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Is it possible for the gifted to have a positive school experience?

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 

I don't come here much, but I should :). Currently, I am working on overcoming some of the feelings that have lingered since childhood, related to being gifted - some related to my mother, but most to my experiences in various educational institutions. Reading articles and studies about the gifted and emotional needs recently has been extremely, extremely liberating. Though I have been aware of my IQ for a long time now (I was tested for a job, never in school), the feelings that I acquired in school remained with me. Weird, different, bright but lazy, unmotivated, a trouble maker, not good enough. Even autistic. The overwhelming feeling that I simply did not belong stayed with me all these years. I attributed to having a multicultural background, but now realize it is related to giftedness. I finally realize that I am simply "normal for gifted", which has resulted in self acceptance... a little too late, I think!

 

We are homeschooling, even though we now live in Eastern Europe, where that is illegal. My priorities for my two kids (who are obviously gifted, but have not been tested yet - perhaps I should think about it?) are meeting their educational needs, and ensuring their emotional wellbeing. I don't believe that would be possible in a school environment.

 

I was wondering what your opinions are. Is it possible for the gifted to have a positive school experience, both in terms of education and emotional wellbeing? Did anyone here have a positive experience in school? And if your children attend school, how are they doing there? Advocating for the educational needs of gifted children might be difficult at times, but perhaps the social and emotional side is even more difficult.

post #2 of 45

Of course it's possible, and for most moderately gifted kids I think it might even be likely.  It's even possible for highly gifted kids, in the right school district, with the right teachers and the right parent advocates.  I don't think it's easy, but sure it's possible. 

 

My personal experience was not so great, and that is part of the reason we intend to homeschool DD (who is just now 5).  I do think it would absolutely possible for her to have a good experience in public school in our current area, but it would take a lot of work on my part and on her teachers' parts.  She's not a simple case for grade skipping, but she's far enough advanced in some areas that meeting her needs in those areas without a radical skip would be very, very difficult.  I think she'd probably spend a lot of her time doing independent research in the library, which fortunately is an option in our school district.  But I don't see any benefit to that over homeschooling so we're not really considering it atm. 

 

As for emotional versus educational wellbeing, I guess I see them as being hand-in-hand.  If a child in school is getting his or her educational needs met and isn't being bullied horribly, I'd assume that his or her emotional needs are also being met.  Am I missing something?

post #3 of 45

 

I know it's possible for gifted students to have positive school experiences. I know because I've asked my dc and they've confirmed it. 

 

Since you are homeschooling and seem to be happy with it, I imagine questions about formal schooling experiences aren't relevant for your children, in any event. Congratulations on finding educational solutions that work well for your gifted children  smile.gif

 

 

post #4 of 45

My kids have both had a very positive public schooling experience. Yes, it's taken a lot of work. their early years, I pretty much lived on campus tutoring other people's children but it's been worth in. My eldest attended our local public schools K-8. She was given a mid-year skip from K to 1st. She was given additional subject accelerations in math and science through the years. Her language arts/English instruction was largely individualized. The GATE program started in 5th grade and it had it's moments. After 3rd grade, the "gifted" issues really faded and now we just have normal high school/teenager issues for the most part. DS attends an immersion program in our district and has thrived. He's allowed to work many years ahead where he wants. He's bi-lingual and bi-literate and on his 3rd language now. He gets subject acceleration in math where he needs it most and a much better GATE program than was available to my eldest. He loves school. Both my kids test in the 99+percentile. We know many highly and profoundly gifted children who are doing great in public school. Certainly, it's not going to work for all. There are average kids who aren't a good fit for public school either. It's just not impossible for a gifted child to be happy and grow in school.

 

It's important as parents to learn from our own experiences but not to limit our children because of them. We have to remember that our experience is really only OUR experience as a totally different person in an environment filled with different people, attitudes and circumstances. DH and I both came to the table with our own issues but as it turns out, none of the issues we had have presented themselves to our kids. For starters, we've prepared them better and we've also known what to look for and when to make changes.

