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#1 of 25 Old 11-17-2012, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So, dd5 has been in K for 2 months now. She has not been tested, but she seems to us to be very highly gifted, at the bare minimum. She is an avid reader (perhaps 5th grade level), enjoys math, logic, science.. is naturally inquisitive, intrinsically motivated, physically gifted, happy and loves life. The thing is her advanced mind seems to be making it impossible to connect with kids in the classroom. The games they play and have out for the kids would have interested her at 12-18 months. She has no interest in them. She likes games marked ages 10+ or 12+. She writes in cursive. They are learning letters. While they play Candyland and name colors, she sits in the corner reading novels. We were not pushing for grade- skipping because we were concerned with her being with older kids for the long haul and still not having her academic needs met. I wish I knew what we should do. It just seems like such a waste. We are now wishing there were a gifted school we could try, but there isn't. Is homeschooling our best option? Where do you find peers? She plays with other kids on the playground, but she just seems so much older in every situation. Any advice from you wise ladies is, as always, appreciated.
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#2 of 25 Old 11-17-2012, 09:25 AM
 
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Is this your younger DD?  If so, where's older DD attending school?  


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#3 of 25 Old 11-17-2012, 01:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by expecting-joy View Post

So, dd5 has been in K for 2 months now. She has not been tested, but she seems to us to be very highly gifted, at the bare minimum. She is an avid reader (perhaps 5th grade level), enjoys math, logic, science.. is naturally inquisitive, intrinsically motivation, physically gifted, happy and loves life. The thing is her advanced mind seems to be making it impossible to connect with kids in the classroom. The games they play and have out for the kids would have interested her at 12-18 months. She has no interest in them. She likes games marked ages 10+ or 12+. She writes in cursive. They are learning letters. While they play Candyland and name colors, she sits in the corner reading novels. We were not pushing for grade- skipping because we were concerned with her being with older kids for the long haul and still not having her academic needs met. I wish I knew what we should do. It just seems like such a waste. We are now wishing there were a gifted school we could try, but there isn't. Is homeschooling our best option? Where do you find peers? She plays with other kids on the playground, but she just seems so much older in every situation. Any advice from you wise ladies is, as always, appreciated.

 

 

Have you talked to the school? Her teacher? Had conferences?

 

If so- what did they say?

 

If not- I would do that first.

 

 

A few other ?s would be-- are you against grade skipping? What age is she for grade? (old or young) What option do you have in the area- do you have GT programming? Multi-age classes? Is she happy?

 

Have you been in the classroom? Volunteered? That, too, would give you a grasp on ways the teacher may be differentiating for kids that area above (or in your DD case way above K level), games/toys/books available for the kids, and it also may allow you to keep an eye out for potential playmates.

 

In many K classes, there are a handful of kids reading/writing above K level. Not likely at 5th grade level, but still readers and writers. It would be unusual for there not to be least one other K student to be past the K curriculum.

 

My DD did not do K-- but they also were 5-turning-6 in 1st grade (different cut off dates here). At least 4 other kids were reading around the same level- with varying interest levels. Some kids were not reading at all. So the books in the classroom were very easy reader, high reading level picture books, easy chapter books, up to 2/3rd grade level chapter books, and varied levels of non-fiction. Even though a few kids could read past 3rd grade level.

 

The same with games--- they had  Checkers, Uno, Mancala, Bananagrams, Zingo, Bingo, Twister, etc. In order to have something for all levels-- there was a wide variety, with a good selection of games that did not require reading for those kiddos that were still learning or ELL.

 

 

I would look in to how skip friendly the school is and/or if they have any split grades (a K/1 class or a 1/2 classroom) that would be an option.

 

Also subject acceleration for reading or writing only but stay in grade for other areas : especially if you dont want to skip and those are the areas you think she would benefit from compacting or accelerated instruction.

 

 

 

We found peers at school. It took a while though--- DDs both are completely not interested in pop culture (Taylor Swift, Boy Bands, Nickelodeon TV shows, popular Disney movies), which is a fairly common interest in 1st graders (and 2nd graders). They found a few little girls that they like to play with, they do crafts- talk about animals, play dolls, dress-up and act out things, etc. Academics really did not matter once they found kids that enjoyed the same 'type' of activities.

