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    Joined: Jul 2008
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    fitzi Offline OP
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    DS is just starting first grade this week at the public school. He's had some prior bad school experience, and we've worked hard together to help him bounce back. We want him to have the opportunity to try this new school out (he wants to go), but also to keep a sharp eye for signs that he is regressing emotionally because of the school environment.

    I wondered if some of the parents who have tried and, ultimately, rejected the public school route could talk a bit about what they signs observed in their children's behavior that told them things were going wrong. We want to give this a chance to work, but don't want to waste a lot of time if it isn't going to.

    Thanks in advance for all responses.

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    We have a long list:

    in K and 1st - daily stomachaches, sometimes headaches. Trying to hide when it's time for school, refusing to get dressed.

    End of 1st when things got really bad and towards the end of 2nd before we finally took him out: grinding his teeth in his sleep (just horrible! It stopped almost immediately when we took him out.)

    2nd - threatening to run home from school, wishing he'd get hurt or worse so that he didn't have to go to school anymore. Making no more effort on schoolwork b/c the teachers "didn't care" (and they didn't - he met their minimums, so anything he did was "great")

    He's highly verbal, so we knew all about his discomfort from day one and tried to deal with the schools and the teachers to no avail. We just didn't know we had a choice. We were advised to cajole him to go, that he had to learn to deal with it, that we just can't take him out, he's not the boss, etc., etc. The most amazing thing I learned on this board is that that is just not true.

    As far as behavior is concerned, DS does not/did not act out. But he was very clingy. Now that he's out, or now that he's 8, not sure which, he's much more independent and self-assured, and happy, happy, happy. We have our DS back. smile

    If your DS is miserable, you'll know. frown

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    Questions - did the teacher notice anything? DS's teacher last year insists that he was always happy at school. He walks in the door says hi to all his friends, puts his book bag away, chats and smiles.

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    So did C-dog's teacher and I dropped in unexpected for a little sneak peak, she was full of s**t.

    Trust your instincts. If your instinct is telling you you should look a little further into things, then perhaps it would be a good idea.

    As a parent you can come into school to view your child for any reason, if you choose to. You don't have to notify the teacher in advance. If you're smiling, polite, pleasant, and don't make a big deal out if, no one will get "weird" about it KWIM?

    If you have the opportunity to volunteer, or pick up something from school, or drop off something your child forgot, say, like his lunch that you purposely didn't pack for him. No one would be the wiser if you walked past the class and peeked in.

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    Dazey -

    I always meant to answer one of your old posts. The teachers absolutely insisted he was happy! And he was when he was learning and doing things without interruption from a few disruptive students. But most of the day he was hugely frustrated by work that was a review of his last year in private school and having to sit and wait while the various teachers tried to get control of the small group of kids in his class with behavioral issues. That (the classroom disruptions) was the worst part for him. He adjusted to not having to do much work or learning anything new. Even after we took him out, they were insisting he was happy. I talked to them and met with them and emailed them so many times. They just did not believe it. They were absolutely stunned when I emailed to say we were taking him out (emailed the superintendent and copied the teachers and the principal). I had told them that we were considering it and they just didn't believe it. And they said the class wasn't that bad - which I know is true, but it was that bad FOR HIM.

    He loved his teachers and loved talking to them, so when they talked to him he seemed fine. Also, he didn't want to "insult" them by saying he wasn't happy. So I don't blame them for not noticing, but I do blame them for not believing ME.

    That was the whole problem with public school last year. He did not fit the norm and the teachers did not know what to do with him. Even the principal dragged his feet, saying he used to have special enrichment for kids who scored 80 on some sort of test, but did away with it last year b/c what would he tell the parents whose kids scored 79. Yet, a few weeks after we took him out, I got the nicest note from him saying how hard it is to teach highly able kids, that it's very difficult to make it work in the classroom, and that it takes a special teacher who can recognize that the child is smarter than the teacher, the adult, and how these kids never fit into neat little check off boxes. It was very nice and validating to receive the email, and I understand that if he did anything for us, he'd have to deal with 1199 other families, but still, I had hoped he could have done something for DS.

    Oh well, we have an absolutely fabulous year planned for him and I am very excited.

    Last edited by questions; 08/21/08 08:55 AM. Reason: clarified re: classroom disruptions
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    You are so right Neato.

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    or drop off something your child forgot, say, like his lunch that you purposely didn't pack for him


    Love it!

