faith. This week's talk of Lot's selfishness brought about discussion of the food chain and competition because there were just too many flocks ("... also called herds, Mommy.") for the land to support. There is reassurance that the opportunity to take the exams is reasonable because this child already has more knowledge than I realized that has yet to be presented to her in a classroom setting. Which is the whole point of considering acceleration.
She is uncertain as to whether or not she wants to go to fourth grade and miss out on third grade's group projects. It's a big year for cooperative learning in groups as huge quantities of information are conveyed by having the groups research, and then present their individual findings on everything from biomes to continents and the developmment of a hypothesis. Part of our chat this morning was in regard to her feelings on such a big step. Little Bit has made up her mind. She wishes to take the exams to see if she qualifies. The actual decision about which grade to enter is not relevant if she does not pass with flying colors. Should she prove to possess the knowledge imparted in the third grade, then we will address the benefits of either reinforcing the knowledge possesed or moving along to the next level.