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    Joined: Nov 2008
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    montana Offline OP
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    Hi... I'm so grateful to find such a lovely place with such helpful and kind people! I've noticed how good you all seem to be at not ruffling feathers or making anyone feel bad, which seems unusual in online-land.

    I don't really know what to say...but it seemed rude not to do an introduction. So...we're in CT. My son's in first grade, in a public school. As I was a public school kid in rural montana, and reasonably happy there, as they were flexible, I thought public school in a good district would be good enough. It doesn't seem to be. My son (I'll have to come up with some cool name for him!) has been soooo unhappy. And he was so EAGER to start school. And his self-selected work at home has really tanked...he hasn't recovered yet to the level of writing he was at before he started kindergarten, for example.

    We spent all last year waiting, b/c the principal and teacher said improvement would come...it basically never did. They told us, wait til first grade, it's so much more academically rigorous parents dislike it, he'll be happy there. We were skeptical, but waited. He was crying by October, saying he couldn't handle it. And we kept waiting, telling him, it takes time for the teacher to get to know the kids and what they can do...oh, it's all so miserable. The teacher actually called us up to tell us that our son was not as smart as he thought he was, that lots of kids were smarter (possibly true but improbable), that he was just "acting smart to make other people feel inferior," (possible, but unlikely in a kid we see as empathetic and concerned with fairness) and she was upset that he was - gasp - reading after snack and once took a from-home math workbook out on the playground. So we've been going nuts this fall, trying to get him help. We're trying to find other ways our son can feel part of the community and engage with other kids, b/c the classroom sure isn't doing it.

    We're in the midst of having him tested. We always worried that WE thought he was so smart, but we could be crazy, and what if there was some other reason he was SO miserable with school, but didn't want to test for $$ and labeling reasons. This is kind of a roller coaster of emotions...hope, when the tester says she has tons of experience getting accommodations, fear, when she says things like, he's going to need another school. We can't afford private, and I don't know of a school around here that even HAS a gifted program. He's come up with Davidson-minimum scores just this past week, so we scrambled to apply to that. I'm so grateful they exist...what absolutely wonderful people!! and I really really hope, please please please, that they'll accept our son and somehow have the social and academic solution, plus the ability to get the school to LIKE it and do it, that will make it all good enough. I guess I hope that the school's attitude of us being pushy annoying parents who don't know what they're talking about will change to helpfulness when they see that we do.

    I'm not asking for perfect, truly I'm not. I'm wanting develops work ethic, is challenged in at least a few things, doesn't think he's the smartest person in the universe, has a couple good friends, and isn't treated hostilely by people around him.

    It's so sad and frustrating...his teacher won't even let him be in the highest reading level - and it was his VCI that qualified him for the Davidson application! I try to think of this as giving him something to strive for...but the books in the highest level are books he's already read, for the most part, so I'm not sure that's going to fly.

    Ok. that was more a vent than an intro. I'm sorry. We're...a family of five- ds6, ds3, and ds0. I just finished grad school this spring and now can proudly claim to be an unemployed historian. My dh is a scientist. My first son was absolutely high need, all the traits, soooo hard as a baby. He's stormy. My second son was like a high-need kid in the never sleeping department, and the determination, perfectionism, but unlike #1, would play with toys and could be put down or handed to another person from time to time. If my first son's negative emotion is despair, #2's is fury. It's much healthier, it seems. #3 seems to be coming slowly to an opinionated life, and can actually both nap AND sleep occasional 4-5 hour stretches, which is just beyond bliss.

    I survived parenting these kids because a high-need child bulletin board let me know I wasn't insane and taught me better approaches to parenting them. I hope to find that here, and I hope to help other people out along the way, too. thank you all!



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    Welcome! It's nice here! smile

    Have you considered a grade skip? Homeschooling? Other options? Not to say that you should give up on advocacy if that seems like the right move for your son. But knowing that there are other things you can do can really help you to feel more in control of the situation.

    HG+ kids are pretty much never served in a regular ND classroom without accomodations of some sort. If the school isn't giving him something different/more than what everyone else is getting, he's unlikely to get what he needs. The different/more can come as a grade skip, as subject acceleration, as differentiation, etc., but it really must come! One way or another!

    Fingers crossed for DYS! I suspect he's a shoe-in, but I'm no expert. smile


    Kriston
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    Welcome from me, too! (another mom to 3 boys, former resident of Montana, and unemployed historian!)

    I have no advice, only good wishes! I hope things will be better soon--it feels really lousy when your kids are sad.

    peace
    minnie

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    I could have written most of your post myself. When DS7 was in PS 1st grade his teacher was just like your sons. She would go crazy with a red pen all over his papers....even though he got all the answers correct! She would put sad faces on his papers. And when he tried to look ahead in his textbook, she yelled at him. After 1 month of that we took him out and have been homeschooling ever since. smile

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    Oh Montana! How I hear you! The problem with these kid's education is that it is really dependent on whether each year's teacher "gets" your child. You can have an amazing year one year and a terrible year the next, just based on the random draw of the teacher. It sounds like your DS's first grade teacher really doesn't understand your child, his needs, or his potential. In fact, she sounds downright hostile to gifted kids. Did they have her in mind when they wrote the article on 'cutting down the tall poppies' on Hoagies gifted web site?

