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The average child - Page 9

post #161 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
But it's perfectly possible - preferable, I think - to give the needed information about the child's needs without talking in terms of "giftedness", but instead discussing this particular child's particular needs. If I were to mentor a child who was into butterflies, knowing that he was labelled "gifted" wouldn't help me a bit. I'd rather know what his background was as far as lepidoptery - what has he read, how long has he been collecting, what specific areas interest him, and what his goals are. Homeschooling is all about treating children as individuals, right?
dar
Yes, if the child is a typical learner those are exactly the things I'd need to know. If they are an atypical learner, I'd want to know that and also information about the ways in which they learn are different because I'm not afraid of talking about difference. If the child couldn't read, but was comprehending auditory information on a high level I'd want to know that. If the child needed higher level informaton to focus I'd want to know that. What we've gotten from people over the years was "you didn't tell me and I wish you had because we just wasted three weeks". I've learned from this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
Other than on this board, I can't think of the last time I talked about myself as "gifted" - and yet somehow I've managed to get intellectual and emotional my needs met. I can't imagine going on a job interview and mentioning my "giftedness", for example.
dar
For me anyway use of the word "gifted" isn't at the center of the discussion, think we've been talking about more complex and interesting things than that. At the heart is - do some children have extreme abilities that require something really different? Is there way to acknowledge those differences if they are intellectual? How do we create the conditions where every child gets to learn in different environments even school?

I can count on one hand the number of times that I've used the word "gifted", but the word has helped us find stuff our son needs. A gifted kids group is the first time he got to meet other kids who as passionate about physics (sorry FSM who says it is appropriate to reveal personal details of your children's phobias about graveyards but not to mention an interest in quantum physics). He's enrolled in a course specifically labeled for students gifted in math which is a good fit because it isn't just higher level but more appropritately geared with less repetition.

If we have no way to talk about something, it suggests the subject is a shameful one that can't be discussed.
post #162 of 220
Originally Posted by Bestbirths

For the past 4 or 5 years we have learned more and more to DOWNPLAY the giftedness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar
What did you do in the past?
Not Bestbirths, but I have a slightly similar experience. And I'll say again that my children do not appear to be profoundly gifted and so they are not in a position to feel as though they are really different from anyone. I only have very young children. Maybe as they grow, they will grow aware of differences, but I really hope that with homeschooling, that they won't. I really really hammer the point of people being imperfect and people not being talented in everything (more on that later). And since they're not in school, there's no obvious scale or grade to measure against.

Anyway, my oldest was noticeably different from peers as a toddler, which provoked a few hostile reactions from other mothers. Thankfully, he did not understand their snarky and mean-spirited comments (how can any parent be so mean as to snark about a little child in front of a child???). Anyway, but because he showed a few remarkable abilities, I used to look for teachable moments. Like, because he had an early grasp of phonics and a list of sight-words, I would sometimes quiz him, like "what do you think this word says? can you sound it out?" And while he could clearly sound the word out without overt instruction, he was not very interested in it. This realization was actually the start of our road to unschooling, but I digress there. At any rate, he knew that I was invested on some level in him: "example" learning to read, so he wanted to please me as toddlers do. It was obvious I was somewhat invested in it, because I kept bringing it up even though it looked like casual and harmless conversation. And being the child of very detail-oriented perfectionist parents left him no chance there...so he became very easily frustrated and perfectionistic.

When he spontaneously wrote his name one day, I (naturally) was excited/shocked and praised his achievement to my mother and husband (in front of him). Shortly afterwards, we started noticing that he would begin to write his name and then angrily scribble it out, because the letter "B", he said, was not the way that it should look. I completely stopped talking about him writing, never asked him to write for anyone again, and while he dropped writing for a while, did go back to doing it, this time with joy. He would make these elaborate Lego creations and I found that when I made a big deal over them, he didn't want to deconstruct them. I did start taking pictures of his stuff for him, so that he would feel comfortable deconstructing and taking risks with the Legos. But I stopped making such a huge deal out of it, even though it was completely done with good intentions.

I know that every family situation is different. But for us, I didn't discourage him, but I stopped making such a huge deal out of his accomplishments and bringing skill-based things up out of the blue.. If he brings me a drawing (another area of perfectionism that suffered when grandparents asked him to draw for them), I will say, "Oh that's lovely. I really like the brickwork." but I will not say, "Wow! I am really impressed!" and then proceed to talk to people about it in earshot of him. When he complained that he couldn't read and yet he found phonics really boring, I made a point of saying that I couldn't read at his age and that learning to read was a progressive thing that he had been working on for much of his life. Someone online gave me this brilliant idea. I spoke about the things he did know (e.g. letters) and pointed out that it was part of learning how to read; he WAS learning how to read but it took time and that was Ok. I feel like, if I had really jumped on the "learning to read" bandwagon and spoke about it frequently, that he would feel compelled to do it and subsequently feel frustrated that he couldn't do it.

I started pointing out when I made mistakes and saying, "Oh, well, I'm not perfect." We spoke about how different people are talented at different things, the value of practice, how different people found different things enjoyable and how we all make mistakes. I run in races and I made a point of telling him that while I didn't win, that I won for me, because I had tried my best and performed in a way that made me feel good about myself. He has come a *long* way in moving away from the perfectionism and he no longer worries that he "can't read', because it's not regular conversation in our house. When England lost against Portugal in the World Cup yesterday and got booted, my husband was really upset. And ds1 said, "That's Ok, Daddy. They can just win another time!".

