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#1 of 19 Old 03-08-2011, 06:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD is 3.5 and most likely gifted.  My guess is that her reading level is at about a  2nd grade level. Her memory and recall is excellent,  and we haven't seen anything in terms of math ability.  We are all completely delighted with her preschool.  She is happy and having a blast.  She'll be there again next year but we're starting to have to think about kindergarten already.  We're getting lots of opinions from teachers, doctors, and everyone under the sun about what to do and I have no idea what is best.  We've had some people tell us to get her tested, some say it's not needed.   Our school system doesn't test for TAG programs until 2nd grade, although the state supposedly says that it offers gifted education starting in K.  Our local elementary school is ok but from what I hear doesn't offer much of anything for kids that are at or above grade level.  We've had people suggest that we should do private school but it is crazy-expensive and I just don't see us swinging that, financially, for the long term.  So, how did you all get started once the school years loomed?  I have my own matching set of baggage from my own educational experiences so I want to try and see this all as clearly as I can. 


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#2 of 19 Old 03-09-2011, 12:25 AM
 
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Do the private schools offer acceleration or personalization? IME, that's often limited even in private schools. I would definitely begin exploring the options (what is available, when, for gifted kids, at which schools? etc.) as it may take a good while to get it sorted out. I remember feeling pressure to make a decision when DS was almost 5, the spring before Kindergarten, and having spent more time researching would've been less stressful.

As for testing, I think it can be helpful, but my understanding is that it's not all that reliable at your DD's age. I don't think you need it to tell you that she's advanced, so I wouldn't worry about it at this point in time. Once she's school age, you may start thinking about whether or not it would be a benefit to have it done.

For us, as we evaluated our options, we realized that none of them was designed to fit our DS's unique needs. We ended up homeschooling, which, despite being homeschooled through HS, myself, I never thought I'd do. It gives us the flexibility we need to meet each of our DS's needs, though it obviously comes with its own set of challenges. Still, it's been a really good choice for us. thumb.gif

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#3 of 19 Old 03-09-2011, 04:43 AM
 
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Personally I like homeschooling, I can keep my gifted K age student challenged and not having to do busy work or other time wastes.  It is all at his level. 

 

He free reads, draws a lot, does Rosetta Stone, 2nd grade math, handwriting sheets, piano, choir, swim team, gymnastics team, dance and seasonal sports, and has time to play.  We do history with an audiobook and video series for car trips.  If in full day school what would we give up?

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#4 of 19 Old 03-09-2011, 08:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I really appreciate hearing from both of you.  We've briefly entertained the idea of homeschooling but I have to be honest and say that I really don't want to do it (I feel bad saying it). DD is finally in a 5 morning/week preschool and we are ALL happier with the time apart.  I like working more and having some non-kid time. If our educational options  really paint us into a corner, I would definitely homeschool for a year or so until we could work out a better solution but I'd prefer not to do it for longer than that.

 

I will definitely be looking into what the private schools offer as well, at least to get as much info as possible.  Looking forward to hearing more about how everyone has dealt with their options.


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#5 of 19 Old 03-12-2011, 05:06 AM
 
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Homeschooling does not always mean you are having to do it all.  It just means you are the principal, and are empowered to problem solve.

 

How much time do you want your child out of the house? 

 

Some options are:

Finding a mom that take on the learning coach role for several family's virtual school kids so she can afford to stay home with hers, cheaper than private school and your child can work at her own pace.

 

Finding a mom who wants to home school another child in addition to her own.

 

Finding a gifted school or private school that offers need based aid.

 

Home schooling, and enrolling her in a quality arts-based, sports-based, or play-based aftercare and doing your work while she is there from, say, 3pm-6:30pm.

 

Home schooling, and enrolling her in home school enrichment programs that could give you a couple of days or a couple of mornings free.  These are generally not cheaper than private school by the hour, but you are only paying for the hours you use instead of 30 per week.

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#6 of 19 Old 03-12-2011, 08:43 AM
 
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Originally Posted by puffingirl View Post
DD is finally in a 5 morning/week preschool and we are ALL happier with the time apart.  I like working more and having some non-kid time. 

