The reason I looked into these schools is that one of mine is 99%ile across the board and is happiest when challenged. (Technically 99.9%ile–1:1000 range of giftedness), but I wouldn’t necessarily stick my others in there. I could also see putting a kid in who wants to do some serious robotics or engineering classes or research into Harker. But it should be their motivation. Mine likes math and computer science, but is not into robotics. Harker is engineering heavy on the math which is not a good match, but their CS program is great.
Honestly, I wouldn’t waste the money. If you really want either homeschool or do workbooks on weekends to keep your kids ahead. You can apply at 6th and 9th grades where they add more slots.
What have you heard about BASIS? It’s half the price.
Also, if you’re in Cupertino, aren’t your schools supposed to be excellent?
Have not heard of BASIS.
To the latter, I will let @hanera and @Jane who have been here longer comment. Not having done the school tours myself, but talking to neighbors i hear it’s more the parents pushing the kids then then the teachers
My biggest concerns are the cohort and the school’s attitude towards acceleration.
#1’s cohort was 50th percentile and up. #1 was multiplying before kindergarten, and doing prime factorization/probability/fractions in 1st grade. A kid like that is bored our of their mind because Kindergarten is counting to 20 and 1st grade is adding numbers to 20, and the other kids are working hard just to learn that. That’s the kind of kid where Harker/Nueva are useful. Because those schools don’t give you crap saying that your kid doesn’t really know what they’re doing. They believe that these kids exist. Regular schools treat you like you think your kid is a unicorn and unicorns don’t exist, so your kid must be fine.
If you have a kid like that though, then yeah–I’d consider it. But if not, 6th grade is when you know better what their needs are. If you have a 75%ile kid who likes school, Cupertino public schools could be an excellent match. A 75%ile kid is not going to be super happy being around only kids who are 3-4 years ahead of them in math or doing nobel prize winning research projects. That’s pretty overwhelming.
My friend sends her kid to BASIS (middle school).
They seem to be satisfied on academic side but the school doesn’t have club/sports activities.
In addition, according to her, it is very competitive. (They also live in CUSD.)
@Jane - I keep hearing parents in CUSD sending kids to whole range of private schools from Harker to BASIS to Stratford. Since you have kids going to CUSD, what do you think is the real reason? Real tangible frustration with CUSD school resources or just too much discretionary income and keeping up with the Joneses?
My #1 goes to a CUSD school kindergarten and is a normal child - he likes art and writing more than Math - strange for an Asian child. My #2 is not even 3 years old but he can recite the alphabet and counts numbers slowly. I think my younger one will be somewhere near Terri’s #1. When he gets to KG Ill see what to do.
First time I’ve heard about BASIS. Thanks- good info.
How did you end up identifying and cultivating these gifts for your #1? You seem to have done an excellent job nurturing your kids’ unique abilities.
I want in on this
My 2 year old was doing sight words before 2.5. He has some big strengths now, but lots of work to do too! He’s easily distracted and runs all over the place. When I can get him to focus he’s reading.
Thats great @ww13. I think your kid and @Terris #1 are supersmart. I have to help my #1 and nudge #2 a little higher and do it in a constructive way. Very hard to do when both parents are working.
We used to live in PA and moved to CUSD when my kid#1 is in middle school.
My kid#2 is in CUSD elementary school.
Thus, my experience with CUSD is somewhat limited.
However, here’s what I think.
- Kid#1 is a high achiever but not gifted type. I guess she is a great fit for CUSD/FUHSD schools. Her transition from PA school to CUSD school was very smooth as well. She is in general happy about her school life. We are also satisfied.
- Kid#2 is very much like @druid’s #1 (absolutely loves art and writing more than math and science). I can sense that she feels peer pressure from time to time and I have to more involved with her school work than kid#1(who completes every single school/homework by herself independently without asking any help). Thus, I am not very sure she is a good fit CUSD school. I have to take a closer look.
- My friend kid who attends BASIS is a gifted child in my opinion. He felt bored at school because it was too easy for him and some teachers understood him well and tried to help him but other teachers were critical about his attitude. He seems pretty happy at BASIS.
- In my observation, the strength of CUSD school is highly qualified teachers academically. Of course, there are some who are under qualified but most of them were well qualified and excellent (again for normal kids, though). However, they are also very demanding in terms of parent’s supports on homework. My kid#2 spends at least 2 hours for her homework and almost everyday I receive e-mails from her teacher about specific requirements and expectations on homework. I’ve never seen anything remotely close to it at PA school. As a working mom, this is a negative factor for me. I have to see how much it would be helpful at the end of the day.
