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Home : 2004 : Feb : 5

    To Autumn and Samantha
    By Cathy-Dee

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    Thank you to both of you for clearing some of this up. The questions and concerns you have both asked are valid thus worthwhile answering regardless of how they were posted.

    It sounds like you have two pretty amazing children. Not many siblings would take such care in wanting to help their younger sister.

    It seems obvious that Tabitha is well beyond her peers academically. Socially she is probably doing fine for the most part but caution needs to remain about placing her into too high of a grade where she would stand out in other ways. Returning her to home-schooling may not be the answer either as you and her sister can only challenge her so far as well.

    I personally have not had any dealings with Montessori schools. Some of the websites I saw made them sound like very interesting schools but perhaps not all are run as they should be.

    There are good and bad public schools, private schools, even home-schools. Thus I would suggest that you contact your public school board this upcoming week and ask them what they have in the way of gifted programs in your school division. From that point you can also check into the private sector to see what they offer.

    There are many ways your child can be "sparked" in any classroom and in any setting if the teachers are willing to do this challenge and you are willing to work with them on this. I have seen some children moved from grade 1 to 3 at the end of their first year in school because of their academic strength. It is something you might want to consider but again caution you to think strongly about this, she may be more out of place being with older students. While reading and doing math is important, is she as strong in her writing skills. What about areas in science and social studies, music, art, physical education. These are all areas where she can be challenged as well within a school setting.

    Continuing to do extra curricular things with her as well would be great. Get her involved with clubs at your local museums, libraries, etc.,

    If this school is not working out - take time in the next few months to visit other schools in your area. Check out the classrooms for grade 2 or 3. Talk to the teachers about challenging a "gifted" student. You may come across someone who you just know will be able to stimulate your daughter in her learning.

    Also one word of caution.... she is still only 6 years old. Some of the embarrassment she says she feels when she has to do special work is sending a message to you as well. She doesn't want to be different right now. She may say she is bored because she believes that is what you want to hear from her. I have seen this happen on occasion with a child who was smart enough to know what to say to her parents but not smart enough to realize she needed to be true to herself too. 6 years old is still a young child regardless of how academically strong that child is.

    You may need to discuss this further with her teacher - are other children being challenged for example or is she the only one. Does she only do different work and miss out on some of the fun work. Sometimes I still read comic books - there is something to be said for having it easy from time to time. We do not always want to be challenged at every moment.

    While academics is of course the main purpose of schools, there is so much more as well. I think if you find the right teacher and school for your daughter she will flourish fine. The elementary school years should be fun. She should enjoy the opportunites of performing with her class at the Christmas musical, going on field trips, doing track & field, having class parties, recess!

    Your dedication to her education will play one of the most important parts to her finishing High School and going on. Trust me, even in University there are "boring" classes. So you can help your daughter by teaching her how to challenge herself outside of school. And also continuously letting her know your expectation of her finishing High School - no exceptions!!!! I know I finished my High School more because of my parent expectations than my own "high" standards at that time. I had to work for a few years before I really understood the value of a good education.

    Good luck with your decisions. Your children are fortunate to have a parent who is so concerned about their well-being

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