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No intervention for gifted kids (particularly girls)

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 
So, what is the danger (if any), of not providing advanced learning opportunities for gifted kids?

My DD's school does offer diffentiated learning (she is using a curriculum one grade-level ahead for math, reading and spelling), but doesn't really offer anything more than that. She is 8 years old and in the second grade. After her first quarter conference, I found out that she is reading at an 8th grade level and pretty much maxed out all of her standardized tests. Her teacher said she would definately benefit from some sort of a gifted program, and that the school is looking into creating one. So far, nothing has materialized.

Meanwhile, I've noticed that my daughter has started 'acting dumb' around her classmates (I run her girl scout troop, so I see a lot of interactions). When I ask a question to the group that she clearly knows the answer to, she comes up with what she thinks is a funny, but incorrect answer. I can't quite pinpoint some of her other behavior, but she tends to act 'younger' around her school mates. When she interacts with older friends (gymnastics, dance), she seems to be more her authentic self.

I'm not sure what the long-term implications are for any of this, or if anyone else has ever encountered this type of thing, but I wonder if this is something that could be partially mitigated by a learning environment with 'real' peers.



I found this article interesting...


http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/PDF_files/why%20test.pdf
post #2 of 55

Some gifted children get frustrated and bored and tune out. Our children are all in the gifted range and we made it a priority to move to a school district that at least had some form of gifted enrichment program. I've never had my youngest child IQ tested, it simply wasn't in the budget and the school doesn't do it. But, they do COGAT and other tests.

 

I was a Gifted Child. I was accepted into DePaul's program for musically gifted children, until my parents decided the program was making them wake up too early on Saturdays and they didn't like having to drive into Chicago every weekend. I had to stop the program. They got me a piano teacher who didn't want me writing music (which I had been doing since the age of 3) because she said I hadn't "had enough training to write music" and after a year and a half with her I was in tears regularly, I had QUIT playing the piano, except for during lessons, and when they finally let me quit I didn't touch our piano for 2 years. When I finally went back, a good portion of my natural talent was gone. It was never nurtured and it shriveled. I took up guitar and became quite good, but when they asked if I wanted lessons I reacted understandably, I said absolutely NO.

 

As for school, our school system didn't have a Gifted Program. I was reading at a 12th grade level in 3rd grade, and had maxed out all the materials the school had. I gave myself assignment about things I was interested in, but got virtually no attention from teachers, unless they were showing me off.  My "Gifted Education" consisted of being sent down to the First Grade classrooms to "tutor"  the little kids or sit in the hall and read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or Pride and Prejudice with the other 3 or 4 kids who were had maxed out the schools curriculum. I was bored out of my mind and I eventually shut down. by the end of 8th grade.

 

I had gotten virtually all As in Grammar School, by High School I was burned out being taught things I already knew, started smoking pot and tuned out. I barely graduated with a 2.0 GPA. The High School had an AP and Honors class system and my test scores got me into them, but by then, honestly, it was too late. I had NO study skills because I had never had to study before and no one had thought to teach me. I actually wanted to drop out, take my High School Equivalency Exam and then CLEP out of most of the first two years of College. Luckily, my father (a college professor) would not let me do that.

 

I ended up with a year at a Community college, where I got my grades up and got accepted to several very good Midwestern Universities. My first choice was out of our budget, but I went with my second choice and it was a great Jesuit University and I got a fantastic Liberal Arts education. I was now learning things I was interested in, and did very well. A 3.8 GPA But, I still feel my parents could have done more than just brag about me. (My father had me take the Mensa exam and told a LOT of people my score, but I never had any support to go to meetings.) I was given the idea by my parents that "if you're good at things, you don't have to try."  (It's SO untrue.) So, if I didn't get things perfect the first time, I gave up, I'm still kind of like that sometimes, but I had to learn to persevere, as that wasn't taught to me as a child. "You're e really smart, you don't have to try."  I now have a Master's Level Certification in Lactation and degrees in Psych and Child Development, but it was rough learning how to study while already IN University.

