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My Granddaughter Macy Is Being Put Into “Gifted Program”, I’M Worried.


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My granddaughter Macy is in the 2nd grade. Her and one other student have been chosen to be in the “gifted (or advanced) program at school. She reads and writes at a rate that astonishes me.

In my life I have noticed a number of things about such programs…

Less emphasis on social skills

Children being picked on by other students

The danger of Narcissism

Should I just be proud, or am I being an over protective Pa Pa?

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If the program is full immersion,separate from the other kids,then yes it is worrisome. If it involves special classes for an hour or so a day,then much less of a problem.The advanced students often get left without much interaction because teachers are so involved with those students having a harder time. They can get bored and that leads to behavior problems. They can use a challenge to their abilities as long as the curriculum is not just more of the same.

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If the gifted program is set up to benefit the whole child, as many are, and not just their intelligence, then it should be just fine. I'm sure her parents have checked into it and didn't make the decision lightly.

:)

Edited by bluebell
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Her parents can always pull her out if it's not working for them. IME, it's alot more difficult to get into these programs than it is to get out. As for your other concerns, the social skills and harassment: it depends on the school. In my kids' school, some kids go to speech therapy, some go to the gifted program, some go to the Resource room (for learning disabilities). There are probably some that go to all three. It's really no big deal. Generally, if the kids (in any school district) are hassled for being in the gifted program, they'll be hassled anyway for being "too smart."

As for narcissism, I haven't really seen that as a problem unless the parents are constantly pushing how smart their kids are. For most students, it's just another class that happens to be more interesting than their regular classes. They may even occasionally resent it if it causes more homework. Additionally, gifted classes can actually prevent pride and narcissism, because they get to interact with a whole bunch of kids who are all on the same intellectual level, instead of being one of a class's few "smart kids," so they learn that maybe they aren't really all that special.

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Some students in grade school chew through the average material given without any effort. It's nice to think they are smart, but they really need to learn to work and study. They need to learn how to get through the hard stuff, and therefore have to be exposed to material that challenges their capacities.

Otherwise they never learn how to learn and press through the tough stuff. I never had to develop good study habits, even through the first year of university, because the material wasn't challenging or I was able to coast off the things I understood well. Totally bit me in the butt when new material came at me. This learning challenge had not been presented to me before, I have had to face something I didn't understand immediately because I was never challenged through school. The only thing that helped me learn how to learn challenging subjects through study was learning a language through self study as a missionary - a lesson learned way later than it needed to be.

So let her be placed in an environment where she has the responsibility to complete harder material. I'm not sure why they have to label it 'gifted' rather than calling them advanced courses, but meh.

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1. No you should not be worried. That is her parents job. Grandparents are just there to praise and adore and remind them of history.

2. I don't like gifted programs. There isn't going to be a college for smart kids, a dorm for smart kids, and there isn't going to be a workplace for smart kids, and there isn't a family of smart kids. So I think it is generally a mistake to segregate the smart kids so they don't learn to get their own enrichment and work with and around their not as smart peers.

3. That said, most gifted programs nowadays are either a magnet program (not generally 2d grade) or one day a week going off to someplace where they do hands on experiments. Neither of which are the end of the world.

4. "Experts" will tell you that gifted students think differently, need different things and that is why they should have classes of their own. IME, the students who struggle need hands on experiential learning as much or more as those who are gifted.

Bottom line is that the family can do a lot to help a child see that their gifts deserve nurturing but must be used in ways consistent with God's will. And the most important lesson that I did not learn when I wish I had was: School work is going to be easy and you'll whip out most things with little effort. If you don't find a way to do more, on your own, at some point you will be sorry that you settled for best in the class rather than your personal best. You don't really know how to live until you know that the praise of the world and all the awards and scholarships cannot make up for not becoming what you could have become if you had not settled for good enough for everyone else or the system.

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If it isn't working, her parents will know. She'll complain about it. She'll get stomach aches and won't want to go to school. There will be signs. I'm confident there is an awareness among you to see them :clapping: You may also see an inspiration in her, a spark of more intense creativity… even pride and confidence!!! Give it a chance. Research has shown that gifted children who do not have opportunities to have those gifts nurtured are more likely to have more emotional, behavioral and social problems in school. And I say that from my own experience as well. I probably would not have ended up in the principals office at all had someone noticed that I finished the 5th grade math book before Columbus Day came around! I didn't get that sort of opportunity until high school, and in some ways, it was too late.

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If it isn't working, her parents will know. She'll complain about it. She'll get stomach aches and won't want to go to school. There will be signs. I'm confident there is an awareness among you to see them :clapping: You may also see an inspiration in her, a spark of more intense creativity… even pride and confidence!!! Give it a chance. Research has shown that gifted children who do not have opportunities to have those gifts nurtured are more likely to have more emotional, behavioral and social problems in school. And I say that from my own experience as well. I probably would not have ended up in the principals office at all had someone noticed that I finished the 5th grade math book before Columbus Day came around! I didn't get that sort of opportunity until high school, and in some ways, it was too late.

