A Non-Traditional Investment-Related Question (Please Help)
In keeping with the idea that children are our greatest resource and the greatest investment we can make is an investment in our children (yes, I'm stretching a bit to keep this "investment-related"), and also in the spirit of Foolanthropy 2009, I wanted to ask my fellow Fools a question that I probably otherwise wouldn't have. I hoped perhaps someone had a similar experience of their own or knew someone else who did. Plus with it being a weekend and Fools likely having more time to contribute without the markets being open, thought it was the best time to post this.
First, a little background...
I'm Canadian, living in Canada, married, with three beautiful children and a fourth on the way. My oldest is a boy who is a very intellectually gifted 4 1/2-year-old.
He began speaking relatively early, was spelling words (orally) at 18 months and was writing his name and other words at about 2 years old. He was reading children's books at about 3 years old and could add 3-digit numbers (666 + 667 is the example I remember that impressed me most) the day before he entered junior kindergarten.
On his 3rd day of J/K, he pulled out a book and started reading it to his teacher who was so impressed she asked my wife if we had a problem with putting him into senior kindergarten just to try to challenge him a little more. Obviously, we had no problem with that at all. At the time we were led to believe that if he could do the work and adjust socially he would be moved ahead at the end of the year straight into grade one, essentially skipping a grade.
The day it was his turn for 'Show and Share' (what used to be 'Show and Tell' for the rest of us), he brought in his moon 'night light' and explained and demonstrated the moon phases by name, explaining the amount of reflected light from the sun for each phase as well as the length of time it took the moon to orbit the Earth. According to his teacher later, the other kids were impressed simply that the moon lit up. Last week it was his turn again and read a few pages from his "Explore" book to the class about the creation of the Universe. On his own he's taught himself the provinces and territories of Canada and all their capitals, all the major bones of the human skeleton by scientific name (like mandible and cranium as opposed to jawbone and skull) as well as their locations in the body, the solar system, and last week completely out of the blue started singing the entire alphabet backwards.
Despite all of this (as well as being told by his teacher that he's reading at at least a third grade level and is "miles ahead of the rest of his class"), we're pretty much being told that he won't be advanced early into grade one and will have to repeat kindergarten. Admittedly, from a maturity level and socially he's still very much a 4-year-old boy which we understand, but my wife and I both think it would be a travesty for him to have to repeat a grade that everyone agrees he is way beyond.
Fairly early on my wife and I realized that we would have to challenge him intellectually (without pushing him) outside of school and do have some ideas on how to do this. It's been frustrating enough (in a good way) trying to come up with answers, but the school's attitude which we discovered on Thursday has made things increasingly frustrating.
My questions are:
1) Do any of you have any advice of your own on how to keep a gifted 4-year-old intellectually challenged without pushing him too hard?
2) Do any of you have any idea(s) on how to work within the school system to have them providing him with more of a challenge, allowing him to grow on his own without being unnecessarily held back? Ideally we'd send him to private school but that's simply not within our budget.
Thanks in advance and please comment lots for the Foolanthropy 2009 goal of raising $20,000.