Friday, September 4, 2009

It's Not Like I'm Telling People We KNOW


We always knew that Boy-Child#2 was smart. He was born with the gift of abstract thought which is something that is usually learned over time; one reason why critical thinking courses are usually saved for the college years. He's a problem-solver, which clashes severely with his alter ego: the troublemaker. He made first place in his category in the school science fair with his project...in kindergarten. The pictures he draws look as if they could be created by someone with years of experience. He also has this way of speaking that forces those on the receiving end to ask questions. Like, he figured out how to ENGAGE someone in conversation, totally. Early on. I just happened to volunteer in the classroom this past school year when his class was given a math packet, several pages thick, in preparation for state testing and he completed it that first morning - then spent the next two days reading a book while the rest of his peers soldiered on. And I was like, huh, musta got that from his dad cuz me and math? Not so much...we are not close friends.

When he brought home a form, in Spring of 2009, that asked for permission to participate in the OLSAT test for entrance into the GATE program [and I'm just gonna say it, the Gifted and Talented Education program]; I figured it was a flyer that everyone brought home. Turned out that his teacher had recommended him for the program bless her heart. Then I had to Google GATE to find out what it's all about - and to be quite honest, I'm still not sure something about extra classes before school and groupings and cluster groupings and planned and organized as integrated differentiated learning experiences within the regular school day and may be augmented or supplemented with other differentiated activities related to the core curriculum and so on and STUFF.

I will be one of those parents at the meeting later this month going, that's right my kid is smarter than me and I don't even know what is going on and GEE I hope I understand what they are saying here tonight.

And because everyone just LOVES hearing about how someone's child is gifted, Mr. Farklepants and I agreed that we should just keep it between us. I mean, it's not like we HAVE to tell anyone [says she with the blog]. And if that kid wants to go to Harvard or MIT, he better get a job, like, right now. Cuz we just put a mouth full of braces on Boy-Child#1 and we're tapped out.

25 comments:

The Girl Next Door said...

Wow I thought it was bad when I had to turn over the science projects in middle school because they were beyond me - yours won in Kindergarten? Congrats and Enjoy the gifts! And I would have laughed even harder at your last line about being tapped out if the twins weren't applying to colleges that cost $50,000....each.... a year. Ouch.

Karen said...

It's fun and exciting to have a child who is asked to be in the GATE program. My youngest was in that program. Let me just say you have to be an advocate for your gifted child just as much as you do for a child who needs special education. Schools are not always forthcoming with special programs for children who are not just "average".

Suburban Correspondent said...

I have no problem with accelerated programs for kids who need them; but the name always rubs me the wrong way. We have the Gifted and Talented program here, too; but what are we telling the kids who aren't in it? You're not gifted in any way? Or talented? Why can't they just call it the Accelerated Learning program and leave it at that?

Sorry - just had to vent. And don't you hate it when your kid is smarter than you? My 12-year-old son has to keep explaining basic scientific concepts to me.

Sue said...

Don't worry, I will keep this between us!

Yay for him! At least you could probably write circles around his math problems!

Better start looking for scholarships NOW!

Manic Mommy said...

I figure we've got about 2 more weeks before my almost seven-year-old is smarter than we are.

As for the GATE, I saw an interesting program that said not to worry about kids being singled out; they already know they're different.

The Glamorous Life said...

So happy to chime in on this...

I was a 'gator' or gate kid growing up. And while I was off learning how to make butter from scratch or write a play...my other classmates were learning things like SPELLING which I still suck at. I think they have figured out this problem now..

Ironically one of my boys begged to be tested for Gate and I said NO. Thought it was a lame, lableing waste of time. But the school insisted. And YUP. He is a GATOR too now. And as he is going into 6th grade all it really means? He has ALL Honors classes. Which seems really stupid too me. I mean what kind of crazy kid WANTS HARDER CLASSES??

A Gate kid.
That's who.

Just roll with it.
I mean how do you say no to a positive?

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I think it's interesting your district doesn't test everyone. There are many very intelligent kids that fly under the radar, especially in the early grades and especially if English is not their native language.

Suburban Correspondent and I share the same feelings about GATE. I have one Seminar (GATE on steroids), two GATE, one non-GATE. My non-GATE still takes all the same advanced classes and she's the one that gets better grades (a work ethic thing).

That said, your boy sounds like a fun, smart kid and I hope he gets what he needs out of the program.

Anonymous said...

I live in the same valley you do-- don't worry, we don't know each other, so you're still not telling anyone you know. I'm an elementary school teacher and have a GATE boy also. What Karen said is EXACTLY right. PLEASE don't listen to those who say GATE kids don't need programs. That is absolute BS. GATE children, especially higher GATE children, fall into the "at-risk" category for youth. They learn differently and most often just don't fit in to the regular status-quo learning program. Many people, including some teachers, tend to think that GATE parents want the label for the "status symbol." BS. My kid needs it. Sounds like yours does, too.

And how sad it is that it's okay to say that our kid has a natural talent for football or art or dance, but not academics.

I usually just lurk, but had to speak up on this one. :) Our boys will likely be in HS together, but mine is older.

