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Does anybody here homeschool and have a kid who has never been tested?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm just curious, and wanting to connect with others in the same situation. Since we homeschool, academic achievement and appropriateness of curriculum and such are non issues. I know my boy is smart, but it's the sensitivities and level of awareness he displays everyday that have me pretty convinced he is "gifted" ( hate that word). I have started to talk a little bit about this to him, because he is beginning to comment about how he knows he feels things more intensely than most kids and is recognizing things about himself. He asked me what gifted was, because he sees books on my shelf and doesn't miss a thing. I spoke from my heart in a way that I thought he could understand, but felt a little funny because he's never been formally tested or in any way identified as a gifted child. He also has no idea how unique and exceptional some of his abilities and traits are, because he isn't in a school setting, so for him, most of this is a negative. 

   He's nine years old. Thanks Mama's!

post #2 of 11
Are you considering getting him tested?

Labels can help and they can hurt. He has talents and abilities that he can use as he sees fit. Since he is not in school, there is no need to label him because you are not trying to get him special services. He may have other talents you have not noticed, that may blossom later.

What benfit do you see in knowing?
post #3 of 11

I have a homeschooled 9-year-old who has never been tested. And I have had three older kids, all of whom I assume are gifted, who made it to at least teenage-hood without being tested. The eldest two (now 18 and 15) were eventually tested and ended up in the HG/PG range. It didn't really matter until they were in high school -- and it barely mattered then.


I don't own any books about giftedness, and I've never really had that conversation with any of my kids. They all knew they were way ahead of where schools would have them, academically speaking. For a long time I think they assumed that was simply because they were homeschooled, and they were therefore "allowed" to learn faster if they wanted. Which they did want, so they did. But gradually they've come to realize that there's more to it than interest and motivation and exposure -- that their brains are wired for efficiency and complexity of learning in a way that most kids' aren't.


My younger three have had their perceptions shaped a little bit by their elder silbing(s). Their older siblings kept them from feeling weird and alone. There were other kids much like them, living under the same roof. They identified strongly with their older siblings. And the older kids eventually did get enough exposure to school and school-like expectations to shed some light on the level of family precocity. For instance, my eldest eventually attended high school, entered a grade level ahead, worked part-time, travelled out of school for weeks and months at a time, did up to 40 hours a week of music work, and still earned the top academic marks in her school. She had seemed just ordinary to her younger siblings, but clearly she was quite exceptional when measured against typical 15-year-olds. 


And even though at 9 she'd had nothing to do with school, and we used no standard grade-levelled curriculum, my eldest had an inkling about her gifts. She played violin and piano, and recitals had her performing alongside music student peers whom she was clearly outpacing by leaps and bounds. Her creative writing had elicited gasps of astonished appreciation from objective adult readers. And even though I tried to brush her off by explaining that Singapore Math grade levels didn't match up with Canadian ones, it didn't take her long to figure out that most 9-year-olds weren't dividing fractions and doing basic algebra.


I was pretty low-key about it when they noticed the differences. "Different people's brains learn different things easily. You're lucky. You have the kind of brain that learns academic things easily. And it's lucky we can homeschool, because you can learn those things at the speed that works for you -- which is generally a good bit faster than they do them at school." 


I know that intensity and giftedness often go together, but I still see them as different issues. My eldest is gifted and intense. We struggled with anxiety, stubbornness, selective mutism, oppositional behaviour, all sorts of things. She's just that kind of personality. My youngest is gifted and easy-going -- so I know that intensity isn't part and parcel of giftedness. Intensity and giftedness are part and parcel of being my eldest. (And of being your ds, too, it seems.) But I think you can discuss one without needing to invoke the other as part of the explanation. I guess whether they all roll out in a metacognitive discussion depends on the way the discussion evolves. But I think it's perfectly possible to have insightful, supportive, helpful chats about emotional and interpersonal intensity and personality traits without mentioning giftedness. Certainly I don't think giftedness is the flipside of intensity, the sort of compensatory positive trait to go with a bunch of negatives. I think intensity has its own positives ... just as giftedness can have its negatives.


