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    #175885 11/25/13 08:16 PM
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    We are moving to a new state mid-year that basically doesn't have a gifted program. It sort of has a lame excuse for one (2hrs a week starting in 2nd grade).

    We are going through the process of trying to decide on what to do with DD next year (fall of 2014). She makes the public school cut off (by days) to start K at 4.5 next year. The private schools however have the typical cut off of June 30 so if we went the private school route she would be 5.5 before entering K (with 1/2 the kids older, 1/2 younger).

    Private school in our new state is ridiculously expensive. We can do it, but not without having to seriously weigh pros & cons.

    I think either way she will be ahead (reading very well and better than most 1st graders. She's suddenly become great at math - which I credit to her obsession with building. She is also writing quite well for a 3 -almost 4- yo. She writes little stories and signs to post around the house, a "responsibility" chart for her 1yo sister (ha!) and notes ect. She never spells anything correct unless she asks but in general you can decipher it.)

    The private schools are apparently crazy good, very small classrooms, very successful graduates. But one pre-K teacher was telling us about "MAT man" from handwriting without tears & said "they will learn to draw a person with the arms coming out of the body rather than the head!" DD never drew the body coming out of the head (ok once when she was 1 1/2) and draws incredibly detailed princesses with crowns, tiaras, wands, tutu's ect. So that wasn't too impressive but that school also focuses on science & creative learning which DD loves. The other private school we are considering she is actually attending starting in Jan & is a Montessori school (she has been in Monti so I think the transition will be easier since we are moving mid-year). Just because she is in the Montessori school this spring doesn't mean we will keep her there in the fall (school is a long commute & very expensive... class size per year also dwindles to like 14 kids in each grade by 1st grade - which to me could seem claustrophobic after many years).

    Anyway, I know we need to visit schools, ask around, ect. But in general, what are your initial views/thoughts? I think it will be helpful just to hear outside opinions.

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    What if she did k at public school and then transferred to private would they put her in k or first?


    ...reading is pleasure, not just something teachers make you do in school.~B. Cleary
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    very very good question. I am going to call the school tomorrow to ask. The Montessori said they would be willing to... but that's Montessori anyway smile. The science-based school would be the one I am curious about.

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    We have the exact opposite problem! Our state's cut off is Dec 1, and DD cannot start K until 5.5 at a public school - no exceptions in our district.

    She is going to graduate all day K-Prep this year (at a private pre-school) and they have no levels higher prior to K. She's the youngest in the class & no one would ever know it size/language or ability-wise. So, we've been looking at starting her in private school for K and then (possibly) moving her to our local charter school for 1st grade. We have an evaluation day set up with all 3 private schools in our area to try to find the right fit! I mean, the one that we like best is BY FAR the most costly, has the longer school days/year and we have to see at which level they'd evaluate her (she is going in on 12/11 for a 1.5 hour class level evaluation & to see if she is their "material" - 7 page application for K, it's a little nuts!). We have the Montessori, which seems great, but then I've got a friend who had a terrible experience, so I am worried about that too! Then finally, we have the one that falls in between the two (grouped classrooms of 2-grade levels & extended school day/year), that we know nothing about aside from their website so far!

    Choosing a school is SO difficult, and I honestly expected we'd have more time (at least a year) before we had to make the decisions. The part that is a bit frustrating is that even if she does get into the K program at one of these schools, she isn't eligible for busing until she is of the district's "School Age", so we have a year of figuring out transportation as well!

    On a different note - my daughter does draw bodies coming out of the head, but the heads all have eyes with pupils that are almond shaped, eyebrows, nostrils varying hairstyles, ears and even teeth when they are smiling, she adds bodies as an after thought!

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    My son, who is 11, started going to a private school in the fall of 2012. They allowed a skip from 4th into 6th at that time, and this year allowed a second skip into 8th. They also permitted three years math acceleration with the first skip (so he was a 5th grade age 6th grader taking Algebra I).

    I have been very impressed with their flexibility in that regard, and it has everything to do with their amazing head of school, who gets it that gifted kids need something different.

    However.

    Because this school is in an area with a low population density coupled with the problems with the economy, they have to be careful about keeping the students they have. What this means is that instead of maintaining rigorous, college-prep standards (and they claim to be a rigorous, college-prep school), they target instruction and assessment to the lowest performing kids. Unfortunately I don't know how this compares to a public school, since neither of my kids has ever attended one. I'm guessing, in this area at least (affluent, semi-rural suburb of a large city), that the expectations of the classes in the public schools wouldn't be as malleable.

    All of this is to say that there is no magic bullet. Even though I am a planner by nature, I've had to go year-to-year on this. This year the best thing we could come up with was the second grade skip combined with teaching math at home (which the school will give credit for--as I said, the head of school is amazing!). Next year, if I had to decide now, we'd probably go back to full time homeschooling. Educating these kids is a balancing act, and it seems to me that something is always sacrificed no matter what the placement is.


