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    #133139 07/03/12 04:50 AM
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    JamD Offline OP
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    Hi all -
    For many complex reasons, I feel like my DD8 could use a break from public school. We like our public schools, though, and would hope to transition her back in after a year or two. I'm wondering if others have comments/experiences?

    I've posted elsewhere about DD - we just had her tested after years of feeling like something was off but having the schools tell us she was fine. She tested with a GAI of 140, but her mechanics of reading and writing are just around 100 - the pdoc says it is a learning disorder in these areas around decoding. So from the school perspective she is at or above grade level almost across the board. (Spelling is low.)

    In our first meeting with the school they told us no, she didn't qualify for gifted services or reading intervention. Now, I do think we can meet again and try to get SOMETHING, though I won't know what until August.

    I'm equally concerned, though, about her shyness and her anxiety around school. She has always struggled in large groups. Last year was an awful year socially - not only did she not make any good connections, but she had a couple of second grade girls who I think bossed her around and would "let" her play with them, sometimes. :-(

    The school has said that they will try to put her in with a "friendly face." But the school is huge - there are 12-13 classrooms for her grade.

    Another option: there is a "school for homeschoolers" in town - basically, you pick and choose from classes you want your kiddo to take. You are still considered a homeschooler - although you can have them there 4-5 full days if you choose. It is a very small community - probably about 10 kids her age, but very fluid with ages/grades.

    We are wondering about having her there for 1 or 2 years. My hope is that it would allow her to focus on the reading areas, grow in her strong areas, but more importantly, find her feet and her voice. But I'm concerned - would doing this help her in 2 years if she rejoins the public school in 5th? In a perfect world she would feel more secure and confident and be ready to move back into the larger classroom. (We would continue soccer/girl scouts with local girls, so she would still have some connections.)

    Or, in a bad scenario, we would be removing her from the school for 2 years and she would feel more and more disconnected from those kids, and have a hard time finding her people when she goes back, just before middle school.

    Any thoughts/advice?!?

    Thank you!
    Susan

    Last edited by JamD; 07/03/12 05:06 AM.
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    ...I might add that there are possible family stresses if we choose the break from PS. One of my concerns is that my DS12 (who is a DYS) would need to be alone every day after school for nearly 1 1/2 hours. He is often home alone briefly after school now, but I don't like the idea of it being every day, and for so long.

    I also work part time and am finally in the last year of my Master's degree, so it would also mean a lot of juggling. Nothing insurmountable - just some added stress...

    Just to say that there are costs, both financial and other, to the choice.

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    Originally Posted by JamD
    She tested with a GAI of 140, but her mechanics of reading and writing are just around 100 - the pdoc says it is a learning disorder in these areas around decoding. So from the school perspective she is at or above grade level almost across the board. (Spelling is low.)

    In our first meeting with the school they told us no, she didn't qualify for gifted services or reading intervention. Now, I do think we can meet again and try to get SOMETHING, though I won't know what until August.

    I'm equally concerned, though, about her shyness and her anxiety around school. She has always struggled in large groups. Last year was an awful year socially - not only did she not make any good connections, but she had a couple of second grade girls who I think bossed her around and would "let" her play with them, sometimes. :-(
    ...
    Another option: there is a "school for homeschoolers" in town - basically, you pick and choose from classes you want your kiddo to take. You are still considered a homeschooler - although you can have them there 4-5 full days if you choose. It is a very small community - probably about 10 kids her age, but very fluid with ages/grades.

    Susan

    Hi Susan,

    My feeling is that if she's not doing well in the school because of skill deficits (language/reading/social), the key would not necessarily be to remove her from there, but to put remedies in place to address the skill deficits and help her be more successful.

    You may need private interventions as well as those through the school to make this happen, but they can be very effective. And the school is certainly responsible for remediating the LD.

    Putting her in a more comfortable environment that plays to her strengths more might be happier in the short term, but less likely to build the skills she needs in the long term. A homeschool coop is also highly unlikely to have the professional skills in place for remediating an LD.

    What does the psych say about the social problems? At the *very* least the school should be protecting her from bullying; but she can also learn strategies for engaging with others that will make her social life less bumpy.

    Best,
    DeeDee

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    JamD Offline OP
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    DeeDee, you've absolutely hit on my concerns. I do think that either way we are going to need a private tutor for the LD - at least so far, the school says she doesn't qualify for help from them because her scores are not low enough. One plus about the alternative school option is that hopefully we could do it as part of her day (hired privately by us) instead of having to fit it in during the evenings, probably at the cost of some other extracurricular activity.

    I just don't know if she can boost social skills AND work on remediation AND not feel bored out of her skull in public school. Especially since they see no problem - she is mostly at or above grade level, quiet, well-behaved - we will have to pull teeth to get services and I worry that they will give them under duress, and maybe with less enthusiasm?

    I think that the small school option would allow her to work on remediation with a tutor and to hopefully work ahead in her strong subjects - BUT could she develop social skills and confidence that would then transfer to the PS setting? Or are we setting ourselves up for misery in 1-2 years? Has anyone done this successfully - or unsuccessfully?

