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<p>Hi,</p>
<p>I might have posted here years ago, I haven't been around for a long long time.</p>
<p>My dd is 13, and has been identified as gifted since 2nd grade. We've seemed to have done a good job of keeping her balanced, and although she could do college level work, she prefers to be in classes with her peers and for all of her reading she still manages to have a very typical social life.</p>
<p>My question is this, as she matures I know she will want to be doing more advanced stuff, she is already planning on going to college in two years. How do I keep her in balance? How do I help her stay a little girl / teen when she will be doing her schooling with young adults?</p>
 

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<p>My 16-year-old hasn't gone off to college early, so my response may not compute for you. Where I live we have only move-away-from-home full-time advanced university studies available as a realistic option. We live in a rural remote area, and there's no community college type program available to us. My dd's chosen area is classical music performance, where she'll be competing exclusively against other highly musically gifted kids for admission, and her chosen program will be at that very advanced level, so she would only be disadvantaged by applying a year or two early. So she plans to move across the country for advanced training at 17, enrolling in university at 18, and is remaining at home until then.</p>
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<p>But my dd has been taking high school classes with 18-year-olds since she enrolled in high school at 14. And her summer music studies and travel have put her in contact with plenty of older people -- she's almost always been the youngest in the summer camp ensembles and programs she's been a part of. This summer for example she's hoping to be accepted for the National Youth Orchestra, and if so she will be one of the youngest students there, with the age-range being 16 through 28.</p>
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<p>The reality is that being in programs with motivated older students has been a huge social boon to her. I'm much more leery of the social influence of aimless 14- or 15-year-olds than I am that of passionate hard-working 19- or 20-year-olds. For example, my dd developed a relationship with a guy she met at a summer piano program a couple of years ago. He was starting his first year of university and she was going into 10th grade. He lived in the city that she travels to and billets in for violin lessons twice a month, and they used to get together whenever she was in town. He was such a mature and decent guy and they kept up a very sweet, non-sexual romantic relationship for several months before they decided to revert (mutually and amicably) to a platonic relationship. I think that he was especially kind and gentle with her because of her young age -- and that's been the rule with the vast majority of her other older friends as well; they sort of take her under their wing. When I see what goes on socially and romantically amongst the 14/15/16/17-year-olds at the local high school, I am so glad that my dd's main social affinities lie beyond that age-group! She has agemate friends, but because her life also revolves in a sphere with older people she's able to avoid becoming enmeshed in the psychodramas of the young and mid-teens. </p>
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<p>So you may be pleasantly suprised that studying with older students actually protects your dd from many of the social risks and pressures typical of the teen years. I think it will have a lot to do with the type of young adults she's studying alongside. If they're motivated, impassioned young people who know what they stand for, you'll probably find that they'll form really healthy friendships with a young teen girl.</p>
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<p>Miranda</p>
 

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<p>If you haven't seen a major transformation yet, it may be coming. I have a 13-year-old too. I swear, I had a little girl in March. Now I have a young women both physically and mentally. In March, the idea of sending her to high school was scary. By September, she just fit right in. I'm guessing in another year, she could waltz on a college campus and no one would be the wiser. DD has always schooled with older kids due to the grade skip and subject accelerations. Plus, she's in theatre and so been working with kids through 19 since age 8 and with professional adults from age 10. She has friends in college now (no, she doesn't go to college parties but when they are in town, she gets together with them, they see plays, they go do more open-aged activities, they keep in touch during the school year.) Her comfort level for mixed ages is extremely high as is most theatre kids. I credit theatre largely for her ability to also be a "child." They tend to be very playful, often shun pop culture and are unashamed to play openly with little kids, to love Disneyland, to watch cartoons, ect.</p>
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<p>You don't say what grade she's in but if she hasn't started high school yet, she may feel differently about heading off to college when she gets there. My DD has certainly found it more challenging than she expected. It isn't so much the work as the expectations. Yes, the teacher's expect more but she's also no longer in classes with kids who don't care. She's in classes with kids wanting the perfect college application. The biggest challenge of all has been striking balance between academic and social life. The pull of boys, texting, facebook, parties, outings with her buddies (and without adults)... it can all be a major distraction and I know my own DD has taken some missteps academically trying to figure it all out. Plus, high school activities really take a commitment jump in high school. DD can easily fill 20 hours a week on theatre alone. We know high schools kids who do the same with dance, music, sports, ect.</p>
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<p>Have you looked at different ways for her to do college work? Our county has something called "middle college." It's for 11th and 12th graders. They take their classes at the community college. They get both high school and college units for them (real credits that can't be dismissed like the AP's.) They do have a class where they are together with their agemates (about 20 kids allowed to do this per district.) They have a prom and all the things high schoolers would want that aren't available at the JC. Plus, the state <strong>pays</strong> for this college (accept for books) because it's also high school for minors. My own DD is planning this and she has many friends who do it. We'll see when the time comes though.</p>
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<p>If she's not in any mixed age environments now, I'd perhaps look for one for her to be involved with. I think you'd be surprised how easily she adapts to being with older kids.</p>
 

