Questions and Answers About Gifted KidsCategory: Social and Emotional IssuesSocial emotional development in the conventional classroom.
Katy asked 1 year ago

Hi Carol,
I have two children, 7yo boy and 9yo girl, who have recently been assessed and designated as gifted.
Up until this year, they were in the local elementary school. This school is the only school within an hour and a half drive and is very, very rural. They used to screen for giftedness (upon parents’ requests) at fourth grade but have lost their funding for early identification of giftedness. Now, if they are identified at fifth grade, kids are placed in a STEM class with a G/T teacher for an hour a day. The three kids currently identified in the Middle school (5th to 8th grade) attend the STEM class with other kids (mostly non GT) and are taking another class or two in the grade above their own.
In other words, there is no formal or organized G/T program, and IEPs are only written for students with disabilities in our state (NV). 
There is nothing available for fourth graders and below other than some computer program enrichment—per my meeting with the principal. Acceleration for a fourth grader who is academically gifted, but emotionally behind her age peers does not seem a good option for several reasons, one being that sex education is taught in 5th grade here. 
For my second grade boy, they have only offered computer program enrichment, and suggested that I should offer more enrichment at home, after school.
I accepted this when my daughter was in first and second grade, but nothing came of the computer enrichment for her or my son last year. I have been providing home enrichment since they started school. But it turned out that they learned so little in school that I was obliged to start the school day over when they arrived home after seven hours in their classrooms. That was just not fair.
So this year, I asked the school what the plan was, they only offered to send my fourth grader to the STEM class for an hour per day along with the ineffective computer program enrichment…so I pulled them and am homeschooling. It is going great. I have consulted with GT folks and customized their curricula and social schedules, and they are THRIVING. Additionally, I am looking into moving closer to Reno so they can attend Davidson’s when they are old enough.

My problem today is that the kids’ father (who has not been at all involved with their education to date) suddenly decided to get involved when I made the choice to homeschool them with a G/T curriculum.
Despite having a complete and productive plan, he insists that they return to the local elementary school. I am now in court with him and so far the judge has ruled that the kids remain in Homeschool. But we return to court in a few weeks where the judge will review more information gathered by both parties to help to determine what is best for the kids going forward.

I have gathered a lot of information supporting homeschool as a great alternative to conventional school where there is no GT program in place. I have documented our days and curricula, field trips, social engagements, etc. There is no question that they are doing well. 

However, I cannot find a good article or chapter that discusses SPECIFICALLY the challenges of the conventional classroom for Gifted children who struggle socially. The principal of the elementary school has commented that she believes that the children should return to school for ‘social development’, but has not indicated what could or would be done to foster more positive social interactions (over the last two years my nine year old has struggled to have friends, eats alone, plays alone, etc., however, outside of school she plays well with younger and older kids, per usual- given her assessment). 
I am certain that if she is made to return to this elementary school (with 39% proficiency BTW) she will not only suffer academically, but socially–significantly. 

So far, the best information I have found is actually in the Dept of Education, Indiana, publication. But the nuggets of information that I think our judge needs to learn, occur throughout the document. And he simply will not have the time or endurance to read the entire document for one case.

Can you direct me to information that will inform him (the judge) about the social needs of GT children and the best ways to facilitate those needs in both conventional and non-conventional settings? 

Thank you for sticking with me and making it this far into the situation and question.

All the best,

K

1 Answers
Carol Bainbridge Staff answered 12 months ago

Hi Katy,
That is quite a situation you have. I can understand how upsetting and frustrating it must be. It sounds to me as though you are doing a good job with your children and that the school was not meeting their academic needs.
In my opinion, schools (and people in general) put too much emphasis on socialization. Children were socialized long before we segregated them by age in schools.
As far as the lack of socialization in homeschooling, the evidence tells us that children who are homeschooled are not socially inept loners who don’t know how to interact with others. It’s actually quite the opposite.

Rather than write out a detailed – and lengthy – response here, I’m providing links to a couple of articles that you (and others) should find helpful:
Socialization? What’s That?
Gifted Children and the Socialization Process – At Home and At School

Katy
Questions and Answers About Gifted Kids › Category: Social and Emotional Issues › Social emotional development in the conventional classroom. 0 Vote Up Vote Down Katy asked 1 year ago Hi Carol,I have two children, 7yo boy and 9yo girl, who have recently been assessed and designated as gifted.Up until this year, they...