 

 

post #5 of 45

Of course it is! Honestly I think the role of giftedness in school unhappiness is overplayed, a little. I notice often it's the first thing people thing of when they see their kid is having a hard time(my kid is too smart and is bored! That's why he is acting out! Nevermind that he has impulse control issues in any setting..), but that's not always it, and I think that line of thinking. I was gifted in school and had a hard time, but I was an insufferable know it all who thought I was better than everyone else. THAT was my problem, not my specific academic needs. My DD is in first grade, gifted, and loves her school. It's not a gifted school. I think the key is having a little bit of a cohort- her reading group is reading Narnia and the Great Brain(5th grade-ish? They dismissed Artemis Fowl as too easy and kind of trashy), and her math group is finishing higher level multiplication facts and the different ways to figure out area and volume of different shapes together. Those are fairly good levels for her, and she is happy with the work. When she wants something harder, we talk to the teacher, and it happens. Usually the other kids can handle it too. As for the rest, emotionally she's always been pretty even keeled, which I think helps in any group environment. Schools are very different from when we went to school. In some better ways, some worse, but it's not ex ante a problem for a gifted kid.


Edited by hempmama - 3/2/11 at 5:11pm
post #6 of 45

I think the mildly gifted are more likely to have a positive experience than the profoundly gifted,

 

I think a lot of it comes down to school choice - which some of us have an abundance of and others do not

 

I think "positive experience" is an interesting term.  I think my daughter is enjoying going to school more than she enjoyed being HSed (for now)  - does that make it a positive experience.?

 

I also think some kids are positive or resilent people - and find positivity in a situation where others would not.  

 

I do not think "positive experience" necessarily means optimum experience.

 

 

post #7 of 45
DH was a gifted kid and loved school. I was likely gifted and had a poor experience. We went to the same high school. Personality and individual factors play in a LOT.
post #8 of 45
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

I think the mildly gifted are more likely to have a positive experience than the profoundly gifted,

 

I think a lot of it comes down to school choice - which some of us have an abundance of and others do not

 

I think "positive experience" is an interesting term.  I think my daughter is enjoying going to school more than she enjoyed being HSed (for now)  - does that make it a positive experience.?

 

I also think some kids are positive or resilent people - and find positivity in a situation where others would not.  

 

I do not think "positive experience" necessarily means optimum experience.

 

 


Apparently, the profoundly gifted are more likely to face problems fitting in with the rest of society than the moderately giofted, and may end up feeling intellectually confident but emotionally confused. Would homeschooling solve that (in other words, do most of those feelings originate from school - teachers and peers), or is this something that they will still encounter elsewhere? How important is having access to other gifted children? To what extent is this simply dependent on personality?

 

If your daughter is enjoying public school more than HS, would that alone make it a positive experience? I don't know, but at least a MORE positive experience :). Would you mind sharing what made you arrive at the decision to homeschool, and why you (and your daughter) decided school would be a better option in the end? Is for academic reasons, social, or other? Of course, positive experience and optimum experience are not synonymous. The reason I started this thread is that for me, having tried many different schools growing up, "lack of positive experience" meant feeling totally isolated, bullied, and with teachers who thought making their own amateur diagnoses (autistic, hyperactive, defiant) was fine... or in other schools being bored and "the trouble maker" of the class. I was also regularly accused of not having written my own essays, because "a kid can't write that", or got poor grades when I disagreed (especially in history class!). I always knew I was intelligent, but also thought I must have some kind of mental disorder because I was clearly different from everybody else. It was unpleasant, and it certainly was not an optimum academic experience either.

