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    #12758 - 03/31/08 10:43 AM What IS the goal??
    newtothis Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 08/28/07
    Posts: 34
    This will be a long and philosophical post...we are struggling with our school decision for DS and in meeting other parents of kids like these, we're realizing that maybe we haven't really done a good job of defining what "the goal" really is in terms of education. I'm very interested in hearing thoughts from all of you on this topic....

    We've had horrendous preschool experiences and we know that we will have more of the same if we choose poorly for "real" school next year (K or 1st...one of the decisions we need to make!). So, I guess I'd say that for us, our goal (implicit...never really thought of it this way before...) is to find somewhere that DS is challenged enough to stay on the wagon from a behavior perspective, in a place where he is encouraged and respected by his teachers and in a place where he has a chance to make friends and enjoy school. Since I find it hard to believe that any K (or even 1st) grade classroom will be able to provide a true academic challenge, we've been trying hard to find flexible schools that seem excited about having a kid like DS and open to acceleration if needed but also creative with how DS can have a "helper" role in the classroom with other kids who aren't reading, etc.

    In our area, there are several options for these kids, including a program for the highly gifted that is self-contained and tiny...and they push the kids VERY hard - working at least 2, and often far more, grades ahead of their "age" grade. When we visited, we felt like it was way too much - 2 hours of homework in K, etc. But, in talking to parents who have kids there, we have heard a completely different "goal" expressed - that we need to do everytyhing we can to help DS reach his full potential, and if that means an intense academic environment, even if it's not always "fun," then we should still do it beacuse we owe it to him to help him really reach his potential.

    How have you all thought about "the goal" of education for your kids? Would you choose a hardcore program (very worksheet/textbook/desk work intensive with lots of testing and competition) where you could be SURE that your child was being pushed every single day to the very highest level he/she could achieve OR would you choose a program that was not likely to be very challenging academically but would grow into something more challenging (converting to a 130+ GT classroom at 3rd grade - still not nearly as rigorous as the other program, but closer). This second program would focus on "Learning Immersion" or going deep into topics and using them for multiple disciplines (kind of like unit studies in a very collaborative, team based environment with very little "desk work" and such). I think DS would be much happier in the second program, but there's NO doubt that he will learn more in the first program. And, there's a chance that the lack of extreme academic challenge will breed the same issues we had in preschool (terrible behavior and a really angry, frustrated kid) - but possibly not because the teachers and principal seem excited by having DS instead of burdened by him...

    I'm less looking for advice on our specific school situation (though I'll happily take any offered!) and more looking for everyone's thoughts on what you think "the goal" is when making education decisions for your HG+ kids?

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    #12767 - 03/31/08 11:39 AM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: newtothis]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Originally Posted By: newtothis
    Would you choose a hardcore program...where you could be SURE that your child was being pushed every single day to the very highest level he/she could achieve OR would you choose a program that was not likely to be very challenging academically but would grow into something more challenging (converting to a 130+ GT classroom at 3rd grade - still not nearly as rigorous as the other program, but closer).


    What a great question! But I'm going to wimp out and answer both/neither.

    2 hours of homework in K is neither desirable nor productive, IMHO. That seems to me to be of the "Baby Einstein" brand of thinking, and I don't buy into it. Kids learn by playing, experimenting, DOING, not by doing tons of homework. Frankly, I have my problems with even upper elementary students doing hours of homework. But in K? No way!

    The other option isn't ideal either. Lack of academic challenge >in a highly academic program< (that's key!) is not acceptable because it will tend to kill the love of learning for the child. Now, a play-based program can be great, especially if it's half-day so the child has time to pursue individualized academic pursuits on his/her own time. But learning the ABCs when you can read chapter books is not going to cut it, not even for a couple of years. A couple of years is half the child's life when they're 5!

    We're emergency homeschooling this year (after starting DS6 in public school in the fall), so we have--out of necessity!--thought a lot about this question. Our philosophy is very much what you outlined as your initial philosophy, though perhaps we expect/require a bit more than just enough academic rigor to keep him from misbehaving. I want DS6 to have the chance to do things that are hard for him so that he understands that you haven't failed until you've quit trying. I want him to grow in his education, not merely survive it.

    However, I don't believe that hours of homework and a slavedriver mentality achieve those goals. There is no prize for finishing school first or fastest, and there's no reason to make learning itself into drudgery. I'd greatly prefer that DS6 gain a depth of knowledge and love of learning over speeding through material in some quest for maximizing potential...whatever that means!

    The fact is, kids are natural scientists, and they learn most things best by playing around with them. That takes time to think and some measure of freedom.

    As a side note, if I may be so bold...

    I would suggest that you NOT push to have your child treated as an assistant teacher. Chances are good that this will happen anyway, but it is often not good for a child to be cast in that role. For a natural teacher, it might provide early on-the-job training--as if you need that!--but not everyone is a natural teacher. Many GT kids have no idea how to explain to a struggling student how they arrived at the answer, so it winds up being a frustrating interaction for both kids that leaves bad feelings on the part of the "student" and a nasty superiority complex for the "teacher." What a mess!

    So to wrap up, I'd say that if you only have those two school choices, then I'd probably go with the second, the one more geared to exploration, suppplementing as necessary in the classroom and afterschool. It seems to line up best with your beliefs and seems to me to be best for kids. FWIW...

    I look forward to reading the responses! Thanks for posting this!

    K-
    _________________________
    Kriston

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    #12768 - 03/31/08 11:45 AM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: newtothis]
    Ann Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/15/08
    Posts: 179
    Loc: painting the dining room
    Maybe my mind will change as DS2 gets older. Right now I'm open to exploring all schooling options. I have told DH and my mom that I'd like to find a school that best-suits DS's personality/learning type. That doesn't mean that I don't expect him to be challenged. But challenged at the expense of ____ is a valid question. It would be nice if his (eventual) academic environment includes an environmental/community stewardship component. I'm concerned about DS as a whole person -- not just a kid that performs well on exams.

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    #12770 - 03/31/08 12:12 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: newtothis]
    incogneato Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/25/07
    Posts: 2231
    Loc: up in my head.......
    Hi newtothis,

    It all depends on your child. There's no magic answer. If your kids are like mine, you'll have to try a number of things and see what's right for your child.
    I will say that I have two girls one HG and one HG+. DDHG+ loves to learn and wouldn't think of homework as work at all if it is new and interesting to her. But,there's no way she would do 2 hours of repetitive drills or work she has already mastered. Nor would I think it is appropriate for the school to ask this of her.
    DDHG is not as interested in school work. We let her kind of do her own thing and follow her interests. Both girls are easily operating at 2 years above school grade level or more and pick up concepts so easily. So based on my experience with my HG+ kids, I wouldn't be concerned at all if the curriculum is 2 or more years above grade level, in fact I would think it's a good thing. You could always remove your child if it's not a good fit.
    My biggest concern is having a child sit at school for 5 1/2 hours being exposed to material they have already mastered.
    That's a long time to be bored.
    So the short is, my only goal is to have the kids be happy. So we've asked ourselves, what do they know already? Are they sitting around for 5 whole hours not learning much or anything new? If that's true, does that make them happy or unhappy? What would be the point of sending a kid to school for 5 1/2 hours to learn nothing. We actually had an out of level achievement test administered to our oldest daughter. She scored in the 99th percentile for her grade in every subject. and a minimum of 2 years above grade level across the board. That made us question her grade placement. Luckily the school has responded well and provided her additional challenges so we can say, okay, she is learning on some level and she is happy right now. DD5 had mastered kindergarten goals before she even stepped in the door the first day. She is not happy. The school is working with us currently to help her as well. In both cases we asked them: What is she expected to know to graduate from her current grade and does she know it already? To be fair, we paid to have the achievement test done privately because the school didn't know the answer to that question and I felt it should be our responsibility to provide that info, but some would have asked the school to do it.
    You mentioned you had a really angry frustrated kid. Was that from lack of academic challenge or something else?
    I do think a child can have emotional issues as a result of prolonged understimulation. But is could be something else entirely. It all depends on the child and situation.
    So I think the goal would be to make sure each child has an appropriate education whether they are behind the average or ahead. The question is what is considered appropriate for your child and you would probably be the best person to answer that.

