I am looking for an active parent forum to talk about gifted children in the area. Do you know of any such parent groups, meet-ups or workshops? I've searched online, and have found only limited resources.
I am particularly interested in learning about the schooling options in the Bellevue, Redmond and Issaquah areas for gifted kids.
A few places you might try is plugging in "gifted" and your state to find Yahoo groups, Facebook groups, or Meetup.com groups in your area.
In addition to the Parenting the Gifted Child forum here at MDC, here's a list of online communities that might get you pointed to more local communities: http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/on-line_support.htm
Hope this helps!
Have you checked Meetup?
We homeschooled when we lived in Kirkland a few years back, until 2008. LWSD (Lake Washington School District) has a homeschooling program where families who home educate can get access to resources such as art, drama, hands on science etc. Within that community were some amazingly gifted local children including Caitlin Snaring who won the National Geography Bee with a perfect score in 2007. I often met kids who were years past their grade level in ability as well as plenty of families homeschooling for many other reasons. The center for the programs offered by LWSD is the Family Learning Center (now based at Emerson K-12, down near the lake in Kirkland). I would visit and network with the families down there to find out about local resources. Many of my friends kids who home-educated were not what I would consider gifted - just great, intelligent kids and they went straight into Running Start http://www.k12.wa.us/SecondaryEducation/CareerCollegeReadiness/RunningStart.aspx from the Family Learning Center and then transferred to a four year school as Juniors and so graduated 2 years early.
The Open Door private school in Bellevue is supposedly for gifted children but I know parents who went there after their kids did not qualify for Quest (the gifted program at LWSD) http://www.lwsd.org/Parents/Accelerated-Programs/Quest/Pages/default.aspx so I do question this whole label of "gifted". I would only call a child "gifted" if there were really extraordinary. There are plenty of very intelligent and well educated parents on the Eastside so there are going to be many very, very smart kids. That doesn't qualify as gifted in my book. In England we start school at 4 and children are often reading and writing at that age (library books not just school readers) and so when they moved to the USA they automatically get labeled "gifted" when what they are doing is not extraordinary in their home country. Same with children whose parents are from India as they begin formal education at 3 and 4. There's tough competition on the Eastside for a spot in the gifted programs and I still don't think it's a helpful way of labeling a child. Many of the most amazing teenagers I know are not called "gifted" but are very mature and real leaders - and can handle their future much, much better than some of the so-called gifted children.
My kids also attended Sacred Heart Catholic school in Bellevue. Noone has a label there of "gifted" just working to your ability. Many kids were reading years and years above grade level. In First Grade my daughter was in an advanced reading group and they read Treasure Island, Black Beauty and other children's classics in the original versions and were not considered gifted just good readers.
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I have checked those websites meetup & hoagies. They have good reference materials & articles. But there are no meetups. I'd love to meet with other parents who have gifted children and hear their experiences.
If you know of any, pls do pass it on.
I found a workshop in Seattle, WA - it is on a weeknight and it may not be possible for me to attend. But I am hoping I'll come across more such options and/or parent groups.
You can try this: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Nwaccel/ I'm on it, it's fairly quiet, but it's growing and people usually have some good info.
We toured the Open Windows School a couple years ago and I really liked what I saw, but because my daughter has special needs and they don't really have any services for special needs kids, we did not apply.
As far as I know Lake Washington (Redmond) and Bellevue school district gifted programs are only an option if you live in those school districts or (possibly for Bellevue, not sure about LWSD) if you work for the school district. The Bellevue program restructured a bit this year so information from parents who attended it in previous years may not apply now. LWSD seems to have different entrance testing procedures this year (such as they're now testing ALL 1st graders, not just those who apply). If you're in either district PM me and we can chat. :)
Thanks for that link. I've joined the group. My DS will be in elementary next school year. And we most likely will be in Issaquah by that time.
But one of the top questions I have right now is - will private school be a better option? I prefer to public school him for various reasons (financial & others..). But since most school districts here dont start gifted programs until 2nd grade, I wonder if he'll struggle until then? His teachers suggest he may - bcos he is advanced he may get bored.
Did you ever face/ know about other kids that went through that?
Yes, I'm pretty sure all the gifted kids I've known have struggle with kindergarten and 1st grade! My daughter is in 1st right now and is getting little to no academic accommodation, even though she reads above a 7th grade level and can conceptualize and complete math at least a couple grades ahead of her class. But because DD also has an IEP all we get is, "Well, but her special needs are SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT" blah blah blah, so she gets OT and social skills group and adaptive PE and spends all day learning to add 6+1=7 and other stuff she could do when she was 3. Her kindergarten teacher last year was at least sending home higher-level reading comprehension work for her.
A number of other families we've known have homeschooled or done private school until their kids were old enough to test for the public program. There's a little preschool/early elementary school in Factoria for gifted kids that we also looked at that I believe caters to this crowd (BKPlay). There was another little co-op homeschool near us a couple years ago but I'm not sure if that's still running.
Is this the same Mary that started the NWAccell group in Yahoo Groups?
Could be. She used to be in several meetups too.
I'm just throwing this out there in case this thread catches the attention of more locals, but I'm co-organizing a 4-H club starting this month and if any gifted kids locally are interested in socializing with us, well, here we are! Right now we are looking at a general 4-H club and kids can do any project independently, but we'll also have leader-led groups for cat 4-H (part of the animal sciences) and something related to electronics/robotics/computers. 4-H is all about learning your project in-depth and at your own page--excellent for gifted kids. PM me if you're interested--we'll be meeting in Bellevue.
Hi, I, too, am looking for parents/groups of gifted children. My husband and I are struggling with finding and getting into a preschool that can accommodate my son's advanced skills and are tired of being told to wait a couple of years before worrying about it. He needs to be challenged now and we don't want him to lose his love of learning and get bored with the typical programs. I'm tired of being treated like I'm bragging when I talk about the challenges I face with my son and need to find others in the same situation who truly understand what I'm dealing with. I've tried Yahoo Groups and Meetup. Any other suggestions or anyone on the Eastside what to start a group?