 

Both DD also found specific kids that shared interests. One DD found a boy that knew to play chess so they played during indoor recesses. My other DD found a group of kids that play soccer and she joins them at recess. A small group of neighborhood kids of varying ages formed an 'Earth Club'.

 

Our school also offered free or really inexpensive (less than 20 dollars for 8 weeks) classes like Yoga, chess, Math Pentathalon, Lego events, Art, soccer, etc.  This also helped them find friends they could connect with from K-5 th grade (the classes were open to K-5 or K-2).

 

You may have to look outside the school for specific groups.

 

Do you have access to science centers? Museums? Nature Centers? Library? You may have luck finding peers in those locations--- or looking where ever your DD has interests (art, games, acting, music, etc). There is just about a group for anything in our location!

 

A lot will depend on the dynamics of your DDs peer group at school as well.

 

In our area----color and letter review would have been done the first few weeks of school in K here. A sizable group of kids may still be reviewing letters- but by now most schools have broken into reading groups (if they teach using that model, which most schools are!) of some form. 

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#4 of 25 Old 11-18-2012, 05:17 AM
 
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How are her needs being met in the classroom?  Is she being taught at her instructional level? 

 

Is she on the old end or the young end of the class?

 

There is an in between solution between a whole grade skip and staying in the classroom.  A "subject acceleration" is when a child is skipped for one subject.  Your DD could be sent to a 2nd grade classroom for her reading instruction, for instance, and spend the rest of the day with the kindergarteners.  That would address the academic needs, and can also go a ways to address some of the social needs.  When my young-for-grade DD was subject accelerated in math, the kids in her math class suddenly became her peer group.  This served as a social bridge until she found a peer group in her grade.

 

You might want to look into the evidence for social and emotional adjustment after a grade skip.  That doesn't mean reading on line where people write about "I knew a kid...."  Read http://www.accelerationinstitute.org/nation_deceived/ for data, but also look around for yourself.  My personal experience was positive, as well as my DS who seems to be quite successful after a skip, particularly with regards to the social end.  He suddenly has friends.  He's still 6 and he's making friends with the oldest kids in the class, so his social group is now 8.  Some academic needs are being met, and others are only met at the moment because he has a fantastic teacher.  More subject accelerations are certainly in his future.

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#5 of 25 Old 11-18-2012, 08:24 AM
 
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Your DD could be sent to a 2nd grade classroom for her reading instruction, for instance, and spend the rest of the day with the kindergarteners.

 

One possible problem with this is that where I live at least, reading instruction in kindergarten is more about basic literacy activities and multi-level exploratory and self-paced projects, while in the 2nd grade classroom it is more serious and didactic. Here the KG experience (eg. paint and decorate a giant letter M, or chant a kooky rhyme that uses lots of long-A sounds) is likely to be far less tedious for a kid reading at a 5th grade level that the 2nd grade experience (write out all the words with consonant digraphs, take turns reading aloud from a levelled reader). Really, a child who is fluently reading Harry Potter doesn't need instruction at either of these levels, and the KG stuff is at least more playful and creative. Whether subject acceleration will actually better meet a child's needs when there's such a large discrepancy depends very much on the particular make-up and instructional approaches in the classroom. I would look carefully at those factors before deciding on subject acceleration. It may be the answer, but it may not.

 

On the issue of concern over having her with older kids over the long haul. I have a child who is 3+ grade levels ahead across the board, who has always seemed on a different plane of interests, abilities and maturity compared to her age-peers. She's unschooled, so has never been in an age-levelled classroom of older kids. In the homeschool classes she does she is normally the oldest or second-oldest. At age 9, guess how old her friends are? Most are at least 11. So keeping her away from immersion in a classroom of older kids has done nothing to change her social affinity for intellectual peers. She feels most at home with her 11 through 14-year-old friends, and I'm glad she has them: they are great friends to her, and her life is much richer for them.

 

There are no easy or clear-cut answers when you're dealing with an age-levelled educational environment.

