Woohoo! Off to a good start.

Posted by: PurpleHeather

Woohoo! Off to a good start. - 04/28/09 01:14 PM

DS has mastered almost all the Kindy skills early (and a bunch beyond that) but is not scheduled to start school till the fall. So today DH contacted the school about our concerns. He was trying to reach the principle but ended up talking with one of the two possible teachers for that grade. Turns out they are very open minded & she even mentioned the possibility of a grade skip. She also thinks that the principle needs to be involved & is having him call us back tomorrow.

Let me just say, I am THRILLED! I have been a stressed out mess about all this for weeks. I have heard all the horror stories & did not expect good things. I know that we are by no means home free but it is so encouraging to be off to a good start. Just wanted to share with some folk that would understand. grin


Posted by: Tiz

Re: Woohoo! Off to a good start. - 04/28/09 01:29 PM

Yay! It sounds like a super start - long may it continue smile
Posted by: Grinity

Re: Woohoo! Off to a good start. - 04/28/09 01:32 PM

Yippee!
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Woohoo! Off to a good start. - 04/28/09 03:51 PM

Good starts usually bode well. I have high hopes for a good school fit! smile

Yay!
Posted by: Dazed&Confuzed

Re: Woohoo! Off to a good start. - 04/28/09 04:42 PM

WOW! That's wonderful!
Posted by: BWBShari

Re: Woohoo! Off to a good start. - 04/28/09 05:09 PM

Sending good Karma }}}}}}}}
Posted by: inky

Re: Woohoo! Off to a good start. - 04/28/09 07:27 PM

Quote:
Turns out they are very open minded & she even mentioned the possibility of a grade skip.

Clone 'em! Thanks for sharing the good news. smile
Posted by: PurpleHeather

Re: Woohoo! Off to a good start.(maybe not) - 04/29/09 11:33 AM

Well, I may have celebrated too fast. Turns out that while the person Dh spoke with yesterday had taught K for 10 years she is not one of the current teachers. No big deal & I was still optimistic. Hey this school is still saying that they have done grade skips and they don't want their kids to be bored. It felt like a great start.

Then DH talked to the principle this morning and that is where my optimism ended. He talked about how great his school is & how wonderful the K teachers are. That one of the K teachers has her doctorate and how they use the Responsive Classroom model. (any idea how well this method works?) And, that we should wait till fall to see if DS is misplaced at that point.

Unfortunately DH seemed content with this while I was very upset. We locked horns over it this am with DH agreeing to read more of the research. He is open-minded & still wants to get DS testing so hopefully we will come to some consensus between the two of us soon.

As far as the school, are they kidding? Wait till fall? This is the kid that has been adding since he was three. He knows 95% of the Science/Math/Tech curriculum now. There is also a ton of stuff he knows not even listed for K. Learn about the seasons? He has already learned about how the tilt of the earth makes the seasons! (He asked!) He would rather talk about tectonic plates forming volcano's & mountains. We are learning the days of the week & the names of all the planets at the same time. He once made me a model of our galaxy out of a blanket. It is not a big jump to say that something might need to be worked out here.

Problem is, he has not mastered all the K language arts skills yet. He is not reading & does not have all his letter names/ sounds. I have heard claims that reading is boring & he does not want to do it. Turns out it is just not easy for him & he does not want to work at it. I have been taking more of a how words work approach which seems to be working. I have no idea where he will be by fall.

Thing is, We did not ask for a grade skip. We just want to work out some sort of plan in advance. Eeerrrr

I am not sure what we are doing next. DH is reading some articles & I guess we will have to go from there. Any suggestions are welcome.
Posted by: inky

Re: Woohoo! Off to a good start.(maybe not) - 04/29/09 12:29 PM

I think the testing is a good place to start. After I had the results, I'd ask for a meeting with the principal to discuss the results before the school year starts. It sounds like your son has a great deal of asynchronicity which will require a teacher who's comfortable with differentiation.

Will you be able to volunteer in the classroom? This can give you a lot of insight. You may also want to find math books that are the appropriate level and coordinate this with the teacher. At DD7's school, K was heavily weighed to the language arts and reading.
Posted by: Floridama

Re: Woohoo! Off to a good start.(maybe not) - 04/29/09 01:19 PM

I would write to school to notify then about my childs strengths and weaknesses and request that he be placed with an understanding teacher. Then I would wait and see how K goes, you should get a lot information and feed back from a good teacher.
Our school will not skip grades until after K NEways and only then if they have mastered ALL areas off the curriculum, but I have heard of other schools which they place students in one grade for math and another for reading. Good Luck and try not to worry so much, there are alot of gifted children out there that loved K
Posted by: incogneato

Re: Woohoo! Off to a good start.(maybe not) - 04/29/09 01:39 PM

I'm kind of agreeing with Floridama. I know you've read a lot of horror stories about K, but remember, those children whose K experiences have gone swimmingly, tend not to post.....or post as often as the parents who have horror stories to share.