I think that most moms and 3-year-olds can benefit a bit of daily time apart and feel better when they get it.The dirty truth about homeschooling, though, is that normally kids get sent off to full-time school at an age when they're getting quite easy to be around. They can get themselves dressed, prepare simple snacks, cut their parents some slack, amuse themselves, be trusted in a room without supervision, abide by "quiet time" rules, tolerate errands easily, actually help (as in reduce parental workload) with basic household tasks, carry on a mutually interesting conversation ... and so on. Yet typically we send them off to school full-time just at this age, and we miss out.

 

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#7 of 19 Old 03-12-2011, 11:06 AM
 
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I agree with pigpokey and moominmama.  My kids loved play-based preschools.  It's when they entered school and the teachers started onerously introducing and reviewing the alphabet that they got antsy.  HSing is not duplicating school at home, it's much more flexible and engaging, and doesn't require the same number of hours or seat work.  Unless you and your kids want it to :).  We've used a combination of HSing and public schooling with both kids - right now, DS is in school and DD is HSing.  Next year they'll likely both be HSing.  We're flexible, and make decisions based on what's available and where they're at.

 

If you're looking at your local school, why not go talk to them.  Ask what they do for gifted kids, and what that looks like in application (ie it's easy to say you provide differentiation, but how?).  At 3.5 it's tough because you can't know who the teacher would be, and the administrator may change too before your DD starts, but it might settle your mind to go ask.

 

Do you have other options within driveable distances?  My kids have never attended our local school, but we've been able to drive reasonable distances for alternate, public programming.  It's worth just asking questions at private schools.  Another option is to enroll in swimming lessons or the like in a different neighbourhood and chat up the other moms poolside to learn about the schools there :).


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#8 of 19 Old 03-13-2011, 08:28 AM
 
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I failed to think about this topic when my oldest was your child's age, and I wish I had.

 

I always thought HS was an awesome option, but I also enjoyed the time apart, so we sent ds1 to K and 1st grade in the "excellent" PS.  I have a business and 4 other kids, so any free time was welcome.  However, by the middle of 1st grade, I was very dissatisfied with his school, despite repeated requests by us for the school to do more with/for him.  Finally, we took him out after Christmas to HS.  I am still getting the hang of HS, and I think we are going to end up unschooling, to be honest, b/c ds1 is not enjoying the classical method I was using, and learns more just by me talking with him when something interests him.  It has been more work for me, not to teach him, but to do the necessary thought and exploration and experimentation to find out what will work for all of us.

 

Others are right - a 7 year old is vastly less annoying than a 3 year old.  Ds1 helps me a lot by making simple lunches and snacks, playing with the baby, etc.  He also can work a bit at our store, which is good for everyone.  I wish I had not sent him to PS at all, b/c he is still stuck on the idea that he should be with other kids all the time, and he likes PS b/c "it was easier and all we did was write the alphabet."


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#9 of 19 Old 03-13-2011, 03:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I had actually not thought about how she might be easier later than now (as a 3 year old, she's still pretty demanding on my time and energy).  And I also had not thought of some of the combo options presented here.  We will be going to talk to the public school folks soon, even though she's still a little ways off from that time but I really want to use this next year to evaluate all our options and get our ducks in a row. We're going to look at the local Catholic school, Friends school, ask about financial aid, and I suppose I should now add HS to the list of things to research and evaluate thoroughly.  Just glad we have a whole year more in the preschool we all love before having to take the next leap. 


