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Tell me how your gifted pre-schooler did in Kindergarten and beyond

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 

With just a little over a year until she is supposed to start Kindergarten we are getting nervous about what avenue to take regarding school for our oldest daughter.  She is pretty far ahead in her "academic" knowledge and eagerness to learn.  Her social skills are right on target (not ahead or behind).  He language is incredible for her age and most people assume (because of her language and size) that she is 5 or 6.  She'll be 4 in August.

 

The other day we had a social worker here for our adoption homestudy and she noted how smart E was.  She said, "Wow, she sure is bright.  I assume you'll be homeschooling her?"  I will admit that the thought had crossed my mind that perhaps she would do better if we homeschool, but honestly I NEED to go back to work in the next two years or so.  

 

So, if your preschooler was advanced, how did school go for you?  What type of schooling worked best? Did you do Pre-K?My husband is a public school teacher, so we assumed we would do public school, but as the social worker put it, "public school may not be able to offer her the things she needs to thrive."  We got a flyer about an academy through the public school system here that sounds good in theory.  We also considered enrolling her in Pre-K for the upcoming school year.  I'm just not sure.  Any experience or advice is much appreciated!


Edited by cdmommie - 5/31/11 at 7:21am
post #2 of 66

You might want to cross-post this on the gifted board as well but I'll answer you here. I have 2 gifted kids in the public schools system. My kids actually test in the same percentile but they are very different kids and so required very different educational choices.  We chose not to do pre-K or any sort of academic program prior to kindergarten. They both went to play-schools and hand a lovely time. Frankly, as a former preschool teacher, I only would reccomend academic preschools for disadvantaged kids who may be "behind" in K due to lack of certain experiences or kids who are coming in with little to no English skills. Kids who are advanced really have no need to be in a pre-K class learning letters and numbers and stuff they'll easily pick-up from living with an interactive family. They tend to do better in exploritory, play-based schools that encourage messy projects, creative play, nature focus, ect.

 

My eldest started kindie at age five and was 2 to 5 grade levels advanced all around. It did not go well. We was reading novels and writing 2 page book reports. She completed 2 years of math curriculum the first month. The staff tried everything but in the end, the real issue was that her peers became too insecure around her and educating at her level was just too iscolating. DD was moved to 1st grade after Winter break. Much better. In second, she started getting subject acceleration in her highest area and lots of individualized curriculum. She didn't have a formal GATE program until 5th grade but it was fine because she had excellent teachers. It also helped that DD was very organized, independant and driven to learn. She didn't need much in the way of hand-holding. She's now in a highly gifted program at a performing arts magnet. She's doing great, lots of friends, a real passion and focus in the arts and just all around happy. She'll transfer to a specialized middle college program in 11th grade that will allow her to take her courses at the junior college for both high and college credit.

 

My youngest started on schedule for kindergarten but he was only 4 years 10 months in a heavily red-shirting district. He wasn't quite as advanced. He was about 2nd grade level in math and reading (no writing what-so-ever.) He LOVED kindergarten. He just wanted to play and that is what he did. We did transfer him into a language immersion school for 1st grade (it wasn't available in kindergarten than year.) The school is full Spanish Immersion with Mandarin enrichment and about a year advanced in the local curriculum. GATE started in 2nd grade along with subject accelerations. He is currently in 5th grade and doing great, fluent in Spanish and conversational in Mandarin.

 

Public schools have been fantastic for our kids. They aren't always challenged on all fronts at all times but frankly, who wants that? They have always been cared for and paid attention too. They've had incredible leadership opportunities and they were always learning "something." We've never had to do more than ask for an accomodation and 90 percent of the time, it was the school coming to us asking if we'd agree to try something more for the kids. I'm not saying all public schools are like this but ours were. Homeschooling is a great option and we have many friends who do it but financial security is not to be dismissed either. If you need to work, I'd at least give public schooling a try.

post #3 of 66

 

I have 2 kids who have been identified as gifted. We've moved and traveled a bit, so they have experienced different educational settings over the course of their schooling. 

