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#1 of 17 Old 11-15-2011, 11:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, I have posted before about my possibly gifted 3 (almost 4) year old. He was asked to leave his montessori pre school after 3 weeks. He wasnt listening and a disruption for the class. Since then we have been homeschooling him. (unschooling him). He now knows all 150 sight words (has been reading phonics since he was 2.5, self taught). He understands place value up to 1 trillion. Does double/triple digit additon and is starting double digit subtraction. VERY into science. Know all the classifications on animals and the digestive system and now we are onto the respiratory system. I am a little blown away at how fast he is doing everything! He strongly dislikes repetition. once he has it, he doesnt want to do it over and over. We have not tested him. And dont feel the need unless we have to. My daughter is also very curious about learning (2 yrs old) but i dont have the time to help her with colors or numbers because i am constantly having to keep him on task and he is always asking to learn more... it is very pulling physically and emotionally. I also would like him to eventually go to school and have that social interaction. I have heard numerous different opinions on testing early into kindergarten and would like to hear what everyone has to say!? Has anyone had their child test in early to a grade... this would be two years ahead of his peers....:-/

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#2 of 17 Old 11-15-2011, 12:11 PM
 
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Honestly, I wouldn't go that route with a child who was asked to leave preschool. He might do better being homeschooled until an older age and then join in like 3rd or 4th grade. K through 2nd can be the most difficult for a child who can't handle repetition and tends to act out.

 

I have two in the HG+ range. My eldest grade skipped but started kindergarten on schedule which I don't regret. My youngest started K at 4 because we have a Dec. 1st cut-off that he makes. I don't regret that either. The thing is though, both kids were really good candidates for being the youngest in their class. Both have high self-control, mature for age, are comfortable talking to adults and asking for what they need, have strong social skills, high patience levels, advanced but also very independent learners, focused and have a real desire to be in school.

 

I'm not sure why this would be 2 years ahead of peers unless you want to put him in K now. Trying for next fall would only make him 1 year early right? He is still a little guy and he will grow and mature a lot over the next year. I'd certainly not try to send him now. For next fall, perhaps but you might not know if he's a good fit until next Spring at the earliest.


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#3 of 17 Old 11-15-2011, 12:23 PM
 
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I agree with whatnextmom.

 

What about a play-based preschool?  Preferably one that clearly states that they're inclusive so that they're open to and have strategies for kids with a range of needs.  Montessori would not have worked for my son, at all - I looked at a number of them.  It sounds like you could use a break.  It also sounds like your son needs some help with self-regulation.  It's easy to fall into the trap of "he's so smart, he's a sponge, he never stops with the information gathering!" (I'm not pointing a finger at you with this, I'm describing a pitfall for every parent).  The problem is that it's exhuasting you, and it's not teaching him balance and self-calming.  He'll need those skills to progress in life generally, but also if you ever want him to fit into a group learning environment irrespective of his intellectual abilities.

 

I wouldn't be looking to IQ test a not yet 4 year old.  Testing at that age is a crap shoot for reliability, and you can already see that he's out of norm for his age.  If you want outside information and resources, you could try finding a psychologist with experience with gifted kids who is familiar with sensory issues, anxiety, executive functioning etc.  I mention these because the busyness may just be part of being young and precocious, or it could be a method for managing internal issues (focus on math so you're distracted from uncomfortable feelings, whether of anxiety or sensory).  It sounds to me like executive functioning (ie response inhibition, emotional regulation) might be the place to focus your energies.


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#4 of 17 Old 11-15-2011, 12:41 PM
 
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I agree -- given what you've said, he's not going to do well in traditional K right now. If he hates repetition and doesn't do well in highly structured situations, I wouldn't send him until he's emotionally more mature. It sounds like he's got some asyncrhonous development going on, and putting him in school isn't going to help him with the social/emotional stuff that sounds typically developing when compared to his math, and reading skills.

 

I think a play-based preschool with lots of flexibility might do him some good. I wouldn't look for more academics. It's not what he needs.

