Are most teachers offended when you say you are going to homeschool/unschool - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 49 Old 08-21-2007, 02:33 AM
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I do get offended, sometimes, by the way people explain WHY they homeschool. For example, I've heard people say they homeschool because there's NO WAY their gifted 5 year old would be challenged in Kindergarten -- and yet I look at the gifted kindergarteners at my school reading all sorts of things, writing all sorts of things, delving into science topics like photosynthesis, and feel hurt that noone recognizes the good work those teachers are doing.
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Hi, I'm one of those people you mentioned. Pleased to meet you.
That precise reason is one very big reason we're HSing. In our district, and particularly in the school for which we're zoned (multiple years on the AYP black list of death, low SES, LEP, and so on), there is very little support for gifted education at all -- nothing before third grade, and then it's a crummy pullout program.

There tends to be hostility toward the pullout program, and the degree of hostility naturally varies from teacher to teacher, but there's no guarantee that one's own child can get "the nice teacher" who doesn't regard the pullout as some kind of reward for good behavior to be granted or rescinded at a whim, or as an irritating "interruption" which will have to be dealt with by compulsory make-up work.

Moreover, I spent a while talking to the SPED coordinator at the elementary school for which we are zoned about this issue only to be told, "We've never had" a gifted child. Statistically, I find this unlikely, given that lower-SES and LEP students can be gifted also, the last I looked. With that sort of institutionalized attitude (Dare I say prejudice?), the likelihood of finding someone who really could provide not only a free education but an appropriate one seemed unlikely.

The ultimate reason, though, is that I think most teachers -- most of whom have had little to no training in gifted education -- are most comfortable dealing with what a friend of mine calls "plain vanilla gifted," by which she means kids who are comfortably bright but not extremely or profoundly gifted. Those are the kids who'll be appropriately challenged by the occasional enrichment task or independent reading assignment a grade ahead or so and who enjoy knowing all the right answers.

But what do you do, hypothetically speaking of course, with a child who could not just read by the time he or she was of kindergarten age, but who could read Lord of the Rings? What about a child who could happily understand negative numbers and how to add and subtract them by the age of four? What do you do with a child whose idea of a spelling challenge consists of words like "zyzzyx," or "appoggiatura"? It's fair to say that many kindergarten teachers really wouldn't be able to do much with a child of that nature who clearly needs work in all subject areas far beyond grade-level enrichment.

Many of these children are difficult to deal with because they often tend to be sticklers for correctness and will tend to do things like point out when the teacher misspells something, doesn't understand a concept, or misstates a fact. Some are difficult to deal with because their frustration manifests itself as resistance to authority. Some are difficult to deal with because they learn to camouflage their real selves because those selves are not acceptable to their teachers or their peers.

No doubt there are dedicated teachers who really try, and thank God for them, but unfortunately for many parents of gifted children in the public school, it's a real crapshoot. By no means is it guaranteed that you'll get a teacher who's even remotely prepared to admit that his or her ideas of giftedness might be more limited than s/he thought they were or that his or her enrichment might not be so enriching. There's such fundamental resistance to grade-skipping or even subject-level acceleration that it's frankly not even worth the bother to initiate the inevitable bureaucratic battle for the few crumbs they're willing to throw at the parents.

So yeah, we're homeschooling because our former five-year-old would not have been appropriately educated in kindergarten.
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#32 of 49 Old 08-21-2007, 03:30 AM
 
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Hi, I'm one of those people you mentioned. Pleased to meet you.
That precise reason is one very big reason we're HSing.

So yeah, we're homeschooling because our former five-year-old would not have been appropriately educated in kindergarten.

