School for a potentially gifted child ?

My son is 4.5 yrs old. Even though we havent gotten him evaluated, I think he might be gifted. He can already read like a 8 year old. He is able to mentally do simple additions like 12+4 or 8+5. He can recognize numbers till 10,000. Many people have suggested that he might be gifted but we are not sure. We were first considering Piedmont schools but since buying a house there seems impossible we are considering private schools. We toured GATE Academy and loved it. The ONLY downside is that its too far from Berkeley area. I am curious how families where both parents are working make it work logistically. Also we our second child (who we are about to adopt) may or may not be gifted so we would have to consider a different private school. We are also considering Black Pine Circle and Park Day School but are yet to tour them. We have to wait till November to get a tour. Its not a life or death situation but I am so stressed out. It seems like every decision ( buying a house / hiring nanny / taking up a new job) seem to revolve around the school decision. I am curious to know how families living in east bay with only one child being gifted manage ? How crazy are you weekday evening if you another enrichment class (our son currently learn cello) ?

Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

First of all "congratulations" on having an advanced learner in the family. I highly recommend reaching out to Dr. Dan Peters at the Summit Center in Walnut Creek. They have a compassionate and supportive practice centering around gifted kids. Other helpful resources we found were two books, "A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children" and "Helping Gifted Children Soar" both on Amazon. 

There are many websites that have a wealth of resources and articles that helped us with our son.

We did the public school route and private. Both have their challenges. Some private schools claim to understand the needs of gifted kids but the reality is our educational system fails miserably in addressing the needs of advanced learners. 

Many of our friends have opted to home school. There are many resources in the Bay Area for this option. 

A friend in Piedmont tells us the public schools have adopted a more rigorous curriculum but because of common core teach group based learning. This may not work for your child. It sometimes holds advanced learners back and does not bode well for self-motivated independent students. 

Good luck with your journey. Testing your child will help confirm what your intuition is telling you. 

I have two PG kids and we ended up homeschooling to give them the individualized learning opportunities they crave.  In our family, one parent quit work and handles all things family/home/kid.  But we have many friends who homeschool two gifted kid and both parents work fulltime and others have one in B&M school and one home.  You might benefit from contacting the Summit Center in Walnut Creek to learn more about your kiddo, as well as time spent and

I have one child who attends a small gifted school in the East Bay and another who is in public school- mornings are extremely hectic, but public starts so much earlier that we just manage to get them both to school on time.  I've enlisted a morning helper a few mornings a week just to make it easier to get to work, but yeah, its tough.  Homeschooling wasn't an option for us.  

Summit Center is great for testing and teasing out any learning differences (which are often found together with gifted), so I agree to start there so you have the "whole" picture of your child.  Once you have that, you can decide whether you want to seek out an iEP through a bigger school (private or public), or go to those other smaller unique schools for the gifted- I know of 2 in the East Bay: Da Vinci School for Gifted Children, in Alameda (serves 30 kids total, 5:1 ratio) and Big Minds Unschool in Pinole.  Both are great fits for different learners and have very different approaches to gifted learners (structured vs unstructured).  

P.S.- they often say that siblings are 5 IQ points apart- but exhibit very differently.  I'm starting to see that with my second now who wasn't obviously "gifted" like my first.  

Good luck!