Frustrated

Posted by: Christineg

Frustrated - 07/12/21 06:05 PM

My son is a child prodigy. There, I said it. He was evaluated by a Harvard psychologist a few years ago, and she confirmed what we already knew. Every article I read about prodigies was about my son, although the point of the article is always to convince you that your child is smart, but not a prodigy. The thing about prodigies is that they are hyper focused in one area. They may be smart kids in all areas, but only truly exceptional in one. For my son it is computers. He doesn't just program. He programs in 7 languages. He's a VMWARE expert. He knows hardware, software and Networking. He knows it all. He could get a job making $80k today, but he's 12. I can't say the word "prodigy" because nobody takes you seriously once you say it. They don't understand how he can be an average 7th grade student in some areas, but harbor a fantastic talent in another.

The school requires him to take computer applications 1&2 in 7th grade. They are going to spend a year teaching these kids Excell and PowerPoint. We tried to talk to the principal. We asked that they let him take Compsci at the high school instead. The school district's answer? No, because if we let him take the class now, he won't have a Compsci class to take in 11th and 12th grade. Seriously? He's more advanced than the high school class now! You really think it's going to be in his ballpark five years from now?! I'm waiting from a call back from the local college. I'm hoping they might have a remote class that the school would accept in place of 7th grade computer applications, but I really don't want to pay full tuition just to have him take one or two classes. Besides, nobody wants to help my son and it's more then likely a dead end.

Sorry to rant, but I can't rant to anyone else. No one else has any idea what we are dealing with.
Posted by: Team3

Re: Frustrated - 08/04/21 08:40 AM

Did you end up looking into some of the other programs in the earlier thread you posted? Just wondering how that worked out.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Frustrated - 08/06/21 08:30 AM

Welcome back!

Good for you, recognizing that your son needs and would benefit from advanced computer information technology curriculum, in place of the usual 7th, 11th, and 12th grade offerings. Kudos for your research into other coursework which might be a better "fit" for your son... an appropriate academic challenge in his zone of proximal development... an opportunity to learn something new rather than tread water and stagnate.

Unfortunately, it sounds like the school which your son is attending may not be familiar with successful acceleration, such as single-subject acceleration in an area in which a child excels and has a strong affinity and interest.

Some advocacy may be needed.

One approach or strategy is for a student to take the end-of-course test or final exam, thereby demonstrating readiness and ability for advanced coursework. For your son, this might include the final exams for the usual 7th, 11th, and 12th grade offerings.
Posted by: aeh

Re: Frustrated - 08/06/21 10:44 AM

I am sorry to hear that you are facing these obstacles. I would affirm your inquiries into dual enrollment opportunities. You should not have to pay full tuition at most CCs in your state (if you are in the same state you appear to have been on your last posting), as your DC is in grade 6-12. Districts are not allowed to deny admission to DE for otherwise qualified students unless they prove (upon admission) to be "disruptive to the learning process such that the progress of other students or the efficient
administration of the hours is hindered”.

Your state does also allow credit by examination, so that's another avenue you might look at, even beyond demonstrating readiness for advanced coursework (as indigo helpfully notes), especially for the autodidact your DC appears to be.

And my sympathies on the frustration. One of ours ended up having to repeat two years of math in high school due to different, but still bureaucratic, complexities (I guess DC did see one new topic--logs, which somehow was not part of the alg II curriculum previously used).
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Frustrated - 08/06/21 08:45 PM

I would even suggest talking with the CS department at a local 4-year university if your son seems capable of contesting the final evaluations for first year uni or beyond.

Regardless of what your HS agrees to (or doesn’t), it might be a good time to develop a mentorship with a university professor. Having an internal champion may well allow your DS more negotiating power should he need early placement.
Posted by: Wren

Re: Frustrated - 08/07/21 04:53 AM

My DD is an executive with girlscodeit and runs the CDN chapter. They teach free online classes, certificate based, though they may be too easy, but something. She is in high school and has done both CS offered. Python and Java. girlscodeit offers a web dev, that she wrote and taught last fall, a java. And she is developing a data base class for this fall. There are other kids taking the classes and adults. Online is where you should look.
Posted by: aeh

Re: Frustrated - 08/08/21 09:08 AM

A mentor is excellent advice. One of my DC's teachers was hugely instrumental in obtaining access to college coursework (beyond the "101" level) as a DE student.

And, of course, a mentor who is a working professional in the field of interest adds so much. We've tried to connect our DCs to adults in their areas of interest, (not only academically,) and been graced with a number of highly-skilled resources in our social circle.
Posted by: aeh

Re: Frustrated - 08/08/21 09:10 AM

Wren, good for your DD! Sounds like she is not only benefiting, but leading and giving back in a big way.
Posted by: giftedamateur

Re: Frustrated - 07/22/22 04:43 PM

I know it's been a while since thread was last posted, but here's some thoughts as someone who's done college for comp sci and seen a number of talented kids.

Classes will NOT help if he's talented enough. I know some kids who found adequate challenge with the International Informatics Olympiad or the IMO, or something similar. At college, the talented students largely teach themselves. Coursera, edx courses, MIT OCW, The OdinProject, USACO training pages, etc. Trying to get involved in some open source coding, looking up the documentation and trying to solve problems. In any of these activities, the peer groups will act as natural teachers, and a large part of the learning is by doing. None of this would be beyond a highly talented 7th grader imo, after all you see 8th and 9th graders winning IMO medals which are much harder than college programming courses. There's very good online resources available.