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#1 of 58 Old 08-25-2011, 01:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My dd is 9 and has started talking about how she wants to start college early so that she can finish her doctorate before she is "old.". She plans to be a scientist, probably in neurobiology. She even read up on how Mary Baldwin College has a program girls can enter as young as 13. This whole discussion kind of overwhelms me. I do believe dd is the type of person who could enter college early, though 13 seems so soon! I have no clue how we would even pay for it right now. But right now I am looking for advice.

So, if you or your child started college early, please tell me about it! What was the good and the bad? What do you wish someone had told you about it? Is there anything I should be doing now, or in the near future?

BTW- We currently homeschool.

Laura, Mama to Mya 7/02, Ian 6/07 and Anna 8/09
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#2 of 58 Old 08-25-2011, 07:41 AM
 
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I encourage you to look into is a "middle college" program though it may be called something different in your high school districts. Ours is a program for 11th and 12th graders which allows them to take community college classes for both high school and college credits. They accept about 20 kids a year per campus. They still have a couple classes with just the high schoolers (have their own prom, ect) but they take other courses at the JC and anything they want to sign-up for is fair game. What is nice, is it's still considered "public school" and so the district pays for the courses (though you do have to buy books.) While it is for 11th/12th graders, there isn't an age guideline. If your DD homeschools through 10th grade earlier, she could concievably go this route at a young age and then transfer to a university.

 

My own kids are slated to start at 17 should they choose not to accelerate further. My eldest used to talk about college a lot at 9 but that changed once her age peers started growing up and becoming a better social group for her (and she became involved in multi-aged interest based activities.) If my DD decides to go with the middle college program, she'd be on the college campus at 15 and could conceivably transfer to the university as a Junior at 17 and graduate at 19. We'll see though. The more fun high school is (and she is having a blast) the less appealing.

 

I know several kids who have successfully done this but we also know a 2 that went at younger ages like you are talking. One was 12 and the other 14. They are at the community college which allows them to take a smaller course loads, cost less, allows them to live at home for longer and then transfer to their dream universities a little bit older. Might be something to look at if going straight to the university at 13 isn't palatable.


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#3 of 58 Old 08-25-2011, 07:50 AM
 
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I attended a middle college program for high school.  It was dual enrollment, I took half college courses, half high school courses.  Students had the option to take less college courses if they wished.  It was a public school, however, if students got below a B in a college course, the family was responsible for reimbursing the tuition.   I graduated with 25 or 30 credits, but they didn't all transfer (the college that housed the middle college was private, I went to public university).  Even so, it was a wonderful experience.  I started when I was fifteen.  I definetly would not have been mature enough to do a full time college program at that age, the structure of high school and being around kids my age was very helpful and important to me.  It took me a while to feel comfortable socially with the college students.


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#4 of 58 Old 08-26-2011, 09:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

I encourage you to look into is a "middle college" program though it may be called something different in your high school districts. Ours is a program for 11th and 12th graders which allows them to take community college classes for both high school and college credits. They accept about 20 kids a year per campus. They still have a couple classes with just the high schoolers (have their own prom, ect) but they take other courses at the JC and anything they want to sign-up for is fair game. What is nice, is it's still considered "public school" and so the district pays for the courses (though you do have to buy books.) While it is for 11th/12th graders, there isn't an age guideline. If your DD homeschools through 10th grade earlier, she could concievably go this route at a young age and then transfer to a university.

 



We also have this in our district.  You would definately need to look into it, though, because some community colleges/junior colleges have age requirements that are actually stricter than Universities.  I have known a 12 year old who went this route, though (homeschooled through "10th" grade and then did two years of community college through the public school district and then only University).

 

If you have a program at your local university, though, it will be aimed at younger children (not just motivated high school juniors and seniors like the "Running Start" programs).  It could be easier to find a good peer group a the University.

 

We are near the University of Washington and one of DD's friends is entering this fall (at age 13).  One of my good friend's sister completed the same program when she was a child (and finsished law school before she was old enough to take the bar exam).  The classes generally have more structure which was really frustrating to my friend's sister.  She wanted to just go to college, not have her hand held all the time.  She was much happier once she was a junior and allowed to have more autonomy.  For some kids the structure would be great (and being encouraged to be with same age peers; she wanted to be with the older kids). 

