Some gifted children get frustrated and bored and tune out. Our children are all in the gifted range and we made it a priority to move to a school district that at least had some form of gifted enrichment program. I've never had my youngest child IQ tested, it simply wasn't in the budget and the school doesn't do it. But, they do COGAT and other tests.
I was a Gifted Child. I was accepted into DePaul's program for musically gifted children, until my parents decided the program was making them wake up too early on Saturdays and they didn't like having to drive into Chicago every weekend. I had to stop the program. They got me a piano teacher who didn't want me writing music (which I had been doing since the age of 3) because she said I hadn't "had enough training to write music" and after a year and a half with her I was in tears regularly, I had QUIT playing the piano, except for during lessons, and when they finally let me quit I didn't touch our piano for 2 years. When I finally went back, a good portion of my natural talent was gone. It was never nurtured and it shriveled. I took up guitar and became quite good, but when they asked if I wanted lessons I reacted understandably, I said absolutely NO.
As for school, our school system didn't have a Gifted Program. I was reading at a 12th grade level in 3rd grade, and had maxed out all the materials the school had. I gave myself assignment about things I was interested in, but got virtually no attention from teachers, unless they were showing me off. My "Gifted Education" consisted of being sent down to the First Grade classrooms to "tutor" the little kids or sit in the hall and read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or Pride and Prejudice with the other 3 or 4 kids who were had maxed out the schools curriculum. I was bored out of my mind and I eventually shut down. by the end of 8th grade.
I had gotten virtually all As in Grammar School, by High School I was burned out being taught things I already knew, started smoking pot and tuned out. I barely graduated with a 2.0 GPA. The High School had an AP and Honors class system and my test scores got me into them, but by then, honestly, it was too late. I had NO study skills because I had never had to study before and no one had thought to teach me. I actually wanted to drop out, take my High School Equivalency Exam and then CLEP out of most of the first two years of College. Luckily, my father (a college professor) would not let me do that.
I ended up with a year at a Community college, where I got my grades up and got accepted to several very good Midwestern Universities. My first choice was out of our budget, but I went with my second choice and it was a great Jesuit University and I got a fantastic Liberal Arts education. I was now learning things I was interested in, and did very well. A 3.8 GPA But, I still feel my parents could have done more than just brag about me. (My father had me take the Mensa exam and told a LOT of people my score, but I never had any support to go to meetings.) I was given the idea by my parents that "if you're good at things, you don't have to try." (It's SO untrue.) So, if I didn't get things perfect the first time, I gave up, I'm still kind of like that sometimes, but I had to learn to persevere, as that wasn't taught to me as a child. "You're e really smart, you don't have to try." I now have a Master's Level Certification in Lactation and degrees in Psych and Child Development, but it was rough learning how to study while already IN University.
The first thing my DH and I did (before we even got married) was to move away from the old neighborhood (we lived in a run down working class neighborhood and were two of the only few kids from our High School to go on to college. Most of them stayed and suffered pretty badly when the economy declined as many of them got jobs in manufacturing in High School, dropped out and then lost those jobs, with no back up) and buy a house (and then trade that one in for a bigger on as our family grew) in a county and town that valued education and, even though our state does NOT support or fund any Gifted Education.
We found a school district that did it's best to scrabble together a Gifted Program for the kids who needed it and bought our house there, then we moved to a slightly better school district when our oldest was in Kindergarten. . Our older kids had the program in its infancy, when the teachers were learning more and more about Gifted teaching, but they both did well in High School and University, Our middle child is currently ready to receive her Master's in Library Science in May, our oldest has her own web design company and our youngest is getting a very good education with materials and lesson plans designed with how the Gifted Child thinks in mind. One thing I can say, she's not done much complaining about being bored in school. (This child learned to read before her 3rd birthday and showed High Level Gifted characteristics from infancy. Our other children are very very smart and incredibly independent.) I had some reservations as our Gifted Program didn't start until 3rd grade and then it was only an hour a day, three times a week, but it's gotten better every year. I have some regrets. Our youngest child, Sage (14) was accepted while in Nursery School in a special school for profoundly Gifted Children. It was very expensive. They offered her a scholarship of 50% tuition for the entire 9 years (K through 8) but the tuition was then $12,500 a year, (this year6th - 8th grade is $19,960.00 a year, on par with my middle DD's Grad School tuition!) and even half of that (as her sisters were just starting University) was simply out of reach.
I am glad, though, that she now goes to a school with a lot of diversity. The gifted school was... mostly white upper middle class Christian and Atheist kids, and I know she would have gotten an amazing education there, where she is though she has friends of Color, friends of different faith systems, friends who speak different languages and a lot of different kids to learn to know. I do feel she probably would have "fit in better" at the school for the Gifted, but we did a LOT to help her on her way, I just hope what we're doing is enough.
I think it's a fallacy that if you just leave Gifted Kids on their own, they'll all be fine. A lot of the research seems to show that Gifted Kids need as much support and special attention as other "exceptional children." A few will rise to the top, but too many slip through the cracks. Is a private school a possibility, one that has a gifted and talented program? If moving to a district that does value gifted children is a complete impossibility there are organizations you can join so you can help her at home, there are books and websites to help you on your journey. But, I wouldn't suggest just leaving her on her own. If she's already reading at an 8th grade level, where will be and what will she be doing in a few years?
We've always supplemented our children's education at home, depending on what they are interested in and filling in the gaps that even good schools leave. But, Gifted Children need a lot of attention and learning as much as you can about teaching fast moving and atypical learning styles is your best bet.
We figured we had to live somewhere, so moving to a district with a decent educational program was the answer for us, even though we didn't have children yet. I had been "identified" as Gifted as a child. But, even though my DH is very intelligent his other neurological issues prevented him from being identified, (and he did very well in University and does well as a Senior Staff Engineer) we had a pretty good idea our kids would be fairly intelligent, and we were right. So, we did more than we thought we originally could to make sure they got a good education. Honestly, if I had to do it again, I would have insisted that we moved 2 town west of here. They have a full time Gifted Program from Kindergarten, and I really wish I had thought ahead to give my children that. What we did was adequate, more than adequate, but hind sight is 20/20.
I'm not trying to scare you, just telling our story. Gifted kids can be difficult to parent, they are usually very good at arguing, and making sure they have not only good materials around, but a LOT of down time to be imaginative is important. We don't home school. but we always taught our children a lot at home, even before they were school age. Watch for that "dumbing down" that is particularly seen in female Gifted children. Let her know she's smart, but also let her know she has to work hard to learn!
Is it possible for her to transfer schools if yours isn't adequate? I know some states allow this, and I would have done it for our kids if I thought they weren't getting a good education. I'd look into it, or even into moving to a district with a better or existing Gifted Program.
Good luck. And, continue reading to her, and let her read to you. It's SO important.
Edited by MaggieLC - 11/4/13 at 12:12pm