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#1 of 8 Old 12-11-2013, 06:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I haven't been on mothering in ages but I am having some trouble with my gifted son. He is 7 and in third grade.
Until this year he was in private school where he was not especially challenged, but they did differentiate for him and the head of school was well informed about gifted issues. Anyway, this year we decided to try public school for financial and other reasons, and long story short, he hates it. We applied to transfer to Montessori and it was denied by the district. The work he is doing is easier than what he was doing in first grade at his old school. He talks about how mean his teacher is and how much he hates school all the time. They just got their cogat scores back and he got a 26, so hopefully they will have to do something now even though the advanced program doesn't officially start until fourth grade.
He has tested into the John Hopkins gifted program so one option we are considering is homeschooling and using that for some of our curriculum and maybe paying for science at a local private school that accommodates homeschoolers. Another option is trying to transfer somewhere else but honestly other than Montessori I'm not sure public school is set up for kids like him. I would be in favor of another grade skip but my husband is not. If we do homeschool the burden would be mostly on my husband, because I work out of the home gym time and he can work from home most of the time.
Private school is not really an option right now. Any advice from btdt parents?
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#2 of 8 Old 12-13-2013, 05:57 AM
 
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Have you spoken to the teacher?

That's always the first step.

IIRC, you did early start K. A grade skip is very different and requires support from the school. The IAS is a good, evidence-based tool for guiding discussion both between you and your spouse and between your family and school. Another option is single subject acceleration.
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#3 of 8 Old 12-13-2013, 10:00 AM
 
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I haven't been on mothering in ages but I am having some trouble with my gifted son. He is 7 and in third grade.
Until this year he was in private school where he was not especially challenged, but they did differentiate for him and the head of school was well informed about gifted issues. Anyway, this year we decided to try public school for financial and other reasons, and long story short, he hates it. We applied to transfer to Montessori and it was denied by the district. The work he is doing is easier than what he was doing in first grade at his old school. He talks about how mean his teacher is and how much he hates school all the time. They just got their cogat scores back and he got a 26, so hopefully they will have to do something now even though the advanced program doesn't officially start until fourth grade.
He has tested into the John Hopkins gifted program so one option we are considering is homeschooling and using that for some of our curriculum and maybe paying for science at a local private school that accommodates homeschoolers. Another option is trying to transfer somewhere else but honestly other than Montessori I'm not sure public school is set up for kids like him. I would be in favor of another grade skip but my husband is not. If we do homeschool the burden would be mostly on my husband, because I work out of the home gym time and he can work from home most of the time.
Private school is not really an option right now. Any advice from btdt parents?

I would check a few things.

 

1. Is his teacher 'mean' or just not warm & fuzzy? We had to go over the differences with my DDs….they had adored a 'fun' & fantastic 2nd grade teacher (reminded me of Mrs.Frizzle from Magic School bus) and now have a firmer, but still great teacher. She is sterner- but not mean.

 

2. Have you touched base with any other school support? I know our school has a great school social worker that works with kid and school- helps them w/ perception and does some light CBT. He works with any child that is feeling negative toward school to help try to solve/brainstorm ideas and/or or works with the classroom teachers to help any situation that may affect a students ability to learn.

 

3. Have you contacted a GT coordinator? Currently, we are in an area that does NOT have programming. But previously, we were in an area that 'identified' kids in late 1st but as PreK kiddos-- we were contacted and talked with the GT coordinator to help with differentiation for K. (we ended up moving and not attending that school-- but that is a whole different story!)

 

4. Have you talked to the teacher? I know at conferences, I spoke with my DDs teachers and the next week they had differentiated spelling and math enrichment. (Reading/ Writing is automatically differentiated for ALL students). Maybe subject acceleration or independent supported work. I LOVE that our reading is individualized books with everyone working on similar 'goals' with their own novels ( characterization, plot, imagery, symbolism, etc). It is fantastic and the kids in similar reading levels work in small groups to share ideas. They use math exemplars http://www.exemplars.com/education-materials/math-k-12 for math activities for a small group of kids instead of traditional 'review' that grade level work is doing. Same with spelling: standard 3rd grade words were corn, begin, enjoy, etc. Now a small group of kids have had words like : circumnavigate, ornament, originate, seriously, royalty, etc. All I had to do was discuss it with the teacher-- not only do my DDs benefit, but both spelling & math also have 2-3 other kids in their group.

 

5. Ask to do the IAS. It is a great tool for skipping. My DDs are only a few months older than your DS (they just turned 8 and are in 3rd)- they went from PreK to 1st successfully- but I would not skip them. We already have some social issues because of it at times. Their school has 3rd graders has 7.75 to 9 year olds when the year started. 