 

You can always start looking into the programs available and know what is out there!

 

Good luck

 


 

 

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#5 of 58 Old 08-27-2011, 01:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the thoughts! I had thought for a long time dd might start classes at a community college when she was 16, like many of you suggested, but a t least right now, she is talking about being more aggressive about getting her degree than that. I am not sure what to think about the programs that require she have completed 10th grade, currently I register her with the state that she is in the grade that her same age peers would be. I suppose we could "skip a grade" later if it makes sense, but it doesn't feel right to do this year, since her whole curriculum is tayler made anyway.

Lots to think about....

Laura, Mama to Mya 7/02, Ian 6/07 and Anna 8/09
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#6 of 58 Old 08-27-2011, 07:08 AM
 
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It is a very individual thing. Early college is great for some kids and not for others. We have a child who entered college very early and it has been a very positive experience for him.

 

One thing you may want to explore with your daughter is the idea that before entering college full time needs to complete a rigorous high school program first. That could include online courses, APs, or community college courses part time, but before she enters college she needs to have established a foundation at the level of a strong, competitive high school student. There is quite a bit of overlap between high school and introductory community college courses so it certainly is possible that some students can enter college without having a strong high school foundation and they may still be successful. If, however, she's looking toward grad school and a career, I personally wouldn't find it an option for her to directly enter college full time without having a really solid foundation. I would expect her to complete AP or cc level sciences and math including calculus before I'd seriously entertain early college. When she's established that foundation she's also going to be more competitive for merit scholarships as well. So my message to her would be "bravo" that she's motivated and ready to take on the world. Let's see some success as a top high school student first.

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#7 of 58 Old 08-27-2011, 07:39 AM
 
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I am not sure what to think about the programs that require she have completed 10th grade, currently I register her with the state that she is in the grade that her same age peers would be. I suppose we could "skip a grade" later if it makes sense, but it doesn't feel right to do this year, since her whole curriculum is tayler made anyway.
 



As someone pointed out earlier, community colleges can be stricter about age than universities. Most require a child to be 16 (though in CA, we know two who started at 12 and 14.) The Middle College program is a way around this. It goes by grade and if she's completed the 10th grade curriculum at school or at home, then she would qualify. Whether she goes to the university or a community colege early, they are going to WANT her to have completed the high school curriculum or at least tested out of it. Check with your state as all their tests have different names. Out state has two... the GED which is a national standard but really for 18+year-olds who need a diploma and the CASHEE which is a high school equivalency test for those younger than 18. It's aim is kids seeking emancipation but it's commonly used by child actors to allow them to work adult hours in tv/fil/theatre. We've known several who took this test for this reason. After you have that test, getting into the community colleges at least is pretty easy.

 

Another option I hadn't thought of is to start her on online AP classes. My DD's district offers this ability for high ability kids. She may have access to this earlier if she's completed the neccessary curriculum to qualify.

 

The one thing I wouldn't do is send her to a community college to complete high school level courses. Those courses are often not as rigorous an advanced course where the child is sitting next to high achievers. Only take courses at the college that are meant as college courses.

 


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#8 of 58 Old 08-28-2011, 02:10 PM
 
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I started attending a local CC part time just shy of 16.  It was due to one full grade acceleration in middle school and subject acceleration in math such that I had maxed out my home districts math and science AP options.  I did fine as I was pretty socially well adjusted.  I went away to university at barely 17.  While there were some odd moments (couldn't work out on the campus gym because I wasn't 18?!?, struggled to get a bank account opened), it was fine.  I graduated with my undergrad at 20. 

 

And then things got tough.  As a teen, I had always imagined myself as a scientist but found I hated my science coursework at university.  I switched midway to a social science degree and math minor.  And then had NO idea what to do.  I started but didn't finish a masters program.  I had always been so driven and goal oriented but now didn't have a life plan.  It was a dark time in my life.  Eventually I found my way back to grad school (still the youngest of my PhD class) at 24 and am finishing up the PhD in a field I absolutely adore.  That said, I'm not sure there was much that anyone would have told me that would have helped.  I do not regret the grade acceleration or the early entrance to college at all.  I just wish I had been a little more open to various career options when entering college.  I wish someone would have told me that being in college was a time to explore a bunch, to be intellectually curious... that if anything, early entrance should have allowed me more NOT less time to do that.  Of course, that means different things to different people, but you get what I mean.  This is what I tell the young gifted students I now see come through my own course as teens. 

