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