gifted student advice needed

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
gifted student advice needed
3
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 3:22pm
I am a kindergarten teacher. My daughter is 10 years old. She was advanced 2 years in 2nd grade. So, she has already completed 4th and 5th grade. But, this year when it came time to move her to middle school, most thought it wasn't a right fit, I agreed. Socially she did not fit and academically she did not fit. So, the elementary building is walking distance to the HS, so she was put back into 4th grade in name only and she took 2 classes this year--biology 10th grade and Spanish--2nd year. She is receiving A's in both classes and the HS biology teacher recommended her for advanced biology next year as well as other classes. In biology she ranks 4th or 5th of all the sophomores. All her other academics are individual. Everyone has been great. She has had her happiest school year ever. The school administration really did not expect this to work so well and so she will not receive credit for these classes because she is not an official HS student. Now next year, she will repeat 5th grade and go half time at the HS. She remains at elementary for music, art, PE, recess and lunch. The next year will be the big decision time because the middle school is way across town and there is no transportation to get her to the HS for any classes. Perhaps then she would start HS full time. Does anyone see big problems here?? Is skipping middle school Okay? Socially, I will say this is a drag. She does not have a peer group in any sense of the word. The closest thing is her gymnastics teammates, but they come from surrounding cities so we don't see them any other place. Friendships have not come easy because the other children her age are tired of her "knowing everything" . I don't know what to do!! Any advice appreciated.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 6:39pm
My daughter had a similar situation with a classmate. He was advanced 2 grades from their class after second grade. He continued to follow the grade path, but never fit with the others. He was always alone. By the time he was in a junior in HS he was taking some college classes because he had run out of elective HS courses. My daughter went to his senior prom with him because he was such an outsider for his class group. She felt sorry for him and volunteered to go with him so he would have some normal HS experiences. He did compete in academic teams and did well. This is one area where the HS school kids wanted him, but overall I don't think he was happy. He was still a loner in college, because he didn't have the social experiences to fit in and wasn't old enough to participate in many of the usual college social activities with his peers. He'd just gotten his driver's license when he graduated from HS.

I'd suggest that your daughter go to MS and continue to take advanced courses. There are a lot of distance learning opporunities if she can't easily return to the HS each day. Maybe she could attend half a day and work from home, or she could attend half a day and then tutor her peers or do independent learning in the media center if she needed to remain at school.

Later she might jump from 8th to 10th or 11th when she is more mature and physically equal to the other students.

I also think a normal social life is important and peer pressure can be a problem. In 7-12 schools I've seen a lot of problems with the older guys taking advantage of the 7th-9th grade girls. Many HS girls are also so cruel to anyone they see as a challenge in any way. HS is hard socially in the best conditions. I don't think I'd send her there on a full time basis an earlier than necessary. Of course, I don't know your daughter personally or have all of the facts, but I'm just offering my 2 cents.

Good luck and best wishes!

Sherry

Sherry

 

Avatar for luvmyevan
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 9:15pm
I couldn't agree more with your advice. We had one in Kindergarten reading at a 4th grade level, but socially she needed Kindergarten. It worked out well and she's now in 1st grade (well today was the last day, so 2nd after today), reading on 5th grade level, but socially a lot better off than she would have been if she'd been anywhere other than where she is.

Katie

Avatar for momsr2fun
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 5:48pm
I would try to find other kids like her and have set up playdates. My DD(7) is an advanced reader and is reading Harry Potter books. We had a family party recently and she played with one of her cousins that is 8 and also very advanced. He has read all the Harry Potter books and she thought he was the coolest kid ever! They both could relate to each other. Their games revolved around Harry Potter. She said she needs to play with him more often! (2 hour drive away!) This experience did teach me that sure age-mates are good playmates but not as much fun as someone just like her! I think with anything, kids need to know that they aren't the only kids with gifts. I would look into special gifted and talented schools.