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Old 09-22-2011, 10:18 AM   #1
dauphin
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Tell me why you think public school would be in DD's best interest if...

she is academically at a level 3 grades ahead.

Long story short, she has always had a hunger to learn and absorbs new information like a sponge, and has had opportunities to learn at and ahead of her age level (an educational preschool and, currently, Montessori). We switched to Montessori after a failed attempt at public school Kindergarten where her teacher encouraged us once we had made our decision to pull her out and send her to Montessori because she felt that she really didn't know what to do with a child that was that bright/academically advanced and she wasn't getting any help from more experienced teachers/gifted program teachers/the administration (and we were told by the principal when we expressed our concerns that "all parents think their children are smart").

My DD is currently in 3rd grade and we are having some pause about continuing with the Montessori program, although we really feel that it is probably our best option outside of homeschooling to meet her where she is at academically. But we want to give other alternatives an honest, thorough consideration so I would like to hear it if you have any compelling reasons for public school in our situation. Or, if you have other recommendations for alternative school options, I would be eager to hear them and your reasoning for why.

I should add that she is pretty ADHD and while we have seen a reduction in symptoms of inattention and impulsivity with medication, it makes boredom in the school setting all the more potentially problematic.

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Old 09-22-2011, 10:24 AM   #2
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Re: Tell me why you think public school would be in DD's best interest if...

Why are you not interested in continuing with Montessori? I would think it would be ideal for an advanced adhd student? I was well ahead of grade level as a kid and public school was fine (just try to get the best teachers) - the adhd and trying to foster a creative child is far more of a concern.
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Old 09-22-2011, 11:01 AM   #3
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Re: Tell me why you think public school would be in DD's best interest if...

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Why are you not interested in continuing with Montessori? I would think it would be ideal for an advanced adhd student? I was well ahead of grade level as a kid and public school was fine (just try to get the best teachers) - the adhd and trying to foster a creative child is far more of a concern.
We love the Montessori philosophy but have had two things come up. One, based on my discussion with the teacher at the open house this week, it became apparent that while she is at a Montessori school, this is one that uses work plans and is basically providing instruction to her at a third grade level (or below since she is in the lower elementary, which is 1st through 3rd grade). Where we get the advantage of Montessori is that her reading materials are graduated and she selects those according to her progress on reading level. Maybe it'll be better next year when she is promoted to the Upper Elementary and she can be exposed to 4th through 6th grade instruction.

Second, as Christians we are a little concerned about the degree to which there is a celebration of, among other things and I am going to be intentionally vague because this is very specific to our situation, eastern mysticism. We have no problem with our DD being exposed to other belief systems, and the majority of her friends at school are from the Middle East, but I believe that because of the personal religious beliefs held by the headmaster and one or more of the lead teachers, that there is an indoctrination of those other practices that is contrary to our belief systems. My use of the words "celebration" and "indoctrination" are intentional.

I'm a little unhopeful about trying to advocate for better/best teachers because you saw the reaction I got when I tried advocating in Kindergarten....Again, maybe the intermediate school administration will be better....?

Please please tell me more about this: "the adhd and trying to foster a creative child is far more of a concern"
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Old 09-22-2011, 11:04 AM   #4
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Re: Tell me why you think public school would be in DD's best interest if...

If she ends up with an IEP in public school, they will be legally required to meet her needs in that area. It really depends on the school. Some school districts have amazing gifted programs, others .. eh. If you request testing as a parent, the school district must test for gifted.

The only up side I see to public school for your child is this: The real world is a frustrating place for children that bright. They are going to have to learn to get along with lots of people who can't keep up with them. The only upside I see to public school for your child is learning how to get along with a diverse population of students and teachers, even though it won't always be easy.

Why are you thinking of switching from Montessori? What about other private schools in the area?
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Old 09-22-2011, 11:08 AM   #5
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Re: Tell me why you think public school would be in DD's best interest if...

Just saw your response about Montessori. I would see what school district you live in and see if you can set up a visit to meet with the principal of the school your daughter would attend to see what you think.

Public schools here are required to 'celebrate' all holidays 'equally'. IE, if you're going to talk about Christmas you have to talk about Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, and I'm blanking on if there are Hindu or Muslim holidays but I'm sure there are. If it's that important to you, maybe explore Christian schools? That's probably the only place you won't find differing 'indoctrination' to varying degrees...
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Old 09-22-2011, 11:22 AM   #6
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Re: Tell me why you think public school would be in DD's best interest if...