Sorry so long there...Additionally, while I use the label "gifted" for my kids, I have not given *them* that word or told them that they are different from anyone else or put it on their radar screen at all. Again, I have zero exp with PG kids and the challenges it must present. But I, personally, would not tell my child that he is intellectually gifted in some areas. Instead, I tell him that everyone does different things well and everyone enjoys different things. In the very odd occasion that he's pointed something out like, "Johnny doesn't sit still in art class.", I say, "That's Ok. Johnny is learning and doing his best." I think it's easier to do with homeschooling, because you don't have a situation where kids are put in groupings based on birth year.

In a previous post, I said that no one in my family had been identified as gifted or attended a school with a gifted program. I didn't learn what the term meant until I was an adult. But for some odd reason, our jr high was tested en masse and raw IQ scores were yielded. For some insane reason, my parents chose to reveal our IQ scores although it was done without relevant terminology or context; it was simply a number. And I learned that my younger sister, who was two grades below me, had an IQ that was two points higher than mine. At 13, that ruined me. I felt really stupid for a while over that. I know what it feels like to be reduced to a number and feel like, "No matter how hard I work, I will never be able to beat this number". So, I would not label my children as gifted, although I privately use the label for them. I don't know if that makes sense or not. I was highly annoyed when one of the snarky Moms brought it to my son's attention that he drew really well, becase she basically berated her own son in front of him. That is so unnecessary! If they get any concept of being "different", in my limited experience, it's coming from other people's competitive parents. Hopefully, with homeschooling, we just won't run into that very often. Now if they're in college at 10 (no snark or joke) or something, then I'm sure they'll realize they're different. But it hasn't come up yet, except in the context of, "We're all different in various ways."

Ok, long reply of my random thoughts...sorry so long.

I should go take care of my own two scurvy pirates.
post #163 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
In my city, it is very normal to hear people discussing with strangers their child's reading level. Which is always one higher than the last mentioned. Of course.
So weird. I've been homeschooling for several years and I've heard someone say something like this maybe once. I guess I won't move!

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
I think of it in terms of librarianship - when a parent comes to me with their child and says, "She's gifted. She reads at a 12th grade level, she needs a challenging book. She's too advanced for teen books but I don't want any smut." that's an incredibly unhelpful statement that I hear frequently. If the parent says, "The last book she enjoyed was The Turn of the Screw, and she really likes fiction about turn-of-the-century times...but her reading ability is far ahead of her knowledge of human intimacy..." I can work with that.
Ah, a real workable example. Back when we used to ask librarians for help, I wouldn't mention reading level but instead would mention a couple of favorite books and we'd get back one suggestion after another for poorly written series books that were popular but of no interest to our son. These books weren't at all like the ones we cited as favorites. Sometimes the librarian would say "what reading level?" and "I'd say adult level is fine, but it needs to be emotionally appropriate for a sensitive X age child" and again it rarely netted good suggestions. I've concluded we do better looking on our own.
post #164 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by mijumom

And, no, I don't think it is healthy to try to overtly pursue careers or specialties for young children. BTW- Tiger Woods was worked relentlessly to become who he is. If you want a Tiger Woods then you can take that 1 in 1,000,000 chance that it will pay off for a whole family to obsess on and push a child in one direction. Personally, I think that the less emphasis on differences at a young age, the better whether it is sports or academics.
Do you believe that such drive or interest is ever internal to the child? What about the two year old who begs for the skateboard and seems driven to practice on his own when his parents are scratching their heads saying "skateboarding is that a sport?" I agree it can appear that the drive comes from the parent, but how do you know that in every case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mijumom
If any of you think that a child being conscious of being labeled and referred to as gifted does not create a sense of conditional appreciation of that child and a preoccupation with living up to that title and an awareness that their value is tied to that distinction, well, then we are just not speaking the same language. I can see the difference in my son when I just say he's "good" at something in front of him; the pressure is on to deliver.
I agree there are huge problems with praise and we don't "good" or other evaluative terms at our house either. What I think you are doing here though is tying a set of things that YOU think acknowledging giftedness means and saying that your child would feel that way. Our son hasn't been raised to look to others for judgement of his work. He has been raised as a self motivated kid who follows his own interests.

He lives in the broader world though. When random strangers start gushing about his vocabulary, saying he's so smart (a word we never use) or referring to him as a freak or kids on the playground say stop talking like a dictionary, we could I suppose refuse to talk with him about that. We could let him develop his own theories about what that means and what is "wrong" with him. Many parents do this and kids conclude they are bad people or stupid. Do you think that would be preferable? I sure don't. I would prefer that he hears what we have to think about it - and that's a lot more than just the word gifted to that explanation but it is impossible to have that discussion without acknowleding that intellectual difference. The conversations include a broader set of beliefs about difference, being yourself, responsibility, the value of all people and the importance of motivation. I think it would be dishonest and unfair to the child to fail to explain to him honestly about those differences. It would be like refusing to talk to the three armed child about the fact that they have three arms and most folks have two. Or, it would be like assuming that acknowledging three arms is the same as telling the child they are better than other people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mijumom
FSM- I'm assuming we are referring to young children. I suppose just teaching children what they need to know at whatever level they are at is just too challenging for most educators so it must be nice and tidy- gifted or average.
Do you believe a third grade teacher should be able to teach algebra? Or that a 10th grade English teacher beginning reading. Is that within the reasonable expectation for those teachers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mijumom
My son could have been one of those kids reading Shakespeare at 4. We decided to focus on discovery instead of aptitude. He simply has not been exposed to the things he would have to be exposed to in order to even make his intelligence quantifiable.
This is intriguing to me. He appeared to be a child who could read and you were able to stop him by focusing on discovery instead of aptitude. How did that work? What exactly did you do to stop the development?