 

The first thing my DH and I did (before we even got married) was to move away from the old neighborhood (we lived in  a run down working class neighborhood and were two of the only few kids from our High School to go on to college. Most of them stayed and suffered pretty badly when the economy declined as many of them got jobs in manufacturing in High School, dropped out and then lost those jobs, with no back up) and buy a house (and then trade that one in for a bigger on as our family grew) in a county and town that valued education and, even though our state does NOT support or fund any Gifted Education.

 

We found a school district that did it's best to scrabble together a Gifted Program for the kids who needed it and bought our house there, then we moved to a slightly better school district when our oldest was in Kindergarten. . Our older kids had the program in its infancy, when the teachers were learning more and more about Gifted teaching,  but they both did well in High School and University, Our middle child is currently ready to receive her Master's in Library Science in May, our oldest has her own web design company and our youngest is getting a very good education with materials and lesson plans designed with how the Gifted Child thinks in mind. One thing I can say, she's not done much complaining about being bored in school. (This child learned to read before her 3rd birthday and showed High Level Gifted characteristics from infancy. Our other children are very very smart and incredibly independent.)  I had some reservations as our Gifted Program didn't start until 3rd grade and then it was only an hour a day, three times a week, but it's gotten better every year. I have some regrets. Our youngest child, Sage (14) was accepted while in Nursery School in a special school for profoundly Gifted Children. It was very expensive. They offered her a scholarship of 50% tuition for the entire 9 years (K through 8) but the tuition was then $12,500 a year, (this year6th -  8th grade is $19,960.00 a year, on par with my middle DD's Grad School tuition!) and even half of that (as her sisters were just starting University) was simply out of reach.

 

I am glad, though, that she now goes to a school with a lot of diversity. The gifted school was... mostly white upper middle class Christian and Atheist kids, and I know she would have gotten an amazing education there, where she is though she has friends of Color, friends of different faith systems, friends who speak different languages and a lot of different kids to learn to know. I do feel she probably would have "fit in better" at the school for the Gifted, but we did a LOT to help her on her way, I just hope what we're doing is enough.

 

I think it's a fallacy that if you just leave Gifted Kids on their own, they'll all be fine. A lot of the research seems to show that Gifted Kids need as much support and special attention as other "exceptional children." A few will rise to the top, but too many slip through the cracks.  Is a private school a possibility, one that has a gifted and talented program? If moving to a district that does value gifted children is a complete impossibility there are organizations you can join so you can help her at home, there are books and websites to help you on your journey. But, I wouldn't suggest just leaving her on her own. If she's already reading at an 8th grade level, where will be and what will she be doing in a few years?

 

We've always supplemented our children's education at home, depending on what they are interested in and filling in the gaps that even good schools leave. But, Gifted Children need a lot of attention and learning as much as you can about teaching fast moving and atypical learning styles is your best bet.

 

We figured we had to live somewhere, so moving to a district with a decent educational program was the answer for us, even though we didn't have children yet. I had been "identified" as Gifted as a child. But, even though my DH is very intelligent his other neurological issues prevented him from being identified, (and he did very well in University and does well as a Senior Staff Engineer)  we had a pretty good idea our kids would be fairly intelligent, and we were right. So, we did more than we thought we originally could to make sure they got a good education. Honestly, if I had to do it again, I would have insisted that we moved 2 town west of here. They have a full time Gifted Program from Kindergarten, and I really wish I had thought ahead to give my children that. What we did was adequate, more than adequate, but hind sight is 20/20.

 

I'm not trying to scare you, just telling our story. Gifted kids can be difficult to parent, they are usually very good at arguing, and making sure they have not only good materials around, but a LOT of down time to be imaginative is important. We don't home school. but we always taught our children a lot at home, even before they were school age. Watch for that "dumbing down" that is particularly seen in female Gifted children. Let her know she's smart, but also let her know she has to work hard to learn!

