Questions about toddler and future schooling - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 09-25-2011, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My parents and I are already worried that my DD is going to be insanely bored at school.  Just through natural day-to-day activities, like nature walks, playing at the park, reading, playing games, etc., she, as every other two year old, is so very curious about everything.  Her memory, her expressive language, and especially her receptive language, are very well-developed.  At 10 months, Early Intervention came to evaluate, due to a gross motor skill delay that only ended up being 2% at the time and has since caught up and become accelerated, as well, her language skills were evaluated to be an average of nearly a year ahead, at that point.

 

This is where she is, now, at 2:

 

  • Knows 10 colors (we're working on different ones, now, using cars and things in the environment)
  • Can orally spell and recognize all letters in her name
  • Recognizes 80% of the alphabet
  • Has held a crayon (regular size) correctly since 9 months
  • Can write some letters/numbers
  • Knows some shapes
  • Knows distinction among/can name numerous animals, including caribou
  • Can name several insects and knows part of the food chain
  • Can identify different types of clouds and knows some of their functions
  • Counts to 15
  • Can name several fruits
  • Displays leadership qualities within a group of children
  • Knows the meanings of and uses general manners appropriately, such as please, thank you, excuse me, pardon me, and bless you
  • Uses compound sentences
  • Has an insane memory of people's names and faces, including those she does not see often (even some she sees once a month or less), memory of places and objects
  • Puts together complex associations of how people and animals interact with the environment

 

These are just a small snippet of her skills, thus far, and it's nothing that we do formal, but all through play.  She always asks, "What's that, Momma?," "What's it do?" and "What's it for?"  The big idea of this whole thing is that she retains things very quickly and applies them to different situations.

 

What I am looking for, here, are some ideas on what to do if she continues this path over the next few years.  I don't want her bored in school, because I am sure, with her personality, that would spell trouble!

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#2 of 12 Old 09-26-2011, 08:50 AM
 
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She sounds like a wonderful, active girl! 

 

For any child, I think it's important to figure out what kind of schooling is a good "fit", for academics and personality/emotions/learning style/behaviour. Some very gifted students do well in a traditional school environment. Some don't.

 

Hopefully, you have a few different schooling options available. The advice I would offer is to research various educational methods and philosophies, visit the schools in your area, and keep an open mind. I don't think that my dc have ever been "insanely bored" at school, whether it was Montessori, "regular" public, language immersion, gifted, or performing arts programs that they've attended. It hasn't all been a picnic. From time to time, they may have been underwhelmed with or disliked parts of the curriculum and we've worked through some issues over the years. We've always been able to manage those issues. It's helped to remain positive, to take a pragmatic perspective and to approach learning at school and home as a collaboration for my dc's education. 

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#3 of 12 Old 09-26-2011, 10:31 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

Hopefully, you have a few different schooling options available.

 

And even if you don't, hopefully you find that like ours your local public school is flexible and creative in meeting her needs. I now have three in school. I don't remember their milestones in any kind of detail but I do remember my eldest had her whole alphabet (upper & lower case, and letter sounds) by 21 months and was a self-taught reader by shortly after her 3rd birthday, and she has never been insanely bored (or even moderately bored) in our ordinary local public school.

 

Don't borrow trouble! Don't be blind to it, but don't borrow it.

 

Miranda
 

 


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#4 of 12 Old 09-26-2011, 12:02 PM
 
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And even if you don't, hopefully you find that like ours your local public school is flexible and creative in meeting her needs. I now have three in school. I don't remember their milestones in any kind of detail but I do remember my eldest had her whole alphabet (upper & lower case, and letter sounds) by 21 months and was a self-taught reader by shortly after her 3rd birthday, and she has never been insanely bored (or even moderately bored) in our ordinary local public school.

 

 



Ditto above.

 

My 5 yr old DDs are 2E. Both had milestones similar to what Miranda wrote. Letters/sounds/etc by 19-20 months. Readers at early 3 and 3.5 respectively.

 

But they both had fairly steep deficits as well and were in various therapies (occupational, physical, etc) for years.

 

We did public Preschool , PreK, and they are in public 1st now. (did not do K). As PP stated, there are things that are great, there are things that are OK, and so far we have worked through all of them with some GREAT staff/teachers.

 

Yes, I have had to advocate for them both for academic advancement and for accommodations for their special needs (physical and social). But honestly, your schooling choice will depend   A LOT on the individuals you meet up with along your childs educational journey. Programs look great on paper, but until you get to the nitty-gritty philosophies of the individual teachers- you never know how it will all work out.