 

Miranda

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#6 of 25 Old 11-18-2012, 09:07 AM
 
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She sounds a lot like my DD abilty-wise at that age but it's hard to say if what worked for her would work for your DD. In our case, we did allow the school to move her to 1st grade because DD was deteriorating in kindergarten (stomach aches, headaches, begging not to go to school, rejection of advanced work, withdrawal from peers despite her popularity, signs of depression at home.... put it this way, when your 5-year-old says "sometimes I close my eyes and scream in my head" it's time to take some changes. Grade acceleration is never a singular fix and it's taken lots of flexibility and additional accommodation over the years but DD's 1st-8th grade educational experiences were very positive. High school was rough academically the 1st two years but she's now 15 and thriving in an early college program. I can't say gifted programs did much for her, even the highly gifted one in high school. She actually preferred high-achiever classes where the kids were focused and better behaved... she could do her own thing without distraction and wasted time. Socially, the acceleration helped tremendously. I can't say she's ever really connected with classmates in a truly meaningful way but she's well-regarded, respected and routinely put in leadership roles by them. We made sure she was involved in interest-based, multi-age activities over the years and all her long-term, true friends come from there... some gifted, some not, some older, some not. I will also say that while DD is very mature in some ways, she's very average in maturity in other ways.... she's dating a boy almost a year younger because really, she's not ready for the sort of relationships her 16-year-old classmates are having.

 

It all really depends on the kid. My DD's emotional health disintegrates when she's not challenged and we learned in high school that a lovely social fit is simply not enough to make the lack of mental stimulation OK. My DS 12, on-the-other-hand, tests just as high but he does not share her drive or ambitions. He has done well in immersion schools with good academic reputations. He is  young for grade but still within the cut-off. He gets subject acceleration in math and science. He has loved every gifted program he's been in. He's also mildly dyslexic and dysgraphic which adds a little challenge to everything he does naturally. He's a lot more like his peers than DD ever was but he still doesn't really connect with kids at school. He just has lunch friends, people to sit next to in class. His real friends are through interest-based activities and range in age from a year younger to 2 years older.

 

I'm just sharing stories though. I don't know what would work for your DD but PP's have good advice on talking to the school and seeing what can be done for her. I'm a fan of baby steps and some trial and error. I absolutely recommend multi-age interest based activities for her... dance, theatre, art, music.... sports doesn't often work in this case due to physical differences but you get what I'm saying.

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#7 of 25 Old 11-18-2012, 02:41 PM
 
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I'd second the multi-age interest based activities.  DD is a grade or two accelerated in both reading and math, but doesn't really fit in, socially, with these kids.  Her real friends come from gymnastics and dance, and are generally a couple of years older. 



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#8 of 25 Old 11-18-2012, 05:44 PM
 
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One possible problem with this is that where I live at least, reading instruction in kindergarten is more about basic literacy activities and multi-level exploratory and self-paced projects, while in the 2nd grade classroom it is more serious and didactic. Here the KG experience (eg. paint and decorate a giant letter M, or chant a kooky rhyme that uses lots of long-A sounds) is likely to be far less tedious for a kid reading at a 5th grade level that the 2nd grade experience (write out all the words with consonant digraphs, take turns reading aloud from a levelled reader). Really, a child who is fluently reading Harry Potter doesn't need instruction at either of these levels, and the KG stuff is at least more playful and creative. Whether subject acceleration will actually better meet a child's needs when there's such a large discrepancy depends very much on the particular make-up and instructional approaches in the classroom. I would look carefully at those factors before deciding on subject acceleration. It may be the answer, but it may not.

It's all so variable, isn't it?   DS' kindergarten was geared almost entirely to taking the kids from knowing the letters to getting them to read.  There was nothing done on letter recognition.  I did watch an entire 20 minute lesson aimed at teaching the kids to recognize the word 'the.'  It was stultifying for the three kids in the room who'd figured that out on their own months to years previously.  DS could tell me how many holes were in each 2x3' ceiling panel in that classroom.