 

Is it possible for her to transfer schools if yours isn't adequate? I know some states allow this, and I would have done it for our kids if I thought they weren't getting a good education. I'd look into it, or even into moving to a district with a better or existing Gifted Program.

 

Good luck. And, continue reading to her, and let her read to you. It's SO important.


Edited by MaggieLC - 11/4/13 at 12:12pm
post #3 of 55

A good place to start and my youngest DD's favorite site when she was your child's age. Mensa for Kids http://www.mensaforkids.org/ They even have a little test, that my DD took for fun, then she started doing the activities and work and had a great time. We had Pertussis when she was 7 and were all down with pneumonia for about 10-12 weeks, and this site helped a lot, when she had enough energy to sit up and do stuff. It also helped her when she had already done all her "home work" from school and was still looking for something to do any time.

post #4 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaggieLC View Post

A good place to start and my youngest DD's favorite site when she was your child's age. Mensa for Kids http://www.mensaforkids.org/ They even have a little test, that my DD took for fun, then she started doing the activities and work and had a great time. We had Pertussis when she was 7 and were all down with pneumonia for about 10-12 weeks, and this site helped a lot, when she had enough energy to sit up and do stuff. It also helped her when she had already done all her "home work" from school and was still looking for something to do any time.


 




I'll check out the website--thanks!
post #5 of 55
Thread Starter 
DD is in a very good school. I'm just not sure if the one-level up differentiation is enough. Her biggest complaint is math. They are, once again, reviewing addition facts. DD does double digit addition, subtraction, and multiplication. She can also calculate percentages in her head (15% off sales), and works with negative numbers. I know she's extremely bored. Since she has no behavior problems, her teachers either haven't noticed, or don't really seem to care. I've been told that by 5th grade, she may have the opportunity to take either jr high/high school level math classes. I'm not sure if I should continue to push the issue now, or try to wait until the curriculum becomes more appropriate for her. If I do repeatedly push the issue with her school, how do I go about it? Can I ask for additional work, stuff to work on at home (though we do this already), ask for her to skip ahead a few lessons?

As for reading, she is definately way ahead, but doesn't seem to care. Her best friend is in her reading class, so that seems to be the only thing she cares about. We read to her at home every night, and she almost always reads to us (we have several different books going right now).

DD excels in other areas outside of school where progression is based purely on skill development, rather than age. She takes violin lessons, ballet lessons, and participates in team gymnastics with kids who are quite a bit older. These are the areas where she is learning 'how to learn'. She is constantly challenged with these activities, and learning several levels above her age-mates means that she learns at an appropriate rate. I'm just not sure if all of this will transfer to school/academics. It worries me that she is bored in school and that she is already hiding her intelligence amoung her classmates.

I was in a 'gifted' program as a kid. For me, it was largly a waste of time. We did a lot of coloring, with the occaisional dismatling of an electronic device. The gifted pull-outs in other parts of the city here are similar.

It also worries me that by middle school, I had mostly 'checked-out' of academics. I still maintained fairly decent grades, but nothing was ever challenging. By the time I reached college, I was scared to death of failure. I deliberately chose a field of study that I knew would be easy. Even though I had aspirations of medical school in my younger years, I chose not to pursue it because of lack of study skills and problems with self-confidence. I really hope my daughters don't face the same limitations.
post #6 of 55
I think it's great she has older peers and can be herself around them. If moving, or switching schools isn't a practical option, maybe just ensuring she gets more enrichment outside of school is the only way.

Are there other activities she enjoys were she can meet older friends?
post #7 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by KSLaura View Post

 She takes violin lessons, ballet lessons, and participates in team gymnastics with kids who are quite a bit older. These are the areas where she is learning 'how to learn'. She is constantly challenged with these activities, and learning several levels above her age-mates means that she learns at an appropriate rate. I'm just not sure if all of this will transfer to school/academics.