As a parent of "gifted" children and grandchildren, I have mixed feelings. One son as greatly helped by the gifted program at our elementary school. Another was not helped at the same school. The real help comes with the quality of the teachers and the amount of effort they make really teach a "gifted" program. Parents can do just as much if they put in extra time at home but for many that may be hard (if you are taking care of the kids, it may mean mom isn't home all day). We have had success with the programs but it takes diligence and hard work to make it right. MW

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It's natural for a grandpa / grandma to worry. My parents live near our home so they check on my kids once in a while. And of course they worry whenever something comes up. Just remember that parents are if not equally, more than concerned with their children as well. Be proud about your grandchild and at the same time, get rid of your worry by communicating with your family once in a while. That way, you would know how your grandchild is doing. :)

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Yup grandparent of 10. And no it is not my job to worry --- that is the parent's job. It is my job to cheer and bless. (When I get my role mixed up with parents it causes no end of problem.) Pa Pa did say his daughter asked his opinion.

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We've had kids thrive and struggle in both regular and gifted classes. It really boils down to the individual teacher or teaching team. If "gifted" means more of the same (busy work) and does not place them in a track to get more advanced instruction then I'd pass. However, if they get more individualized instruction or special counseling/teaching that prevents them from boredom or enriches their experience then I'd go for it!

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I was in a gifted program... it worked pretty well for me, although, obviously, since I had Asperger's, there was some issues with some (but not most) of the other kids. On the other hand, the teachers were pretty amazing. I can't guarantee it will be that way for your grandchild, but that's how it was for me.

There were alot of good things about the program... I learned how to do big projects which prepared me for later on... I was able to jump ahead in some classes... and... I wasn't bored with the curriculum (that's a big one).

I don't know if the bullying is persay any worse than in regular school... rather... it will probably be... more hard to actually 'see'. More hidden persay.

Pride was an issue as I continued on in life because I knew more than some other people. Of course, I kept that to myself, but it still isn't good rotting away in you. But keeping her in regular will not make a massive difference in the pride level.

Less emphasis on social skills... I'd have to disagree on this one... if anything, we had to be good at social skills. Group Projects and such. Of course, I had absolutely miserable social skills then (and would continue to have them until 8th grade), but I didn't feel there was all that much of a difference. Then again, I never spent time in a regular class past 3rd grade (and even then, I was in a group which was partially accelerated in that classroom).

So yeah... both positives and negatives... do what you think is best =). I hope things turn out well for you =D.

Best Wishes,

-TAO

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I was in one. I enjoyed it. Mine was less book work and more involved with logic puzzles which I loved. We didn't read novels together but we were encouraged to read and write little bits about the books we read.

Each year had a cultural theme. I remember Egypt, Greece, China, and Rome. We went through their history, their great thinkers, and why things happened to them. It was fun. It was less a pile of worksheets and more of a challenge in thinking. Unlike regular school they didn't give me the answers to everything. I hated that about school. I don't think it turned me into an insufferable elitist but I could be wrong.

Though looking back when I went (once a week) my brother and I were more interested in meeting with the other Nintendo playing kids during our break to compare tips on where the secret levels in the "Legend of Zelda" were and how to find all the power-ups in "Metroid". Dang kids these days with their internets taking all the challenge out of games.

I was never bullied for it. Most of the other kids didn't care where I was on Wednesdays.

In any case I wouldn't worry about it.

Edited by The Nehor
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The gifted program was kind of a double-edged sword for me. It kept me from becoming bored, but it also made me hate school. You may want to urge your child to check with parents of current or past students of the program. It takes a special kind of teacher to keep high-IQ elementary school students engaged and challenged without making them hate school. I, and my two close friends who were also in the same program as me, unfortunately ended up hating school because of the teacher we had.

That being said:

Less emphasis on social skills

She’ll still spend the majority of her time with her core classmates. She’ll also be interacting (in different ways) with other children that she doesn’t interact with the same volume. If anything, the need to interact with a completely different group of kids once (or a few times) a week in a completely different social construct is reason for increased emphasis on social skills.

Children being picked on by other students

No one picked on any of the kids from the advanced program that I recall. In fact, the kids that I remember from youth that got picked on were (unfortunately) the kids that were slow or had social problems (they spent some of their time in general ed, and some of their time in special).

The danger of Narcissism

IMO, your granddaughter will likely have the same chances of developing a problem with narcissism from being in an advanced education program that she would from being class president in Sunday school.

Should I just be proud, or am I being an over protective Pa Pa?

Not only should you be proud, but you may need to realize that individuals that require additional mental stimulus don’t automatically become “nerds” who spend their free time in isolation, looking down their nose at those who have greater difficulty with academics, whilst constantly on guard for wedgies and forced excursions into garbage cans.

Edited by Doctor Steuss
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