 

It depends on how the school teaches reading, but I know a lot of self-taught, fluent readers struggle to pass reading assessments to show their true levels.  A lot of that comes from the fact that they haven't been taught to discuss the books in a way that will less them pass the tests.  The tests aren't testing unnecessary skills, but they do tend to be somewhat rigid.  We're finding now that second grade is when the school decides the kids are sufficiently developed to teach how to talk about the details and the inferences in a book.  So often these talented readers are easily reading (and comprehending!) at a 5+ grade level, but they don't test above the 2nd grade.

 

Again, it's all individual -- DD took a subject acceleration into a gifted, compacted math class (giving her a 2 year acceleration).  That's where she found her friends.

 

OP, it seems like there are a lot of angles for you to think about here and to investigate.  I hope one of the ideas suggested in this thread will fit your DD and your family and bear fruit.

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#9 of 25 Old 11-19-2012, 09:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your thoughtful replies.

 

The multi-aged outside interest/sports are covered for now, I believe. She takes ice-skating lessons in a class of mostly 2nd-5th-graders and is on a gymnastics' team where she is the youngest in her level by about two years. She is physically very gifted and enjoys learning skills and routines. She was doing ballet (with kids two-years older) until her teacher left and none of the teachers remaining were respectful of her. She loved that, but she's happy with gymnastics and figure-skating for now. She is also learning to play the piano at school and has a private lesson there once a week. Activities with same-aged peers have only frustrated her because of the pace and the goofing around.

 

The reading program is phonics-based and she enjoys the lessons on the carpet about the sounds the different letters make. They tell stories using the British Letterland program. She just doesn't enjoy the printing letters over and over. There are activities she is given thinking of words that start with a given sound and a teacher or helper will write those words down. I've asked that they let her write them down herself. They have a journal where the children draw a picture and the teacher writes their descriptions below. I've asked them to let her write that herself and they have and that's been great. I've talked with the teacher about next steps on that and they are encouraging her to paint a picture full of emotion and feeling with these mini stories instead of just describing. That I think is a great accomodation and I've seen her writing really grow to include more adjectives and similies and even metaphors. She can read everything and I'm not seeing any work being done there, yet. There are no reading groups and I don't think anyone is challenging her as far as things like prediction or inference, but she's pretty good at that anyway.

 

She finds the math pretty boring, but it tends to be more experiential and hands-on, at least. I will need to dig more on that front.

 

The games are an interesting issue. I asked her this week if she could look around at all the games - even the ones on the shelves - and see if there are any that might interest her. I told her if she found one that looked interesting that I was sure her teacher would let her play it, if not immediately then within a day or two. She came back and reported that none of the games looked especially interesting, but that she had enjoyed reading all the directions on all the game inserts. Yes, I was thinking THAT was telling.) When pressed - I said there must be at least ONE game that you might like to play with someone somewhere if not there with her friends at school - she said SLAM looked like it might be interesting to play at home with me or her sister. (You build and change 4-letter words with a deck of cards.) BUT, that she'd rather just read at school.

 

I will call a meeting with the principal for December and see what we can do. From what I've heard from other parents and experienced myself with our older daughter, the school does not allow movement between classes or get awards for accelerated accomodations. It helps me VERY much to read your thoughts, though, so thank you again and keep them coming.

 

As far as her spirits go, she is a VERY happy child, in general, and tends to just deflect that which doesn't meet her needs. She's not a complainer or a wallower. I think, though, that she choses to lose herself in her novels during free time, BECAUSE the other options are not stimulating enough for her.

 

Oh, the cut-off is September 1st and her birthday is in January, so she's on the older side, I guess.

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#10 of 25 Old 11-20-2012, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have an appointment next week with the principal. I will keep you posted.
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#11 of 25 Old 11-28-2012, 08:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I had the meeting and the principal is going to pull a team together (teachers, specials teachers, math specialist, reading specialist, and school counselor) and see what they can come up with. Her hope is that project differentiation within core unit themes will help. There will also be the goal there of finding ways for her to interact more with other children. Then they will look at single subject differentiation and finally whole grade acceleration.

