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How does your homeschool compare to the public school gifted program?

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#1 beachmom


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Posted 27 March 2008 - 07:48 AM

We have some friends who have their kids in a full-time highly gifted program in their local public school. They haven't mentioned a lot of specifics, except that their 4th grader does plenty of writing.

They use to have their kids at a classical christian school but kept saying their kids were ahead of whatever the CCS was doing. That left me wondering since they never made it past the 2nd grade with the CCS before pulling them out. Aren't these schools suppose to be highly academic, especially as you progress through the years?

I was wondering how your homeschool curriculum with your gifted kids compares with what the public school offers for their qualifying gifted kids.

#2 JenneinAZ


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Posted 27 March 2008 - 09:02 AM

My district doesn't do anything until third grade and then it is two hours a week of pull out.

Our homeschool compares pretty well to this! Not that it is difficult to beat this kind of low standards.

#3 Mandy in TN

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 09:13 AM

My public elementary school has one special ed teacher for the whole school K-5 and she is only there 3 days/ wk. Those days she deals with the gifted children and the children needing remediation. The kids are pulled out of class and must make-up any work they miss while in their special session.

I only know this, because I just called and asked. LOL And I am not impressed.

#4 Desert Rat

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 09:29 AM

GATE is the "gifted and talented education" program in PS here. It's a pullout with extra busy work. More of the same philosophy. There isn't any history or foreign language and very little science, all of which we have at our homeschool.
I recently heard that the school district was opening a magnet school for gifted kids. It's "experimental" though which means it'll probably be the first one to be cut when funding problems arise (and Nevada is horrible in those regards). We're doing great at home so I don't see any need to find an alternative.

#5 Closeacademy


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Posted 27 March 2008 - 10:48 AM

The kids get to test in the program in 3rd grade. Then they get to go to one of two school where they are in the AP program. Basically, from what I hear they let the kids work one to two years ahead using the same stuff the PS uses. So a child in 3rd grade is using the 4th or 5th grade texts instead of the 3rd grade ones.

In our homeschool, my dc get an education that is tailored to their needs and learning styles and get to work at their own pace. And follow their interests.:001_smile:

#6 Jenny in Florida

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 11:25 AM

Our district has two options for gifted kids. One is the standard few-hours-a-week pull-out (which, I believe, doesn't kick in until third grade). The other is a magnet program that gathers the "best and brightest" from all over the district into a few classes spread over various schools.

My son has a friend who is one year older and also highly gifted. His parents opted to try the public schools, so it has been kind of interesting to watch how that has gone. He has tried both types of gifted programs--the pull-out and the full-time magnet--and has not been really adequately served in either.

My experience with pull-out programs is that they are some combination of busy-work and play-time. With only a few hours per week and, usually, a wide range of ages/grades/abilities in a single classroom, teachers of such programs can do very little that is meaningful. And what does get done is too often just more of the same thing they are already doing in their regular class.

The quality of the magnet program--which, incidentally, my daughter's best friend also attended--varied widely depending on the year and the teacher and the support of the school at which it was based. For example, one year when not enough students agreed to enter the program, the school determined that it couldn't justify paying for a full-time teacher and, therefore, required her to teach other classes during one or two periods a day while the gifted students were mainstreamed into regular classes or sat on the side of the room doing worksheets.

In the case of my son's friend, they ended up pulling him out to homeschool this year. My daughter's friend is now in a charter school, which is "just okay," but better than the regular middle school near their home.

Parents of both kids readily admit that what we do at home is more rigorous than what their children had in school.

Honestly, I don't really go around worrying about the comparison. I just concentrate on making sure my kids get what they need. But, let's just say that I don't envy the parents I know who are trying to get their gifted students' needs met in public school.

#7 pixelroper


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Posted 27 March 2008 - 11:57 AM

I haven't heard of one in our district. I know my niece was in an *advanced* reading program- A Wind in the Door was one title for 8th grade. I was not impressed.

to clarify: I love the book, just questioned it as advanced 8th grade material.