 

They both attended Montessori programs from age 2 1/2 and they thrived there. The child-centred approach, freedom to choose from a broad range of activities including practical life, as well as more academic activities, and to  progress at their own pace really suited them. Since there is no expectation that all children will work at the same level or develop at the same pace and there is no grading or testing, there was no problem with fitting in.  

 

After Montessori, they both attended public school programs for awhile where they received a bunch of different accommodations (cluster grouping with other advanced students, in-class differentiation of work and assignments, subject acceleration) that worked fairly well. It wasn't always perfect, but the schools and the teachers were willing to try and that counted for a lot. We found less accommodation in the private schools, where there was an attitude that all of the students were advanced. We also homeschooled for awhile, but my kids like attending formal school programs. They enjoy engaging with other students and learning collaboratively. They missed being a part of a school community and asked to return. 

 

By middle school, they both attended congregated gifted programs. Their middle school had about 200 gifted students. It was a terrific experience. The school offered challenging academics, a good arts program and lots of extra-curricular sports and other activities. They were motivated and inspired by the other gifted students and the teachers used a variety of methods to keep the kids engaged. 

 

They are back in the public system in high school, attending a specialized, selective performing arts school (admission by audition only). Academically, the arts students perform well on standardized tests (best scores in our city), but I actually think the courses don't compare favourably to the high school congregated gifted program. I think my kids would be more challenged academically if they had stayed in the gifted program. They love the arts focus at their school though and they are engaged and happy at school, so it's all good. 

 

A lot will depend on the quality of schools available in your community. Some places are better served than others. Some schools have better administrations and teachers than others, even if the "gifted" or "enriched" programs don't appear as good on paper. You really have to get to know the school community and figure out whether it will suit your child. 

 

I have discovered that in any school setting, the parents and the student are ultimately responsible for the learning that happens. In a bad situation, it's important to intervene and find solutions to improve the situation, but it's also important to work on tolerance, flexibility and coping skills in your child too. EQ is as important as IQ - i.e. developing emotional intelligence and maturity is as important as developing intellectually. That can be difficult for some gifted students who have issues with overexcitability, sensitivity and perfectionistic tendencies. It's easy to overlook these issues if you only focus on the academics offered by a school.  

post #4 of 66

Wow, your DD is going to be 3 in August and you are sending her to kindergarten next August? You must have a very different cut off date than we do! She would be a full year too young to start here, where they have to turn 5 by Sept 30.

 

I wouldn't let one person's casual comment make you change your mind about public schools.  A lot really depends on the school and you won't find that out until you have some experience. My kids were both well ahead in preschool as far as reading, math, etc. They both have been in the gifted program at school and have done fine (5th and 7th graders this year).

post #5 of 66



I think that was a typo. By the date on her signature, her DD is 3 now and turning 4 in August. She'll be 5 before starting kindergarten.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lindberg99 View Post

Wow, your DD is going to be 3 in August and you are sending her to kindergarten next August? You must have a very different cut off date than we do! She would be a full year too young to start here, where they have to turn 5 by Sept 30.

 

I wouldn't let one person's casual comment make you change your mind about public schools.  A lot really depends on the school and you won't find that out until you have some experience. My kids were both well ahead in preschool as far as reading, math, etc. They both have been in the gifted program at school and have done fine (5th and 7th graders this year).



 

post #6 of 66

It was awful. They told me they would differentiate. My child was reading at a 3rd grade level and adding 3 digit numbers in his head. Instead, though, he spent the year coloring pictures about his letters and making hundreds charts, the entire year!

post #7 of 66

Oops! That makes more sense.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post



I think that was a typo. By the date on her signature, her DD is 3 now and turning 4 in August. She'll be 5 before starting kindergarten.