What she said.
Momily there's a great quote about gifted education that highlights why you'll find an abundance of gifted kids in homeschooling situations and parents who will say exactly the phrase that offends you.
Giving these children simple bits of information is like feeding an elephant one blade of grass at a time - he will starve before he even realizes that anyone is trying to feed him.
It's got nothing to do with recognizing the hard work of a teacher (which is imo irrelevant in a conversation about the educational needs of the *child*) and everything to do with knowing how our children would fare in a school situation. Homeschooling parents, with a variety of resources at their disposal, lots of time for one on one conversation, the ability to shift gears and tailor learning experiences to the needs of their children, know how hard it is to meet the needs of gifted learners and intuitively know that their child(ren)'s needs would not be met in a K classroom with a teacher who is also trying to meet the academic needs of 18 - 25 other children and who has to focus on information and skills gifted children mastered years before.

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#33 of 49 Old 08-21-2007, 10:47 AM
 
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Actually, the MOST supportive people for homeschooling in my family are public school teachers. My MIL, my mom's twin sister, my cousin (whose baby I care for while he and his wife are at work), and a friend from church (who actually homeschools his daughter). I think they are the most encouraging because they have a certain amount of frustration associated with their jobs in that they find that they spend more time doing paperwork and dealing with disciplinary problems than they do actually teaching.

My MIL is extremely supportive about our intentions to homeschool. She retired this year, and gifted me an entire attic full of readers, charts, posters, workbooks, manipulatives, dry erase boards and markers, text books and teachers manuals. I don't even know what all she gave me.
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#34 of 49 Old 08-21-2007, 12:18 PM
 
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What she said.
Momily there's a great quote about gifted education that highlights why you'll find an abundance of gifted kids in homeschooling situations and parents who will say exactly the phrase that offends you.
Giving these children simple bits of information is like feeding an elephant one blade of grass at a time - he will starve before he even realizes that anyone is trying to feed him.
It's got nothing to do with recognizing the hard work of a teacher (which is imo irrelevant in a conversation about the educational needs of the *child*) and everything to do with knowing how our children would fare in a school situation. Homeschooling parents, with a variety of resources at their disposal, lots of time for one on one conversation, the ability to shift gears and tailor learning experiences to the needs of their children, know how hard it is to meet the needs of gifted learners and intuitively know that their child(ren)'s needs would not be met in a K classroom with a teacher who is also trying to meet the academic needs of 18 - 25 other children and who has to focus on information and skills gifted children mastered years before.
FWIW, I have kids who I believe are in the range of gifted that people say can be adequately accommodated in a regular classroom. On her own, my oldest (6 1/2) is about a grade level ahead in all but her strongest subject, where she's 2-3 grade levels ahead. I can't imagine making my kid spend her days in an environment where the vast majority of her coursework is consistently easy. While I'm sure some gifted kids are recognized and given accommodations that work ok for them, I'd rather my kids get an education that is a good fit for them, instead of one that's been jerry-rigged to cope with their intelligence (the image in my mind is of a pair of pants that are way too big with rolled up cuffs, held up with a belt-- it's not a good fit, but someone's decided that its adequate).

I have no idea if our public school has a pullout gifted program. I'm not a fan of pull-out gifted programs. I was in 2 different gifted pull-out programs as a kid (we moved and changed school districts). In the first, as a young 3rd grade girl, I was put in a group with 4 sixth grade boys. Apparently they were sexually active and told me all about it. In the second, I was the only girl (to get in, your teacher needed to recommend testing, and apparently they rarely saw girls as gifted) and the activities were ok, but not worth the tedious make-up work I had to do when I returned to class. It seems like the idea behind these programs is to distract kids from the fact that the rest of the time they're working below their abilities, and I don't think it works.

My pat answer for why we homeschool is "We like the lifestyle" (and we do , but the truth is that I don't think one-size-fits-all curriculum used in our public school works well for kids like mine. Besides I don't like the role parents have in public education.

