Public Schools and Gifted Children: They don't mix

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Morgan
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Public Schools and Gifted Children: They don't mix

Postby Morgan » Wed Aug 08, 2007 9:35 am

In my opinion as a talented, accelerated high school student, public schools and gifted children do not mix! Here's my story:

I was in the 7th grade and taking all accelerated classes. My grades were all A's, and by the time I was nearing the end of my first marking period, I knew I was bored and felt as though I could be learning so much more than they were teaching me. My Algebra course consisted of slow lessons which were review to me. Ancient History, well, was ancient history; I had been there, learned that! Science was simple, and I had to go through the long hours of explanations that were unnecessary for me. Language Arts was all review from last year, and although it has been my favorite subject for years, I wasn't enjoying it at all. And overall, we had watched over three movies within the first marking period that were made for little children and had nothing whatsoever to do with our education. These were my thoughts: We could be learning things right now! If I wanted to have fun and watch movies all morning, I'd stay home! This frustrated me so much that it was not surprising when my older 9th grade brother came home complaining about the movies they were viewing during school hours.

My mom, for many weeks, had been doing research about home schooling, just looking into it and seeing what kind of requirements it would have, the regulations in our state, etc. She confronted us about it after we talked to her about the problems with our education. Both of us being A+ students, we wanted a better education than the one we were receiving.

First, we went to my school to talk to the counselor and principals about advancing me to the 8th grade. But they refused, saying "we have only ever advanced one child before, and we do not foresee doing it again". I knew that I had the brains to be a grade ahead, but apparently they didn't.

We each decided that home schooling would be the best choice. We could go at our own separate paces, help in the choosing of our courses, and self-teach ourselves so long, boring explanations, kid's movies, and easy lessons were cut out of our lives, which made it a much better education!

Now I am one year into homeschooling, and I am doing 10th grade subjects at 13 years of age. I am proud of myself, and so is my mother. I believe I made the right choice, and I encourage mothers out there who's children attend public schools that homeschooling is the best choice.
"What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child."
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Re: Public Schools and Gifted Children: They don't mix

Postby Ramona » Wed Aug 08, 2007 10:13 am

I agree.

When I was growing up going to public schools 25-35 years ago, I was miserable. Our school district started a gifted program when I entered 9th grade but my parents opted not to have me tested to see whether I qualified for it, because they thought it would be better for me to "stay in the mainstream."

Partway through 10th grade, my English teacher informed the guidance counselors that she didn't have time to teach me at my level because she had a whole class of honors students who weren't up to the things I was interested in and capable of. They finally tested me and moved me into gifted English for the rest of that year. I took more gifted classes in 11th grade and was fully in the gifted program for 12th grade. That was the only year in school that I was happy. The things they were teaching kept me interested and the kids I had classes with were people I could click with socially.

My husband lived across the country then and I didn't know him. In his state, there were no gifted programs then. But they did skip kids over grades who were ahead of their classmates. He skipped first grade, and later fourth grade.

Fast forward to when my own first two kids were about 6 and 7 years old. A public school teacher I knew told me she thought I should stop homeschooling and put my kids in the schools because she thought they would "motivate their peers" and "help the teachers." I told her our experience is that kids who are talented and have plenty of support from home aren't allowed to stay in school with the kids who need to be motivated: they either get put into a gifted program or skipped to the next grade.

It certainly has been my observation that the public schools have no idea what to do with gifted students, and I think that if you accept what John Taylor Gatto says about the real purpose of public schooling, those schools were always designed for average kids and the expectation was that gifted kids should go to private schools or be squashed by public schooling.

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Postby ncmom » Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:14 am

No one ever addresses when talking about the gifted kids are the ones who are not "book smart" gifted. For those who are book smart if you can get the school to work with you then you are set. For those of you who are not then you are just out of luck. School is just wrote memory work for the most part and that is where being book smart is a huge advantage. If you need hands on learning you are out of luck and most of the gifted kids who need that kind of learning are not classified as gifted because they don't do well on tests (book memory work). Unfortunately schools are made for the "normal" kids who are average and if you are above average they don't know what to do with you. Even the advanced programs are now being dumbed down so they can include more students in them, this allows for slightly smaller class sizes in the other classes.

