We homeschooled when we lived in Kirkland a few years back, until 2008. LWSD (Lake Washington School District) has a homeschooling program where families who home educate can get access to resources such as art, drama, hands on science etc. Within that community were some amazingly gifted local children including Caitlin Snaring who won the National Geography Bee with a perfect score in 2007. I often met kids who were years past their grade level in ability as well as plenty of families homeschooling for many other reasons. The center for the programs offered by LWSD is the Family Learning Center (now based at Emerson K-12, down near the lake in Kirkland). I would visit and network with the families down there to find out about local resources. Many of my friends kids who home-educated were not what I would consider gifted - just great, intelligent kids and they went straight into Running Start http://www.k12.wa.us/SecondaryEducation/CareerCollegeReadiness/RunningStart.aspx from the Family Learning Center and then transferred to a four year school as Juniors and so graduated 2 years early.
The Open Door private school in Bellevue is supposedly for gifted children but I know parents who went there after their kids did not qualify for Quest (the gifted program at LWSD) http://www.lwsd.org/Parents/Accelerated-Programs/Quest/Pages/default.aspx so I do question this whole label of "gifted". I would only call a child "gifted" if there were really extraordinary. There are plenty of very intelligent and well educated parents on the Eastside so there are going to be many very, very smart kids. That doesn't qualify as gifted in my book. In England we start school at 4 and children are often reading and writing at that age (library books not just school readers) and so when they moved to the USA they automatically get labeled "gifted" when what they are doing is not extraordinary in their home country. Same with children whose parents are from India as they begin formal education at 3 and 4. There's tough competition on the Eastside for a spot in the gifted programs and I still don't think it's a helpful way of labeling a child. Many of the most amazing teenagers I know are not called "gifted" but are very mature and real leaders - and can handle their future much, much better than some of the so-called gifted children.
My kids also attended Sacred Heart Catholic school in Bellevue. Noone has a label there of "gifted" just working to your ability. Many kids were reading years and years above grade level. In First Grade my daughter was in an advanced reading group and they read Treasure Island, Black Beauty and other children's classics in the original versions and were not considered gifted just good readers.
Edited by The Duchess - 10/23/12 at 6:02am