#8 K&Rs Mom

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 12:11 PM

Our PS district doesn't even have a pull-out program, but I think they offer an afterschool 1 hr/week "enrichment" for some kids. It seems to be mostly playing chess, though. :001_huh: When I was in elementary school, we had a full day pull-out one day per week, which was great for that day, but I was SO bored the other 4 days. Even that is better than most schools have now.

The thing about gifted kids (well, all kids, really) is that they are so different from each other, no program is going to find all of their strengths. That's one of the main reasons we homeschool - the outschool setup just can't deal with individuals, even if they try to group them somehow better than the straight age-grade system.

#9 KAR120C


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Posted 27 March 2008 - 12:17 PM

I was wondering how your homeschool curriculum with your gifted kids compares with what the public school offers for their qualifying gifted kids.

Our local schools actually have a pretty good full time highly-gifted program that I've heard very good things about. They do some enrichment, some acceleration, and it's very project-based. However, it's not quite the right fit for us.

As of high school, there's a better chance, and by 11th and 12th grade I think I couldn't match what the schools offered if DS were accepted to the one I have in mind. It's basically early college but with high-school-type support.

Until then, I can do a lot more differentiation than any classroom teacher could, I can accelerate farther and a lot more smoothly, and I can support his less-advanced skills. And that doesn't even get into the "regular" benefits of homeschooling! :)

#10 nmoira


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Posted 27 March 2008 - 12:51 PM

We live 3 blocks from the highly gifted magnet. I haven no doubt my oldest girl would qualify.

Homeschooling pluses:

  • curriculum is totally customized
  • phys. ed., art, music limited at the magnet school
  • short days, no busy work
  • not exposed to rivalry between magnet kids and neighborhood kids
  • no limited to subjects taught at school
  • year-round education
  • no grades, no external pressure; she learns for the joy of it

Homeschool minuses:

  • DD is missing out on daily conversations and seminars with her intellectual peers. She has a couple HG friends, but we haven't yet started any subject co-ops.

#11 Myrtle


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Posted 27 March 2008 - 01:20 PM

The lady down the street from me had her son tested for GT when he read Harry Potter in kindergarten. He tested one point below genius level. The school then made sure he had "their best" teacher for the next few years. The only accomodation that I heard about was that the teacher spent more time nitpicking his spelling and grammatical errors on essays than she did for the other kids. The mom was very pleased with this outcome. So I guess that's what counts. Other than that, he makes straight As doing grade level work with kids his own age (hes not accelerated in any subject) and everyone seems very pleased with the situation.

It's not an outcome that I would have wanted for my kid, but as they say, "it works for their family."

#12 54879525


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Posted 27 March 2008 - 01:27 PM

The PS gifted programming is dismal at best here. What my homeschool provides is the chance for my son to work at his own pace and to be sufficiently challenged. The whole pull out for an extra project thing they do is really a joke. As if the kids don't have enough busy work. And the needs of the gifted are not even addressed until 3rd or 4th grade. My child would be in K right now. He is working at a 3rd/4th grade level now.

#13 LisaK in VA is in IT

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 02:01 PM

Our local PS wouldn't even contemplate any type of accomodations for my son -- because his penmanship was below grade level. Sure put a 4yo in a classroom with near 6yo and there are likly to be huge disparities in fine motor skills. It made absolutely no difference to the school that ds was doing well above K work, and in many cases 2 or 3 grades ahead.
There is a once-a-week pull-out at 3rd grade, by teacher reccommendation only. Our local school doesn't take kindly to overly attentive parents:tongue_smilie:

Of course, my son, when bored will either talk a LOT -- draw all over his papers -- or completely underperform (none of these would endear him to a teacher).

It would have been one battle after another in our schools -- and frankly, I couldn't handle it.

The highschool has something called "Governor's School" which is very competitive. It is best suited for driven, bright students -- not necessarilly gifted.

In our school, my son can be challenged on whatever level he is on for whatever subject it may be. He can do 1 math lesson or 4 if it suits him. We can work on his weak areas, while challenging him appropriately in areas in which he's strong.

Plus, he has the ability to spend more time pursuing his passions - and self-selecting some work on his own.

The coordinator for the county gifted progam is a friend of mine. She knows my son and told me that what the county could offer would not be enough. And, while my son would probably "be fine" -- she encouraged me to teach him at home.:D

#14 EKS


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Posted 27 March 2008 - 02:02 PM

Our homeschool is so far beyond what they do for the "highly capable" students in our district it's like comparing apples and lima beans.

