Sorry, I've posted this in another thread too, but thought it may get 'lost' in there, so am trying here too.
Does anyone know of anyone we can get advice from regarding our 8yr old daughter regarding acceleration? She has been accelerated since NE, and this year will be entering a Y5/6 class as a Y4. I'm not at all sure this is the correct thing to be doing, but we are running out of options.
We are in constant contact with the school, and they have been great, but haven't really had to deal with this situation before apparently, so although they are very accommodating, they don't really have any advice for us. We have seen a psychologist who recommended continuing with the acceleration but she obviously doesn't really 'know' my daughter. I just don't know what to do!
What sort of advice are you after? I have an accelerated child who was an 8 yr old in a year 5 class last year, also accelerated as a NE, she is in a year 6 class this year although working at year 9/10 level in some areas. I've found that the difficult thing with advice is that everyone gives it to me and the challenge is deciding which advice to ignore and which is useful!
Can you elaborate on your concerns, are they social or academic or something else?
Social really. She's doing fine academically, but I'm just concerned about the social/emotional side of things, this year and next, but also as we head into intermediate/high school. I just really don't know if we're doing the right thing by keeping her accelerated and I'm worried it's going to lead to problems in the future.
She is not (in my opinion) socially/emotionally mature for her age, as a lot of gifted kids seem to be.
I just don't feel right about keeping her accelerated, but I also think that keeping her with her age group could end up being a disaster as well.
The only other options I can think of are possibly private school (although I don't think it'd be much different there, and we can't afford it anyway), or homeschooling, but again, I don't know if that would do any good in the long run.
I guess I just want someone who can tell us what the options are, and help us decide what the best one is - would be great if it was someone who actually knew our child, but that is not possible, so advice from someone who has 'been there', or a professional, or just someone who is outside the situation and can give an unemotional opinion would be great.
I just don't know where to get advice about any of this stuff. I feel like we're at a crossroads right now and I'm scared we're going to make the wrong decision!
If it helps, the range of social/emotional maturity among any group of girls of the same age is vast. My child is not a particularly emotionally mature child but she is quite socially adept - being the youngest child in the family and having an older sister helps with that. Because of my children's extra curricular activities I spend time around a lot of girls age 8-teenage - the range of size, maturity, social skills, emotional development is just huge among girls of the same age.
The challenge that you have in finding advice is that nobody knows your child like you do - you won't get unbiased advice from your child's teachers and other adults who know your child well may not have the knowledge of acceleration to give you advice. What I've done over the years is to put together the advice of people who understand acceleration with the input of teachers and my own knowledge of my child and that seems to work for me. Most of the comments I receive about acceleration are negative - and if my child wasn't happy then I'd probably be doubting the acceleration, but she's blissfully happy. I anticipate the odd problem over the tricky early teenage years, but then even if she wasn't accelerated there would be issues to deal with then.
Probably the most important thing is to observe how your daughter is feeling, is she happy, does she feel things are working. If she's happy then will keeping her back with her age group make her unhappy and potentially cause problems in other areas?
If I were in your position I'd go along with the school's suggestion and deal with any issues if and when then arise, you're lucky to have a school that supports acceleration, lots of schools don't regardless of how miserable a child is!
We have been extremely lucky with our school - they have been fabulous right from the word go.
My daughter is entirely happy with where she is (we discuss it with her regularly), which is good. She is a very outgoing child, but I'm not sure that that translates to good social skills. I do think she is very egocentric, and also gets very silly, especially when she has friends over, although again, I have no idea if that is normal behaviour for her age or not. I just wonder if the older kids think she's a bit babyish. I don't know. She does play with them, but has never really had a 'best friend'. There are a group of them that all play together, and it changes daily as to who she plays with out of that group.
My husband and I were talking about the options the other day, and we did think that if at any time we felt it wasn't working, we could pull her out and trial homeschool for a year. Even if homeschooling didn't work, at worst she would end up back with her age group. If it did, we could continue, or it would at least give us time to consider our options.