Myself included, sometimes the horror stories are posted in an attempt to seek help/ideas, ect. My eldest DD did okay in K, back then, I didn't even know there were forums like this and didn't really have a need for one! wink

However, when DD6 went to K, we really had some problems.

I do think in terms of skipping, the school will zero in on the K skill/s that are not mastered. Perhaps you can work with him this summer to get some of those shored up.

I have had some success by asking the school: "What is x child expected to know/be able to do by the end of K, and is x child already able to do these things?

You could end up with a great K teacher, that makes all the difference. Good luck with whatever you decide.

smile

Neato
Posted by: Katelyn'sM om

Re: Woohoo! Off to a good start.(maybe not) - 04/29/09 01:42 PM

Maybe I am use to hearing a lot of the stories around here but the wait until fall is a very common approach. They (districts in our area) usually test during the first month and make their recommendations at that point. Also do to the reading and ABCs part they might not be willing to jump him a grade but rather offer a pull out option. But back to the wait til the fall equation ... a lot can happen in regards to reading and ABCs by the fall.

I agree with inky ... first step is to test him. It will give you a starting point and facts to back you up b/c schools are quick to make assumptions without it.
Posted by: kimck

Re: Woohoo! Off to a good start.(maybe not) - 04/29/09 02:14 PM

You might want to take a deeper look into the kindergarten program itself and the population of kids coming into it. Our kindergarten class had many readers and kids that had attended very academic preschools. It was designed to be open ended for kids at all levels. We actually had a pretty darn good K experience with a HG kid, considering there were 24 kids in the class and 14 were boys (we had a male teacher, so I think that weighting was intentional).

On the other hand, 1st was horrible. It was almost less academic and hands on. And it was certainly not as open ended for kids in many places. It may have served us well to do kindergarten and then push for a skip (we are now homeschooling).

I also know our district will not consider a K skip or early entry unless the child is reading very well. My son was just like this pre-K. Would not read - zero interest. Was doing 2-3rd grade math conceptually, lots of science knowldege. Very intense personality, but we didn't know we were dealing with a GT kid. We actually thought he was behind because he would not read. I think he tends to be more visual spatial (although, he was also a very active preschooler too. Sitting down with academics was not his thing). Jumped about 5 grade levels reading in a matter of months. So watch for that as well.
Posted by: PurpleHeather

Re: Woohoo! Off to a good start.(maybe not) - 04/29/09 03:05 PM

Ok, with so much talk of skipping, I had to reread my post to make sure I had not made a typo. I do NOT want DS to skip K as I do not believe his language skills would support it. I just took the schools mention of skips as a sign that they would be flexible. I am concerned about DS only having about 8 skills in the K curriculum left to master. I do want the school to do something in the area of math & science. Still, we did not get that far with the principle before hearing the wait till fall line. This is a guy who thinks DS could have started K last year. To me it just make sense to plan ahead.

I keep coming back to getting DS tested. I have had plenty of people tell me that is what we need to do next & it seems like a logical next step. But then today I talked to a Ed. Psychologist who told me not to bother testing unless I know that the school will do something with it. That was very demoralizing.

I know that I worry a lot & I try not to but it is just part of my personality. Honestly, I hope I am overreacting. I hope that he has a wonderful teacher & that things go very smoothly. I guess I just don't expect it. frown


Posted by: Floridama

Re: Woohoo! Off to a good start.(maybe not) - 04/29/09 03:22 PM

You should look into your school and see what they have for gifted students. Some schools have intensive programs and others only have a one hour/week pull out system. As for the Psy's comment..You gain nothing but knowledge by having your child tested. And if you do through the school it will cost U nothing.
However, I would recommend at least waiting until later in the year when your son is comfortable in school and confidant in himself and his abilities.
As for K, my HG daughter loved it! K teachers are usually a rare and wonderful breed. You may indeed be supsrised!
Posted by: Mia

Re: Woohoo! Off to a good start.(maybe not) - 04/29/09 03:38 PM

Originally Posted By: PurpleHeather
I do NOT want DS to skip K as I do not believe his language skills would support it. I just took the schools mention of skips as a sign that they would be flexible. I am concerned about DS only having about 8 skills in the K curriculum left to master. I do want the school to do something in the area of math & science.


I guess that begs the question, what do you hope the school does for math and science? In-class acceleration/differentiation? Going to a higher class for math and science? How do you envision the "best" your school could do for your ds?

I think being specific is important. And with my experience with the local public school, I wish I'd started *earlier* and started asking specifics earlier so that I knew what I wanted and what sort of attitude I'd be seeing. Well done, PH, for starting the process early!

If they're not willing to start at least suggesting concrete plans now, they aren't going to suddenly jump into action come September. The testing process can take a loong time. I'd start asking for dates and specifics now -- not just "Our teachers are great!" They may be, but that's not a guarantee that it'll work for your child. Go observe a class or two, if you can. Are there other gifted parents you can talk to?