 

One of the most helpful things I ever did was go to a math camp (similar to the Hopkins summer program for gifted high school students) at age 13 for 3 weeks.  It totally validated my abilities, helped me gauge that I was exceptionally gifted but not the smartest 13 year old in the world, allowed me some independence (critical if you enter college early away from home), and helped me open up socially with true peers.  I still have friends from that program.  It pushed me far more than the CC courses because we were all pushing each other as high achievers.  Maybe you could have her look into something like that instead of a full time college program to buy a few years with the goal of entering college closer to 15 or 16? 


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#9 of 58 Old 08-30-2011, 11:02 AM
 
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I wish someone would have told me that being in college was a time to explore a bunch, to be intellectually curious... that if anything, early entrance should have allowed me more NOT less time to do that.  Of course, that means different things to different people, but you get what I mean. 


I wanted to say something similar and couldn't figure out how to phrase it.

 

Our situation is that both my kids are gifted, both are teens, and both currently attend an amazing alternative school. My barely 13 year old is taking mostly high school courses, and rather than rushing through highschool, she has the chance to explore subjects. She has marine biology, anthropology, etc this semester. All with very little pressure, and at a school with an outdoor skills program so she'll also go backbacking, caving, etc.

 

Although both my kids could graduate early, neither plan to. They like their school too much. They may end up taking some college classes at the same time if they max out the math program, for example, but they will still be based in their awesome school.

 

I'm sure early entrance is the best option for some gifted kids (not all cities have a school like the one my kids attend), but I would caution any human being against living their life for the future. I think the OPer's DD expresses attitudes that are quite common, especially in the gifted community, and that do not lead to happiness or fulfillment.


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#10 of 58 Old 08-30-2011, 11:45 AM
 
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I'm sure early entrance is the best option for some gifted kids (not all cities have a school like the one my kids attend), but I would caution any human being against living their life for the future. I think the OPer's DD expresses attitudes that are quite common, especially in the gifted community, and that do not lead to happiness or fulfillment.


Interesting. I agree with the suggestion that it is problematic to live for the future but often think about it in the other direction with early college. I've seen so many highly gifted kids are told to stay put in middle or high school situations that really don't work so "someday" they can have that traditional residential college experience and then they get to be happy. So, my strong vote is to do what works for this year instead of pushing something that really doesn't in order to get some future happiness that may or may not occur. For some kids what will work is college and for some it will be waiting. I see a difference between being able to possibly do college work - that's something probably the majority of bright kids can do - and really having exhausted the offerings at the high school level.

 

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#11 of 58 Old 08-30-2011, 12:06 PM
 
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I'm sure early entrance is the best option for some gifted kids (not all cities have a school like the one my kids attend), but I would caution any human being against living their life for the future. I think the OPer's DD expresses attitudes that are quite common, especially in the gifted community, and that do not lead to happiness or fulfillment.


 

I started college at 15.  While I was successful, it is absolutely not an approach I would necessarily encourage.  I was great at handling the courseload and the work but I really missed a lot of the growth I should have experienced in that setting because I wasn't there yet developmentally.  Waiting another couple years and focusing on AP work, more in-depth study etc would have served me far better in the long run.

 

My oldest is profoundly gifted, but socially, I see her needing a lot of support even through her late teens. I will encourage her to take challenging courses through a college or univrsity if she wants, but I don't want to see her make the leap to college student at the age I did. 

 

 

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#12 of 58 Old 08-30-2011, 02:33 PM
 
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I've seen so many highly gifted kids are told to stay put in middle or high school situations that really don't work so "someday" they can have that traditional residential college experience and then they get to be happy. So, my strong vote is to do what works for this year instead of pushing something that really doesn't in order to get some future happiness that may or may not occur.

 


I totally agree with you. Completely. I don't think a child or teen should be left in a situation that doesn't work for them. But when a 9 year wants to leap through everything so they can finish their PhD early, I think some serious talks about enjoying being the age you are and having a good time in the present at in order.