I'm probably not making any sense here. Sorry for the meandering post. I mostly just wanted to say that yeah, my kids have all been 9 and gifted and untested, and we've kept everything pretty low-key and it's turned out fine. We emphasized that everyone is different, and people have different struggles and different strengths, and judging and comparing doesn't do anyone any favours. Our job is just to work as best we can with what we have.



post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the responses. I have no intention of testing, because we truly feel that wouldn't matter. I am simply trying to help a little boy who often has intense reactions and feels different all of the time. He knows his writing is as good as the children's books he reads, but it's only expressed like "You know, Mom, I think my book could be published and kids might enjoy it."  He is proud to show his parents, but doesn't enjoy the positive attention of anybody else, really. And he has no idea he writes at a level that's twice that of kids his age.  His art is amazing and we display that in our home, so others see it. He does seem to appreciate the fact that he can draw well, but that's it ( and that is fine by me). But when he struggles paying a sport or gets upset in front of his friends, he feels soooo bad. He remembers every possibly related upset he's ever had.

  Our whole gifted conversation came from him. Apparently he's read a little about it and the other day during lunch he asked if he was gifted because he thought he had a very uneven development ( he's right) and knows he "feels things more than most people". He was actually sounding interested and hopeful to understand why he felt different. Although I know he has just about every sensitivity common to gifted kids- I don't at all care what his IQ is. My kid always feels different because we homeschool, he's an only child, he has two Mom's, etc. 

  My OP was that I felt uncomfortable using the word gifted when he's never been tested- like I "shouldn't", I don't know, just exploring this path a bit....

post #5 of 11
I'd just explain that labels aren't important to me. I'm not very good at saying things without the person in front of me, so I'd have to take it from there. Just respond to his feelings and questions without inserting the label. That's my recommendation.

He sounds delightful, by the way. My son (16) also writes, and has always made up stories. Are your son's stories good enough to be published?
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

Well, I already did say that yes, I was exploring the idea about giftedness. It felt like the right response at the time. We talked about talents and how everybody has strengths, and we were just learning more about parenting because we want to always be the best parents we can be, etc. It wasn't a big deal to him. We've already learned about multiple intelligences and learning styles.We've used The Out of Sync Child Has Fun and he's interested in kids with autism. He was actually happy that it may explain why he remembers everything since before the age of two, or why he honestly believes he feels things "more". He also referenced a child he knows who excels in math, and asked if you can be gifted twice because he thinks this kid seems to have some behaviors that are different but not in a good way. 

  Yes, his writing is good enough to publish. And his art is amazing. He's starting to talk about the idea of publishing, but wants to use a pseudonym because he doesn't want attention. So we're not there yet....

post #7 of 11
Sounds great! I can't think of anything to add. I think you're handling it well.
post #8 of 11

Check out Stone Soup magazine for publishing his art and writing. All content is created by kids 8-13 and some of it is really amazing, some not quite as amazing. It might help him to have some peers to compare himself with. We have some homeschooled friends who find that valuable.


I, too, am going to say that I don't think gifted and intensity are tied at all. I mean obviously an individual can have both traits, but I know plenty of gifted kids who aren't intense and plenty of intense/spirited kids who aren't gifted. It's no different to me than having a blue-eyed child be gifted—it's concurrent, but not correlated. I have two kids, one is very intense, and probably 2E. The other is so darn easy comparatively—happily does her homework in the car on the way to pick up her sister, writes stories and poems for fun, and also loves to draw. She's not as gifted in art as her more intense older sister, but she has a much easier time academically because she doesn't have the intensities/sensitivities/anxieties/add-like behaviors that get in dd1's way. 




Originally Posted by kanga2roo View Post


But when he struggles paying a sport or gets upset in front of his friends, he feels soooo bad. He remembers every possibly related upset he's ever had.