First, our district uses the CogAT to determine elegibility. To do well on the CogAT, not only do you need to know the right answers, but you have to be able to answer REALLY FAST. It's all about speed. My 2E kid is "only" average in the speed department so he comes out in the 91st %ile, not high enough to qualify.

Second, once you do qualify, they don't even have a real gifted program. Qualification just means that the kid is able to have something similar to an IEP. For example, one child I know is able to use EPGY for math during math time. The parents pay for the program and he has to take a laptop (that the parents bought) to school to use. I also know of a few kids who have skipped a grade, but these kids have fall birthdays so it's not a real skip in my opinion (I have an October birthday and was 4 at the beginning of K).

In our homeschool, my gifted and dyslexic student started algebra at age 10 while spelling on a first grade level. We do much more (and much richer) history and science than they would get in the schools here. My K'er who is reading on a 5th grade level and doing Singapore 2A is able to work at his level in our homeschool. Both kids are blossoming.

Even if our district had a real gifted program, I wouldn't consider it for my older boy (not that he'd qualify anyway). The younger one is more evenly gifted, would probably qualify easily, and would probably do well in such a program. It would have to be extremely rich and allow for appropriate acceleration for it to approach what we do here at home, though.

#15 nitascool


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Posted 28 March 2008 - 12:00 AM

I was wondering how your homeschool curriculum with your gifted kids compares with what the public school offers for their qualifying gifted kids.

My dh and I were just discussing this last night. I was concerned that my ds might be missing some "great" opportunity that he would be getting in the ps. So last night I looked into the gifted and talented program that my district has for gifted children in our area... their isn't one. So I looked up the one in the next district over (10 minutes up the road).

Inclusive Classroom program:
Students in grades 4, 5 and 6, who are identified as having Specific Academic strengths in math and reading, are serviced through the inclusion model with a team approach. The objective of this approach is to provide differentiated activities in the specific areas of reading and math which supplement and build upon basic academic skills and knowledge
learned in the regular classrooms.

Gifted Pull-out Classrooms:
Students who are identified as Superior Cognitive in grades 4, 5 and 6, from North K., P. and K. Elementary Schools, are bused to K. one half day per week for instruction. The objective of this model is to provide concentrated
instruction which addresses the identified needs of gifted students through a
multidisciplinary curriculum. In addition , the Gifted Intervention Specialist spends several afternoons at the various schools providing model lessons, small group lessons, materials, etc. for identified students, as requested by their classroom teachers.

The school mentioned above is about 30 min. away from us.

How this compares with our gifted homeschool program. In our program each child gets a differentiated program upon entrance into our school, not just in reading and math, but across the curriculum. We don't wait until they are in 4th grade. We work at the level they are at in each area of study from the first day they enter into our program (that would be when they are born).

The gifted Jr. High and High school programs are no better. And because of the rural area in which we live I seriously doubt that the private schools are offering much better then what I can give them for 1/3 the price.

I'm not so concerned about what my ds might be missing now... because he is gaining so much more by being at home then anything he might get 2 years from now.

#16 ArwenA


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Posted 28 March 2008 - 12:16 AM

I'm not sure about middle school here but I know that elementary school doesn't serve gifted kids well. From what I understand there is a teacher they can do advanced math with and in grade 5 they can do a special marine science course. That's it and too bad if your way ahead in reading or the likes, you're just stuck with the rest.

#17 Plaid Dad

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 07:33 AM

I'm pretty sure the ps doesn't offer Latin to first graders, so I feel confident that we're providing more for our dd than the school could. ;)

Seriously, though, I have no idea what all the local elementary school provides, if anything. Most parents seem to want to "choice out" of it if at all possible, the consensus being that it is Not a Good School. On that basis, I doubt that they are doing much for G/T kids. The only thing I've heard of is a short after-school Lego Robotics class for kids who get a certain score on the state's standardized tests. :001_rolleyes:

#18 Jenny in Atl

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 03:26 PM

A large number of my old hs group were kids who had been in TAG programs. Mom's/dad's took them out to HS since these programs were not challenging enough. My husband was a TAG kid in high school. He said the class was a joke; they mostly sat around on couches reading Atlas Shrugged or playing chess.

