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(16 Posts)
Cantspellbutimmagic Thu 08-Mar-18 22:53:24


I’m looking for friends/fellow people who are in sort of the same position

My DC do very well in their study’s ( years higher than they are ) they are 5/6

I feel like I’m some times struggling to support them in many aspects - socially , supporting there work and extra activity’s.
And just having people to talk to

I realised long ago - you can’t ever speak about this subject or you get judged and people who do not have these issues are not very understanding.

However it’s very lonely and I’d love some advice to know how others deal with the situation

So if there’s anyone out there who would like to chat I would love to hear from you

Thank you

( sorry for the spelling/grammar mistakes )

Twofishfingers Mon 12-Mar-18 11:21:47

Hi, it's very difficult to find the right tone to talk about this to friends, but if you discuss it without boasting it's fine. My friends tease me a bit because I do think my kids are fab (DS2 is G&T in Maths) but really, support is not there unless you can meet someone whose child is also a high achiever. Even then some competition may arise.

I just think that this board has been great when I had questions, and to see how others are handling the situations.

Personally, I am very hands off. I just let him learn whenever he wants, and whatever he wants. I know that some people think I'm crazy for not being pushy with him. At the moment he is into coding so I am looking for a tutor to help him with that, but he has never, ever had private tuition for maths. He just does it at school and on his own at home (with our support). I really encourage creativity, by providing lots of materials for him to build stuff with. And I never, ever talk in terms of 'being advanced' or 'ahead by that many years'. I don't think it's helpful. It's the depth of understanding that matters, not the speed.

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Tue 13-Mar-18 12:42:58

This is very timely. I’m really struggling with this today too. His preschool teacher has decided that he must have ASD because he is passionate about some subjects and doesn’t socialise well (like most G&T kids). I explained the situation and presented her with a letter from his paediatrician to say all this was addressed last year with the other (idiot) preschool teacher and it was found he does not meet the criteria for ASD, but she’s just a blank wall. Apparently their tea room chat about DS (and me) is a better assessment.

It’s very depressing. I’m going to go back and ask the paediatrician for something I can present to future teachers with a list of expected behaviours of G&T kids. I can’t deal with a lifetime of being looked at as the awful mum who can’t face up to the truth about her child.

I’m also going to try move him to a Montessori preschool. Has anyone else tried this with their G&Ts?

Twofishfingers Tue 13-Mar-18 14:48:29

Mine stayed in mainstream, and is starting local state secondary school in September. DS wasn't seen as a more able child before year 3 at primary school though. He did show some signs of being more able in the early years but he could show them more at home than at school. He was a late talker so we focused on that in the early years.

There were also some concerns that DS was on the autistic spectrum when he was little. it's not uncommon.

RueDeWakening Tue 13-Mar-18 19:50:18

All 3 of mine (only 1 is G&T as far as we know, DS1 might be 2e) attended a Montessori preschool, so long as they have a qualified Montessori teacher I'd highly recommend it. They all spent hours with the Montessori activities, and really benefitted from being able to direct their own learning and spend time doing things that interested them.

gfrnn Wed 14-Mar-18 07:27:05

My two DS's had good experiences of Montessori preschool but DS1 had a bad experience of Montessori primary and we moved them both at this point. There are aspects of the Montessori ethos that should benefit G&T, e.g. child-centred individual learning and mixed age classrooms with promotion based on readiness rather than chronological age, but the latter, while standard internationally, is often not practised in the UK. Montessori can be very variable - it's not regulated/trademarked so anyone can put up a sign saying Montessori school, and like any private school they have the freedom to employ under-qualified staff. Many are proprietor-managed with no board of governors and this means there is nowhere to escalate if problems arise. Overall I would recommend them for pre-school/EYFS but avoid from KS1 unless the individual school is particularly good. From KS1 up I think kids are better off with staff with BEd/PGCE.