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    I'm happy to share my experience, but be aware that I think my little Spock-like child is much more self-aware and capable of putting his feelings into words than a lot of kids his age, even HG+ kids, are. I wouldn't recommend requiring the level of explicitness that I'm going to describe from my child from most other kids before taking action. I think harm is done well before it reaches the point we were at.

    DS7 (then 5-6) had a good experience in public school K. His teacher got him--she IDd him for GT testing without my advocating even a little!--and she differentiated for him without my lifting a finger. I think it helped that it was a half-day class, too, so he had time to himself, time to be alone after school.

    All year long, DS was his usual rule-following self (as he had always been--he was a kid I could tell something to once and never worry that he'd break the rule). He didn't even get a "yellow light" warning for his behavior, let alone a "red light," and that was a TREMENDOUS source of pride for him. He liked being a good kid and he enjoyed school.

    Then he hit first grade...<ominous music swells>

    He came home the first day of school--Day #1!!!--threw down his backpack in a huff, and said, "I am NOT going back to 1st grade! And if you MAKE me go back, then I am NOT going to second grade because it will be even LONGER and MORE BORING than 1st grade!"

    Hard to miss that message, huh?! frown

    The teacher didn't get him, didn't TRY to get him, didn't differentiate, even when it would have taken no effort on her part to do so.

    DS began acting out in class and at home. He was nasty to me and mean to his brother. He was angry and depressed. He missed recesses regularly, as did ALL the bright kids (which should be a sign that something's not working, right?). This punishment took its toll on DS, who began to think of himself as a "bad kid," despite my efforts to stop this shift. She later began bribing the kids for good behavior as well as punishing bad, usually letting them "earn" sugary treats. Great. How about just teaching them instead? *sigh*

    I volunteered in the class and saw that she was requiring the kids to sit through 15 minutes of explanation on how to do an assignment--a pre-K level assignment, I might add! With pictures only, no words. Just place the pictures in order--that the kids took 5 minutes to complete. She explained SEVEN times how to do it! SEVEN! I counted! It was crazy! Having been to the K class, I knew that NONE of the kids in that 1st grade class needed THAT level of explanation; certainly not my child.

    (Though BTW, I hadn't yet seen the GT testing results, so I figured he was MG, not HG+.)

    Anyway, what was DS doing through all this excruciating explanation? Sliding around the back of the circle on his rear telling other kids to behave themselves! But then he couldn't answer a question because he wasn't paying attention, and he didn't finish the assignment because he was SICK OF IT! He talked to the kids at his table instead.

    It was horrible to watch!

    I e-mailed the teacher to express my concern about DS's behavior and to ask what I could do to support her. It was NOT an advocacy message--I wasn't there yet! It was a "I'm on your team; what can I do to help?" message. I didn't say he was bored in class, or even hint at it. The only request I made was to ask if she could send home more challenging books for me to read with DS for our nightly assignment. He was reading chapter books, but he was bringing home "I see a dog" books, often with only one word changed on each page!

    She responded with a very negative, defensive 9-paragraph rant about how I didn't seem to trust her with my child. Um, well, I didn't after that! I showed the exchange to a couple of friends not in the school system just to be sure that I didn't deserve what I got. All agreed she was WAY out of line given my message. They were shocked at her tone. One actually said, "You can't leave him with her! You have to change teachers or something." Still, I sent an apology to her. She didn't write back. At all. Ever.

    It was clear to me at that point that keeping DS with her was no longer an option. Any attempt to advocate would surely be met with more of the same, and I knew that eventually I was going to have to advocate under the circumstances. It was an impossible situation.

    To make my long story less long, I met with the GT coordinator to get his scores, saw how high his achievement scores were--1-2 SDs higher than I expected, since I thought he was MG. Oops!--and knew something drastic had to be done.

    We considered asking for a grade skip, but our system hates grade skips. I hadn't yet read the research on skips, plus DS is into sports, so at the time I personally wasn't wild about the idea of a grade skip. (That's one thing I might do differently if I had it to do over.) Because it was already late Sept. and we had done no research or budgeting for private schools, DH and I decided our only real choice was to pull DS out for "emergency homeschooling" for the year.

    Homeschooling has not been without its bumpy moments, but it has worked so well overall that we're homeschooling again this year. At some point I suspect DS will wind up at the local private GT school so that he has easier access to upper level science courses and the like, but for now, HSing is the better option for us.