 

6. I am not sure what a 26 on COGAT is. Most scores I have seen are presented  in paper work similar to http://www2.rps205.com/Parents/Academics/Learning/Gifted/Documents/CogAT%20Information.pdf   But I would use it to advocate for your DS.

 

7. Do you have a strong Homeschool program? If you do, that may be a good option. Our area has strong support and parents rotate  monitoring kids during school time once a week for large multi-age group projects and they meet at a central location 2x a week for 'science' or math instruction from local teachers. It is a great group from what I have heard. Also our homeschool kids have a Lego Mindstorm group, a chess club, etc.

 

8. Would a transfer to another Elem. public school work? I know in our district, our school is known for being supportive to GT/advanced kids and many kids open choice there from other Elem schools. There is nothing formal, but the principal is supportive and encourages her teachers to differentiate and also they do a lot of work with other grades for multi-age programs. Lots of extra activities as well (Chess, Eco-Club, Lego, Yoga, etc).

 

Hope you can work out something for your DS!!

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#4 of 8 Old 12-13-2013, 10:50 AM
 
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Do you have a strong Homeschool program? If you do, that may be a good option. Our area has strong support and parents rotate  monitoring kids during school time once a week for large multi-age group projects and they meet at a central location 2x a week for 'science' or math instruction from local teachers. It is a great group from what I have heard. Also our homeschool kids have a Lego Mindstorm group, a chess club, etc.

 

As a long-time homeschooling mom of gifted kids I agree that homeschooling can be a really awesome option. However (and I readily admit that our experience is just that: our experience) we have only rarely found that group / co-op homeschool experiences provide appropriate interest and challenge for our kids in areas that they're really interested in. The vast majority of homeschool group experiences are about exposure rather than excellence, IME. This past fall, for example, there was a class being offered to 10 to 14-year-olds through our regional group that sounded fabulous, about exploring the magic and excitement of math in interesting ways, pushing boundaries, making connections, working with topics not normally offered in K-8 math. My dd10 was very excited to try it out. The instructor was great, but the class was full of kids who were there because their parents thought their lack of passion for math would be remedied by such a class, kids who didn't understand how multiplication and division were related, and didn't care to know. Similarly homeschool choir and homeschool gymnastics and homeschool history ... these were full of kids who were in the classes because it was a good way to "cover" subjects and provide exposure to areas that otherwise were not getting a lot of focus. Also, while I love that homeschool activities tend to have fairly flexible age-guidelines, that's a double-edged sword: a book club for "kids 12 to 14" may easily welcome my 10-year-old, but it will just as easily include younger siblings and other younger kids who really aren't ready for proper novels and the kind of more abstract discussions that would serve the older kids. The next thing you know they're choosing "Captain Underpants" rather than "The Hobbit" for a group read.

 

Instead we've found that regular extra-curriculars have provided more challenge and interest for our kids, meaning activities that happen in the after-school hours and pull the kids who are most passionate about a particular subject or skill from both schooling and homeschooling streams because they want to devote extra energy to their interest. 

 

Occasionally homeschool classes and groups have been good for my kids, particularly when they've been at the young end of a wide-age-range activity that they're just approaching for the first time. Last year my dd did a series of civics workshops led by a lawyer/homeschooling dad where she was one of the younger kids, and it was excellent. She has also loved some of the field trips she's done with the group which we couldn't have done otherwise. But for academic type challenge, the advantage in homeschooling for us was in our ability to individualize, not join a group.

 

YMMV of course.

 

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#5 of 8 Old 12-13-2013, 08:01 PM
 
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As a long-time homeschooling mom of gifted kids I agree that homeschooling can be a really awesome option. However (and I readily admit that our experience is just that: our experience) we have only rarely found that group / co-op homeschool experiences provide appropriate interest and challenge for our kids in areas that they're really interested in. 

Yeah--I think this differs by where you are because there's a coop or two here that hit a level of rigor that we serious cannot touch.  It's barely even homeschooling to be honest.  It's more like participating in an unlicensed school where you attend a day or two and do a lot at home if that makes sense.  But yeah... wow... holy moly.

