Ever accused of "pushing" your gifted kid? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 68 Old 08-06-2003, 09:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey, I was wondering if anyone here could give me some insight. I'm sorry if this sounds as if I'm bragging, but we have a daughter we're pretty sure is gifted. She's 2.5 and is already capable of some skills that are generally mastered years ahead of where she happens to be. (Sorry about the vagueness, but I really don't want this to sound like a brag thread).

Well and good, right? Not quite...

What do you do about people who tacitly or openly accuse you of "pushing"? We were at a family support center that we've gone to since dd was five months old when the director observed her doing an advanced activity. I was doing volunteer work and saw the director looking at dd, but didn't say anything. The director was silent, and I think she was simply evaluating whether or not my dd was really doing what she appeared to be.

"Well," she said rather crisply, "It's a miracle that you have any free time at all."

"I'm sorry?" I asked, genuinely mystified.

"You obviously," she said, "spend a lot of time with her."

The problem was, this comment (which I normally would have taken as a compliment) was said with an undertone that communicated something very different: "You must drill the crap out of her to get her to do that activity and therefore have no free time."

I thought at first that I was being hypersensitive, so I just explained that dd had taught herself the activity and that it was something she genuinely enjoyed doing. Her eyebrows were raised so high in this skeptical expression that it's a wonder they didn't go all the way around the back of her head.

Throughout, the message was very clear: "I think you're pushing her."

My own mother, when we told her about some of dd's activities, asked, "What are your goals here?" (Wow...didn't know they were my goals...I thought they were dd's...) and "You do realize, don't you, what a monster you're creating."

My question to anyone out there is this: Have you ever experienced this reaction? If so, what were your responses? I love hearing some of the witty, pithy, and above all, funny responses that the moms have offered here in response to criticism for breastfeeding, AP parenting, gentle discipline, et al., and now I'd love to hear how you ladies deal with this situation.
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#2 of 68 Old 08-06-2003, 10:10 PM
 
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Don't have any advice, but I can commiserate. To make matters worse, my 2 1/2 yo has sensory integration dysfuntion so she's really ackward and fearful around climbing stuff and can barely run or climb stairs. So people assume I never let her out all day and just drill academics....so far from the truth!!!!!

I usually write such comments off to jealousy or mean spiritedness or guilt (if their child is in daycare and they think if they were home their child would be doing better). Sometimes I say something like, "Everyone is on their own timeline, there's nothing wrong with that..."
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#3 of 68 Old 08-06-2003, 10:16 PM
 
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My son will turn three at the end of the month. He is verbally gifted and first displayed this talent when he began speaking at 7 months of age. Initially, when I shared some of his early words with others (especially my child care provider), I was met with disbelief. Gradually, people would come back to me and say, "You know, I think you're right. He is starting to talk." But this was weeks after I had heard him say his first few words. Annoying, yes, but mostly harmless. It got worse as his vocabulary increased. By the time he was a year old and knew all the names for colors (not just purple, but lilac and lavendar too) I was blatantly accused (oh, in a "friendly" way) of training him with flashcards. Or, get this--sitting with a box of Crayolas and deliberately instructing him on color names! And forget about when he learned to count to 15 really early, sing the ABCs, and name the shapes. I unfortunately came up with nothing witty to say, short of the sarcastic, "Yeah, that's what my 15 month old and I do in our free time" kind of response. The thing is that I am a grade school teacher, so I was super self- conscious for a really long time that others felt I was trying to create some brainy kid or something. Truth is, my son absorbs words like nothing I've ever seen in any of my 2nd grade students over the course of 6 years of teaching! I'm not a gifted teacher, I guess, because I can't get these results in 7 year olds, try as I might...but my son is clearly a gifted learner. I know what you're saying, and I look forward to others' responses here.
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#4 of 68 Old 08-07-2003, 02:35 AM
 
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I guess the first thing that comes to my mind when presented with these sorts of comments is to turn it around to the other person so that they might see how silly they sound. For example:

ignorant person (IP): "you obviously spend alot of time with her"
supermama (you): <polite but confused look on your face> "why do you say that?"
IP: "well, I mean look at what she's doing. it must have taken alot of drilling to get that skill"
supermama: "uh, no....why do think that?"
IP: "well, it's just not normal for a kid her age to be able to do that"
supermama: "so what you are saying is that the only way she could be doing that is if i'm some pushy parent who drills her child night and day to satisfy some deep unmet need within myself?"