I'm thinking that you maybe have a set of assumptions about what kind of teaching was going on to lead to children reading Shakespeare at 4. I can say in our case that we didn't teach letter names, phonics, expose our child to TV shows or computer games to teach those concepts, yet one day he picked up a magazine and read it with adult level fluency. I'm trying to figure out what we could have done according to you to prevent that development. Was it something about the way we let him play in the sprinkler, with playdough, at the park, etc. that made it happen. I will admit we read to him though, is that allowed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mijumom
Maybe, I know nothing of the children who despite their parents NEVER making an issue of their intelligence, never drawing attention to it, never eliciting a sense of "specialness" because they are so "gifted", still getting high scores on IQ tests etc. It seems unlikely to me, but I may not know because I haven't lived it.
So, it is parents talking about giftedness that leads to children scoring high on IQ tests?
post #165 of 220
It was interesting to read your story Nora's mom.

What it points out to me is that kids really need to be engaged in real meaningful discussions about these issues, not just given some word like gifted. EVERY kid needs to understand the pitfalls with perfectionism and potential. Kids who learn differently especially need to understand what that means and what that doesn't. For me the answer isn't to pretend they learn exactly the same as someone else if they don't.

It was also interesting to read this after a recent discussion with a friend of mine. She is very bright. She attended a school where she very much was the odd duck and no one talked to her about it. All of the school work was too easy and she never met a challenge until she was an adult and at that time struggled greatly with feelings of being an imposter. And, she was NEVER told she was gifted. In other words the experience came from being different and not understanding it and from not having adequate experiences. Those are bigger than the word gifted, and a kid deserves to have real meaningful conversations with their family about them.
post #166 of 220
Not to sully my good name any more than I already have in this thread , but I wanted to point out that some kids will figure out they are "different" whether you tell them or not. I certainly don't/didn't go around telling my kid how different or special or gifted he was, but he started comparing himself to other kids his age quite early anyways. At first it was in a puzzled way ("Why can't Christopher read?") and then in an uh-oh-I'm-different way. I realized at that point that it would only hurt and confuse him if I tried to ignore the fact of his thinking differently than most other people.

So yes, burn me at the stake if you like, but I do explain to my kids on a regular basis how everyone has different talents and not everyone can be master everything and some people think differently than others and that it's ALL OKAY. This has become especially necessary since I have one profoundly gifted child and one more moderately gifted/normally bright child. Honestly, I think it would be folly in this situation to pretend that both kids had the exact same type of intelligence and would only leave one of them feeling devalued. So I have always tried to present high intelligence in a practical light, as a thing that people are born with just like any other ability/talent, and that can be taken advantage of or not by choice, and that while being an important part of the person does not necessarily define their entire being unless they choose it to. Sorry for the run on.

It is very obvious, even to children, that some people are smarter than others. If your kids see an obese person on the street and remark on them being big, you don't try to deny that the person is large but rather explain that everyone has different body types and that's okay. I think it is okay to explain different intelligences the same way. Oft-used mantras in my house are:

"Some people's brains work differently."
"Everyone is good at different things."
"Look at how different we are even though we are all in the same family. And think of the ways we are the same, too. People can be similar and different at the same time. Isn't that interesting?"

It seems to have worked for us so far. My kids have never thought of themselves as better than anyone else. I don't think the idea would even occur to them. Better than someone else at doing a back walkover? Sure. But not better as a PERSON.

By the way, I'm not sure my son would even identify with the word "gifted" since I don't really use it except online for the convenience of discussing his needs. But if we had to use it (for a school program, for instance), I would try to explain it in the same way I have presented above. However, since he doesn't go to school, and since our school system has no gifted accommodations anyway, the point is, with apologies to Rick Springfield, probably moot.
post #167 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by lckrause
Not to sully my good name any more than I already have in this thread , but I wanted to point out that some kids will figure out they are "different" whether you tell them or not. I certainly don't/didn't go around telling my kid how different or special or gifted he was, but he started comparing himself to other kids his age quite early anyways. At first it was in a puzzled way ("Why can't Christopher read?") and then in an uh-oh-I'm-different way. I realized at that point that it would only hurt and confuse him if I tried to ignore the fact of his thinking differently than most other people.

So yes, burn me at the stake if you like, but I do explain to my kids on a regular basis how everyone has different talents and not everyone can be master everything and some people think differently than others and that it's ALL OKAY. This has become especially necessary since I have one profoundly gifted child and one more moderately gifted/normally bright child. Honestly, I think it would be folly in this situation to pretend that both kids had the exact same type of intelligence and would only leave one of them feeling devalued. So I have always tried to present high intelligence in a practical light, as a thing that people are born with just like any other ability/talent, and that can be taken advantage of or not by choice, and that while being an important part of the person does not necessarily define their entire being unless they choose it to. Sorry for the run on.