ZM
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#35 of 49 Old 08-21-2007, 12:34 PM
 
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i happen to run into my oldest DS former 1st grade teacher at the store one day. She asked him "how do you like school in ______ (the town we live in now) and we both said that we are homeschooling. She said "oh" and then sighed, and said "oh" again. She honestly looked like she was going to burst into tears. you would have thought I had said "we are locking him in a dungeon and not feeding him" She just kind of huffed off. My DS asked what that was all about. I tried to explain to him the best I could that some people just dont understand and think homeschooling is bad.

the majority of people I know have the same attitude toward homeschooling

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#36 of 49 Old 08-21-2007, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
I'd rather my kids get an education that is a good fit for them, instead of one that's been jerry-rigged to cope with their intelligence (the image in my mind is of a pair of pants that are way too big with rolled up cuffs, held up with a belt-- it's not a good fit, but someone's decided that its adequate).
BOY is that a good metaphor!! Wow, that just nails the whole issue right on the head -- that the whole system was built for one particular size and gifted kids require these drastic, dreadful retoolings and resizing in order to get something that will barely stay on. GREAT idea. I hereby give present and future credit to you if I ever use this metaphor in conversation.:
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#37 of 49 Old 08-21-2007, 06:11 PM
 
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I know quite a few teachers but only one has made a comment to me. In March we moved next door to a elementry school teacher that was about to retire. When she found out our plans to homeschool she was very positive. She feels there are many ways to learn and that learning does not have to take place in a public school. She has offerd to help us with resources and has given us a whole box of childrens books. There are a lot of elementry teachers at my church but none have said anything yet and at least one is a kindergarten teacher which is where my son would be come September if I were to enroll him.

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#38 of 49 Old 08-21-2007, 06:42 PM
 
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20 years ago, teachers would threaten to call CPS on me. I had an emergency teaching credential, an AA, two BAs, an MA and paralegal certificate then and I ran my own business. I still was not considered qualified to teach my own child to read, write, and figure.

Now that I have finished my credential work and have renewed my CA CLAD elementary credential and emergencey credential twice, I dare anyone to call CPS on me.

Furthermore, I do not give a f#ck what anyone thinks of me homeschooling my own children. MYOB all of you!

If the public school and public school teachers were doing such a wonderful job, no one would be even thinking of teaching their own children. The fact of the matter is that parents, even parents with not so much as a high school diploma often do a better job of teaching their own children than the over-educated, over-administered, fully-credentialed, public school teacher with years of experience.

Now that parents know this is a fact, teachers better start respecting the power of the parent as the primary educators of children.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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#39 of 49 Old 08-21-2007, 06:59 PM
 
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20 years ago, teachers would threaten to call CPS on me. I had an emergency teaching credential, an AA, two BAs, an MA and paralegal certificate then and I ran my own business. I still was not considered qualified to teach my own child to read, write, and figure.

Now that I have finished my credential work and have renewed my CA CLAD elementary credential and emergencey credential twice, I dare anyone to call CPS on me.

Furthermore, I do not give a f#ck what anyone thinks of me homeschooling my own children. MYOB all of you!

If the public school and public school teachers were doing such a wonderful job, no one would be even thinking of teaching their own children. The fact of the matter is that parents, even parents with not so much as a high school diploma often do a better job of teaching their own children than the over-educated, over-administered, fully-credentialed, public school teacher with years of experience.

Now that parents know this is a fact, teachers better start respecting the power of the parent as the primary educators of children.
So, Applejuice... how do you really feel about that? Don't hold back...

I love it
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#40 of 49 Old 08-21-2007, 07:02 PM
 
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Thanks, yes, I have held back for years, but it felt good! My teeth are all ground down.



P.S. I am working on another Masters now.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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#41 of 49 Old 08-21-2007, 09:36 PM
 
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Thanks, yes, I have held back for years, but it felt good! My teeth are all ground down.