 

It will! As I read through the first few posts in this thread, I wanted to tell you that you need to provide advanced learning opportunities for gifted kids that challenge them and teach them how to learn, but that you can look to things outside of school to do that, like violin and gymnastics and ballet, because the skills transfer to academics. 

 

Then I read your follow-up post. You're doing the right thing. The problem-solving habits and persistence will transfer. Perhaps not entirely by age 10, but gradually, and certainly in time for high school and college. I have four gifted kids who were unschooled right through to high school level. They were taught nothing about "study skills," they wrote no papers, they took no tests, they had to deadlines, no assignments to research, no exams to prepare for, they did a little bit of math curriculum, but at their own pace and without testing or grading and certainly nothing that really challenged them. Their challenge came outside the realm of academics: primarily through violin/viola, but also depending on the child through aikido, choral singing, computer programming, travel, endurance sports. 

 

Around age 14 each of them (except my youngest, who is 10 and still primarily unschooled) chose to head off to high school. They entered at advanced levels and within a month or two had transferred all their planning / problem-solving / goal-setting / work-ethic skills to academics and were excelling with no scaffolding or active support from me at all. It was magical to watch, actually.

 

Miranda

post #8 of 55

Any chance she can be subject-accelerated, if not whole grade accelerated?

I understand that there are no gifted pull out programs but subject/whole grade acceleration isn't in the realm of a gifted program. They can retain a child, they can certainly advance children (of course with appropriate reflection).

My son is like yours and the whole school is having to reconsider their schedules so him and a buddy can join the 4th graders for Math (he is currently in 2nd grade). It certainly worked out to our advantage that he also found a buddy who is gifted and they play off and learn from each other a lot but at some point but even then, his teacher has strongly advocated for the boys so they are able to do math that is more appropriate to their level. He was assessed to be grade 5.2 in Math but I think him entering 4th grade math would be apropos since I don't want his learning to have holes in it (since we don't do much academics at home).

His reading and writing is highly differentiated in the classroom and that is something that both I and his teacher feel comfortable doing. He is also reading at a 10th grade level and has maxed out. But a lot of their learning is project based so they are able to take it as far as the child's abilities can.

Yeah, I would definitely inquire about subject acceleration.

post #9 of 55
My DD has gifted/talented peers. She is in a public school in 4th grade but reads at a high school level. But she's not the only one, and it makes a huge difference. Our school has 6 math levels because we have so many advanced kids. You can work at up to 3 grades ahead in math and there is individualized reading instruction. So without a gifted program, we have a huge amount of differentiation, which works well for our DD and I really have no complaints. In your case, I would sit down with the teacher and principal and find out what can be done to accelerate by subject. Also, I would want to know if there are other kids performing at her level, because it might make her stand out less to work with kids who challenge her. I know that has been critical for my DD, and being around these peers has helped so much because she loves challenge.
post #10 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by squimp View Post
 Also, I would want to know if there are other kids performing at her level, because it might make her stand out less to work with kids who challenge her. I know that has been critical for my DD, and being around these peers has helped so much because she loves challenge.

Very much what's said above.

We really lucked out that there is one kid in my son's grade that matched up really well with him (they are a fairly small school so there really isn't much diversity). They made sure as far as placements went that they were together. And even though the other boy hasn't tested yet (they have a scoring matrix for the gifted program which consists of achievement tests, iq test and creativity test), they put him in the gifted pull out too so my son would have a companion.

Work with the school and teachers most importantly, you'd be surprised how much they can do without actually having a gifted program in place

post #11 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpybear View Post
 

 if not whole grade accelerated?

 

This is a good suggestion. It sounds like she's already working a consistent year ahead in core academics and the school has done standardized testing that they acknowledge she's maxed out on: the timing for such a discussion with them might be perfect. Why not look at moving her up a grade -- perhaps not immediately, but within the next year -- and then she could move ahead further if needed via in-class differentiation. My kids go to a small public school with no gifted program and they've all got greater or lesser degrees of advanced placement, with further subject acceleration as needed. My 14-year-old is doing 12th grade chemistry and 11th grade for all her other academics, 10th for her electives. Sometimes when a school doesn't have a gifted program that opens the door to greater individualization and more creative workarounds. 