It is very obvious, even to children, that some people are smarter than others. If your kids see an obese person on the street and remark on them being big, you don't try to deny that the person is large but rather explain that everyone has different body types and that's okay. I think it is okay to explain different intelligences the same way. Oft-used mantras in my house are:

"Some people's brains work differently."
"Everyone is good at different things."
"Look at how different we are even though we are all in the same family. And think of the ways we are the same, too. People can be similar and different at the same time. Isn't that interesting?"

It seems to have worked for us so far. My kids have never thought of themselves as better than anyone else. I don't think the idea would even occur to them. Better than someone else at doing a back walkover? Sure. But not better as a PERSON.

By the way, I'm not sure my son would even identify with the word "gifted" since I don't really use it except online for the convenience of discussing his needs. But if we had to use it (for a school program, for instance), I would try to explain it in the same way I have presented above. However, since he doesn't go to school, and since our school system has no gifted accommodations anyway, the point is, with apologies to Rick Springfield, probably moot.
Not only did you say what I wanted to say much better than I would have, but you referenced Rick Springfield! to you, Lisa!
post #168 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar
Yes, if the child is a typical learner those are exactly the things I'd need to know. If they are an atypical learner, I'd want to know that and also information about the ways in which they learn are different because I'm not afraid of talking about difference.
But there's no such thing as a "typical" learner, or "typical" kid. All kids are unique. You're creating a false dichotomy here, between the "gifted" kids and the lowly "normies".

I learned a lot about lepidoptery because my dad is into it, and I was immersed in butterflies from the time I was very young. If I had a question about a butterfly, this would be relevant information, as would be the fact that I've never been very interested in butterflies myself and didn't feel at all passionate about the subject, but wanted to learn in order to particpate more fully when my dad goes collecting. My being a "gifted", "atypical" leanrer wouldn't be at all relevant. Another child might be comfortable reading Time Warp Trio and Boxcar Children most of the time, but have a passion for butterflies, peruse Butterflies of North America regularly, and spend his weekends out collecting.
Quote:
What we've gotten from people over the years was "you didn't tell me and I wish you had because we just wasted three weeks". I've learned from this.
If something isn't working for you or your child, why in the world would you (or he) wait 3 weeks to express that?

Quote:
At the heart is - do some children have extreme abilities that require something really different? Is there way to acknowledge those differences if they are intellectual? How do we create the conditions where every child gets to learn in different environments even school?
This is a homeschooling board, not a schooling board, so I don't think your final question is relevant.

The assumption behind your first two questions is that most children can learn effectively using Method X, except for "extreme" children (by which I assume you mean what we're been calling "gifted" all along, although suddenly you've decided you don't like that term) who don't... therefore, they need to learn by Method Y, which is quantitatively different. I reject the original assumption.

Quote:
A gifted kids group is the first time he got to meet other kids who as passionate about physics (sorry FSM who says it is appropriate to reveal personal details of your children's phobias about graveyards but not to mention an interest in quantum physics).
Again, you're misquoting FSM. Since the actual quote is a click away, it seems to me that you're intentionally misquoting her in order to create a straw man. Mentioning an interest in quantum physics, when relevant to the conversation, doesn't bother anyone. Bursting out with "My child is learning physics at COLLEGE LEVEL!" is quite different.

dar
post #169 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
CB, I agree that as a practical solution within the existing framework, children's needs would be better met by allowing children to take classes by grade level (math 5th, english 2nd). However, I still have an issue with assigning perceived levels of difficulty to different grades. In Montessori, fractions, multiplication, and division are all available to and worked with by 3-6 year olds, but in many SDs and curriculums, it's seen as 2nd-3rd grade work. It's an incredibly subjective thing. Maybe a kid is fascinated by the rainforest and its inhabitants, but too bad, we don't study that 'til 4th grade. .
No argument from me there. I think grades are stupid -- primarily because they ignore individual interests and differences as the one you've mentioned (the rainforest). Although some things are clearly more "difficult" (e.g., calculus vs. arithmetic), I see no reason to assign them arbitrarily to a grade and act as a knowledge gatekeeper preventing the hoi polloi from soiling the vast intellectual temple, KWIM? I frankly believe that letting kids proceed at their own pace would work far better than our current system does -- but God help the kids who're genuinely different in this age of standardization and NCLB.

No wonder more people homeschool every year.
post #170 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nora'sMama
But IMO there is never reason to do an IQ test or to talk about "reading at an X grade level", "math at an X grade level".

I agree with you only if you're homeschooling through high school. My experience having been similar to yours, we're probably going to HS my DD through most of her education, for what it's worth. However, if by compulsion or by a feeling of necessity you have to send your child to school, having an IQ test's results or being able to verify that your X-year-old child reads at Z grade level is invaluable "proof" that you're not the fabled bragging flashcard parent with an attitude of "My child is better." So many schools have heard that line that using the word "gifted" is automatically met by rolling eyes -- but it's the objective results (yes, with the usual disclaimer about the supposed objectivity of tests) that make their eyes tend to stop rolling and start paying attention to the fact that yes, your child's needs are different and can't be met with an age-grade lockstep approach.
post #171 of 220
Roar- My son lost some interest in being so impressive when we stopped paying any attention.

IMO a child that is narrowly focused on one thing (skateboarding), especially at 2 should be guided and encouraged to chill out a little and diversify. That's how I feel. I am by no means saying that I am right. I personally would prefer not going down a road of accomplishment and praise from such a young age.