...okay, so that last line was a bit sarcastic, lol.

But seriously, I find that if you reflect back the person's comments/questions to them, mirror what they are saying (in a supposed effort to understand them; acting innocent to the fact that the comment is delivered with negative connotations) that they may just see how stupid their comment is, and it requires no rudeness or attitude from you, just a "genuine" attempt to grasp what they are saying.

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#5 of 68 Old 08-07-2003, 06:01 AM
 
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Oh, yes, I can relate.

A few years ago, my eldest daughter started preschool. She turned 4 the first day. All the kids in her class had cutoff birthdays -- two weeks before Sept. 1 to two weeks after -- so they were all essentially the same age.

On orientation day, while the teachers talked to the parents about policies and such, all the kids could play with toys or color. The teachers had taken huge rolls of paper and taped them to the tables and provided crayons.

By the end of the hour, most of the kids had scribbled on the paper. My daughter had written her name, the names of all her neighborhood friends, the name of the grocery store, a list of some things she wanted to buy there, pictures of our cats with their names underneath, and pictures of our house, family, car, etc.

One of the teachers made a point of remarking, in front of all the other parents, "You must work with her a lot." I had to honestly reply, "Um, no. She asks me how to spell things all the time, and likes to send letters to her friends on our street." She also liked to make our grocery list, and that's how she knew how to spell cat food, bread, apples, things like that.

All year I got a weird vibe from that one teacher and from some of the parents.

At the end of the year, when I didn't sign dd up for another year, the director asked me why not, and I was honest. I told her that dd was bored with gluing popcorn to a big paper P when at home, she was reading second-grade level books. The director gave me a look of pity and a lecture on how she'd observed my daughter, she couldn't possibly be bored, and that I really shouldn't push her.

I've never pushed -- all three of my kids have pulled! And now we homeschool for that reason.

I've also had one neighbor, who has children roughly the same ages as mine, who used to comment all the time that my kids "just aren't normal." Grr.

Diana
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#6 of 68 Old 08-07-2003, 10:03 AM
 
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How about a simple "Yes, she's a delightful child. I enjoy spending time with her.", smile, and walk away. And most importantly, don't let what other's say/do bother you!!
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#7 of 68 Old 08-07-2003, 10:19 AM
 
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Interesting, girlsaplenty. I'd be upset if someone said my kid "wasn't normal" but I find myself saying that about him to justify his unusual abilities- and to calm the friends whose kids are not doing what he's able to do at similar ages. I don't think I should make remarks like that about him (and I would never so it in his presence) but I find myself doing it anyway.
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#8 of 68 Old 08-07-2003, 10:48 AM
 
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I agree that most people who make these kinds of comments are insecure in some way.

My dd is "gifted" (I don't love that word, actually) in her language abilities - speaking, reading, writing, ability to understand complex situations, etc. Yet she is also just about where she should be socially. Every child is different, and I wish more people could accept their children for who they are, rather than compare and always find themselves dissatisfied! Poor kids...

I think that simply "playing dumb" works wonders to make people realize how inappropriate their comments are! Just respond with an innocent, "Why do you say that?" to the comments, and once they are forced to explain what they mean, they start to realize that they should have kept their mouths shut. Stinging comments are cowardly; once the person is asked to expand on them, they usually retreat!