    I

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    #12771 - 03/31/08 12:17 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: incogneato]
    incogneato Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/25/07
    Posts: 2231
    Loc: up in my head.......
    p.s. I would second Krison's recommendation of not letting the school make your child a child teacher. That was the situation for first grade for DD8. In hindsight, that was the worst possible way for them to have handled the situation. I'm still pretty mad about it.

    I

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    #12774 - 03/31/08 01:44 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: incogneato]
    kimck Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/20/07
    Posts: 1134
    I would answer a lot like Kriston. These comments about pushing your child to their greatest potential kind of turn me off. I truly believe children will find their greatest potential if NOT pushed and allowed to learn and grow in whatever way serves them best.

    It really depends on what 2 hours of homework in kindergarten looks like, but it's extremely unlikely to be highly engaging to every child in the class. My 1st grader will happily spend far more than 2 hours researching or learning something of his choosing. But to sit him down nightly with a 2 hour stack of hoops to jump through? Not likely. He regularly reads on his own 2 hours after school or "plays" in his math workbooks without prompting. That being said - we are homeschooling next year because we don't see another option that will make both him and us as parents happy.

    Good luck! I know these are difficult decisions!

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    #12777 - 03/31/08 01:59 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: incogneato]
    st pauli girl Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/29/08
    Posts: 1917
    We are thinking through these same things concerning our DS4, but we don't have the options you have. But I'll throw in my 2 cents anyway. For me, the goal is to have my son learn something new every day and be exposed to challenges so he doesn't become an underachiever. If I had the choice of the accelerated school (working 2 years ahead), we'd definitely go that way. Right now, we're going to let DS play until he's 5, and then we'll work with the public school to see what they can offer in terms of accelerations for academics in K+.

    Is the gifted school for HG kids, or is there a range? I'm going to throw it out there that 2 hours of homework for k might be based on what would take the average student in that class to do. Although I think that much homework for K is absurd, perhaps your child could really do it in 1/2 hour. But if the school is advertising this homework, I'd question the flexibility of this school anyway. It sounds like they have a philosophy they plan to stick to, in the teensy info i have. It seems to me that most kids who are HG or HG+ are better off in a flexible situation, even if not necessarily in a gifted-contained program.

    Good luck!

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    #12780 - 03/31/08 03:00 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: st pauli girl]
    incogneato Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/25/07
    Posts: 2231
    Loc: up in my head.......
    Good point, St. Pauli Girl.

    I'm not a big fan of homework. As mentioned if their learning needs are being met at school, why on earth would they have to do more assigned work for 2 additional hours at home. Kind of defeats the purpose of sending them to school.
    It could be that child A does the homework in 30 minutes and child B takes 2 hours to do the homework. In that case I would investigate if the program is really a good fit for child B.
    Also, as St. Pauli Girl said, flexibility is key.

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    #12781 - 03/31/08 03:09 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: st pauli girl]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Originally Posted By: st pauli girl
    I'm going to throw it out there that 2 hours of homework for k might be based on what would take the average student in that class to do. Although I think that much homework for K is absurd, perhaps your child could really do it in 1/2 hour. But if the school is advertising this homework, I'd question the flexibility of this school anyway.


    I agree strongly with SPG that the homework seems like a badge of honor thing, and that doesn't spell flexibility to me.

    I'd also add that while some HG+ kids breeze through homework/busywork quickly, many do NOT! My DS6 took FOREVER to complete the easiest assignments because he was simply too bored to be bothered. It took us a good hour of my prodding every night to get him to finish his "a is for apple" homework from his age-based 1st grade class, and the homework was minimal: just the stuff he didn't finish during class time (because he was bored with it). It should have taken a few minutes at most, but it was like pulling teeth with him.

    We now cover easily 10x the material at a much harder level in the same amount of time for home school. Easy doesn't always mean quick.

    OTOH, what if the homework is actually hard stuff for your DS? If the average kid takes 2 hours, that means it will take longer for somebody! HG+ kids don't learn everything at the same speedy rate, so chances are there will be at least a time or two when he's the slowpoke. So how much is too much?

    And besides, I have to ask the question the schools always ask us: if the child is in class 7+ hours per day and has MORE schoolwork to do when he gets home, when does he get to be a kid, to pursue his own interests, to read for fun or build with Legos or play kickball, to do his own thing?

    A challenging educational environment is vital, but more material faster is not always better. I think SPG is right: flexibility and responsiveness to the child's individual needs is really vital, and I don't see that with 2 hours of homework and "maximizing potential."

    I have to say, it sounds like a hothousing school to me.
    _________________________
    Kriston

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    #12783 - 03/31/08 03:23 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Kriston]
    Cathy A Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/26/07
    Posts: 1783
    Loc: West coast, USA
    Originally Posted By: Kriston
    I have to say, it sounds like a hothousing school to me.


    You also have to consider the source of your information...sometimes parents who perceive a school as hothousing will exaggerate the amount of homework involved. Was the person who described the school actually a parent of a student there?


    Edited by Cathy A (03/31/08 03:24 PM)

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    #12784 - 03/31/08 03:31 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Cathy A]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Good point, Cathy. Maybe it was a parental badge of honor rather than the school's badge.

    Still, I think that if anyone's kid is doing 2 hours of homework per night, it doesn't bode well...
    _________________________
    Kriston

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    #12785 - 03/31/08 03:43 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: newtothis]
    bianc850a Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/02/07
    Posts: 312
    Loc: California
    Neither of the two schools seem like a good option to me.

    My dd attends a school for the highly gifted. This school is known for its rigorous curriculum and just like the school you mentioned the curriculum is for the most part 2 years ahead.

    However, even there they only start doing homework in 2nd grade and only about 15 min per grade level. There isn't much testing or competition going on either, which is actually a little surprising to me. Kids work cooperatively and this is highly emphasized. When you have a group of HG-PG children in a classroom, there is no need to "push" them academically every single day as you described. To an outsider it may seem like the children are being "pushed" because the things they are doing are so far ahead of their age peers. I can assure you this is not always the case. These children are capable, without having to be pushed, of achieving higher/deeper levels in their day to day learning.

    My dd is doing 4-6 grade math at age 7. I can assure you she is not stressed and probably finds her homework easier than most children doing math at their age level. Achievement testing done shows her at 7-8 grade level, so even here she is working way below what she is capable of. If she was in a regular classroom she would be stressed out and going out of her mind.

    The most important thing to do is to find a good "match" for your child. Look at the children in the "highly gifted" school. Do they look happy? Are they engaged in the learning?

    At the beginning of the school year I asked my dd how was school. Her answer:

    "If I am dreaming, please don't wake me up"

    That to me, is the perfect school.

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    #12787 - 03/31/08 04:08 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: bianc850a]
    Ann Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/15/08
    Posts: 179
    Loc: painting the dining room
    Originally Posted By: bianc850a
    At the beginning of the school year I asked my dd how was school. Her answer:

    "If I am dreaming, please don't wake me up"

    That to me, is the perfect school.


    I agree. I hope my DS is this fortunate. smile

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    #12789 - 03/31/08 04:31 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Ann]
    kimck Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/20/07
    Posts: 1134
    Bianc - that is lovely, and it sounds like you have a great fit there!

    newtothis - it would be interesting to know more about the advanced school you are looking at? Is there an entrance/test score requirement? It would be interesting to know more about the kindergarten homework. Even if K's are working at 2nd or 3rd grade level, I would still think they could get away with very little homework with a bunch of HG children.

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    #12793 - 03/31/08 04:43 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: bianc850a]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Originally Posted By: bianc850a
    Neither of the two schools seem like a good option to me.

    ...

    When you have a group of HG-PG children in a classroom, there is no need to "push" them academically every single day as you described.

    ...

    The most important thing to do is to find a good "match" for your child. Look at the children in the "highly gifted" school. Do they look happy? Are they engaged in the learning?