I'm sure Tiger Woods had some innate gifts but he was drilled and taught every day.

"I will admit we read to him though, is that allowed?"

This just seems silly to me. Of course we read to our son. And I am not in charge of what is allowed. Why so defensive? We have different beliefs, no biggy. And, I concede that maybe my son isn't "gifted" or he would have found a way to develop those gifts without any prodding. It is my OPINION that too much emphasis is placed on these labels.

I don't understand how, after reading Norasmom's post there could be much debate here. At least everyone could meet in the middle. "Gifted", IQ tests, grades, labels etc. should be used as little as possible to describe a child, especially in their presence.
post #172 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Baudelaire
I agree with you only if you're homeschooling through high school. My experience having been similar to yours, we're probably going to HS my DD through most of her education, for what it's worth. .
You or your child will also need to be prepared to speak in terms of completing grades or courses for the purposes of college admissions if that is a goal.
post #173 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
But there's no such thing as a "typical" learner, or "typical" kid. All kids are unique. You're creating a false dichotomy here, between the "gifted" kids and the lowly "normies".dar
There are kids who learn around a pace for what is typical for their age. There are kids who really struggle and kids who don't. To be dishonest about that I think does no one any good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
My being a "gifted", "atypical" leanrer wouldn't be at all relevant.dar
I disagree as it would influence the way you worked through material and what materials would be appropriate or helpful to you. If you couldn't read someone would need to know that so they could read to you. Knowing you'd extensively studied biology already may help someone pick a book that would be appropriately challenging.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
If something isn't working for you or your child, why in the world would you (or he) wait 3 weeks to express that? dar
He was quite young at the time and having been raised to be polite rather than demanding he wasn't quite sure how to tell someone that the work bored him. And, my reaction is probably because I've heard too many conversations similar to the ones here and we were overly cautious about expressing the full extent of our son's abilities. It is a very difficult thing to talk about intellectual differences in this culture and it often isn't well received. As I said I tend to be more open about it now and there are more obvious markers the older he gets or the initial contacts may have been made by a professor who already knows him so things are said by someone else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
This is a homeschooling board, not a schooling board, so I don't think your final question is relevant. dar
Okay, there has been a lot of discussion about public schools but you can feel free to opt out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
The assumption behind your first two questions is that most children can learn effectively using Method X, except for "extreme" children (by which I assume you mean what we're been calling "gifted" all along, although suddenly you've decided you don't like that term) who don't... therefore, they need to learn by Method Y, which is quantitatively different. I reject the original assumption.dar
I was referring to children at the extremes - those who learn especially quickly and those that learn especially slowly. As many can attest kids who are in the middle tend to do fine (sure we know as homeschoolers maybe not great, maybe not fully thriving, but they may do okay). The 2nd grader who needs algebra or the 2nd grader who doesn't know what a number is will most certainly get less out of the class than the child who is learning on target for what is typical for the age.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
Again, you're misquoting FSM. Since the actual quote is a click away, it seems to me that you're intentionally misquoting her in order to create a straw man. Mentioning an interest in quantum physics, when relevant to the conversation, doesn't bother anyone. Bursting out with "My child is learning physics at COLLEGE LEVEL!" is quite different.dar
Quote:
Originally Posted by FSM
What I do is say, "my daughter really enjoys reading...she enjoys writing...she enjoys fractions and learning about the night sky...she's sensitive towards the concept death, so don't talk about the graveyards..." I don't use the label, I don't quantify (i.e. she's reading at X LEVEL! She's doing QUANTUM PHYSICS at College level!) just like I don't use labels in our discipline (i.e. she's bad, she's good, she's ambivalent).FSM
To each her own. Personally I find it incredibly odd that a parent would think it is appropriate to share their child's fears about death or graveyards, but find it overly personal to share an interest and ability in quantum physics. Certainly I can imagine the situation where the discussion of the child's fears with their permission might be appopriate. I find it very odd though that this is considered somehow more appropriate than chatting about a love of quantum physics. I guess it is cool to chat about Digimon or graveyard phobias, but putting on airs to mention physics.
post #174 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by mijumom
My son lost some interest in being so impressive when we stopped paying any attention.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mijumom
I personally would prefer not going down a road of accomplishment and praise from such a young age.
I don't see how accomplishment and praise or giftedness and praise are necessarily related. This may have been the case for your family, but I don't share your experience.

I was a horrible perfectionist as a child, a characteristic I've been working modifying well into my adult life. A little Alfie Kohn and a lot of reflection prior to DD1's birth caused DH and myself to try to limit the use of praise with our children. We have been successful and find other ways of expressing our joy of being with her; DD1 wasn't praised for learning her letters at a very early age, we even tried to dissuade her by redirecting her towards more "average" things. No go. She does what she does because she is driven. She's not doing it to please anyone, or to receive praise or any other external reward. Likewise, DD2 isn't praised for the amazing (to me) things she can do physically, she is self-driven (and almost literally unstoppable).