    We had the same problem in first grade. My DS(now 8) had a good kindergarten teacher who had several kids of her own: one was gifted so she saw and understood that part of DS, and one of her boys was ADHD and so she understood boys who struggled to focus or who were squirmy. The first grade teacher did not have kids, which I always consider a very bad sign for my DS, and it was her first year teaching in the school system. (a teacher who has passive little quiet girls is just as bad!) She told me all year that she was afraid that DS was "falling behind" because he would not color in the A is for apple sheets that she gave him. crazy He had been tested by that point and labeled generically gifted, but she had no understanding of him or his ability. It was not a good year.

    Then DS got the most wonderful teacher in 2nd grade. She was an experienced teacher with grown kids. She had seen years worth of kids pass through her door. And she quickly surmised that DS had no business being in 2nd grade. She was our advocate, our knight in shining armor. She really pushed the school to accelerate DS immediately, mid-year, into 3rd grade. There is nothing quite like having a teacher on your side when it comes to getting the school to hear and act on your child's needs. DS was accelerated mid-year, and school improved dramatically for him.

    So, you have to either hold tight this year and suffer through hoping that next year will be better, find another school option, or manage the impossible and educate this teacher on the needs of gifted kids.

    I will tell you how my son's second grade teacher went about educating the school, FWIW. She gave DS the end of the year tests, for 2nd grade, in October of that year. When he passed all subject easily, then she could say to the principle that he belonged in 3rd grade. You could try the same approach with your son's teacher. If she doubts his reading ability, then ask her to give him something challenging to see where he is. Our school uses a computer-based reading assessment called Star Reading which gives kids harder and more complicated sentences to read until they start missing things. You need some for of assessment on his reading ability that the school will accept. (achievement data verses IQ data) If your DS is strong in math, then ask for the same thing in math. Then you may try to gingerly find out if the school is open to subject or full acceleration. Some schools are adamantly against it, no matter what the data says. Some schools are more flexible. You have to cautiously test the waters.

    You may also have to educating your school on levels of giftedness. Most school assume that all gifted kids are the same. Oh wait... I just re-read your first posting... your school does not sound gifted-friendly. Ouch!! Well... that makes matter much harder! You will have to first teach them about gifted kids, and then teach them about DYS-level gifted kids. That is a tall challenge, even for a supermom who is well rested! LOL! I'll have to think about this for a while....

    Here are two links that might help in the meantime, or until someone else has a brilliant suggestion. One is funny, for your sanity (Dr. Seuss goes well with sleep deprivation... why else was it so popular with parents too!), and the other one I just found and helps to explain gifted little boys. Someone just posted this link recently, and I really enjoyed it. (go to Oct. 8th 2008: Think It Off!) Maybe your DS's teacher will find it, or the whole link, instructive.

    http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/gifted_seuss.htm

    http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/unwrapping_the_gifted/

    I have been hanging out here for a good six months now, and it has really helped me with my sanity, my understanding of gifted kids, and the inner workings (or sadly the non-workings) of schools. So stay and hang out with us. We may not have simple answers to your questions, but we have all been in the same boat.

    Small Poppies article:
    http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10124.aspx

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    Oh, and Master of None... It took me a while to learn how to do quotes as well. You can't do them in the quick reply... at least not that I found. But if you 'switch to the full reply screen' then you have a lot more options. Cut and paste the quote that you want to insert. Highlight it with your mouse, then hit the " " button. It will put it in quotes for you. You can also add the smiley faces buy clicking on the smiley face button and choosing the one you want. The "posting icons" don't seems to work for me. Use the ones in the line above your text.

    Hope that helps!


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    been there, too. Not much advice, just empathy and the knowledge that your family is not alone, and this group is a great! resource.

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    Welcome, Montana. We were there, too. The thing I eventually learned, that so many here have already mastered, is that yes, I DO know more about my son and what he needs and what the problems are than his teachers or the principal or the school. He always had well-meaning, but misguided, teachers who all tell me they've done well with "kids like him." But they're grouping him in with the wrong group based on in class behaviors for the wrong reasons. We are homeschooling now and will be for the forseeable future, and still working out the kinks, but I can now sign off as,

    old parent of now happy kid

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    And hooray for that! smile


    Kriston
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    Originally Posted by master of none
    I'm not asking for perfect, truly I'm not. I'm wanting develops work ethic, is challenged in at least a few things, doesn't think he's the smartest person in the universe, has a couple good friends, and isn't treated hostilely by people around him.

    I don't know how to do those quotey boxes y'all can do so well. But this quote struck me.
    I used to have a similar perspective til a preschool teacher set me straight.
    She said that every child has a right to can thrive, not just survive. They need to be free to develop who they are without shame. If they are told daily that who they are is not acceptable, what is that telling your child? If they are strong, they attempt to defend their core being. Maybe that comes out as telling others they are smart, maybe it comes out as agression, class clown behavior, whatever. So, that's the first thing.

    Second thing, you don't need to apologize for who you or your son are. You have many gifts to share, as does he. You SHOULD ask for perfect. Ask for what he needs, ask him what he needs. Do not settle. What you get won't always be what you hope for, but it's better to ask for what you need instead of something less than what you need.


    I 100% agree with you. Well put Master! I am amazed by what comes out of peoples/teachers mouths and especially after reading the link someone posted to ridiculous comments.

    Anyway... welcome montana from another unemployed historian but I prefer stay at home mommy. wink

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    montana Offline OP
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    Thank you guys so much! Already I can tell this place will help me feel better!

    So, I tried to figure out the quoting thing, but I am apparently too tired and braindead. So, um..hmm. point. Ok. I'll try and go through and respond in order to everyone.