@twofishfingers "And I never, ever talk in terms of 'being advanced' or 'ahead by that many years'". I have to disagree - the number of years ahead (a) can be readily assessed, and (b) is the single most relevant fact for curriculum planning. If a teacher is ignorant of the fact that a child is a number of years ahead, then everything they plan for that child based on chronological age will be irrelevant.
"It's the depth of understanding that matters, not the speed". The speed (rate of progress through the curriculum, not speed of work/calculation) matters too. If they are a number of years ahead, its because they are capable of (and have been) progressing at a significantly higher rate than normal. Faster learning is one of the fundamental characteristics of gifted children. Karen Rogers states that one should aim for a gifted child to make between 1.25 and 2.00 years of progress per calendar year. All forms of acceleration - which is the most comprehensively researched and effective form of provision for gifted students - consist of matching curriculum provision to the child's naturally enhanced rate of learning and level of attainment.

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Wed 14-Mar-18 10:07:02

gfrnn, am I right in thinking the problem with Montessori was that they wouldn’t let your child advance appropriately? Or something else?

Our closest Montessori appears to have space for DS so I will be doing a tour this week for preschool. I worry about moving him mid-year but he really hates preschool where he is and now his teacher has decided he has ASD and won’t listen to a word I say, I think it may be damaging for him to stay there. He needs a lot of help socially and they seem to have written him off as uninterested and incapable (which I realise would be ridiculous even if he had ASD) and they’re just not helping at all. I’m sure he will be able to see that even his teachers think he’s different when he’s already struggling to fit in.

I’m so angry about the whole situation and would love to hear from other parents who have struggled with teachers misunderstanding and how they resolved the issue.

gfrnn Wed 14-Mar-18 23:59:17

Yes Iwasjustabouttosayyhat there were other issues but that was the most significant part of it. To be clear these issues were in the primary - he had a great time in Montessori pre-school and I could not have faulted the Montessori pre-school teacher. But the assessments in the primary were wildly off and the provision was not appropriate. We eventually got an ed psych assessment which confirmed exactly what we had been telling them and recommended increased challenge and acceleration. The senior leadership team refused to implement the ed psych's recommendations. The ed psych advised us to remove him from the school.

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Thu 15-Mar-18 00:36:14

Ugh, it seems like such a minefield. How did you go about picking a better primary school?

I talked to the Montessori centre manager this morning and said DS needs structure and he’s ahead of the other kids where he is. She proudly told me the kids at his level are not only learning letters, but learning how to put them together to make words. So much better than his current preschool except he’s been reading fluently since he was 2. She said that’s totally fine and they will put together a plan especially to challenge him. I’m happy with the sound of that. She said they’re also doing a lot of maths which he doesn’t get much of at home so I think he will like that.

It’s mostly the doing things for themselves and corresponding self esteem I’m pinning my hopes on. His self esteem is just on the floor right now. It’s so sad to see a 4 year old like that. It would make me so happy to see people accepting and encouraging his independence and intelligence rather than trying to stamp it down and make him the same as everyone else. What kind of works is it where children wanting to do puzzles rather than run around outside is seen as something that needs medical help?

Cantspellbutimmagic Thu 15-Mar-18 05:57:55

My Dcs are confident and social ( which I also encourage at home)
They are always wanting to work after school to the point if I don’t give them work - they write there own work out
I exploit the library and book shops
The school say there trying there best for them both but they are unable to support any further as extra work goes
It’s really hard to know where to turn when you want to support your children the best way you can

Twofishfingers Thu 15-Mar-18 07:06:35

I am aware of what experts say, but I think each child is an individual and deserves to be looked at as individual, even those who are high achievers. Personally, I prefer to let DS play, explore, kick a ball, take drama classes. He plays three musical instruments (two very well and one he has just started). He is learning to code. He is learning a second language on his own through a free internet service. He is also an outdoor type boy and loves building dens and exploring our local woods.

