“My Story… ” Monday: A — A University Enters the Picture (*gulp*)


(You can catch up on A’s story right here: The Pregnancy, The Birth, The Infancy, The Quiet Toddler, Advocating, What He COULD Do, Just A Boy, The (Hard) Next Step, Making a Friend, The Autism DiagnosisHe Talks, Hyperlexia, Your Baby Can Read, Another Evaluation, A New Kind of Special Need, Linear Algebra, The Triennial, The IQ Results, Bye, Bye Autism Diagnosis, Dr. C’s Plan, Second Grade Math, Is it too easy?, A Well-Rounded Child, Being a Team Player, The Acceptance of Children, Anti-Social?, The Boy Can TALK!, Gifts for Gifted Kids, I Don’t Like You!, Miss K., The Plan for Next Year)


I last wrote about A. back in February when we talked about the plan for next year… which is now right upon us. “Next year” has become “this year.”


If you recall, the plan was to have A. receive private tutoring in fourth grade math and geometry. Since his elementary school ends with grade three, he’s kind of “maxed out” the math he can learn in the classroom already– but he has two more years at that school.


Working with Dr. C., we had talked about doing this private tutoring for two years. At that point, he’d be moving into fourth grade and THAT particular school goes through the sixth grade. So, theoretically, he could rejoin a sixth grade classroom at that point and do math that way. (This is all assuming, of course, that he stayed on the whole “two grades ahead” track, which may or may not be the case.)


We were also excited because, fluke of all flukes, there is another little girl in our school district who is at the same point in math as A. right now. This is exceedingly rare. We live in the largest (area-wise) town in the entire state and no one can remember ever having two so-gifted children in the same grade at the same time before. She lives on the other end of town, however, and so she’s in a different primary school. In fourth grade, she and A. will be together. We’re looking forward to that.


(I’ll have to write more about her sometime. We met up with her family once in the public library. We could NOT have more different styles of parenting, which is amusing to me. Someday I’ll tell you that story, too…)


In the meantime, however, we need to keep our little guy engaged and challenged. We were eager to hear who the district hired as a tutor…

In the midst of a whole mess of sickness a couple weeks ago, I got a message from Dr. C. (the gifted coordinator in our town.) She wanted to schedule a phone appointment with me, and my husband, to talk about A’s math plan for the year. And so we did.


What we learned was this– while our school district (thankfully!!!) sets money aside in the budget to meet the needs of gifted children and had, thus, secured the funding to hire a tutor, they didn’t find anyone interested who they felt was qualified.




What now? What do we do with this little boy who was already at the top of the most talented third grade math class? Did we shoot ourselves in the foot by having him do third grade math last year?


Enter Johns Hopkins.


Dr. C. went on to tell us that they were hoping to put Plan B into place. Johns Hopkins pioneered a program for gifted children called the Center for Talented Youth way back in the 70′s. (I say that like it’s eons ago– I was born in the 70′s, for heaven’s sake…) Anyway, they offer online coursework for children who are extremely (or severely) gifted. Professors and graduate students serve as mentors for the children and they are able to move at their own paces.


A. will start with fourth grade math and can work through it as fast as his little heart desires. Since he spent the summer doing pre-algebra for fun, Dr. C. anticipates he might complete it in 3-4 months. He will remain IN his classroom, with his peers, and will simply do his coursework on the computer while they do their math with the teacher.


There are benefits– he can master fourth grade math more quickly, potentially. If that happens, we’ll then make the decision to either 1) allow him to move on to fifth grade math or 2) select deeper enrichment mathematics courses in areas not typically covered in a core curriculum. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.


He’ll also be right with his peers the whole time and, for example, if the teacher is doing a special activity, he can leave Johns Hopkins behind for the day and participate with his second grade class. I think he’s really going to like that part.


We’ve been told that, if we want, he can also work on the Johns Hopkins program at home. We are not one bit interested in that. Have I said a thousand times yet that we want our kid to be a kid? :) He’ll move ahead fast enough on his own. I’m pretty confident about that.


So there you go.


Math next year? Will be through Johns Hopkins University. Ordinarily, there’s a test that must be taken to get in there, but the university agreed to waive the requirement based on A’s IQ. The program is pricey. Again, we’re fortunate in that our school budgets for it and will cover the costs.


I won’t lie to you all– I’m kind of scared. I’m so very grateful that we have this option and opportunity, but it’s mind-boggling to think of my seven-year-old doing his classwork through a university.


And the “down-the-road” plans for our boy are even more staggering…


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2 comments to “My Story… ” Monday: A — A University Enters the Picture (*gulp*)

  • Laraba

    I must say your school boggles my mind. I know part of the reason I am such a committed homeschooler is that my experience was SO very different. I attended a small public school with very limited funding and no one had much interest in meeting my needs. My parents asked if I could take algebra in 8th grade. No, they were told. So I sat through 7th and 8th grade math, bored out of my mind. I am not as gifted as your son but I am sure I could have done algebra in 8th and probably in 7th. I know they just didn’t have much funding but it really was hard for me to be in class after class where I was bored, bored, bored. God bless your son’s teachers and administrators who are willing to meet his needs.

    • It saddens me that there is not more consistency in the public school experience, Laraba. I know there are far, far too many stories like yours out there. I actually DID take algebra in 8th grade and, when I was in 8th grade, I actually lived in the same district we do now. I guess they have a long history of being willing to meet their students’ needs. :) We are ever-mindful of how fortunate we are and feel very blessed!

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