 

Whatsnextmom, you are of course right in saying that projecting our own experience onto our kids is a bad idea. It's difficult to find the balance in protecting our children from having the same bad experience we did, and projecting. We arrived at the decision to homeschool for many and varied reasons, not "simply" because of giftedness or due to my own bad experiences in the public school system. Public school is something I have to think about, because once the kids will reach the age it becomes compulsory we will be breaking the law. My son might actually enjoy public school. My daughter - not at all. I am still figuring out how to maximize the quality of the homeschooling experience, both academically and socially (as well as finding a way round those horrible post-communist laws!).

 

 

post #9 of 45

This is something I've been thinking about lately too. I had a miserable time in school, at least partly due to being gifted.  I tested in the 99+ percentile but the school system in Ireland has no system in place to deal with or support gifted kids.  The only option available to us was skipping a year - even though I tested 2-3 + years ahead of my peers in academics they would only let me skip one year, which meant that I was still close enough in age to the other kids, while being obviously different, and still found the material 'too easy' meaning that I was often bored and unchallenged.  There was no other support for me at all - no 'gifted program' like in the US, no extra classes (my parents couldn't afford to pay for private schools or classes), and no social support.  I was bullied horrifically - I vividly remember feeling suicidal at age 6 due to my treatment in school, at the hands of both students and teachers.

 

We live in the UK now, where homeschooling is fortunately still an option, and it's one I'm considering - though I'm not sure how we'll manage financially.  From what I can find out, there isn't any sort of system in place here either for dealing with and supporting gifted kids - which seems a bit unfair considering there's plenty of things for SN kids, and really, when you think about it, being gifted is also a 'special need'.  DD1 is likely gifted - she's only just 3 though, so who knows at this point and DD2 is only 6 months - a fairly typical baby as far as I can tell, but given that both DH and I are gifted they have a higher genetic possibility of also being gifted.

 

I think if you could find a school that would work with gifted kids and put a support system in place the way they do for SN kids it could be a very positive experience. Many gifted kids struggle a bit with social interactions so being able to practise those skills in a supported setting, with lots of other kids around might be very useful - but only if the school can make sure that it's a safe environment for the kids.

 

I could keep rambling, but have to put the baby down for a nap.  Will come back to see what others' ideas and experiences are.

post #10 of 45
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AutumnAir View Post

This is something I've been thinking about lately too. I had a miserable time in school, at least partly due to being gifted.  I tested in the 99+ percentile but the school system in Ireland has no system in place to deal with or support gifted kids.  The only option available to us was skipping a year - even though I tested 2-3 + years ahead of my peers in academics they would only let me skip one year, which meant that I was still close enough in age to the other kids, while being obviously different, and still found the material 'too easy' meaning that I was often bored and unchallenged.  There was no other support for me at all - no 'gifted program' like in the US, no extra classes (my parents couldn't afford to pay for private schools or classes), and no social support.  I was bullied horrifically - I vividly remember feeling suicidal at age 6 due to my treatment in school, at the hands of both students and teachers.

 

We live in the UK now, where homeschooling is fortunately still an option, and it's one I'm considering - though I'm not sure how we'll manage financially.  From what I can find out, there isn't any sort of system in place here either for dealing with and supporting gifted kids - which seems a bit unfair considering there's plenty of things for SN kids, and really, when you think about it, being gifted is also a 'special need'.  DD1 is likely gifted - she's only just 3 though, so who knows at this point and DD2 is only 6 months - a fairly typical baby as far as I can tell, but given that both DH and I are gifted they have a higher genetic possibility of also being gifted.

 

I think if you could find a school that would work with gifted kids and put a support system in place the way they do for SN kids it could be a very positive experience. Many gifted kids struggle a bit with social interactions so being able to practise those skills in a supported setting, with lots of other kids around might be very useful - but only if the school can make sure that it's a safe environment for the kids.

 

I could keep rambling, but have to put the baby down for a nap.  Will come back to see what others' ideas and experiences are.