    Kriston, I have considered grade skip and homeschooling. Homeschooling I think about but worry about socialization,b/c my son really likes being with groups that are WORKING for him. Also, I worry about me. See braindead, above, and small baby. And we would be a lot more secure if I can get a job, you know? we're kind of scrambling a bit just now- we moved into this town last year FOR the school system and safe neighborhood thing. It's frustrating to think if we'd stayed in our mold-ridden place on a 60mph road with no children around, we could maybe have afforded private school. So there's money, there's worry that I wouldn't be a good teacher, there's ds's loneliness-- but there's also this feeling that we would be butting heads terribly, that it would be too much closeness or something. He's terribly strong willed, and probably I am too, really. It just feels like a good idea intellectually IFF I could keep it together to actually teach instead of leaving him to his own devices while I read things and fed the baby...but I don't really trust myself on that, and I have this worried feeling that then our relationship would become contentious instead of safe for him.

    Grade skip I don't think the school does willingly...but I also have reservations about it. DS is really sensitive and cries easily. He's been gross-motor delayed. He's very short...even as one of the oldest kids in his class, there are girls nearly a year younger than him who are taller than him. And he CARES, a lot, about being teased for being slow or physically inept. He's also not incredibly socially at ease. No wonder, really, but I feel like he's kind of maturity-wise where he should be, and I hate to expose him to feeling little and less with much older kids.

    And there's also a bad family history with grade skips. My mom did two, and always felt so out of it socially, has had life-long poor self-concept and is quite depressed and has trouble connecting with people/making friends. My brother-in-law was skipped one, and was never able to make friends, protected himself against feeling out of things by feeling superior, has a lot of trouble with dating, has a troubled marriage, and has been in grad school for 16 years w/o getting a degree, has no job, and is pretty conflicted and unhappy. My grad school roommate and her eventual husband were skipped a year...my friend therefore developed later than other kids and worried she was lesbian b/c not interested in boys at same time, and feels that it made her promiscuous to try to counter that. Her husband, who's short like my son, but athletically gifted, unlike my son, felt constantly unsafe and was held back a year in 7th grade when they moved, and then felt SO much better and did great after that. My brother was sent early to school, and spent his life being really picked on and feeling miserable. My second brother my mom held back a year, and he was then taller and more coordinated...he was less picked on, though still some. I thought she made a terrible decision at the time, but looking back, I think it was brave and good of her to do the social hold back. (all of these people are gifted, btw).

    So all the examples I happen to know involve long-term unhappiness with the skip. I know this is anecdotal. But also, in most of these cases...the people share genes with my son. So my dh and I are really worried about it. In our cases, b/c of dh's brother and my mom's experience, we were not skipped. We were in multi-age classrooms and subject accelerated. And we both feel we had an easier time and are happier adults. And that's what we want for our kids...that they be happy, productive adults, not that they necessarily win the Nobel (my dh's parents' goal for him, I kid you not. They still call up to berate him for not doing better on that!)

    I've also thought, it's not like he just read the 'wrong' books and has contraband information, and after the classes catch up he'll be all the same as the other kids. He learns fast, and I feel like no matter where he skips to, he'll have this problem of being driven nuts by the instruction. Which is really repetitive and test-driven.

    So I've noticed that grade skipping seems to be thought the best-practice thing to do...but I'm concerned about it for my particular son. My second son, I'm considering letting him do the early kindergarten thing, b/c he is more socially able and very good athletically. He is still short and sensitive, but he doesn't have as many counter-indications, I think. I really don't know about that, but I've got a year or two to worry about it.

    And, #3 is stirring, so I think I'll post this now rather than counting on having time to respond to everyone. I would, at any rate, really appreciate thoughts on the grade skips...I sure notice that we seem to be in a real minority in thinking the grade skip is not nec. such a good idea, and that makes me wonder if we're idiots.

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    montana Offline OP
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    Dottie wrote: Why is she so disturbed? Does she think it's because you've pushed your child? (Not true, but at least somewhat understandable) Or is she that concerned that he "be normal"? (EXTREMELY disturbing!) The latter situation seems toxic to me.

    I think SHE feels embarrassed, exposed. She said that one of the playground teachers came and asked her if she was MAKING him do the math at recess, and she was like, no, NO!! She wanted my permission to forbid him doing extra work in class, which I did not give. I pointed out that he really liked learning. She was all, that's great, we don't want to take that away from him, but...

    Once ds did his homework overnight and proudly brought it in to her, telling her that he'd been working on it on the bus. She told him he couldn't do that. Didn't give a reason. If she'd said, your handwriting needs help, I'd have understood and helped ds with, but she didn't. As a kid who ALWAYS used the bus to finish homework so my home time was mine, this one made me really angry.

    It all makes me really angry. It's also so puzzling...a teacher who's against learning.

    I don't know, Dottie, what her deal is with the reading. She thinks he's making it up, I guess. I don't know how she thinks he can make it up...I guess she thinks he's lying when he says he's read or can read something. But I also think she just doesn't get it, she doesn't SEE it. It's her first year of 1st grade. Last year she taught 5th, and we were hoping that would make her MORE able to stretch for him, not less.

    Oh, and I did get that application done. Good GRIEF, that thing was long!! Now I'll just chew my nails for 4-6 weeks, I suppose. Yay dizzy post-partum hormones, though, you're right. Must. Save. Child!