 

I also wanted to note that time of day is irrelevant for teaching your children; and I suspect you imagine it will take 5-6 hours/day--which it won't.  When I taught high school, I also did home instruction for kids too sick to come to school.  They would send me ONE hour/week and the kids had already been out somewhere between 30-90 days.  I was stunned.  The coordinator told me that when teaching 1-on-1, you could cover the entire week's high school core curricula in FOUR. HOURS.  Long story short, I went back and found confirmation after confirmation of how this could be (happy to expand, just not assuming everyone is interested).  So really, it's possible to leave him some assignments that he doesn't need assistance on (or whatever assistance your dh is okay with) and then deal with the rest when you're home.  And weekends count.  Mine is about to turn 10 (so he would translate to 4th grade if not skipped in regular pub school) and does roughly 1-1/2 hours worth of work each day and that's math, science (without labs), foreign language, language arts (research skills, various other LA activities, and prescribed reading).  Most of it doesn't involve me.  He attends a coop for fine arts and is usually taking swim lessons with pub schooled kids.  We don't really do social studies because he hates it and really, I'm not a huge fan either (we focus on citizenship and government, though).  He is in Cub Scouts and we do a lot of things through them, too (not sure if you're pro or anti here, but it's what we do... lots of other organizations you can join, though, with educational benefits)

 

Then there are the social gatherings and he does a Saturday program through Northwestern's CTD program (since we live right there and can do the in-person stuff) and that's usually something science or mathy although he's occasionally done a Lang Arts one.  He also has an online architecture class he's taking plus a Minecraft "class" he's taking online.

 

He definitely gets the majority of challenge at home, though.  We just find that although in our area, academic coops exist (not just the one I mentioned before), a lot of times, they are more classroomy than my kid can tolerate anyway.  He thinks outside of the box and needs the space to do it and chatter and break from it and come back.  So the fact that it exists doesn't mean you'd even use it.  In fact, we're running into that problem with CTD as of this fall.  :irked


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#6 of 8 Old 12-14-2013, 01:07 AM
 
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Yeah--I think this differs by where you are because there's a coop or two here that hit a level of rigor that we serious cannot touch.  It's barely even homeschooling to be honest.  It's more like participating in an unlicensed school where you attend a day or two and do a lot at home if that makes sense. 


Yeah, I readily admit my experience with homeschool classes and coop ventures may not be typical. On the other hand, there can be a big difference between rigor and challenge. Busy-work and reams of reading, writing and memorization don't optimize challenge for gifted kids if the depth isn't there. I've seen some examples of pretty rigorous homeschool history classes where the work and the learning are copious but superficial.

 

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#7 of 8 Old 12-23-2013, 12:21 PM
 
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Yeah, I readily admit my experience with homeschool classes and coop ventures may not be typical. On the other hand, there can be a big difference between rigor and challenge. Busy-work and reams of reading, writing and memorization don't optimize challenge for gifted kids if the depth isn't there. I've seen some examples of pretty rigorous homeschool history classes where the work and the learning are copious but superficial.

 

Miranda

 

Totally agree on the "rigor" vs. "challenge".  I guess what I meant (knowing the particular co-op I'm thinking of) is that I think that even a gifted kid might find at least some challenge in this particular one.  Of course, that assumes a gifted kid who is able to tolerate whatever this place's classroom environment is (I suspect it to be very conservative and potentially not open to one like mine--who needs to be up and around a lot).  Not sure.  But then, we have a lot to choose from here.


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#8 of 8 Old 12-29-2013, 08:49 AM
 
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With traditional homeschooling, you are free to custom select curricula to meet your child's needs.  It doesn't matter if he's in third grade, you could choose fifth grade math, sixth grade English, 7th grade-level science, and so forth.  You could still call it third grade if you'd like, because it's really just a superficial label, after all.  Maybe at the secondary level you'd find some advantage to bumping up that label for the purpose of graduating early, but maybe not.  You'll need to consider -  paying for / buying all your own materials, after researching different curricula and deciding what to use for each subject, and of course, your time, or that of your husband, child's grandparents, etc.  As children approach the secondary level (7th & over, sometimes sooner) they normally 'self-teach' with minimal guidance / oversight, if provided with the appropriate resources and materials.  I think co-ops, volunteer opportunities, and clubs, such as 4-H, music lessons, sports, drama, library programs, etc., could then provide a well-rounded social life and nice supplement.  Co-ops are wonderful support centers for homeschool families.  We look at them as a place to meet others, build friendships, learn a bit together, have fun, go on field trips together, and last but certainly not least, a place to volunteer to teach / serve others.  We steer clear of joining a co-op with a consumer mentality, as these are usually comprised of families who are in the same boat - sacrificing to homeschool their own children, looking for a social / supplemental opportunity, and are (usually) not being paid a dime to teach these classes - completely volunteers.   I realize not everyone has the time, money, etc., to consider homeschooling, but if you at all can, it's a wonderful option.

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