If you think ahead of time that your child might end up with behavior issues from lack of engagement, I'd be looking very hard at the options. My ds6 really had a hard time dealing with kindergarten -- and in the end, we couldn't wait for the school administration to come around.

(I'm going to pm you our own personal "horror story" -- just to illustrate what *can* happen if you aren't specific and start too late!)

Think about exactly what you'd like to see, and see how close they will offer *now.* If it's not good enough in your opinion, I'd look at other options.
Posted by: incogneato

Re: Woohoo! Off to a good start.(maybe not) - 04/29/09 06:19 PM

Originally Posted By: Purpleheather
But then today I talked to a Ed. Psychologist who told me not to bother testing unless I know that the school will do something with it.


hmmmmm......I'm certainly no educational psychologist, but as a parent of HG(+) kids, I've found the test results to be very helpful in terms of how I parent them.

I guess an example would be the work that they get to do at home that I chose for them based on what I know about their cognitive abilities(IQ test) and interests/academic skills(out of level achievment test).

There is NO way I would have DREAMED of giving them what they are currently working on(and loving!!) if I didn't have that info. It's great info to have if the school will take notice of it, but I'd also say it's worthwhile just to have so you know what you're dealing with. There are a lot of social/emotional isssues that sometimes go hand in hand with being gifted.

Skipping is one option, but there are plenty of other options as well. smile

Neato
Posted by: Kriston

Re: Woohoo! Off to a good start.(maybe not) - 04/30/09 06:33 AM

I agree with 'Neato. Testing helped us a lot, even though the school did very little with it and we ultimately pulled him out for homeschooling.

YMMV, of course, but especially if you have a child who hides his abilities to fit in or who doesn't necessarily look like people/you think a HG+ child is going to look (GT denial, anyone?), then seeing the test scores can really help you to recognize your child for who he is and do a better job of meeting his needs, whtever they might be.
Posted by: st pauli girl

Re: Woohoo! Off to a good start.(maybe not) - 04/30/09 06:58 AM

Testing - both IQ and achievement - helped us too. We were able to take our IQ results (with an extremely helpful detailed report explaining what it all meant) to the school, and this prompted them to suggest achievement testing by the school psychologists. When they found out what they were dealing with, they now plan to offer differentiation for DS when he starts kindergarten in the fall, and they said they would never expect him to have to sit through learning how to read or early math. So, some big plusses (with the caveat that we aren't in school yet). Now we have a pretty good picture of what level DS5 is operating on, and if the particular school situation doesn't work out, we'll know what red flags to look for and what sort of alternate schooling we should seek.
Posted by: PurpleHeather

Re: Woohoo! Off to a good start.(maybe not) - 04/30/09 12:10 PM

MofN you nailed it! I don't know if they are ready for him.

My problem right now is that I don't know what would be best. I know that in DS's strongest areas much of the material seems downright insulting. I don't want to ask him to do stuff that he has been doing for over two years now. To me it seems cruel to put a child who can reason that air takes up space in a classroom that is learning that wind is moving air. In class differentiation might be ok in math but I doubt it would work in science. If I had to guess, I would say DS is working at a 3rd to 4th grade level in that area. I just have very little idea on how you begin to bridge that large a gap.

Right now DH & I plan to work on gathering more information. We want to try & get copies of the math & science curriculum for 1st & 2nd grades. Hopefully this will give us more perspective on the schools expectations. We also want to try & sit in on a couple classes. Maybe once we do that I will have a better idea about what needs to be done for DS.
Posted by: inky

Re: Woohoo! Off to a good start.(maybe not) - 04/30/09 08:12 PM

You may want to ask how science is handled at the school. At DD7's school science is one of their "specials" along with PE, library, music, art, and computer class. They have it once every 6 days with a dedicated science teacher who teaches students from K-5. Her approach has been hands on activities for the children which seems to help bridge some of the gap.

If your son's school has a similar set-up, it could help to talk to the science teacher about his strengths and what type of differentiation could be done.
Posted by: Dazed&Confuzed

Re: Woohoo! Off to a good start.(maybe not) - 05/01/09 05:38 AM

Purpleheather, I feel your pain, my DS was the same way. His 2nd grade teacher said if she couldn't answer a science question, DS always knew the answer. I did science in his class from time to time and a kid asked a question that I didn't know the answer to and up comes DS's hand! Yep, he knew the answer. I knew they could not meet his needs in science and it wasn't the area he complained about. His trouble area as for as boredom is math....he abhors (I can't say that strongly enough) any review in math, hates any practice in math using worksheets, hates computation but likes thinking and problem solving. So that was always what he complained about in school. HOw he felt about math colored his entire day (unless they were doing science - that made the day better). It's odd b/c he's no where near as mathy as many kids here.