    Sing it, sister! I think this is important wisdom here!
    _________________________
    Kriston

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    #12794 - 03/31/08 04:59 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: kimck]
    newtothis Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 08/28/07
    Posts: 34
    Great thoughts everyone! On paper Bianc, the HG school sounds like the same one your child is at in terms of selection (it is all HG or PG kids...minimum 145+/- and 99+ on achievement + portfolio and interview...but it's a public school). And, honestly, having seen the older students' classroom (2nd grade)- it looks like they may have a different formula or something for those kids - they looked relaxed and so did the teacher, etc. But the K/1 class is 7 desks lined up against a wall (facing the wall) and the kids work at their desk most of the time, independently, mostly progressing through textbooks and doing writing assignments. The homework amount is not just parent-reported, but teacher reported - she and the coordinator both told me during my tour that a lot a homework is expected (supposed to be about an hour a night, calibrated for these kids, not "average" kids. One K mom reports that her daughter usually takes at least 2 hours). Homework is primarily drill worksheets and writing assignments (and the teacher said she expects that they do every problem in every textbook). They truly want to see how far they can get them. If they were just working 2 (or 4!) grades ahead and they were doing it in a collaborative, fun way, it would be my dream school, but it really is tons of textbook/push through as far as you can/test you for mastery at the end kind of work. I have a DS who thinks that measuring every piece of furniture in the house and adding all the numbers up is a hoot...put those same numbers on a worksheet and tell him to add them and WWIII will break out.

    But, the other school really would be easy peasy for him. And, I will definitely take to heart the advice from several of you on not letting him become a little professor. I am going to explore a skip to 1st in the Learning Immersion program. That might help a lot. Yes, his previously bad preschool behavior was directly correlated to lack of challenge (then again, he was in a school where they had determined that he was "not that bright" and was being poorly parented...the test results were a BIG shock to them!!!). So, it wasn't JUST lack of challenge, but also total failure to try to challenge that caused the other problems.

    I'm really enjoying everyone's take on their own philosophy for educating these little ones...keep them coming!

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    #12796 - 03/31/08 05:05 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: newtothis]
    incogneato Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/25/07
    Posts: 2231
    Loc: up in my head.......
    a skip plus learning immersion, sounds really promising.

    Bianca- your DD's school sounds awesome! She is so fortunate to have such a great educational fit.

    Neato

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    #12799 - 03/31/08 05:12 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: incogneato]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Agreed, 'Neato! Promising, indeed!

    I like that you're not locked into an either/or, false dichotomy, newtothis. Thinking outside of the box is key. If neither option is right, try to find another option.

    Have you see the thing on Hoagies about finding the "least-worst" educational option? It's very useful for turning philosophizing into practice for such decisions. Here's the link: http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/least-worst.htm
    _________________________
    Kriston

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    #12802 - 03/31/08 05:43 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Kriston]
    crisc Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/12/07
    Posts: 485
    Loc: New England
    My ultimate goal for my son is to be challenged and be happy. I want him to work hard and be proud of himself.

    I do not think drilling/excessive homework is the best school option. My son hates repetition and I am sure most GT children are the same way. An ideal school would introduce new topics frequently and once mastered move onto something new.

    I also don't think that helping to teach others is such a bad thing. Sure you don't want your child to be the teacher but I do remember as a child I was always asked to go to the younger grades to help the other students. I loved watching someone else have a light bulb moment based on my instruction. I wouldn't want my child to give up his own learning to teach others but it could be an option for enrichment.
    _________________________
    Crisc

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    #12807 - 03/31/08 06:07 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: crisc]
    skyward Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/23/08
    Posts: 123
    Loc: midwest
    Hi, the seven desks in a row school sounds horrible. The other school sounds kind of cool, although if your child is bored it might not fit. If the teacher in the second school is good at individualizing to the children's interests it might work out ok. Trust your instincts. I think parents see the most accurate picture of their children. I am starting to think mabe there is no ideal situation as we are having similar problems, but if you can find a setting where your child is happy that may be good enough.

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    #12817 - 03/31/08 07:42 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: skyward]
    LMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/14/07
    Posts: 902
    I agree skip and immersion sounds like a wonderful option.

    2 hours of homework is insane and to expect them that they will do every single problem in a textbook shows a complete misunderstanding of gifted education. Doing every single problem must be boring, and honestly pretty awful. Gifted children should be allowed to show mastery and move on. It seems like they have it upside down. This shouldn't be happening in a gifted school.

    2 years ahead is a plus, but 2 hours of homework would be good enough reason to turn the school down. Here I am planning to homeschool DS5 for 1st grade so that he doesn't have to be in school all day long and that was a school without homework. I believe that most HG+ kids need time and freedom to explore their interest.
    _________________________
    LMom

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    #12819 - 03/31/08 07:57 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: skyward]
    questions Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/24/07
    Posts: 864
    All the latest research seems to say that homework is not helpful until I believe sixth grade. That said, the private schools around here love to give homework, and the parents love to talk about how hard their children are working. Personally, I think homework in kindergarten is ridiculous, and 1-2 hours a night is outrageous. I'd say avoid the rigidity of school number one at all costs. Try to find some way to supplement school number two to make it work and allow your child to do what he wants to do after school, whether it's work or play.

    I think the trick is to allow our children to reach their potential, not ensure that they do. I'm still struggling with poor school choices, myself, and have no answers.

    Still, school number one makes me think of all those truly gifted junior athletes who quit their sports once they have decision-making inedpendence, despite international caliber abilities and achievements, because using their talents is no longer fun - too much pressure from parents and coaches, too much drudgery practicing, too much on the line, to enjoy their sport and successes.

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    #12823 - 04/01/08 03:12 AM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: newtothis]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    Originally Posted By: newtothis
    And, there's a chance that the lack of extreme academic challenge will breed the same issues we had in preschool (terrible behavior and a really angry, frustrated kid) - but possibly not because the teachers and principal seem excited by having DS instead of burdened by him...



    Hi NTT,
    Great to hear about you choices and thoughts! Loved reading the advice you've heard so far.
    First of all, I'm totally pleased that you have even these level of choices - wow!

    But yes, past performance is a wonderful guide to the future. If your son was angry at being denied opportunities to learn, then he isn't a candidate for heterogeneous classroom, although having wonderful, flexible teachers may really really help. If there are so wonderful, have you shared your pasted experiences and hear them say - oh - we'll send him to first grade (or second grade )for reading and math if he starts getting antsy. BTW - the 130 program with a gradeskip or two sounds VERY attractive.

    I think your post wasn't long enough. I'd like to know more:

    How did the teacher of the self contained group seem?

    Were the children 'playdate' material?

    How did the material seem in comparison to the material he's using now? It's the end of the year - do you see your child doing the level of work one year from now? (Too bad you don't have a friend in the program who could lend you some worksheets from September to look at!) If you haven't already - buy a few worksheet books from the bookstore and see how he reacts to them at the level the class would be at in September.

    Is your son a slow processor on the IQ tests?

    By IQ score, would he be at the bottom of the class, top of the class, or right in the middle?

    Does your son have the personality that you thing would be inspired by being around a lot of hard working kids? (My 'angry behavior availible' boy does, although I don't!)

    What happens if you try the K program and hate it?

    What's the goal? Happy enough and Challenged enough to learn how to learn. I'm sure that there are some children who would know be happy enough without the kind of K program you've outlined. And the only way to know is to let him have at it! The preschool experience tells me that he needs something 'quite' out of the ordinary! The fact that the school wants to put him there means that it's likely he can handle it. And you can always try it and negotiate with the teacher if it's more pencil work than he can handle, yes? I do suspect that the '2 hour thing' is a bluff, or only for the bottom quarter of the kids, and I don't hold that against them - unless you try it and it makes your child miserable!

    Smiles,
    Grinity



    As an aside: There isn't a school on this earth that I would trust to handle having a young child in the helper role in the classroom. I strongly feel that this is an area should be under your or your partner's personal supervision. Let him tutor afterschool at 'church' or for money or start a lego club, but I just do not have enough faith that any teacher can track a kid of that age thoughtfully in that role.
    _________________________
    Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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    #12829 - 04/01/08 06:15 AM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Dottie]
    incogneato Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/25/07
    Posts: 2231
    Loc: up in my head.......
    Another word of caution concerning the teacher situation. When DD8 was in first grade her teacher approached me and told me she loved working with a little boy with Aspergers and was going to have her work with him as "enrichment"
    After I asked DD about it she told me she adamantly did NOT want to do this, so the teacher was very incorrect about his asumption that she liked it. She's just a big time teacher pleaser and didn't want to say no to him.
    We talked to the teacher and then she worked with a boy with Down's Syndrome which worked out fine for awhile.
    The teacher had good intentions, but I don't think the program was monitored as well as it should have been. She was being hit and pinched by him and felt it was her job to "manage" him.
    Finally they seperated them and DD was sent to work to help the rest of the class learn how to read. To this day she will sum up her entire first grade experience as teaching the other kids how to read. She sat next to her best friend and thought it was her responsibility to teach her how to do math. Now, this child was doing just fine in first grade math. But because the child wasn't doing what DD was able to do, they both incorrectly believed it was DD's math abilities were the norm and friend was going to flunk first grade if DD couldn't teach her to do math like she could. They were whispering about this for weeks and the mom and I found out later, both girls were convinced friend flunked first grade and would have to repeat.
    So, teacher presented the helping other kids idea as "enrichment" and it was a total nightmare. Just because my daughter was ahead intellectually does not been she was developmentally ready to take on that responsibility.
    I was very open to the teaching as enrichment idea when first approached, but now I would never, ever, allow this to occur.