    And that's how and why we left the school system. At least it has a happy ending! smile


    Kriston
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    I couldn't have said what you just said any better, you are so eloquent, I just get frustrated and swear!

    The school has many limitations. Even when they know your child needs more they cannot admit it to you in many cases because they don't have the resources so what's the point of igniting litigation.

    I went through a big stage where I was distraught, looking everywhere for that genuis on genuises who was supposed to tell me what to do so that my children would grow up happy and healthy and well educated in spite of the fact they didn't quite fit.

    Thank God, I finally found that person by

    looking in the mirror, aside from not being a genius myself, I am the expert on my children. Oh, and my husband too, of course!

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    fitzi Offline OP
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    Originally Posted by questions
    We have our DS back. smile

    This is exactly how we feel after a year plus of hard work with him, recovering from some early errors in care-taker/pre-K selection. He also was a night-time tooth-grinder. We do not want to send him back down this road. We don't have any problems yet (today is his second day, after all), but I mean to be vigilant.

    The school is pretty conventional, but the principle has a special ed background and, I believe, has already mentally labeled DS as a 'savant.' She is resistant to our request for a meeting to discuss acceleration with the district GT coordinator. The teacher is nice but not especially high-energy.

    Do I sound pessimistic? Perhaps I am just taking the counsel of my fears.

    Last edited by fitzi; 08/21/08 09:15 AM.
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    We are still in the public school system, fitzi, but we are in the same boat so to speak even in 4th grade. I am constantly watching for the return of worrying behavior that occurred prior to a grade skip last year.

    I didn't really understand how dramatically the school situation was affecting DS8's behavior until: after the grade acceleration and after reading some of the posts here on depression. All of the frustration and unhappiness from school was starting to show up in his fantasy/play time. His lego creations were exhibiting an abundance of fighting. His creative writing had a great deal of unhappy feelings, mixed with people getting hurt or exhibiting pain. It was hard to know at the time exactly what was normal for a seven year old boy, since they all have lego battles, etc. But he was also spending a great deal of time analyzing the social behavior of the kids at school. Every night he wanted to talk about why kids were calling him names at school, or why they were treating him a particular way. It was one of the major reasons that we were advocating a grade skip. He knew that he was different from the other kids in the class, and that constant friction was just building up.

    But what was truly amazing was that after a few weeks in the new grade, most of the agonizing over social interactions disappeared. Then the unhappy feelings in the writing started to go away. And then the lego battles decreased to what I think is an entirely appropriate level for a seven-turning-eight year old boy.

    So I think that all kids will, in some way or another, tell their parents if they are unhappy. Our little guy was not able to put it into words that expressed his feelings outright. But the feelings were there and leaked out into other areas. The trick is to spot how your son deals with anger, frustration, or depression. Does he curl up in an emotional ball and retreat? Does he stare out of the window when he is bored or doodle on paperwork? Or does he lash out? The latter may be harder to deal with but easier to spot, sadly enough.

    I hope this helps you some. I am also eager to see what other parents observed in their child's behavior. As you know, these kids change so fast, both internally (their own development academically and socially) and externally (how they fit in with the school and their peers). It is hard to discern what is a new developmental change or phase and what is something that you need to react to quickly.

    Wishing you and your son the best of luck! I hope this year is a better fit. smile



    Mom to DS12 and DD3
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    Quote
    Perhaps I am just taking the counsel of my fears.

    Please forgive the abrasiveness. However, if you are going to advocate assertively and productively for your son, please reconcile your fears. Fear is a very strong and unproductive emotion, you'd do better to adopt healthy skepticism.

    While normal and certainly understandable, fear driven advocation and/or decision making is counterproductive. It's really better to be coming from a position of strength.

    Please take with a grain or two of salt. smile

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    Originally Posted by fitzi
    The school is pretty conventional, but the principle has a special ed background and, I believe, has already mentally labeled DS as a 'savant.' She is resistant to our request for a meeting to discuss acceleration with the district GT coordinator. The teacher is nice but not especially high-energy.

    Do I sound pessimistic? Perhaps I am just taking the counsel of my fears.


    I think you're wise to be alert, personally, given the givens.

    The teacher we had trouble with had a background in "remedial literacy," or some similar term. I had hoped that this special-ed background meant that she would be IEP-friendly and might see DS as someone who needed to be taught in a different way. No luck. It meant she couldn't cope with GT kids at all, and didn't really know how to teach ND kids, even!