 



 



 

post #8 of 66

I think the social worker was VERY out of bounds. You can tell very little about a child in a few minutes, and I doubt that she knows much about the specific school your child will be attending. I also wonder if she was fishing for information for the home study rather than really telling you what she thought you should do with your child. Implieing that you should homeschool her because she's so smart would be an easy way to disarm you and find out what you really think about homeschooling. She found out more about your unguarded thoughts about homeschooling than she would have if she had asked straight out.

 

I'd take it with a grain of salt. Remember the source -- she may have ACTED like your friend but she was checking you out, which is her job.
 

Every school is different, and if you want to find out about your options, you kinda gotta check out your options.

 

Both my kids are tested as gifted, and they attend a private alternative school, which we LOVE and feel very blessed to have.

post #9 of 66

My gifted son will finish kindergarten next week. We started him a year early, at 4 years, 8 mos. at a somewhat exclusive school where many kids are red-shirted (so were already 6 starting K). He is the youngest in the class but still the most advanced reader (I don't know what grade level now but started K at a 3rd grade level), and good, but not alarmingly so, at math. He has had a fun year. They play a lot, he has lots of friends, he likes learning songs and stories. They have plays and music programs which he loves. However, I know he would appreciate more challenges and am hoping that will come in first grade. I think kindergarten is really just for fun and socialization and decided not to worry about academics this year. 

post #10 of 66
My dd sounds alot like yours - very advanced, early language dkills as a toddler, and, academicslly, things come very easy for her. She is young in her class, one of the youngest, and she consistently earns super high grades, with little to no effort. However, socially, she has friends and does okay, but, she struggles more than some of the other kids. I'm happy she feels smart and self confident academically. We did have an issue with boredom early on this year, but, solved it with her teacher by working together to create some extra projects for her to work on.
If you have to return to work, and, you have a plan in place, I'd go ahead and give public a try. You never know how your little ones will do, and, you can always reassess after kindergarten. I also agree with the pp who stated that it's probably wise to ignore the feelings of the social worker you met only briefly.
post #11 of 66
Oh, I forgot to add, we also did pre-k. Dd loved it, and, was engaged by the art projects, new classroom environment, (got lucky) fantastic teacher, etc. IMO, one of the best decisions we made for dd.
post #12 of 66

 

 

Quote:
 I also wonder if she was fishing for information for the home study rather than really telling you what she thought you should do with your child. Implieing that you should homeschool her because she's so smart would be an easy way to disarm you and find out what you really think about homeschooling. She found out more about your unguarded thoughts about homeschooling than she would have if she had asked straight out.

 

and that would mean what? 

 

It's very doubtful that it had any bearing on your home study

 

regardless as you stated many think she is much older than her age, so I'm sure this is not the first of such comments about her ability-schooling aside

 

 

 

My gifted DD started in private K at age 5 (none would take early at the time) and we were on a waiting list for another private schools for 1st and did go there from 1 - mid 2nd. The school was highly rated and offered some advancement (unlike the public for the grade) but it could not meet her needs. Testing was done at 2nd grade and she was  between 6 and 8th grade in all subjects- she homeschooled and entered college early.

She was socially advanced at K level but looked younger than her age (and still does by many years-this was FAR more a factor later in life and still is).

Boredom is only one of the issues we faced, desire to be able to do other activities and family travel also was a major factor in HS.

 

post #13 of 66


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post
and that would mean what? 

 

 


 

to take the comment with a grain of salt. it was made by someone who was there to get information and make judgments, not by someone who spent time getting to know the child, research the OPer's options, and make recommendations about what might be best.

 

The kid is tall and speaks clearly. That's really not enough to determine that what sort of education might be most appropriate, or if the she is even gifted. She so young that even a real IQ test wouldn't be very accurate.


