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Readers Respond: Is it a Good Idea?

Responses: 25

By

Updated February 08, 2011

Some people strongly believe that gifted kids should start kindergarten early, before they turn five. Others believe, just as strongly, that gifted kids should wait. Which group do you belong to? Did your child start school early, but you wish you'd waited? Or did you wait but wish you hadn't? Did your child start early and you're glad she did? Or did you wait and end up sorry? Tell us about your child and your experiences. Tell us what you think!

Gifted or Aspy? continued

my 3 1/2 year loves reading, obsessed with numbers- he can write (maybe not as neat) all the numbers- he figured out on his own- wrote first few numbers before turning 3-self learned. simple addition/subtraction. only thing I did was read him lots and lots of books ever since he can see. I was skeptical at first when he starting reading words out of the book - thought, oh he's recognizing words- till one day he starting reading a library book which I had borrowed but not yet had read to. Anyways just deeply frustrated with people who just cannot understand that he might be a perfectly normal child who might be advanced in some ways. And he is pretty mature for his age. If he doesn't seem like he wants to play with fellow 3 year olds, he has his reasons. maybe these ignorant so called experts and professionals should actually hear me out- i am his mom. if anything was wrong with my son, i would be the first one to want to find out and seek help.
—Guest frustratedmom11

Gifted or Aspy?

i have been so frustrated with the daycare owners where my son used to go (who supposedly have masters in psychology) observed him for few minutes to say that he may have speech and language delay- to which i replied 'he speaks in complete sentences and reads at reading level 2 at least (this was when my son was just over 2 1/2) ' went along with their stupid ideas and got him assessed- he was bored and refused to answer questions with the speech pathologist and started asking her question about the stupid flip chart. Anyways further diagnosis- this time some psychologist- asked me if I knew about Autism- i told her close my son's case for we do not need further assessment. then catholic social services- same kind of stuff- 10 min observation of my son, they think he may have delay. when i said he reads comic books like calvin and hobbes and garfield??? 'oh, he maybe advanced in literacy, but may not understand the language. he's 3 1/2 now. done with trying to over-diagnose my so
—frustratedmom11

Skipping grades?

My son has been advanced in all areas. He is big for his age. I put him in preschool at 2 1/2 because he wanted to do activities, paint and meet new friends. It seemed quite simple. Because he already knew the basics--shapes, letter & letter sounds, numbers, colors, and so on, they wanted to move him with the orders group. This occurred when he was 2 and when he was 3. I tried it and found that he was miserable. He missed his friends. I learned that friendship and his happiness was most important. Now he is in kinder and he will stay in kinder. He is doing 2nd grade level math mentally. I can challenge him at home--when he is interested. He loves school and has lots of friends. Isn't that what all kids want? Furthermore, he is big for his age, so this will help him in sports. He is a very happy, active , and confident. Skipping grades? I say no for my kiddo. It is no an easy choice because all kids are different. Good luck!
—Guest Mom

Early Entry

We were fortunate that the preschool we sent or first to was a private one that went through the 6th grade. She was just moved along based on her abilities even though she was younger. The age difference didn't show up as much until we had to switch to a public school in the 3rd grade. As a family, we helped her work through social issues because some of the kids in her class had been held back and the difference in social interactions from private school. My youngest is also a bit advanced. Last year, I tried to put her in kindergarten but the school said no. They did instead send her part of the day to preschool and most of the day in kindergarten. best of both worlds. Yes, we had social issues too. Once again, we worked through them. We moved. Her new school has an advanced kindergarten and place her in that class. They are also going to evaluate her to see if she is ready for 1st. If not, we will work with the school to prepare her to skip a grade, academically and socially.
—mama2two76

Early started KG

my son is just 4 yrs old and i think he should go to kindergarden.so that he will learn more .
—Guest kelly

There's A Lot To Consider

My husband and I fostered a child when there was some family troubles and his mother no longer wanted to take care of him. We began to learn that at four, he was a brilliant little boy and learned quicker than a lot of the children I worked with. When he visited a family who wanted to adopt him, we decided that he would officially become our son. It wasn't only because we loved him, but also because he was so gifted and we had the means to make sure he got all the opportunities that he deserved, such as an early schooling program and making sure he had the option to test into first grade. He's five now and he'll be starting first grade in the fall. We were worried about the emotion and social issues, but Archer has adapted incredibly well so far and we know he'll exceed that anything he tries. And if we hit some bumps along the road, we'll work through them as a family. I think it all depends on the child. We know our son can adapt to a lot of situations, so we're confident in him.
—Guest Atticus

I Started Kindergarten Early cont.

At the behinning of kindergarten I read at a second grade level (I learned to read at 2 years old), at the end I read at a sixth grade level. By the time I was next tested for reading level in second grade, I read at a high school level. When tested again in fourth grade, I read at a post-high school level. I never "leveled out" like people say will happen. I've been in advanced math classes since first grade, and I asked my mom "What's 20 yimes 15" (I don't remember what the actual numbers were) to fugure out how many bristles were on a square hairbrush before I had been taught about multiplication. I have never had any issues with moving ahead, and, in fact, I'm glad it happened. It depends on the child, but it could work out amazingly. I just wanted to share that it doesn't always lead to resentment or depression or things like that and is sometimes the best option. Thanks for reading!
—Guest Katie