 

Miranda

post #12 of 55

To be clear, based on your signature, your DD is a month younger than my son who is still 7.  She'll be 8 next month, right?   Assuming you're not in a district with rampant redshirting, this places her in the top 1/3 or so of her class by age.  What is her maturity level like?

 

Not all gifted programs are created equal.  Some provide a peer group, some provide an education tuned to the child's needs.  Some are little more than a reward program for high achievers.  We have an awesome gifted program here that's 2 hours a week.  It doesn't address the academic needs of the children in elementary, however, outside of providing 1 year of math acceleration at 4th grade.  My kids are gifted all week at school, not just the 2 hours they're getting the services.  DD has required multiple subject accelerations, careful grouping for her general ed classroom, and continual support on the disparity between maturity (both emotional and organizational) and her academic levels.  DS is a month older than your DD and skipped 1st grade, and is additionally placed in 5th grade gifted math.  The gifted program is teaching them to view themselves positively, see the strengths in others, and view weaknesses in others kindly.  The accelerations and clustering is keeping them from going bonkers.

 

Without a gifted program, you need to work closely with the teacher to make this year positive, as well as to set her up for subsequent years.  With a gifted program, I feel as though we've almost had to work harder because <duh> they're already in the gifted program, what more do we need?

 

Short term:

*Discuss frankly with the teacher what she's seeing about your daughter's behavioral response to school and social situations.  Frame it exactly as you have: she's feigning ignorance/dumb to fit in, and you are concerned about the long term consequences of such a mindset.  I have found that alerting the teacher to these behaviors helps some.  The teacher has already acknowledged the mismatch between the child and the curriculum.  Ask what can be done.  When "differentiation" comes up, ask how far out of level differentiation extends, and how consistently it is being implemented.  Ask if she is expected to do the grade level work first, with the differentiated materials on top, or if it replaces the work.  If it's the former, ask the teacher what message she wants your daughter to get from that (mine took it as "being smart means I have to do more work").  My mantra with my kids and the teachers is "appropriate work," not "better work," and certainly not "more work."

 

For the future:

*Get the teacher on board to place your daughter with a teacher for next year that can deftly handle the differentiation needs, and suggest that having peers would help in the mindset towards school and learning.

*Consider more subject acceleration and/or a whole grade acceleration.  For whole grade, the Iowa Acceleration Scale is the gold standard and is evidence based.  Work with the school in going through the scale and getting testing in place. 

 

Grade skips: One thing we've noticed in retrospect is that the IAS doesn't really take the writing burden of a grade acceleration into account.  If I were to do it again, I would probably ask for an additional assessment of my child's writing skills - composition, speed, and legibility - compared to the grade level above.  At a minimum, this would help anticipate struggles after a skip.  Writing was pretty much the only thing that DS struggled with, so it gave him a fairly challenging year, even if everything else was pretty much routine.  It was enough, but because the teacher wasn't prepared for this, nor did she have experience with skipped kids, I felt she started off on the wrong foot with him.  This made for some difficult times that I thought could have been easily avoided.  Once I was alert to the situation, the window for addressing it had pretty much closed, leading to frustration all around, but now in 3rd grade he's just fine.  He's got almost sufficient subject acceleration now in math (the math is easy, the showing the work legibly and working in a classroom is what must be learned now), but another year or 2 of compaction lay on the horizon, and he'll likely require these.

post #13 of 55
I've been reading the book Light Up Your Child's Mind and it has some great ideas for making learning meaningful, engaging and challenging for all kids but particularly gifted ones.
post #14 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by KSLaura View Post

So, what is the danger (if any), of not providing advanced learning opportunities for gifted kids?