My kids are having an amazing school experience. Part of the reason they get that is because I spent a lot of time doing research into options and into making it happen. If I had a "my kids are too smart for school attitude" they would be missing SO much.

post #14 of 66

Our kids' school trajectory thus far has been:

 

dd12 (graduating from 8th grade this week!):

 

Started K at 4 yrs 11 months.  She did fine in K and was generally happy.  1st grade was a nightmare due to a horrible teacher fit and way too much repetition.  We took her out to homeschool about 3/4 of the way through the school year.  Around this time someone suggested to me that she was gifted, which I had never considered before.  I'm dense!  Despite being told by the teacher that she was working many grade levels ahead, I was thinking she was going to be a C student and recall arguing that point with the teacher and the principal in an effort to get them to stop stressing the kid so much b/c she was working really slowly. 

 

We had private testing (IQ and achievement) done in 2nd.  She is HG and her achievement scores since then have continued to be in line with that.  In 3rd grade, she started @ a charter school where she was subject accelerated for literacy.  The lit class was great; the school itself was a mess and we left after one year.  4th grade entailed her being in a GT reading class and getting straight A+s for showing up with very little effort.  She then skipped 5th and was placed in accelerated in grade literacy and math for 6th.  Middle school went well.  She's had straight As the whole way through, but has been generally happy.  She starts high school this fall shortly before her 13th bd.

 

dd10 (graduating 5th grade in 1.5 weeks):

 

Started K at 4 yrs 10 months.  She, too, did well in K and was happy.  I was more tuned into the idea of gifted by this point b/c she was on the same academic trajectory as her sister was at that age and had some areas where she was ahead.  She, too, moved to the charter with her sister when she was starting 1st.  She stagnated and made little to no academic progress from K-2nd.  We were getting worried by this time. 

 

She moved to the other elementary with her sister in 2nd and started to get back on track in terms of test scores coming up.  We had private IQ testing done (99.9th).  At the start of 3rd, her test scores sank like a rock back to lower levels than the start of 2nd.  We were told the IQ scores were due to "good guessing."  That whole year was a mess.  We had another round of private testing done and she was placed in the GT reading class in 4th.  She continued to be very erratic and not progress much academically.  In 5th, she was again in GT reading and also subject accelerated in math to a 6th grade grouping.  We had her start to see a psych to try to sort out the highly inconsistent test scores and other concerns.  She was dx with ADD and anxiety.  We're not medicating, but have had some pretty good outcomes with some alternative treatments.  She passed the two tests needed to continue with math acceleration in middle school and her grades and achievement scores seem to be getting more consistent. 

 

She's not one we'd accelerate more than she is, though.

 

Overall it has required a lot of active involvement and advocacy but they're doing pretty well right now.  There have been some pretty bad years in there, though.

post #15 of 66

 

Re-reading your OP, I'm not sure whether you've investigated the options you have in your area for schooling. It sounds like you expected to use the local public school but are now re-thinking that idea. I'd suggest that you ask friends and neighbours about possible schools. Try to get details and specific answers about what they like and dislike. Academics are one factor, but not the only one.

 

 

What is the school community like? Is there interaction with the wider community? 

Is the administration responsive to parents and students? For students who are not academically average: what kind of resources are available and what kind of accommodations or modifications are supported? 

Is there a lot of red-shirting in your area? 

Have there been bullying or socialization issues and if so, how have they been dealt with? 

Is it a highly-structured program with a lot of top-down teaching or more flexible, student-led learning? 

What kind of discipline methods do they use?

What kind of motivation (rewards, incentives etc.)?

Is there a well-developed extra-curricular program? 

 

Those are a few questions off the top of my head. You can probably think of more that are pertinent to your individual child's needs. Once you have a list of issues or questions, a visit to the possible schools will help you narrow down your options and help you make a good decision. 

 

 

post #16 of 66

 

 

Quote:
 If I had a "my kids are too smart for school attitude" they would be missing SO much.