 

There can be some wonderful things about being a teen and being in a school (or homeschol) situation that works for you. The OPer's DD doesn't know that. And researching how to get her PhD faster isn't going to teach her.

 

But I'm 100% in favor of teens doing what is right for them, and have seen enough of the world to know that can be very different for different teens.

 


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#13 of 58 Old 08-30-2011, 02:37 PM
 
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 But when a 9 year wants to leap through everything so they can finish their PhD early, I think some serious talks about enjoying being the age you are and having a good time in the present at in order.

 


I think this is one of the hardest things to work through with gifted kids.  Encouraging them to be the age they are and not always looking for the next accomplishment is a struggle, but it's SO important to their overall well-being. 

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#14 of 58 Old 08-30-2011, 04:20 PM
 
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But when a 9 year wants to leap through everything so they can finish their PhD early, I think some serious talks about enjoying being the age you are and having a good time in the present at in order.

 

There can be some wonderful things about being a teen and being in a school (or homeschol) situation that works for you.

 

 

I think we mostly agree. It is worth noting that "enjoy being the age you are" doesn't preclude academic advancement and for some kids really requires it.

 

It is very tricky to make radical accelleration decisions for a child so young. I really don't think until a student has really done rigorous high school work and they've taken a college class that they likely have a good idea what that experience will be like.
 

 

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#15 of 58 Old 08-30-2011, 04:22 PM
 
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I think this is one of the hardest things to work through with gifted kids.  Encouraging them to be the age they are and not always looking for the next accomplishment is a struggle, but it's SO important to their overall well-being. 


 

I'm struggling a bit with the concept of "being the age they are." Most gifted kids are lots of ages because their maturity can be all over the place. Kids can do very advanced academic stuff and still be every bit as much of a kid as kids who are working on grade level.

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I'm struggling a bit with the concept of "being the age they are." Most gifted kids are lots of ages because their maturity can be all over the place. Kids can do very advanced academic stuff and still be every bit as much of a kid as kids who are working on grade level.


I think that- at least for most of the gifted/profoundly gifted I have known, there has been a great deal of pressure to 'live up to their potential'.   Precisely because they can do that advanced work in terms of academics, they have huge expectations of themselves and the people around them lose track of the reality that they are still 8/9/10 years old.  

 

It's a really complex issue, and I think it comes down to provide radical acceleration (when appropriate) that doesn't push them to surpass their emotional/social development. It's a tough line to find.

 

I know that one of the hardest things to do with my daughter is to remind her to be present in being a kid. In her case, however, that is the most important thing I can do. 

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#17 of 58 Old 08-30-2011, 05:59 PM
 
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I, personally, see tremendous value in mindfulness -- being fully present in the moment you are in. Some people don't.

 

For me, it's not about whether acceleration is the right choice or not, but the attitude that one must get XYZ done so that real life can begin. I think that attitude makes the present a meaningless distraction and a most likely sets up for a hollow future. The attitude tends to stay even after XYZ happens. Some people go through whole lives with this attitude about a variety of things, and they never learn to enjoy where they are.

 

Of course gifted kids should be in academic situations that work for them, but then teaching them to live in the moment they are in is part of teaching a life skill that will help them be happy and satisfied as adults.

 

 

 


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#18 of 58 Old 08-31-2011, 06:46 AM
 
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I think that- at least for most of the gifted/profoundly gifted I have known, there has been a great deal of pressure to 'live up to their potential'.   Precisely because they can do that advanced work in terms of academics, they have huge expectations of themselves and the people around them lose track of the reality that they are still 8/9/10 years old.  

 

It's a really complex issue, and I think it comes down to provide radical acceleration (when appropriate) that doesn't push them to surpass their emotional/social development. It's a tough line to find.

 

I know that one of the hardest things to do with my daughter is to remind her to be present in being a kid. In her case, however, that is the most important thing I can do. 