 

 


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#5 of 17 Old 11-15-2011, 12:44 PM
 
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Interestingly, the responses are all from moms with boys who had bumpy early years :).


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#6 of 17 Old 11-15-2011, 05:31 PM
 
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My DD is nearly 4 as well and not close to as far ahead as your son. However, her Montessori-based preschool teacher recommended early admission testing for kindy to enter next fall at 4y8m. We won't do it. Theoretically, I am not thrilled about a grade skip option either (would put DD2 in the same grade as DD1, for one), but I'd rather use that option after seeing how she performs in a traditional school setting if we exhaust all our options with differentiation and subject acceleration and whatnot.

 

I think beyond his much superior ability, the difference between the two of them is that my DD is reportedly one of the more mature children in her class (who are all 3-9 months older), follows rules well, excels in the classroom setting. Which would make me more likely to early enter her as she would fit into a classroom well.

 

I agree that a play-based preschool with a very low student/teacher ratio might be a good bet for some social skills work and some time apart. You can always continue your unschooling learning at home while he works on the social behaviors in a classroom.


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#7 of 17 Old 11-15-2011, 08:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AshleighMach View Post

My daughter is also very curious about learning (2 yrs old) but i dont have the time to help her with colors or numbers because i am constantly having to keep him on task and he is always asking to learn more...



That really needs to stop for the sake of BOTH your kids. You are short changing your DD and teaching her that she isn't as important, and you aren't doing your son any favors by letting him boss you around, not giving him space to figure out how to amuse himself, etc.

 

I know this isn't what you asked about, but homeschooling where the older kid gets 100% and the younger kid gets 0% isn't healthy for any member of the family.


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#8 of 17 Old 11-15-2011, 09:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Basically my son was bored in Montessori. It wasnt structured enough for him and he is Very creative where they offer very little of that. I do take time with my dd ( who has also just started reading) but not the time. Would like to. We never planned on homeschooling but right now it feels like the only option. He is in a play arts preschool (play based) and does gymnastics and soccer. Which are all times I work with dd. Ds's close friends are all 5-6ish. He is very outgoing and loves social interaction and i had read in a seng post that some doctors and teachers recomend children moving ahead into their academic grade levels. I want to meet both my childrens needs and i never want to deny them the opertunity to learn! So I think we are going to keep up with what we are doing now and see how it goes later down the road. But I think every parent of a gifted child can admit it can be draining and amazing at the same time!
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#9 of 17 Old 11-15-2011, 11:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AshleighMach View Post

My daughter is also very curious about learning (2 yrs old) but i dont have the time to help her with colors or numbers because i am constantly having to keep him on task and he is always asking to learn more... it is very pulling physically and emotionally. 


I too worry that something is wrong here about the dynamic. If he's asking to learn more but you're having to work to keep him on task, I think he probably needs to be left to his own devices more. If he's really that keen to learn whatever it is, you shouldn't have to work to keep him on task. He'll either focus on what he wants to learn, or he'll flit away regularly but return to task of his own volition. If he doesn't focus, so be it. That's his problem, which I doubt very much is a problem at all. Don't take that responsibility on yourself -- it's his! He's 3, he doesn't need to be trained to focus on sustained learning tasks at this stage. 

 

My guess is that he has discovered that asking you to help him learn things is a very efficient way to get you to engage with him. And when he loses focus (because he mostly just wanted your attention), all your exhausting work trying to redirect and keep him on task has simply made it very much to his advantage to let his attention wander. The less on-task he is, the harder you work to pull him back ... and that's more attention you're directing at him.

 

Respond to his requests to learn, by all means, but don't be invested in him attending to your response. Offer something simple, and if he isn't into it, suggest he find something else to do. If he's used to having you try to engage and stimulate him every time he asks, he may go through a rather difficult transitional phase where he has to learn how to engage and stimulate himself. If he's very social, he may feel less at loose ends if you suggest things he can do on his own in physical and conversational proximity to you. It may take him several months for him to realize it's not your responsibility to direct his attention here and there all day, but it's worth it for everyone's sanity!