 

In our case, right now public school is working for us. But , I also know that in the future- if it does not we will try something else. We also have moved several times, that always changes things up as well -educationally speaking.

 

One of my DDs is a go-go girl/type A personality and she gets 'restless' if not challenged, so far all her teachers have kept her engaged and active on an age appropriate level. My other DD is more go with the flow so she rarely gets into trouble. Sometimes have they gotten repeat material (letters, sounds, etc) during group instruction. Yes, but they were learning to work independently, in a group, waiting turns, letting other speak up, etc. Sometimes the lessons they learned (for them) were not academic as much as life-skills. But they did a lot of learn through play and it has served them well- 1st grade has just begun, so we will see how it pans out as the play gets less and the academics take a front seat since they both have very strong academic skills. 

 

Have fun and enjoy your little one she sounds terrific!

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#5 of 12 Old 09-26-2011, 12:20 PM
 
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You really have to play it by ear. Nothing that I thought would be right for my kids when they were toddlers seemed appropriate as they continued to age and develop. We've taken so many different turns, none of which I could have anticipated. Things I assumed would work failed. Choices I was hesitant about were wildly successful. Opportunities that didn't exist or were out of our reach at one stage suddenly were available in the next. When my eldest was a toddler, I don't know that I really considered how much input SHE would have in her educational options and how they could vary from what I had in mind. Even now with one in middle school and one in high school, we still take it a year at a time and it works.

 

A child trajectory can't really be anticipated either. My eldest knew all her letters and their sounds by 2. She was writing sentances phonetically by 3. Didn't actually sit and read a book until 5 but was downing 5th grade level novels within weeks. DS knew all his letters and sounds after one sitting at the library alphabet puzzle at 12 months. Started picking out words in print before 2. Didn't actually start reading until 4. Didn't become what I consider fluent until 7. At 10 reads at adult levels in two languages. My kids long-term learning curve in all subjects isn't a "curve" at all. More like a graph filled with spikes and plateaus. This makes anticipating what they need too far in advance pretty impossible. Basically, while your child is hitting these milestones early, they are milestones that do tend to come in one big spike for most kids. Skills following this group offer more depth and so a child can spend more time exploring and seemingly plateau or just build at what seems like a pretty average pace until the next big jump. You just don't know.

 

I know, not much help. Just keep your eyes and ears open for future opportunities but don't feel you have to have it all figured out now.

 

 


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#6 of 12 Old 09-26-2011, 12:52 PM
 
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the  key mama - really the KEY - esp. for a gifted child - is your emotional connection with your child.

 

i am just going to add another element to the excellent points the mamas have already made because my dd so does not fit in the regular 'gifted' thingy.

 

for instance both dd and i have had to accept that school is going to be "tolerated" by dd. dd is already in the best school in a GATE class - but still the education is not the best option for her. she excells in what she does - is bored sometimes and yet school does not meet her need for ethics and philosophy that she most desires. 

 

so its v. v. imperative that you have a v. strong bond with your child. the only reason why dd is not depressed at school (hs is not an option now) is because we have talked and from a young age we have learnt that sometimes life just is. and instead of pulling you down you just forge ahead. so she enjoys her friends, enjoys her teachers and then just WAITS to come home.

 

the problem with school is grunt work. dd is not interested in grunt work. she wants to learn about the how why when rather than just the what. she is a hands on learner. that is why we do a LOT at home. in a sense i feel we both do public school as well as homeschool - well afterschool. but we still cover a huge curriculum.

 

but you cant make a judgement about the future at all. i myself was so caught up in the bored aspect of it that i didnt realise how much dd missed the fun times from daycare. she missed art in K, playtimes, science experiements. and i was worried about ABCs. that was not her concern at all.

 

her friend who is fact oriented is shining in the same school.

 

so dont worry. seriously (btdt myself) just enjoy your child. now. and be the best mama that your dd wants you to be.  


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#7 of 12 Old 09-26-2011, 12:57 PM
 
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When my eldest was a toddler, I don't know that I really considered how much input SHE would have in her educational options and how they could vary from what I had in mind. Even now with one in middle school and one in high school, we still take it a year at a time and it works.

 

 


This is so important. As they grew older, my dc haven't always made the choices that I would have made for their schooling. It was important that they be invested in their own education, though. In the collaboration between home and school, they are active participants in exploring opportunities and making decisions. 

