Of course, you’ve already downloaded our FREE Educational Mapping ebook, but you might still be asking how the mapping works in real life. This is the first in a series of articles from one of our BeyondTutoring mothers, detailing how educational mapping is helpful and can be carried out in a number of different situations. We will spotlight one family with children Joey, Hannah and Molly in our series. These children all have different needs, yet their mother uses mapping with each child on his or her own level.
Presenting… Hannah’s story:
It’s easier to show how educational mapping works by following first a model of a normative student, that is to say, one that is not labeled as “special needs”. My daughter, Hannah, is such an example.
This process, for us, started when Hannah was in a mommy-share playgroup at age two. We started looking for a preschool and weren’t satisfied with the class size in the closest available option.
Hannah is a bright child and we wanted to make sure she could get the attention necessary to keep her challenged. We made inquiries, calls and took tours of a few facilities, finally making our choice for the following year.
As we observed the goings-on in preschool that year, we started looking forward. What should her education, both formal and informal, look like for the next, say… five years?
Further observations, inquiries, research and tours took us to registering Hannah for another pre-K for the following year, where she followed through for kindergarten, then went to the local elementary school. With our parental finger on the pulse of what was going on day-to-day, we very quickly saw that Hannah was not getting the challenge she needed.
This observation sparked a chain of phone calls involving the teacher, and with her support, eventually the principal and school guidance counselor. After a half-year-long process, in which we went from being wonderful, ideal parents to snobby, pushy pains and back again, it was decided that the best option would be for Hannah to skip up to second grade. Indeed, this did meet Hannah’s need for an educational challenge, but it was coupled with a challenge on the social front, insofar as finding friends was concerned. Additionally, Hannah’s fine motor coordination was not as strong as her academics, so we had to add a round of occupational therapy into her weekly routine for a while, in order to get her writing up to grade level, rather than age level.
Since our goal was for Hannah to be happy and challenged, the map needed to include stops along the way that were not only school. Having a happy, challenged daughter involved side-stops along the way.
With dance lessons, gymnastics, art and numerous library visits, our goal of happy and challenged seemed well on its way.
However, keeping on top of things, it did surface that, in fifth grade, the challenge began to fade again. This was WITH a once-a-week pull out program for gifted kids. Through another round of meetings, the option of skipping another grade was offered. As parents, we decided that this was not an option we wanted to pursue for our daughter. We saw the social adjustment necessary with the first grade hop and wanted to explore the options available to avoid a repeat of that adjustment.
You know the routine… more inquiries, research, calls and visits and we found a great, semi-local school which, while it would involve some creativity in the transportation department, was on a higher academic level, with lots of social activities going on as well.
This school was a lifesaver for our daughter, who actually had to work pretty hard for a year to catch up on the academics. She made wonderful friends, took her gymnastics up a notch and loved the comparatively enormous school library.
This put us at the point of looking into high schools and beyond. Knowing that Hannah leans farther toward the math and science fields of studies, together we chose the high school she currently attends. Hannah wrote out her priorities, which pretty much jived with ours for her. We made numerous inquiries and visits before making our final decision. Our daughter is now nearing the end of her freshman year of high school and is, thankfully, thrilled with the pick. While she does have advanced classes in math and sciences, the school also has a creative language program, along with supplemental, optional classes that she chose in drama and sewing. An even bigger plus is that the campus area is great bicycle riding terrain.
At this point, the plan is to keep up the communication, with both our daughter and the school staff, to keep her on a happy, challenged path. We have worked out a few options for higher education, but with everything so smooth at the moment, that’s research and decisions that can safely be put on hold for the next couple of years.
If you have more questions, book an appointment with the Beyond Tutoring educational mapping specialists!