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#12 of 25 Old 11-28-2012, 09:02 AM
 
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That sounds very productive.  Did you get a timeline from them for how this will all be implemented?  If not, go home, write out a quick email to all involved in the meeting, outlining your understanding of the meeting ("just to get it all down ... I wanted to make sure I got the details right. ....") and thank them profusely for their time.  Then if they didn't give you a timeline -- when will the differentiation begin?  When will they evaluate?  etc, just ask them as passing questions, a detail you forgot to bring up.  Then thank them again for going beyond what is necessary to ensure your daughter receives an excellent education at their school.

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#13 of 25 Old 11-28-2012, 11:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you! I will do that. I did not get a timeline.
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#14 of 25 Old 12-01-2012, 12:07 PM
 
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Your daughter is further ahead than mine (my DD is a kindergartner who tested in at the 2nd-3rd grade material) but what has worked for us is for her to "float up" a couple days a week for math and reading (with other Kindergarteners from other classes within the school) and then her classroom teacher differentiates for the literacy and math centers the rest of the time. She pretty much doesn't participate in the large group instruction for those subjects at all, which makes me sad...but this school doesn't typically skip grades so I'm just taking it day by day. My DD loves the civiCs / history lessons and for that reason I'm really glad she's in K. That's what is motivating her to go to school every day.
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#15 of 25 Old 12-02-2012, 06:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for sharing. I have a feeling we won't get to that being offered and that moderate differentiation is as far as they will go, but we'll see. What kind of civics and history are they covering? It seems in my dd's K class they're only talking about different types of families and how we get our food. Nothing particularly new or stimulating for her. Occassionally they bake or work in the garden, but she'd get that in first or second, as well.
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#16 of 25 Old 12-09-2012, 05:56 PM
 
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I don't have any solutions as of yet, but wanted you to know you are not alone! I am going through this exact same thing. My son has been referred to test for the Highly Capable program, which they offer starting in 1st grade. 

 

I just feel like he needs more *now* and feel guilty about pushing additional learning at home when he should be able to relax at home without the need for actual challenges. Even the stuff I've been doing is too easy now. It's geared two grade levels above. He is in his own work groups at school because no one can read any where near his level. He is asking for math but of course they are learning how to count to 20 right now and learning sight words/alphabet -things he's known since he was around 18 months. 

 

I might add, my son is VERY VERY social and every day that I help out he asks if he can be with other people during work stations (they break up into groups to do reading, or other activities such as playing with blocks, coloring, writing, computers.) I feel badly for him because I know his motivation for school is to be around other kids. He's an only and, again, is very social. 

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#17 of 25 Old 12-09-2012, 05:59 PM
 
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Sorry. I realize that does not help you at all. I intended to write my own post but then saw this one and needed to read it. It's nice that I'm not alone.

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#18 of 25 Old 12-10-2012, 02:01 AM
 
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Re the grade skip - I have been surprised how well acceleration is working for DS1 so far, even though he could still do with much more differentiation that he is getting, and even though he is not mature socio-emotionally the way your DD is (also, a boy, and not a younger sibling). As a kindergartner by cut-off entered early into first grade, he isn't challenged cognitively, but so far he is learning, and the still playful approach that they start out first grade with, as the first year of formal schooling where we live (an animal for each letter etc.) is still right up his street. Not unlike your DD, he can show what he can do really only in open-ended assignments - I can tell he is getting restless with letter formation practice (which he needs!) and have a hard time sometimes getting him to take his worksheets seriously, but when the assignment was "draw or write about the things you can do during Advent" he wrote 5 or 6 perfect sentences (at one hour past his bedtime because we had forgotten to have him finish his homework before seeing the grandparents for Advent activities. lol!). I was so impressed by his perseverance and diligence despite being dog tired.

 

I do think your daughter is in a completely different league. All the more important the grade skip I'd assume - just using any and every way to inch closer to an appropriate academic and social fit, which in formal schooling I do not think you will be able to attain anyway, as both you and Miranda have observed. Sort of like the least worst option that Ruf I think suggests striving for.


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#19 of 25 Old 12-10-2012, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Momyarb, don't apologize at all for hijacking. The more input the better!