    Thanks for the input!

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    JamD, I don't have time to reply in detail at the moment, but fwiw our ds12 has an LD in written expression. We stuck with public school for a few years after we learned of his challenge, but by the time he was in 5th grade *he* was asking to change schools. In our case we switched him out to a small private school; we lost what we were receiving in instructional help from his public school but we gained so much from having him in a smaller and much more supportive and understanding environment. Our original plan had been to send him to private school through middle school and then send him back to public school (our district has a highly regarded high school program for HG+ kiddos and he has the scores to qualify)... but his first year at the smaller school was not only a good change - it was so much better for him than we ever could have anticipated - and now I find that our view of what to consider for high school has changed significantly. He has grown so much by being in a setting where he has true academic challenge. We're paying for private therapy and for the AT he needs, but we would have been doing that anyway at his previous school.

    Re your concern will your dd fit in with the kids from the public school if she takes a break for a few years, here are my thoughts:

    1) My daughters have changed friends several times during the same years - I think that's part of the dynamics of kids growing and maturing. So even if you left your dd at the same school, friendships would most likely morph.

    2) My ds struggled with how to make friends through much of elementary school - which I think was due in large part to his struggling with an LD and feeling self conscious and different (combined with the 2e high IQ piece). We were worried when we changed his school that he'd be leaving behind the one friend he had for years - and he did. But it didn't matter - he made new friends, and he found a self-confidence that I'd never dreamed he'd have smile That self-confidence has made it much easier for him to take on other social challenges and although he's still no social butterfly he's grown tremendously in his ability to fit in and adapt to new situations and new friends.

    3) You might find in two years that you really aren't all that excited about sending your dd back to public school - so the question about fitting in their becomes irrelevant.

    4) It sounds like this is a good opportunity you might regret if you don't do it (?)

    Sorry I was in a hurry and most likely didn't explain things well re our experience - in a nutshell, switching schools was the best thing we ever did for our dd and his self-confidence smile

    Good luck with your decision!

    polarbear

    ps - our experience re help for the LDs was that we needed private therapy - even with help from the school. Private work was where our ds really made progress.

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    Ugh. Well, I've talked to her about some options for next year to see what kind of reaction she had. I could see her getting tense and anxious as we talked about school. :-(

    We talked about 1) public school with accommodations; 2) maybe a private school (though we haven't found one we're crazy about yet); 3) the homeschool co-op option. She seemed ok with the idea of PS with some accommodations - said that would be fine with her. (I was worried it might make her feel too different.) She was VERY open to the idea of not being in PS next year. We've talked about it as a 1-2 year change. She thought about it, then very casually said - sounds fine, let's do it next year.

    Then when I talked to her about the HS co-op, she got really excited. She actually got tearful, asking if she could please go. I was completely shocked by that reaction. She says what she likes is the idea of choosing classes she is excited about, and getting to move to different rooms during the day, and having more flexibility. I don't know how to interpret her reaction, really - is it a reflection on her current situation, or a desire for more challenge, or what?

    Master of none, did you transition your DD back into public school? How did that go?

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    I was considering pulling my son from public school at the end of grade 1 because his impulsiveness was getting him in trouble socially and I was worried it would cause damage for him that would be hard to undo... meanwhile if I homeschooled him for a year or two and gave him time to mature, for his judgement to catch up to his intellect, etc, he'd have a better chance at not alienating the other kids... anyway, his grade 1 teacher talked me out of it, saying she felt like they were making progress with him and the future grade 2 teacher had plans in place for him. I left him in the school and haven't regretted it.

    That being said, I think our situation is different (i.e. really small school, different issues, etc.) In your case I'm inclined to agree with the previous posters in that moving your DD might help her.

    It's a tough choice... good luck - I hope it works out smile

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    Girlchild is starting public school ninth grade this year, after four or so years of back-and-forth.

    We initially pulled Girlchild and Mancub from public school in fourth grade. Had only planned to homeschool Girlchild (gifted, Asperger's, bully magnet), but her twin wanted to come along so...hey, why not? So we homeschooled fulltime until sixth grade, whereupon he transitioned to the gifted magnet middle; she joined him in November. It was an unmitigated disaster and both ended up leaving by March.
    Seventh grade, both started regular, gen ed classes at the same school. It didn't require a lot of effort on their part, the teachers adored them, and we had the latitude to miss a lot of school to do other stuff (cultural events, field trips with homeschool friends, etc). That worked okay, but for eighth grade dd ended up homeschooling again while her brother stayed at school (though he's done math online because the middle school--even with the "advanced track" gifted program, couldn't accommodate his needs since working at his own pace meant that he ended up a few years ahead of any of his classmates...yes, he's a happy math nerd).
    They're starting ninth grade at the local high school next month: honors/AP track, though they've declined to pursue spots at the IB program that our county tends to believe is "one size fits all gifted kids". The only people that our back-and-forthness has been a problem for is the school guidance counselors...well, okay, and one fellow parent whose head exploded when I told her I didn't think it was a good idea to assume that "school" was synonymous for "education".


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