I think this sounds like perfectionism which is common in gifted kids. My kids are not perfectionists, though, so I have not read up on that trait very much, but I'm sure some of the other moms (and dads) here could tell you more about it.



Originally Posted by kanga2roo View Post


...knows he "feels things more than most people". He was actually sounding interested and hopeful to understand why he felt different. 


Have you read Mary Sheedy Kurcinka's books, The Spirited Child and Kids, Parents and Power Struggles (not my favorite title since it's more about temperament, but a great book nonetheless)? I was really so relieved to find KPP when my dd1 was little because here was a parenting book I could finally find my child in. It's not at all one size fits all and so many other books are, even if they're about The Sensitive Child or The Out of Sync Child (both of which I have read and neither of which fit dd1 completely). The "feels thing MORE than most people" sounds just like The Spirited Child


He may very well be gifted. Your description sounds like it's likely, but the definition is really pretty fluid. In a building school setting there are usually certain IQ scores and other benchmarks you have to achieve to be considered for the gifted services. A child needs to score w/in a certain range for the regular gifted services in our district (apprx 95% higher than the rest of general public), for the Highly Gifted Services it's a higher percentage point (98-99%) and for the self-contained pull out program they need to be performing at least 2 grade levels above their current grade across all subjects. Since you're homeschooling this is a non-issue for you, but here's a broader discussion of the term "gifted" that might give you a jumping off point for your next discussion. 


I love your response to his questions. 

post #9 of 11

I have a 12 yr old Ds who has been tested and not officially tested.  He needed to be tested for entrance to CTY classes but I don't have an official psych write up on him or anything.  I don't have a hard IQ score, I don't have hours and days of psych appointments.  He is homeschooled but we use CTY for STEM classes.  There is no doubt in my mind he is PG but I don't need a test to tell me that. I can clearly see his abilities and his strengths.  At this point testing isn't going to do me any good and its not going to benefit DS.

DS is happy, adjusted and thriving.  Doing pretty dang good for a 12 yr old.  Yes there are times he is 'bored' with CTY, but such is life.


I don't see a need to test at this point.

post #10 of 11

I have a homeschooled 5 year old who is very likely gifted (we started homechooling him at age four). He hasn't been tested and as of now I see no reason to.

post #11 of 11

I have an 8-1/2yo who was in preschool and was academically tested but not tested in a way that says "he's gifted".  He definitely blew the academic testing out of the water, but he doesn't know the results (this was when he was just turned 5yo and related to IEP services).  He's otherwise never had a test and we don't even do curriculum tests (well, I guess his math books do an element of "test" at the end of each chapter--but it's 5-6 questions based on the chapter).


Mine knows he's different, but when the differences come up, I just point out that these are the things he's really good at and other kids are really good at other things (and I generally try to point out examples he can relate to... like his almost 4yo sister is already trying to learn handwriting where he just mastered it last year; and his really good friend is an incredible athlete--which is polar opposite of ds).  I don't want to diminish his gifts, but by the same token, I want him to appreciate that other people have talents, too.  He knows that he's finishing 4th grade math and doing 7th grade science despite being in 3rd grade.  But again, there is opportunity to point out the things that his friends have (or may have) to offer--like exceptional compassion or determination.  :)


We did have a problem when he was much younger with a social worker at the district telling him--directly--that he was "a lot smarter than most kids his age"... which he promptly repeated twice before I could have a nice chat with him about how horrible it was that this man only saw one part of who my son was and then decided that the rest of him (and every other kid) didn't matter.  It was a good chat.


Since then, it's not quite as big of a deal.  We've had to have chats about how sometimes, other kids feel dumb if/when he brags about what he's doing (there's talking about it and then there's bragging--mine was bragging for a bit) when they also have great things to offer that a lot of the world doesn't think are important (and then we talk about what the world would be like without some of these great traits).


We have a lot of public schooled friends.  There's no question my son is doing work they can't touch.  We just try to focus on the things they DO have in common. Thankfully, there is no shortage of "boys who love Legos" here and we have built relationships with families who would never let their kids call someone a dork.  :) 

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