♥georgie♥ said...

okay this is just super awesome-you both as parents should be uber proud! I would be!
wow just wow

Swirl Girl said...

My 5th grader was tested and identified as GATE, too. Waiting to find out what it all means.

Hope our CA schools don't discontinue the program because of budget cuts.

laughingatchaos said...

Go with the GATE. He needs it, he just doesn't know yet that he needs it. I can fill you in on all possible resources you might want on gifted/talented. It's one hell of a ride, I'll tell you that. But put him in it, if for no other reason than he'd be in classes with academic peers.

seachange said...

If Boychild 2 has terrific grades in HS and does well on SATs, most colleges will offer great scholarships to entice him to attend.

Kudos to you & H for supporting him. :-)

Jason, as himself said...

Much better to be this kind of GATE parent than the kind that knows damn well their kid is special---more special than everyone else's kid, and they better be treated that way, too.

Oh. Sorry. Speaking from experience.

I enjoy working with GATE kids! And their parents! (The down to earth ones).

Michele Renee said...

In GA it is called FOCUS in elem and then in middle it is called PROBE. There are 4 areas to qualify: grades, tests cores, the Cogat (IQ), creativity/motivation. They are tested in 1st grade or all the way thru 5 to qualify. I have an 8th grader, 6th grader and 3rd grader in it. The 3rd grader is smarter than all of us combined. The best benefit, which my 2 middle schoolers can attest to is that in middle school they get anywhere from 1 to 4 gifted classes so they observe the behavioral differences. They were VERY glad to have some gifted classes to be away from some of the goofballs. (Those who care nothing about the teacher or the class).

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I'm so glad you've got the option for your son! Kids with special gifts have some special needs--even if it's being appropriately challenged academically. Good luck and yay for your smart cookie:)

Lisa..... said...

Both of my girls are in GATE and I am so grateful for the oppurtunities they got out of it. My daughter worked with a professor from Cal Tech and learned to build robots, they go to astrocamp...

FYI gifted and talented children really need this stuff. Did you know that those children are more likely to fall through the cracks and drop out?

Tootsie Farklepants said...

You guys are awesome. He took the test in spring and passed, so he's in.

Anonymous~ do we go to the same school now?!

Amanda said...

Welcome to the club. I wrote this blog post abut a year and a half ago. It's a weird little club. You're SO proud but you don't want to brag. People with kids not in the program don't really want to hear it. Weirdness all around. Read anything you can by Sylvia Rimm - she's phenomenal. If you can see her speak somewhere (our school system had her last summer) do it.

I've got a group at twittermoms.com too.

It's a fun adventure and I'm frequently convinced that my child is smarter than I am. BUT I'M THE BOSS! ;-)

Burgh Baby said...

I was in a program in grade school (Hi! I'm not nearly as dumb as I play on Twitter!), and it really was the best thing ever. Really. In fact, all of my drama with school started when we moved to a different district and I no longer had access to the program. Boredom is very, very dangerous.

The absolute only downside is that on the days that I was at the other school, I missed stuff. Like, it took me forever to learn the 7s multiplication table just because I wasn't there the day it was covered. Easily overcome if I would have had parents that were engaged like you are.

YAY!

Audrey at Barking Mad! said...

And this is exactly why we won't be homeschooling Gaby when the time comes. She would be the one "Schooling mama!" She's 3 and goes to Montessori three days a week and they have a ball trying to keep up with her there.

I agree with Karen's comment about having to be an advocate for your gifted child as much as you do for a special needs child. My twins are now 19 but the male was in Special Ed classes his entire academic life and his twin sister was in the GATE (I hate that label for it. I think I dislike the "gifted" portion of it most. My other children may not have her IQ, yet they are just as GIFTED as she is!) program. I had to advocate twice as hard for her as I did him. It took us forever to get her into classes where she was challenged and not bored, whereas with her brother, everything was tailor made and ready to go. It was frustrating to say the least.

And yeah, start looking for scholarships now. It's NEVER too early! This is a lesson we and our checkbook had to learn the hard way!

The Mother said...

As a mom of four gifted boys, I will warn you:

Having kids who are smarter than you are means that you will have to study up on logic. They will run circles around you by the time they're eight.

It's fun, but it's really, really annoying.

DanaMc said...

If you don't already watch "Army Wives" on Lifetime...do. There's a character who admits that her child #2, who was just admitted on scholarship to a private elementary school, is WAYYYYYY smarter than she is.

Mrs. G. said...

Well, I'm pretty sure you can take credit for some of his brains. Hey you!

MamaHen Em said...

I know exactly how you feel about it. Last year my first grader was identified as "high potential learner" and spent the summer taking a GATE class. I made the mistake of thinking everyone was asked to participate and talked it over with a few friends who got all freaked out that I thought my kid was smarter than theirs. It upset me so much I couldn't even post about it on my blog.

Someone else said it but it is totally true - if your kid is athletic, I'm not supposed to be jealous but be happy and it is totally accepted, but have a smart kid and whew boy! Not okay.

Good for you AND your boy child! You should be VERY proud :)

Madge said...

damn straight you should be bragging. very cool. can't wait to hear about the other parents at the meeting. oh. sorry. not that you would talk about them here. right? you wouldn't right?

please?