P.S. I am working on another Masters now.
I think your post was great, it obviously comes from along time of judement
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#42 of 49 Old 08-21-2007, 10:51 PM
 
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Hi, I'm one of those people you mentioned. Pleased to meet you.
Well for starters, as I said I don't have a problem with parent saying they object to their own particular public school, or that their own public school doesn't work well with a certain kind of kids. It's the implication that gifted kids CAN'T be accomodated in Kindergarten that irks me because I know schools and teachers that do it and do it well. I'm sorry your school isn't one of them. In many ways it sounds very similar to my local public school (except that my local public school always makes AYP, and has very high SES). In my opinion those schools that can't individualize don't serve anyone well, including my own, academically average, 8 year old who attends a charter school instead.

To answer your question of what it would look like in the classroom -- our Kindergarteners spend an hour a day reading books on their reading level. If your 5 year old can read Lord of the Rings, that's what they'd be reading. Each day before they begin they receive a 5-10 minute mini-lesson on some aspect of reading. Some days that may be something your child has already mastered, but many days it's things like "Good readers think about the characters in the books they read" or "Good readers use post it notes to mark places in the story they want to revisit when they discuss their book with a friend". Both of those tasks can be done on a simple level (one child looks at the pictures in her very simple book and write "Dad is big" to tell about the main character, another child might write several paragraphs about the main character in their book). Our kindergarteners spend time every day writing -- they usually all write on the same genre -- e.g. "How to books" but one child might be writing "How to make an Easter Basket 1) put gras in 2) put canD in 3) put a big rabt in" and another child might be writing "How to fly an airplane and incorporating what they learned from research.

As far as things like spelling lists, those are, in my opinion not appropriate for kids like yours. I'm always puzzled when parents request higher level spelling lists for kids who are very advanced. Presumably the children learned to spell without spelling tests, why would they need them now? Why not offer then alternative activities instead -- extra time to read or research, or finish up a writing project, or a chance to practice their leadership skills by working with students in a lower grade.

Yes, an advanced Kindergarten student will spend time in the classroom doing things that aren't on their "level". They'll join in math card games, and complete cooking projects, and build in the block corner. My guess is that the same thinigs happen at home -- that sometimes they play games that are too easy because that's what a sibling or friend wants to play, and sometimes they help mom with cooking or gardening or another task. I know that as an adult I don't spend every minute engaged in things that are on my "academic" or "cognitive" level -- sometimes I choose things because they challenge me, sometimes because they involve people I love, and sometimes because I enjoy them.

Thanks for replying!
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#43 of 49 Old 08-21-2007, 11:05 PM
 
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Our experience witrh advanced readers and advanced math students has been excellent. My first graders (my kids are advanced readers) were reading Harry Potter, Treasure Island, Missing May etc in first grade. One year, an advanced math class was added , and including my child, there were only 4 kids in the class. This was a private school. However, my best friend (my greatest hs supporter) teaches 2nd grade in an inner city public school, and she does the same thing for her kids. Nobody is held back. If you can read it, you get it.

A couple of years ago, when we were thinking about moving, I visited a local public school's 1- 3 classes. I saw that each child had their own carboard reading and math cubby, and in each cubby were different books. They varied from Garfiled & American Girl, to Harry Potter, and everything in between.

Ime, teachers *love* early readers (and perhpas have less patience for slower ones) and do all they can to support that.
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#44 of 49 Old 08-22-2007, 12:53 AM
 
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Ime, teachers *love* early readers (and perhpas have less patience for slower ones) and do all they can to support that.
Maybe they do now that "kindergarten is the new first grade" and I'm quite willing to admit that I had a really crappy first grade teacher, but I know having had one im a little cautious (and, well, HS works for us right now).