You could try the public schools, but in my experience, it's not a great fit for kids who are above grade level (with or without the ADHD). We lucked out in our public school, with a school and teachers that strive to teach my kids at the level they are at (my oldest son is in 4th grade, and is learning 7th grade math), but we had to push for it, and his ADHD worked as an advantage. An IEP is most likely out, because (as I was told) if a child is above grade level, they aren't struggling enough to qualify for an IEP. I'd call the public school in question and talk to the principal and teachers and find out what they could do for your child. If we ever have to move, I plan on doing that.
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Old 09-22-2011, 11:28 AM   #7
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Re: Tell me why you think public school would be in DD's best interest if...

My DD is in 3rd and very bright. I often wonder if we should pull her from PS and HS her. We do not have an private school options where we live. My DH and I discuss this often, and we usually end up just keeping her in the PS, even though there are a lot of things we don't like about it. My DD is in challenge (gifted, whatever you want to call it), it's a few hours once a week, and frankly I am not super-thrilled w/ it. It's nice to have a little extra, but they could do SO much more. She is also reading at about 5-6th grade level. The library has been unaccomodating until I finally talked to the librarian a few weeks ago and had to write a letter to allow her to check out other level books. For the last year I have been going to a library an hour away once a week to get her books, she read a chaper book a day or more. I felt like talking to the teachers they understand my DD is bright (and, yes, I know I'm her mom, but she really IS the top student in her class... THE top one), but they do have other kids in the class, so DD is often left to read on her own (and this year play on the computer since there are 10 computers for 16 kids). Thanks NCLB!!! Not allowing my bright kid to run ahead b/c they are so busy w/ those that are struggling, but what else can the teacher do? I do think they try to keep her busy and involved, but there is only somuch they can do w/ so many different leveled kids. Those have been my 'problems' with PS, they do not challenge her at all, she gets a straight A in every class, the most things she misses is math problems she doens't even attempt (we are working on this, she gets in a rush and they are boring). She does not have ADHD that we have diagnosed, but she does have attention problems sometimes. It's hard to explain, but whatever she gets locked in on is what she is locking in on. Currently it's dogs, and all things dogs. She has checked out every book on dog breeds from the big library, knows most breeds by site and knows a LOT about the temperment, energy level, grooming, ect. of just about any breed of dog you can name. When she's into somehting, she MUST absorb any and all info she can find. This makes her sort of overlook other things to focus on whatever her current interest is. MY DH is the same way, it's like they cannot simply turn off whatever it is. IF there is a problem they cannot sleep until it's solved, it's weird! I am trying to teach her to control it, and DH tries to control his, too. It takes actively working on it to not let something become all -absorbing.

Now, on to what I like about Public School... it's much more like "real life" in that she has to deal with people from all sorts of homes/lifestyles. She also has to learn to wait her turn, work in groups w/ people she doesn't always like, and learning that all families are not like ours. At first I didn't like it when other kids would have family problems/divorces, ect, but as she is growing we have been able to talk about a lot of situations that are not ideal, and she sees how different families live compared to ours. I also really like that there are not religous ideas presented in class. I think that type of learning belongs in teh home and no where else! I would really have a BIG problem if my child were learning about religion in ways other than history/civics types classes. I will say that if you put your DD in a public school there will undoubtabley be things you don't like. But you have to weigh the pros and cons. We often think we would provide a better education than the PS does to my DD, since she could be so much more 'advanced' if allowed... but she would also miss out on a lot of the social lessons she is learning. We provide extra fun stuff at home to keep her busy and exploring her own interests.

I don't think there is any right or wrong answer, you just have to choose what you feel is best for her. I know at a younger age the indoctrination might not have been quite as bad, but if you feel in 3rd grade they are pushing it, I would pull her out for that reason alone.
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Old 09-22-2011, 11:28 AM   #8
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Re: Tell me why you think public school would be in DD's best interest if...

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Originally Posted by mibarra View Post
If she ends up with an IEP in public school, they will be legally required to meet her needs in that area. It really depends on the school. Some school districts have amazing gifted programs, others .. eh. If you request testing as a parent, the school district must test for gifted.