DD1 doesn't hear "smart" or anything similar from DH or myself, yet she hears this almost every day from people she meets. I can't put a t-shirt on the girl saying, "if you label me, you negate me" (thank you Mike Myers). Believe me, I wish I could. When she asks, I talk with her about differences between people: "Everyone learns things at different rates", "your friends aren't reading yet, they'll learn when they're ready", etc. We don't make value judgements. I try not to couch it terms of adeptness, because I don't want her to get the idea that things should come to her effortlessly. This was a problem for both DH and myself in college. OTOH, she can see that other children (even her sister!) can do things physically that she's just not ready for, and we talk about those differences the same way. Phrases like "you don't learn unless you make mistakes" are common in our household.

No matter how insulated our children at home, there's a whole world out there waiting to label them, and misunderstand them and challenge them, (or not). I wish I had known more about giftedness when I was growing up. Not because I would have felt "smarter" or "better" but because I could have understood that I wasn't alone, I wasn't a freak, there were other people like me. Early on in my reading about giftedness, I was often reduced to tears (especially when reading Smart Girls by Kerr) because I was able to recognize qualities I'd thought of a flaws or faults in myself as being shared with others; I was OK.

I think it would help if we could all take a step back and acknowledge that, while personal stories are valuable, you can't generalize from them (well, unless you have a substantial collection of course). It would also help if we could let go of a few stereotypes: the pushy parent for one. Yes, they exist, but giftedness in children exists indepently of them.

FSM, I don't live where you do. I don't have any interest in DD1 being labeled for status reasons. I am not those parents you seem to have such an (understandable) issue with. I live two blocks from the "elite" gifted magnet in town and still didn't think twice about homeschooling. While I don't believe a label will help her success or fail in her dealings with the rest of the world, I do want to equip her with all the tools she needs to feel good about herself and her quirks. We don't bandy the term "gifted" around her, but when the time comes, we won't shy away from it. FWIW, I've never liked the term anyway; I prefer "accelerated learner" like is used on TWTM boards.

A good portion of the giftedness discussion on this thread has been devoted to public schools. I agree that it would be wonderful if every child were in a position to learn at their own rate for every subject. However, we don't exist in that world. Is it not possible that some children are not only held back, but damaged by being forced to sit through lessons covering material they mastered years prior? So all kids are bored in kindergarten, so the schools suck. Does that mean we should throw up our hands and say that no one should get any accomodation? If you're so bored you end up acting up and dropping out, tough? Is it possible that schools suck more for some children and if a low cost alternative such as acceleration exists (for districts that are cash strapped), is that such a bad thing?
post #175 of 220
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Originally Posted by mijumom
Roar- My son lost some interest in being so impressive when we stopped paying any attention.
What kind of attention were you paying? I agree that if the child's interests or accomplishments are parent directed or reinforced by quizzing or praise those will likely fade over time especially if the parent figures out that's not what is best for the kid. I would caution you though against assuming that because you quizzed or pushed that other people have done the same. Or that if you continued to quiz or push that your child would have accomplished a particular thing.

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Originally Posted by mijumom
IMO a child that is narrowly focused on one thing (skateboarding), especially at 2 should be guided and encouraged to chill out a little and diversify. That's how I feel. I am by no means saying that I am right. I personally would prefer not going down a road of accomplishment and praise from such a young age.
I think it is going to depend a lot on the kid and the family what is appropriate. I don't lump accomplishment and praise together. It is very possible for a child to set goals for themselves and accomplish them (I expect most kids do this - like I want to learn to ride a bike or I want to read the Harry Potter book all by myself). I don't see self motivation or goal setting as a bad thing. Parents can help with limits and perspective as needed. It is very possible for a child to be accomplished on their own and to be self satisfied with that rather than to be praised for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mijumom
And, I concede that maybe my son isn't "gifted" or he would have found a way to develop those gifts without any prodding.
I have no notion if your son is gifted or not and to be clear I didn't comment on that.
post #176 of 220
I realize that this is the homeschooling board, but I do want to point out that not everyone with a child who is gifted, learns faster, etc (whatever you want to call it) will be homeschooling. I don't plan to, for instance, and we do intend to at least consider the gifted magnet schools here for DD (among other options) if that seems appropriate at the time. If I want my child to succeed in this public school district, it is possible that this label may come up. I don't think that makes me the world's worst parent.

I want to point out, too, that what people presumably see as a lot of yakkety-yak about gifted kids here at MDC (I can't help but think that a lot of folk are lurking in the Special Needs of Gifted Kids thread...) is most likely not a very fair sampling of how these parents talk about and act about their kids in other settings. I am not prancing around saying, "Ooooh, my DD is GIFTED!" hither and yon. I have never used it to describe DD in her hearing--in fact, I don't use it anywhere except in discussions like this online and with my husband and a very few (two or three) friends. I am part of another large online community of parents where I never say Thing One about the "g-word" or, in fact, about very much at all that DD "does." And God knows I never say anything about any of this to parents of her peers.

When DD was 18 months old, we went to a birthday party for an older playgroup friend who was turning two; many parents there had not met her, and a lot of comments were made about her (at that time extremely obvious) quirky verbal precocity. I came home and cried. It was no one's fault, but I felt like DD would never fit in or be happy, and possibly that there was something wrong with her in some way. I've since gotten a better grip, but...don't assume that everyone is just sitting around giving themselves blue ribbons and pats on the back about their "gifted" kids.

Quote:
I still can't see how labeling young children is helpful.
The labeling itself is probably not the helpful part. But it may be helpful, for some people, to be able to talk to other parents whose kids are similar to theirs, just as moms of "high-needs" kids might need to talk to other moms of high-needs kids, etc. I've recently connected with another mom on this board whose toddler seems freakily similar to mine in many ways. Both of us have worried about our kids. Both of us have been reassured and helped by connecting. We met in the (gasp!) gifted kids thread.

