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ideas for gifted high schooler?

Posted by lahtay (My Page) on
Fri, May 6, 05 at 18:59

My son is a freshman. He is in accelerated classes for all subjects and earning A+'s with little or no effort.
In Geometry he does his other homework in class. In biology his teacher told me that if he made the classwork more difficult for my son, the other kids wouldn't be able to keep up. I was so happy when he got to HS & could finally be in ability based classes, but it's still too easy for him. We made the decision in first grade not to accelerate him into higher grades because for social & emotional reasons we felt it important that he be with kids his age. When he reached Middle School we were happy we made that decision.
Sending him to private school is not financially feasible for us.
He will be able to take AP classes his jr. & sr. years, but until then...Any ideas? I'm interested to know what other parents with prodigeous children are doing or what their schools are doing for kids like this? I do plan to go in & talk to the school.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: ideas for gifted high schooler?

Depends on your local options. My youngest daughter is quite smart, but was bored with high school -- even though it was the best one in the area -- and settled for B's. Two things got her out of the slump. We agreed to let her go to Berlin for the last half of her sophomore year to improve her German and to attend a regular German high school, and when she returned we agreed to let her enroll in a program that lets high schoolers attend community college and get college credit while getting their high school diploma. At 18 she had her high school diploma and a 2-year Associates of Arts degree. Both of these were scary things to agree to, but in her case, it turned her on to school and improved her grades so that she got admitted to a world class university. Your child's biggest threat is boredom. See if he is interested in living abroad, or see if he can take community college classes in lieu of some of his high school classes. Good luck.


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RE: ideas for gifted high schooler?

Thanks for post, kudzu. German was my son's first choice for foreign language, but spaces were limited so he got Spanish. Was the Germany trip through any particular organization, AFS, etc.?
I don't know if C. College is an option or not. We've talked about possibly checking out some online classes.
Congrats to your daughter on getting in to a great school!


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RE: ideas for gifted high schooler?

My daughter arranged the trip herself. Her high school had exchange students from other countries and through them she made connections with a family in Berlin who was willing to take our daughter for 6 months (January-June) and wouldn't accept any money. The mother was a teacher who arranged for my daughter to get admitted to the German high school, and the family even took her on vacation to Italy and Greece for 6 weeks at the end of the school year. It was a great confidence builder for her. Exchange organizations can certainly ease the way, but you and your son should also be talking with the Spanish teacher and any exchange students about options. One possibility is to host a Spanish-speaking student with the understanding that his/her family will host your son the following year. I can assure you that being the only American in a regular foreign high school will be a fantastic and broadening experience. I think it was scarier for us than for her! In any case, Good luck.


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RE: ideas for gifted high schooler?

I don't know what your high school is like, but in our public high schools AP or IB classes are available for sophmores through seniors. We have had a few kids earn their community college AA degree the same month they graduated from high school. Actually, an AA degree is not necessary since I am sure your student will want a bachelor's degree minimally. Your child could just work on general college courses to get them out of the way or even take that German he wants. We have many students taking American sign language at our community college for high school credit and college credit. Students must be 16 or special arrangements made to take courses at the community college here. Be sure that you know which courses are transferable to your university as credit for the courses you want and are not just elective credits. Also, our really bright students accellerate in math, and by the time they are in high school, often are taking their math in the community colleges or universities in our area.

My youngest cousin was one of those bright stars. Luckily his local high school was New Trier, where he could take really advanced classes of all sorts. He proficiencied into this junior year at Northwestern with all his great high school work.

Look for a special interest for your student too. Instrumental music and the school orchestra, for example. The cousin worked in the technology end of their high school radio station.

Good luck. I agree with your concerns about social maturity and promotion.


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RE: ideas for gifted high schooler?

Many private schools offer generous scholarships! endowments are generous. Are you SURE you couldn't swing private school with the aid of one/more scholarships?

Just a thought.


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RE: ideas for gifted high schooler?

Thanks for your reply Chelone.
He did apply to PEA (close to home). All a and a+'s on his report card, 99% on his ssat, excellent references, etc., but he did not get accepted. They were upfront about having only so much $ for middle class students. He was firm about not wanting to go to Catholic schools. His father went to a great catholic hs in RI. My son felt that because he's not catholic he would not feel comfortable with that decision.
Anyway-we all decided that we're glad things turned out as they did. We realize that in 3 short years he will be moving out and going to college.
We are extremely fortunate that our HS music program is one of the best in the Northeast. He is very involved in that and he is very good. The music teachers are the only teachers in his years of schooling that truly challenge him. They placed him in a jazz combo with senior musicians who are very talented. The music is more challenging and he has to work hard to stay on pace with the rest of the musicians. He is so in love with music because of our schools music program that he now wants to double major in college (earth science and music).
I'm wondering, other than IB and AP classes (which he can take when he's a jr.) if any other HSchools are doing anything for these kids. We have a fairly new principal and he's very enthusiastic about new programs.
Thanks again for your input!


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RE: ideas for gifted high schooler?

If your kid is dialled into music then, start snooping around for music camps... referral only, minimal tuition. My husband was a music major in college... .

Good grades, good parental supervision, and ENCOURAGAEMENT are the things that will most benefit your kid. But you already know that.

Public schools are only as good as the performances their "wards" are required to deliver! Expect more and your child deliver it; success isn't always about resources (but resources damn sure help!).


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RE: ideas for gifted high schooler?

Thanks Chelone!
He went to UNH SYMS program last summer. He stayed there for a week. They have a Sr. High session, but it's 2 weeks and happened to fall during our family vacation.
Our school is so supportive of music that it sceduled it's summer classes around SYMS! The students who are in both band and jazz band usually have to take 1 or 2 summer classes because music classes take up 2 periods.
Do you mind if I ask which college your husband attended?
If you wish to keep it private I understand.
Thanks again and stay "cool!"


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RE: ideas for gifted high schooler?

Be sure to start getting him to look around for good colleges and schools early on. There are so many to choose from. It isn't a matter of finding the "best" school... but is a matter of finding the "right" school for him. I would even start visiting campuses and meeting with professors to get to know the atmosphere of the schools he is thinking of attending. It doesn't hurt to even attend one or two courses (with the professors permission) to try and identify what school he'll want to go to. Be sure to check the accreditation of any schools he gets offers from!

Here is a link that might be useful: online degree and college degree search site


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RE: ideas for gifted high schooler?

So they have IB classes in your area? Very, very difficult. Also, he can earn college credits at a local college while still in high school. Also, make sure you round out his resume' for college with a number of hours of community work, sports, etc. they do not just look at grades, but the whole child.


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RE: ideas for gifted high schooler?

personally, i would let it go as it is. If he can excell in higher classes thats great. But if you do move him up and he falls to a A- or B+ because he wasnt ready it wont look as great on an application for a scholarship (even if he was boosted a grade). I'm going through the same thing. I was a freshman last year in advanced classes with no trouble at all.

What i might suggest though is this, if he has a specific subject that he loves and has no trouble what so ever, have him advance a grade level in that. Thats what im currently doin for math. I tested out of algerbra and geometry and started Advanced Algerbra. So for my senior year ill be in a colledge credit class, check to see if the school will or can offer something like this (in most cases they try their best). Also in highschool its different as well. Because i was in advanced classes already the only general time i saw my friends was during lunch period. I never had a problem with this and if he doesnt either maybe you should try the same. It wasnt as if i was in a completely different grade, i still go to my grades class assemblies and meetings.


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