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    Our twins are in 8th grade in a public school (their 9th year in the public schools) - we have agonized over the public/private question for many years now. We've repeatedly considered privates (our kids both have test scores that would be at the high end for the local gifted private), but the two (public/private) have different strengths/weaknesses, and the public is way cheaper.

    I feel that this decision really comes down to the individual kids and the local conditions, so what applies for us in our city may not be directly applicable in yours. On the plus side for our public schools: 1) although their gifted program is not great overall, the schools are generally decent, 2) there are *some* really excellent teachers, 3) the middle school our kids go to offers Algebra 2 as a regular class, 4) due to their bigger size, the publics have a depth of resources/class offerings that privates can't match, and 5) short commute (school is 1 mile from home). There are many downsides to the publics that others have pointed out and that we have also experienced, but our kids have had some pretty amazing experiences there too.

    For us, having twins is an additional factor. The two have a need for having their own circles of friends. The privates we could consider have one classroom per grade, so they would have to be together and with a relatively small cohort for most of the day. Their public school has over 250 kids in their grade and both have found some really great friends there.

    When they started kindergarten, I set aside some money for private school tuition, confident I would need it in order to switch schools mid-year. We've continued to add to the fund and now have a sizable amount for college.

    Last edited by amylou; 11/26/13 09:21 AM.
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    My kids attended private schools for a few years. Based on my experiences the most important factors in a child's success over his lifetime are natural ability and parental involvement.

    Just like in any profession, there are some truly awesome teachers out there, and there are some who are not so great. Some days at the grocery store you get the world's greatest cashier who is fast, knows all the produce codes and makes polite conversation without delaying the transaction, and there will also be days where you get the slow, rude cashier who has to ask for assistance several times throughout the transaction. At least that is just a few minutes out of your week. At a school, your child might be stuck with a lousy teacher for an entire year. Personally, I didn't want to keep taking that chance.

    For me it boils down to what environment you want your child in. Visit all of the schools in the area and trust your instincts. Also, be sure to bring your child with you as you visit schools. Kids are excellent judges of character. If they don't like the staff, run!

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    Originally Posted by ZooKeeper
    My kids attended private schools for a few years. Based on my experiences the most important factors in a child's success over his lifetime are natural ability and parental involvement.

    Just like in any profession, there are some truly awesome teachers out there, and there are some who are not so great. Some days at the grocery store you get the world's greatest cashier who is fast, knows all the produce codes and makes polite conversation without delaying the transaction, and there will also be days where you get the slow, rude cashier who has to ask for assistance several times throughout the transaction. At least that is just a few minutes out of your week. At a school, your child might be stuck with a lousy teacher for an entire year. Personally, I didn't want to keep taking that chance.

    For me it boils down to what environment you want your child in. Visit all of the schools in the area and trust your instincts. Also, be sure to bring your child with you as you visit schools. Kids are excellent judges of character. If they don't like the staff, run!
    I agree.
    In my opinion, you should tour all the schools available (even the ones that you will not be applying to) and make your deicision based on your research.
    Here are some factors to consider:
    Will the school meet your child's needs?
    Will your child do his/her best in that environment?
    What kind of peer group is your child spending time with? Do you want your child to be associated with that kind of group or not? Are they being a positive influence or a negative influence on your child?
    How many children in the classroom are far beyond your child in abilities? None, some or many?
    How much time do you have to pick up the slack? This means afterschooling to fill in any/all gaps in education.
    How much "customer service" do you get from your school?
    Do you expect the school to be the source of "all around development" or do you expect the school to provide excellent academics and the "whole child development" can be done on your own time - with art, music, sport, field trips etc.

    Last edited by ashley; 11/26/13 12:26 PM.
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    We benefited from looking at all the schools and choosing the one that was the best fit for DD. For us this boiled down to which school would challenge DD the most.

    We ended up choosing a private kindergarten that most mimicked our home environment--lots of open ended play, exploration, outdoors, no worksheets or direct instruction. We figured she is obviously blossoming at home, lets not mess too much with the environment yet. It has been a real gentle easing into school.

    But, it is not an environment where she excels, which is a good thing. They challenge her in weak areas like public speaking, writing, and art. She is also continually being challenged by the mode of learning. She must learn to self extend. As far as her strengths, they let them continue to blossom on their own.

    If we chose a school that only focused on teaching her at her reading and math level she would excel, but at what cost, and to what end? If we chose the public school I am not sure she would be challenged at all. We want her to be happy at school with same age peers so she can develop socially and emotionally. We know she is bright, that will always be true, but she is also truly different. I worry about her socially more than anything else. In this kindergarten she is truly happy, feels normal, is challenged, and fits in. Yes, it costs a fortune. But, it is so worth it.

    We are also in no rush, and would have held her back in a heartbeat. I wish she could repeat this year in kindergarten. It has been fabulous. (And, this is with very little traditional academics--although I can see they are working on amazing number sense and story elements. That cannot hurt.) But, she has made great friends, and we have decided to ultimately defer to default age-grade.


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