I agree the "live up to potential" can be a huge problem as can the idea of rushing to get something done by a particular age. I see those as a matter of mindset though - not as inherent parts of the HG/PG or grade skipped child. If the reason why a family is pursuing acceleration is for these reasons then that would be a huge problem, but I don't guess at all that it is the majority if people who have made this decision. I agree if what the original poster's daughter is saying is that college is education is a burden let's get it over with, then it needs to be talked about. I don't think though that we really had enough information from the post to draw any conclusions about her attitude toward childhood. She may well have been thinking that it sounds like fun and she'd like to enjoy it.

 

I wish it was as easy as to say keep kids on grade level and they won't be pushed past their emotional and social development level, but for a lot of kids staying lock step with a grade level based on age, may actually require a lot more negative adaptation than it would if the academics were an appropriate fit.

 

For what it is worth, I can't really relate to needing to remind the child to be present being a kid. My kid has always valued being a kid, he just also happens to have intellectual abilities that could best be accommodated by early college. Studying physics doesn't make a person enjoy blowing bubbles any less. There isn't one right way to have a childhood.

 

 

 

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#19 of 58 Old 08-31-2011, 06:48 AM
 
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For me, it's not about whether acceleration is the right choice or not, but the attitude that one must get XYZ done so that real life can begin. I think that attitude makes the present a meaningless distraction and a most likely sets up for a hollow future. The attitude tends to stay even after XYZ happens. Some people go through whole lives with this attitude about a variety of things, and they never learn to enjoy where they are.


 



I agree. It makes me think of the movie Race to Nowhere. We've got a lot of pressure on students in this culture. It isn't just high school with the test and get ready for college culture, it starts very young. "You have to learn to do x or you won't be ready for fourth grade.." and on it goes.

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#20 of 58 Old 08-31-2011, 07:16 AM
 
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I agree if what the original poster's daughter is saying is that college is education is a burden let's get it over with, then it needs to be talked about. I don't think though that we really had enough information from the post to draw any conclusions about her attitude toward childhood.
 


I agree we don't have enough information, but the way it was phrased jumped out at me.


 

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My dd is 9 and has started talking about how she wants to start college early so that she can finish her doctorate before she is "old.". She plans to be a scientist, probably in neurobiology. She even read up on how Mary Baldwin College has a program girls can enter as young as 13. This whole discussion kind of overwhelms me. I do believe dd is the type of person who could enter college early, though 13 seems so soon!


I'm just saying that it's something to talk about -- not making a call about whether or not early college is the right or wrong choice for a child I've never met.


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#21 of 58 Old 08-31-2011, 09:03 AM
 
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Great discussion here. My DD is one of those kids who's always wanted to be older than she is. It has nothing to do with wanting to be sophisticated in the sense of "cool"--she wants the freedoms and opportunities, and is very impatient to be done with the restrictions of being a child. She's very independent as well, and was asking to go to sleepaway camp at 6. However, she is also very playful and imaginative and is very much her age ina lot of ways. I have struggled with the desire to say the "Relax...be the age you are" sorts of things while also feeling like I need to acknowledge that she has always been this way and that it is a valid feeling for her. Right now she is reading an adult-level book for the first time, and it's intoxicating to her. I have mixed feelings.

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#22 of 58 Old 08-31-2011, 09:27 AM
 
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valid feeling for her

sadly there are many parents that put their own feeling and fears above their children and this has nothing to do with "giftedness"

 

there are also those non-gifted that can not cope at college level and fail 

 

My DD did early college and could not stop her or keep her "her age" in anyway- even dealing with immature "college age" she was far more advanced

 

I have seen many parents (non gifted as well) that put their issues far a head of their child's needs- mostly out of living in the moment yet saying one thing and doing another- all comes down to how you see that glass to me

 

We live in the moment but look to the future- it is simply crazy to expect a child not to question why they are learning a certain subject (for example) and not see into their future as to the need for and the desire to use- holding back and trying to stifle is simple not a option for many - I feel it is very normal and to many it is desirable to think about and explore the future and that can mean early college and a wonderful life

 

some who fail to see the future also live very negative lives-validating feeling are essential sometimes regardless of the parent


 

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#23 of 58 Old 08-31-2011, 12:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loraxc View Post
she wants the freedoms and opportunities, and is very impatient to be done with the restrictions of being a child. .


I think that the ideal is to find ways for her to have more freedom and opportunities now, and I know how hard that can be.