As far as preschools go (for those who mentioned their child being bored), well, that's why my dd goes to a preschool that does not teach academics. She would also be bored with learning the alphabet. Pick a school where the kids do lots of art, science experiments (like planting seeds, hatching butterflies, etc.), cooking - that way kids of all levels of ability can participate and they will all get whatever they are ready for out of the activities.
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#9 of 68 Old 08-07-2003, 12:10 PM
 
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Let me first say that your kids all sound amazing! My 1 yo dd is moderately advanced in some skills and right on track on others. My friend's daughter, who is about 19 or 20 months old is gifted similarly to lunamom's dd (in verbal skills, etc., but right on socially). I have to admit to having a passing thought or two similar to what you feel others are thinking (she MUST be drilling her for her to know so many words), but it's only a passing thought. I've spent time with this little girl and she's been picking up words others use around her since she was under a year. I agree with whoever said that my feelings WERE probably related to the fact that I do work FT out of the home (DH is with DD while I'm at work) and feel like I'm not doing enough for DD. In other words, I AM a little jealous of the time she gets to spend with her dd (not of the fact her dd is so gifted bc I know my dd is just fine, but there's still that little bit of worry there - if only I were home with her, maybe she'd be ahead, too). But I would NEVER voice those fleeting thoughts to my friend. I don't understand why people have to be so hurtful.
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#10 of 68 Old 08-07-2003, 01:47 PM
 
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I'm glad you posted this because I'm looking for a good response too.
My ds is 3 and rides his bike without training wheels. He's the one that asked us to take them off because he was frustrated with them. Anyway, I've gotten some wierd comments along the same lines as you.

In a way I am kindof proud of him and I think I have a right to be. It doesn't mean that I pushed him to do it! Those comments really annoy me.
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#11 of 68 Old 08-07-2003, 04:19 PM
 
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I just tell people that I can't make her do something she's not capable of doing yet, and reassure them that she takes the initiative.

When she started asking the names of letters at 15 mos. it was all her, I just answered her. I guess in that way, yeah, I did spend a lot of time with her instead of putting her in front of TV all day or something.

My aunt totally thinks I'm pushing her but know what? I could care less. She doesn't know me or my dd and I just hold my head high.

Darshani

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#12 of 68 Old 08-07-2003, 06:42 PM
 
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Are these suspicions from parents more than non-parents?

Kind of heartbreaking if that is the case because it is based in insecurity. The parents saying these things are probably looking at these activities as predictors of success and ultimately happiness and feeling that thier child, who can't read at 21/2, isn't going to be a super sucessfull and thus happy adult. The truth is that gifted children are just as likely (and unlikely) not to do well in life as ungifted.

My DH was reading at 2 years; he finally (finally!) graduated from a state college with a B- average at 30. Lots of "average" kids surpassed him long ago in terms of academics and career.

Then there is the problem with tying success to happiness, but that is another thread.

I know it is hard when you are being accused of being the academic version of stage mother, but I'd try to have sympathy for these people who comment, especially mothers. I like the poster's suggestion of saying that "oh kids do these things on thier own timeline " (afterall, like potty training, it will mostly even out - we all reach adulthood using the toilet and knowing what lavender means, whether we learned tehse things at 2 or 4 or . . .).

Now you Mom thsough. No sympathy there; she is just being rude (unless she feel guilfy for not spending more time with you when you were a todler and thus feels like your dd's acomplishments are accusation of her mothering?)

Good luck!
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#13 of 68 Old 08-07-2003, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Man, I'm glad that I'm not alone.

It was a very rude awakening with dd, because I (naturally??) assumed that any rude comments (e.g., "They're not normal" -- ooh, that would've made me steamed!) would have come from strangers or passing acquaintances.

Instead, the most negative reactions have come from people who know us fairly well, particularly my mom.

Darshani, I can't agree with you more -- you can't make a kid learn something they're not capable of learning. It's like me and algebra, to my shame.

I do like the "playing dumb" idea, reflecting back their comment at them. One of my faults is that I keep feeling the need to justify or over-explain. I'd make a horrible criminal. Anyway, I suppose I feel a need to cover up or assuage their suspicion (or outright belief) that we're pushing dd by reassuring them that no, we are not, but honestly, I think it's a waste of breath.

So what are you all going to do with your kids when they get to school, provided the "evening out" idea is a myth?
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#14 of 68 Old 08-07-2003, 10:10 PM
 
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I deal with this a fair bit too, and that's saying something because Eli will be 9 months old tomorrow. It usually comes in the form of "What are you doing with him?" *shudder* Like I must be sitting around with flashcards or something because he's talking a lot more than most kids. I try to be honest "Well, I talk to him, so he talks back to me." People who don't know me very well tend to assume that he's not really talking (grrr!), and people who *do* know me don't know what to say. (I was a very "gifted" child who grew up into what most people would call an "unsuccessful" adult.)