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    montana Offline OP
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    Minnie, I can't believe you're a historian from Montana!! With 3 boys! And here I thought I was at least unusual, lol! Do you mind telling me where in MT, and what kind of history? (you too, Katelyn's Mom?) It's really cool to have historians here- I haven't run into that in other online communities. It's nice not to be so strange!

    It's kind of weird how cloaked I feel like I have to be here, though, like this is the deepest darkest secret and I wouldn't want anyone in real life to catch me posting here! But I suppose I can tell you south-central montana, near Yellowstone, and history-wise, western, native, environmental, colonial/19th century. I really wish we could move 'home'...that whole salmon economy thing certainly applies to us. I even got my dh to call the U of M to ask if they had facilities he needs for his research...nope. :-(


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    RJH...that sounds just HORRIBLE!! At least mine is getting smiley faces. Though if he adds something they haven't done to the homework she asks him how he learned that in class, which just feels kind of odd. I wanted to pull my son the day the teacher called and never send him back, truly. Maybe in future I will. I have a friend who's homeschooling, and I bought a resource book I like. But just now, I feel worried about it, that I really wouldn't do it well.

    Master of None...I'm really going to think about this. I HATE conflict. Really really do. And I think I have absorbed some sort of sense of shame, the way even the people who have really loved and appreciated DS have told us, strongly, not to go around alienating teachers by saying he's gifted, that sort of thing. And there's just such a strong sense of you are wrong I get. I'm probably over-sensitive. But the principal won't even meet my eyes. And I swear I have had zero confrontation with him...all that's happened in my dh has had a few meetings with him about ds's unhappiness, in which we've demanded nothing and listened to what they said.

    And I guess I feel it with friends, too. the very existing is bragging thing. I have friends whose kids seem def. more able than mine, but the kids in question are happy in a way mine isn't, so I'm the one being all up in arms about things.

    I wish I could hire someone to play the role of mother in all of these confrontations. Maybe that's part of my Davidson fantasy-- someone ELSE would be the authority I'm just citing. I am, at my very core, shy. I learned to hide it...but these things aren't my strength. I hate the thought that I'm letting my weakness make ds's life worse...ugh. I'm really going to have to think about this. I try so hard to be accommodating. Maybe I'll ask for EPGY instead of ALEKS, eh?

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    montana Offline OP
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    Ebeth, I think you're probably right about needing to teach these people about gifted kids. This makes me want to stick my head under the covers and not come out. They are NOT all warm and friendly. The parent school assemblies are all about terrorism lock-downs and about how the curriculum is now in One Big Book, so that we can Know Our Child Gets The Exact Same Education No Matter The Classroom. I just don't even know where to start. Truly. I feel like we don't have an ally. We have to go to a HUGE meeting tomorrow that they called, b/c we asked if ds's psychologist could do a classroom evaluation, as he's been unhappy and they themselves said he was having social problems. Now we have to have an 8 person meeting to even get permission to have him evaluated!

    I've been doing research, and they have like half the instruction time for english, math, science, of comparable districts in the state, and twice the administrative staff. And they're so out of money, but they keep buying these electronic whiteboards that as far as I can see are not being used at all effectively in the classrooms. It's like tech for tech's sake, not tech that anyone knows how to use to enhance learning. And then they have no money or time for the top 50% of kids. Every school meeting we go to, it's about special needs and how they're aiming to help that population. Which I don't want to steal $$ from...but geez, their state test scores are slipping dreadfully, don't they think that ignoring half the school might have something to do with that? I just don't know HOW to change anything or WHERE to start. I wrote my state rep, asking her to explain to me the history of the financial constraints placed on schools so I'd understand and not be asking the wrong thing of the wrong place or demanding impossibilities. I was so frustrated...she ignored me, and I got a solicitation for her campaign. BITE me.

    But, thank you for those links...I especially liked that blog...and yes, I think ds's teacher is out there with her scythe!

    Barbara, thank you for the welcome! And questions, I really hope I can get to where you are sometime soon! I'd love to hear any homeschooling decision-making stories any of you might feel like telling, as that and the grade skip are both my biggest concerns and the most obvious fixes.

    sorry to have written a ton. I just don't want to ignore anyone when you've all been so full of ideas and welcome! I really appreciate it!

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    Originally Posted by montana
    So I've noticed that grade skipping seems to be thought the best-practice thing to do...but I'm concerned about it for my particular son. My second son, I'm considering letting him do the early kindergarten thing, b/c he is more socially able and very good athletically. He is still short and sensitive, but he doesn't have as many counter-indications, I think. I really don't know about that, but I've got a year or two to worry about it.

    You are not alone in being cautious about skipping. I was grade skipped (skipped first grade) and didn't like it at all. But it was a small town and it was a big deal. I lost a lot of friends and was shunned in my new class. And when I quickly moved to the top of my new class, the kids who had been top really resented me. In junior high I hated being behind physically and that just made me feel even less like I fit in. I did recover socially by mid high school. Perhaps all that made me a stronger and more resiliant person. Maybe I am better because of having to overcome obstacles. Maybe I wouldn't have fit in with my old class (although we had gotten off to a grand start!). I guess it is possible the skip was good for me; we'll never know for sure. But I will say it was very painful and I would not want to put a child through what I went through.

    DS was offered a skip and said, "no way. Let me stay with my friends." He is not skipped but subject accelerated and is really thriving.

    Skipping is a tool. Used in the right situation it can be a great thing. But used badly it creates more problems. I do not think skips are the answer for all kids, but they should be an option to be considered. There is just a lot to consider in making the decision--it is very individual.

