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Saturday, December 15, 2007

The under age kid

History has a tendency to repeat itself, over and over and over again. I guess that is one reason why it is still taught to people, so they would learn from the past and move towards a better future.

This is also counteracted by the ability of human beings to forget things quickly and get on with life.. the same life that people got on with a few decades ago and by extrapolation a few centuries ago..

It is true that todays Cyclotrons are a lot more complicated that the proverbial "wheel" invented a long time ago, but have we really come that far in learning from history?

People still kill each other, go take things forcefully from others if they lack a certain resource (it used to be gum arabic, silk, spices, gold, diamonds, now it is oil!) and continue to ignore the past.

All that, was the cynic in me talking. This post is more about something happening in our life right now. Jr. who is a November child, just like her daddy, is having attention issues in school. She is an extremely smart and intelligent kid and is easily distracted, just like her daddy and she does tend to walk into the occasional wall, just like her grandma!

We had a meeting with her teacher who gave us a detailed report card for the Kindergardener and said "she has trouble following my instruction. She keeps looking at what the other kids are doing and cannot focus". She went on to explain how she is the youngest in her class and how it is going to pose problems for her because some of her classmates are 14 months older.

San promptly cut in and said "hubby here was in 2nd grade at Jr.'s age". Being the sincere daddy, I went on to explain to the teacher that I had the same problems. I never went to kindergarten and was directly thrown into first grade at age 4 and finished school at 16 and college at 20 and was in gradschool before I could legally drink in the US. I also told her that my social life wasnt exactly stellar because "having no moustache when graduating high school" was an issue, but I never had any problems with academics.

At this point, the teacher must have seen very clearly why Jr. is distracted (talking to her daddy for 5 minutes would explain that) and asked me "so do you have any suggestions to improve Jr.'s focus?".

Daddy said "Eureka! I know exactly what they did when I was in first and second grade". They moved me to the first row so all I saw was the teacher and the blackboard. Nothing to distract me.

The teacher said, well.. in the US, we used to do that only to kids who were troublemakers. In any case we do not have rows in the classroom till 3rd or 4th grade. We have them sit around circular desks in groups of 4 or 5 so they can learn the value of teamwork!

Where do you sit then, and where is the blackboard ? I asked.

Apparently there is no thing like a blackboard and the teacher moves around the classroom as she gives instructions to kids.

Hmm.. let's see here. You are trying to focus on a certain voice trying to give you an instruction and you have to execute on it. This might also involve looking at a piece of paper or an object that is in the teachers hand and you have to do something on your desk based on that. What would be easier. A fixed location for the teacher directly in front of the student or a moving teacher who could sometimes be talking from your right, left, or even behind you..

Bah!!!! I said and walked out.

Really love the teachers, their enthusiasm and their passion.. but I know myself and based on history and some genetic extrapolation, my kid, and there are no surprises on why she cannot focus. First we need to learn focus on stationary targets before we can focus on the moving targets!

Bah!!! Bah!!! Bah!!!

Now I am going to train Jr. Jason Bourne style on how to follow instructions from a moving daddy..


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I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 7:04 AM, Blogger Swatantra wrote...

Amazing problem solving method... Good Luck to Jr. i taught Siddharth walking on the narrow path in the same way.. By making his focus on my finger and then walk... Few days back there was a sports day at his school and Siddharth was walking very comfortably on the row of bricks..

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 7:52 AM, Blogger Sundar Narayanan wrote...

swatantra, that is pretty much what I am planning to do

make her watch me as I walk around her ...

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 7:54 AM, Anonymous MG wrote...

You know - it may not be that she can't focus - it may just be that she's bored out of her mind. The class level may not be challenging enough for her. Correct me if I'm wrong, but she probably learned to read way before school. She may be "acting out" because she's way ahead of the rest. Is she in a regular class or is she in some sort of a gifted program?

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 7:50 PM, Blogger Swathi wrote...


I agree with the teacher. She might be acadamically far ahead, but she can't handle it socially. It would not be a problem now, but when she's in 3rd or 4th grade you would notice the difference. Right from the point to " how many loose tooth do u have ",to " hey you r not seven, we don't play with babies" she might have to deal with. I know kids who wanted to repeat a year so that they can be with kids of their age. I don't mean to demotivate you, but if she's really 14 months younger to other kids, you might want to consider having her in a class with kids of her age.

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 8:37 PM, Blogger Sundar Narayanan wrote...

mg, she is not bored. . . just easily distracted and a little absent minded!

also, she is not way ahead of the rest or anything like that. She is above average, that is all.

swathi, thanks for the comment. She is a nov born. the cut off is dec 3rd. the average kid in the class is june +/- 5 months.

the only reason there are kids who are 14 years older than her is because there are other kids in her class who are way too old for her class! kids who repeated the year, like you mention. I can see at least 7 kids out of 17 who are within 4 months of her date of birth... so we are not worried.



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