Tigerle, thank you. We have our meeting tomorrow and I'm so nervous about it because I don't even know what to ask for or what would be best. I've heard so many positive outcomes from grade-skipping families, so why does it make me so, so anxious? I guess I will go in with an open-mind and listen.
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#20 of 25 Old 12-16-2012, 01:41 PM
 
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I do understand that a grade skip might make you anxious. I am a survivor of a very badly handled grade skip myself! Socially, it was a disaster, academically, it was exactly what I needed. So I know what can go wrong and also, why it is sometimes the best answer anyway. That is why I am so glad that we had the "inobtrusive" option of early entrance, with DS1 easing into the classroom situation, finding friends, learning the routines, getting his fin motor practice in like everyone else. A second acceleration would make me VERY anxious now.

It just sounds like the least worst option in your case.


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#21 of 25 Old 12-29-2012, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Update:

Sorry it has been so long, but crazy things happened around here. Anyway...

They are going to start reading groups in January, placing dd with one other "student." Dd and I know who this student is and she is nowhere near dd's reading level. She is just making her way through The Magic Treehouse series. I am concerned about that.

The assistant teacher brought out finger knitting to teach dd and anyone else who was interested. Dd loved that. It also seems to have helped dd start interacting with other children in the class. They also put out more challenging morning games like Monopoly, and dd enjoyed playing that with a couple other children.

I did not get much of an answer on math. Their math is mostly group work/calendar work and things like that.

I fear things may get lost in committee, so I'm planning to get an e-mail back to the principal before school starts.

Since so much happened right after the meting I didn't get a chance to write up a summary. Posting here shows me I really need to sit down and go back through my notes and memory and write it out.
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#22 of 25 Old 01-31-2013, 03:21 PM
 
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Wow. That was my situation a year ago. DS was in kindergarten and from the get go, his kindergarten teacher knew what he was capable of. At that point I didn't push for grade acceleration or gifted testing because I knew that while DS was reading at a very high level (at least 6th grade at that time) and was a few yrs above kindergarten math, he had a lot of learning to do socially. It was verrrrry hard to sit on my hands and watch that all unfold. The approach his teacher took was to give him more open ended projects. Still within the realm of what the class was doing but he had more freedom to take the project and run with it, so to speak. I'm really glad I allowed that social growth for DS instead of focusing on the fact that academically he will learn nothing new in kindergarten (but he did anyway because of science). Of course it's easy to say that now. But anyhow DS was very intolerant of people being wrong. And when you're a gifted child in kindergarten, chances are, your classmates will be wrong a lot and being that they're 5, they will be stubborn about it. That used to drive DS bonkers! But it was all during kindergarten that he learned to appropriately manage that. I suppose what I'm saying is, don't panic just yet. Even if your DD isn't learning anything new academically, she is learning a lot about the culture of learning within a group and dealing with different people. Now that my DS is in 1st grade, I'm a bit more aggressive in pursuing his academic potential.
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#23 of 25 Old 01-31-2013, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That is very true. She is learning a lot of new things socially - some of it very frustrating to her, but she feels very stunted intellectually. When they talk about the weather every day, they can only use the words sunny, snowy or rainy, for example. She still spends a good chunk of the day reading on her own. Socially, she has learned to be more patient with her classmates, and not show her initial feelings when her classmates don't know what she does. I don't want her to be in a super-rigid, desks-in-a-row-environment, but it's hard not to wish others in her classroom were where she is.
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#24 of 25 Old 01-31-2013, 09:53 PM
 
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Yup. That is indeed hard if teaching is done within the certain parameters of kindergarten curriculum. Any chance you can talk to teacher and ask for more open ended work?
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#25 of 25 Old 11-11-2013, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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UPDATE: I'm sorry I somehow lost track of updating here. Kindergarten never did really work out, unfortunately, but we've got her in a 1st/2nd combination class this year and have asked the teacher from the beginning to keep an eye on her for a grade-skip next year to third. The teacher has her in the highest second-grade reading and math groups - so that is something, AND the best news of all - she is playing with other kids - all second-graders. :-)  I don't really see how any particular grade would be a perfect fit, but we're so happy that she is happier and though she is technically in first-grade, she is doing well in second-grade, so to speak.

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