Hmmmm.  Upon further consideration, I responded mostly to the academic level fit to the child.  This is still a patch.  My kids are multiply accelerated to get the content to their readiness level, but we *still* struggle.  My son cannot understand why the teacher presented long division of decimals so many times.  He got it after the first example.  The subsequent 3 days were dull as they repeated the lesson over and over again.  DD is multiply accelerated in science, and when the science teacher fills out a Connors (screening for multiple disorders, including OCD, ODD, ASD, ADHD, etc), she red lines the ASD and OCD measures.  The school psychologist, after discussing it with the teacher, interprets this as a mismatch in DD's intensity and need for depth in the science lesson.

 

In short, accelerations address level, but not pace or depth.

 

What do you mean by "advanced learning opportunities?"

 

We also provide the kids with environments in which their pace and intensity is honored.  For DD, she's in a math contest club, taking ASL lessons (the school is the deaf cluster for the county), and flute lessons.  For DS, I'm trying to get Destination Imagination going for him, he takes violin lessons, and is in chess club.  DH and I are also STEM-types and I'm a history/culture buff, and we often honor their needs through discussion and impromptu lessons and demonstrations.  We've stuck with the local public schools over transferring to the fancy privates or state STEM school because I view their approach to be one of more=better, and would severely limit their exposure to the more diverse options available in the community and with some amount of daily free time.

post #15 of 55

It will depend on the child. My youngest is not being insulted. He is in a good school on the advanced class track with excellent teachers who are keeping him thinking. Is he as challenged as he could be in school? No. However, DS 13 really doesn't push for academic challenge. He likes being smart. He likes getting through his homework quickly and be able to get good grades without stressing or working too hard. Sure, he'd be happier if his peers were more engaged within the class but as far as working to his ability level in every subject... so NOT interested. Do I worry? Not really. He's got all sorts of other challenges. He's not naturally athletic.... at all. He's the worst person on his basketball team but he loves the game and he sticks with it and tries super hard and he IS getting better (and he spends time almost every day practicing at home.) He plays the trumpet and the piano. It's not a gift, he has to practice daily. He has stuck with tae kwon do since he was 4 and despite making black belt several years ago, he still goes religiously. My point, he is getting challenged in ways that are meaningful to him and thus content in school with no unusual accommodation.

 

It's not the same for my eldest. If she is not challenged in school she falls apart emotionally and physically. We've seen her break down twice due to lack of intellectual challenge. That said, she's done far better in environments that offered flexible and INDIVIDUAL challenge than in gifted programs (so grade and subject acceleration, personal differentiation worked better than the elementary gifted clusters, middle school self-contained gifted classes and a high school highly gifted track.) She's just that sort of learner and personality.

 

I may be the only one who feels this way but "dumbing down" is not always a bad thing. We all do it at times to make others more comfortable or to give them a chance to shine. I've listened to stories I've already heard with information I already know because I can see that a friend is enjoying sharing. I've pulled back in situations where I am the expert because I can see those around me are engaged and enjoying trying to work something out.... and the excitement they feel when they do is energizing. I suspect we've all been the smart person in the room as well as the not-quite-as-smart person. We can all appreciate being given the space to figure something out for ourselves. It's not a bad thing for a gifted child to be comfortable in their skin, to not need so much outward validation, to know when to pull back and let their peers take the lead. That's not to say I think turning into the class clown is the answer or that the gifted child should routinely silence themselves. It's just that being a good leader is knowing when to take advantage of your own gifts and when to pull back and let others discover their own. They know how to ask the right questions so that the entire group will think and learn as opposed to just throwing out the answer.

 

To the OP, in regards to the Girl Scout situation. I'd have a talk with your daughter. I think it's good that she's not ALWAYS giving the answers to the group. I don't think it's good that she's ALWAYS giving false and funny answers. To me, that is just an attention hungry maneuver. A sense of humor is a good thing and I wouldn't want her silence that. I'd just work on finding some balance with her. Even if you don't love what you are seeing, if she enjoys scouts, keep with it. It's really good for kids to have environments where they can be silly as well as environments where they can be smart. Sometimes, in the early years... those aren't the same places.

post #16 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post
 

I may be the only one who feels this way but "dumbing down" is not always a bad thing. 

