Originally Posted by Momily
I do get offended, sometimes, by the way people explain WHY they homeschool. For example, I've heard people say they homeschool because there's NO WAY their gifted 5 year old would be challenged in Kindergarten -- and yet I look at the gifted kindergarteners at my school reading all sorts of things, writing all sorts of things, delving into science topics like photosynthesis, and feel hurt that noone recognizes the good work those teachers are doing.
Hi, I'm one of those people you mentioned. Pleased to meet you.
That precise reason is one very big reason we're HSing. In our district, and particularly in the school for which we're zoned (multiple years on the AYP black list of death, low SES, LEP, and so on), there is very little support for gifted education at all -- nothing before third grade, and then it's a crummy pullout program.
There tends to be hostility toward the pullout program, and the degree of hostility naturally varies from teacher to teacher, but there's no guarantee that one's own child can get "the nice teacher" who doesn't regard the pullout as some kind of reward for good behavior to be granted or rescinded at a whim, or as an irritating "interruption" which will have to be dealt with by compulsory make-up work.
Moreover, I spent a while talking to the SPED coordinator at the elementary school for which we are zoned about this issue only to be told, "We've never had" a gifted child. Statistically, I find this unlikely, given that lower-SES and LEP students can be gifted also, the last I looked. With that sort of institutionalized attitude (Dare I say prejudice?), the likelihood of finding someone who really could provide not only a free education but an appropriate one seemed unlikely.
The ultimate reason, though, is that I think most teachers -- most of whom have had little to no training in gifted education -- are most comfortable dealing with what a friend of mine calls "plain vanilla gifted," by which she means kids who are comfortably bright but not extremely or profoundly gifted. Those are the kids who'll be appropriately challenged by the occasional enrichment task or independent reading assignment a grade ahead or so and who enjoy knowing all the right answers.
But what do you do, hypothetically speaking of course, with a child who could not just read by the time he or she was of kindergarten age, but who could read Lord of the Rings
? What about a child who could happily understand negative numbers and how to add and subtract them by the age of four? What do you do with a child whose idea of a spelling challenge consists of words like "zyzzyx," or "appoggiatura"? It's fair to say that many kindergarten teachers really wouldn't be able to do much with a child of that nature who clearly needs work in all subject areas far beyond grade-level enrichment.
Many of these children are difficult to deal with because they often tend to be sticklers for correctness and will tend to do things like point out when the teacher misspells something, doesn't understand a concept, or misstates a fact. Some are difficult to deal with because their frustration manifests itself as resistance to authority. Some are difficult to deal with because they learn to camouflage their real selves because those selves are not acceptable to their teachers or their peers.
No doubt there are dedicated teachers who really try, and thank God for them, but unfortunately for many parents of gifted children in the public school, it's a real crapshoot. By no means is it guaranteed that you'll get a teacher who's even remotely prepared to admit that his or her ideas of giftedness might be more limited than s/he thought they were or that his or her enrichment might not be so enriching. There's such fundamental resistance to grade-skipping or even subject-level acceleration that it's frankly not even worth the bother to initiate the inevitable bureaucratic battle for the few crumbs they're willing to throw at the parents.
So yeah, we're homeschooling because our former five-year-old would not have been appropriately educated in kindergarten.