Originally Posted by momyarb
I am curious how you differentiate between teaching and just exposing, or providing, the ability to pick up knowledge on their own? Is it mainly repetition?
Teach - definition - 1. impart knowledge to or instruct (someone) as to how to do something: 2. cause (someone) to learn or understand something by example or experience:
Originally Posted by kattabel
I was making a distinction between sitting down with flash cards every day or similar in a deliberate attempt to teach then as opposed to just answering questions or pointing out things as part if your daily tasks and following the child's lead.
I think defining "teaching" as "deliberate instruction provided in lecture format" is a very narrow definition. I'm pretty sure such narrowness would be soundly rejected by most educators these days. There are a lot of different pedagogical methods, which is a very good thing because individuals have different learning styles. Constructivism, the Socratic method, Hands-on learning, Problem-based learning - that's just the tip of the iceberg if you research pedagogical theory. They have all been pretty widely embraced in public schools, albeit with greater and lesser degrees of success in implementation. "Just answering questions or pointing things out" could easily fit into some of these methods.
For gifted students, who often absorb information quickly, retain knowledge easily without repetition, remember for an astonishingly long time, and apply this learning to new problems and new situations, the initial "teaching" isn't always obvious. A lot of parents and teachers won't recognize that it has happened or remember it.
Unfortunately, IMO, as a society we tend to celebrate that kind of learning and tend to dismiss the other kind - the learning that happens after some instruction and assistance from a more experienced, knowledgeable person - as inferior. There are times when deliberate instruction is helpful, useful and valuable.
There are a lot of issues wrapped up in the subject. Some of them touch emotional hot-buttons. Readiness to learn is an obvious one. It raises the spectre of "hot-housing" and pushy aspirational parenting. I'm not sure if that's a topic that the OP meant to raise, though, so I won't go further with it.