 

Not that I think 2-year-olds need their parents to spend time helping them learn colours and numbers, but they need parental attention and engagement just as much as their siblings. shy.gif

 

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#10 of 17 Old 11-16-2011, 06:08 AM
 
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Generally I agree with pp's advice. I wonder, however, whether you visited the potential kindergarten, talked to the teachers and administration, and spoken to parents with children who have attended? You don't mention anything about this kindergarten, so aside from the general advice you've received here (which is all very good) against an early start, it's impossible to consider whether this could be a good idea in any way. There are all types of kindergartens. It may be very different from what you imagine. It may not be a very good fit for him, academically or socially. He may encounter another unhappy situation. If you are seriously contemplating registering him, you should compare it to his former school and the play-based preschool he's attending now. 

 

I also don't think you mentioned (I may have missed it, sorry) how he is doing in his play-based preschool and his gymnastics and soccer. If he's doing well, then when you compare with a view to finding a similar situation, I would keep in mind things like the number of days/hours  he is in preschool compared to his former school or a potential new school, the supervision level, the available activities, his classmates, the general atmosphere i.e. expectations, academics,..... there's quite a bit to consider.   

 

One other thought - you may also find that the kindergarten is very rigid about cut off dates. They may refuse to admit him for an early start. 

 

 

 

 

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#11 of 17 Old 11-16-2011, 09:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by AshleighMach View Post

He is in a play arts preschool (play based) and does gymnastics and soccer. Which are all times I work with dd. ... I want to meet both my childrens needs and i never want to deny them the opertunity to learn! So I think we are going to keep up with what we are doing now and see how it goes later down the road. But I think every parent of a gifted child can admit it can be draining and amazing at the same time!


 

I don't think I made myself clear. Allowing the times that you are with BOTH of your children to be dominated by the demands of either one of them isn't healthy. Doing it because "he's just so gifted" is allowing bad behavior to continue because of seeing it as part of his gifted package. It isn't. It's just bad behavior. You aren't doing him any favors. Learning to take turns, share, amuse one's self etc are all basic life skills that every single child, even the oldest, even if they are gifted, need to develop to have a happy life. Homeschool vs school doesn't matter. Both when we homeschooled and after my kids started school, they both have times they need to go amuse themselves because I need to spend one on one time with the other one, or I have something I need to do without either of them.

 

Raising ANY child is draining at times. All kids are amazing. Helping our kids learn to not be overly draining is part of our job. All kids will have their moments, but letting them suck us dry isn't a long term plan.

 

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One other thought - you may also find that the kindergarten is very rigid about cut off dates. They may refuse to admit him for an early start. 
 


 

Absolutely. The cut-off in our state for public K and first is set in stone. No child starts early by law. There are NO exceptions.

 

Private schools are not held to the same law, however. My kids go to a private alternative school that works great for gifted kids, and our cut off for K is 6 months later than the public school cut off for K. That cutoff is still very rigid though, because any child younger than that is considered legally to be a preschooler, and we are not approved as a preschool. Once old enough to legally attend the school, kids are placed in classes that are appropriate for the child without an undue concern with their age. Some classes are intentionally age mixed (such as home room) and some classes are age based (such as science) and some classes are ability based (such as math). It works very nicely for kids who are uneven in their development, who really are best off in a math class with kids several years older than them, but still need lots of time to play and be a kid. But even at our school, which is VERY mellow and not hung up on age, your child couldn't attend until 4 1/2.

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#12 of 17 Old 11-16-2011, 10:09 AM
 
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I don't think I made myself clear. Allowing the times that you are with BOTH of your children to be dominated by the demands of either one of them isn't healthy. Doing it because "he's just so gifted" is allowing bad behavior to continue because of seeing it as part of his gifted package. It isn't. It's just bad behavior. You aren't doing him any favors. Learning to take turns, share, amuse one's self etc are all basic life skills that every single child, even the oldest, even if they are gifted, need to develop to have a happy life. Homeschool vs school doesn't matter. Both when we homeschooled and after my kids started school, they both have times they need to go amuse themselves because I need to spend one on one time with the other one, or I have something I need to do without either of them.