 

I really think early college would be less of an issue if we had better school options BEFORE college. I know that our situation is somewhat unique because my kids attend such a wonderful school, where they do have freedoms and opportunities, and far fewer restrictions than most kids.

 

I also would have responded differently to the thread if the OPer's child had voiced a different reason for wanting to attend college earlier -- had said something, anything really, about what she was looking forward to about university. But she didn't. She just said she wants it all done with, and I don't think that's a good reason to do anything.

 

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#24 of 58 Old 08-31-2011, 12:48 PM
 
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I agree that wanting to be done with it isn't a great reason, for sure.

Fortunately, my DD has a wide range of interests and her need for freedom and opportunities can be met in various ways. It takes some thinking, though. The really tricky thing is that as of now, she wants to do things that are not really age-level with kids who ARE her age. We hope her new school placement will help.

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#25 of 58 Old 09-03-2011, 06:25 AM
 
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OTMomma, okay, I admit that I did not read all of the replies, but that's because I saw that you live in NoVa and wanted to mention that there are some really good high school programs there that I'm sure are on a level with many college programs. Check out Thomas Jefferson high school. My nephew went there and it's great preparation for a science-based college experience. If she went there it would be very similar to a middle college experience, but probably would look as good or better on her transcript. I'm in NC and here we have the North Carolina School of Science and Math which is a similar program, but as a boarding school, so even more of a college experience. 

 

For me college was so much about the social experience that if my child was asking me about going to college early I would rather point her in a direction so that she could be with kids similar in age with similar interests and would still be intellectually challenged. 


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#26 of 58 Old 09-03-2011, 07:19 AM
 
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One thing to bear in mind wrt "middle college" programs run in conjunction with a community college - those credits may or may not be accepted elsewhere. So make sure to look into that as it could be quite frustrating for someone to take the classes with the impression that they can transfer their earned credits, to find out that the college/university they've chosen won't accept them.

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#27 of 58 Old 09-03-2011, 09:46 AM
 
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One thing to bear in mind wrt "middle college" programs run in conjunction with a community college - those credits may or may not be accepted elsewhere. So make sure to look into that as it could be quite frustrating for someone to take the classes with the impression that they can transfer their earned credits, to find out that the college/university they've chosen won't accept them.


That's the same with AP test credits as well.
 

 


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#28 of 58 Old 09-03-2011, 05:05 PM
 
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I'm in a similar situation...

 

My DD2 is 5 and PG. I think the term PG is thrown around quite a bit in reference to kids that aren't really it-my daughter is quite possibly the most advanced in her age cohort in all of Australia, being chronologically 5, emotionally 8-12, and intellectually 17...yes, 17! She wants to go to university early, and plans on going there sometime in the next couple years because we're moving to the city soon...I don't think a 5 year old, even one who's emotionally a few years older, would be able to handle uni, but I also don't want my daughter to be kept behind because no teacher is able to handle her. At her gifted school she's in the most advanced class, is STILL far beyond all the other students, and has three 1:1 aides...and even with all of that support they just BARELY scrape by. I want my daughter to have the best opportunities she can have without being overwhelmed.


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#29 of 58 Old 09-03-2011, 05:26 PM
 
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Hello-

 

OP - you mentioned Mary Baldwin had a program your daughter may enjoy.  As you're in VA perhaps taking her for a visit (if you have not already!) may help her sort her feelings and her desires on this subject.  I wasn't a gifted student or anything, but when I looked at programs on paper I constructed all these dreams in my head of what school would be like, and when I visited - poof! - alternate reality came crashing down.  (I did attend and graduate from a school I ADORE, but it took research and effort to find that perfect spot.)

 

If she comes out of that visit more passionate than ever, good for her!  But if not, at least then she'll know...


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#30 of 58 Old 09-03-2011, 05:45 PM
 
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Quote:
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 At her gifted school she's in the most advanced class, is STILL far beyond all the other students, and has three 1:1 aides...and even with all of that support they just BARELY scrape by. I want my daughter to have the best opportunities she can have without being overwhelmed.


My reading comprehension may not be good this evening so I'm just checking... Are you saying your five year old daughter has three aides in school and they are having trouble scraping by? Having homeschooled a very PG kid one on one without a lot of difficulty I'm trying to imagine what that would look like.

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