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#10 of 19 Old 03-13-2011, 05:18 PM
 
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Just adding to the chorus - we have a highly gifted daughter who went to preschool, but we found homeschool to be the best solution once she was school-age.  Each year has been easier, and I wouldn't trade this time with my daughter for anything.  She did do half-time high school last year, and does several online classes this year.  I've been able to go back to work half-time and still manage to facilitate her learning path.  Each year is a new adventure, but even as we enter the teenage moody years, she's still a blast to hang out with. :-)

 

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#11 of 19 Old 03-13-2011, 06:42 PM
 
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Just wanted to echo some of the things that PPs have said.   It truly depends on how your local schools differentiate and so much of that is school specific.   My older DD is mildly gifted (tested high in Math 99%+ but only 94%+ on verbal and around 90% in visual spatial).   She's a typical high achieving kid who is happy in her school with the little bit of acceleration they do for the kids on quantitative ALPs (Advanced Learning Plans).   She's also completely overscheduled on extracurriculars and I'm happy that school isn't too taxing.   My DS on the other hand was reading at end of 1st grade level before age 4 and entered K (as a young 5 year old) reading at close to a 3rd grade level.  His school has been amazing so far with differentiation -- he goes to a high 2nd grade reading group (would go higher, but he can't keep up on the written response side of things) 2-3x per week and also gets pulled for special research projects 2 hrs a week with our teacher librarian).   Plus, he loves Kinder and is getting age appropriate social skills.  

 

However, we're having him officially tested for our district's center-based GT program (stand alone classroom at a nearby school) b/c we're worried that this level of differentiation won't continue.   Our district is being faced with pretty severe budget cuts and we're at a minimum losing 1/2 of the teacher librarian FTE which means she probably won't be able to pull small groups any more.   In addition, his 2nd grade reading teacher (who is also the GT coordinator for the school for all of the kids on ALPs) will definitely not be in lower elementary at our school b/c of other cuts (at best she'll get moved to 5th grade).   All of these changes just make me nervous and make me wonder if they'll be able to continue to differentiate effectively for him.   Also, we think he might be highly gifted across the board and he's currently not getting any differentiation in math or other areas.  So, testing for us will have two major benefits

  1. First, even if we decide to stay at our neighborhood school, they'll be required to give him an ALP in every area that he tests above a certain threshold.  That ALP will require the teacher to do some sort of differentiation for him (we've sen mixed results so far with my DDs ALP, but it's still a tool)
  2. Second, if he tests high enough, he'll be offered a spot in our center based GT programs.   I don't think they're a perfect fit either, but they may be worth a shot.   We're lucky that we love our neighborhood school, so if he doesn't end up testing in, we'll work with them.   Or, if he does test in, we try the center and don't like it, we can go back to our neighborhood school.   We had the first session of his testing this past Saturday (they split it over 2 days)  and as I looked around at many of the families, I wondered how many of them had schools that don't do differentiation or are failing schools.   It felt like something out of Waiting for Superman -- for many of the families there, they had a lot more riding on their kid testing in than we do...

 

It's good you're thinking about it early, but I agree with others who say it's probably way too early to test.   I honestly feel like testing my DS at 5 is a crapshoot...he likes puzzles, etc., but he's 5...he gets distracted by something interesting and could dwell on one question to the detriment of answering another.  The GT coordinator at our school warned me to remember that there aren't really any false positives with early GT testing (so if they do well, they probably are gifted), but false negatives are common (meaning if they don't score high and you test again in a few years, they might score high then).

 

I would focus on researching schools and options by talking to current families and staff and just follow her lead with her learning :)

 

 

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#12 of 19 Old 03-13-2011, 06:45 PM
 
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Are there any other public options in your area, such as magnet programs? My DS1 was not quite as advanced as your child at age 3, but still he was reading at a 3rd grade level before kindergarten, doing 2nd-3rd grade math, etc.  We were fortunate to get a spot in a public language immersion program and it has been a wonderful opportunity for him to learn another language and be challenged in a year when he would have normally just been learning the letters of the alphabet.  I'm amazed at how much French he's already learned this year!  I basically homeschool him on math, English reading, and science on weekends and after school (he LOVES workbooks, reading, his microscope, etc, so this is easy for me to do!)... I can do all that with him at home but I was not able to teach him fluency in another language, so this works out well for us.  Just another idea for you to explore...


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#13 of 19 Old 03-14-2011, 06:40 AM
 
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I would start with having her tested; this will give you a starting point. If you want to know her reading level for certain, then she could have that tested too (comprehension, opposed to ability to read). By having her tested, you would know what level of giftedness you are dealing with. Is she moderately gifted, highly gifted, or profoundly gifted? The answer to that question would be helpful in deciding whether she would do well in a public school, or if you'd need other options. I don't have an opinion about your dd, because early reading is one sign of giftedness, but doesn't alone establish it. Are there other signs that would warrant an IQ test?

