starting school with 5th grade, how to deal? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 04-25-2010, 09:37 PM - Thread Starter
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After homeschooling my daughter her whole life, she is starting public school in the fall. She's 9 and going into 5th grade, which is on par. However, I've been told by a few parents who also have gifted children that they think she is gifted - not because I asked, they just mentioned it in conversation. I researched on how to tell and from what I read, it seems to fit her almost to a T. When I was homeschooling, I didnt' really think much of it, just kept her at a pace that worked for her in a way that worked for her. Now that she is going to school, I don't know how to appreoach the subject with the school. Should I ask for testing before she starts? Will they test her as a norm? I know every school is different, but since we are new, I don't want to come across as a pushy parent and start off on a bad foot - homeschooling mom already trying to dictate how my child will be taught. Any thoughts, advice? Thanks!
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#2 of 11 Old 04-25-2010, 09:39 PM
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9 going into 5th grade seems young. Most kids here are turning 11 in 5th grade.
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#3 of 11 Old 04-25-2010, 09:42 PM
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10 in 5th grade is the norm; My dd is 9 and will be turning 10 before school starts in the fall. She'd be in 5th grade as well. Carry on.

I would probably ask for testing, but if be careful what you wish for.

Good job for having such a smart girlie!
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#4 of 11 Old 04-25-2010, 10:03 PM - Thread Starter
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She has a very late birthday and we have a 12/31 cutoff, so she will be the youngest.

Wolfmeis, why be careful what you wish for? I'd like to hear more on that thought.
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#5 of 11 Old 04-25-2010, 10:08 PM
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What could testing get her? If testing meant that she would be placed in a higher math/reading program from the start or in a class with a gifted cluster this year, instead of having to wait till next year, I would ask about testing. Otherwise, I might reach out to her teacher, let her know that your dd is attending school for the first time, and ask if there's anything you can do to make the transition easier, skills she should have, etc... From that starting point, you may have the opportunity to talk about your dd's abilities, and it will give the teacher a heads up.

But this is coming from another homeschooler-- I don't know how well that would actually fly with a typical teacher.
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#6 of 11 Old 04-25-2010, 10:42 PM
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Does your school have a gifted program? I think it would be appropriate to ask when children are assessed for gifted services if your district has any. If they assessed children in 3rd or 4th grade, it would be appropriate to ask when your daughter could be assessed.

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#7 of 11 Old 04-25-2010, 11:14 PM
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I would try to schedule a meeting with the principal and talk about things with him/her. Find out what students at the end of 4th/beginning of 5th are typically doing at the school she will be attending. Ask if they test entering homeschoolers (many school just automatically do so with all homeschoolers.) Testing would probably be helpful not just to figure out if she is gifted, should be placed in a higher grade or in the gifted program, but would also let you know if there were any gaps in her education that she would need extra help on (this can happen with gifted kids too.)

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#8 of 11 Old 04-25-2010, 11:20 PM
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I currently have a 9-year-old going to 5th grade as well due to a late birthday and cut-off date.

Because she is going into 5th grade and elementary schools with GATE programs generally start in 3rd or 4th grade, I would ask the school about testing her prior to starting. If they can't, find out what their program consists of. If they cluster, have her placed in the class with the GATE cluster so transition is easy should she be identified early.

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#9 of 11 Old 04-26-2010, 01:22 AM
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Have you talked to the school at all? We homeschooled for years and when my kids started school, the school did some basic testing (reading level, math level, writing sample, etc). but nothing major. No IQ test or anything.

Find out what the gifted program is at the school and go from there. For one of my DDs, I opted out of the gifted program the first year she was in school because it was a pull out program and she would have been responsible for making up all missed classwork. I felt that on top of adjusting to school for the first time ever, it would have been too much. She started the gifted program the second year she was in school. That was the right choice for her. It could be different for a different child or different program.

We were very relaxed homeschoolers and my DD wrote slower than most kids her age. It took her awhile to adjust to *doing school* even though she is gifted. (She started in 5th grade too, loves school, and has blossomed there!)

but everything has pros and consĀ  shrug.gif

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#10 of 11 Old 04-26-2010, 09:57 AM
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A placement test seems like a good idea, just to help determine which class she belongs in. Do you have an idea of how much of the elementary school curriculum she has covered already? Many schools and school boards have the curriculum for each grade available on line or in paper copy. Whether she is gifted or simply because her homeschooling interests have led her to investigate certain topics at a different time or faster or more in depth than set out by the school, she may have learned some or all of the 5th grade curriculum already. Unless, perhaps, you have been following your school's curriculum closely or using age/grade appropriate off-the-shelf curricula, and you know that's the right grade level for her at this time?

I would start with reviewing the school's curriculum guidelines to get a feel for where she would place. That really only tells you her achievement level. If she's gifted, there's also the issue of her ability level, and what kind of learning environment suits her. If a gifted program is available and she meets the admission criteria, it may be a better placement. The school may require IQ testing for admission to a special program. You'll have to ask what programs are available and how to access them.

If she isn't gifted, but has covered much of the 5th grade curriculum by homeschooling, then it would be helpful to discuss the most appropriate placement - repeat 5th grade (which could be excruciatingly boring) or move on to 6th grade, where she will be younger than the other students.

I don't think you will come across as pushy if you approach the school administrators with a view to finding out what is the best placement for your dd. Explain that you think an assessment of her achievements and ability would be helpful, if the terms "placement testing" and "IQ testing" sound pushy. I think both sound reasonable, though, and a good idea, especially if you are not sure that the regular 5th grade class is the right place for her.
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#11 of 11 Old 04-27-2010, 12:12 AM
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Did you have to do achievement testing as homeschoolers? Where I live, hsers have to give their kids some kind of achievement test every other year starting in 3rd grade, so that data might be useful in discussing placement with the school. As others have mentioned, a lot of screening for GT classes/enrichment programs takes place in 3rd & 4th grade so you would want to make sure that she doesn't get overlooked b/c she is coming in later than that.
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