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    PM for you


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    I, too, felt that DS9 and my relationship would degenerate into head-butting if we attempted homeschooling, and to a certain extent it has, but the alternative (public school) was so terrifically awful for him that here we are! We do have access to and Alternative Public School though where he can get 8 hours of instruction a week, and the classes are pretty cool.

    I have had to let go of some illusions regarding homeschooling because of his personality which is "I want to learn what I want to learn and that's the way it is" *sigh*

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    Originally Posted by montana
    And I guess I feel it with friends, too. the very existing is bragging thing. I have friends whose kids seem def. more able than mine, but the kids in question are happy in a way mine isn't, so I'm the one being all up in arms about things.

    It turns out that MG (moderatly gifted, I guess with in about a half standard deviation of the cut of line) kids are much more able to 'do school' than kids who are farther out. Getting scores that qualify for Davidson YSP mean that he's got beyond what the test can accuratly measure, so he may be far above MG, or far,far,far above MG. Hard to know, but it sure makes a difference when trying to figure out what the teachers are asking for.

    Then there is personality. Some of our little boys are affronted by the situations that they are placed in. They react to 'getting less praise than everyone else' with anger. This makes compliance with adults, or even trust of adults really really hard. Most teachers do want to hear from a kid that they need to earn that child's trust. I would say that my son started off being willing to trust but not being able to ignore reasons to withdraw trust. Then he just started with 'prove it to me.'

    Anyway, please don't compare your kid to your friends kids and feel badly about yourself or your kid. Even if they just plain are better at fitting in, oh well, that's the challenge you have been handed.

    ((shrug))

    Grinity


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    Originally Posted by Barbara
    I have had to let go of some illusions regarding homeschooling because of his personality which is "I want to learn what I want to learn and that's the way it is" *sigh*

    I'm one of those who hasn't ever homeschooled, but I do have romantic notions about it. At 9 years old, is there any harm in letting them learn only what they want to learn?

    BTW, Barbara - if you need some help tricking them into accepting what you think they need to learn by hooking it up to what they want to learn, just post - I'm scary-good at perspective flipping! In my world, everything is connected to everything!

    smiles,
    Grinity


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    Originally Posted by master of none
    I'm not asking for perfect, truly I'm not. I'm wanting develops work ethic, is challenged in at least a few things, doesn't think he's the smartest person in the universe, has a couple good friends, and isn't treated hostilely by people around him.


    Interesting. I think that it's a good thing to keep the basic goals in mind and not waste effort hand-wringing that it's not perfect. I think those goals are excellent ones. I don't think kids need perfect, just some basic efforts to be make in their direction. Even if the efforts fail.

    But of course your kid deserves much more. And I like the idea of asking for EPGY instead of ALEKS.

    Grinity



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    Gradeskips - yes they are accepted as a best practice around here, due to the Davidson's book, Genius Denied.

    But, while full skips have some attractive features, no one answer is best for everyone.

    I particularly like the idea of subject accelerations with or without full skips for the part of the gifted range that falls around 3 standard deviations from the mean. But that takes a school system that is functioning well enough to keep things going. My brothers were sub. acc. in Math, for years, then when they got to 6th grade, the oldest class in the building, they did 6th grade math again. My husband got summer birthday plus sub. acc. with a nice bunch of friends in Math and Language Arts, and seems much for comfortable inside his skin than I was with only an early enterance.

    Sometimes it is really hard to sort out the effects of skips, versus just being different, versus the attitudes that come in from the outside. Sometimes folks post here and aren't sure if their kid is 'really gifted' - to me, if they need to post here instead of calmly venting to their friends, it's a sign that they have gifted kids, or at least kids at a higher level of giftedness (LOG) than the people they see around them.

    BTW - I want to go on record about how stinky it is that US culture is so biased against short males. I've been reading 'Ender's Shadow' recently, and I always thing about the main character being smarter than everyone else AND shorter than everyone else - what a pain!

    Smiles,
    Grinity


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    not to hijack the thread, Montana ...

    [quote=Grinity
    I'm one of those who hasn't ever homeschooled, but I do have romantic notions about it. At 9 years old, is there any harm in letting them learn only what they want to learn?
    [/quote]

    oh no harm at all, actually - HE'S fine and has been insistently learning what he wants to learn his entire life. (we got one of those laminated placemats of the periodic table and he has memorized the entire thing because he WANTS to) it's ME that has "problems" with the "but what is he SUPPOSED to know?" stuff. He teaches me to just let go a lot.

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    Maybe I'll ask for EPGY instead of ALEKS, eh? [/quote]

    Just thought I'd chime in about EPGY...
    We've been working through the math sequence with DD, at home on our own, hopefully in preparation for a big acceleration in school at the end of the year. It's a great program - however - some of the lectures in the course are not explained very thoroughly. DH and I make sure that we watch over her as she does these to make sure she "gets it." I would be concerned that a kid doing it on his/her own at school, if not closely supervised, might not understand certain topics. For instance, the 6th grade course has a lecture about bases other than base 10. Fine, but, they explanation is so brief that I had to research it on the internet and explain it a different way to make sure she understood.
    Not sure how ALEKS works or how EPGY is in lower grades, but just my experience.