 

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#14 of 19 Old 03-14-2011, 08:33 AM
 
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I would start with having her tested; this will give you a starting point. If you want to know her reading level for certain, then she could have that tested too (comprehension, opposed to ability to read). By having her tested, you would know what level of giftedness you are dealing with. Is she moderately gifted, highly gifted, or profoundly gifted? The answer to that question would be helpful in deciding whether she would do well in a public school, or if you'd need other options. I don't have an opinion about your dd, because early reading is one sign of giftedness, but doesn't alone establish it. Are there other signs that would warrant an IQ test?

 


I disagree with this. First, testing at age 3 is notoriously unreliable. Second, as has been amply discussed in other threads whether a child does fine in public school or not has more to do with the temperament of the child and the particulars of the school system and the people in it than on IQ level.

 

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#15 of 19 Old 03-14-2011, 12:06 PM
 
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Her dd is 3.5; not 3. Most kids need to have test scores for early entrance to school or be put into gifted programs. If her dd is turning 4 before fall, and wants to enter kindergarten early, she will most likely need to back it up with test scores. As far as reading, the level a child reads has to do w/ comprehension not ability to read. Most kids that have the ability to read can read books that are above their grade level. This however, does not mean that they comprehend at that level. 

 

Of course almost any child would do "fine" in a public school. A gifted child that is already reading at a 2nd grade level before starting school, most likely needs something more than what's offered in PS. There are a lot of wonderful gifted programs that allow the child to move at their own pace. Granted, most of them require testing.
 

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I disagree with this. First, testing at age 3 is notoriously unreliable. Second, as has been amply discussed in other threads whether a child does fine in public school or not has more to do with the temperament of the child and the particulars of the school system and the people in it than on IQ level.

 

Miranda

 



 

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#16 of 19 Old 03-14-2011, 12:27 PM
 
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I didn't realize a not-quite-4-year-old was not 3 years old, but whatever. I'll rephrase that: testing is notoriously unreliable prior to age 5.

 

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There are a lot of wonderful gifted programs that allow the child to move at their own pace. Granted, most of them require testing.
 


Certainly not where I live. There's not even one gifted program of any sort -- and if there were to be something developed it certainly wouldn't start at the KG level. Perhaps things are radically different where the OP lives but it sure didn't sound like it from her post. 

 

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#17 of 19 Old 03-14-2011, 01:11 PM
 
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IQ testing is done at an exact age- down to the month (so 3.5 is different than 3). Here is a link to some tests- http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/tests.htm

 

EPGY (Education Program for Gifted Youth via Stanford University) starts in kindergarten. It is available anywhere there is internet, and is internationally recognized. CTD (Center for Talent Development via Northwestern) starts in kindergarten. There are more out there; my city has a specific school dedicated strictly for gifted children. The programs through Stanford and Northwestern start in kindergarten, but can be started before kindergarten age. The poster's child may very well be ready, but will have to be tested (standardized) or in some cases submit an amazing portfolio.

 

My youngest dd is doing 6th grade work as a 7.5 year old. She will most likely follow her sister's steps and start college in middle school. 

 

Getting tested for early entrance is reasonable- 

"When to Test?

Let's start with the question of when to test.  When is the gifted child too young / too old for testing? The best time to test for giftedness is when a question needs to be answered.  School selection, educational placement decisions, early kindergarten, these are the kinds of questions that need an answer grounded in a comprehensive assessment, including testing." Hoagies 

 

I didn't want to hold my dds back; I let them move at their own pace, and they are happy.


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I didn't realize a not-quite-4-year-old was not 3 years old, but whatever. I'll rephrase that: testing is notoriously unreliable prior to age 5.

 


Certainly not where I live. There's not even one gifted program of any sort -- and if there were to be something developed it certainly wouldn't start at the KG level. Perhaps things are radically different where the OP lives but it sure didn't sound like it from her post. 