Eli is *definately* getting homeschooled; I won the argument with dh by pointing out some of my nieces experiences in Kindergarten.

When he's a bit older, I'll teach him how not to scare the muggles. . It took me a long time, but that was because I was so insecure. Eli already has a better childhood than I did, and dh and I are both working hard to improve upon it even more.

My mother used to deal with this problem by pointing out my faults. "Oh, you must have worked so hard to get her to read at two! Aren't you proud of her?" "Well, her brother tied his shoelaces earlier. She's very uncoordinated." : Very depressing. *sigh*

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#15 of 68 Old 08-07-2003, 11:21 PM
 
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Often when it's other mothers I think they're trying to compare, or figure out if their child is not doing something they're supposed to be doing, or or or ...

Their own insecurities about their own kids.

And from other folks, I just smile and say, "Thanks for the parenting advice." And change the subject very bluntly.

: Is that rude? :LOL
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#16 of 68 Old 08-07-2003, 11:53 PM
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My dd just turned 6 and reads at least on a 5th-grade level. And she reads FAST, too--she can read a 200 page book (on a 5th grade level) in about a day.

I sometimes get disbelief--like I'm making up the fact that she can read that well. I'm lucky, though, that most of the people close to us are proud of her and find her "amazing."

I think the one with the jealousy, though, is her 7 year-old cousin who can't read as well. (We certainly have never tried to point out the differences between them, of course, but the cousin just picks up on the fact that she (the cousin) can't read as well, and she treats my dd badly because of it.

Kindergarten was a COMPLETE waste of a year. The teacher sat them in front of the TV most of the time, when he wasn't "teaching" them colors and letters. : (Yes, I complained to the principal, to no avail.)

This year we're sticking her in a Waldorf-type private school. Hopefully she'll at least have more fun.
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#17 of 68 Old 08-08-2003, 02:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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THE TELEVISION???? :Puke

Oh, this is a nightmare. We're intending to HS DD mostly because I have heard an earful from the parents of other kids whose experiences in school have been...less than ideal.

Why is it that schools apparently are unwilling to accomodate kids whose learning is as qualitatively and quantitatively different from the norm as is the learning of special needs kids? THEY deserve a differentiated curriculum, so why don't the children on the other end of the spectrum?

I have a feeling, Mamajulie, that your dd is not going to "even out" by third grade...and I have a feeling no one else's kid will either. They'll camouflage, sure, or be bored and get labeled as underachievers, but "even out"?

I don't think so...
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#18 of 68 Old 08-08-2003, 03:11 AM
 
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Quote:
So what are you all going to do with your kids when they get to school
We plan to homeschool. Dd is a very sweet and loving, but spirited child. She takes a while to warm up to strangers and I know that putting her into school with a bunch of kids and adults she doesn't know would be traumatic to her.

Not to mention what I think of most kids these days being raised by parents who are too busy to teach them good manners and kindness. I would hate to spoil that in dd with a class bully or something. I can't shelter her forever from the hardships of life, but just throwing her into school and expecting her to cope isn't my idea of teaching her anything.

In our school district they absolutely won't let a child into kindergarten until age 5, no exceptions. Which I agree with to a point because many parents are pushing their kids to learn what they are not ready to. At the same time, my dd's bday is in December which means she won't be able to start kindergarten until age 5 years 9 mos. old. She already knows a lot of stuff that they learn in kindergarten and I feel it would be a waste of time and she'd be bored.

I'm starting her in a preschool homeschooling program next fall at age 3 years 9 mos. I think she's ready for some of it now but I have seen the cirriculum from a friend and there are still things that are way beyond her like reading longer stories and retelling what happened, and her coodination is not there yet to, for example, draw a line from one object to another, connect dots, or write letters (although she's starting to write crude letters).

Homeschooling is cool because *I* can decide what she's ready to learn and when.

Darshani

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#19 of 68 Old 08-08-2003, 08:35 AM
 
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Ditto what Darshani said.