    Neato


    Edited by Mark Dlugosz (04/17/08 11:25 AM)

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    #12831 - 04/01/08 07:04 AM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: incogneato]
    newtothis Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 08/28/07
    Posts: 34
    Wow what great thoughts! I particularly appreciate being called out on my characterization that they are being "pushed." Yes, that is totally my judgement coming out, and that's exactly why this thread is so helpful to me - lots of perspective and food for thought! I think that the characterization from the parents of kids there has definitely affected how I think on this. At least one of them was very clear that this school was not "enjoyable" but was what was needed to push her child to meet her full potential and I think that's what got me headed down the path in the first place about how much to "push." I think you're right that it is VERY possible that this school would be the bees knees for some kids, and I need to really remember that!!!

    In terms of the classroom atmosphere, the kids and teacher all looked exhausted and honestly sort of bored (kids, not teacher on this one) - and this was at 9:45 in the morning. Other parents who have toured report similar observations, so I don't think it was just an "off day." Now, that said, the 2nd grade classroom was a relaxed, happy place - there was a volunteer there doing a lesson on Impressionism and the kids were loving it! The teacher was very short with the kids in the K/1 class; the 2nd grade teacher didn't have that "vibe."

    In terms of the work, I have no doubt that DS could do the work - but, it is extremely heavy on math and writing, and while DS likes math a LOT, it's the practical application that he enjoys - doing lots of problems isn't appealing to him. I saw almost no evidence of science other than a weekly visit to a (totally tricked out!) science lab (and that observation comes from both looking at the schedule for their days and the student portfolios). That clearly changes in 2nd grade because there was lots of science stuff in the classroom.

    Not sure where DS would fall from a score perspective. From an achievement perspective based on what I saw the kids doing (and what parents have told me their kids are doing), I think he'd be right in the middle - trending to the high side in math and the low side on writing. Probably right at the average on reading.

    Ordinarily, we'd be all over the "try it" idea, but we switched him 3 times for preschool and ended up pulling him completely when he was physically assaulted by a teacher whose buttons he pushed one time too many. That's a story for a whole other day, but suffice it to say that it's taken us MONTHS of "homeschool" to "unwind" him from his past school experiences and we don't feel like we can risk that again. The good part of homeschool has been that I've gotten to see up close what he loves/how he love to learn. But, it's put a real strain on everyone else (I have two little ones younger than him and he'll be 5 in May) and he wants to go to "kindergarten" - NOT school, but "kindergarten." He is VERY clear that he thinks there is a distinction...go figure!

    And, we are really lucky to have so many options. Actually, we also have the 'perfect' school here too - in the form of a Charter school for the HG that is AWESOME - exactly what I think we want...a very "regular" school environment that just happens to be geared WAY up in terms of content (my favorite quote from another parent that originally came from a teacher... "K kids should all sing head, shoulders, knees and toes, but here, we just happen to use the parts of the bug instead of the parts of people!"). But, unless I somehow knock out the entire K class 1.5 times over, he'll never get a space because he drew a horribly low lottery number (and siblings took well over 50% of the total K slots).

    So, I think I'm sort of answering my own question as I type the previous paragraph - THAT school is our goal...now we need to figure out the "least worst" of the rest!


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    #12833 - 04/01/08 07:08 AM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Dottie]
    AmyEJ Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/10/08
    Posts: 79
    Loc: Texas
    I'm jumping in late here so I'll just respond to the first post like Dottie.

    I have turned this question over in my head so many times! I still don't know what the exact goal is, but I do want my kids to have good self esteem and be happy while trying to achieve their potential, even if they don't reach it fully right now. For my DD6 that may look different than your DS5, and I suspect that it might. My DD6 would be miserable in a school that required that much homework. When she gets home at 3:20 or so from kindergarten, she's so tired. She enjoys playing with her sister or having some down time, and then several afternoons a week we have other activities like piano or gymnastics. We make time for reading and playing together, then we have dinner, bath, and go to bed. She's still so young, and I imagine that she would quickly become so turned off by the 2 hours of homework (or even 1 hour of homework) that she would dislike school, which is what I don't want at this young of an age. Right now she loves to learn but worksheets are her least favorite activity about school.

    She goes to a regular public school kindergarten class and has loved it this year. I don't think she's reaching her full potential this year, especially in math, but she is learning things that I wouldn't think to teach her (she really enjoyed the Texas unit), and her reading and writing skills have really improved. She reads pretty much everyday in a reading group that's now at 3rd grade level for fiction and at 2nd grade level for nonfiction, so she's with her "peers" from her class for reading. She feels really good about herself and has friends. And for her, who is someone who gets anxious easily and is very self critical, I think a little boost in her confidence has meant more this year than being pushed to her potential. As for next year, though, I think a little more push is needed, so we may have to make some changes. It will all depend on her teacher, though. I'll have to keep my fingers crossed!

    I know you've talked with some other parents at the first school but do you know them well enough to get a feel for how the kids actually like it? Do any of the kids have a similar personality as your DS? How does he like to learn? My DD6 loves doing projects and doing more active learning still (don't we all, though?) as well as the opportunity to explore topics more in depth. Plus, she's a visual-spatial learner. My point is that every child is differnt, and you know your son best. As Grinity asked, how was his processing on the IQ test? My DD6 was about 75%ile on the WPPSI, and it still shows that her hands don't keep up with her ideas. Doing intensive writing right now leads to frustration for her; what's that like for your son?

    Dottie's so right: you need to decide what your goal is for your DS. If it weren't for the homework, the first school may be ideal for him and his personality. And with his ability, it sounds like it may not be so much a question of whether he can do the work but whether he'll continue to enjoy it.

    I hope this helps a little. I know you've already gotten some great advice. I wish you the best through this process!




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    #12835 - 04/01/08 07:14 AM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: newtothis]
    AmyEJ Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/10/08
    Posts: 79
    Loc: Texas
    Originally Posted By: newtothis

    So, I think I'm sort of answering my own question as I type the previous paragraph - THAT school is our goal...now we need to figure out the "least worst" of the rest!



    I was typing my post and I missed this. I'm glad you've answered your own question! Now on to the next part . . . .

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    #12836 - 04/01/08 08:49 AM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: AmyEJ]
    kcab Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/02/07
    Posts: 1603
    Loc: Sparta, apparently
    Interesting question & discussion. For my family, I think our goal for education is that the kids learn enough so that they can navigate their world successfully, can make good decisions, and can continue to learn the things they want or need to know. I'd choose for them to be in a program where they were encouraged to think about the subject matter, maybe come up with their own questions, interpretations, & extensions of the material.

    As far as the best short-term choice, I think the thing to do is remember that it's a short-term choice. Pick the program that looks like it will work best for next year, don't base your decision on something farther away. You might want to check with the schools for any potential changes that may be coming for next year - teachers leave or retire or get moved around - so that you aren't surprised in the fall.
    _________________________
    kcab

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    #12839 - 04/01/08 11:24 AM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: newtothis]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3296
    Loc: California
    From the perspective of school-based education, our goal for our kids (ages 3.5, 6, and 8 as of today) is to give them time to explore the world around them so they can make informed decisions about their futures.

    In practice, this means that we estimate each will finish high school a couple years early or so (there is a local ability-based middle/high school that they'll all attend). Rather than sending them off to college right away, we'll encourage them to take random courses at one of the local community colleges so that they can find fields that interest them --- without the pressure of having to declare a major and move forward in the traditional sense. They'll also be able to take advantage of internships ("Marine Biology in the Bahamas" for example, which my eldest is already talking about) and part-time jobs.