 

Miranda

 



 

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#18 of 19 Old 03-14-2011, 02:22 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by sublimeliving View Post

IQ testing is done at an exact age- down to the month (so 3.5 is different than 3). 

 

My youngest dd is doing 6th grade work as a 7.5 year old. She will most likely follow her sister's steps and start college in middle school. 

 

I didn't want to hold my dds back; I let them move at their own pace, and they are happy.

 

<Sigh.> Of course IQ testing is normed by age and month. But I wasn't talking about norming. I was talking about validity. And validity (sensitivity and specificity in identification) is poor at age 3. And 3 years 1 month. And 3 years 10 months. And 4 years 3 months. Have you read "Nurtureshock" or any of Merryman's and Bronson's writing on the topic? Pre-Kindergarten IQ testing is shows only a 0.40 correlation with academic achievement (physical bodily symmetry, eg. matching ears, correlates with a strength of 0.39, for comparison's sake). That's a very minimal correlation. So I don't think it makes any sense to use a score at that age to make long-term predictions about a child's academic needs.

 

I agree that testing can occasionally be a necessary hoop one has to jump through to gain access to programs (even if it's of questionable accuracy), like early KG admission. But there are a lot of other questions to answer first before considering testing. For instance: will early admission be right for our family? Is it something I believe in philosophically? Will it be a good fit for my child? If the child is very petite and socially reticent, or is emotionally volatile with poor impulse control, or still needs an afternoon nap, or if KG is full-day and requires long bus rides, or especially if it is focused primarily on seatwork-based learning to read ... then probably that would be a poor choice. A better option would be entering the following year with a grade skip or two. Next question: is early KG even possible in the school district in question? It isn't, not under any circumstances, in my jurisdiction. There's no funding and schools are not legally allowed to admit children prior to September of the calendar year in which they turn five. Full stop. Some jurisdictions allow it, but only with early birthdays that just miss the cutoff. Some allow it only if a school is under-enrolled. So that would be the first question to ask.  

 

I too have a youngster (recently turned 8) doing middle school work (6th/7th grade math, 6th grade science, music and language arts skills well beyond that). I too have a very gifted older teen who has soared through amazing opportunities and challenges she's been able to take advantage of. I too want my kids to move at their own pace, just like you do with yours. In our case IQ testing was not done in order to make any educational choices. School options didn't hinge on testing, and testing would not have brought any additional opportunities.

 

Miranda

 


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#19 of 19 Old 03-14-2011, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just to clarify a couple of things about our circumstances:  Our county doesn't offer a gifted program until the 2nd grade (at which point she would be eligible to test into it and her local school does TAG work in the regular classroom or you can try to lottery into one of the centers). The state says that it offers gifted programming, starting in K, but the county is saying otherwise. Our county is also facing an ENORMOUS budget cut this next school year so I don't know what will be left of the gifted programs in another 2 years.  I don't have any interest in having her start K early.  Her birthday is in the summer so she'll be on the young side when she does start and she is tiny (in the 10th %ile for height).  And her  preschool is so fantastic and interesting and fun that I'd hate to have her leave early.  To add more confusion to the mix, we also recently learned about a Sudbury-style school not too far from us, though I have concerns about it being too unstructured for her. The magnet schools here aren't a good fit for us, for a number of reasons.  There was talk a year ago about a Chinese immersion magnet school opening but it fell through (which was too bad because we liked that idea). We have the option for entering a lottery for a spot in the K class where her preschool is (they have more kids eligible than spots each year).  Considering how happy we've been there, we have that on the table but I know we need more options because there are 4 preschool classes that feed into the 1 K class, so getting a spot is lucky. And if we did get in there, we'd still have to sort this out for 1st grade on up. Honestly, I don't feel like there is a big pull for testing now and if we did it, I think I'd rather wait until she's just about to enter school. But if she goes to the public school, it might be useful in advocating for what she needs if there is no gifted program at the beginning. All this is enough to make my head spin!  I really appreciate the ongoing conversation here--thanks to all that have joined in so far.


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