All three of my girls just barely missed the kindergarten cutoff -- one by six days. I was really annoyed over that back in the days when I thought I'd put my kids in school. But the missed cutoff turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it forced me to look at other alternatives, and it gave my lukewarm-on-homeschooling dh a reason to consider it.

Now we're happily in our third year of homeschooling. And every year people ask, so, when are you sending them to school? All I have to say is FCAT and they shut right up. LOL! (FCAT is the horrible Florida public school system's horrible standardized test.)

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#20 of 68 Old 08-08-2003, 03:02 PM
 
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I seriously think that most of the negative (or back-handed compliments) are pure jealousy. My 19mo doesn't talk yet, and it is really hard to see a child half his age jabbering away sometimes. I have to remind myself that my child would probably blow them away with other things...like his drawing abilities and musical ability, but it is so hard to remember that each child has his own timeline, especially when there is so much pressure to "be the best".

I also have to remember that giftedness comes with it's own challenges. My brother was gifted (143 IQ I think) and it took him 7 years of college to get his engineering degree. He really floundered at first because he had never had to study to do well. All of a sudden he had to learn how to study. He is now moderatly successful, but nowhere near what he dreamed of being (wanted to design race cars & be part of a pit crew. He designs combines...which he is happy about, but not quite his "dream"). I was borderline gifted (137 IQ) and have yet to graduate college. My dh is a genius (160 or 165...he can't remember exactly) and hasn't yet graduated college and has found very little success career wise & has difficulty in social situation. He gets bored VERY easily and has really struggled with school because of this. He also has problems at work because once he learns the job, if he isn't challenged any further (which is unlikely without a degree) he gets bored and restless. There is also a lot more pressure on gifted kids to succeed and they are much more likely to experience burn-out. This isn't an issue when they are young and excited about learning, but when they get older and interact with their peers, out come the labels & the expectations of others.

Because of my background, I have a lot of sympathy for mamas of gifted kids, because the challenges they face are so overwhelming at times. My parents had to deal with me being compared to my younger brother by my classmates and teachers ("why aren't you smart like him") and the resulting hurt feelings. (really small school so everyone knew everyone, even though he was 3 grades younger) Plus, with giftedness, there is also an expectation to get them involved in more groups & clubs to keep them challenged, which comes with more expenses and more busyness. It is really a difficult road because you also lack a lot of the other social support because people think you are bragging, even when you sincerly need help. Plus, sometimes you WANT to brag, after all, you are proud of them, and you don't want others to feel bad.

There is a part of me that was really hoping for a gifted kid, but there is another part of me that is scared of having one. I guess we will see what happens. I just have to remind myself that he is his own person and has his own gifts, whatever they may be.

Mom to 10yo Autistic Wonder Boy and 6yo Inquisitive Fireball Girl . December birthdays.

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#21 of 68 Old 08-08-2003, 03:09 PM
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Originally posted by Charles Baudelaire

I have a feeling, Mamajulie, that your dd is not going to "even out" by third grade...and I have a feeling no one else's kid will either. They'll camouflage, sure, or be bored and get labeled as underachievers, but "even out"?

I don't think so...

I agree.

And I really hate to be elitist........but 25% of the kids in dd's public school are learning English as a second language. I'm not knocking those kids; certainly that would be a difficult task. But that is what the school focuses on, KWIM?

And hey, CB, you should brag about your dd's specific achievements.......it's fun to brag!

I'll throw in another brief brag here.....last week my sis asked my dd what she (dd) knows about hippos. My dd replied, "Well, birds and hippos have a symbiosis." Of course everyone was just blown away.

Anyway, although I support homeschooling, it just doesn't work for us, for a few different reasons. Like I said, we're sending her to a private school this year, and we plan to supplement that with other learning experiences when she is not in school. (For example, she's getting an expensive microscope for Christmas.....ssssssssshhhhhhhh...... don't tell her!! )


P.S. I'm usually really slow at coming up with good flippant comments, but if someone asks what your "system" is for teaching your dd her skills (which I have been asked before), you could just say, "Well, I can't tell you, because I'm going to market it and make lots of money."
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#22 of 68 Old 08-08-2003, 06:36 PM
 
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Having been a verbally and lexically gifted kid, I'm familiar w/this type of comments! In addition to jealousy, I think some people are kind of frightened by a kid who can do something she isn't "supposed" to be able to do, maybe esp. verbal skill because it implies ability to understand what's said "over her head". They are just not sure what to make of it.