It also is nice at times to be able to talk about what one's child is doing without getting an anxious/cross-eyed/spotlighting response from other parents. I know that people do this--I've been guilty of it myself, even, mostly about physical things, since DD is not a physical child. "Wow, he can X? That's really something!" These comments don't make people awful people or obnoxious parents. But it can be uncomfortable. It's nice to occasionally not to have to worry about that. Maybe if I were truly enlightened, I wouldn't feel the need to say, "Hey, DD did this cool thing today!" to anyone, but I'm human, and occasionally I do.

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don't understand how, after reading Norasmom's post there could be much debate here.
I in no way mean to discount Nora'sMama's posts, as they obviously represent her reality (and I know other labeled-gifted people who have had the same reality). However, it's clear to me that not every child who is told he/she is gifted will go down this same road and have these same feelings. Some surely do, just as some kids who have success at music, athletics, etc. will probably have mixed experiences with that and different opinions on how it affected them in the long run.
post #177 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar
There are kids who learn around a pace for what is typical for their age. There are kids who really struggle and kids who don't. To be dishonest about that I think does no one any good.
Who learn what? There are kids who may learn to read without any drama at around 6, but know more about dinosaurs than most adults by 3, and not have a good grasp of place value until 12. That's typical. Really, how many children do you know? I've spent most of my life working with children and I find the idea that there is one pace for learning everything that is "typical" for a certain age to be laughable.


Quote:
I disagree as it would influence the way you worked through material and what materials would be appropriate or helpful to you. If you couldn't read someone would need to know that so they could read to you. Knowing you'd extensively studied biology already may help someone pick a book that would be appropriately challenging.
But knowing that I can read or have already extensively studied biology prove my point, not yours. Saying that I'm a "gifted", "atypical" learner is useless, whereas the former statements provide useful information without any labeling.


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He was quite young at the time and having been raised to be polite rather than demanding he wasn't quite sure how to tell someone that the work bored him.
Off-topic, but telling an adult mentor or a parent that an activity isn't meeting your needs isn't being "demanding", and one can make one's needs known while still being polite. I'd be very concerned if my child was that uncommunicative when something wasn't working for her, frankly.

Quote:
And, my reaction is probably because I've heard too many conversations similar to the ones here and we were overly cautious about expressing the full extent of our son's abilities. It is a very difficult thing to talk about intellectual differences in this culture and it often isn't well received.
Well... that sounds like you'd frame it as: "My child is really quite gifted and you're just not giving him things to do that are at his advanced level" and I do agree that that probably wouldn't be well received... but statements about his needs that don't refer to labels or levels generally work much better.

Quote:
The 2nd grader who needs algebra or the 2nd grader who doesn't know what a number is will most certainly get less out of the class than the child who is learning on target for what is typical for the age.
Again, this is a homeschool board I don't believe that any children are well-served at school, so I'm not going to get into discussions about which children are better served than others. We're all homeschooling - how does this apply?

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I guess it is cool to chat about Digimon or graveyard phobias, but putting on airs to mention physics.
Are you even reading the quotes that you post? You've missed the whole point. If you want to talk about your child's interest in physics or Jane Eyre or digimon or paleontology or whatever, that's fine. No one objects. If you want to go around comparing or labeling ("quantum physics at College Level!"), well... why? What exactly is the point of noting how much higher and better your kid is that other kids? Why can't it be okay for your kid to just be where he is, and forget beating the Joneses?

dar
post #178 of 220
Quote:
You can feel free to consider the ability to get to the top level on a video game to be an equal accomplishment to composing a great song or saving a life but I don't.
YK, I for one (and I'll bet I am the only one ) do consider video gaming to be beautiful, an art form along the lines of composing a great song. If you'd ever seen someone really good play a video game, could you appreciate it? The strategy, teamwork, precision, and the graphics, are beautiful. Do you have any idea how much work it takes to get to the top level of a video game? Or to be at a professional level at TWO video games at once....I mean, think the BO JACKSON of video games? Have you no respect for that? The time and effort that it takes to get to the level where you could MAKE A LIVING playing video games, and get sponsors?

How come most people would respect a football or baseball or golf player for what they do and not a professional video game player? Not all people want to study quantum physics all day. Some want to stop learning math at algebra or learn quantum physics as quickly as possible so that they can get onto the really important things in life....video gaming!!! It is a pretty big industry. I have had a child who saved a life, and a child who got to the top level of a video game and I don't rate the accomplishments of one over the other. They are both doing what they are gifted at doing. I consider the ones amazing gift at seeing something out of place and rescuing people (three times!) a gift. The ability to be really book smart, also a gift. The ability to study and understand higher level math, a gift. Sometimes you might have the ability to do something, but lack the passion for it. The children who are average, or even below average, or the children who have just not found their passions yet....we can celebrate all of them...

Originally, I thought that since I had a gifted child they would end up having to use their gifts for something momentus. Something like being a doctor and finding the cure for cancer! I learned over time, that what was important was that the child was happy, and the child pursued his passions, even if he grew up to operate a garbage truck, so be it.