 

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#8 of 12 Old 09-26-2011, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, they were ridding of the accelerated program when I was in high school back in the 90's, and I've searched around to find my options, which in short (private or montessori) are way out of my price range.  I think she will be ok in PK, since it's mostly social, but it's after that that I am worried about.  It may be a toleration thing.  When I was in Elementary, I tested out 3 grade levels above in the first grade, and my mother is saying she is well beyond where I was at that point (I was an early reader and early with math, as well..my uncle had built me a computer and sent it complete with the MSDos/BASIC manuals somewhere in between my 3rd and 4th birthday, at which point I was reading those as well as the old fashioned Tarzan and Heidi novels.  I remember taking them off my grandmother's marbletop and just sitting in the dining room reading for hours.)  The problem was that (same school district as my dd will be in) mom did not want me moved up to 4th grade, feeling I was not emotionally mature enough.  Dd, however, may be another story.  She is far from me in personality.  That year the only thing I did was take a picture book on pegasus and write a story for it, then read it to the Kindergarten classes.  Mind you, it was a creative idea, but felt like a year wasted.  I ended up being overly bored by 7th grade and checked out starting at that year, still graduating honors, but probably nowhere near my potential.  I just lost interest and work ethic and ended up falling slightly behind in math, which had been my best subject.  And, well, we all know we want better for our kids.  I know she would do really well in Montessori, but, I can't afford to pay half my yearly salary to send her there.

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#9 of 12 Old 09-26-2011, 04:23 PM
 
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GATE programs aren't everything. My DD did better without one in elementary because the school really focus on her individually. Schools with established gifted programs didn't feel the need to individualize. DS really loved the GATE program though it actually didn't have anything to do with the academic stuff. Academic acceleration was handled outside the gifted program. What you want is a flexible school willing to try different things. You might have that at your local public school. Plus, gifted programs go back and forth. They may have been phasing out when you were in school but that doesn't mean there won't be something when you daughter is of age.

It's also important to seperate your own experiences from your childs. I have my own issues with how my own giftedness was handled but honestly, my kids experiences have been so different. We share some traits but they are also different from me, from gifted DH, from eachother even.

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#10 of 12 Old 09-26-2011, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You are so right.  I'm trying to be positive, however, the district just laid off a net difference of 30-some employees, most of them teachers.  They are working toward combining the high schools and middle schools, both which average 25-30 kids per class, already, and laying off more.  I work outside of the district as a teacher, and I just got my second notice of possible layoff in two months.  My state is in serious trouble and the first place they look is education.  I would love to homeschool, but her father and I are separated and there is no possible way he would agree to it, which, honestly, even with the social activities in which we engage already, she's too social for me to keep home.  Boy it's difficult.  I hope the state turns around in the next couple of years, but it's not looking possible since we've already been in this situation for years.  I don't understand how a state can just kind of "misplace" billions of dollars.  The socioeconomics of this town, too, last time I looked, were 45% of residence below poverty and receiving assistance.  My neighborhood, at least, is a nice, quaint one, but most of the neighbors, here, are elderly/getting elderly, so that's even liable to change.  I am hoping that eventually we can afford to move to a better district within the county, provided I still have my job or a better job by the time she hits school age.

 

Oh and off topic...sort of... Dd informed me, tonight, that "morrow is Tuesday, Momma!"  I love her so much.  I've told her every night, since birth, "I love you, my amazing girl."  Children really are so amazing.

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#11 of 12 Old 09-26-2011, 06:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by breezyleigh View Post

You are so right.  I'm trying to be positive, however, the district just laid off a net difference of 30-some employees, most of them teachers.  They are working toward combining the high schools and middle schools, both which average 25-30 kids per class, already, and laying off more.  


The public school I wrote about above, which is serving my kids so well, is a combined K-12 with six full-time-equivalent teachers. No gifted program (obviously, LOL!). No tracking. No AP courses. Sciences can only be offered alternate years at the high school level. It has still worked well for my highly-to-profoundly gifted eldest who graduates in a few months.

 

Miranda


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#12 of 12 Old 09-26-2011, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's very interesting, Miranda!  It's actually kind of neat seeing and hearing about how different school districts work.  I suppose the positive is that I know many of the teachers in the district, so it will be easy communicating back and forth.  I suppose I will have to keep debating over the next couple of years and see how it ends up.  I am not sure how you all feel, but it's sometimes hard remembering my dd is 2 and not much older (of course the tantrums help LOL!).

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