When I finally pulled my son he was in the 4th grade and was doing 2nd grade work. He was getting in trouble for talking because he would finish his work before the teacher had finished the directions. He would come home and be so upset because he already knew the information and wanted to do something new. Now he works at his own pace and is much happier. He is ahead by anywhere from 1 to 4 years depending on the subject. Once he gets his core requirements done for the day he can work on whatever he wants. Today it is the space program and not just the US he wants to know about Russia's program too. As long as he is learning something I just let him go at it.

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Postby Morgan » Wed Aug 08, 2007 12:27 pm

ncmom wrote:Today it is the space program and not just the US he wants to know about Russia's program too. As long as he is learning something I just let him go at it.


That's wonderful, because it's very important for young kids to learn about worldly affairs, not only things going on in their home country. I think that that is one thing children are not being taught enough about in public schools. I believe that they should begin teaching about the world in history classes for not only older students, but young kids as well. I recall not learning much of anything about other countries in elementary school except for learning where the different continents were on the world map. Public schools should begin making world history part of elementary students' education. I did not learn anything about other countries' history, culture, etc. until I began homeschooling. My next history class will be World Studies.
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Re: Public Schools and Gifted Children: They don't mix

Postby genida » Sat Aug 11, 2007 6:01 am

Ramona wrote:...that if you accept what John Taylor Gatto says about the real purpose of public schooling, those schools were always designed for average kids and the expectation was that gifted kids should go to private schools or be squashed by public schooling...


I would go one step further, considering this. Schools today may be designed for 'average kids' based on what today is referred to as average. Schools, however, are the reason the level we today call 'average' is so low, and the reason public schooling have the policy to accomodate that idea.

Add up with this article and I pose that the reason gifted children don't mix well with public schools is that gifted children aren't the desirable result of public schooling.

Furthermore, keep letting your children and yourselves go in whatever direction desired, nothing could be more natural and inspiring :)

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Re: Public Schools and Gifted Children: They don't mix

Postby Ramona » Sat Aug 11, 2007 12:10 pm

genida wrote:I would go one step further, considering this. Schools today may be designed for 'average kids' based on what today is referred to as average. Schools, however, are the reason the level we today call 'average' is so low, and the reason public schooling have the policy to accomodate that idea.


Just this past week or the week before, the newspaper published the results of the state "NCLB" tests. Overall in this state as well as in the school district where we live, the students' scores get lower and lower every year they are in school. It amazes DH and me that the parents aren't more opposed to schools that make their kids less educated the longer they stay in them.

I also noticed a long time ago that college degrees indicate absolutely nothing about whether a person has any education or not. I have spent a lot of time and effort getting DH to realize that it makes absolutely no difference whether our kids get degrees or not. I want my kids to be educated.

Ramona

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Postby Theodore » Sat Aug 11, 2007 1:02 pm

College supplies the theory, but it doesn't give you much in the way of real-life experience. Even the theory part isn't guaranteed, if you aren't willing to take the time to study hard. Personally, I'd be more confident in the abilities of someone who got a high school degree and then spent 4 years working in his area of expertise, than I would of someone who's fresh out of college. It's easy to take a technical course every now and then when you need to, not so easy to build up those years of experience.

College is more a measure of whether you can stick to one thing for four years without getting bored or giving up. In that sense, a college degree is a useful indicator for corporations looking for new hires.

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Postby Morgan » Sat Aug 11, 2007 1:03 pm

The 'average' child in my middle school maintained grades of Cs or Ds, and usually even lower than that. In my opinion it has a lot to do with the parents of the child as well as the school system. Parents often don't care, and they ground their kids on a regular basis when they come home with all Es and a D. Grounding obviously does nothing, and the fact that schools test grades are getting lower and lower proves that the schools don't care either.

