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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!


    Mom to DS12 and DD3
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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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