Ah, the school issue. It seems like at our house we've spent a lot of years stewing over it! First, there was my late August boy. Cut off in IL is Sept 1, generally with no exceptions. He's Aug 24th. We debated holding him out another year, so he wouldn't be the youngest kid in his grade as that was what was trendy when he was young. However, he was already starting to read, and a very, very social little person. We had him screened for readiness, and the universal suggestion was to send him. He was always the youngest or nearly the youngest in his grade, and mostly did well. He was
immature in a lot of ways, but very bright and always social enough to fit in well. He was the last kid to drive, last to be able to get a job, that sort of thing, but overall it was a good decision. He turned 18 a week before college started.
Then we have Catherine. She's a Feb birthday, so starting her early was never a consideration. She is also very bright, and went to a great preschool program that was part of her very good daycare center. She started kindergarten reading fluently, adding and subtracting, and carrying on conversations easily with adults. Public school kindergarten was disaster. She was ahead academically and terribly bored, and she was not used to having to spend significant time waiting around while the teacher helped someone else. (She went to a daycare center where the room was organized into interest centers where children could come and go from each center, having help where they needed it and being challenged by the teachers, but also she could easily choose a new activity or be busy when the teachers were needed with another child. Her kind. teacher was also clueless. When we had a meeting with her to try and find ways to make C. happier, she informed me I was not the first parent who thought their child was bright, and she wouldn't believe me that she was reading
How she could have C. in her class for 2 mos and not figure that out is beyond me because she wasn't just sounding out a few words, she was reading short chapter books. C. started to refuse to go to school, actually, and would have to be carried in kicking and screaming. We finally salvaged kindergarten only by getting the teacher to let her read at her desk a lot of the day, and by keeping her very busy at home. My dh is a natural teacher, and taught her all kinds of math that year, and read science with her, and we helped her write stories, you name it. We moved during the summer after kindergarten, and we met with the principal at her new school to ask for help making first grade go better. She suggested we have academic testing done, and the she'd make some suggestions. She was tested by the school psychologist in language arts, reading, and mathematics and to his surprise, she tested at least 3rd grade in all subjects, and actually was successfully able to complete testing in reading and language arts through the 6th grade level. His recommendation was to skip at least one grade. Her principal was very accomadating and offered a couple solutions - skipping 1st grade and going to second, or staying in first but having an individualized program for enrichment. We worried about social skills the most, but the psychologist and principal both pointed out that she was socializing poorly with her age mates at this point anyway because of the intellectual gap, so they thought she'd do just as well with older children.
She went to second grade the next year in the end.
Up until this year, she has always done very well in school. Her elementary school was very nuturing and she was always placed with a teacher who the principal thought would do well with her. Sixth grade in the bigger middle school was also good, but this year she's struggled. The thing is, all of her (normal aged) friends are struggling, too. I think it's just a bad year. Dh went to conferences tonight and stood in line waiting with 5 or 6 parents whose kids were all having the same types of organizational issues (and these are all "gifted" kids.) Socially, she is not a child who makes friends easily. She tends to like to point out all the things she knows, which gets awfully old for other kids. If anything, though, I think it's worse with kids her own age. She's just such an intense person, and being very intelligent just makes her always have an answer for everything, and it's always been a struggle to keep up with her.
Of course our next child is another boy - a lovely, full of energy, can't sit still, boy. He's a June birthday. He started kindergarten as a 5 yr old, and despite being probably just as bright if not brighter as his older sister, his maturity level is such that he absolutely belongs with his age group. He has been blessed with teachers who understand about squirrelly little boys and who see that he needs to be challenged to stay involved. I just came back from his 4th grade teacher conference, and was thrilled to hear his teacher's thoughts on helping him work on maturity while not squashing his natural bubbly personality and enthusiasm. We've been very lucky in our little neighborhood school so far with teachers!
And my baby girl? She's only 3, and thriving in a 2 day a week preschool program. But she's already starting to "help Daddy read" and will pick out one or two words in a book and point them out every time they occur when he's reading to her. She has a memory like an elephant and has many whole books memorized. She understands addition and can add small numbers, and recently is bugging me to teach her "take aways." If she turns out to be like her intense older sister, I may just quit this whole parenting gig.
I didn't run again tonight - it just got too late with conferences. Sigh. Tomorrow, I'm taking older dd to older ds's college to see West Side Story, so I don't think I'll get a run in then.
RM - I ran like 13 miles in Oct. Blech. I'm way under my goal of 720 miles for the year. Like a 100 miles off the pace. I won't make it this year. Maybe I'll keep this goal for next year!