“Have you thought of your future education plan?”

First, for those of you curious about our weather around here let me assure you that in our particular town life is normal.? We keep hearing about widespread damage in our area, but in Tacoma there is no physical evidence that the governor declared Washington in a state of emergency.? However, if you check out these photos you will see a different picture.? They are ones my mom took yesterday in her neighborhood.? She lives about an hour south of me and on the edge of Capitol Forrest.? At the current moment she is either a) out harassing her neighbors and snapping more photos, b) able to free herself from her home and at her lovely place of employment or c) washed away by that raging river.? I called and she’s not answering.? I suppose I could try her cell phone, but I have chocolates to make.

This morning the trusty husband and I had the pleasure of taking the boy to his 3 year check up.? The entire way from the school to the doc’s I heard, “I don’t wanna go to Dr. Ma-tala’s.”

The boy weighed in at 26 1/2 pounds and 36″ tall.? He’s in the 25th percentile for height and up to the 5th for weight.? We told you he was a little bloke.

The doc asked us all kinds of questions about development and how he’s doing.? We told him that he knows all of his letters, numbers, colors and shapes.? We are now working on letter sounds.? He has an incredible memory and is extremely athletic.? To this the doctor replied, “Have you thought about your future education plan?”? Basically, he suggested that we consider schooling beyond what our local public schools have to offer.? He guessed the boy would be actually reading on his own by at least age 5 and since he won’t enter kindergarten until 6 weeks before his 6th birthday he will be too advanced for standard kindergarten curriculum.

Needless to say I’m scared shitless.? We know the boy is scary smart.? We aren’t trying to make him that way.? He just has this thirst for knowledge that is beyond most children his age.? Technically we have a while before we have to worry about this, but if he keeps up at the pace he’s at we’ll need to find a more advanced preschool.? It’s sad when your 3 year old corrects your pronunciation of words.

17 Comment

  1. Andi says: Reply

    It’s not any parent’s realistic dream, is it? Not once they sit down and really consider what it would mean– to have a child who is “too smart” can be almost as frustrating as having one who is noticeably delayed. Soper over at Uterine Wars did a post on that back in March of 2007, and it was the first time I ever really considered the difficulty of having a precocious child. My friend’s son is the opposite end of the spectrum; he’s quite delayed in language development, and at two and a half is only really just beginning to take an interest in communicating– a far cry from correcting her vocabulary! I’d imagine both situations can be scary for parents, just in such different ways.

    Does your area have a lot to offer in the way of more advanced schooling options? Or *trying to keep a straight face* might you just turn him over to that homeschooling neighbour of yours? 😛

  2. NEAL says: Reply

    I guess we have a topic to talk about tomorrow whilst I wrap the caramels for the fabulous readers of this wonderful blog.

    In sum: kids hella smart, do well in school … enriched by their super-smart mother.

  3. Every kid is different, no matter how you plan or don’t, you’ll still be figuring it out along the way. The eldest was pretty much the only one reading at the start of kindergarten, also just before her 6th birthday, and she loved it. Other kids could be bored. But also keep in mind: School is about more than just the academics. It’s part socialization and learning to get along with others, too. There are plenty of private options, but not all of us can afford those. And whether public or private, involved parents can do a lot in making sure kids are challenged in AND out of school. Especially at this age, when everything’s a learning experience. And yeah, that correcting thing, we won’t talk about that right now …

    One more word: Relax.

  4. DebiP says: Reply

    Elle what do your public schools offer…I have to say that those Russian moms produce smart kids…as you are aware Griff and O are days apart and they seem to be on par with each other…though G-man is about 30lbs and sits at about 39 inches…

    We are in a good system that has many programs should we need them..for now I am taking it one day at a time…Spence was also very precocious…he continues to be..he was speaking four and five word sentences at 15 months, reading in Kindergarten and now, in first grade, is in the mid level second grade readers. He has a knack for math and language as well…he has poor handwriting..legible but poor. I will not even think about changes in his schooling until the end of third grade…it seems to me (the teacher talking now) that boys ‘slow down’ in third grade and are more on the normal level…

    I was very very worried that Spencer would be to advanced for kindergarten (he is a young kindergartener on top of it Birthday August 9) but the teacher was able to kick it up a bit for him. In first grade he is having a great year and doing very well…he has not had boredom set in yet and that was my fear… we work a lot at home and he seems to be challenged by his teacher…she was more then prepared…she also has two others with reading and math levels competitive to Spence.

