Originally Posted by whatsnextmom
The one bit of wisdom I learned during those early years is that it's OK to try things. If something doesn't work, change it. Don't stress about making every single right decision. I'm telling you right now, there will be mistakes. However, if you prepare your child for that in advance and let them know you'll never let them wallow in a terrible situation, they can bounce back from anything. Follow protocols at the school... never go to the principal before going to the teacher. Never go to the superintendant without first speaking to the principal. Never try to chat about it informally. Always schedule a conference where all parties are prepared. When asking for accomodations, make the case for the emotional/social benefits for what you are asking first. It's MUCH easier to say "no" to "but my child is so bored" than "he's unhappy and feels like there must be something wrong with him."
That is wise. We discuss perfectionism in gifted children - I sometimes think perfectionism is a problem for parents too. Parents keep looking for the perfect learning environment for their children. I know how important it is to find a good, supportive, engaging place to learn. I also know that properly prepared and supported, many children will manage well in less-than-perfect situations, and even learn valuable skills while managing. If something really isn't working out, cut your losses, but sometimes we can learn a lot from our mistakes. It's hard, because a mistake with a school can have long-lasting consequences, but I think children are pretty resilient - or they can be if they are supported and guided.
I'm trying to think of the drawbacks of gifted accommodation in public school, but none leap to mind. There are some accommodations that I think need to be implemented carefully - pull outs and accelerations, in particular. I would say, however, that you have to be careful, observant and involved with any learning situation - at school or at home. If a child benefits from a particular accommodation, there is no harm - and if he doesn't, then the advice to try something else is good advice.
Reading between the lines, I wonder if you are more concerned about the labeling that tends to happen with a gifted identification and inappropriate/unhelpful expectations that come with it, rather than any specific change in his classroom or the teaching methods used. Good communication with the teachers helps make sure that expectations are appropriate. Many teachers still don't have a good understanding of giftedness, so it will be up to you to advocate for him. Some teachers are brilliant though.
You also mention that he needs a teacher to stand over him. That tempts me into a lengthy discussion about child-led learning, but I'm going to resist. It also tempts me to talk about the boredom a gifted child often has with routine work - and the lack of motivation to finish that kind of work. In case it's really more about organizational issues, I'll just suggest that you talk to his teacher about implementing a bunch of mechanisms that help him learn to be organized and follow through on things on his own - using agendas and lists and reminders and routines etc. to stay on track.