The International Baccalaureate Program, Tips on Avoiding Homework Battles and Necessary Social Skills for Kindergarten
Your Questions of Teachers—Answered
April 01, 2010
The International Baccalaureate Program
Question: My seventh-grader is very bright with an IQ of 148. Fortunately, he has been in a full-time gifted program in both elementary and middle school. He will get all A's in a subject like math and then get an occasional D or even an F. When I ask him about this, his reply is always: "Don't worry about it," said with preadolescent overtones.
I would like for him to go to a high school with an International Baccalaureate program as opposed to the regular high school that has been graded an "F" and is in a high crime area. The problem is that the occasional D or F really pulls down some of his grades. Any ideas? – Stumped
Answer: The requirements for admission to IB programs at the high-school level are determined by the schools themselves. You can find out right away whether your son is on the right track with his current grades and classes to be admitted to the IB program in the high school. Just ask at the school. If your son needs better grades, he has next year to earn them.
Your son might find it very motivating to learn more about the International Baccalaureate program. Have him visit its Web site at www.ibo.org. Find out also if it would be possible for him to observe an IB class in action. More than lectures or threats, seeing this stimulating program in action could make him want to do what is necessary to be part of it.
We are extremely enthusiastic about the IB program, which actually consists of three programs. There is the primary years program (ages 3-12), the middle years program (ages 11-15) and the diploma program (ages 16-19). The IB program is a challenging international program used in 125 countries. It is designed to help students develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in our rapidly globalizing world.
The special advantage of the high-school level IB program is that it exposes students to college work thus easing the transition between high school and college. Taking part in this program is a great big plus in the increasingly difficult challenge of being admitted to many colleges.
Tips on Avoiding Homework Battles
Question: Can you give me some tips on avoiding the nightly homework battle with my second-grader? – Seeking Peace
Answer: Most homework battles occur over the time it is to be started. This needs to be set in stone. A contract between parent and child can resolve most homework battles. We'll be happy to send you a contract. Or you can find one on our Web site under the "Skill Builders" section in Resources. If you decide to use a contract, have very few terms at first.
Beyond using a homework contract, make it a point to give help only when it is requested. You don't want to have homework battles harm the relationship between you and your child. Try to settle this issue now before it becomes a running battle over the years.
Necessary Social Skills for Kindergarten
Question: How can I be sure that my rather shy preschooler has the social skills needed to enter kindergarten? – Need to Know
Answer: Keep in mind that some children are simply shyer than others. Every child is not going to be a "social butterfly." And it can be counterproductive to push such children into social situations that make them uncomfortable. Unless your child's shyness is preventing him or her from enjoying being with other children, his or her shyness is not likely to be a problem in kindergarten.
Many skills are important in determining if your child is ready for kindergarten. The ability to get along with others is certainly one of them. Here is an ERIC digest checklist that will let you observe how well your child is doing in forming social skills. If your child exhibits most of the traits on this checklist, he or she is not likely to need any special help when the child encounters occasional difficulties. On the other hand, if your child demonstrates few of the traits on this checklist, he or she might need some strategies to build more satisfying relationships with other children. If your child has attended a preschool program, how well he or she has handled the social aspects should give you a good idea of how well the child will handle kindergarten.
Social Skills Checklist
The child usually:
1. Approaches others positively.
2. Expresses wishes and preferences clearly.
3. Asserts own rights and needs appropriately; gives reasons for actions and positions.
4. Is not easily intimidated by bullies.
5. Expresses frustrations and anger effectively without escalating disagreements or harming others.
6. Gains access to ongoing groups at play and work.
7. Makes relevant contributions to ongoing activities.
8. Takes turns fairly easily.
9. Shows interest in others.
10. Negotiates and compromises with others appropriately.
11. Does not draw inappropriate attention to self.
12. Interacts nonverbally (smiles, waves, nods) with other children
Parents should send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or ask them on the columnists' Web site at www.dearteacher.com.