    I'm a big fan of the "expect the worst and hope for the best" approach to life. School seems a prime candidate for that philosophy.

    wink


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    So let's all move to Dottie's neighborhood. She's paved the way for the rest of us, LOL!

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    Thanks, Dottie. I certainly wouldn't want anyone to think that ALL public schools are unfriendly to GT kids or anything like that. That's just not right.


    Kriston
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    I think the topic covers any situation - private school, public school, HS, afterschool activities. You'll know it when your child is seriously unhappy. The big question is what to do about it.

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    Our big clue was that DS6 lost his spark. He stopped caring about anything, he stopped asking questions.

    He was noticeably dumbing himself down at school, his teacher was sending home Kindergarten beginning readers saying he was having trouble reading them out loud (when I asked him, he said that he was reading them slowly because the other kids did).

    Up to that point I had been trying to work with the school and had gotten a "wait and see" response over and over. No one would meet with me face to face for a meeting, but I was still under the illusion that they were the experts so I kept deferring to that expertise. They said they were differentiating, I took it at face value. They said they put him in the pull-out program the GT teacher volunteered to do for the Kindergartners during her free periods, I thanked them profusely. I *wanted* it to work, I *wanted* to believe them.

    The closest he came to being disruptive was the day that he colored the entire back of a worksheet in small bands of alternating colors instead of doing the work on the front. My question at that point was how he was left to his own devices long enough to have accomplished it. It had to have taken him half an hour.

    At home though, he was angry. Very, very angry. Starting a bit after Christmas he started having hour long tantrums, the likes we hadn't seen since he was 3. He screamed at us, he was defiant, he lashed out at anyone and everyone. It seemed to get a bit better after we started afterschooling in January, but that only worked for a few weeks. Then he was angrier than ever.

    The thing that finally got my attention that *something* had to change was at the beginning of February we went to PetSmart after school, I refused to buy him a snack and he tried to hit me. I finally sat him down and *asked* him what he was so angry about. He just started sobbing that he was so tired of never learning anything at school and that they made him do the same things over and over. After that we had tantrums every morning over him going to school. Over and over he said begged me to make them teach him 'real things'.

    He had overheard me talking to DH about homeschooling and he started begging me to take him out of school. He was begging me to homeschool him. Even when I told him that if I brought him home I would except him to actually work and that I wouldn't let him skate by. He said that was exactly what he wanted.

    I tried for almost another month to get the school to listen to me. At the beginning of March, the principal out right refused to meet with me, ever. She said we had nothing to discuss because they weren't changing anything. I pulled him the next day.

    Homeschooling has been hard for me, but it's been one of the best things we could have done for DS6. Almost immediately he was his old self again. He is just so *happy* to be home. Even after almost 6 months, he still regularly tells me how much he loves homeschooling. It's just amazing to me that he knew exactly what he needed, he just needed me to listen to him and trust him (and myself) more than the 'experts'.

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    Also, I'm a big fan of public school. It's free! And you meet kids in the neighborhood, and there's more anonymity than in the small private schools around here. I enjoy being part of the larger community.

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    My son had daily stomach aches which excalated to headaches. The first 4 weeks of school, he was symptom free. THen they returned but it seemed more to do w/ being tired from staying up too late and having to be on the track at 8:30am for track practice. As school approaches, he's getting worse.

    For my son entering K, all kids must ride the school bus. Parents are not allowed in the school until the beginning of November at the earliest.

    When DS was in K, a LOCKER ROOM had been converted to a K classroom. No kidding. The teacher didn't even have a desk. There was no standing room for the kids...just the tables and a rug for circle time. Then the music teacher volunteered her classroom and she'd move to that room since she deals w/ kids for a short period etc. I of course, wanted to see the new room . This was in october about 2 weeks before the magic day that parents can be in the school. So, there was a PTA meeting, so I snuck down the hall to peek at the class since I knew DS was at specials. I got *busted* on the way back to the front of the building and read the riot act from a teacher. Of course then at the next PTA meeting was a huge announcement about how parents were not allowed in the halls, they are to go to the cafeteria and exit the building upon end of the meeting. Not very welcoming is it? I later got accosted again by a teacher after DS's teacher told me to bring something to his classroom. I was there for Parent Gym day and had a name tag indicating as such. WEll, when you're there for Parent Gym day, you're supposed to enter and exit from the rear of the school at the gym so as to not go into the school building. So I got accosted yet again doing a favor for the teacher.