    Could they finish high school sooner? Maybe, but we won't push them. Reaching their full potential will involve a lot more than grinding through a curriculum in the shortest possible length of time. They need time to dream up crazy ideas, get muddy, and do absolutely nothing at all.

    They need to learn about the kind of work that's involved in bringing a crazy idea to fruition --- which means soldiering on when the initial excitement fades and the work becomes drudgery. They need to develop an internal engine that will keep them working on their crazy idea when the smaller minds around them say "you won't be able to do that."

    These qualities are not typically learned in school, and though many are innate, they benefit from nurturing. We address this idea at home by having them work on maths or reading or whatever at a level they're ready for and by pushing them a bit when they say "I can't do this! It's too hard!" Some of my favorite moments are when they struggle and eventually succeed, and I get to say "See! And you thought you couldn't do that!"

    I teach them to say "I can do." and "I did do!"

    We do goofy stuff too: this weekend we're going to isolate DNA from fruit. My kindergartner has been a paleontology fanatic since he was tiny and wants to get DNA from dinosaur soft tissue and clone up a dinosaur (soft dinosaur tissue has been found BTW). So I thought it would be fun to show him real DNA. As a bonus, DNA is gloppy and gross, will have tremendous appeal to two little boys, and will inspire countless booger jokes.

    So would we choose a hardcore program? No. Two hours of nightly homework in kindergarten sounds like a great way to kill a love of learning and squelch imagination. Lots of work does not necessarily mean lots of meaningful learning. When do those kids get to do nothing at all? I expect that a lot of free time is a neurological/developmental need, especially at that age.

    My best ideas always come when I'm rested and my mind has had time to wander through a universe of its own creation.

    Well, that's my two cents on our rambling attempts at educating our kids.


    Val


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    #12847 - 04/01/08 02:49 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Val]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Ooooh! Val! How do you know how to isolate DNA, and can you teach me so I can use it with my kids?

    That sounds like an absolutely AMAZING science experiment!!!
    _________________________
    Kriston

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    #12848 - 04/01/08 03:38 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Kriston]
    questions Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/24/07
    Posts: 864
    Me, too! Maybe another thread?

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    #12853 - 04/01/08 04:53 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: questions]
    bianc850a Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/02/07
    Posts: 312
    Loc: California
    I would love the info too!

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    #12854 - 04/01/08 05:00 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: bianc850a]
    EandCmom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/09/07
    Posts: 516
    Wow!!! I would love this also!

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    #12876 - 04/01/08 07:32 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Kriston]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3296
    Loc: California
    Originally Posted By: Kriston
    Ooooh! Val! How do you know how to isolate DNA, and can you teach me so I can use it with my kids?

    That sounds like an absolutely AMAZING science experiment!!!


    Sure, I'll send it.

    Suggestion: I'll run the procedure on Saturday with my kids, optimize it so that non-scientists will be able to follow it, and then post it here and/or on my website.

    Val

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    #12877 - 04/01/08 08:31 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Val]
    newtothis Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 08/28/07
    Posts: 34
    Awesome! My little paleontologist will be beyond thrilled. We might as well set a place at our dinner table for Dakota, the dinosaur mummy, given how much attention is paid to him around here!

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    #12882 - 04/02/08 05:33 AM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: newtothis]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Thanks, Val! That's wonderful of you to do. laugh
    _________________________
    Kriston

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    #13205 - 04/06/08 07:46 PM Isolating DNA from fruit [Re: Val]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3296
    Loc: California
    Originally Posted By: Val
    [quote=Kriston]Ooooh! Val! How do you know how to isolate DNA, and can you teach me so I can use it with my kids?

    That sounds like an absolutely AMAZING science experiment!!!


    Hi everyone,

    A few days ago, I mentioned that I was going to isolate DNA from fruit with my two sons. Two or three people wanted to try this with their kids and asked if I'd send a protocol.

    I'm happy to report that we isolated DNA from fruit this afternoon. The procedure is fairly simple and is easily doable in a kitchen.

    It requires some specialized materials, like a scale that measures to 0.1 g and pipettes, BUT...

    I'd be happy to put most of what's required together and send a little kit to anyone who's interested and who will reimburse my costs (probably ~$10, no more). I'll write up an explanation about the procedure and step-by step instructions.

    You would need to supply a few things, but most people have them around the house anyway (isopropyl alchol, dishwashing liquid, scissors, paper cups).

    If you're interested, let me know and we can work out details.

    I have a deadline on Friday at noon but will be able to write up the protocol afterwards.

    Val



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    #13206 - 04/06/08 07:51 PM Re: Isolating DNA from fruit [Re: Val]
    bianc850a Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/02/07
    Posts: 312
    Loc: California
    Count me in!!

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    #13208 - 04/06/08 08:16 PM Re: Isolating DNA from fruit [Re: bianc850a]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3296
    Loc: California
    Originally Posted By: bianc850a
    Count me in!!



    Great! Send me your snail mail address privately and I'll try to get the kit out sometime the week of the 14th through 18th.

    I'll want to finesse the protocol.

    Also, let me know if your child knows anything at all about DNA.

    Val

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    #13218 - 04/07/08 06:48 AM Re: Isolating DNA from fruit [Re: Val]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    No rush on the write up, Val. It's just nice of you to do this for us!

    No, DS6 knows nothing about DNA beyond that it is the blueprint of life.

    I'll PM you a shipping address. Thanks!
    _________________________
    Kriston

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    #13281 - 04/07/08 07:07 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: newtothis]
    squirt Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/31/08
    Posts: 323
    Loc: Back in Texas, alas!
    "Yes, his previously bad preschool behavior was directly correlated to lack of challenge"

    How do you know that they were correlated? I'm trying to decide if the angry, rebellious, obnoxious behavior I'm seeing at home (everything is wonderful everywhere else!) is related to boredom/lack of challenge at school. My son is 6 and in 1st grade. He's reading at 4th level and the teacher only lets him read middle 2nd. I don't have any idea what level math he can do but at school he's doing single digit subtraction and addition. Teacher has been unwilling to make ANY changes. My son says that school is "okay". He likes PE, Recess, art, music the best.

    My goal: happy, healthy, responsible, ready to think and tackle what life hands him. He has so many interests but with being in school 7 hours a day and already doing piano, karate, and soccer, we have very little time for play and exploring and learning Roman numerals and stuff that interests him. He also wants to add boy scouts and gymnastics.

    My ideal school would be one that grouped kids together (regardless of age, like the old one-room schoolhouse) and let them learn at their own rate maybe 4 hours a day. Then, we could play and explore and add activities. I know I'm chiming in late here, and I couldn't figure out how to make the quote thing work, so I just copied and pasted. I'm really interested in what made you so sure the behavior was linked to school.

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    #13283 - 04/07/08 07:31 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: squirt]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    In our case, it was really obvious. Our DS6 came home from 1st grade on his first day of full-day school, threw down his backpack and said, "I'm *never* going back! If you make me go back to 1st grade, then I won't go to 2nd grade because it will be even LONGER and MORE BORING!!!"

    He had been sunny and easygoing his whole life, but his personality changed drastically as soon as school started. He began to get in trouble in school, something that our highly rule-oriented son would never have done before; he'd have rather died than get in trouble in preschool or half-day K. His greatest source of pride in K was that his behavior traffic light never went to yellow, let alone red, for the entire year. Missing recess because of bad behavior? That was a serious cry for help! We pulled him out to home school, and his personality returned to pleasant almost immediately. It was like magic!

    Basically, if the challenge increases and the behavior improves, you know that there's a direct correlation.
    _________________________
    Kriston

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    #13285 - 04/07/08 08:43 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Kriston]
    cym Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/01/06
    Posts: 865
    Loc: southwest
    happy kids, inspired with a lifelong love of learning, interesting, well-rounded individuals, caring of others and the world around them, opening opportunities for them to pursue their passions or even experiment with topics of interest. Probably a hundred other general goals.

    I make up specific goals for each kid each semester. As they get into high school, goals seem to focus more on college opportunities (and soon I'll be thinking merit scholar stuff). I know this sounds awful, but once we found out how bright the boys were, we discussed the facts of cash. 4 boys & college is a lot. I haven't thought it through but on some level there's the goal of getting them a great college education for a great price. Another goal as they get into middle school age/maturity is maximizing interaction with true peers (whether it's talent search summer institutes, great gifted schools that some of you have available, YS Summit, etc.) so they can have intellectual discourses that I think is so important in building character and personality (or at least it was to me). Less lofty than true challenge, is that I want them to be placed in classes that aren't a waste of time, don't turn them off to school, make them obnoxious, moody teenagers, because I really think they behave better when they're thrilled by something educational (may be associated with self esteem?).

