Originally Posted by Gator-mom
Thanks for the reply Whatsnextmom. It's always helpful to hear other people's stories!
I wish I just just test him right from the get-go for the advanced placement, so that is the main reason I'm humming and hawing over it. I would not want him to go to the school in my neighborhood. We live in a low income area right now, while DH and I finish our own schooling and I think in general, the kids around here are below average. Not to mention that there are a lot behavior problems in these kids.
Anyway, thanks for the in-put!
Testing is notoriously unreliable for the under 6 or 7 crowd. It can be super high (an early reader will score high academically and most- but not all- of these early readers will go on to be advanced readers later) or super low (a non-reader gifted K may score average on academics even with very high intelligence). Also, testing now would most likely be requested to be redone for K entry (they like it within the year at least).
We are low income- FWIW. Not - super low, but enough to get reduced (not free) lunch. The school we feed into is one of the highest ranked in the state, but we are choosing a different school for our DDs (also public) due to the better fit of their needs and the programs available. Some of the BEST schools in the area are in the worst district (a major city) and have waiting lists and lotteries- most of those kiddos are low income and the disctrict as a whole is awful on paper, but a few schools are highly desirable due to the wonderful way they help kiddos on both ends (advanced and below grade level).
Tour the schools you are considering, it makes a BIG difference in outlook vs looking at test scores and paper trails. Start about next winter (9 months from now).
Also--- one schools K curriculum can vastly be different from anothers. Check that out as well. The school my DDs are going to works at a 1st-3rd grade level in the K/1 classroom due to the nature of the kids that attend (it is NOT a GT school) tend to be ahead of grade level already. Our home district is the same way due to its high test score goals. A district a few miles away is much more basic for K skills and is play based.
You should be able to find curriculum online to look at , but remember those are the bare minimum skills they want kids to leave that grade with.
You will get behavior problems everywhere most likely. That is a pretty broad picture to be honest and I would try to keep an open mind. I would be more concerned with how the school deals with behaviors and how it meshes with your own parenting philosophy.
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom
It's hard to plan this far in advance. Kids can change so much. Certainly explore your options and find out when enrollment deadlines are. I encourage you to look into many programs and enter the lotteries, wait lists and all that but not to make your decision until you actually have too.
Personally, I wouldn't spend 750 a month on kindergarten. It's not in our budget, and the stress and instability it would have caused in our home just wouldn't be worth it. I have two advanced kids who have done very well in regular public and specialty public schools. Niether have ended up where I would have expected them to be at age 3 or 4.
You know your child and your options the best. Check out what is available. Sometimes, what seems the "best" on paper isn't what is actually best for your individual child so really look. We've been with 4 different schools now throughout the years and what has made them the "best" wasn't facilities, test scores or GATE programs... it was their flexibility and willingness to see our children as individuals.
I was very upset last year that we moved RIGHT before public school started. My DDs were 4y10m reading and doing math above grade level and were slated to attend a fantastic school where they were well known and had a teacher I knew would work with them-- they also had a few other high academic kiddos in the class. That state did not do GT testing/programmin, but the school was very flexible.
Then we moved- kids did not make K cut-off . no exceptions. Well- it turned out great. They are now going to attended a public school in a K/1 class. They now will be neither the oldest or youngest- it is a choice school (but not GT) so all the kids come from families that were involved. It also does a lot of project based learning, which is PERFECT for my kiddos. They do have a gifted program that officially starts in 2nd, but GT teacher works with advanced K/1 kids. I really think it is a great solution.
FWIW- it is Nnot our home-school/home district that is award winning, blue ribbon, etc. It is a good district that is known for working with kids at their level. We get a lot of 'WHAT?!? you are not going to X school??' Well- not it was not the best fit for our kids.
At 3- I wondered what the public K would do and how it would work. DDs were reading at age 3, doing mental math, and had deep deep science/social studies knowledge. As they have gotten older, they have gained knowledge and, yes, are way ahead of K level academically. From 4-5 their reading levels kept improving, but at the same time they also gained a lot of depth and maturity that will serve them well in all day K. I think the program we found and that they will attend will be perfect at this point in time.
As PP- it more depends on the school & staff. We personally could not spend 750 on K (especially since we have two). I would rather supplement at home and save the $.
Originally Posted by Gator-mom
-Try out regular public school and try to get him in a dual immersion program to keep him challenged
-Play the lottery and try to get into a decent charter school (which I still need to research on which ones are any good)
By the way, Ds seems to be ahead for his age right now. He is learning to read short words, can count to 30 at least, does basic math and problem solving and has no problems with his shapes/ colors/ ect. He also is socially content and makes friends easily.
I would choose one of these two options.
Yes, your DS is ahead- but not astronomically so that it could not fit in to a good differentiated K class. I think next year ( righ now he is just 4- then he will be 5) you will find a few kids at the same level. FWIW in a mix of 36 old 4s and young 5s ( kids going to K next year) in the play based PreK class in the public program here: about 3 are fluent readers (as in above 2nd grade level), about 8-9 are starting to read (simple words, sounding out), about 1/2 can count/read numbers to 100 +, most know 80% or more of there letters & sounds, about 1/2 can do simple mental math, all can write their names, and over 30 know shapes & colors. That is a standard mix for this area (middle class- mix of high/low socio economics). I would suspect that 3-4 are gifted/ highly advanced and about 3-4 are behind expectations-- the rest fall in between.
If your DS makes even greater progress this upcoming year, then I would deal with it then. It is hard to know.
One of my DDs was writing at age 2.5 (her name, all the letters, etc) and was obsessive about it for a long time and I wondered where she would be in a year! Then she stopped being interested (we did not push it) and just recently started to repick it up again and while she is above K level, but not nearly as far as we feared when she started writing simple sentences at age 3 (I sw a kat- I saw a cat or I lik toiyz- I like toys). But both DDs reading has plowed full steam ahead without a pause as well---that will be the hardest for the K teachers to meet next year. Both DD have little interest in math but have high splinter skills ( can do simple multiplication/division mentally) but scattered with gaps (cant count rote by 2s or 5s and have little interest in knowing. That is a K skill).
Your DS interests may wax and wane and you may see growth in areas that surprise you and/or see huge leaps in skills. It is very very hard to tell what a child will look like academically in a year at that age.
I would get on the list for any charters/lotteries you may be interested. Tour schools next fall, talk to your public school options---- and take it from there.
Edited by KCMichigan - 5/10/11 at 12:31pm