Advice for Kindergarten placement?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 05-10-2011, 08:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ds is going to be going to Kindergarten in a year and a half, and while I know that is plenty of time to figure this out, I want to explore my options this summer. 

 

So here's the situation:

Ds is at a preschool called Challenger right now which is a private academic type place that serves preschool through 8th grade.  It's structured and accelerated and he LOVES it.  He is one of those kids who really loves rules and structure and he loves the mental challenges they give him.  They seem to be able to keep it fun for him for now.  He could stay here through kindergarten at least and be perfectly content, but the problem is that once he starts kindergarten, the monthly cost jumps from about $400/ mo (which my in-laws currently pay) to about $750/mo..basically a rent check.  By then, I will be finished with school and earning a decent income, but that would take a huge chunk of my paycheck!  So here are my options..

 

-Keep DS for one year at Challenger and and test him into the public schools accelerated program (we can't test him until 1st grade)

 

-Try out regular public school and try to get him in a dual immersion program to keep him challenged

 

-Play the lottery and try to get into a decent charter school (which I still need to research on which ones are any good)

 

By the way, Ds seems to be ahead for his age right now.  He is learning to read short words, can count to 30 at least, does basic math and problem solving and has no problems with his shapes/ colors/ ect.  He also is socially content and makes friends easily.

 

Anyone have a kid like this?  What works best for them? 

 

I know I am being super over analytical about this, but DH and I both had horrible public school experiences and we were forced to just bear it out.  I really don't want to do the same to him.  We also can't afford to home school at this point...we need to work for at least a few years to catch up financially and get out of the pit we are in!


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#2 of 7 Old 05-10-2011, 11:28 AM
 
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It's hard to plan this far in advance. Kids can change so much. Certainly explore your options and find out when enrollment deadlines are. I encourage you to look into many programs and enter the lotteries, wait lists and all that but not to make your decision until you actually have too.

 

Personally, I wouldn't spend 750 a month on kindergarten. It's not in our budget, and the stress and instability it would have caused in our home just wouldn't be worth it. I have two advanced kids who have done very well in regular public and specialty public schools. Niether have ended up where I would have expected them to be at age 3 or 4. My eldest didn't have a great kindergarten experience but she was also 2 to 5 grade levels advanced all around. However, the school was very receptive to working with her and we ended up with a very positive schooling experience in the longterm (she's in high school now.) DS started on schedule but was only 4.10 years old and only about 2nd grade level all around. He really loved kindergarten but we did end up transfering him into a new tri-lingual school in our district for 1st because it seemed a good fit for his talents and personality. He's now about to finish 5th grade.

 

You know your child and your options the best. Check out what is available. Sometimes, what seems the "best" on paper isn't what is actually best for your individual child so really look. We've been with 4 different schools now throughout the years and what has made them the "best" wasn't facilities, test scores or GATE programs... it was their flexibility and willingness to see our children as individuals.


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#3 of 7 Old 05-10-2011, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the reply Whatsnextmom.  It's always helpful to hear other people's stories!

 

I wish I just just test him right from the get-go for the advanced placement, so that is the main reason I'm humming and hawing over it.  A lot of people have told me that public schools can still be great for advanced kids if you have a good teacher and explain to them that you want your kid to be challenged.  I think the deciding factor for that to work out is to see if my MIL can help us pick and choose which school he can go to (she's retiring from teaching this year in our district).  I would not want him to go to the school in my neighborhood.  We live in a low income area right now, while DH and I finish our own schooling and I think in general, the kids around here are below average.  Not to mention that there are a lot behavior problems in these kids.

 

Anyway, thanks for the in-put! 


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#4 of 7 Old 05-10-2011, 12:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Gator-mom View Post

Thanks for the reply Whatsnextmom.  It's always helpful to hear other people's stories!

 

I wish I just just test him right from the get-go for the advanced placement, so that is the main reason I'm humming and hawing over it. I would not want him to go to the school in my neighborhood.  We live in a low income area right now, while DH and I finish our own schooling and I think in general, the kids around here are below average.  Not to mention that there are a lot behavior problems in these kids.

 

Anyway, thanks for the in-put! 

 

 Testing is notoriously unreliable for the under 6 or 7 crowd. It can be super high (an early reader will score high academically and most- but not all- of these early readers will go on to be advanced readers later) or super low (a non-reader gifted K may score average on academics even with very high intelligence). Also, testing now would most likely be requested to be redone for K entry (they like it within the year at least).
 