Anyway, thanks so much for your post - it's given me some things to think about, and I feel much better about it already.
Nonny, your child sounds just like mine! That all sounds perfectly normal behaviour for her age, and even for girls several years older. My child doesn't have a best friend either but has a wide group of friends that she plays with, the closest she has to a best friend is her older sister. I wonder sometimes if the older kids in her class think she's babyish but so far it hasn't been an issue at all - and seeing some of their behaviour makes me realise that they all have their babyish moments!
I have, after yet another battle with the school, thought of homeschooling too - it would test my patience, but I'd do it if it were the best option.
Glad I have been of some help, I hope your daughter has a wonderful year at school.
Just another look at it - my ds who isn't accelerated generally had difficulty socialising and playing with children (boys) of his own age - they just didn't get him and he didn't fit in. Unfortunately this can happen no matter what age group they are with - he gravitates to the older kids too.
It is so difficult especially as they are getting to intermediate/high school and we have to start making big decisions about their schooling and not wanting to make the wrong decision for them.
Like M said I think you should have dialogue with her and include her in the decision making - to make sure she is happy.
All the best.
M - my best fried to this day is my older sister!!! I still struggle with friendships and would be lost without her - my mother has 8 sisters and they are very loving and close. I feel blessed.!
Hi Nonny. As the other posts have said, children are all different so there is no one answer. But if it helps ease your worries, my daughter has just turned 18 and is finishing her BA. We had to accelerate her 2 years moving her in the 1st year from NE to year 2 and then the next year to year 4. We found that the older children accepted her better than her age group at primary school because they were more likely to follow her conversations. Going into intermediate - I took her away for a long weekend together and went through the Big Weekend tapes from Parenting Inc so that she didn't have puberty conversations sprung on her. I was worried about that but she took it all in her stride. People always had plenty to say to me about their views on what problems she would have with being younger but it was all uninformed views on their part. In year 13 she said to me that if I was worried about whether I had done the right thing the answer was yes. From intermediate she had a scholarship at a school which went right throught to yr 13 and they were great in letting her play sport with her age group. For friendships she mixed across the age groups from her age to her class year. If her class year were talking boys she went and had lunch with another group that was having interesting conversation. She just found the balance. At university I meet her the 1st few weeks for lunch and then she had got into a music group and drama group and found her friendships and was totally independent.
My son, we have left with his age group as he is doing high performance sport and trains 19 hours per week. So he gets his extension with sport and is happy at school as he can focus and get through the work quickly so he doesn't have homework at night. Through primary school though we still needed to put him into a one day school type program to extend him. He couldn't have stood the school work dragging out over 5 days. He always had everything finished in 4. It will be interesting to see how this year goes because he started high school last year and his school was site sharing with another school so he only had half days. He loved it because the lessons were condensed and moved very quickly. In the afternoon he could then do his on research into things which he wanted to look at more deeply. Seemed to be the ideal schooling for gifted even though it was just to get us through the quake problems. My advise to you is if your daughter is happy you are doing the right thing. There will be things that you need to support her with but that is the same for all kids. Keep talking and remember there is no perfect solution for anyone gifted or not we just do the best we can with what is available. Good luck and God bless
Gosh, that is so good to hear Barbara. Sounds like your kids are both doing fantastically. It's great that your daughter was able to form different friendship groups to meet her needs. I will have to encourage my daughter to do that.
If only there were a permanent 'half-day' school, where the same work was done, but in half the time of 'normal' school. That would be the perfect compromise between school and homeschool!
I am off to look up the Big Weekend tapes now, as my daughter has been asking a few questions lately, and I've been thinking it's probably time to start talking about that stuff as there will no doubt be a few girls in her class this year that will be starting to go through puberty.
Thanks so much for your post - it's been really helpful!