    Great topic--sorry I'm in such a rush.

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    #13286 - 04/07/08 09:17 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: squirt]
    alee31 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 11/02/07
    Posts: 37
    Loc: Texas
    Originally Posted By: squirt
    "Yes, his previously bad preschool behavior was directly correlated to lack of challenge"

    How do you know that they were correlated?


    We suspected the same type of problem with our son, who was 4 at the time. He attended a Montessori program at 3, and returned to the same classroom at 4. The first year was fantastic. He went usually 3 days a week and loved it. But the second year was not good at all. Every time I picked him up he seemed depressed, sad, frustrated. I could never put my finger on it for a few months, but I could clearly see it was related to school. My main concern was that he had lost his little "spark" and no longer seemed interested in learning. I would ask leading questions which required some sort of explanation or detailed answers, which he would answer quite well for a 4 year old. Still couldn't figure it out. Then we had a fall conference with the teacher. She basically told us he was a huge behavior problem, was the "class clown," was "completely unproductive" and was a "borderline significant problem."

    We were STUNNED. Our child has been very easy to parent until this point. He is happy, confident, friendly, easy-going, and very flexible. We have never had behavior issues, and we did not see ANY of this at home. Furthermore, the teacher went on to imply that he was autistic or had some other developmental issues.

    We withdrew him as soon as we could, a few weeks later. After what I would call a period to unwind, he finally returned to himself. We decided to gently ease into homeschooling, and signed him up for a local mother's day out program two half-days a week for some old-fashioned play time. It was a great combination. His little spark returned, and now he is the happy child I once knew.

    In the midst of our struggles, we decided to pursue formal testing. It was then that we discovered that our "bright" four year old was functioning at the level of an eight year old in regards to IQ (SB5). After meeting with a psychologist several times and pursuing other achievement testing, as well, we realized he was probably completely bored in a classroom that he was in last year, even though he should have been exposed to more "advanced" subject matter. He likely mastered everything available to him last year as the youngest in a 3/4/5 class and was simply ready to move on.

    It was a huge wake-up call for us. Although it was a rough couple of months, we are grateful for the experience. We knew he was an intelligent child, but we did not just how far ahead of the curve he really is.

    It was very clear to us that his behaviors were directly correlated with boredom and a complete lack of challenge in his school environment.

    Now we are doing well and looking forward to homeschooling, which is the only option we can see that is appropriate for our area. There is not a school around that will allow him to skip kinder/first grade to jump into second or third, which is where he would be more appropriately placed. We gave up the battle and decided to homeschool instead.

    Good luck to you. I know it's tough. We've been there and it was a very stressful time.

    Just keep listening to that mother's intution. smile I'm learning more and more to trust my own.

    Warm regards,
    Allison

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    #13288 - 04/08/08 05:06 AM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: squirt]
    Dazed&Confuzed Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/05/08
    Posts: 1815
    [quote=squirt]"Yes, his previously bad preschool behavior was directly correlated to lack of challenge"

    How do you know that they were correlated? I'm trying to decide if the angry, rebellious, obnoxious behavior I'm seeing at home (everything is wonderful everywhere else!) is related to boredom/lack of challenge at school. My son is 6 and in 1st grade. He's reading at 4th level and the teacher only lets him read middle 2nd. I don't have any idea what level math he can do but at school he's doing single digit subtraction and addition. Teacher has been unwilling to make ANY changes. My son says that school is "okay". He likes PE, Recess, art, music the best.

    My goal: happy, healthy, responsible, ready to think and tackle what life hands him. He has so many interests but with being in school 7 hours a day and already doing piano, karate, and soccer, we have very little time for play and exploring and learning Roman numerals and stuff that interests him. He also wants to add boy scouts and gymnastics.
    quote]

    OK, are we sharing the same kid? Except mine is 7yrs old in 2nd grade. I'm trying to decide the same thing. I don't know why it's so hard to trust my instincts on this one - I guess I fear being one of those parents who thinks her child is so smart etc...what if it's just poor behavior due to poor parenting? Not talking about you Squirt, referring to myself.

    I figure my big test will be this summer....if the spark and love of learning returns, I'll know it was school. At that point I'll decide about HSing.

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    #13289 - 04/08/08 05:27 AM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Dazed&Confuzed]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    I'm not going back to look, so maybe I'm remembering incorrectly, but didn't you have testing done, Dazed? Weren't the scores quite high?

    A test is just a child's performance on one test on one day, but when combined with other hints like what you have observed and school behavior, it adds up to a more complete picture of where the child is operating on that Bell Curve.

    I suspect that what you're experiencing, Dazed, is what we around here call "GT denial." It's the feeling that your child doesn't seem like one of "those" outrageously smart kids you see on the news or on Oprah, so there must be some mistake, ala "I knew he was a bright kid, but something must be wrong with his scores on the achievement test; they were much higher than I expected!"

    But HG+ kids come in all flavors, and some are more stealthy about their abilities than others. Especially if you come from a GT family, what's "normal" to you may well be HG+!

    Hang in there, and you will get past that dreaded GT denial (well, mostly, at least). I still wrestle with it some days, but I'm so much less deeply in denial than I was when this journey started for us! Scores on tests help. Reading about HG+ kids helps. Talking and reading this forum helps.
    _________________________
    Kriston

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    #13299 - 04/08/08 10:47 AM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: squirt]
    LMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/14/07
    Posts: 902
    Originally Posted By: squirt

    My ideal school would be one that grouped kids together (regardless of age, like the old one-room schoolhouse) and let them learn at their own rate maybe 4 hours a day. Then, we could play and explore and add activities.


    Wouldn't that be fantastic? No age based classrooms and a half a day schedule? Why do people think that spending 7 hours at school is the way to go? Sometimes less is more.
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    #13307 - 04/08/08 01:25 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Kriston]
    alee31 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 11/02/07
    Posts: 37
    Loc: Texas
    Originally Posted By: Kriston
    I suspect that what you're experiencing, Dazed, is what we around here call "GT denial."


    This was me a few months ago!!

    I think it takes a little while to come out of it sometimes. Even after the scores we would say, "Well, maybe he'll still love kindergarten." And then we'd sort of slap ourselves in the face and wake up a bit and realize how unfair that would be to DS5.


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    #13326 - 04/08/08 03:49 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Kriston]
    Dazed&Confuzed Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/05/08
    Posts: 1815
    Kriston, I've read, and re-read, and re-read your post today. Yes he had the WISCIV. Yes VCI was 148. But then I started thinking "so he knows a bunch of words, what does it mean?" A friend said that the psych said something like "He takes in information like a 6th grader but the pace of a 2nd grade classroom." So I'm mulling over that. lol. Well Dh and I are both scientists and DS's passion is science and math so I guess the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.

    EXACTLY! I guess I have a picture in my mind of what a HG child is like, and it's not him lol. I know he's advanced and can make connections and deal with abstract topics in chemistry and physics quite well. But how much is exposure and how much is *giftedness* I don't know.

    Also, I don't know that I see much changing at school. I think alot of it is his personality. School is too structured. Several have commented that I make home too exciting w/ doing chemistry experiments, physics experiments, history (which he asks to return to but w/ school and a 4.5yr old and 15mth old I can't seem to find the time), LEGO Mindstorms, teaching him math at his level....who would want to go to school?


    I guess the first step is admitting we have a problem.....


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    #13330 - 04/08/08 04:28 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Dazed&Confuzed]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    ROFL! So true!

    If you're already admitting the problem, then you're a very quick learner. I saw DS6's achievement test scores about 7 months ago now, he's had an IQ test that confirmed the scores, he's even been admitted to DYS, yet I still have days when I think..."Really? Not MG? Huh."

    laugh
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    #13336 - 04/08/08 04:45 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Dottie]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    And BTW, if you expose your average ND (normal devlopment) pre-K to 2nd grade child to physics and math, they will not pick up on most of it. So if you expose a child to it and they get it, it's GTness.