    I guess what I am saying in a long post is don’t fret too much …there is a plan out there and you will fall right into it…

  5. Tricia says: Reply

    Of course he’s brilliant! Love your menu for the week.

    Here is ours
    Sunday Spaghetti + salad
    Monday Spaghetti (salad from Sunday went soggy)
    Tuesday Spaghetti (too tired to make a new salad)
    Wednesday Take out?
    Thursday Spaghetti (salad from Tues will probably be wilted)
    Friday Birthday dinner at restaurant

  6. Jenyum says: Reply

    A. is in a “peer model” program at Grant Elementary. They want particularly verbal kids, to compliment the language preschool program.

    They have a similar program for K-1, it’s a full day class where kids do work ranging from Kindergarten to First Grade, not necessarily corresponding to their age. Many of the kids are there because they need a little extra time to complete kindergarten, the rest are there because they are super-verbal. A. is ready for all-day, and could probably do some 1st grade work next year so I’m hoping to get her into this program.

    Another option to consider is Bryant Montessori, their classes are made up of kids in three grade levels, so it’s a little more “squishy” in terms of the academic range. Both of these are public options in Tacoma, which has an “open enrollment” policy as long as there is room. (There’s no room at Bryant, so if you think you want this route get on the waiting list now.)

    But I wouldn’t worry too much about it, at least for k-3. There’s so much social learning that is way more important than the book learnin’. D is wicked smart and reads at a third grade level but no way was she even ready for all-day kindergarten last year. She needs to work on the social stuff with her same age peers.

    This year, her teacher recognized her verbal abilities right away and put her in an accelerated reader program on the class computer until the school had settled into reading groups for the year. Groups were then assigned according to ability rather than grade level, and D. is shipped to a third grade classroom for reading. This “walk to read” style of reading groups is practiced throughout the Tacoma Public Schools, as far as I know. Your neighborhood school has the best scores in the district and would probably be a great choice, but chickadee can tell you more about that.

    I wouldn’t just look at test scores and conclude that Tacoma schools can’t handle bright kids, it’s been my experience that the teachers are thrilled to have them and try to challenge them.

  7. Hmm. That was funny to read because I just finished reading about the “butt” topic. No matter how smart he is (which I believe you will ultimately find a good solution) he’s still a boy child through and through.

  8. Lena says: Reply

    I second Chickadee – RELAX!

    So, now I can share my thoughts … this story reminded me of princess 2-year-old check-up where the doctor (not our usual pediatrician) couldn’t get over the fact that princess didn’t speak three-word sentences yet. Never mind that princess had spent the previous 18 months trying to physically keep up with big brother or that she’s bi-lingual (hence language development may take a little longer) … but doctor kept harping on this particular topic, not listening to what I was saying about the physical stuff.

    Let boy stay in preschool, let him learn how to hang out with other kids, have fun and remember he’s just 3! He just happens to be a curious 3-year-old with a super-smart mama and daddy!

  9. mom says: Reply

    I’m alive. Survived another day at work and waters are receding. Of course he’s a genius, he’s my grandson!

  10. Wendy says: Reply

    I know from experience that super-smart kids who are not challenged and stimulated at school get in trouble. DD1 drove her teachers crazy because she would finish her work and then go around the classroom helping all the other kids finish theirs. DD2 got in trouble for correcting her teacher in front of the class. Teacher had to apologize when she found out DD2 was correct and teach was wrong. Our pediatrician calls Levi ‘Jimmy Neutron’ for his big head and advanced skills.

    So good luck with the boy and keep him busy, busy, busy!

  11. We ran into the same with our oldest and there were zero options in our area. Hence intro to Homeschooling. It’s been a ride for sure and we spend more time learning out of the house than in (why do they call it homeschooling anyways….oh yeah, for those who stay at home and hide their children from the world and all the great people and places that are there, no thanks!)
    If you don’t find options in schools, you might try doing a homechool program with him until he is at the age to enter a gifted program in your area. There is an amazing amount of curriculum out there to consider and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You don’t have to stay at home doing endless worksheets keeping your child from socializing and having fun with other kids. Well, you can if you want, but who wants a kid that has no idea how to interact with others.
    One more thing, if you want to start him on reading (when he can recognize letters and their sounds it’s a great time to start trying reading…just keep it to his attention span) a great book to check out is The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise. It’s fun, easy, and no frills. The lessons are fairly short and my girls still sing some of the rhymes in it. Our favorite first readers are Scholastic’s Bob Books.