 

this really is snarky! not to mention not very helpful to the OP

 

the homeschool comment that was made to the OP can be taken several different ways

 

many HS for numerous reasons

 

it happens to be a fact in my area (several counties and most of my state) if you have a child that is gifted or even slightly above and needs additional education assistance and now even special needs, you can't just turn to public school

the cuts were first made to gifted programs, some schools have had total cuts to gifted, most are just cutting staff drastically and not special needs are also cutting teacher - the assumption is very real that the OP may want to HS given what is occurring in her district, it would not in any way be unheard of to mention HS nor does it in any way mean another agenda by the social worker

 

 

simply too smart, I have yet to ever meet one person that HS that is doing it for that reason, most people care deeply and do lots of research into the correct education to meet the total needs of their child, many often start with school only to find it does not come close to meeting the child needs

 

 

This is a great start!smile.gif

 

 

Quote:

 

What is the school community like? Is there interaction with the wider community? 

Is the administration responsive to parents and students? For students who are not academically average: what kind of resources are available and what kind of accommodations or modifications are supported? 

Is there a lot of red-shirting in your area? 

Have there been bullying or socialization issues and if so, how have they been dealt with? 

Is it a highly-structured program with a lot of top-down teaching or more flexible, student-led learning? 

What kind of discipline methods do they use?

What kind of motivation (rewards, incentives etc.)?

Is there a well-developed extra-curricular program? 

 

post #17 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post
this really is snarky! not to mention not very helpful to the OP

 


It wasn't snarky. It was a statement of fact about MY children.  Nothing more.

 

My advice was for the OPer to research her options and not get hung up on a random comment from a stranger.

 

post #18 of 66

I don't know if my son is gifted per se, but he is bilingual and reads at very advanced level and is...percocious.  he gets bored easily and is always interpretting instructions to activities in ways that are unique.  He

 

He has done well in school because we have implemented the differentiation that he needs to survive and have negotiated with the teacher for the special needs he needs to have met.

 

I think it IS possible to have the best of both worlds, but it means being involved in the schooling pretty actively.  Not just researching the schools but actively co-manaing the teacher's performance.  It also means you have to be THAT parent, but since I am a teacher and I have to deal with lots of THOSE parents, I don't mind.  It's worth it to me.

 

We also have no qualms with taking DS out of school during the school year for vacation, or special trips to see the world.  It's Kindergarten for goodness sake.  They're hardly going to fail him if he's meeting all the academic requirements, and he can certainly do any major assessments while on the road.

 

I find public schools and private schools alike are quite accomdating for families when you actually go and TALK to them.  They make policies, but they regularly bend them for those who bother to ask.

post #19 of 66
Quote:

Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

It wasn't snarky. It was a statement of fact about MY children.  Nothing more.

 

My advice was for the OPer to research her options and not get hung up on a random comment from a stranger.

 


Yes. You can't let strangers (or friends or family either!) make you unsure of yourself. No matter what you do, homeschool, public school, private school, religious school, etc, people are going to have their opinion about it and about what they think you should do.

 

But maybe the OP had been thinking about homeschooling before the social worker said something. I have felt like that the whole time my kids have been in school. I'm pretty happy with school for my older two (finishing up 5th and 7th grades) but now I have been thinking of pulling my 1st grader out of school for next year. Odds are I will send him, but I do think about it.

 

Maybe a good solution would be to send your DD to pre-K  in the fall. Is the pre-K at the same school? If so, that would be great! You could really get a good feel for the school environment and get to know teachers and find out more of what their gifted program is like. And even if it is at a different school but same district, you could still probably find out quite a bit. And at the same time, you could look into homeschooling. Find groups in your area, figure out what you would like to do, etc.

 

post #20 of 66

I forgot to mention that we did pre-school, Pre-K and K for DS because we needed the child care and it seemed like fun, but IME the focus was much more about children learning through cooperative play, drama, dance, music, arts and crafts, story time etc and only this year in which K is actually for 5-6 year olds has it shifted towards more formal learning goals like letters, basic reading, and addition and logic and science and social studies, but still a huge focus is on play time and student led learning.

 

We felt it was a good choice for us.  DS is very social but until the age of nearly 5 was an only child so it was importnt for him to learn social skills that didn't involve so many adults.  Still to this day though he is more comfortable around adults than children his own age, so maybe they still do most of their learning at home anyway, eh?

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