DEAR TEACHER: Is there a test that I can give my child at home to see if he is gifted? - Want to Know
Answer: First of all, you don't tell us your child's age. It is best not to test a child before he or she is at least 4 1/2 years of age, and it is also best to let a professional who is used to working with gifted children do the testing to ensure that you have accurate results. However, by comparing your child to other children the same age you should have a good idea if your child is showing signs of giftedness.
Have you noticed that your young child:
What makes identification of gifted children so difficult is that not all gifted children act the same way. Keep in mind that there are many ways that children can be gifted. If you decide not to have your child privately tested and wait until the child reaches school, your school district will typically test for giftedness using either an IQ test or an achievement test.
Question: Our high school starts at 7:30 in the morning. I am really concerned that it is too early, but no one will listen to me. Extra tutoring at our school starts at 6:45, so many students have to leave home by 6:30 or earlier. These students just aren't getting enough sleep. How can I get people to listen to me? - Worried
Answer: One voice isn't likely to make a difference. You will need to work with a parents' group at the school. Ask to speak at a meeting. Bring research that supports your belief that the school is starting too early. Ask the group to form a committee of like-minded parents to present a report to the school principal and superintendent.
There is loads of information on this topic. A high school in Rhode Island decided to try starting school at 8:30 instead of at 8 and found that having a half-hour later starting time resulted in the students being more alert, less depressed and more likely to actually attend class than before the time change. The experiment was so successful that the start time for this school was permanently changed to 8:30.
Many sleep experts state that high-school students are biologically programmed to stay up late. Therefore, having to get up early for school leaves many of them sleep deprived. And you will find loads of studies showing that high-school students do their best academically when they are rested. Another negative to early starting times is that many students skip breakfast.
Send questions to Dear Teacher, in care of Ohio Valley Parent, Box 395, Carmel, IN 46082-0395; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.