  12. Here’s another story for you: a 5 year old came home from kindergarten and started teaching her 3-years younger sister everything she knew. This younger sister knew how to read at 3 and do basic math by kindergarten. The mom pushed the school to allow the younger girl to skip kindergarten because she knew all the stuff already, and was “old” for her class (very close to the cut-off date). The school said no. At the end of kindergarten, after the girl had made friends, the school wised up and realized that the child did know what was going on, and offered to let her skip 1st grade. The mom said no, she had already made friends. Enter 1st grade: the teacher had a 1st grader who was doing 2nd grade math and reading at a 3rd grade level. Due to lack of funding, the Head Start program wasn’t available, so girl just did extra work that was borrowed from the next grade. I turned out just fine. My math skills didn’t “slow down” until high school (precalculus was a bitch), and I was always reading at a higher level than my grade. But, more importantly, my mom (and older sister) continued to challenge me. I’m not trying to brag, I just wanted to let you know that you knew someone in a similar situation, and I don’t recall you saying anything strange to me in 4th grade about it! 😉 Keep the boy challenged; find a homeschooling/teacher store near you and pick up some materials to help challenge him. They have it at all ages. Or, since I need to do this soon for Quin (same problem – the boy’s “too smart”), I can pass on what Alyssa recommends I do. You will have to decide if you want to push the school district into allowing Oleg to start a year early – because he’s smaller, he might have more problems with bullies if he’s younger than everyone else. Just some things to consider. Good luck and stay dry!

  13. Jenny2 says: Reply

    I smell private school.

    BTW – your menu this week look a lot like mine.

    which isn’t good.

  14. auntieg says: Reply

    Don’t start to panic about private school. Public education has lots to offer kids on all points of the spectrum. Also, be aware that while doctors mean well, they usually don’t know a whole lot about the school system. Trust me, I know…work with that all the time.

    And if you really need something to worry about, how about Darfur?

  15. Carla says: Reply

    another who is homeschooling because of this…it’s sad that while I considered myself smart my 9 year old teaches me stuff all the time, things I should know. Like why the moon is orange when it’s low on the horizon, and he’s coming up with explanations that are physics theories now. His writing ability, his spelling ability, and hand writing all leave quite a bit to be desired, but he is reading at a 8-9th grade level (last I checked…or whatever Harry Potter book 6 was rated…).

    The 5 year old? He’s almost done with traditional Kindergarten programs (he’s preK age). Guess we’ll start 1st grade stuff soon.

    Don’t sweat it, search “gifted” and educate yourself.

  16. Raissa says: Reply

    Yay for smart boys! Our 3-year-old’s favorite game right now is, “What letter does _____ start with?” We can send them to their own smarty-pants academy. Ours is called, “Leapfrog Magnets.”

    I have reservations about public school, too (my mother told me to homeschool when he was still pre-baby, and she was the last person I expected to hear that from) but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

  17. Jenyum says: Reply

    I’m not convinced that private schools actually provide much more advanced academics in the early grades, not post-No Child Left Behind. (Which, however awful it can be for the schools has definitely boosted the amount of academics taught in the early grades. Not necessarily a great thing developmentally for a lot of kids, but it’s the way things are now.) Private schools don’t have the same reporting requirements and don’t all operate under the same educational philosophies. Sometimes they actually offer less in the way of art and music. There’s a “school for the gifted” in NE Tacoma, but it’s waaaaay too expensive for us.


    Think about how much more enriching your child’s life could be without spending more than 10K a year on private school.

    Testing for the Highly Capable Program (which definitely exists in Tacoma) happens in 2nd and later grades. Here”s a link:

    It’s really early to sweat this stuff too much. If you’re doing lots of educational activities at home you probably have more opportunity to teach him in the next few years that any teacher would at a public or private school. That’s what’s most important right now. My doctor was always full of wise advice about D., and 9 times out of 10 it turned out to be terrible.

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