 

You're definitely not the only one. I wish there were an alternative term for the positive side of this. My dd10 was talking with an agemate at gymnastics and they discovered a similar interest in math; the friend asked dd what her favourite part of math was. Right now dd is loving quadratic equations, but when her friend said she liked 'timezing' more than 'plussing and minusing,' dd responded that 'timezing' was her favourite too. I think this sort of thing comes from a keen sensitivity to social context, and a strong sense of empathy. Kids are sometimes a little overzealous in how they put it into play, but I think it's a good skill in many contexts. Obviously like any behaviour or attitude it can be taken too far, or used inappropriately, but it's not necessarily a bad thing a lot of the time.

 

Miranda

post #17 of 55

Well, it is very hard to give a definite answer, since every child is different and every GT program is different.  DH and I are both GT.  He went to public school with no GT program until 3rd grade.  He was then in a pull out program, where GT kids were taken by bus to another campus one full day a week, for GT activities with GT kids from other schools.  6-12th grade were Gt core classes and AP classes until he went to college.  He has never had to study.  He always sought out new knowledge on what interested him, and school was never a big deal for him.

 

I was in a private school with no GT program.  The did a learn at your own pace curriculum, which had me functioning several grade levels ahead.  In 4th grade, I was attending classes in the 8th grade classroom for part of the day (the school was k-8).  At the Spring Teacher Conference, the principal suggested putting me into public school with a GT program, since the school was rapidly running out of a place to send me.  I started 5th grade in the same pullout GT program my DH was in.  I skipped 6th.  During 7th grade, the recommended that I skip 8th grade, but my mom felt that there would be too much of an age gap.  I was in all GT and advanced classes in HS, I was offered early grad, which my parents declined, instead I took dual credit & AP classes, and started college with a year 25 hours of college credit, at 17.  I did not learn how to study until university, I had simply never needed to do it before.  I was constantly bored and that usually got me into trouble.  I also had a hard time fitting in.

 

Fast forward a few years, DS is in elementary, the GT program is one that starts in 1st grade.  GT kids are put in the same class with high achievers from other classes, but there are no "GT" activities, just some higher level reading.  Math & Science curriculum is the same (which is where DS excels).  We chose not to do GT at school, we actively supplement his learning at home with research projects, science experiments, field trips, etc.  We also encourage him to do things he is not good at, I was never forced to and grew up thinking I had no musical ability, while the truth is that I can not sing, but can play instruments.  DH plays several, but it was not important in my house since I was "the smart one."  Basically, I want my son to be happy, both now and in the future as an adult, so we work on keeping him engaged and learning that sometimes you have to do things that are boring, but if you do them quickly, you can move onto something else.

post #18 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post
 

 

 

I may be the only one who feels this way but "dumbing down" is not always a bad thing. We all do it at times to make others more comfortable or to give them a chance to shine. I've listened to stories I've already heard with information I already know because I can see that a friend is enjoying sharing. I've pulled back in situations where I am the expert because I can see those around me are engaged and enjoying trying to work something out.... and the excitement they feel when they do is energizing. I suspect we've all been the smart person in the room as well as the not-quite-as-smart person. We can all appreciate being given the space to figure something out for ourselves. It's not a bad thing for a gifted child to be comfortable in their skin, to not need so much outward validation, to know when to pull back and let their peers take the lead. That's not to say I think turning into the class clown is the answer or that the gifted child should routinely silence themselves. It's just that being a good leader is knowing when to take advantage of your own gifts and when to pull back and let others discover their own. They know how to ask the right questions so that the entire group will think and learn as opposed to just throwing out the answer.

