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    #245412 - 05/07/19 12:30 PM Kindergarten
    millersb02 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 04/16/19
    Posts: 6
    Hi,

    I have a five year old son who has many gifted traits. I haven't had him tested, but I believe he is probably gifted. The latest example is that he has figured out the concept of multiplication all on his own. And asks me lots of questions about multiplication.

    We want to enroll him in public kindergarten for the fall.

    I just started the process, but I definitely have some concerns. My guess is that he's about 2 years ahead academically. He's not always keen on showing anyone what he's capable of. At times he can be very defiant. I keep him busy and learning at home, and when I don't he can be very mischievous. He's an intense kid that is often "too much" for every one else around him. (For the most part I think this all sounds like a gifted traits, but let me know if that doesn't sound right).

    I want to ask for ideas/advice regarding two things:

    1) I think I probably need to tell the school/teacher that I suspect he's above grade level. I mostly think this is important because he tends to cause trouble when he's not challenged regularly. Who do I approach? How do I do this? The school has a gifted program with staff. They can test early, but don't offer any special programming until 3rd grade.

    2) This school gives me a choice between half and whole day kindergarten. I'm on the fence. More academic rigor would be good for him. But, he's doing easy work all day he will drive all of the adults nuts and we wouldn't have much time outside of school to follow his interests/keep him challenged. Half day could give me time to work with him... But, I also have a younger son that I'd like to have time with to explore his interests.

    p.s. We had a bad start with preschool at almost 4 years old. He acted nuts at school and the teachers kept separating him from students to maintain control. That was when I first saw what his peers were doing and realized he was ahead academically. We pulled him out and I've been doing preschool (which is a mash up of preschool/kindergarten/first grade stuff) at home. But, now I'm definitely nervous about school for him.

    Thanks,
    -Sarah

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    #245716 - 06/20/19 01:05 PM Re: Kindergarten [Re: millersb02]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3448
    Welcome!

    Sometimes it takes a few days for the posts of first-time posters to show up. Our apologies for not noticing this earlier.

    To your specific questions:
    1. Given that the school has a program for identified gifted, it would be reasonable to put him on their radar, with very specific, skill-based descriptions of his current performance level and behavioral traits that you suspect to be gifted-related. (E.g., he adds and subtracts fluently to 100+, he figured out multiplication by repeated addition on his own, he can read Amelia Bedelia or Frog and Toad independently. He is better able to use his self-management skills when he is intellectually or creatively engaged by appropriately challenging tasks, such as...)

    2. This is very much family- and child-dependent, but my personal opinion is that spending a half-day in work far below his true instructional level is better than spending a full day with such work. And you'll still have the half-day to spend one-on-one with your younger child. Other within-child factors can moderate this, though, as some children are so socially motivated that they are willing to tolerate the lack of intellectual stimulation for the sake of the social stimulation.

    3. You didn't ask this question, but given the success you've had with homeschooling him for the preschool years, is that something you've considered (or are in a position to consider) continuing into kindergarten?

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    #245717 - 06/20/19 01:30 PM Re: Kindergarten [Re: millersb02]
    Portia Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/17/13
    Posts: 1760
    Thank you for finding this aeh.

    Welcome! Aeh has given you wonderful advice (he's known for wonderful advice). You are right to be concerned and your children are fortunate to have you on their side as you research your options.

    In addition to the information provided above, give yourself permission to know what is working/not-working for your child. So many parents know something is not working and keep trying to make it fit. You saw this in pre-school. You may see it again. Have a plan in place for what you want to do to help him. As was suggested, it sounds like you have done wonderfully homeschooling already.

    I would also tend to lean towards a half-day. Again, best determined by your specific goals for your specific child.

    Our experience - we did not have the half day option. DS was incredibly creative, could read, several years ahead academically, but far behind socially. We enrolled him into a program that individualized the learning plans. Turns out not so much. The academics was a horrible match, but there was a lot he learned socially. We decided K was the "school" experience. We "homeschooled" an art class the summer prior. Then we let DS voice his opinion as to what worked and what did not. He hated the academic match, he loved the academic match in our homeschool. However, he loved the social life at school and hated it at home. So when we decided to homeschool, we focused on social activities. This was the right balance for him and we have homeschooled since. Each semester, we rebalance. What works, what doesn't? When do we decide to ditch what isn't? Those types of things.

    As for time with your younger child, DS never really napped. By age 3, he had project time on his own to work on whatever he wanted. He loved this time. He read books, wrote books, created games, played legos, puzzles, etc. By the time he was in K, that time had built up to 2 hours. When we started homeschooling, one of the top criteria was to keep the 2 hour project time in place. Now, at the end of elementary level, the project time has a more formalized structure.

    You are asking the right questions. Keep asking. Give yourself permission to change the current status and to go in a different direction than most others if needed.