Although it is up to the parent and child to decide whether or not to be homeschooled, pretty soon it should be the choice for every family the way our schools are headed. :!:
"What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child."

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Postby Ramona » Sun Aug 12, 2007 10:39 am

Theodore wrote:College supplies the theory, but... Even the theory part isn't guaranteed... College is more a measure of whether you can stick to one thing for four years without getting bored or giving up. In that sense, a college degree is a useful indicator for corporations looking for new hires.


I love Illiberal Education by Dinesh D'Souza. Especially the chapter on Duke University. If you ignore the parts of the chapter about hiring by race and read only the parts about post-modernists (or whatever label you want to pick), it's very alarming. And as far as I can tell, nothing has improved in the last 15 years. Things have only gotten worse. Now this subjective, relativist junk is on nearly every university campus in the U.S.

Attending the usual 4 years on campus just isn't all it's cracked up to be--not any more.

Alternatives for college are the only way to go, AFAIC.

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Postby Theodore » Sun Aug 12, 2007 12:14 pm

I wouldn't say that college is worthless, just that the degree itself means very little. You can use college as a place to make contacts, and through portfolio review, get credit for real-life work / knowledge you already have. For instance, I used portfolio review to get credit for Perl, CGI/HTML, and Principles of Christian Faith. All of these were subjects I knew quite a bit about, so it took me just a couple days per subject to orgnanize everything into a coherent format and get my credit. I was especially happy to be able to evade 3 useless credits of Humanities by writing down basic Bible knowledge. If I had to pick one area of study to remove, Humanities would definitely be it.

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Postby ottbluver » Mon Aug 13, 2007 7:47 am

In my 10 years of public school (including kindergarten) I cannot say that I have truly ever enjoyed learning. I was tested and passed off as a gifted child, but the thing was: gifted children didn't get more difficult assignments, they just got loads of busywork to keep our minds busy while the teachers promptly ignored us so they could help the slower students. I was so angry, that every, single day I was wasting my time on worksheets that were made for students a grade or two below me, but it kept me out of the teacher's way. I have had a difficult time with math the last two years, but it was because I decided that it was boring and concentrated on other things during class. The only reason I passed is because I managed to teach myself all of the curriculum by the end of the semester. Hmmm.

This next school year, I FINALLY convinced my parents to let me try independent schooling with Keystone. They're making me sign a contract with loads of rules, but they said the only reason they're letting me try this is because I've always been on top of my school/homework. Gosh, like it was actually hard. :roll:

I'm so glad I got out of my public high school; the kids are so negative there that it kind of drags you down. Also, they have the perfect example of a "one size fits all" curriculum there. It was a very disappointing experience, and I lost all interest in getting A's and keeping up in school. I got all A's the first semester, but the next one, I only managed to come out with three A's. I was mad at myself, but I didn't get those bad grades because of my lack of understanding, it was because I lacked the motivation to keep going. My friends were slackers, and they taunted me for working so hard. Gosh, and people wonder why I slacked off a bit? I'm hoping this "school year" will be better than last year; however, I can't imagine it being worse. :?
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Postby ScottHughes » Mon Aug 27, 2007 6:04 pm

I agree that public schools are not great with gifted children.

Public schools are to education what McDonald's is to food. They gear themselves to the common denominator. They don't bother providing a quality product. They just try to create a cheap product that is adequate for the most amount of people.

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Postby Morgan » Tue Aug 28, 2007 2:14 pm

ottbluver wrote:My friends were slackers, and they taunted me for working so hard.


I was in the exact same situation! On the due date of a big project or essay, I would be presenting it to the class spic and span - and finished - and getting an A on it. Someone else, someone who I considered my friend, would be skipping school that day and slapping together something so sloppy that they would end up getting a worse grade on it than if they had not done it at all. This is not the type of behavior I encourage, and it annoyed me when my friends would say I was "such a nerd", "too smart", "working too hard", or "a geek". I don't consider myself any of these.
"What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child."

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