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    Joined: Apr 2009
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    Are you sure that if you send him to private K they will actually put him in 1st next year? Is it just their word that you have or is there something written that says that they will do that?

    It's such a hard choice because even if you send him this year he'll still be way ahead of his peers. My son (5) (as I'm sure a lot of kids here) could have started Kindergarten two or three years before he did and still would have been bored. I can't say that his level of boredom would be any different if I'd have had to start him a year later, if that makes sense.

    The school said that they will work with you to give him a teacher that will be good for him? Have they said anything about differentiation? Will they move him up for some subjects? If they do will they only move him up one grade or will they consider moving him up to his level?

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    Wow! Thanks for all the great responses! Some good ideas here (but still so unsure!) --
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    Would the public school allow him to enter the 1st grade in 2011 even if he didn't attend K next year?

    As far as I know K isn't mandatory in NY. How about finding a private school where he could attend a half day K

    Never even thought about skipping K. Interesting idea--he would be attending a preschool, that still plays, but also does some academic work. They also walk in the halls, eat lunch in the cafeteria etc. Is that enough, or is K really necessary prep for 1st? Would the transition straight to 1 st grade be too awkward or difficult? Has anyone else done something similar?


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    I would see if the principal of the public school would consider letting your DS sit in on a K class for an hour or two now to see how it goes. Obviously, he'd be with kids a year older than him, but it would be a good way to observe how easily he separates from you, how well he interacts with the other children, whether he will get involved in the activities in the room, etc. If he fits in well, it might convince the principal that your DS would be fine in K next year, especially if the K teacher said nice things.


    Never thought to do that either--that's probably a great idea if they would allow it. I'll keep it mind to ask the Superintendent when I speak to her Mon.


    Jamie, what did you do w/your son? I guess he's in kindergarten now?

    The school did say that they would definitely differentiate instruction, and make sure that they give him a good teacher. She gave me examples like if the class is learning how to add 2 M&M's + 3 M&M's , he could work on word problems, or he could create word problems. She explained that learning doesn't always have to be vertical, that within what the class is doing, he can do something more challenging yet still related. Sounds good in theory, but who really knows!

    Is there anything to the argument that it's better he wait so he can be the oldest. Or if he's the youngest would it really matter?

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    Originally Posted by bbq797
    Wow!

    Never even thought about skipping K. Interesting idea--he would be attending a preschool, that still plays, but also does some academic work. They also walk in the halls, eat lunch in the cafeteria etc. Is that enough, or is K really necessary prep for 1st? Would the transition straight to 1 st grade be too awkward or difficult? Has anyone else done something similar?


    We did something like that with DD6 last year. I thought about putting her in K when she was 4 1/2 (Feb b-day). Even spoke with the teachers and principle at the school she would be attending (private school so they were open to it). I think if I would have had her enter then she still would have been so far ahead that she would have been bored, being at home I liked the ideal of having her one more year at home with me and her little sister. We waited til she was 5 1/2, the teacher saw how advanced she was and suggested she be tested and maybe grade skip (which we did in Jan that school year) I don't know that we would have considered a grade skip at 4 1/2, but at 5 1/2 she was mature and ready to be with the 1st grade class, socially she has done great (although could still use more challenging work), is now in 2nd grade and she is anywhere from 1 to 2 1/2 years younger than her classmates. Hope that helps

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    We did early K for DS at Kindercare (cheaper than most private K.) He started K there midyear when he turned 4. When we enrolled him in public school the next year, they started him in K and then he was moved to 1st midyear (after he turned 5.) There is a state law here that 1st graders must be at least 5 years old.

    He's in 3rd grade now, and doing well.

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    bbq797
    i live on LI also (i will PM you with my district info). We are one year ahead- my DD5 is currently in K. We faced a similar decision last year, not because of cut-off dates but just whether we should go public or private.. Our choices were a very expensive gifted school (around 12K), a non-profit montessori with a great program (5K) or public school. We did public school and its been great in some ways and weak in others. Jury still out. Its so ironic because they have no policy against holding kids back to give them an edge, but they are so strict about doing the opposite. I am curious if we're in the same district- our district initials are HHH. i don't want to spell it out or these posts will come up whenever someone googles it!
    irene

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    bbq797 Offline OP
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    I think we are almost neighbors! We're in KP; it's bizarre how even the cut-off dates are different (isn't yours 12/31?). I'm very curious to see how ridged they are when I plead my case to the Superintendent on Monday.

    Skylersmommy,
    You mentioned that your daughter is younger than her classmates--is that an issue? Is it an issue for anyone else? That was one of our concerns about sending him early--that he would be the youngest instead of the oldest.


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    Age is definitely not an issue with any of our kids. DS11 has a summer birthday but went to K when he was a new 5, and he's had no issues because of it. DD8 is now 1.5 to 2+ years younger than her classmates and she's actually much more comfortable and outgoing now than she ever was with her agemates (partly because she doesn't have to hide her abilities, partly because she just is interested in the things the older kids are). In fact, she has a large group of really great friends, both her age and older, and nobody seems to care at all about her age even though they all know she's younger (and, in fact, she's invited to virtually every get-together, even when the guest lists are small). DS6 is the youngest in his class but every last one of his friends is more than a year older than he is. He's very social and no one cares that he's younger. BTW: my kids are all tall for their age, but I just think size is not important. My DD has friends in her class that are 1.5 years older and many inches shorter, but no one ever suggested they hold those kids back because of their size!

    As far as starting 1st without the learning-to-go-to-school that K provides, for DS6 it was no big deal. We talked with him before he started about the basics like raising your hand and asking to go to the bathroom and going to the cafeteria for lunch, but these things literally took days for him to learn. Some things we never thought to mention to him and have figured out as we went along. In our case DS was familiar with the school layout because he has older siblings, but any child new to the school in whatever grade would have to find their way around.

