My 9 year old has always been in the “smarter” classes for his grade, always student of the month good citizenship and frankly the teachers pet. last year 3rd grade he had a young teacher whose communications with us were extremely lacking even though we tried, he made it through the year and we were relieved. This year she moved up to 4th grade and “picked” him since he was such an easy student and a joy to have in class. We have had 4 meetings, 10+ emails, and just as many phone calls. Her teaching style is NOT teaching, she photo copies hand outs and gives the weeks work all on Monday then uses a board to right the numbers of the work sheets for each day, he has 6 tests a week, along with daily homework and projects. He was crushed that he not only brought home a C for the first time but a D. When we (college educated parents who also have a 21 and 19 year old we helped through school) help him with his simple 4th grade homework it is WRONG. We have asked for books and tutoring and she says there is nothing. We can’t figure out her 9.2-11.7 assignments and he is loosing his spark of interest and learning in front of our eyes, I understand last year and this year she is working on her masters, but these are 9 year olds not college kids she does NOT teach even though she appears to be nice, she is doing nothing more than bombarding them with handouts and telling them to be silent if you complete your work read to yourself until the next one. I don’t know what to do. We are at a loss.

 As you’re finding out, educational expectations have changed tenfold since your older children went through school.  I used your comment instead of your question to be able to fit it all into this post.  I’m sure that your son’s teacher was thrilled to have a hard-working student like your son last year.  However, 4th grade is a big testing year in all States and it sounds like she’s adjusting the curriculum to meet your State’s testing requirements and expecting more from her students.  I hear your frustration, but the sad fact of today’s educational system is that teachers are told what and when to teach so that the students pass the required standardized tests.  They usually have a pacing chart and an amount of time budgeted to cover various subjects.  This doesn’t leave as much time as we’d like for creativity and spontaneity in teaching. 

 As to homework, ideally it is assigned to practice what students have learned in school that day.  I looked at the homework requirements you reported and they seemed reasonable to me.   In 4th grade, students should be jotting down notes in their planner as the teacher explains assignments.  If your son isn’t bringing the details home, then he is probably missing the practice he needs to master his studies.  Perhaps he could be paired with a study buddy who checks his planner and makes sure he has accurate descriptions of assignments in them.  It’s also very important that your son complete his homework by himself, with you checking for errors only after he has finished. 

 It also sounds like you believe that your son may be academically gifted.  I did some research and discovered that your district does have a gifted program. If your son’s standardized tests scores are high, you could request that he be tested for gifted placement.

As to some of the other items you mention such as his reading choices, I would think that he should be encouraged to read AR books at his own reading level. As long as he is reading the books independently and passing the AR tests, I can’t imagine there would be a problem with that.  So in order to try to again address all of these issues, you may want to meet with the teacher (again) and arrange for school support staff, such as the principal, a counselor or reading coach, to also attend to help you sort through and find solutions to the issues you mentioned. 

 I think it’s wonderful that you are so supportive of your son and I hope my response is helpful.  If you don’t feel that my suggestions are the way to go, please see my post on “teacher trouble” and how to change your child’s teacher.