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Reply #207: My opinion, as a gifted student when I was in school [View All]

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moriah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-01-10 01:24 AM
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207. My opinion, as a gifted student when I was in school
First, those who are claiming that only because of her age she should not be allowed to continue her education really bother me. Why make her languish doing nothing with her mind? It won't help her academically or socially. And putting her back into public school when she already knows the material is ridiculous -- it will do her no good with her peers, as we all know the person who consistently sets the curve is resented, and she would be bored stiff.

The absolute best option would be to apply for the Mary Baldwin College's Program for the Exceptionally Gifted. I know her parents would rather her not have to leave home, that's why they were attempting to have her go to a community college, but the PEG program is excellent. It's an all-girls school, she would have peers close to her own age and intellect, and excellent supervision. While I normally do not advocate sex-segregated schools for adolescents because it can cause them to rebel or not know how to deal with men, given her age it would provide the most safety and chance for interaction with peers. The problem is expense. If they are able to afford many trips around the world, they can likely afford the cost of tuition -- or be able to pay off private loans if she is not eligible for federal aid. I was accepted into the program and went to the visitation weekend with my mother, and I was horribly disappointed to learn that finances would bar me from attending.

The next best option to me would be community college. Her father offered to attend classes with her, so obviously they can take her to class and pick her up. She would have supervision outside of class, and would not have to lose the company of the peers she knows outside of school, or her sisters. I think the school could come up with a release form to reduce their liability should she be exposed to material that may not be suitable for minors -- and I think her parents want this enough to sign such a form. She would have the chance to interact with adults of all walks of life and be able to learn how to deal with adult situations -- which she needs to do anyway, that's part of college. They may not be her peers in regards to age, but they would be in intellect.

The third best option to me would be distance learning. She could remain with her family and maintain her life, but she would not be able to have the interaction that I think would be beneficial. There is the benefit that only the professor would know her age unless she disclosed it, and her parents would be able to monitor her education. But those who are preaching about homeschooling and socialization I would think would be against this option, as it would not increase her exposure to other people. It would also be limiting in that science labs and other aspects of classes she may be interested in are nearly impossible in a distance learning situation. She would be unable to take a class in microbiology, for instance. But she could get many of the basic core curriculum classes, like history, composition, etc, done and perhaps be able to take the harder sciences that involve lab work later on.

The worst option would be living in a dorm in a coeducational college outside of a program like the PEG one for gifted students, even if it was in state. I entered at 16, and while I don't think I suffered too badly, I wasn't old enough to go to bars even if I didn't drink (Louisiana had just changed the drinking age to 21 but most 18 year olds could still get into clubs). I didn't have a car, and that was limiting as well -- she wouldn't even be able to get a license at 13. She'd be able to get her intellectual needs met, but this option would be the one that would put her at the highest risk of danger, and that's not what we want.

Just my opinion.
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