    GTness is not about *what* a child knows, its about *how* they learn: and in general terms that's quickly, with a greater depth of understanding, with less repetition of concepts, and with greater joy than an ND child. If your child is a learning machine and you can't keep up with his drive to learn, or if he's obsessed with a topic to the point that he probably knows more than some (adult) experts in the field, it's GTness.

    Denial ain't just a river in Egypt, Dazed! wink
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    #13346 - 04/08/08 05:26 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Kriston]
    incogneato Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/25/07
    Posts: 2231
    Loc: up in my head.......
    Yeah, Dazed, I would never think that a child isn't HG unless they had a certain across the board FSIQ. I just don't think that's realistic.
    It's funny, cause I stink at math calculation, but I'm exceptionally competent in a few other areas. I have an engineer friend and I think she's the smart one. She looks at some other things that I can do more easily and suddenly, no I'm the smart one in her view.
    It's so easy to look at what we aren't exceptional at and think, we'll I'm not so great. But I think we really outta change the lens with which we view some of those things.
    The simple fact is VCI or 148 is remarkable and exceptional. You have permission to be assertive to have your son's learning needs met at his strengths, not shortchanged on the whole kit and caboodle because a person might like to point out a lower score on one test.

    Not too harsh I hope?

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    #13349 - 04/08/08 05:38 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: incogneato]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    I don't think that's harsh, 'Neato. Sounds like tough love! :p
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    #13351 - 04/08/08 05:43 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Kriston]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Oh, one clarification, I wrote:

    Originally Posted By: Kriston
    So if you expose a child to it and they get it, it's GTness.


    I should add the caveat that if you hothouse children, you can teach them things they wouldn't otherwise learn. But I assume that's not what you mean, and it's certainly not what I mean, by the word "expose." I assume we both mean that you talk about stuff that interests you as it comes up, and follow up when your child loves it. Child driven learning, not pushy parenting.

    Just wanted to be clear! smile
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    #13352 - 04/08/08 05:47 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Kriston]
    Dazed&Confuzed Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/05/08
    Posts: 1815
    Originally Posted By: Kriston

    Denial ain't just a river in Egypt, Dazed! wink
    laugh I love it!!!!

    Yes, Dottie has been trying to convince me of all this. smile

    I checked out the book for gifted kids to read about being gifted...he did the checklist and checked 8/10 items. I had such a hard time giving him that book. I'm not sure why b/c I have several friends with gifted kids. Perhaps it's the realization that he's not your average kid and school is just not working out for him. Our only other option is HSing as the private schools are very expensive and i'm not sure they are any better and would involve 2hrs in the car each day. But I have a 15mth old and a rising Ker and a DH who works very long hours .... but it's definitely on the front burner at this point.

    Thank you everyone for your support! It means a great deal. You've made me feel welcome in a very short period of time.


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    #13357 - 04/08/08 06:07 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Dazed&Confuzed]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Welcome to the second stage of GT denial: grieving for the education that you dreamed of that was not to be.

    You thought your child was bright and curious, but still within normal parameters, so you figured he'd be a great success within the system, right?

    Finding out that's not the way things are and that you've got a tough row to hoe to get an education for this child, an education that will teach him the values that matter to you--things like feelings of self-worth without excessive pride, the importance of persistance and teamwork, and loads of things that have nothing to do with academics--plus the academics, is a real shock.

    Grieve for it. It's the loss of the reality you were expecting, and that's going to be at least a little hard. But get over it as fast as you can. Until you get over the grief, it's hard to start taking action to make the situation better, and that's the only way to help your child. Ultimately, you have to get out of your own head and into making changes.

    And congrats! You got to step 2 WAY faster than I did. smile Nice work!
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    #13369 - 04/08/08 06:57 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Kriston]
    Dazed&Confuzed Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/05/08
    Posts: 1815
    Incogneato: nope not too harsh! smile

    Kriston - total child-led learning. I can't force anything on my stubborn kid if I wanted to. If he's not interested, it ain't happening.

    To give an example. DH thought I was setting the TIVO to record WWII documentaries. I thought he was doing it. DS, then 6yrs old, was waking up early, scanning the TIVO guide and setting up shows on History channel and military channel and setting them to record. He decided he wanted to learn about history. ONe day he sat down and read the Usborne History Encyclopedia from the end all the way to Roman times. He came up with this joke. "when does a tortoise have more than 4 legs? WHen it's a Roman tortoise."

    He watches NOVA Science Now, any NOVA show, loves anything about Einstein, Big Bang theory, neutrinos, Ancient History ... I don't think you can hot-science a love of those topics in a 5yr+ old.

    For his science fair project this year, I thought he'd do something fairly typical, mainly a demonstration. Nope. He came up with the question "Does hot water cool down at the same rate as cold water heats up." he used our temp sensors with our LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT brick and wrote the program to monitor the temp and did the experiment. Now, he's only 7 so we did help him export the data to Excel and graph but he drew his own conclusions from the graph. DH did alter the graph to include only the temps they had in common which altered the conclusion and showed that his hypothesis was correct. My FIL (also a Ph.D. in chem eng) explained it to DS in engineering terms and I was shocked that the next day, the next week even, DS could explain. He could also extend it by drawing graphs to show what it would look like at different temps and why. I guess it's those types of things I see with him that make me go WOW rather than an IQ test. Sadly though, he doesn't get this level of creative thinking at school nor do we have time to do it at home. tonight he took 2hrs to do homework which should have taken him 20min. SIGH......

    He wants to do a K'nex club which will be run by parents and engineers/scientists in the area. He'll be the youngest I think but it'll be great for him to be around older kids that share his passion for science/engineering. He'll have to do much better on his homework though to continue....

    anyhow I'm having a brain dump....sorry.....

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    #13380 - 04/09/08 06:09 AM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Dazed&Confuzed]
    squirt Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/31/08
    Posts: 323
    Loc: Back in Texas, alas!
    [/quote] OK, are we sharing the same kid? Except mine is 7yrs old in 2nd grade. I'm trying to decide the same thing. I don't know why it's so hard to trust my instincts on this one - I guess I fear being one of those parents who thinks her child is so smart etc...what if it's just poor behavior due to poor parenting? Not talking about you Squirt, referring to myself.

    I figure my big test will be this summer....if the spark and love of learning returns, I'll know it was school. At that point I'll decide about HSing. [/quote]

    I also continually worry that is is poor parenting. Maybe we do have the same kids. Nice to know, though, that someone else is going through the same thing. Sometimes I wonder if he's just a spoiled brat, especially since he is an only child. Then, I remember how well behaved he is at other people's houses and get confused. I'm always hearing things like "he's such a little gentleman", "he's so well behaved", "he's so polite and cooperative". Wait, are they getting the same kid I send over to them? I know kids are always better behaved for others than for parents, but still, it makes me wonder.

    Mine loves history and science. He wouldn't enter the science fair, though, because he would have had to write a report and conclusions. His question "do all thicknesses of paper and plastic bags make the same kind of noise when popped". He wanted to build a robot to do the bag-popping for him. But, after I told him he had to write a report, he completely refused to even talk about it. We don't get the history channel but I sometimes wish we did. Not that he has any time to watch it - like you said, there's just no time after school and other activities to get to things. Wish the school would be more flexible about tardies and absences if I documented for them that we were actually learning at home. Then, I could take him out a couple of mornings a week and do stuff that interests him. I know, homeschoolers, I know! I have a friend who homeschools and loves it. My husband is completely opposed to me doing it. I seem always to get on here and ramble.


    Edited by squirt (04/09/08 06:17 AM)
    Edit Reason: added more (always more)

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    #13381 - 04/09/08 06:13 AM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Dazed&Confuzed]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    DS6 spends MUCH longer on "boring" work that's too easy for him than he spends on challenging work. That's not unusual at all for HG+ kids. It's a way of going on strike for work that is suited to them. If I may add my $.02, I'm not sure I'd keep your DS out of something like K'nex club over homework, though I realize that position may be controversial. Maybe make him late for it if homework isn't done, but the club could be the sort of thing that keeps him engaged. It may be something he really needs, and it might even spur an improved attitude toward the homework.