In the beginning I bragged on, mentioned, and overly stressed and focused on the giftedness. This made the children coming after this child uncomfortable. It also was labeling the child "this is the gifted one", which is a mistake on the lines of duh in parenting 101.....but I learn things the hard way. A long time ago, I began to see that my over hoopla'd ness about my oldest child's giftedness was some kind of pride thing for me. I realized that I not only couldn't take any credit for the gifted child's accomplishments, I couldn't take the credit for the learning disabled child and their accomplishments....it was a personal growth area for me to see this. I am getting to where I don't even need to use these labels at all for any of the children.

I did start like the other poster to recognize other gifts as being important. We have grown as a family and we no longer consider any one gift any one of us has as being more important or valued over anyone elses. We all make contributions, and everyones contribution is important and valued, from the biggest to the smallest.
post #179 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
Who learn what? There are kids who may learn to read without any drama at around 6, but know more about dinosaurs than most adults by 3, and not have a good grasp of place value until 12. dar
So, your contention is that it is all entirely random and there are no typical patterns that can be discerned? I disagree. The reality is that some kids are MUCH MORE bored in school than others. There is a middle group that learns not all exactly every single thing at the same pace, but quite a bit. There are kids that are years ahead before they begin school and kids who really struggle. I wonder what the investment is in being dishonest about that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
That's typical. Really, how many children do you know? I've spent most of my life working with children and I find the idea that there is one pace for learning everything that is "typical" for a certain age to be laughable.
Do you really believe you are the only one who knows lots of kids? I've worked with kids in a variety of environments and yes there tends to be a middle group that group work is better for and those at the extremes who are bored or struggling to keep up who it works less well for. My guess is that some of us here strongly remember being bored in school and others remember struggling to keep up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
But knowing that I can read or have already extensively studied biology prove my point, not yours. Saying that I'm a "gifted", "atypical" learner is useless, whereas the former statements provide useful information without any labeling.
Ah, but it is a lot more complicated than that. We've learned as time goes one, but the experience we've had in the past goes a bit more like this....Kid knows nothing about topic and parents assume hey this class or mentor will work out great. Parents and kid fail to say anything about abilities. Kid meets with adult for a couple of weeks. At that point the high school books come out. Parent scratches head and thinks "really, the kid doesn't know anything about that topic" and wonders if this person really knows what they are talking about. By week three they move on to the college text and are wondering why they wasted the first three weeks. Works great if it is meeting one on one, but no so well if it was in a group with another kid who learns at a different rate. Again, you may be more comfortable not acknowleding intellectual differences but they exist and life has been easier for us since we got honest about that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
Off-topic, but telling an adult mentor or a parent that an activity isn't meeting your needs isn't being "demanding", and one can make one's needs known while still being polite. I'd be very concerned if my child was that uncommunicative when something wasn't working for her, frankly. dar
Maybe your child is more gifted in the area of interpersonal communication. As I explained in the other email he was very young. It was a learning process. It can be tricky for young kid because they may be thinking "hooray physics" and not really know how to communicate "hooray physics, but can you pick up the pace". It is easy for an adult to have that type of perspective but not so easy for a seven year old with limited experience with different learning situations. And, this may be especially a kid who is already really well aquainted with being polite about learning differences.

What I'm hearing from you is that we have failed to properly talk about learning differences. Either we talk too much or we talk not enough, or we say the wrong things. Since you know how to do it better I would like to hear more about your experience arranging mentoring or class opportunities for an atypical learner and how you handled these communications.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
Well... that sounds like you'd frame it as: "My child is really quite gifted and you're just not giving him things to do that are at his advanced level" and I do agree that that probably wouldn't be well received... but statements about his needs that don't refer to labels or levels generally work much better.dar
LOL.

The trick is that it doesn't always make sense to frame something in terms of accomplishment or interest in a particular area because there may be none, but the child may still learn very differently. In order to understand that you have to be accepting of the idea of intellectual differences though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
Again, this is a homeschool board I don't believe that any children are well-served at school, so I'm not going to get into discussions about which children are better served than others. We're all homeschooling - how does this apply?dar
For me what happens in school matters. Someday I'm going to be an old person in need of a doctor, a postal carrier, a car mechanic, a good neighbor, etc. Most kids go to school and if they are poorly educated we all suffer. If their needs aren't met we all suffer. Also, as much as folks don't like to think about it, I'll mention that more than half of the people we knew that thought they'd homeschool forever now have children in school. Circumstances can change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
If you want to go around comparing or labeling ("quantum physics at College Level!"), well... why? What exactly is the point of noting how much higher and better your kid is that other kids? Why can't it be okay for your kid to just be where he is, and forget beating the Joneses? dar
What does "going around noting" even mean?

And, it is so okay for my kid to be exactly where he is. To honestly talk about that is going to include mentioning things like quantum physics and college...because those are where he is. The question is why you seem to have decided that means it is better or about beating the Jones, when it is simply about being and following interests which is what I hope most homeschoolers are about.
post #180 of 220
I am the one that said Dar could say she was sorry and give me a hug for having a gifted child. Half joking, but every joke has that element of truth to it.

If you only knew how exasperating it has been. YEARS of having a child who has the debate skills of a lawyer for the supreme court and who chooses to use his skills to get out of brushing his teeth....:

You can turn that around however you want....it is what it is. The one particular child has taken more time and attention than all of the other four combined. We had to quit allowing him to take more time and attention then the others, really, and struggle to keep our attention more equally balanced. It hasn't been easy.
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