Honors classes

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Kjs, Sep 1, 2007.

  1. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    I recieved an email today from the Program Director of special education. difficult child and I met with her last week. difficult child requested he not be physically in with the Special Education teacher. He also said he wanted to do it on his own. She agreed that would be a good idea, but reminded him of the the things we have in place on the IEP if he needs it. She also asked him if he would like to be in classes with a friend or two. He was so happy. He gave her two names.

    Well, Today I recieve an email telling me that because of difficult child's high test scores he was placed in honors classes. Unfortunately his friends he wanted to be with are not in a position to be in honors.

    YIKES. he is NOT going to take this well. We did not select honors classes not because he couldn't do it, because he doesn't do homework well. He has been on a refusal to do homework strike. Not a new thing, ongoing ever since he started school. It is my understanding that honors classes have a lot more homework.

    I'm not telling him. She asked me what I thought. I have not responded yet. I am quite shocked actually. It was never about academics, it was about behavior. Any bad grades he recieved is only a result of his denial, refusal and behavior. (Lol..I look at that and that is probably the reason anyone gets bad grades!) "I can't do it", "I am not going to do it", and "you know what you can do with it". Those are his most common responses. Ok. He can do this. Right????
  2. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    NL was it "regular" English last year (10th grade). He missed some homework first quarter (not unusual) and his teacher called me. She felt he honestly NEEDED to be in honors English and was quite surprise he hadn't tested into it.
    We talked about what it would take to get him in this year. She said as long as he got an A the last two quarters of the year, she'd have no problem convincing the school to bump him up - but HE had to step up and do the homework to insure he got that A.
    She felt that he was "dumbing" himself down to fit into the regular class and would be much happier in honors.

    He managed to get those As, and is now in English AA for 11th grade. So far (we're only 3 weeks in) he's doing great.

    He is also in Anatomy and Physiology AA.

    Perhaps this is the "push" your son needs to really work to potential?
  3. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I know that some on the board say that homework is not important but as a teacher of four honor's level Algebra 2 classes, I can tell you that there will be a lot of homework in an honor's level class and doing it is critical to success.

    I can only speak specifically to my curriculum but the honor's level Algebra 2 classes move at a much faster pace than the college prep classes (two extra chapters for the year) so there is very little time for students to practice problems in class.

    Homework is the way that they practice the material that I present in class and trial and error is the only way to learn advanced math.

    So I would be very concerned if your difficult child will not do homework. Every year I have a few of those and inevitably they do not do very well in the course and end up moving down to the college prep level.

    Just a take from someone in the trenches.

    ~Kathy :teacher:
  4. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Is there a way that he can "try out" one or two honors classes? If he's academically "up there" his refusal to do homework could be directly related to the fact that he absorbed what he needed during classtime and doesn't need to do homework because he already knows it. Basically, it could be boredom with the curriculum.

    Rather than throw him into an environment that would be both academically and socially challenging, why not see if he'd be able to handle an honors class in his favorite subject? Then if he does really well AND is able to make friends in his new class, incorporate more challenging academics as he adjusts.

    Just a thought from the peanut gallery!

  5. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    I just posted about this issue from the other side - I am fighting to get my son into honors classes.

    He is going into grade 8. Last year, I succeeded in getting him into honors math and he began actually doing his homework, studying and participating in class - because he felt challenged and respected as a student for the first time. His teacher told me he belonged in that classroom.

    I am trying to get him into honors science this year - same deal. More and harder homework but the opportunity to be challenged, to excel and to gain self-respect and self-esteem.

    Try it - the worst that can happen is that he won't do well and will go back to regular classes. And who knows, maybe he can inspire his friends so that they'll try to get into the H classes themselves.
  6. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think that Beth has a great idea. Start with a couple of honor's classes and stay in CP classes with his friends for the others.

    At my school, if a student starts out in an honor's level class and starts struggling, we do move them down (with the parent's input) to a lower level class. That works well in math since the worst that can happen is that the student will be ahead of the others in the book and simply will repeat some of the content. The downside is the the grades from the honor's class do get counted in the average of the college prep class (although I have been known to conveniently overlook those grades and start the student out fresh).