    For my son entering 3rd grade, I heard from another parent that is the year when they cut the cord - you can only drop things off at the front desk, you can't go to the classroom. Even in 2nd grade, you could only drop things off at the front desk, you're not allowed to go to the classroom.

    sorry.....I guess I started my own little rant .....

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    Wow, mamaandmore, I could have written this:

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    He had overheard me talking to DH about homeschooling and he started begging me to take him out of school. He was begging me to homeschool him. Even when I told him that if I brought him home I would except him to actually work and that I wouldn't let him skate by. He said that was exactly what he wanted.


    And this:

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    Homeschooling has been hard for me, but it's been one of the best things we could have done for DS6. Almost immediately he was his old self again. He is just so *happy* to be home. Even after almost 6 months, he still regularly tells me how much he loves homeschooling. It's just amazing to me that he knew exactly what he needed, he just needed me to listen to him and trust him (and myself) more than the 'experts'.

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    Originally Posted by mamaandmore
    I thanked them profusely. I *wanted* it to work, I *wanted* to believe them.


    This is why I say I think it's wise to expect the worst and hope for the best. I think pretty much all of us really want school to work for our kids. I think we even go so far as to assume it will work. A little healthy skepticism combined with a positive, hopeful attitude can help us to see our kids' realities a bit more clearly, I think.


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    We tried the PS for a total of 2 or 3 days for K. It was clear it wasn't going to work for my dd. However, the principal and the teachers did try to accomodate her. They moved her up for reading and even borrowed books from higher grades when it was clear that the books in the classroom were not enough. She was allowed to bring books from home for her reading time, etc. The problem was that in order for the school to be a good fit they would have to move her at least 3 grades up and socially that would not work. The GT coordinator went as far as to say they would "do anything they needed to do" to meet her needs. They really wanted her to stay and kept calling after we decided to drop out trying to convince me to bring her back.

    The problem is that there is nothing they can do to provide HG+ children with true peers. Placing my dd in 3 or 4 grade at the age of 5 did not appeal to me. Having her learn in a corner by herself was an even worse choice.

    She made it clear she hated going to that school and we decided to keep her home one more year since K is not mandatory in our state.

    She started in a Gt school for 1st grade and has been happy since.

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    That's an amazing story, Bianca. DS's school did not have a GT coordinator b/c there was no GT, and is none through fifth grade (other than in class differentiation I posted about recently). I really do enjoy reading about your DD's school situation. smile

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    Originally Posted by fitzi
    Perhaps I am just taking the counsel of my fears.

    Rommel coined this term. In his memoirs he made it clear to distinguish between fears based on nervousness vs fears based upon evidence. The evidence fears MUST be faced and dealt with by actions.

    Sounds like your fears are evidence based?


    Last edited by Austin; 08/21/08 10:10 AM.
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    The other big question is how long do you wait? My son is starting K. He was not happy his last half of preK. He wasn't bonding w/ any of the kids, didn't like the toys. But how much of it will be adjustment to K? I can't get into the school to observe until November so that gives him 8-9weeks to adjust to the new environment and long day.

    DS8, looking back, was depressed in K. I made him stick it out but it was hard and stressful for both of us. He still remembers it and talks about it. He commented that K ruined him just yesterday.

    I usually fall into the trap of, conferences aren't' until nearly NOvember. By then, the holiday hoopla starts so things get a bit better. Then there is winter break. Things will pick up at school in January but then things get bad again by late Feb, early March. BUt then we limp along until Spring break. But by then the year is nearly over and I convince him to hang in a little while longer. Finally we got to the end of the year.

    DS did reach a critical point where one morning he was blubbering and stomping his feet at the door as the bus is coming "I just can't take it anymore. I'm so tired of learning things I already know." He was just emotionally out of control. I kept him home that day. That is when the stomach aches started I think. My issue is not knowing what the real issue is. FOr him I think it's mostly personality. He's MG not HG+ like the kids here yet he seems to be acting so extreme. But he doesn't want to HS because he said he'd miss his school friends.

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    Can you arrange playdates, Dazey? DS7 has some school friends we still see, so it can be done, especially if you can arrange to have him on a soccer team or some such thing with the friends sometime during the year.