Me too, Lisa! (and GREAT to find someone in my timezone too, well, you're an hour behind us) Some of my earliest memories are of my mom and aunt talking about whether it could be true that I am autistic, which is what the teacher said, in front of me. I was convinced there was something terribly, terribly wrong with me. Why? I was four, and knew all the Latin names of birds and plants in our locality. "Obsessions" are a characteristic of autism, and because I was "obsessed" with flora and fauna, I must be autistic. I didn't have many friends at all until secondary school (mainly grew up in Europe), when I became the class clown and trouble maker after changing schools. Then, everybody wanted to be my friend. I always thought that my not fitting in was due to being multicultural. It's one of the main reasons I moved across the globe so much; the thought that I would finally find that special place where I "belonged". Now, I'm realizing most of these issues actually arose from being gifted.

 

I haven't had my kids tested yet (they're almost five and two). DD is clearly gifted, and is also an introvert and perfectionist. She has a big fear of failure. It's totally innate, and not the result of external pressures. I've never praised her for her intelligence, but she knows that she is loved and accepted just the way she is. The perfectionism in combination with the tendency to hide her abilities from people she is not comfortable with (again - why?? She was not conditioned to do that, nobody has ever made her feel like her abilities are different, something that could set her apart, etc, so WHY?), and being sensitive to criticism... all of these factors lead me to believe she would feel awful in the local school system. And that's in addition to being multicultural, vegetarian, and all those other things that made other kids bully ME when I was in school. She doesn't deserve that.

 

My son is two, and has been reading and writing for a while now. His vocabulary is amazing. His giftedness is displaying in more obvious ways, and he is also an extrovert who will talk to anyone about anything. Yesterday he told a neighbor, "My sister hurt my feelings. She said my Jeep was a ball, but it is no ball at all, it's a Jeep! Why does she keep saying that? It's very offensive!" DD, in comparison, would never even say hello to neighbors. The essence is - both of my kids are FINE the way they are, and deserve to thrive and have the support they need to nurture their own gifts and personalities. I do worry about the legal aspect of homeschooling, and I also want my kids to have friends. The local homeschool campaign group (to legalize, but that won't happen any time soon) has given my kids a few nice friends, and DD has a "best friend" whose mom and I met on MDC! But the social aspect does worry me. In general, I'm not thinking school would be the answer to that.

post #11 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by MittensKittens View Post
The reason I started this thread is that for me, having tried many different schools growing up, "lack of positive experience" meant feeling totally isolated, bullied, and with teachers who thought making their own amateur diagnoses (autistic, hyperactive, defiant) was fine... or in other schools being bored and "the trouble maker" of the class. I was also regularly accused of not having written my own essays, because "a kid can't write that", or got poor grades when I disagreed (especially in history class!). I always knew I was intelligent, but also thought I must have some kind of mental disorder because I was clearly different from everybody else. It was unpleasant, and it certainly was not an optimum academic experience either.


I'm glad you posted this because I was just going to ask you what you defined as a positive experience.  smile.gif  Per your definition I had a positive experience (but I wouldn't define it as optimum).  Nobody every tried to misdiagnose me, teachers believed I did my own work, and I was rarely bullied (actually only in elementary and that was in the gifted program, I did have some problems later in elementary school too but that didn't have anything to do with giftedness but more due to a stupid boy who liked me and didn't know the correct way to show it eyesroll.gif).  Oh, I did have once case with a stupid teacher who gave me a B because we didn't share the same political beliefs (I lived in a state where I'm pretty sure I was the only one who voted the way I did). 

 

Knowing my family situation, though, homeschooling would NOT have been optimal by any stretch of the imagination.  I think I would've loved something like a Montessori school or a free school but those were not available in my area.  So I probably had the optimal experience for the options given to me (well, a grade skip probably could've helped too but, who knows?).  That being said I'd probably be considered "successful" in the traditional sense.  I went on to a good college, good grad school, now have a good job, and have a happy family life with many friends.  Is it in an area where I am kept up all night out of passion for my work? No.  But do I enjoy my job, my colleagues, my work? Yes. 