    Just to clarify, I didn't think you were hothousing your child. smile My caveat was philosophical really, in that I made a blanket statement I needed to qualify for clarity, but it certainly wasn't directed at you. If it led to a helpful brain dump for you, though, then I'm glad I added the caveat! laugh

    BTW, we need to get our kids together. Your DS's favorite topics are some of the same ones that my DS enjoys learning about. grin
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    #13408 - 04/09/08 10:41 AM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Kriston]
    newtothis Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 08/28/07
    Posts: 34
    I am loving all of these stories! What a great group this continues to be!

    alle31...our experiences with Montessori sound IDENTICAL. In fact, "unwind" is also the word I use to describe what ours did when we finally got him out of there.

    It's bad that so many are struggling with the same questions (because I know how incredibly stressful they are to consider!) but it's so refreshing to know we aren't alone - and it's nice not to feel totally alone in the journey!

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    #13417 - 04/09/08 11:51 AM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: Kriston]
    Dazed&Confuzed Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/05/08
    Posts: 1815
    Kriston - I didn't take it personally. I loved reading the Hot-housing thread b/c it made me self-refective...always a good thing to question oneself and one's motives.

    Yes, I agree with you about the K'nex. He will definitely have to get the work done before we leave though or at least half of it. He has soccer practice on Thursday evenings. We've never been out 2 nights/week so he'll have to learn to manage his time better if he's going to do these things.

    I have an almost 5yr old who did all of RightStart level A in about 5months. He loved it! WOuld dance up and down when I said yes to doing math. He's now almost half way through RightStart Level B which is 1st/2nd grade. I ask myself why do it? But he's ready, he enjoys it. My 7.5yr old started to hate math in K b/c he wasn't learning anything and that that was all there was to math. He got into his head that math was boring, he wasn't good at it (B/c he couldn't go further figuring things out on his own) so I'm taking a different stance w/ my 2nd son. Of course, this will create other problems and likely get me labeled as a hot-housing parent w/ the school.

    Also, we also use Everyday Math and I just don't feel comfortable leaving all math instruction to the school.


    Edited by Dazed&Confuzed (04/09/08 03:12 PM)

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    #13427 - 04/09/08 03:11 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: newtothis]
    alee31 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 11/02/07
    Posts: 37
    Loc: Texas
    Originally Posted By: newtothis
    I am loving all of these stories! What a great group this continues to be!

    It's bad that so many are struggling with the same questions (because I know how incredibly stressful they are to consider!) but it's so refreshing to know we aren't alone - and it's nice not to feel totally alone in the journey!


    Can I just say AMEN?!! I am so grateful to this group - knowing there are others with the same kind of child as mine has been a huge, huge help to me and my husband.

    Especially after today...

    I was at a Mothers of Preschoolers meeting, sitting around a table of 8 or so women, when the inevitable discussion began. "So, where's DS going to kindergarten next year?" I briefly responded, "Well, after much consideration, we've decided to homeschool." Several people, said, "Cool!" or, "You're braver than I am!" or other polite comments.

    However, one of DS5's teachers at our church was in the group, and began discussing/asking questions about him, specifically. "How did you teach him to read so well?!!" I responded, "We just did what most parents do, but it seemed to happen spontaneously. We really can't explain." That led into more and more questions about his specific abilities.

    While I tried to answer respectfully, I focused on keeping my answers vague and brief. The discussion turned toward how the local schools will not be able to serve his specific needs, and why we ultimately are choosing to homeschool.

    A former elementary teacher sitting next to me, who has supervised education students at the local university, also with a child about the same age as mine :), immediately became hostile and defensive. "Actually, it's the kids in the MIDDLE who are overlooked in the schools. Teachers are REQUIRED to focus on special ed kids and gifted kids. It's the LAW." She then began some rather hostile questioning of what schools we had tried, which schools we had talked to that would not allow acceleration, etc. etc. VERY defensive in general regarding how she was "required" to pay attention to gifted kids or she would be "in trouble legally." Almost as if to say, "How could you dare question that I'm not capable of teaching your child?!"

    YIKES. I was SO uncomfortable...wanting to avoid the conversation all together, but couldn't really do it in the setting I was in.

    What a relief to have this forum, with such beautiful open minds and intolerance for such hostility. smile

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    #13429 - 04/09/08 04:01 PM Re: What IS the goal?? [Re: alee31]
    kcab Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/02/07
    Posts: 1603
    Loc: Sparta, apparently
    Ugh. It's so hard to figure out how to negotiate through that kind of discussion. I can just imagine a couple of my friends launching off that way too. So sorry you had to listen to it today.
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    #13431 - 04/09/08 04:52 PM Re: What IS the goal??/Silent E followup [Re: kcab]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3296
    Loc: California
    Originally Posted By: kcab
    Ugh. It's so hard to figure out how to negotiate through that kind of discussion. I can just imagine a couple of my friends launching off that way too. So sorry you had to listen to it today.


    Oh boy. I had one of those moments recently and made a spontaneous utterance...you all be the judges.

    Some of you may recall that my son's K teacher told me that "silent E can be damaging at this age" when I asked if she could help him with his reading. This was her explanation for why he has to do B is for Boy with everyone else.

    Our kids will go to a small ability-grouped school next year. I was talking to the *other* K teacher at a conference and she said it was too bad we won't be returning the school next year. Without thinking, I mentioned the other teacher's remark. She rolled her eyes and then I just blurted out that the Silent E stuff was a load of sh*t and it was the straw that broke the camel's back as far as our decision was concerned.

    Ahem.

    Well, it felt good, and she's pretty cool!

    Val


    Edited by Val (04/09/08 04:53 PM)

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    #13432 - 04/09/08 05:00 PM Re: What IS the goal??/Silent E followup [Re: Val]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Originally Posted By: alee31
    A former elementary teacher sitting next to me...immediately became hostile and defensive. "Actually, it's the kids in the MIDDLE who are overlooked in the schools. Teachers are REQUIRED to focus on special ed kids and gifted kids. It's the LAW." She then began some rather hostile questioning of what schools we had tried, which schools we had talked to that would not allow acceleration, etc. etc. VERY defensive in general regarding how she was "required" to pay attention to gifted kids or she would be "in trouble legally." Almost as if to say, "How could you dare question that I'm not capable of teaching your child?!"

    YIKES. I was SO uncomfortable...wanting to avoid the conversation all together, but couldn't really do it in the setting I was in.


    I'm sorry. I had the same experience with a friend who is a former teacher. I have come to the conclusion that she took our family's decision very personally. Happily, most people don't.

    My "friend" went so far as to say that there's nothing wrong with a child being bored for 2 years. My conclusion is that people tend to say dumb things when they don't know what they're talking about. (I'm guilty of it, too, I know!) I can't imagine my friend really believes that 2 years of learning zilch is okay. But even if she really does, it's because she has no concept of GTness. It's just foreign to her.

    How that teacher you spoke with came up with her questionable legal understanding, I don't know, but she clearly just doesn't get it.

    Oh, and one of the big reasons we pulled DS6 out of 1st grade was because his 1st grade teacher didn't just imply, she flat out stated that she felt I lacked confidence in her teaching ability, though I had been playing "team" to the best of my ability. That teacher probably sounded to you like she meant that because she DID mean that! I do sympathize, because it must be challenging to have someone questioning--even gently!--how you're doing your job. But while it's their job, they're our kids! Teachers who don't get that worry me.

    Hang in there. I'm sorry it was a rough day for you! frown
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    #13441 - 04/09/08 07:16 PM Re: What IS the goal??/Silent E followup [Re: Kriston]
    incogneato Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/25/07
    Posts: 2231
    Loc: up in my head.......
    WHAT!!!!!! She is REQUIRED to pay special attention to the gifted kids or I could sue her !!!!!!!!!!!

    Where do you live, I'm Moving!!!!!!

    Illinois legislature built 5 million dollars into the budget specifically for gifted education. THEN, they just arbitrarily yanked it!

    Illinois stinks!

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    #13449 - 04/09/08 10:01 PM Re: What IS the goal??/Silent E followup [Re: incogneato]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Must be all those smelly slaughterhouses. It's hard to live in the hog butchering capital of the world!

    <evil grin>
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    #13517 - 04/10/08 03:21 PM Re: What IS the goal??/Silent E followup [Re: Dottie]
    alee31 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 11/02/07
    Posts: 37
    Loc: Texas
    Originally Posted By: Dottie
    I personally hate the "middle" argument, because school as-is is designed for them!


    Tell me about it! I thought this was universal knowledge, especially for educators!

    Thanks for your kind words, everyone. I feel hugged. smile

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