    In addition to your son maybe trying out a couple hours of K now, you might also consider sitting in on a K class for a bit. I think you'll find a HUGE range of maturity and behavior in a K classroom and, because the kids are the "proper" age, the teacher somehow manages to deal with issues of differing maturity. Unless your DS is very immature, I tend to think that he'd probably be indistiguishable maturity-wise given how close he is to the cutoff. HTH!


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    Originally Posted by bbq797
    Is it worth spending over $12,000 (which we don't have) to send him early to kindergarten? (he would go in Sept., and then 1st grade next yr.)

    Hi bbq797,

    Okay, this is going to be a long post! I hope it helps.

    First: You have a big choice to make, and a lot of factors are going to influence what you do. When I'm faced with a big problem, I break it into smaller component parts. This helps me analyze each factor on its own merits and helps me weight how important each one is relative to the others.

    Quick intro: I have three kids (haven't had them tested). The eldest (9) has skipped two grades and the youngest (5) has skipped K. All three have subject accelerations, too. They go to private schools. So I've faced your decision. Obviously, YMMV, but here are my thoughts:

    1. Overall, I can't emphasize enough that you need to learn about how public schools operate and, in particular, how your district deals with gifted kids.

    Some points to ponder:

    * What's the district's gifted program like? Get specifics. Do the kids get acceleration or just "differentiation"? How many hours per week does it consume?

    * What are the local policies regarding grade skips? Be careful if they tell you "We'll put him in K and observe him for a while."

    * What's the cutoff for entrance into the program? Is it an IQ of 130 (98th percentile) or 124-125 (95th percentile) or something else? An IQ of 152 (using an SD of 15---Stanford-Binet uses this scale, I think) is around the 99.97th percentile or 1 kid in about 3800.

    This means that the school district hasn't seen many kids as bright as your son. So their idea of appropriate differentiation is based on a group of children who don't learn anywhere near as quickly as your son does. This might make them reticent to believe you when you tell them what he can do and how fast he can absorb ideas.

    In my experience out west and from what I've read, most schools don't really get giftedness and don't get high giftedness+ at all.

    2. What is the district's evidence that your son will be better off as the oldest kid in the class? Ask them this question, directly.

    Be careful if they answer in vague terms. If they do, push them a bit for specifics. How many profoundly gifted kids have they dealt with? What is their approach to these kids? Have they read A Nation Deceived?

    Many schools tend to parrot the conventional wisdom that being younger than your classmates is damaging or otherwise bad. Oddly enough, they don't apply the same logic to redshirted kids who may be 18 months or more older than their classmates. Common beliefs include "he won't be able to drive at the same time his classmates do." Another one is "they all even out by third grade." Both of these arguments are notable only for the heights they reach on the Scale of Edumacational Bogosity.

    In any event, you'll need to question them carefully and point out how your son thinks differently from other children his age. They might not believe you.

    3. The public school told you that they "differentiate," but until you know exactly what that means (in writing ideally, but not necessarily), be cautious. The comment about not all learning needing to be vertical puts up a red flag in my mind. Differentiation has been known to mean:

    a) More of the same math problems
    b) The same kinds of math problems but with larger numbers; so this could be 154 + 248 instead of 54 + 48.
    c) Reading an extra book at the same level of complexity as the one everyone else is reading.


    4. Remember that schools are under the thumb of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). This law provides incentives solely for increasing test scores of low-achievers, and it punishes schools (sometimes severely) that don't raise their scores.

    NCLB provides no incentives at all for helping gifted kids, and the schools therefore have no incentives for helping their brightest students. Don't ever forget this.

    5. Are you sure that the question I quoted at the top of this message is the right one to be asking? You may wish to consider how best to meet your son's overall educational needs, rather than just thinking of getting him into K now instead of next year.

    6. It can take time to get used to the idea of grade skips. One skip seemed odd, but we got used it relatively quickly. Two seemed very weird when DH and I first started talking about it, but now it seems normal (and so very right).

    7. Are you looking at the LI School for the Gifted? Their program looks very, very good.

    The thing about schools that deal with gifted kids exclusively is that they're going to be far more likely to get the idea that cognitive skills like doing math and reading early are very different from fine or gross motor skills. This means that they won't tell you that your son can't skip a grade because he trouble holding a pencil. Rather, they'll be more likely to accelerate him in reading and math while he learns how to write his name without wincing.

    8. Can you afford to send your son to the private school indefinitely? Do they give financial aid?

    9. Finally, be sure to ask the private school the same questions that I mentioned above and any others that you ask at the public schools. Get promises in writing BEFORE you give them a check.

    HTH! Must go.

    Val

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    hey bbq797,
    yes ours is 12/31.. i have a friend in KP and he is Dec 6 and i was shocked that the cutoffs were different. Good luck with the superintendant. We had a good meeting with our principal last week. If anything we feel now we will get a good teacher for first.
    about my dds age- we thought with a June birthday she'd be right in the middle of the class. She is actually one of the 4 youngest. There are three kids who "belong" in first. Then a bunch of winter birthdays, and two very young kids with Dec. birthdays. Even the really young ones seem to be doing fine, though, so don't see it really as a problem. I think the curriculum is fine for most older four year olds - its not that challenging. Also, if you're interested in Montessori let me know as the school i know of is pretty close to you and a real bargain. My son attended it for preschool but i know montessori is not for everyone.


    irene

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    My son is in K and he's the youngest one and is doing ok with that part of it. I'm having a hard time getting him differentiation even though they promised me when I talked to them last year that it wouldn't be a problem.

    I'm just leery to take anything that the school officials say at face value. Maybe you can talk to somebody in the district that has faced something like this before and see what they say?

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