#19 Storm Bay

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Posted 29 March 2008 - 01:11 PM

Here it's just a gifted and talented program that starts in Gr. 3. But there are a lot of behavioural issues there, from what other parents told me, so that alone would make it a complete failure for dd. But I also suspect that there's no meat to it. Far better at home in this instance. Especially since we'll be able to tailor some courses to make them more interesting to dd, not just go with the same old same old. For her art elective in Gr. 9/freshman year, she's going to do watercolour painting, and we're going to add study of things such as colour theory, value, etc, she'll do some writing assignments and voila, she'll have an academic credit. Probably 1 semester as she'll be working for the National Latin Exam in the first semester. Then she'll be able to slow down on the Latin a bit (she has some catch up to do in Latin) and do the academic part of the painting program. Not to mention that the competitive portion of her swim year will be over for the second semester.

I'm even thinking of having her do a semester somewhere with an academic portion to her phys ed--she could do a study on swimming (history, techniques, coaching, etc) and enough writing...Go with her passions where we can.

#20 choirfarm


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Posted 29 March 2008 - 06:32 PM

It was a pullout program one day a week. It was GREAT!!! If my son could have gone there every day, I would have let him. The had them doing research papers and projects by 2nd grade. They had to do oral reports and lots of critical thinking things, science projects. My oldest did it through 3rd grade until I pulled him out. They taught them how to play chess. One of my favorite things about the program was that all of the work was done IN CLASS. Even the science fair thing they did in 3rd grade. We did help them do the experiment which was plants and watering them with different chemicals to see which grew better. BUT, they had to take the plants, one of those display boards completely blank and then their sheet with their observations. Then they had one day to make it into a science fair display. It was great. The parents could not do it for them!!! Once you get into 6th grade it is honors in the classroom with tons of projects that the parents do. But the elementary program was top notch. He was just bored 4 days a week in the regular classroom. Plus my other son didn't qualify for it. The 1st grade is bigger, but by 2nd grade they pare it down to 20 kids that is it. Only 20 kids can be in this pull-out program in the entire grade. Then they stay together through 5th.

#21 JWSJ


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Posted 29 March 2008 - 08:08 PM

they mostly sat around on couches reading Atlas Shrugged or playing chess.

That would be my experience as well.

Most students in the G/T class hated it. When there was work, it meant more busy work. There was no learning involved.

#22 Pam "SFSOM" in TN

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Posted 29 March 2008 - 10:10 PM

I was wondering how your homeschool curriculum with your gifted kids compares with what the public school offers for their qualifying gifted kids.

I pulled my dd out of a full-time immersion gifted program to home school her. It was, IMO, what a good public school should look like for average students. I felt really bad for the regular track kids if this was what the "gifted" program looked like.

What we did at home was head and shoulders above what they did. She was part of the program for a year and a half, so I really do think we gave it a fair shot.

But programs vary across the country, so I'm not pretending that other programs aren't fabulous.

#23 Cadam


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Posted 30 March 2008 - 07:00 PM

Our system is pretty bad for kids outside of the norm. It's not hard to beat them but even if they had a great program I Don't think I would use it. Each child is so different it would be hard for any teacher to meet the needs of 20-30 kids no matter what their needs.

My advanced kid is behind in handwriting and has a bunch of sensory and other issues. She wouldn't fit in any classroom be it SN, GAT or a standard classroom. I know there are some really great gifted programs out there but mostly I have seen programs that might advance the kids in a few areas but don't really grasp giftedness and certainly not that gifted kids often have special needs or disabilities.

It is a very challenging field and I think my dd is best served at home; especially since she wouldn't get any services at our local school.

#24 dragons in the flower bed

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 07:08 PM

Our local public school's gifted program is composed of the following:

1.) Half an hour a day of discussion with gifted peers about a book that's two grade levels advanced over the chronological age of the group (ie, a pullout reading program)

2.) Tutoring at Sylvan on the child's actual math grade level.

3.) Being allowed to bring in "a quiet activity of the parent's choice" to do while bored.