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    Originally Posted by Dazed&Confuzed
    I usually fall into the trap of, conferences aren't' until nearly NOvember. By then, the holiday hoopla starts so things get a bit better. Then there is winter break. Things will pick up at school in January but then things get bad again by late Feb, early March.

    I think that's exactly how we got to March with out me taking action. Because it would ebb only to present itself full force again when whatever distraction went away. If I could have known that at the beginning of the year, I would have pulled him right after Christmas when I realized we were losing him and the school didn't care.

    Originally Posted by Dazed&Confuzed
    But he doesn't want to HS because he said he'd miss his school friends.

    I've found that with DS6 (whose LOG is a complete mystery to me), if I point out that by choosing *not* to do something, he is in effect choosing something else, it helps to change his attitude towards the situation. By choosing not to be homeschooled because he wants to stay with his friends in school, he's choosing a certain amount of boredom and frustration while at school with his friends. I'm not saying it's fair, but it is what it is. It may be that being with his friends is that important to him, in which case it's going to require a certain amount of sucking it up on his part (with you working in the background to minimize the amount of sucking) or it may be that when he realizes that there are ways to see his friends and be homeschooled, he'll make a different choice.

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    You might also visit some homeschooling activities. If he makes friends there, he might have a different perspective about his school friends.

    Kids often get odd/mistaken ideas about what something is, and HSing is no exception. He may think it means that he never gets to leave home or something. Letting him see it in action may clear up the confusion.

    Not that you necessarily ought to homeschool...but *if* the friends issue is really all that's keeping him from wanting to do it, and *if* you think it's a choice you want to pursue, then I think the friends issue is a surmountable obstacle.

    DS7's only question last year when I suggested the possibility of HSing was about his friends, too. When I offered playdates with them, he agreed excitedly, and he's never looked back.


    Kriston
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    Um, this sounds a liitle lame after all these horror stories... But KG stopped reading. That's how we really knew something was wrong.

    Kid *loves* to read. He self-taught somewhere around 3yo, and would read all the time. He loved reading Captain Underpants when he was 4. I have a great pic of him the summer before K started, sitting in the car waiting to go somewhere, totally engrossed in "Henry Huggins."

    We had briefly discussed seeking a skip to first grade the winter before he started k, but his dad was adament that KG needed K. So we sent him. Private school really didn't cross our minds.

    I approached the gifted coordinator at parent night, introduced myself and said I was interested in learning about the gifted program. I was told it didn't start until second grade, and given a folder full of elementary gifted info (ie, characteristics of gifted kids, enrichment ideas, even a link to that Saturday enrichment program!). When I asked what they did for kids in K, she told me they do "in-class grouping." She was very dismissive, and a little rude.

    So I let it go at that point, and decided to watch and wait. KG wasn't having big problems, and I thought (hoped) maybe they *could* differentiate.

    But after a month or 2 in K... He stopped reading chapter books. And started reading Spot lift-the-flap books. That was my biggest clue-in! Not dramatic, but a big enough departure for me to look more into it. It was at that point we had him fully tested (he'd done a cursory eval to get into a well-known Saturday program for gifted kids near us).

    Basically, nothing was done for him. He'd have been in the "gifted first grade math" this year--but he tested above it last February. Whoopty!

    It was the school's attitude as much as KGs obvious regression that pushed us to start looking private. And it was less his K teacher than his principal --most of you have heard our story. It didn't look likely to change, and I wasn't willingly to fight a likely-losing battle while KG floundered.

    KG starts at gifted private in two weeks, and I'm really excited.

    Bottom line? Look for a change in your kid. If you think something's not right, you're probably right. And get started early!

    Last edited by Mia; 08/21/08 02:34 PM. Reason: was on my phone, didn't want it to crash before I posted!

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    Thanks to all for the many thoughtful responses. Sorry to be absent so long, but for some reason I thought this thread had petered out yesterday morning and didn't check it later in the day.

    There is a wealth of information and ideas in the many postings - too many to respond to individually. On the subject of fear, 'Neato and Austin make good points. We have some evidence to work with, since we worked with these folks a bit in the winter, but it's not conclusive. We have been insufficiently attentive in the past, however, and want to do better now, without overcompensating. I think the point of fears is to own them - even in advocacy - without letting them own you.