 

DH had a much, much worse school experience in that he was severely under challenged and basically never went to high school (and somehow still passed by the skin of his teeth).  That being said he's VERY passionate about what he does and went on to grad school and has a good job.  In his case his school was the best his parents could afford and they really didn't have any concept of giftedness.  Like me he also feels he would have had a much more enjoyable experience in a school where he was allowed to follow his own interests.

 

When it comes to DD, we don't have the option to homeschool because a.) we live in a country where homeschooling is illegal (and they take this fairly seriously) and b.) both DH and myself enjoy working and tend to get depressed if we are in a stay at home position.  However, that being said we are also fortunate to live in a country where most lower middle class and up families send their kids to private schools so there's a very, very large pool of schools to choose from. Public schools are not an option for us because they are not safe and I cringe at the idea of sending DD to a traditional school environment.  She'll be starting a Montessori school shortly and we're hoping that works out but if not they have a number of free schools, gifted private schools, and bi-/tri-lingual schools too within driving distance for us.  With schools here it's very much a get what you pay for deal so if we stay here it means we'll probably have to limit our family size to a smaller family (or do extra work on the side or something). 

 

My hope is that DD will have an "optimal" school experience or at the very least a more challenging experience than DH or myself had, since we're going into this much more aware than our parents were.  Unfortunately, I can't predict the future so only time will tell.

 

ETA: after reading another post I did want to mentioned that I did have an instance of being bullied by a teacher in 3rd grade.  I wasn't really thinking about it when I wrote this post. 

 


Edited by physmom - 3/3/11 at 7:40am
post #12 of 45
I am moderately gifted, and school was basically a positive experience for me. I grew up in a highly educated, wealthy area just outside of a major Ivy League university, which helped. I was "tracked" with a group of about 8 other gifted kids from grades 1-6, which was an intentional decision by the school. I think it was a great one, too, because I had peers and also knew quite well I was not the smartest kid in the world. (I am still good friends with most of these people...btw, their own levels of achievement in life vary interestingly. ) The GT program was sort of a joke, but because I was with other kids who were achieving on a high level in my regular class, that wasn't a major failing.

Junior high and high school were very competitive and academic in my area, too. I rebelled somewhat and did not obsess over taking every AP course possible and getting an A+ in everything, but I did well enough and went to a well-regarded small liberal arts school that valued learning over grades. It was the perfect spot for me.

ETA that my mother would say that I had two grade-school teachers who were relatively hostile to me and did not "appreciate" me. With one of them, I definitely knew it. With the other, I was not aware--she was young and beautiful and "cool," and everyone loved her, including me. Looking back, I can see that she may not have liked me much, but at the time, I was oblivious.

As for my own DD, I would say her school experience thus far has been...mixed? I'd give it a B-. wink1.gif Not terrible, but not great. She tested as MG, but her results were a little odd (she also took only a brief IQ test--the RIAS) and I think may not fully reflect her abilities. She is not a disruptive student, but she really is driven and thrives on challenge. She is not a daydreamer, IOW. She is actively asking for and seeking more, and so far not getting enough of it.
Edited by loraxc - 3/3/11 at 6:59am
post #13 of 45
Quote:
I think the key is having a little bit of a cohort- her reading group is reading Narnia and the Great Brain(5th grade-ish? They dismissed Artemis Fowl as too easy and kind of trashy), and her math group is finishing higher level multiplication facts and the different ways to figure out area and volume of different shapes together.

You are fortunate! DD would be right at home with what you describe here, but her first-grade experience is light years away from this.
post #14 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by MittensKittens View Post


 

 

 

 Would you mind sharing what made you arrive at the decision to homeschool, and why you (and your daughter) decided school would be a better option in the end? Is for academic reasons, social, or other? 

 

 

 

Sure.

 

I HSed her because I believe in HSing.  It was not because she is gifted - although she is.  