The only up side I see to public school for your child is this: The real world is a frustrating place for children that bright. They are going to have to learn to get along with lots of people who can't keep up with them. The only upside I see to public school for your child is learning how to get along with a diverse population of students and teachers, even though it won't always be easy.

Why are you thinking of switching from Montessori? What about other private schools in the area?
Fortunately, she will qualify for an IEP based on having ADHD, but then they are only required to meet her needs in THAT area, not WRT her academic advancement, right?

My impression with gifted programs in our area is that they are WONDERFUL opportunities for challenging, stimulating learning. For a few hours a week. When you are pulled by the gifted teacher. The rest of the week you are receiving instruction consistent with the rest of the third grade classes. And _maybe_ the gifted teacher might provide a few worksheets to the regular ed teacher for your child to do when she finishes her work early. Or she may be told to read. Just don't disturb the other kids.

As far as getting along with a diverse population of students and teachers, I think she can get that in any "public" (non-homeschool) seting, can't she? She is especially getting that now by being the older kid in her multi-age classroom, and in fact that is part of the Montessori philosophy - that this is your opportunity to be the one who helps others who are coming up behind you, in every sense. That just is more of a sacrifice, it seems, for a kid who is in a serious holding pattern academically if she's only getting 3rd grade (or below) instruction and is ready for 6th grade instruction....

I think other private schools are definitely an option, and that's why I'd love to hear any additional feedback, but I didn't want to eliminate public school as an option as I felt I was apt to do, without considering it from all sides. I guess that might be a separate thread. But in short, I am concerned that they will similarly lack flexibility in meeting my daughter where she is at academically (i.e., in 3rd grade she will be presented with 3rd grade materials and receive 3rd grade instruction), and will lack even the option of IEPs for ADHD and the supports of the gifted program that at least are available in the public school setting....
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Old 09-22-2011, 11:40 AM   #9
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Re: Tell me why you think public school would be in DD's best interest if...

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Just saw your response about Montessori. I would see what school district you live in and see if you can set up a visit to meet with the principal of the school your daughter would attend to see what you think.

Public schools here are required to 'celebrate' all holidays 'equally'. IE, if you're going to talk about Christmas you have to talk about Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, and I'm blanking on if there are Hindu or Muslim holidays but I'm sure there are. If it's that important to you, maybe explore Christian schools? That's probably the only place you won't find differing 'indoctrination' to varying degrees...
I agree, I think what we will need to do is get some documentation of where our daughter is at academically (and possibly intellectually), and take that with us to have a serious heart-to-heart with staff at any school we are considering WRT: how(in what ways) will you be able to meet our daughters needs academically? In one previous call with a private school, I expressed concerns about our daughter being challenged, and I got the "oh, our program is very academically challenging, and I am SURE your daughter WON'T be bored!" I have since learned that at that particular school, she may be correct for the slightly above average student, as they are approximately one grade ahead of the public school systems. But that's still not where DD is at.... And with some data, I think the conversation might go a little differently.

I think I wasn't clear on my use of the word "celebration." I don't just mean that they "celebrate" the other holidays/beliefs, in a balanced way. In fact, they are out of balance (heavily weighted AGAINST Christian beliefs). What I meant by the word "celebrate" is more capital C Celebrate. As in hold in a place of honor, prestige, elevated above others. And more of an indoctrination. Not just "here are some things people happen to believe (which is how they handle Christian beliefs)" but rather "here is what you need to believe. This is the right way to think."
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Old 09-22-2011, 12:03 PM   #10
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Re: Tell me why you think public school would be in DD's best interest if...

Okay, my head hurts, so while I read the responses, I don't think much sunk in, so please forgive me if I'm repeating.

As for public school, it is really going to depend on the school itself. I have ADHD and was advanced as a child. Not genius/prodigy/college course in middle school type, but above grade level. One school I went to had a few classrooms that were completely made up of gifted students, so maturity-wise we were pretty much on the same level, our academics were better tailored to us, and I am not sure why, but they had a better variety of learning style taught in that classroom. I recall spending a lot of my schooldays getting bored (went to a lot of different school), but I don't remember those two years being bored much.

Another option you might not have thought about would possibly be a magnet school.
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