I started Kindergarten early

I started Kindergarten a year early. I'm now 15 and a junior in high school (I turn 16 in December). I have a 4.0 GPA and I have no trouble fitting in with the juniors and seniors and get along with the freshmen and sophomores as well. I don't care that I can't drive yet, honestly. In fact, I wouldn't have a car anyway and I don't have time for a job to pay for one or for car insurance. I'm physically as mature as the other students in my class. In fact, everybody is surprised when I tell them I'm only 15. I play volleyball and basketball and do musical theatre. I hold a pencil sort of weird, but I have neat handwriting (my teachers have said so, it's not just my opinion). I am academically ahead of most people in my grade. I score in the 99th percentile in state testing. cont in next post
—Guest Katie

really listen to what is best for them

While every parent thinks their child is gifted to some degree, it is difficult to determine true giftedness. Many things need to be taken into account and weighed equally. These things could include but not limited to maturity, social development with peers, can they work well with others or are they individualist, are they team players, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary development, and basic understanding of a given passage. Its great when kids can read on a high level, but what tends to lack is the grade level understanding of what was read. If chidlren enter kindergarten and are truly gifted, skipping a grade is possible and may be more age appropriate. But, should be determined by gifted personell that has worked with the child (of course with parent input). Accelerated education is coming and children can graduate at 15 wheather they are ready or not. Sometimes what we ask for is not what a child needs. What are their best interest?
—Guest guest teacher

It will depend on the child

My youngest brother and I would have benefited from going to school early. We were alike in that we were reading, doing math, and even riding bikes without training wheels before we started kindergarten (how's that for motor ability!). When we got to school we were bored bored bored bored bored. Every year from K-3 teachers recommended to my mother that we be moved up. My mother wouldn't do it. By 4th grade, we'd lost all interest in school. Unlike my brother, I hated the people in my grades--they were all stupid and slow and drooling immature fools. My friends were always a grade or two ahead of me. I took the GED the summer before my senior year, and aced it. The college where I took the test called me in to talk to me about attending college in the fall--with all my friends. So I did. It was stupid to hold me back. I hated school until I went to college because I was so bored all the time. My brother hated school, too, until he went to college.
—AquariaSW

Arbitrary cutoff date

I hate this argument that the oldest child is always the leader. I went to Kindergarten early, at age 4, and later skipped 2nd grade. Best thing that could have ever happened to me. Even being 2 grades ahead, I qualified for the Talented and Gifted program, took honors and AP courses in high school and received several scholarships for college. I have 2 daughters who both have late birthdays - 1 in October and 1 in December. Thankfully, I found a private school that allowed my 4 year old to be tested for K. From the very 1st month, she was put with the advanced group because she was already reading at a 1st grade level. She did have some emotional maturity issues but by working together with her teacher, there are ZERO issues now. In fact, she often corrects her classmates for inappropriate behavior.
—Guest Mom Advocate for the Gifted

Mom knows best

I wish that the school would listen to the parents, we are suposed to be our childs first and best teacher. My son made the cut off (by 15 days) but was not ready. I wanted to wait another year, but the school told me that Kinder was optional and if we did not send him this year they would put him in 1st grade the next year. Our district had just started full day kinder, and he was falling asleep in school. We had to get a special permit, and drive to another school to get him part day instruction. He has been on the edge, and falling behind ever since in 3rd grade they wanted to hold him back, we said no for social reasons. He is now in 5th grade, and advanced in math and just below grade level in reading. He has had full time summer school every summer ( home school when the school budget was cut)
—Guest Heidi

Best decision I could have made

My oldest exhibited gifted tendencies as early as a year old. Before she left the 1 year old room at her preschool, she was already recognizing upper and lower case letters and counting to 10. By the time she was 3, she was already reading books. At 4.5 years old, she was reading on a 1st - 2nd grade level. Many people... the preschool director, family and friends, all suggested just letting her start K "on time" which meant that she would have been 5.5. Thankfully, I researched a LOT of different schools and found a couple that would accept her in. Not even 5 years old yet, she is making all A's on her academic assignments and she has lots of friends in her K class. How in the world could it have been "right" to keep her back from progressing? She is doing so well and really enjoying school. This one-size-fit-all mentality is not for MY family. I am thankful for the wonderful school that we have her in now.
—vlias

Early Entry

My daughter missed the cut-off by 8 days. The local school district totally stonewalled us in our attempts to have our daughter tested. She had already attended kindergarten at her preschool, and the headmistress stated emphatically that she would be bored to tears and a bad attitude in public school K class. We opted to enroll her in a reputable Montessori school at that point, where she blossomed and was nurtured and given challenges suited to her capabilities and intellect. Best decision we ever made. However, the transfer to public school has been less than charming and we are now considering home schooling, as the high school politics are challenging, but the academics are not. My daughter easily outpaces and tutors her peers and upperclassmen, and she won't be able to drive until she's a junior! Wake up public education!
—Quill13

Gifted or Aspy?

It seems that many of the supposed gifted traits read like a list of traits of Aspergers syndrome (and high-functioning autistic savants). I'm not saying that those kids aren't academically gifted (many are), but I think the assertion that gifted children often have, e.g., poor handwriting (and the attendant, and laughable, folk explanation for why) and other aspy traits is a bit short-sighted, don't you think? Children can be gifted and not be socially awkward. Oh, and by the bye, fine-motor coordination correlates with language ability, and the ability to sequence tasks. So if a kid has poor fine-motor coordiation, it would suggest he or she is *not* linguistically gifted. This is also in line with Asperger's children -- who overwhelmingly gravitate toward the sciences, math and engineering. (I do know what I'm talking about, btw, since I have aspy and autistic cousins, as well as many years of grad training in linguistics and psychology.)
—Guest dad101

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