 

We chose HSing for a variety of reasons.  Both DH and I had lousy school experiences - and when we looked around we were not convinced that schools had changed.  To be specific - we were most concerned about bullying when we started on the HSing path.   There are other things I have grown to dislike about schools over the years (and I have had kids in school over the years) and other things I have come to appreciate about HSing.  We appreciate the lack of busy work in HSing, the tailor made learning experiences, and the non-hierarchal nature we HSed (indeed the things that bugs DD most about school is how little respect and how controlling teachers are towards students)

 

That being said, HS for us has not been without issues.  We live in a semi rural, conservative area and everybody here associates through school.  Heck our local newspaper is filled with goings on at the school - school is a very intrinsic part of the community.  DD felt a strong need to socialise more - and school is the easiest way to do it.  We had tried socialising with HSers but it was always hit and miss - and it was too hit and miss for her.  DD made the decision to go to school - and I supported her in it.  I did not decide to send DD to school.  DD is 12 - I do think she is old enough to make that decision.

 

I do think the initial concern (bullying) could still be an issue.  She does not seem to have experienced it - but I have zero confidence in the schools ability to handle it properly if it happens.  The stories she tells from the school front  do not give me great confidence in them.  I have to believe that if things went south she knows she has options and could always return to HSing, change schools, etc.  One of the reasons I hated school so much (other than the bullying) was how disempowered I felt.  I felt trapped in school. There may come times when she does not like school, but at least she will not it is not a K-12 sentence.

 

 

 

 

post #15 of 45


Yes, it's an unpopular observation on gifted boards but I agree with you. I have older kids and have spent years talking to families with gifted children online and in real life. I do believe it's common for parents to blame everything on giftedness without recognising that certain issues are common for age, aggravated by personality, or even worsened by parental comments like "it's because you are gifted".... emotionally iscolating a child who really could be comforted by the notion that it's part of the human condition. I often come across the notion that because certain things work for my children that they must somehow be less gifted (which testing and achievement doesn't suggest at all.) I've found that most kids really do feel iscolated and lonely for some period in life whether they are gifted or not, whether they homeschool or not, whether they have quality friends or not. I'm amazed at the quanity of absolutely average kids who don't feel like they fit in, who are capable of more but aren't given the chance, I could go on.

 

Certainly, there are problems caused by giftedness but we discredit ourselves when we start blaming common age or personality issues on giftedness. Personally, we go through all the possibilities before giftedness when a problem arises but experience taught it to us. I find most parents of gifted children don't believe me or feel like I'm belittling them when I even suggest that something their young child is going through is actually quite common.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hempmama View Post

Of course it is! Honestly I think the role of giftedness in school unhappiness is overplayed, a little. I notice often it's the first thing people thing of when they see their kid is having a hard time(my kid is too smart and is bored! That's why he is acting out! Nevermind that he has impulse control issues in any setting..), but that's not always it, and I think that line of thinking. I was gifted in school and had a hard time, but I was an insufferable know it all who thought I was better than everyone else. THAT was my problem, not my specific academic needs. My DD is in first grade, gifted, and loves her school. It's not a gifted school. I think the key is having a little bit of a cohort- her reading group is reading Narnia and the Great Brain(5th grade-ish? They dismissed Artemis Fowl as too easy and kind of trashy), and her math group is finishing higher level multiplication facts and the different ways to figure out area and volume of different shapes together. Those are fairly good levels for her, and she is happy with the work. When she wants something harder, we talk to the teacher, and it happens. Usually the other kids can handle it too. As for the rest, emotionally she's always been pretty even keeled, which I think helps in any group environment. Schools are very different from when we went to school. In some better ways, some worse, but it's not ex ante a problem for a gifted kid.