All these skills are important. They all help problem solving, independence, resilience, and support the development of his brain (especially music) and physical coordination. I'd hate to sit with him and do maths every night. He has never ever had a private tutor. And he is not bored at school and very much enjoying his school education. Yes he is more 'advanced' in the curriculum in a linear way, can do maths problems GCSE level (his is in year 6 and that's what his teacher prepares for him for extension) which is really enjoys. But I am very much of the trend that his happiness and wellbeing are the most important thing for us as a family, not how many years ahead he is academically. I will not fall into the trap of making his childhood a stressful one because he has a gift for maths.

RueDeWakening Thu 15-Mar-18 07:22:33

With DD (the G&T one) we wanted to make sure she understood that not everything would always come easy. She's not the most physically capable girl, so for us that meant persisting at swimming lessons, and learning an instrument.

Annoyingly, in year 6 she has got her 800m and silver award in swimming, and is the most advanced instrument player in her school grin but she knows that it's because she's practised hard and worked for it. We've had lots of conversations over the years about how everyone has things they find easy to learn and more that need lots of practise to get good at.

Brownies/Guides has been good too, she's picked up lots of skills there that she's found tricky, or that she's been taught by other children a similar age.

Twofishfingers Thu 15-Mar-18 07:27:43

Picking the right school is difficult - and you may find with the years that even within a good school, some teachers will be a lot more pro-active, aware of, used to dealing with gifted children. My DS's worst year was year 5, with a NQT. The class was too chaotic, the behaviour not well enough managed, and he struggled to get on with the learning. Although she was giving lots of extra challenges, he was still very unhappy. Other teachers in the same school have been brilliant at not only identifying which were his areas of strength, but also in giving properly 'customised' challenges on a regular basis. And this year in year 6 he gets extra time with a TA on his own.

gfrnn Thu 15-Mar-18 21:45:40

Yes picking schools is a minefield. You can't rely on inspection reports or league tables. School open days / speaking directly to staff or parents of children in the school are a slightly better guide.

@twofishfingers I agree with what you said in your latter posts, but I think the only reason you can say "I never, ever talk in terms of 'being advanced' or 'ahead by that many years'." is because you're in the unusually fortunate position of having a teacher that is already providing radical subject acceleration to the tune of 5 years and 1:1 mentoring without you having to advocate for it. We do the same things as you at home and have a similar ethos - we don't hothouse or tutor. But in order to secure essentially the same provision as you describe in school we had to pay for expert reports, move school and advocate vociferously. Comments on other threads like this suggest our siuation is at least as common as yours.
So I think it boils down to the following: if your child's teacher is providing instruction and materials at the level they're at then there's no need for you to say anything, but if your child's teacher has misjudged their ability by several years or is ignorant of best practice (or both) then you have an obligation to do something about it. In that situation the statement "this report shows child is X years ahead but you are providing instruction at Y years ahead, therefore there is a discrepancy of X - Y years" is almost impossible to avoid.
Also might be worth remarking that acceleration should be about making effective use of normal classroom time and providing daily challenge within school, not heaping more work on kids outside school, i.e. it should be "instead of", not "as well as" the regular curriculum.

Cantspellbutimmagic Thu 15-Mar-18 22:14:19

I’m not suggesting my situation is more important ect .... it more the fact I don’t know anyone else in that situation and because it’s taboo to even mention the subject, I don’t see that changing in the near future . I’m reaching out to people who are in the same boat that hopefully won’t see it as being offensive discussing the topic
I’m not hot housing or pushing them to be this way - that’s just how they are
They go to extra classes they want and they have a great group of friends. They have a lot of fun with there time and are happy kids
But in there studies they are very demanding always wanting more. The school does there best too but it’s limited in what they can do.

I’m great full for everyone’s comments and just seeing how others deal with this x

Thank you

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Mon 19-Mar-18 01:58:39

Just an update from me. We went to the Montessori preschool today and it looks amazing. DS can’t wait to start. They listened to what I had to say about how bad his preschool has been and they think I should lodge an official complaint. It’s very tempting. I feel so sorry for other kids being labelled.

I’ll report back on whether the Montessori is a good fit but right now it really looks like it’s going to be.

Thanks for all the advice about this!

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