Also, they might know some people who DO push their kids! I know someone who's been all over her kid w/educational paraphernalia since birth (actually earlier, if you count listening to hours of classical music daily while pregnant, specifically to stimulate the fetus's brain) and is always bragging, "I do so much for her," and complaining about not having time for other things. I worry that when the kid's older, mom will be trying to take credit for kid's every accomplishment, and kid will begin to resent the pushiness! But even if a person knows somebody like this, it's not fair to jump to the conclusion that you're the same.

ITA w/the "Why do you say that?" strategy.

Another tactic my parents often used was, "Yes, Becca is a very good reader...and your Betsy is very good at cartwheels!" By pointing out a skill that the other kid had and I didn't, they made the other parent feel better, prevented the other kid from being pressured to read like me, and kept me from getting a big head! I taught one of my friends to read, and she taught me to tie my shoes.

I'm glad I was not home-schooled. I have enough trouble living in the real world as it is! I took most of the honors classes available, was in a half-day-a-week gifted program, and took lots of enrichment classes after school and in summer, but I did suffer from some boredom in school. The ability to tolerate boredom is an important one when you have to wait for a bus, do a tedious task before you can get on to the good part, etc. There were enough smart kids in the school to form a tolerable peer group, and being part of a big group taught me social skills that I just could not have learned at home w/1 sibling. I did go to a very challenging university where I was surrounded by smart people, and I thrived in that environment, but when I then went to work in the real world, I found it very difficult to adjust! Having that much trouble, after spending only 4 years in an "ivory tower" as a young adult, convinces me that being in that kind of special environment all the time from an early age would've made it virtually impossible for me to cope w/normal people.

Re: preschools, I think the trick is to find one that suits your child. My preschool was terrific; kindergarten was an insult by comparison, but it was soon over and I got to go to first grade, where I hit some real challenges--like trying to learn to WRITE the letters I could read so fluently!

to all the parents hearing hurtful comments about their gifted kids! It's sad that enthusiasm for learning is so alien to our culture that some people can't believe it's real. :

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#23 of 68 Old 08-08-2003, 08:59 PM
 
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Here's a personal, very close to home response to issues around schooling for gifted children. As my user name suggests, and as I have often mentioned, I am a public school teacher in addition to being the mom of my 3 year old son. I have, during my years of teaching in an affluent San Francisco suburb, encountered many truly gifted students and have loved the challenge of meeting their needs. Teachers these days are often well versed and highly trained in techniques of curriculum differentiation but occasionally lack the resources (ie, the presence of additional adults in the classroom) to carry it out in its most successful form. As I am sure you all know, it is faulty to assume that a gifted student is always a self-starter, an independent worker, or even a motivated learner. Thus, those working at a higher level in class also need, and deserve, adult attention while working to complete tasks which are appropriate to their level. My number one savior has been the parents themselves! They have spent hours a week planning with me after school and then coming to class to help implement my differentiated curriculum. Particularly those with gifted children have been interested and have invested their time. So, if you are the parent of a gifted child and you are available during the day, get involved. A confident teacher will gladly welcome your participation in class. Obviously, I know than many parents work during the day (myself included) and are not available for this. I must also add that projects and assignments in school, especially in the younger grades, can easily be designed to be what I call "self differentiated," meaning that they are open ended enough that students can each approach them at their own levels.

I will definitely be sending my son to a public elementary school. I hope that I will be able to support him after school in whatever else his desires may be, and in that way, I will be glad to "home school" after school and on the weekends. More like supplement, I guess.
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#24 of 68 Old 08-08-2003, 10:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by EnviroBecca
I'm glad I was not home-schooled. I have enough trouble living in the real world as it is! I took most of the honors classes available, was in a half-day-a-week gifted program, and took lots of enrichment classes after school and in summer, but I did suffer from some boredom in school. The ability to tolerate boredom is an important one when you have to wait for a bus, do a tedious task before you can get on to the good part, etc. There were enough smart kids in the school to form a tolerable peer group, and being part of a big group taught me social skills that I just could not have learned at home w/1 sibling. I did go to a very challenging university where I was surrounded by smart people, and I thrived in that environment, but when I then went to work in the real world, I found it very difficult to adjust! Having that much trouble, after spending only 4 years in an "ivory tower" as a young adult, convinces me that being in that kind of special environment all the time from an early age would've made it virtually impossible for me to cope w/normal people.

