We are no longer going in circles - we have come to a complete stop. A skidding one in fact.
We had a conference with the school about a grade skip and they flat out said NO, not going to happen. They then went on with all of the typical excuses why it won't happen - social, she's already been skipped once, what will you do when you have a 10 yr old graduating high school, if what you say is the true and it is the rate she learns that is the problem, then 5th grade won't help either, socially she won't fit in, etc etc etc.
They also added in that it wouldn't be fair to the other kids because how would they feel having a "little kid" sitting in class with them, especially when they are already starting to go through puberty and she'll be so far behind developmentally.
I used all of my self-control to not jump up and down and rant at them, and according to DH I did quite well. They used the "we have the research to show you that another grade skip doesn't work socially or academically for gt kids, especially if the age differences are too great." To which I responded, "and I have newer data to show that for kids like DD a radical skip will work and is what she needs. And, if I have a 10 yr old graduating from high school, that will be my concern, not yours, at that point there are lots of options open to her and we'll explore them all, but right now our concern is getting her the appropriate education which allows her have a year's worth of growth for a year's worth of sitting in class. Since for her that would be radically different than most other students, we need to do something radical to see this happen."
The principal was at this meeting and after discussing this and the fact that DD read the Iliad this year and understood it and could discuss it with her teacher, and that gr 4 reading just would not be appropriate for her, the principal said: "Well, to be honest, we've never had a student like DD here and, no offense to the current teachers in the room, I just don't think we even have anyone in the school who could keep up with her, or even have the faintest idea of how to keep up with her or how to challenge her."
Now, I am glad that they finally admitted that they don't know what to do, because that in and of itself is a huge step for them. The only other thing that came out of the meeting that was positive was that DH finally
accepted that DD is "as smart and unique as I think she is". (He has always maintained that she is smart and gifted, but he has never really believed that she is so far ahead of her age and grade peers.)
The night before the conference I sat with DD and asked her really broad questions like "What do you do in school? If I were to follow you through school one day what would we actually be doing? What do you wish were different in this class or that class? How would you change this or that so that it was better for you?" I got some really great responses that I shared with the teachers and principal and I think that it was after they realized that it was really DD that wanted more challenging work they began to think about how they could help her and if they could help her.
She said things like:"I want to learn something new everyday, Why can't I go up to 4th or 5th grade for reading since they know I can do more than 3rd grade stuff, why can't we be required to know more in science instead of just a few minerals, for example, why not know all of them and where they come from and why they look like they do, in Spanish, why couldn't we learn ir and er verbs instead of just ar verbs - they have to be conjugated too? Why can't we read bigger books (bigger = more complex and challenging themes and plots)? Why can't they ask hard questions about the book rather than just simple little short answer questions? Why do we go so slowly through the material? If I only need to learn a little bit of a math chapter, why do I have to sit through all of it?"
After telling them 3 times that we were there representing Wendy and her wishes, not our own agenda, they agreed to continue to try and challenge her by getting her into analyzing poetry and asking her more in-depth questions. Unfortunately, we were not too happy with the results of the conference. DH will be calling them back tomorrow to follow up on a few things that they were supposed to be clarifying for us, but we are not hopeful for any real changes. DD is disappointed that she can't go into gr 5, she's not looking forward to going into 4th grade because it will be "another long boring year where I don't learn anything."
So, we are now looking into our options. We are seriously considering homeschooling, either completely or partially
. We are considering a radical acceleration with the partial homeschooling into gr 6 at the school I teach at, because I think she'd really like the Science and English curricula and teachers, and I think that the level would be closer to where she's at. DH is a bit freaked out
by the idea, but he is on board, which is good because he would be the one doing it.
Sorry this is so long and rambling, I'm super tired.