 

post #16 of 45

Thank you for this very interesting thread.  I have been thinking a lot on this lately b/c I am dissatisfied with all the options for ds1.  Anyway, school was not positive for me (PG) nor for dh (don't know what he is.)  For me, it was being intensely bored for 12 years that made it not positive.  By high school, I was just ANGRY.  There was no grade skipping b/c they thought it would negatively impact kids socially (never mind that I was too different for even my age-mates.)  I did math advancement but would have needed to skip several grades for it to be positive.

 

I do not know what to do with ds1 - he wants to be in school, but he is only 7, and one of the reasons he wants to be in school is b/c the work is easier - "They only make us practice writing one letter at a time" - never mind that he can write whole stories in perfect, fluent sentences.

post #17 of 45

My gifted child is only in K but he has had a positive experience in preschool and K. We did early entrance so he started preschool at 2.5 and kindergarten at 4.5 (supposed to be 5). What issues we have had are minor, really; he's not being challenged enough. Other than that, he has friends, fits in, and enjoys school. He is given 3rd grade level reading assignments and supplements that with more meaty reading at home. He loves art, music, recess, and science. 

Homeschooling would be a last resort for us; neither he nor I want to do that. I homeschooled my eldest for kindergarten and part of 2nd grade, because I thought it was the best option for him at the time (he wasn't ready to be away from me at 5, and we had trouble getting him into the school we wanted for 2nd, but eventually did). I feel qualified to do so and believe my kids would receive an adequate or maybe even superior education at home, but I don't think it is ideal. 

 

As a gifted child myself, I had a hard time socially until I got to high school. I think I'd have been better served by attending a different school (mine was very small, so I did a lot of work on my own at a desk in the hall because no one else was at my level) or skipping a grade, but I did get a good education.

post #18 of 45
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post


Yes, it's an unpopular observation on gifted boards but I agree with you. I have older kids and have spent years talking to families with gifted children online and in real life. I do believe it's common for parents to blame everything on giftedness without recognising that certain issues are common for age, aggravated by personality, or even worsened by parental comments like "it's because you are gifted".... emotionally iscolating a child who really could be comforted by the notion that it's part of the human condition. I often come across the notion that because certain things work for my children that they must somehow be less gifted (which testing and achievement doesn't suggest at all.) I've found that most kids really do feel iscolated and lonely for some period in life whether they are gifted or not, whether they homeschool or not, whether they have quality friends or not. I'm amazed at the quanity of absolutely average kids who don't feel like they fit in, who are capable of more but aren't given the chance, I could go on.

 

Certainly, there are problems caused by giftedness but we discredit ourselves when we start blaming common age or personality issues on giftedness. Personally, we go through all the possibilities before giftedness when a problem arises but experience taught it to us. I find most parents of gifted children don't believe me or feel like I'm belittling them when I even suggest that something their young child is going through is actually quite common.

I understand how what you describe can be easy for some families to slip into, and that it might have a negative impact. However, my own experience growing up was the exact opposite of what you describe. Because I was never evaluated, beyond standardized testing everyone got (this was in Europe, so probably different to the US), my family did not have the option of "blaming everything on giftedness". Though my mother turned out to be gifted also (like me, she was tested for a job, but when she'd already passed 50), nobody in my family had any concept of giftedness. I feel strongly that if I had known the reasons for being different, I would have had a more positive emotional experience. And likely a more positive academic experience as well.

 

This does not apply to my own children, because I am aware of their giftedness. I recognize that my own childhood experiences are the main reason for my questions, and that many gifted kids probably thrive in public schools.

post #19 of 45
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post



Sure.

 

I HSed her because I believe in HSing.  It was not because she is gifted - although she is.  