Hmm. Well, this didn't start out as a discussion on the merits on homeschooling, but I would like to respond to your remarks.

We do live in the real world.

My kids don't expect instant gratification, so they should have no problem waiting for a bus. I agree -- boredom isn't always a bad thing for kids, if it spurs them to go find their own fun. I can't recall ever being allowed to do that in school, though.

My kids do have peers -- friends, even -- who are better than tolerable.

And we are "normal people," so we don't need to learn to cope with 'em.

I'm glad you're happy with the education you received but I don't understand why you felt the need to put down homeschooling.
Diana
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#25 of 68 Old 08-08-2003, 11:21 PM
 
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Thoughts on "evening out" of gifted/"non"gifted preschoolers:

I haven't read this whole thread, but I just read eliwony's thread about her son saying "hello baby" and have been skimming this one.

Many of your posts could have been written by my mother about me when I was little ...early talker, taught myself my letters between 12-18 mos, taught myself to read @ 3 ish, read (and still do) very fast, read advanced books (as a 1st and 2nd grader, I'd read my mom's child psych books, after she got them, but before she had a chance to read them. Then, when she'd try using one of the "techiques" on me, I'd roll my eyes and say, umm, sorry, I already read that book). I started Kindy early, and enjoyed the social things, but wondered why my teacher thought we were so stupid. My parents were encouraged to skip me in 3rd grade, but didn't b/c then I'd be 2 yrs younger than my classmates.


My older sister, on the other hand, flunked 3rd grade b/c she still couldn't read.

Well, long story short, yes I have good languange skills. But, mostly, I'm average. My sister? Incredibly gifted (by the usual def. of gifted.)

I'm not trying to put anyone down, or be rude, but, don't count your chickens before their hatched. I think it is a bit dangerous to label your child as gifted (well as anything, really) at a very young age. I would hate for the child to grow up feeling like s/he let down his/her parents by not being "gifted".

Again, really not trying to be rude, not implying that any of you are setting your kid up, or having unrealistic expectations. I just wanted to share the antecdotal evidence from my family.
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#26 of 68 Old 08-08-2003, 11:21 PM
 
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I think it's jealousy and insecurity from the person making the comment. I read at 2.5 yo and my son reads at 4. He also plays a complete game of chess, does addition, subtraction, and very simple division.

But he cannot keep his hands out of his pants, thinks boogers are a convenient snack, and thinks that skipping is "silly--because I can run and get there faster!"

I think there's also an assumption that kids don't learn "academic" things at home--that a preschool or elementary school is "needed" for things like reading, math, etc. to happen. Sure, if you teach them the letters, songs, numbers--that's ok. Teach them to write their name--fine. But a 2, 3, 4 year old who reads or does complex mental tasks, or who has fine motor skills and can draw intricate things--then there's something "rushed" about it.

It *is* a sign of having a parent spend time with them--not pushing, but honoring the child as a human being and letting the child direct his/her time and interests.

As for what we plan to do about school? Montessori until 5th/6th grade, then homeschool.
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#27 of 68 Old 08-09-2003, 02:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It was funny -- on Parentcenter, I read a poll / survey about the merits of public v. private v. homeschool and it was astonishing how vituperative some of the responses against homeschooling were from some of the people who were purportedly teachers.

That's why I cringed when I began to read Teachma's post, but I have to say, it's absolutely one of the most open-minded, honest, and frank posts from a teacher about gifted kids in the regular classroom. However, what Teachma also seems to be saying, if I understand her post correctly, is that even in her affluent SF suburb (old stomping grounds of Lewis Terman, developer of the Stanford-Binet himself, if memory serves), it's difficult without outside help (which can't really be relied on consistently, right?) to implement a genuinely differentiated curriculum that addresses the needs of the gifted kids in her classroom...and I have a feeling this is NOT because Teachma's just throwing up her hands and saying, "They can teach themselves." Gee, I bet it has a lot to do with the fact that she has 35 other kids whose needs also need to be met as well.