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<p><br>
Yes, I agree with this. Young adults can be far more careful with your young teen than teens their own age will. Certainly, there are predators but they are attracted to the iscolated and aimless. A young teen that connects with a passion based community like music will find champions and protectors. Personally, I wouldn't send my child to college under-age unless they already had a focus and a natural community to fall into. It they were still at a very generalized stage and tended to connect with others in that same position, I'd be more nervous about it. That's just me though.</p>
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<p> I think that he was especially kind and gentle with her because of her young age -- and that's been the rule with the vast majority of her other older friends as well; they sort of take her under their wing.</p>
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<p>i was young for my grade all through school, and was/am considered highly gifted (I guess, I don't really pay too much attention to the levels--tested full scale IQ was four standard deviations above the mean as a young elementary student). my parents didn't want to accelerate me beyond the "almost missed cut-off for grade" I received early on--though, I did self-select to accelerate in math in 7th grade. I took a couple classes at the community college later in high school, and found them to be less challenging than the courses I had available to me at my high school.</p>
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<p>I ended up at an Ivy League college--started at age 17, and it was a perfect fit for me. I think you will know based on your daughter's response to her school environment what the best option is for her as it unfolds. I wouldn't change anything about what my parents did for me academically or emotionally.</p>
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<p>ETA: at least in my state, i don't think middle college is a great option for highly-gifted students. Most of the community college students are not intellectual peers of a highly-gifted person, and, for me, my community college experience was far more frustrating than challenging or exciting. Maybe middle college in your state works differently, though, so it is definitely worth exploring!</p>
 

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It could be regional but I believe time has changed things too. I understand your experience. I took some courses when I was in high school too and found the community college unchallenging and frustrating. However, when you and I were teens, it was much easier and affordable to get into a 4 year university. Currently, our state universities are only taking about the top 2 percent these days. It's very difficult for the under 18 set to find steady jobs and thus starting with less money for school. This means lots and lots and highly qualified kids being turned down or simply can't afford to go. Community College is a way for these kids to transfer into desired state schools and we know many top notch students taking this route. Of course, which classes you take make a difference. If you are taking a community college algebra course, well, you aren't likely going to be with the strongest of students. This is why I wouldn't reccomend sending a highly gifted 9-year-old to a community college to take algebra but I would reccomend a 9-year-old to a community college if they needed calculus KWIM?</p>
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<p>In our area, the kids we know in middle college program are in the top threshold for giftedness and we haven't heard any complaints about the courses they are taking at the community college.</p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>spedteacher30</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1286921/parenting-gifted-teens#post_16133600"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>ETA: at least in my state, i don't think middle college is a great option for highly-gifted students. Most of the community college students are not intellectual peers of a highly-gifted person, and, for me, my community college experience was far more frustrating than challenging or exciting. Maybe middle college in your state works differently, though, so it is definitely worth exploring!</p>
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<p>the middle college program in our state is meant to be a stepping stone for students who otherwise would not attend college--not for high-performing college-track students who want an early challenge. So, my advice is just to make sure you research middle college in particular to make sure it meets your daughter's needs. it might be perfect, and it might not be the program she needs.</p>
 

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 </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>moominmamma</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1286921/parenting-gifted-teens#post_16133429"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br>
 I'm much more leery of the social influence of aimless 14- or 15-year-olds than I am that of passionate hard-working 19- or 20-year-olds.</div>
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I agree. We've had universally positive experiences as our son has spent time with adults. People are respectful that he's younger and they look out for him.</p>
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<p>Piadosa - just a clarifying question. You mentioned she will be in college in two years. How will that come about if she's not grade accelerated now? It sounds from your description like she's happy with same age peers but at the same time that she's set the goal of being in college in two years. I'm trying to understand how those fit together. What are her her high school options like. As other posters said there can be quite an overlap between the AP or honors courses available at a strong high school and what is offered at a community college.</p>
 

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<p><br>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Roar</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1286921/parenting-gifted-teens#post_16134157"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><p>Piadosa - just a clarifying question. You mentioned she will be in college in two years. How will that come about if she's not grade accelerated now? It sounds from your description like she's happy with same age peers but at the same time that she's set the goal of being in college in two years. I'm trying to understand how those fit together. What are her her high school options like. As other posters said there can be quite an overlap between the AP or honors courses available at a strong high school and what is offered at a community college.</p>
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<p>She is currently in eighth grade, taking honors math and English. Her current master plan (and thus far when she has come up with a plan she sticks to it.) is to do her jr and sr years at the community college in a program like some of the above posters have referenced. The local community college that has this program, promotes it as for academically advanced students, and a friend of ours at church did it, and has been talking to TheGirl about it. </p>
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<p>As far as her being around mixed ages, she is at church as well as in the summer she volunteers at a summer camp with people of all ages, she has never been in a learning environment across age groups though, and all of her experiences have been highly supervised by me. <br>
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<p>It is just a couple of years and really I don't think it will be a big deal socially. It sounds like there are other high school students there. Also, the academics are just one part of life and I would expect her main social life would continue to be centered around activities, family friends, etc.</p>
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<p>My one suggestion would be to investigate carefully with the colleges she's considering how they will view a student coming in with so many college credits. Generally as long as the credits are taken under dual enrollment status (prior to high school graduation) they do not present a problem. If she wants to have the full range of choices available, including the possibility of entering a four year college as an incoming freshman rather than a transfer student, it is better that she not complete the degree or enroll as a full time college student. This is important for scholarship purposes. If she plans to continue in her state university system there may be special transfer scholarships, but if she plans to go on to another type of school entering as a transfer student would put her in a different applicant pool and may make admissions and scholarships more difficult to obtain. I would also encourage her to investigate the quality of offerings of her high school versus this college program rather than just assuming because it is college it will be better. It varies so much by area.</p>
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<p>Adding... you mentioned her learning experiences have been highly supervised. That maybe one thing to consider is if you are okay with her having some exposure to information you didn't select. I have seen instances where homeschoolers have been upset when their kids are in community college courses being exposed to different ideas. Just thought I'd mention that as parents should assume that the content of college courses will be pitched at adults. Our son entered college quite early and there hasn't been anything I've been uncomfortable with but I don't care about stuff like nudity in art, colorful language, secular teachings, etc. If our middle schooler had been interested in psychology or literature courses for example, we might have paid closer attention.</p>
 
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