 

We chose HSing for a variety of reasons.  Both DH and I had lousy school experiences - and when we looked around we were not convinced that schools had changed.  To be specific - we were most concerned about bullying when we started on the HSing path.   There are other things I have grown to dislike about schools over the years (and I have had kids in school over the years) and other things I have come to appreciate about HSing.  We appreciate the lack of busy work in HSing, the tailor made learning experiences, and the non-hierarchal nature we HSed (indeed the things that bugs DD most about school is how little respect and how controlling teachers are towards students)

 

That being said, HS for us has not been without issues.  We live in a semi rural, conservative area and everybody here associates through school.  Heck our local newspaper is filled with goings on at the school - school is a very intrinsic part of the community.  DD felt a strong need to socialise more - and school is the easiest way to do it.  We had tried socialising with HSers but it was always hit and miss - and it was too hit and miss for her.  DD made the decision to go to school - and I supported her in it.  I did not decide to send DD to school.  DD is 12 - I do think she is old enough to make that decision.

 

I do think the initial concern (bullying) could still be an issue.  She does not seem to have experienced it - but I have zero confidence in the schools ability to handle it properly if it happens.  The stories she tells from the school front  do not give me great confidence in them.  I have to believe that if things went south she knows she has options and could always return to HSing, change schools, etc.  One of the reasons I hated school so much (other than the bullying) was how disempowered I felt.  I felt trapped in school. There may come times when she does not like school, but at least she will not it is not a K-12 sentence.

 

 

 

 



Thank you for sharing. Like you, I felt trapped in school, and I feel strongly about avoiding the same experience for my kids. It's wonderful that you have the freedom and willingness to experiment with whichever options suit your children the best at any particular time. How does your DD feel in school, besides the respect and control issues?

post #20 of 45

MittensKittens... my thought skimming through this thread is that your kids are still very young. You are "homeschooling" them at an age where until fairly recently there wouldn't have even been formal schooling options. The situation may change and your feelings about it may change to as they get older. They may wish to go to school, the options for school may seem more appropriate... or not. IRL I know homeschooling families who have gone back and forth with having kids in school and not, or having one kid attend school and others not, depending on the available options and the needs of the individual kids (and parents). Anyway hope that doesn't come across obnoxious, tone is really hard for me online, but I just mean that they are still pretty much preschool age.

 

As for whether I think gifted kids can have a positive educational outcome... yes I do think they can. I am certainly not PG, and I don't know what my IQ number is, just that the tester told my mom when I took the SB that I was in "the top quarter of the 99th percentile" and was the highest scoring kid he had tested that year. I went to a highly selective public school for gifted kids and while it wasn't perfect, it was basically an appropriate and positive setting for me. (I went on to Brown for undergrad which was great! I have no idea of people there were gifted or not, but they sure were smart and interesting, hard-working, well-prepared for college, and great fun as classmates and friends). The same elementary and high school I went tol was NOT a good fit for my sister, who is 2E and has other emotional issues, which the school was totally unprepared to deal with. ITA with needing to be careful to separate the emotional problems associated with intellectual giftedness and those that have other contributing factors. My son is now in a school for gifted kids and there are certainly some behavioral/emotional issues with some of the kids. (some pretty severe, maybe autism-spectrum? I don't know. but there are a couple of kids I happen to know of who are recieving OT, speech, and other therapies 3-4x per week). There is also a lot of normal age-appropriate social/emotional stuff going on. And I think the kid who is the most obviously standout advanced kid in the class (like really way ahead of the others across the board, not just in one area, reading and doing math just years above the others, amazing at chess too) is a kid who does NOT have any of those issues- he's pleasant, popular, athletic, outgoing, has great impulse control, etc.

 

It seems to me that the key things to a positive school experience are, as other have said: 1) having a good peer group, 2) opportunities to be appropriately challenged academically (basically, probably allowing a fair amount of individualization), and 3) having adults that are respectful and responsive to the needs of the kids as students and human beings (academic, social, emotional, supporting areas of weakness, fostering areas of strength, etc). FWIW I think this is probably what all kids need to have a positive experience in school- lots of kids who are not tagged as gifted have negative school experiences.

 


Edited by emmaegbert - 3/12/11 at 8:26am
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