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We're going to have to agree to disagree on this one.  :)I NEVER want my kids dumbing themselves down. I want them to always be their best and not to pretend to be something they're not (dumb) just to "fit in." Empathy is one thing, I've seen my dds using slower language with other people who don't understand what they are talking about, but they never dumb it down as far as I know. I hope I have raised my children to never be ashamed of who they are or to feel they have to pretend to be someone they aren't.

 

A few years ago, we were watching something on TV about gifted girls who dumb themselves down to attract boys or be one of the popular kids and my youngest said, "Why would anyone do that?" I agreed with her. My kids weren't raised to be chameleons. I like to think my dh and I have raised them to be themselves. Yes, sometimes they don't "fit in" but as they get older they find intelligence and academic appropriate peers and are much happier.

 

My kids will never fit in with the cheerleaders or the "popular" girls, but they are always true to themselves. I was similar as a kids, as was my husband and I think we are happier adults because of it.

 

There's nothing wrong with being the smartest person in the room (someone has to be) if you really are. Just so you aren't a jerk about it. There's no reason to rub people's noses in it, but if I ever caught any of my kids using the term "timezing" or "plussing"  or using improper English to "fit in" (because they know better) I'd be one unhappy Mama. Gratefully, they don't do stuff like that. To them (and to my husband and I) a few good, well chosen friends who are similar to you is preferable to being "one of the popular kids."

 

Being whatever is considered "popular" just isn't that important to my kids. Not enough to change who they really are.

 

I understand empathy, but one can be empathetic without appearing uneducated.

post #19 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaggieLC View Post
 

if I ever caught any of my kids using the term "timezing" or "plussing"  or using improper English to "fit in" ... I'd be one unhappy Mama.

 

Since you're referring to my example... this was a one-on-one conversation between two homeschoolers. My dd wasn't trying to fit into a group. She wasn't sure the other girl knew the word multiplication, and didn't want to use the term in any case lest it sound like she was correcting they other girl's use of a colloquial term. She knew that homeschooled kids are often insecure about their math levels -- at least a few of her homeschooled friends are -- and didn't want to intimidate the girl by talking about something that was miles beyond where she was at. Given the context, she interpreted the real question to be "what is your favourite arithmetical operation?" and she answered honestly using a word that she knew the other girl would understand. That certainly didn't make me unhappy. I thought it showed a fair bit of social grace. 

 

Miranda

post #20 of 55
I think whatnextmom makes an excellent point. Maybe it will help if it's framed differently, Maggie?

I'm a professor, and among other teaching duties, I teach complicated geophysical concepts at a general education level and give public lectures. I've won awards doing this. I'm good at perspective taking and I'm good at placing the concepts I'm explaining into a context that the general ed population or the general public can understand. I use a simplified vocabularly generally, because I know that using my day-to-day vocab will leave my audience focused on my words and not my message. At the same time, I draw on analogies in daily life to explain concepts so that my students understand. Watch some of the highlighted TED talks where people discuss their science to a broad audience. Are they dumming it down? Well, maybe in some ways they are, but they're also communicating much more effectively than they would have had they been able to communicate using their more specific scientific language.

I see both sides of it. Making sure my kids have enough exposure to other kids of different abilities that they can respectifully and effectively communicate by being able to take the other's perspective is great. Doing this so much that it changes my child's mindset about who they are and what is appropriate for them is where the trouble sets in. The two kids growing up in my house are unique, and we've found what balance they need (at least for now, as all solutions are temporary). DD can't spend too much time in the general ed stream without this mindset creeping in. DS would broadly be ok outside of the math sphere. We will require more maturity before we can even work on those social skills in a math environment. It'll be a different balance point for each kid based on personality, social skills, internal drive, and bazillions of other factors.

And worse than "timzing and plussing"? "Versing.". As is, "coach, who are we versing today?". It know it's a consequence of perfectly ordinary language development that thankfully my kids skipped. I just respond with correct phrasing and leave it. Kids who develop normally will eventually straighten out.
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