I could read before kindergarten. I still did the Letter People with everyone because they were fun, it was 1/2 day kindy, and mostly play centers. For first grade, tho, we were doing phonics using this "Getting Ready to Read" book. I was in a "pull out" thing for accelerated readers (one kid from each of the 1st grades in the building had advanced reading and phonics with one of the teachers). The crappy things from my "home" 1st grade (Mrs. B): I was still expected to do the phonics group with Mrs. B, so she scheduled phonics for when I was in class rather than when I was out; the one time I went ahead in that book I was made to erase my work because I wasn't on the same page as everyone else and had NOT been told to go ahead; I couldn't tell time yet, so I didn't know when it was 10am and time for my pul out program and she wouldn't tell me. I know once she sent away another child who was sent to get me saying, "If Amey doesn't know it's time to leave, then she can't leave." I had a friend in the group who also didn't know how to tell time, so her teacher made her a paper plate clock - when her clock matched the classroom clock, she knew it was time to leave. If the class received any kind of punishment while I was in pullout, I had to do it upon my return (I remember they were noisy one day and required to write the alphabet 5 times). Gosh, she was awful. She had NO love for the accelerated reader.

I've had people in teaching telling me that my choosing to homeschool rather than track down a healthy setting for my child is laziness. And maybe it is on some level. I don't want to have to go to 10 schools to try to find a good teacher willing to work with all of Thing 1's needs (the anxiety, the SID, etc) and then know that I might have to do it all again next year. Or have to deal with schools who write LOVELY IEPs and then have teachers and other staff agree to them in theory at meetings, but not actually put them into practice. I've seen that too - when I was student teaching, one of the children in my class was the son of the head of the special ed department of my college. I KNEW what she wanted and requested for her kid! Was he getting that? Nope.

It's so hard when we KNOW the fantastic schools and teachers are out there. They allow us to dream about great placements for our kids. But sometimes they're like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

And Meg, I can't even begin to know what it would be like to try to accomodate a profoundly gifted child in a public school, age appropriately. Because while there could be a 7 year old doing calculus, a senior math class might not be the best placement for him, socially.
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#45 of 49 Old 08-22-2007, 01:04 AM
 
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In the second, I was the only girl (to get in, your teacher needed to recommend testing, and apparently they rarely saw girls as gifted)
I just wanted to touch on this. Apparently a tide has turned? I ahve a friend with a gifted 10 year old. HE recently took the SAT (mom wanted to see if he'd need accomodations for standardized tests, to see how he'd do, etc. He was invited to take it, and she said "go, take it, and when you feel done, quit." He skipped an entire section). He scored in the top 5 of the state and who knows how else well. She has to fight to get him into gifted programs because the gifted teacher has a bias against boys (there seems to be some connection between gifted boys and active behavior, so they're not all sitting quietly and working, go figure ). She doesn't think his scores are really good enough. THe SAT, or the IQ testing, or whatever else, because he needs classroom accomodations for SID. There's a 75/25 girl/boy split in gifted ed in their district.

~amey (apparently wordy tonight)
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#46 of 49 Old 08-22-2007, 01:57 AM
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It's the implication that gifted kids CAN'T be accomodated in Kindergarten that irks me because I know schools and teachers that do it and do it well.
Of course there are, and I think that there are many who try to, but what's regrettable is that for the kids that are way out there, I don't think good, effective teaching happens the majority of the time. I don't blame K teachers (or any teachers) -- they're not really trained particularly well to deal with extremes on either end, especially since extreme giftedness doesn't necessarily look like "a problem" even if it gets ignored.