    DS got through day 2 okay, though bits of violence are seeping through his post-school fantasy play already. Much will depend on whether the school follows through on our request for a meeting next week.

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    Quote
    We have been insufficiently attentive in the past

    So have I, probably so have many others, this will end up being a non-issue, don't worry.


    Quote
    without overcompensating. I think the point of fears is to own them - even in advocacy - without letting them own you.


    Brilliant-now go do some successful advocating!!! grin


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    Yes, we've all been there. 'Neato's right (as usual!).

    Use the past to inform you, but don't waste time and energy kicking yourself. If you do the best you can at the time, then that's all you can do. Regret is a wasted emotion. Forward!!!

    smile


    Kriston
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    oh, BTW:

    Quote
    Much will depend on whether the school follows through on our request for a meeting next week.

    LITTLE will depend....

    If they don't (they probably will!) you make another polite call. And then go from there. While you do need cooperation on some level you have more influence in the outcomes here, than the school, okay?

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    Quote
    'Neato's right (as usual!).


    Aww shucks...... blush blush blush

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    Originally Posted by incogneato
    Brilliant-now go do some successful advocating!!! grin

    Yes Ma'am! (We need a saluting gremlin for the board).

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    Originally Posted by Kriston
    Yes, we've all been there. 'Neato's right (as usual!).

    Use the past to inform you, but don't waste time and energy kicking yourself. If you do the best you can at the time, then that's all you can do. Regret is a wasted emotion. Forward!!!

    smile

    Yes - this is an important lesson that, after some struggle, I am beginning to get the hang of.

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    Originally Posted by incogneato
    oh, BTW:

    Quote
    Much will depend on whether the school follows through on our request for a meeting next week.

    LITTLE will depend....

    If they don't (they probably will!) you make another polite call. And then go from there. While you do need cooperation on some level you have more influence in the outcomes here, than the school, okay?

    On this one I disagree. We've made the polite call already and, as I mentioned, we have some prior experience working with them. If we see a long process stretching ahead of us, just to discuss options, and DS is stressing, we will move to HS pretty quickly.

    I'd like to understand better your point that we have more influence on the outcomes, at least within the school's system. We can propose, even persuade, but ultimately the principle makes the determination, que no?

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    BTDT. I spent a while kicking myself, too. It's part of the process. But get through that part as fast as you can because it's not productive. You can't be an effective advocate for your child if you're busy blaming yourself for past mistakes.

    Forward! Always forward!


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    Originally Posted by Kriston
    BTDT. I spent a while kicking myself, too. It's part of the process. But get through that part as fast as you can because it's not productive. You can't be an effective advocate for your child if you're busy blaming yourself for past mistakes.

    Forward! Always forward!

    True dat! DW puts it well, I feel, when she reminds me that we we are growing as a family just as DS grows as a person.

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    Well what I mean is, for example, pulling for homeschooling is an excellent option as well. That is one way you have control over your son's situation.

    I started with the polite please when DD8 was in K almost 4 years ago!!!!!!!

    I'm just only now seeing the fruits of my labor!

    You can't keep a child under duress for that long, no way. On the other hand someone told me once, don't borrow trouble.

    There wasn't any major trouble until last year. Definately some bumps the year before.

    I see that you've got a beat on what's up and you are confident. That's important to your success here. We all have stories, and you should read them. But none of us can tell you what's in store for your story because none of us know yet.

    If your story starts unfolding in a way you don't like, back up re-assess and march on.

    I will tell you if I could time travel back here are the things I would do:

    Had achievement testing at the same time as IQ testing. I didn't understand what those numbers really meant and I don't think a lot of the teachers do anyway. They speak grade level!

    Find out all the laws in your state that define gifted programming for the public schools.

    Find out all your district's policies on gifted programming. Ours posts the whole darn thing ver batim on the website. I didn't even look at it til last year! duh. (slapping myself on forehead)

    Find out who is on your school board. Anyone you know? Anyone have gifted children?

    Lastly, I contacted my State Rep's office recently. It's amazing some of the "loopholes" the summer aide dug up for me!!!

    As the boyscouts say: Always Be Prepared!

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    This is a great thread. Very interesting. We were gone all day yesterday, but I'll throw in DS7's story for what it's worth.

