Hi all. I'm new here and have been enjoying reading through all of your posts. I have three kiddos (DS6, DD4, DS2). We are embarking on the gifted journey with my eldest. We've known in our gut that he is gifted for a while but only recently decided to test. We are testing to figure out if he's 2e (questions of ADHD, SPD, anxiety). He's currently in a half day public K program. He taught himself to read almost (maybe?) overnight when he was 4.5 and within a month was reading fluently, within two months was reading chapter books silently. His reading is voracious. The school assessed him with the DRA in Sept and he was noted to be at the beginning or mid 2nd grade level and was placed in an advanced reading group with a specialist (2x/week for 40 minutes). Now, it's almost May and he's still being given 2nd grade reading material (which he loathes) through school but is reading 4th grade-ish books (from what I can gauge via Scholastic). He's suddenly interested in math and so I started him on ixl after a friend's suggestion and after three weeks he's almost half way through 1st grade math (and he doesn't use the computer very often). His teacher doesn't love him-- I think he drives her crazy in class with various questions and silly behavior. He's often in other peoples' space, acting goofy, fideting with found items (he has recently started a paperclip collection and he will distract others with it), etc. He's also an amazing artist and will get in trouble for drawing in class. I see him as an amazingly passionate learner at home, but there is a disconnect with school. He doesn't want to go, ever. He doesn't love his teacher. The only part of school he likes is spanish, art, music, library, and gym.
So, we're having him tested by someone rec'd on the Hoagies site who is familiar with gifted learners. We've competed the initial interviews, rating scales, devel. hx, etc. The examiner noted that he scored very high on three OEs (psychomotor, sensual, intellectual). He'll have the rest of the testing on the 9th.
Now that testing is on the horizon... I'm worried! I don't really know why. Maybe it's the reality of it all... having the data to support my gut feelings, starting the long road of advocating for this kid, etc. I've read everything I can get my hands on this school year about gifted education. We aren't in a state with mandated gifted ed. There are no programs in our public school. We moved here for the school system, which is top in the state, so private school is not really an option. The psych rec'd that I think about the possibility of homeschooling him either next year or in the near future, and that overwhelms me (in part because he's so intense and active that I feel he will wear me out). I'm rambling but here I am!
You may consider homeschooling if it's right for your family. We decided not to homeschool our gifted first grader because it's a poor personality fit for both of us.
Some parents "after school." I do this to some degree. There are forums on a "Well Trained Mind" community about after schooling. The issue of course is the time. I can't overwhelm my kiddo with extra academics once he starts receiving homework from school.
We have found that being ahead in reading (at least right now) is less of a problem than being ahead in math. DS7 can read for pleasure at home, and we're open (within reason) to his choices. Math on the other hand was something he suffered through at school, and eventually, we did move schools.
I still have DS7 complete about 10 minutes per day of advanced math. Any more than that, it turns into a struggle. This summer we're going to try about 30 minutes a day (broken into parts) of Beast Academy for math enrichment. My son has a low tolerance for extra homework, so we really cannot push too hard. To be honest, once we get to 2nd grade math, I don't know how it's going to go.
I think with gifted kids, it can be a challenge from year to year-- it often depends upon the teachers and rate of acceleration. HG kids learn "fast." Your son could be at a 3rd grade level in reading now, and a 5th grade level six months from now.
Other enrichment ideas are chess, music, and a sport (DS swims in the summer and takes taekwondo year round). Chess is a wonderful activity because it tends to attract other very intelligent children, and can be quite mentally challenging even for HG kids.
I have an 11-year-old who has been homeschooled all along and who does an average of less than 30 minutes of math a day. She's more than four years ahead of her age-grade on a pre-calculus track. You too may find that a willing and enthusiastic math-gifted kid will progress extremely quickly with very little time spent. In a one-on-one situation where the approach and curriculum match the child, the learning is exceptionally efficient and no pushing is required. I don't go by time: I encourage my kids to work while they're enthusiastic, and we stop at "the first sigh."
Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grown-ups
Thank you both for your thoughtful responses.
I've not ruled out homeschooling but I am overwhelmed by the thought of it. He's intense and high energy. He's tough to keep up with, basically. I don't know how to structure the day if we were to homeschool.
Afterschooling would be tough for us, as with bus ride he will be gone 8-4 next year. That's a long day for a 6 year old and I really want him outdoors too.
I'm interested to see the results of testing after next week. They haven't covered much, if any, math in his 1/2 day K program. I'm not teaching math at home but he's certainly getting it somehow, as he's whipping through ixl.
I will look into Beast Academy as you are the third person to mention it to me this week. Must be a sign. :)
I'll also look into chess. He is involved in soccer, gymnastics, and art depending on time of year but I am pretty sure he'd take to chess. That's a great way to meet intellectual peers (something we've really struggled with).