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    #245718 - 06/20/19 02:07 PM Re: Kindergarten [Re: millersb02]
    Z7E Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 01/31/19
    Posts: 4
    Have you considered acceleration into 1st grade? The school may accommodate such a request based on assessment results. My children were accelerated into K at 4, and despite challenges in social interactions due to that age gap, it was the right decision for them in hindsight.

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    #245724 - 06/21/19 04:05 PM Re: Kindergarten [Re: millersb02]
    philly103 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/02/17
    Posts: 66
    Aeh and

    I'll offer my opinions since I went through something very similar when thinking about pre-k. We had a lot of the same concerns.

    1) Definitely tell them how advanced he is. We started at the top (curriculum administrators) and gradually worked down to the teachers. Give them concrete examples. If you have things from home, bring them in to show them. I found that teachers and administrators responded better to showing them something my son could do compared to simply telling them.

    That said, if they say they can differentiate for your son then definitely ask for examples of how they would do that. When we were looking for pre-k's that was always the make or break question. I felt that the schools who genuinely knew how to deal with a gifted kid of that age could give you off the cuff examples or refer you to someone who could. The schools that didn't know how, they frequently told us "Oh, don't worry we have lots of kids like that in our school..."

    2) I agree with Aeh, if they can't really do exactly what he needs then half-day is better. When we first ran into this problem, I took my son out of the daycare and my wife and I taught him from home. We sent him back 3 days a week for 6 months before pre-k because we wanted him to get familiar with the group setting again. We both felt it ended up being a tremendous waste of time. There was some socializing skills which were valuable but he stagnated everywhere else (we just didn't want to turn his time home into catch up sessions).

    I realize that it's anecdotal but I hope it adds some value.

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    #245726 - 06/21/19 06:59 PM Re: Kindergarten [Re: millersb02]
    puffin Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/11/12
    Posts: 2012
    Are you able to continue to stay at home in the medium term? My experience is from it not working but if I put ds10 back in school we will set down and write clear fail criteria that will result in going back to homeschooling. It is so easy to keep hoping things will get better and hoping the school will help while all the time the child's mental health gets worse. And half day would be great but what does half day mean? Get details.

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    #245727 - 06/21/19 08:27 PM Re: Kindergarten [Re: millersb02]
    Nolepharm Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 01/31/17
    Posts: 25
    Loc: Florida
    I had many similar concerns when my (now 7 year old) son was heading to kindergarten. Our approach was to pursue a school that valued character development and artistic expression above academic rigor. His kindergarten/first grade teacher (they do 2 year loops) didnít focus much or differentiate in his academic strengths, but she did absolute wonders for him in his social skills and emotional control.
    As our son made social/emotional progress, we would slowly advocate for more challenging academics. It is very easy to get caught up in the amazing things your child can do, and want to race them ahead even further. Early elementary, at least in my opinion, is a time to build that solid foundation of character. There is plenty of time ahead to adjust and accelerate. Now, my child may have needed more help in social skills than yours.
    Progress in advocacy has felt very slow. I have spent many many hours wondering if public school is the right fit for my son. In our case, taking it slow has been a giant help. He has had time to develop, to gain a love for sports and acting, and to form friendships. Going into 3rd now, and the school will pull him into 5th grade for math and leave him with his peers for the rest.
    As for your specific questions:
    1) definitely speak with the teacher. Donít be surprised if they donít find it as impressive as you do. There are many things a teacher will be looking to develop, and math is pretty low on their list. Gentle advocacy and supplement material at home.
    2). Trust your instincts on what would work best for your children. Not necessarily what is best for them today, but try to Take the long view of what makes them the best adult version

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    #245728 - 06/22/19 03:47 AM Re: Kindergarten [Re: Nolepharm]
    Platypus101 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/01/14
    Posts: 657
    Loc: Canada
    Originally Posted By: Nolepharm
    His kindergarten/first grade teacher didnít focus much or differentiate in his academic strengths, but she did absolute wonders for him in his social skills and emotional control.

    These kids can be complex, and we often find that we have to pick just one of their needs to deal with at school at any given time - social, emotional, behavioral, academic.... Which need is causing the most distress and is the most pressing? And which one does the child require to be addressed within their school day, and can't be readily supported at home or through extracurriculars?

    This is the calculus that varies not just for every child, but at different times for each child.

    So for instance, I have a kid who when he isn't being academically challenged, just doesn't function well socially, and develops major mental health problems. Other kids have a lot of behaviour issues when their academic needs aren't being met. But in contrast, lots of kids meet their social needs at school and learn at home. It just depends on the kid. My best advice is to pay a lot of attention to how your child responds to a variety of environments, and try to figure out which needs you can meet in different ways. And be prepared to change course, possibly a lot.

    Good luck!

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    #246082 - 09/17/19 11:36 AM Re: Kindergarten [Re: millersb02]
    millersb02 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 04/16/19
    Posts: 6
    Thank you to all who replied... helpful bits. I might post another question here soon. Thanks!

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