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Each day before they begin they receive a 5-10 minute mini-lesson on some aspect of reading. Some days that may be something your child has already mastered, but many days it's things like "Good readers think about the characters in the books they read" or "Good readers use post it notes to mark places in the story they want to revisit when they discuss their book with a friend".
Please do not take offense at what I'm about to say, because I mean no offense at all, but to be honest, my daughter would find that lesson really kind've condescending, and "condescending" is the word she would use to describe it. She wouldn't say anything about it to the teacher, and she'd do it, but she'd be hurt inside that she was being talked to so simplistically. I know it wouldn't be meant that way, and I know that most kindergarteners maybe don't really know what a "character" is, and so this would be a valuable lesson for them, but it really wouldn't work for her. Bottom line, it wouldn't teach her anything new.
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As far as things like spelling lists, those are, in my opinion not appropriate for kids like yours.
Good luck telling her that. It's always one of the things she loves to do and requests to do first. She'll take a list of words to restaurants and have me quiz her (or have her quiz me) just for fun. She's never spelled words the way you modeled (e.g., "put gras in 2) put canD in 3) put a big rabt in"), not even three years ago when she was learning how to write.
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I'm always puzzled when parents request higher level spelling lists for kids who are very advanced. Presumably the children learned to spell without spelling tests, why would they need them now?
For fun, and because she wants to participate in the national spelling bee. Why not? It's something she takes pleasure in doing.
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Why not offer then alternative activities instead -- extra time to read or research, or finish up a writing project, or a chance to practice their leadership skills by working with students in a lower grade.
Again with all due respect, I would have serious problems with her working to "practice her leadership skills" in this fashion.

I appreciate your reply. I'm going to PM you b/c I don't want the thread to become about gifted kids in kindy -- that's a bit too far OT.
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#47 of 49 Old 08-22-2007, 02:02 AM
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Ime, teachers *love* early readers (and perhpas have less patience for slower ones) and do all they can to support that.
I'm so glad that that's been your experience, and I sure wish that it were typical of everyone. Since I went to elementary school sometime in the good old days (i.e., the Cretaceous Era), possibly things have changed overall, or to enough of a tipping point so that the change is pervasive and systematic, but when I went to school, this was by no means the case. Specifically, I was paddled for "reading too fast" and finally sent to the library as soon as I got to class...every day. All day. For all of first grade.
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#48 of 49 Old 08-22-2007, 02:06 AM
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And Meg, I can't even begin to know what it would be like to try to accomodate a profoundly gifted child in a public school, age appropriately. Because while there could be a 7 year old doing calculus, a senior math class might not be the best placement for him, socially.
I agree. And if it were a girl-child doing calculus, I wouldn't necessarily want her in class with a bunch of senior dudes either. Some of my seniors are wonderful -- actually, most of them -- but not all.

Yeah, I don't know. If you couldn't homeschool, and the teacher at the child's grade level (or accelerated level if s/he were grade-skipped) couldn't do calc, I think it would be time to hire a tutor. Good luck getting the school to do that, though.
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#49 of 49 Old 08-22-2007, 09:47 AM
 
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[QUOTE=amey;8963100]Maybe they do now that "kindergarten is the new first grade" and I'm quite willing to admit that I had a really crappy first grade teacher, but I know having had one im a little cautious (and, well, HS works for us right now).QUOTE]


Hsing really works for our family, too. It's not a pro-school post, just participating in the discussion with my modern experiences. While I hate to jump on the gifted bandwagon, I have gifted children (one profoundly) who were accomodated, but that's my experience only. It wasn't pull out. It wasn't shallow. It was individualized, with different books, higher levels, personal attention etc. Thankfully, the only one who suffers from anxiety in our family is moi. lol I know we have been *very* lucky.

I also question whether every K classroom has turned into first grade. I think the problem is much more pronounced in some areas, but there is still play taking place in Ks across the country. With the explosion of gifted children, I would say maybe some schools are responding to that as more parents demand their children be challenged.

Many mainstream parents are not interested in sending their kids to school to play.

I think hsing is wonderfu: we love it! Hsing can stand on it's own. School doesn't have to be demonized across the board for hsing to the right decision for a particular family. At a hsing park day recently, some of the parents were talking about how much they loved school as kids. (I hated school). They still wanted to hs and RU. Their personal experiences didn't keep them from making the right decision for their families and particular children, kwim?

It's also interesting to me how many hsers have faced the question of whether one of their children is happier/better 'served' in a school setting. There are a great many hard core hsers who find themselves with one child in school (happily) and the rest at home. Hsers struggle with some issues as well.
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