 
We are low income- FWIW. Not - super low, but enough to get reduced (not free) lunch.  The school we feed into is one of the highest ranked in the state, but we are choosing a different school for our DDs (also public) due to the better fit of their needs and the programs available. Some of the BEST schools in the area are in the worst district (a major city) and have waiting lists and lotteries- most of those kiddos are low income and the disctrict as a whole is awful on paper, but a few schools are highly desirable due to the wonderful way they help kiddos on both ends (advanced and below grade level). 
 
Tour the schools you are considering, it makes a BIG difference in outlook vs looking at test scores and paper trails. Start about next winter (9 months from now).
 
Also--- one schools K curriculum can vastly be different from anothers. Check that out as well. The school my DDs are going to works at a 1st-3rd grade level in the K/1 classroom due to the nature of the kids that attend (it is NOT a GT school) tend to be ahead of grade level already. Our home district is the same way due to its high test score goals. A district a few miles away is much more basic for K skills and is play based.
 
You should be able to find curriculum online to look at , but remember those are the bare minimum skills they want kids to leave that grade with.
 
 
 
You will get behavior problems everywhere most likely. That is a pretty broad picture to be honest and I would try to keep an open mind. I would be more concerned with how the school deals with behaviors and how it meshes with your own parenting philosophy.
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

It's hard to plan this far in advance. Kids can change so much. Certainly explore your options and find out when enrollment deadlines are. I encourage you to look into many programs and enter the lotteries, wait lists and all that but not to make your decision until you actually have too.

 

Personally, I wouldn't spend 750 a month on kindergarten. It's not in our budget, and the stress and instability it would have caused in our home just wouldn't be worth it. I have two advanced kids who have done very well in regular public and specialty public schools. Niether have ended up where I would have expected them to be at age 3 or 4. 

 

You know your child and your options the best. Check out what is available. Sometimes, what seems the "best" on paper isn't what is actually best for your individual child so really look. We've been with 4 different schools now throughout the years and what has made them the "best" wasn't facilities, test scores or GATE programs... it was their flexibility and willingness to see our children as individuals.


Ditto this.

 

I was very upset last year that we moved RIGHT before public school started. My DDs were 4y10m reading and doing math above grade level and were slated to attend a fantastic school where they were well known and had a teacher I knew would work with them-- they also had a few other high academic kiddos in the class. That state did not do GT testing/programmin, but the school was very flexible.

 

Then we moved- kids did not make K cut-off . no exceptions.  Well- it turned out great. They are now going to attended a public school in a K/1 class. They now will be neither the oldest or youngest- it is a choice school (but not GT) so all the kids come from families that were involved. It also does a lot of project based learning, which is PERFECT for my kiddos. They do have a gifted program that officially starts in 2nd, but GT teacher works with advanced K/1 kids. I really think it is a great solution.

 

FWIW- it is Nnot  our home-school/home district that is award winning, blue ribbon, etc. It is a good district that is known for working with kids at their level. We get a lot of 'WHAT?!? you are not going to X school??' Well- not it was not the best fit for our kids.

 

At 3- I wondered what the public K would do and how it would work. DDs were reading at age 3, doing mental math, and had deep deep science/social studies knowledge. As they have gotten older, they have gained knowledge and, yes, are way ahead of K level academically. From 4-5 their reading levels kept improving, but at the same time they also gained a lot of depth and maturity that will serve them well in all day K. I think the program we found and that they will attend will be perfect at this point in time.

 

As PP- it more depends on the school & staff. We personally could not spend 750 on K (especially since we have two). I would rather supplement at home and save the $.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Gator-mom View Post

 

 

 

-Try out regular public school and try to get him in a dual immersion program to keep him challenged

 

-Play the lottery and try to get into a decent charter school (which I still need to research on which ones are any good)

 

By the way, Ds seems to be ahead for his age right now.  He is learning to read short words, can count to 30 at least, does basic math and problem solving and has no problems with his shapes/ colors/ ect.  He also is socially content and makes friends easily.

 

 

I would choose one of these two options.

