Will school frustrate him after HE?(14 Posts)
My son in not especially gifted or talented - but has done very well since an unintentional 3 months homeschooling. He's Y1, started reading chapter books & really working well at the online maths tutor - about 18 months ahead of age expectation - improved rapidly at things like chess & piano since he's had more time to practice. In general - after a daunting start - we're finding our HE stride academically & socially.
A school place has come up - perfectly nice average school - albeit logistically still quite hard to facilitate for various reasons.
But having watched him focus & work self directed - I'm wondering if going to school won't actually have the effect of capping him. ...
...But we never really intended to homeschool longterm - and he says he'd prefer to be at school .... Though even six months ago when he was at school he was complaining about being best at sums, so possibly he's got rose-tinted glasses.
It depends on the school. Some will cater for him on an ability basis and some will say they will but won't. ds went to a school where the children were given work sheets to complete and if they were bright and had finished side A they could turn it over and work on side B. If they had finished that they were given jobs to do in the classroom. I moved him to another school as quickly as I could (bullying was also a huge factor for us). You really do need to research the school thoroughly. There's home ed clubs that you can both go to so he won't miss out in making friends.
I'm not really choosing the school - the reason we started to HE was the chronic shortage of spaces! School seems fine but a bit overstretched. Nice head, cramped buildings, mobile population.
Some schools are wonderful, some are dire (applies to private schools as well). You need to ask them what they would usually do for very able children. Any red flags on their Ofsted report? I should have twigged when ds's said that they didn't stretch able pupils. I, stupidly, thought they had sorted this as the report was a few years old.
Also think it depends on the school. Our completely normal state primary is fantastic at supporting all levels of ability. I think you have to go to the school and ask the question quite frankly.
But don't they all spout the same clichés about differentiating etc etc.
IME whether that can be done effectively is often out of the heads control - it depends on the skill of the teacher, and on whether the cohort that year provides a critical mass so that the kids getting the extension work don't feel isolated.
I think you can get a sense of whether the school is "spouting cliches" or really can differentiate when you visit. My DD loves her extension work in her state primary. Some of it requires her to be self-starting, I.e. if she didn't finish the work and asked for more then it might not happen, so I think that's a consideration to ask yourself about your son. Does he push himself to do more or does he do more when pushed? But in general I've been really impressed at how work has been differentiated in both YR and Y1.
IME they tell you what they want you to hear, not necessarily what's going on. I asked about differentiation and was assured that they could cater for all abilities in the classroom. This was the school which gave out worksheets, so was hardly catering for all abilities as ds was left to help out in the classroom after he'd finished. Can you speak to some of the other parents? They will be able to tell you what the school is really like.
My views are coloured by my older Dds experience. I loved, loved, loved their old (state, inner city, weak SATs, not glamorous - but very warm, child centred and enthusiastic ) primary.
YR/Y1/Y2 they differentiated, Dd worked to her level and her interest, without being with pushed or held back. However, the wheels came off dramatically by Y4/Y5. Dd felt isolated working on her own a lot of the time, the extension work became patchy and uninspiring as the teacher battled to bring up the bottom of the class and Dd seemed to have no room or support to grow further. She rebelled quite a lot - producing well below par work justified as "this is good enough for all these guys, why not me?" - and apparently not very successfully hiding her sense of being 'a star'. She straightened right up in a competitive, disciplined secondary - but it shook me how ... Depressed ... She got.
I can see how that happens, WetGrass. It's very difficult. I'd give it a shot and see how it pans out, you can always home ed again if you find it's not working. It look a long time for me to find somewhere which could cater for ds, he's always been 3 or 4 years ahead and picks things up very quickly. He has become apathetic and depressed though and it's horrible for a parent to see. All you can do is your best, and if you find that doesn't work then go back to the drawing board and start again. You could do plenty of extra curricular things outside school, so if they are doing a project on space in school you could look a little more indepth out of school.
.... It's just the first time that school isn't the default easy option ....
.... I think once/if we join we'd have a positive attitude & make a success of it - but right now is a genuine crossroads.
As long as the school can differentiate well it should be fine. As you say, 18 months ahead isn't particularly unusual. I had a reading age off the scale (it went up to 15 only) at about 8 and I never felt held back or bored.
I think if he wants to go to school you are doing the right thing. I agree that it depends on the school and the child.
We left at the end of last year as the school could not offer the opportunities for dd within music. We couldn't bribe or cajole her to go back now as the day is completely ours to do as we wish.
Do make sure that anything they offer in terms of support, they are able and willing to put into place. it would be such a shame for him to coast in subjects he is more than able.
Yes - the long game is trusting him to take responsibility for his own learning - and I will be in place to support him if problems crop up.
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