I'm teaching the class for four, five, and six year olds at our church on Wednesday nights.
I just started teaching this class four weeks ago. The class includes my six-year-old daughter. For the past two weeks, her behavior has been less than ideal.
The problem is that the material is too easy for her. Way too easy. This isn't anyone's fault; parents can't expect a custom-designed program for every kid at church. Children tend to be separated by age groups both in regular school and in church education. My daughter is ahead of her chronological age--in reading and in her capacity for abstract thinking. This creates a problem that has plagued parents for decades: what do you do with a child who has special educational needs in a world that standardizes everything by age? You can't just stick 'em in a higher grade. Like many kids who are advanced in some academic areas, my daughter is a normal six-year-old in her emotional development. She wouldn't fit in with older kids.
This summer, my daughter will move up to the elementary branch of our church education program. Our church program for 1st through 5th graders is designed in very creative ways that will interest her.
We had a long talk tonight in which we discussed the necessity of learning to behave well even when one is bored. She told me that she liked the previous curriculum better than the one I'm teaching now. (Even I enjoyed the Little K videos for the previous curriculum!) But younger kids absorb more through the hands-on type of class I'm teaching now, so there's no clear solution.
But I do feel guilty. I'm the teacher of this class. I feel that I should be able to find a solution. Unfortunately, the wide range of ages and abilities makes it impossible to create a class that suits all the kids. The only remedy that teachers have found for this situation is to send the advanced kid off to do independent study. That doesn't work too well for a highly-social six year old!
Does anyone have any wisdom gleaned from the process of educating your own kids?