 

Yes, your DS is ahead- but not astronomically so that it could not fit in to a good differentiated K class.  I think next year ( righ now he is just 4- then he will be 5) you will find a few kids at the same level.  FWIW in a mix of 36  old 4s and young 5s ( kids going to K next year) in the play based PreK class in the public program here: about 3 are fluent readers (as in above 2nd grade level), about 8-9 are starting to read (simple words, sounding out), about 1/2 can count/read numbers to 100 +, most know 80% or more of there letters & sounds, about 1/2 can do simple mental math, all can write their names, and over 30 know shapes & colors. That is a standard mix for this area (middle class- mix of high/low socio economics). I would suspect that 3-4 are gifted/ highly advanced and about 3-4 are behind expectations-- the rest fall in between. 

 

If your DS makes even greater progress this upcoming year, then I would deal with it then. It is hard to know.

 

One of my DDs was writing at age 2.5 (her name, all the letters, etc) and was obsessive about it for a long time and I wondered where she would be in a year! Then she stopped being interested (we did not push it) and just recently started to repick it up again and while she is above K level, but not nearly as far as we feared when she started writing simple sentences at age 3 (I sw a kat- I saw a cat or  I lik toiyz- I like toys). But both DDs reading has plowed full steam ahead without a pause as well---that will be the hardest for the K teachers to meet next year. Both DD have little interest in math but  have high splinter skills ( can do simple multiplication/division mentally) but scattered with gaps (cant count rote by 2s or 5s and have little interest in knowing. That is a K skill).  

 

Your DS interests may wax and wane and you may see growth in areas that surprise you and/or see huge leaps in skills. It is very very hard to tell what a child will look like academically in a year at that age.

 

I would get on the list for any charters/lotteries you may be interested. Tour schools next fall, talk to your public school options---- and take it from there.

 

 

 

 

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#5 of 7 Old 05-10-2011, 12:24 PM
 
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There are some good reasons for not testing early. IQ test results aren't often accurate prior to 6 or 7. Plus, many schools do more achievement type testing than actual IQ testing. Doing this in the preschool and K years will garuntee some poor placements. At that age, a child can be advanced for many reasons that aren't related to IQ. They either enjoy academic activity, went to an academic preschool and so lots of exposure or had parents that worked with them. We know lots and lots of kids who started kindergarten advanced and continued to be good students but in 2nd grade, didn't test high enough on the ability tests to make GATE. We also know kids that seemed perfectly average until 1st grade when they finally took an interest in academics and shot out in front. I undestand your frustration but I get why schools put it off a little.

 

I can also understand your not wanting your child to go to your local school for behavioral issues but I'd be hesistant to say the kids are below average. I taught preschool to under-priveledged kids for several years and while many were lacking in experiences and opportunities, I came across as many exceptional kids in those classes as I did when I worked with high income classes.


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#6 of 7 Old 05-10-2011, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, this is all great info and much for me to think about.  I think I will do some touring of the charter schools this summer..just because I'm in nursing school, and I'm on break now until August.  School time is chaos just to get the normal stuff done, let alone try to make big decisions about my kid!

 

I hadn't thought about the IQ thing for testing, even though I do remember learning about that in my psych classes.  And you are right that there will always be a mixed group.  I think if I go the public school route, I will try to get him into a dual immersion program, just because I wish that had been around when I was a kid!  Languages are one of my biggest learning curve as an adult! 

 

I guess my biggest fear about why I'm worrying so much about this is from my own personal experiences of being moved around a lot as a kid.  I was very shy and I never initiated any friendships it took a long time for me to make friends.  thus, every time we move it was really traumatic.  Because of this, I've been really adamant that I want to try to keep my kids in one place at least for the majority of their education!

 

DS is only going to his preschool twice a week right now, but will be going three days next year, just because he seems to be doing so well there..so I suppose we will see what this next year brings and if he keeps learning as quickly as he has been this year!

 

It's not that I wouldn't WANT to spend $750 a month on his tuition either..if it's still a great match, then I don't have a problem with that.  It's just that I don't know if it is even possible.  I will be getting my RN next May and should start out a decent salary, but DH will still be in school, we want to add to our family soon and there's just so much else going on.  I think the only way it would work, is if my In-laws continue to help us out there, but I have been assuming that they expect us to take over as soon as we have regular income.  Not only that, but I am longing for the days when I don't need to ask for help from someone else!


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#7 of 7 Old 05-10-2011, 06:56 PM
 
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Try asking the school for a scholorship. They may be able to help on reducing your tuition . Also, keep in mind that what you teach at home helps with academic success.

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