This discussion is awesome. I'm so glad it came up. I had started becoming concerned about how in the world we'd foster the best learning environment for Sora when she seems like she's advanced already and we're first time parents kind of winging everything as we go... She does preschool lessons already with the 3-4 year olds in daycare. This week? She learned her days of the week and can repeat them to us in the right order. It's like all of a sudden in the past few weeks, she is learning at a much more rapid pace than before. Everyone who spends time around her seems to be shocked by her. They say they've never seen a child her age doing lots of the things that she does. We just always shrugged it off like --- okay, cool, our kid is smart, yay! But now it's suddenly hitting me that time is flying by so quickly and we really need to have plans in place for Sora's education. DH and I were both highly intelligent kids, but we were never at the level Sora is at 1-1/2 years old. That's a scary though. lol. Maybe she'll level out more by the time she's school age and not keep advancing at this same pace? I have no idea how development works.
Jaimee, I think what you're considering for Avalon is GREAT! Thanks for sharing your experience and the info about public school systems. DH is researching online about our school system. Wisconsin is a state that provides interdistrict choice, so we can put our children in other school districts nearby if we want to. But it looks like ours is one of the best in the state, and the elementary school Sora would be attending based on where we live looks like it has a gifted and talented program. We have an advisory board and advocate group (like a PTA for gifted kids). Yay! That sounds promising. The 4K program here was unfortunately eliminated a few years ago due to budget cuts, though. They're trying to bring it back.
Ash, I actually changed schools so much because of my social issues and academic reasons. My family only moved our house/lives the one time when I was 6 years old. The rest of my years were spent in the same location just moving around from school to school trying to find a good fit. I never felt like I fit in anywhere. I would come home and cry all of the time because I had such bad social anxiety and I was made fun of a lot. The kids where I grew up were horrible. I'm probably jaded from that. Everywhere I turned, there was a mean girl clique. My family went on a 2-week vacation one time when I was in 5th grade, and when I got back to school afterward, the girls had talked about me so much that they suddenly turned on me and each took their turn at the lunch table telling me how much they hated me. Yeah. Pretty psycho.
My social anxiety was definitely not caused by me not skipping a grade or anything, though. I've always had anxiety as far back as I can remember. Heightened anxiety went along with my giftedness in general... like my brain is wired differently. I always thought maybe it was interconnected with my Tourette's, OCD, and ADD. Could my anxiety have been lessened a bit by being around more mature kids and in a more challenging learning environment? I think so. I was impatient and hated the day-to-day boredom I experienced. It drove me NUTS. I took accelerated classes, but at the end of the day, I was still at the same dang grade level that was holding me back. Everyone knew me as the smart kid and made me feel like I was different. I love being different now, but back then I was just a kid who felt like an outcast! If I had been able to, I would've totally gone to college at 16 years old and thrived. I remember when I did go to college years later, I sat there thinking, "What the heck? High school was harder than this...... Why was I held back so much?!" It was maddening. Like I wasted years of my life's potential. I try not to think about it these days because it makes me sad. I just hope to avoid any of that happening to my kids.