Hope it helps.
Unless you want your kid to end up with a PhD working in a research lab, what do you hope to achieve by sending them to private school? I feel like it’s just enabling them to be weird. They won’t learn to interact with people that aren’t top 1% like them. What will happen once they experience the broader world at work? Those people rarely fare well in the corporate world, so unless you’re hoping they dropout to start their own business what’s the point?
I was really mad at my parents that they wouldn’t let me go that route. They were adamant that I had to go to public schools and learn to interact with kids of all ability levels. They were right.
How about private schools like Harker and BASIS when it comes to teacher expectations of parental involvement with homework?
I love games, so we played a lot of strategy board games (Dominion, Settler’s of Catan–that sort of board game) plus things like Backgammon with a bit of a handicap for me–he’s allowed to reroll and choose the best of the two rolls. This takes four things:
- Kid has to be a good loser.
- Serious attention span.
- Both of you have to love games.
#1 was a decent loser around age 3 or 4 (did have some meltdowns, but hey). Always had a good attention span. I was home with him most of the time.
#2 didn’t want to play games at all, but he did teach himself to read. That has its own issues which is that he learned to zone out in Kindergarten because they just read the instructions out load and kids who can read, start to work at their own pace and then get periodically yelled at to pay attention after which they zone out again. I’ve met other parents with the same issue–kid is used to zoning out in school because he never had to listen.
#3 is an ok loser… She probably could’ve been like #1, but I didn’t spend enough time with her. Which honestly isn’t the worst thing. She’s actually learning stuff at school and enjoying herself.
Thanks @Terri. This holiday season I bought several board games for kids (Amazon had a great Ravensburger sale) and will slowly start getting #1 into playing. #1 is not a good loser - so we have our work cut out. mrs-druid loves games and I think is more patient than I am too :).
what’s this very detailed one? I need to get some decent understanding about blockchain
My goal is for my kids to be happy and fulfilled at school and to learn stuff…which is why they are at school 7 hours a day 5 days a week. If the purpose were socialization, I’d take them to a park, put them on a sports team, get them into a reading club etc.
My oldest is social, gifted, and intellectually curious. So being in a school where he’s challenged, but has discussion groups and groups science labs is a perfect match for him.
#2 is artistic. He hates school. He should be homeschooled, but I’m not ready to go that route. He’s happiest spending hours doing animation and graphic design which he doesn’t get much of in school. We support him by buying software and allowing him unlimited screen time for those endeavors.
#3 is like #1. Super chatty, likes learning, likes homework most of the time. A school environment which focuses on group projects is good for her too.
Social stuff can happen in a variety of circumstances–soccer team, church, playground. But educationally, I think they’re happiest when they’re middle of the pack, learning things that excite them, and learning in ways that make them happy. Being the smartest in your class is an emotional drain–a lot of those kids end up acting out to break the boredom. If their end goal is curing cancer, they might as well start when they’re ready–even if it’s in 7th grade.
Unfortunately, being in school doesn’t make a kid learn to interact with other kids. #2–in a public school–has shown me that he has the capability to try to ignore everyone at all times–teachers, students, parents etc. He reads at recess. He reads books in his lap or daydreams during class. Not much you can do to force him–he’s gotta figure it out himself. Having things in common can bring kids like him out of their shell. Biggest thing isn’t whether it’s private or public, but having a sufficient variety of kids to interact with to find a handful that he can bond with. Small schools are bad in this regard. If the private is sufficiently large, there should be enough variety for him to find some friends and make some enemies.
My favorites are the following:
Splendor–no reading, but a good adult level game
Cartegena–no reading, and you can adjust for experience by giving the kid fewer pirates to get home.
Qwirkle–Like scrabble but with pictures–again you can adjust so that the kid gets 7 tiles, and you get 5
Backgammon–adjust that they roll twice and keep highest roll
Carcasonne–don’t play with farmers. Give them extra men to play.
Also cooperative games:
I hope your kids appreciate it, because you and your husband are giving up buying a home and tons of other stuff. You’re doing a ton of work to accommodate the different school needs of your kids instead of just picking the best overall fit for all of them. I guess time will tell if it’s worth it.