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November 21st, 2017

My Gifted Child Held Back

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Today we are welcoming guest author, Arsenia Tate, a midwestern mom, who by experience gleaned valuable insight to share with all parents!

My gifted child held back…yep, you read that right. Gifted…Held back…

This is my story of what I consider parenting gone wrong. During the summer of 2016 (about 3 weeks before school started) my husband and I decided to pull our daughter out of private school. Our daughter had scored in the 99th percentile when she was tested, so I thought I’d see if any local gifted schools had any openings. We lucked out! Just weeks before school our child was enrolled and headed to 1st grade…or so we thought.

On meet the teacher night I pulled Chloe’s new teacher to the side and expressed all my anxieties/fears about the upcoming school year. She assured me everything would be ok and that Chloe would catch on. I was a little relieved…

For three days. That’s when I got the call from the principal saying it’s urgent that we speak and set up a meeting. I immediately called back and said I’m not sure when we can meet but please tell me something. He told me Chloe was having trouble academically and we needed to talk about some things. OMG! She’s gonna get kicked out of this school!

Despite the urgency of the meeting, the principal was upbeat and positive. He started off by showing me Chloe’s writing sample from the first day of school. It was a page filled with drawings of stick people, butterflies, and flowers with phrases like “I love my sister Brooklyn!” and “School is fun!” You know, normal first grader stuff.

Then he pulled out other students’ writing samples – one from the top of the class and another from the bottom. These both looked like (good) 2nd grade writing – half and full page writing samples of what summer vacation was like. I was floored. I was prepared to hear the worse. So I cut to the chase “Are you saying she can no longer attend MAGI?” In the most encouraging voice the Principal says “Noooo! We want her to stay! The test scores don’t lie she belongs here. You have options. You can put her in kindergarten or you can keep her in the first grade.” My husband and I sat back in our chairs, looked at each other and just sighed.

It was a tough decision, but we decided to hold her back to move her education forward.

I wasn’t sure if we made the right decision. There were tons of things going through my mind. What would this do to her self-confidence? How do we explain this to other people? The thoughts were endless!

It wasn’t until October 2017 that I felt fully confident in the decision we made. In just a year her reading went up 5 levels. She’s at the top of her class, a leader and everything I wanted for my child. Her writing now is still a problem, but in the most precious way. She writes so much that she rarely gets to draw the picture that correlates to the story. My child is more confident now than she has ever been academically. Technically she should be in the 2nd grade but she’s in 1st grade doing 2nd grade work. Learning and growing in ways that I could not imagine. To top this year off, her school was named one of the 2017 Blue Ribbon School Recipients. And as if it couldn’t get any better she was chosen out of 50+ students to represent her grade and do a Blue Ribbon commercial/interview.

And that’s how my parenting went wrong.

Arsenia Tate: Wife & Mom of 2, Children’s Mindfulness & Yoga Teacher

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