Afterschooling is difficult- as said, with my seven year old we can only do about ten minutes of math per day, and some days we don't get to it. Summer is easier, if I can get DS to actually sit down and do the work. iPad apps can sneak some rote math in (multiplication tables, math facts, etc.). DS reads a lot for enjoyment- so I've got bookshelves full of interesting fiction and non fiction.
If you are considering homeschooling, or some afterschooling, check out the Well Trained Mind community. They have a lot of information on curriculum, schedules, etc. We are on the Davidson Gifted forum- it's a helpful forum with parents who can provide more insight on testing results, acceleration, school experiences and so forth. The parents have children ranging from the moderately gifted to the profoundly gifted.
Fair warning, if it turns out that your child is highly gifted or more, a regular public school class room without significant, meaningful differentiation may cause him some unhappiness.
Hi! I am new here as well, which is what made me look at your post. I am also intimidated by the prospect of home schooling but I like seeing all these resources and other parents here with ideas and appreciated reading all the comments!
My son is 2E and was a total handful in the early years, what you describe is very familiar. We homeschooled grade 1 to give him a year without being told he was wrong/bad in a million spoken and unspoken ways. Kids like this are hard in a group environment. It was delightful homeschooling him, though certainly hard in parts. Down time is the time when creativity flourishes, you don't have to do 9-3 schooling.
He's back in school and it's been HARD. I figured out early on that any choice was going to be hard with DS because he's just...so much. So we take it year by year, matching environment to kid the best we can. He's been in four different schools, and the principal makes a huge difference. You need someone who is strong and a good leader, who will be on your kid's side and will require it from staff. I would recommend that you be very clear with the school or district what your son requires, and that they need to match the teacher to your child. The key is to find the teacher that can handle him and will LIKE him.
My son's 11 and very settled now, an absolute delight. Still intense and sensitive and creative and out of the box, but has better self-regulation. He's operating now with no accommodations very successfully.
We do music lessons and swimming after school, and leave anything that's not kid-lead to the weekend as he needs time to regroup every night and just let his brain roam.
My 2E mom to mom advice is to listen to the assessors, read the reports, really watch your kid and then be confident that you really are the best expert on your child. Start a binder that holds all reports. Be prepared to translate those reports into plain language, one page documents as school staff may not have time to read them or understand them fully. Figure out what smoothes your son and what sets him off, and share that with adults who work with him. Know what works for him, share that, and expect them to figure out how to make it work for him. Some things are hard to change - if he's sensory hypersensitive, classrooms are brutal, and that's hard for them to control. You are his best advocate, you know him best, and he needs to know you've got his back. And the school needs to know that too. I was initially too polite and deferential. I've learned to be clear and direct, while still polite and collaborative. Also, be prepared that you may have to fight. I hope not, but if you do have to fight, know you're not alone and it's a system failure and not personal.
I believe I'm a very lucky mom that I got the gift of this child, and going along on the ride with him has been wonderful. Hard, and wonderful.
Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.
Oh my goodness Flapmonkey! I feel like I was just reading a post about my own son!! The similarities are uncanny - apart from the fact that he is also just about to turn 6, eldest of 3 children....he sounds exactly like your son. We also question 2E - particularly ADHD, SPD and/or anxiety. My son also is an amazing reader and is very bright but does drive his teacher a bit crazy at school with his constant movement, silly behaviour and constant questions! We are just about the start the testing process - as a matter of fact I am calling the Psychologist back today to confirm our appointment. It is all such an emotional time and although I know that testing is the only way for us to have him get the right supports at school (and from us as his parents)....somehow having a firm "diagnosis" is a bit of a scary prospect. Hopefully we can be a good support for each other as we navigate this new road!
Thank you all so much for your thoughtful responses and welcomes!! It's so nice to be able to talk about this with people who have been there done that!
Nice to meet you Jl379--- they DO sound similar!!
I thought I would update everyone. We had him tested on Friday. The psych was rec'd on the Hoagie's gifted page and she's been working with gifted learners for 27 years. Anyway... I was floored. I knew he was gifted in my gut, but not to this level. He's profoundly gifted. She gave him the WISC-IV and he hit ceilings on almost all of the VCI and PRI subtests (WMI and PSI were in the upper 120s/low 130s). Because of all the ceilings, she used extended norming and he still didn't meet discontinue criteria on some of them so the WISC underestimate his ability. She could have given him another test to pin down the # but she said after the 99.9th percentile, does it really matter? Because it took so long she did the KTEA instead of the WJ-III for achievement (to save time and money). I don't have those results yet because she didn't score before we left. My husband and I are still processing. Homeschooling is looking like more of a reality for us but I'm feeling overwhelmed by it, as he's likely to surpass me before I know it. But one day at a time. She's going to write the report with public school recs too just in case we decide to go that route. I'll definitely meet with the school to see what they can do, but he's in a K-3 building and I'm not confident they can really meet his needs at this point.
Do people ever homeschool until middle or high school? Our HS is wonderful here-- tons of AP options.