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    montana Offline OP
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    I'm jumping on and off line now b/c of my baby. But I wanted to ask, just how much would you tell the school? I'm having a hard time deciding how to present this, where to start. The person evaluating him wants us to say nothing if we possibly can until she's done. This is very hard. B/c to begin with, we thought he was probably having trouble b/c bright rather than other causes. And now we have the WISC-IV and WIAT-III scores. So I understand wanting to wait for full results and coming up with a plan, but honestly, I feel like it's beyond awkward to go in to the school and say, we just want this classroom eval b/c we're worried and say nothing about all the other concerns (which we've brought to the school last year and in September to no avail, but never had scores to back us up before). But that's what the psych. is advising.

    I'm so tired of trying to make the school feel listened to and respected and deferred to, of taking months to try to ease a teacher along to asking US if maybe, just maybe, the work is too easy. I don't feel up to doing it again this year.

    And I worry that my perspective is warped. I started school in a K-8 trailer house. It was terrific. There were 3 in my class, but I could listen to all the other lessons and just work as fast as I wanted to- I was in 4th grade math and 6th grade reading by the start of 2nd grade, when we moved, and no one ever said there was the slightest thing weird about that. Then after I moved, it was to a school that had about a class and a half worth of kids/grade, so they had mixed-age classrooms up til junior high, when they started subject accelerating me as schedules worked. It just made a lot of flexibility built-in easy. So these are my public school associations. I keep feeling like, if they could do it in rural MT 30 years ago, just what on earth is your problem, wealthy CT school district?? But I'm pretty out of my depth, understanding how schools work now, out here. I'm not sure what's reasonable. Is my experience giving me a warped idea of what public schools can and will do?

    ACS, I cautiously mentioned a skip to my son, just in the abstract, and he wanted to be skipped to 6th! lol. or, panic, or something! But I don't think he can figure out all these issues about friends/puberty etc for himself at this age. It sounds wrong to say I'm glad someone else felt the same way, but I'm glad to hear it's not just us. Even with my subject skips...when I was two years ahead in math, and walked over to the high school in 7th grade...I felt very out of place and the teacher was hostile. When he had to send my grade back, he rolled out 20 feet of paper towel and scrawled the grade across it, so I had to roll this enormous thing up and carry it back to the secretary at my school. The next year, they had me do it again with a girl whose family that teacher was friendly with, in the class one year ahead, and that was easier. I just found some nice, quiet girls to sit with and stayed with them through HS, until we ran out senior year and a different math teacher was willing to run a higher level class before school started for us. Strangely, when I was in language classes with kids 2 years ahead, just b/c the language classes were inherently mixed age, I didn't feel out of place. It's when I was skipped somewhere I 'shouldn't' be that I felt bad.

    So these experiences, in a small town, too, I should probably add...as we're in now, by CT standards...made me just worry inside when I read things that suggest that a kid with DS's scores should skip 3 years (though not all at once). I've wanted the sort of friendly flexibility my school came up with, which had mixed age classrooms, subject skipping, internships, pull-out program, teams and competitions. I'm just not sure how to get there, or how to judge if it's the least bit possible. I know my mom had to do her share of principal-talking and school-board agitating. So probably from her perspective, it wasn't the simple friendly experience it seemed to me. Well...except for the algebra I teacher!

    And Grinity, I never had stats, nor tried to figure them out. Frankly I'm not sure what a standard deviation is supposed to mean, though I'll ask dh tonight-- I've avoided for too long! But where IS 3 deviations above the mean, score-wise?

    And I may go buy Genius Denied, or consider sucking up my embarrassment with ordering it at the library. I didn't get it b/c it seemed more anecdotal and I was looking for research and prescriptions.

    And my son seems to have an attitude like you describe...he does seem, I think, to feel the need to prove himself smart MORE b/c of this skepticism...it makes him more focused on being smart, and less generous to others, too. He told me he doesn't like to teach others b/c then they know the secrets. Sadness. He didn't use to be that way.

    And I have definitely not been sure my son(s) is/are gifted. Sometimes they seem so absolutely average to me. And they never were the prodigies I'd see when I occasionally went over to the Babycenter gifted board. But then they'd do something that seemed so scary smart we'd be stunned. But then they'd fall back into being their usual selves...kind of as if a fish jumped out of dark waters and you just see the flash for a minute and are left saying, did I really see that? Are those ripples, or am I imagining things? The doubt has made me really susceptible to believing what people say about wait and let the schools figure it out. I'm really as glad to have finally decided to go for testing just to remove the wondering what we're dealing with as for any other reason.

    ok, crying baby boy so jumping off, but twomoose, thanks for the head's up on EPGY. that's too bad...I'd thought it would give better instruction than it looks as though ALEKS does on the free trial.

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    Hi montana - welcome. Wow - you've got a lot on your plate right now! i don't have a lot to add, but your latest post made me think of a few things.

    One - I liked Miraca Gross "Exceptionally Gifted Children" if you're looking for citations. I think she talks about all the major studies on HG kids. Borrow the most recent version - it has updates on all the kids.

    Two - We have been wondering, worrying about acceleration of our DS4. I think this really, really depends on your kid's personality. I was young (late summer bday) but miserable in school, and if I had known skipping was an option, I would have begged for it. I finally got to do dual enrollment in my senior year of high school (taking all my classes at the local university), and I was so glad to finally be free from school! All my good friends were never my agemates. My DH was young (early fall bday) and hated being smaller than the other kids for sports. We would prefer, if possible, to have our kid with agemates but with subject acceleration, at least to start out. But as time goes by, DS keeps on learning, and things change, so we don't know where he'll start school next year. We are happy to have learned here of homeschooling as an option, just in case. Also - all the bad history your family has related to skipping can actually be a positive for your DS - you know what pitfalls to look for and what to explain to him ahead of time.