Dare I say that some of the vituperativeness to which I alluded earlier may really *be* envy to some degree - or perhaps it's simply insecurity on the part of insecure teachers who are at some level panicked that a "nonprofessional" homeschooler might actually be doing the job as well as or better than they could? I am a public school teacher, actually, but I can say with confidence that the garbage I learned at the college of education I attended was truly worthless. I have little faith in colleges of education or their purported abilities to teach teachers teaching.

In case I'm misunderstood, by no means do all teachers fit into the categories of "insecure" or even "envious," of course. For example, I think Teachma's confidence in admitting the difficulty of implementing a gifted curriculum and being straightforward about the problems did a lot to argue that she's a very competent professional.

Anyway, the point(s) I was making in this rambling post basically amount to this: it sure seems to me that homeschooling is about the only way a gifted child's intellectual needs can really be met, particularly in the early grades.

Shoulda just said that, huh?
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#28 of 68 Old 08-09-2003, 03:30 AM
 
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I have to say, as the mother of two kids with no obvious extraordinary talents, that these kinds of comments you guys get are most probably insecurity on the part of other parents.

While I have never said a word to people, I've watched kids in the church nursery and while my 20 month old says absolutely nothing, another child the same age is pointing out and naming letters and colors, and thoughts start crossing my mind about what may be wrong with my kids. I do not push this into the realm of blaming things on other parents, but I can very easily see how the line is crossed from being scared about your own child's development into being resentful towards the parents whose child is 'out-doing' your own.

And of course I am certain my kids are just fine. My daughter said her first word at 18 months and has a just-slightly better than average vocabulary now, but she see complex interconnections in an extremely adult way, and has an absolutely excellent, extremely detailed memory (and the ability to tell great stories). But when she was 18 months old and hadn't said a single word yet, comparing her to other kids her age was downright scary.

Long story short - I think people who critisize you for your child being advanced are just scared. They need someone to pin things on to make themselves feel better about where their kids are. I can sympathize, but I'm still not seeing how what they say is at all appropriate. If you guys sense one of them getting really hostile, you may want to come back with something along the lines of "um, ok, you can believe that if it makes you feel better about your kid".

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#29 of 68 Old 08-09-2003, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Charles Baudelaire


Anyway, the point(s) I was making in this rambling post basically amount to this: it sure seems to me that homeschooling is about the only way a gifted child's intellectual needs can really be met, particularly in the early grades.

Shoulda just said that, huh?

I think certain private schools can meet their intellectual needs; we're hoping the one to which we're sending dd will. (I'll have to let you know, huh!)


Teachma--you sound like a great teacher (actually interested in helping gifted kids.) My dd's Kindergarten teacher couldn't even REMEMBER that she could read, let alone help her in any way.
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#30 of 68 Old 08-09-2003, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have to say, as the mother of two kids with no obvious extraordinary talents, that these kinds of comments you guys get are most probably insecurity on the part of other parents.
Nikirj, you said something really interesting:

"...my 20 month old says absolutely nothing, another child the same age is pointing out and naming letters and colors, and thoughts start crossing my mind about what may be wrong with my kids."

I've been terribly concerned about this being the case with my daughter -- that is, that she would cause unneeded discomfort to someone else. She's reticent around people, which is fine with me, because the LAST thing I'd want is for someone to worry about what's wrong with their wonderful child.

I don't subscribe to the happy and well-meant fantasy that we're all gifted in some way, but it's certainly clear to me that there are so many domains in which a child can really excel rather than early verbal or lexical mastery that it's amazing -- that "interconnectedness" skill that you were speaking of with your daughter sounds like one of them. Hey, it's an area I have trouble with today. Have you ever read The Einstein Syndrome: Bright Children Who Talk Late ? I don't know if this would apply to your children, but it sounds like you might find it compelling reading, esp. because your daughter's skill sounds very spatial/mathematical to me.

HTH
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