    DS7 went to full day kindergarten. He had a young, male teacher who absolutely got to know each kid inside and out. He seemed to have eyes out every side of his head. He had great classroom control, but also went with the flow. He know how to make things more open ended and fun. DS did well there until after the holiday break. He started having some stomach aches in the winter, but socially was loving it. DS was not very confident in his abilities and I had to push a little bit to make sure DS was getting all the extras. And I had to encourage DS to ask for more. It wasn't totally ideal, but it was ok. DS was still himself and had a nice peer group. I had no idea DS was actually GT until he hit a ceiling score on the NNAT (got the scores March of kindy year). I was just hoping he'd get identified (which 40%+ of the kids in the school do).

    Fast forward to first grade. He has a teacher who just doesn't deal well with boys and chaos. He didn't have the peer group he had in kindy. The highest achieving kids in the class were girls. He had some kids that were very demanding in a class of 26.

    The stomach aches started immediately. He verbalized "I am not learning anything there. I know everything she is teaching". I talked to the teacher about differentiation for him because the highest level for everything she had was still too low. She dropped the ball on this several times.

    DS went from being curious to slowly just being bitter and not respectful to many adults. I really feel like his teacher last year in not respecting him and the other kids in the class made him not willing to trust. His focus became becoming the class clown. He still loved school socially, especially after he clicked with a few other boys. But that is all school was about for him.

    I saw his papers at the beginning of the year were full of writing and hard work. By the end of the year they were short answers and drawings of video games. I got his journal back at the end of the year and the same thing. Paragraphs written at the beginning of the year down to drawings at the end. Everything he brought home was full of drawings. Volunteering in class, I watched him going from being an active participant at the beginning of the year. To basically drawing the day away and not even listening to the teacher. And she definitely knew he was doing it.

    The teacher admitted she didn't know what to do with him. I requested a certain teacher for 2nd grade which was not honored. So homeschooling here we come.

    Wow - it actually felt good to type that out! Whew. I see DS coming back slowly but surely. We were in a Newspaper museum at our state fair yesterday and DS had a long drawn out discussion with the man running an antique linotype machines and the mechanics of it. At the end DS said "Great machine! Can you show me how the press works?". It's just great to see that curiosity back!

    Last edited by kimck; 08/22/08 07:58 AM.
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    Yay, kimck! I think that's the bright side: even when situations are bad, kids can recover if a good situation follows.


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    Hello all -

    Neato, would you mind making a sticky for this part of your post? It is awesome advice for us newbies. Thanks!

    - EW
    Originally Posted by incogneato
    I will tell you if I could time travel back here are the things I would do:

    Had achievement testing at the same time as IQ testing. I didn't understand what those numbers really meant and I don't think a lot of the teachers do anyway. They speak grade level!

    Find out all the laws in your state that define gifted programming for the public schools.

    Find out all your district's policies on gifted programming. Ours posts the whole darn thing ver batim on the website. I didn't even look at it til last year! duh. (slapping myself on forehead)

    Find out who is on your school board. Anyone you know? Anyone have gifted children?

    Lastly, I contacted my State Rep's office recently. It's amazing some of the "loopholes" the summer aide dug up for me!!!

    As the boyscouts say: Always Be Prepared!

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    Originally Posted by Austin
    Originally Posted by fitzi
    Perhaps I am just taking the counsel of my fears.

    Rommel coined this term. In his memoirs he made it clear to distinguish between fears based on nervousness vs fears based upon evidence. The evidence fears MUST be faced and dealt with by actions.

    Sounds like your fears are evidence based?

    Austin:

    BTW, I meant to thank you for providing the source of this quote - I love historical trivia.

    Ian

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    what a great discussion and even though my DS5 is a little younger than some others here we saw some pretty major changes in him concerning his old Montessori preschool...he went from being a pretty happy-go-lucky little kid that would spend hours exploring topics of interest to being a very angry, pent up little boy who didn't want to do anything anymore. He wasn't getting his intellectual or sensory needs meet (he has Sensory Processing Disorder) and the loss of both just about did him in. He was miserable, bored, and his self-esteem really seemed to hit rock bottom...he stopped sleeping and began grinding his teeth at night. We removed him from that setting and within a month, we started to see glimpses of our fun-loving, exploring son. Now that he has started a new school for K, we are getting concerned again because the steps he took getting back to his old self during the summer are going backwards - we are starting to see some of the same things come out again....so we are doing some research about homeschooling options for him.

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    If I/we can help, just say so. I know how scary that step is, so I'm happy to help if I can.


    Kriston
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