    Three - This board is full of wonderful, supportive people with kids who have tried and done well or not so well in many, many different situations. What doesn't work for some, definitely works for others. And what works for a few months may not work later. Don't be surprised that you'll probably have reassess education every once in awhile. But luckily, you won't have to go back to square one, because I believe with each reassessment, you will have learned at least something about how your child learns. smile

    Good luck!

    P.S. - I have a short boy too!

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    Originally Posted by montana
    And I have definitely not been sure my son(s) is/are gifted. Sometimes they seem so absolutely average to me. And they never were the prodigies I'd see when I occasionally went over to the Babycenter gifted board. But then they'd do something that seemed so scary smart we'd be stunned. But then they'd fall back into being their usual selves...kind of as if a fish jumped out of dark waters and you just see the flash for a minute and are left saying, did I really see that? Are those ripples, or am I imagining things? The doubt has made me really susceptible to believing what people say about wait and let the schools figure it out. I'm really as glad to have finally decided to go for testing just to remove the wondering what we're dealing with as for any other reason.

    Lovely discription - much more beautiful than my version:
    "If he's so gifted, then why is his fly unzipped?"

    Also - I wanted to point out to you that with your friends and family that you mentioned in your early post about gradeskip dread, your kids probably are quite average amoung the people you know best. This is how it often is.

    What you describe about being subject accelerated is one of the reasons that I like a full gradeskip, once you get settled in, you can go back to being a regular kid, particularly if you start early. OTOH, if the full skip isn't enough, it can be a 'permission giver' to be with the older kids for a few subjects. Much nicer when you can 'go up' with a friend or two, yes? And with a gradeskip as a base, it's easier find other kids who are ready to go up with you.

    Of course the pace will still be a problem, but then again, things don't have to be perfect, just what you said before, yes?

    I strongly encourage you to go to your library. CT has a great Interlibrary Loan system as well. Think of it as boldness training. Really. Besides, the librarians have a code of honor, I think. Besides, you can order from home, and pick up when they arrive...

    Here's an article about it, with links:
    Library From Home





    Our Card Catalog iCONN databases Netlibrary-downloadable audio InfoAnytime



    Today�s library is more than a physical location. You can access these library resources from home 24/7 for help with homework or to find information and fun books to read! Visit our Bibliomation�card catalog� by clicking here .You can check your record by choosing the �My Account� tab and entering your library card number. If you�d like to check other libraries in the system choose �Bibliomation Global� at the top of the page. If you would like to place a hold find the desired item and then click on the �request item� box in the lower right hand corner.

    If you would like to order a book which is not in the Bibliomation card catalog (above) you may try the Connecticut statewide interlibrary loan system, which is called reQuest. If you use this link you do not need to enter your library card number at all. You will be sent to our reQuest portal and the books will automatically come to our library. If you cannot find the item in either Bibliomation or reQuest please come into the library to see if we can get the book for you in another way. We aim to please!


    Anyway, you are going to be at this meeting. Tell them he's really unhappy and not playing with others. Tell them you've seen a big increase in his competetivness and a big decrease in his tenderness to others. Tell them to test him on their end of year tests and to keep going until he gets less than a 75%. Don't wait for the scores - they won't mean a thing to the school folks. Don't wait for Davidson YSP, they may or may not be impressed. Just tell them to use their own tests and not to stop until they find where your kid actually is. Then they can try subject or full acceleration for a while and see if it works, and if it doesn't, you can always try homeschooling.

    He could do 6th grade 5 times! Start thinking about what your school has to offer like a Menu, One from Colum A, Two from Colum B, and be ready to try stuff.

    Also, contact Connecticut Associate for the Gifted and see if you can hire a Parent Advocate to go to the meetings with you.

    my favorite trick is to schedule meetings at the end of the day, and not let them go home until your demands are met. Perhaps not this meeting, but the one where they met to review the findings of all the end of year tests they gave him.

    Basically you are between a rock and a hard place, so think temporary and short term solutions, ok?
    Smiles,
    Grinity



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    Originally Posted by montana
    Even with my subject skips...when I was two years ahead in math, and walked over to the high school in 7th grade...I felt very out of place and the teacher was hostile. When he had to send my grade back, he rolled out 20 feet of paper towel and scrawled the grade across it, so I had to roll this enormous thing up and carry it back to the secretary at my school.
    I'm so sorry that happend to you, but really, if you had had that particular teacher 2 years later, I'm sure he would have found some other way to try and humiliate you. And imagine if you had developed an attitude while you waited around to be challenged in Math? Anyway, I don't get why some people are in the teaching profession in the first place. Mostly I think it's good people who just don't have any basis for understanding, but occasionally there are real bad apples, and they do make accelerations of any kind a bear. If you do get an acceleration of some kind, be sure that you have observed the 'recieving teacher' in action with real children. Most are good, some are nightmares.