    Let us know what you decide to do.

  7. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    Originally way back .. this was the reason he was advanced a grade. He was bored. Wanted him to be more challeneged.

    From the testing that was done last year, Auditory learning was superior. Many teachers have told us even when it looks as though he is not paying attention, when called on he knows the answer. It is the writing part/visual that was his weakest.

    When he was doing well last year he asked to be moved up to honors math. (same teacher) We discussed it and decided that he missed a lot by this time, so the teacher gave him more challenging work, but kept him in the same class. He did very well with that.

    I have voiced my concern to both the Program Director and the counselor. Both have told me they thing he will do well being challenged. Per difficult child's request, "I do not want to be in with the dumb kids". Not a nice thing to say, those were his exact words. by the way..I DID correct him on his selection of words there.
    So, they think he will be ok. I don't know why they did this. He refuses to read. Has refused silent reading for years. He has so many missing assignments because he refuses to do it. I don't understand the thinking here. He does do well on his state tests. I do not think his placement should be based on these scores. This does not show his everyday behavior and willingness.

    Can you tell. School stresses me out big time.
  8. ML

    ML Guest

    Have you read Jonathan Mooney's "short bus"? I love his story. Not learning to read till he was about 12, being in Special Education, riding in those "tard" buses, only to graduate with honors from Brown University with honors. Your son truly sounds gifted. Anyway, I enjoy his perspectve. Hugs, MicheleL
  9. Ephchap

    Ephchap Active Member

    It's been a long time since my difficult child was in school, but we also faced this. My difficult child has a high IQ score and always tested very high on standardized testing.

    In third grade, they are given a t
  10. Ephchap

    Ephchap Active Member

    It's been a long time since my difficult child was in school, but we also faced this. My difficult child has a high IQ score and always tested very high on standardized testing.

    In third grade, they are given a test to see who should be moved into the TAG (Talented and Gifted) classes. They house all the TAG students in one specific school, as opposed to the grade school he had been attending.

    We talked about it and decided against it. Although my son could have done the work, the fight to have him do homework was awful. I thought if he had more homework, it would literally push him, and us, over the edge. Add in his behavioral problems, and I just knew that would be adding more fuel to the fire.

    That was early on, and it obviously came up again and again through the years. My son ended up struggling with attending school at all, so it became a moot point. However, his last year of regular school (which was at an all boys private school), he was taking Honors Math, but no other honors classes. We limited him to one.

    I think it's one of those things that you need to talk about at home, with your son, and then get the advice of counselors, psychiatrist, etc. If everyone is on board, and thinks it could work, then give it a try. If not, I'd wait and see how the regular classes go.

    Just my .02. I don't think there's a "one size fits all" answer for it.

  11. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    I honestly believe that difficult child can do it. But I KNOW he would rather have a socialable last year than an academic one. Does that make sense? Oh...please send good thoughts for difficult child that he is happy with his classes.
  12. Kjs,

    I vote with only going with one or two honors classes for a "try out" . Every year the "powers that be" have wanted to place out difficult child in the honors classes. Sometimes, it was done without consulting us. Unfortunately, we have had to learn the hard way. He can definitely do the work. But the school day wipes him out so much, he struggles against homework. We've understood that for years, but we also know that the homework is important and necessary. Now that he is a Junior in High School everyone in the system knows and appreciates that he just needs to be in the college prep classes. Yes, he can do the honors work; and yes, he does get bored. But he is just not constitutionally able to do the extra homework that comes with honors classes. It's a trade off , but it makes everyone's life easier and more pleasant.

    I would have been aghast at the suggestion that this strategy be used with our easy child, but difficult child is different and has different needs. Finally, the school personnel have listened and agreed to it. School for difficult child completely stresses me out, so I understand your concerns all too well. I have reached the point where I have tried to put his grades and homework in what I now believe is the proper perspective, but it is a daily battle for me...