    ((shrug))
    And you thought being home with a newborn was going to limit your social life...
    Grinity


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    No pressure here, but I would like to make one quick comment about homeschooling and the social issue:

    Quote
    Kriston, I have considered grade skip and homeschooling. Homeschooling I think about but worry about socialization,b/c my son really likes being with groups that are WORKING for him. Also, I worry about me. See braindead, above, and small baby. And we would be a lot more secure if I can get a job, you know? we're kind of scrambling a bit just now- we moved into this town last year FOR the school system and safe neighborhood thing. It's frustrating to think if we'd stayed in our mold-ridden place on a 60mph road with no children around, we could maybe have afforded private school. So there's money, there's worry that I wouldn't be a good teacher, there's ds's loneliness-- but there's also this feeling that we would be butting heads terribly, that it would be too much closeness or something. He's terribly strong willed, and probably I am too, really. It just feels like a good idea intellectually IFF I could keep it together to actually teach instead of leaving him to his own devices while I read things and fed the baby...but I don't really trust myself on that, and I have this worried feeling that then our relationship would become contentious instead of safe for him.

    Did you know that there are homeschooling groups you can join to get that group dynamic? We have participated in MANY group activities (there's practically one available every day!), and DS7 has found a lot more like-minded peers there than he had found in the schools.

    Not every area has groups as active as our area, but it might be worth looking into if you're interested and the social issue is the main reason you're rejecting it. Everyone who homeschools has the same issue, after all, so we do work to solve it.

    And you might find that your DS is a lot more willing to cooperate if the work you're giving him is interesting and challenging. Plus it's perfectly fine to say, "What do you want to study now?" and follow his lead. DS7 and I are partners in his education, so while it is my job to make sure he is working and learning and not falling behind (Ha! As if! wink ), it's his job to decide what interests him and to pursue it. I set minimum daily requirements, and he does the work. I have his buy-in, so we very rarely have power struggles. If we do, it's usually a sign that we need to pick out some new topics to study.

    I can't help you with the "baby brain" though. That's a real roadblock! :p It is a temporary one though.

    I never push HSing on anyone. (Heck, we'd still be in the public schools if our local ones worked for us!) But I do try to point out ways to make HSing work if you think it might be useful. There are lots of misconceptions about it, and I'd hate to think that someone rejected a perfectly good solution out of misconceptions and urban myth.


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    montana Offline OP
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    Grinity wrote: if you had had that particular teacher 2 years later,...

    actually, I did have him- very small school. He was much kinder to me when I was not two years ahead, but only one, and downright civil when I had him on grade level. sigh. maybe it's a little bad to have worries about grade skipping in part based on someone who is not that nice.

    But I wanted to say, I'm not at all saying all grade-skipping is bad. Clearly, for most kids here, it's working much better than options. It's just that for me, with my friend and family history, it's an option that makes me awfully anxious, and reading that it's thought to be about the only option for kids with scores like my son makes me extra anxious!! I hope I haven't made anyone feel bad- I've all along worried about how to tell whether my feeling that my son's particular personality made him a better or worse match for a generally desirable thing, not thought it a dreadful idea.

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    montana Offline OP
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    "If he's so gifted, then why is his fly unzipped?"

    lol, Grinity! With me, it's their search technique. If they're so smart, why on EARTH can they be staring RIGHT AT the thing they're looking for and not see it, while I tell them, right there, no, turn, no, look, down, right there by your elbow!! It's like they become selectively blind. thank you for the library info, btw...and for the suggestions on what to say. I'll have to write it on the back of my hand or something! :-)

    And Kriston, about the homeschooling groups...I tried to find a local one the beginning of this year on my BIL's advice, and didn't find an active one. But maybe as I wade deeper into these waters I'll find something. I'm already amazed at the things I didn't know were out there...and that I didn't know I didn't know! All the acronyms for tests I haven't heard of are impressive.

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    It's true that much varies by area. I'll see what I can dig up for you...


    Kriston
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    Originally Posted by montana
    It's just that for me, with my friend and family history, it's an option that makes me awfully anxious, and reading that it's thought to be about the only option for kids with scores like my son makes me extra anxious!!
    Well there is homeschooling, subject accel, afterschooling, summer programs and Saturday classes, and personality transplants. Also medication ((Joking)) I think that for some kids skips really stink, and it is a total shame that that's the 'least worst' option. I agree 'be afraid, be very afraid' because your kid has already proven that the personality transplant isn't likely to work.

    Weird, huh?

    Smiles, Grinity


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    Here's what I found. Hopefully some of it is new to you. Fingers crossed!

    Some of these groups may be religiously affiliated. I'm not screening them, so if that is a concern, please check carefully and know that I'm not pushing anything on you. (I'm a secular homeschooler myself.)

    http://members.cox.net/ct-homeschool/supportg.htm
    http://www.home-school.com/groups/CT.html
    http://www.cthomeschoolersinclusive.org/
    http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/regional/Connecticut.htm
    http://www.hslda.org/orgs/default.asp?State=CT
    http://www.cthomeschoolnetwork.org/
    http://www.homeschoolcentral.com/support/connecticut_homeschool.htm
    http://www.midnightbeach.com/hs/Connecticut.html
    http://homeschooling.about.com/od/usact/Connecticut_Homeschooling.htm
    http://www.shorelinehomeschoolers.org/joomla/
    http://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/states/connecticut.php

    I suspect the lists tend to repeat the same groups over and over, so there's probably a lot less here than it appears. But I didn't want to miss anything, so I sent all the links.

    Also, be aware that sometimes the most active groups aren't on the Web. I'm a member of a group that you only learn about through knowing other homeschoolers. Search for it, and you'd come up empty. But if you go where the homeschoolers are, you find out about it.

    Feel free to ignore if this isn't useful, and as I said, absolutely NO pressure! smile But it does look like there are groups in the state, at least.

    K-


    Kriston
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