 

Raising ANY child is draining at times. All kids are amazing. Helping our kids learn to not be overly draining is part of our job. All kids will have their moments, but letting them suck us dry isn't a long term plan.

 


I agree.  Many of us here are raising more than one gifted child, and what you're describing is a matter of temperament and style and not simply a function of giftedness.  In an older child, this would be anti-social behaviour.  He's young, and he needs guidance to learn self-regulation, sharing, patience etc.  I have two kids and my son was definitely a more demanding preschooler, precocious and busy.  We worked on it.  He's still totally out of the box, inventive, funny, busy etc but he can participate in the give and take of social life, whether it's with a parent, his sibling, a teacher or peers.

 


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#13 of 17 Old 11-16-2011, 11:35 AM
 
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Basically my son was bored in Montessori. It wasnt structured enough for him and he is Very creative where they offer very little of that. I do take time with my dd ( who has also just started reading) but not the time. Would like to. We never planned on homeschooling but right now it feels like the only option. He is in a play arts preschool (play based) and does gymnastics and soccer. Which are all times I work with dd. Ds's close friends are all 5-6ish. He is very outgoing and loves social interaction and i had read in a seng post that some doctors and teachers recomend children moving ahead into their academic grade levels. I want to meet both my childrens needs and i never want to deny them the opertunity to learn! So I think we are going to keep up with what we are doing now and see how it goes later down the road. But I think every parent of a gifted child can admit it can be draining and amazing at the same time!


I guess I don't really see a more structured environment as also being more creative. If he's happy in a play-based preschool, I'd let him continue. Yes, there is some truth that being in a good academic situation makes for a happier kid but it's also not that simple. A 3-year-old might be capable of 5-year-old work but still ill-suited for the environment. They may not be ready for so much circle time, may not have the fine motor skills for the quantity of writing done in a kindergarten class, may still need a nap, may still need help in the bathroom, may prefer and be accepted by older kids but be treated more like a "pet" instead of a peer, may need more 1-on-1 time than a kindergarten teacher can provide. That doesn't mean the same child at 8 won't be a perfect fit for a 10-year-old class, only that acceleration may not be the right choice for at this particular moment in time.

 

School requires patience and self-control. You can't act out when you are bored or else every child would (because no matter ability, every child will find something boring whether it's too easy, too hard, repetitive, outside their areas of interest, ect.) A gifted child needs to be pretty self-reliant, self-controlled and a good communicator to thrive in a school environment. They have to actively prove they are capable of work they have already mastered in order to get accelerated work. If your DS is still taking so much of your time in learning pursuits that you feel your younger child is being short-changed, then I wouldn't consider him a good candidate for acceleration at this time.

 

I think parenting is draining period whether your child is gifted or not. Everyone we know seems to have something atypical to deal with whether it's behavioral, intellectual, social or health.

 


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#14 of 17 Old 11-16-2011, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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He plays really well by himself.... will play for hours.... its more when it comes to wanting to learn about something....i NEVER want to discourage him from learning (he is easily unmotivated if he isnt mentally stimulated) but sometimes I feel like google and he keeps typing in questions! (:

He is doing well in the play based pre-school program...still has some social "nacks"...And but his teacher is a very close friend of mine so she works well with him. It is very structured so i think that is good for him!(we are very structured at home/ previous school wasnt and he didnt know what to do with himself) soccer and gymnastics are great(he plays a year ahead of his peers in soccer) but he does well with lstening skills and following direction... other than he doesnt really like running. I have seen him improve and grow so much since he has been out of his previous school. So i am hesitant to make any move at all.

I believe our town will test a 4 year old into kindergarten (they did when i was younger). The kindergarten program is very good in our township, very structured (which he really needs/likes), and the teachers are great, but i know they do not offer much for the gifted in our state. I think i am more concerned that at the rate he is wanting to learn/learning he wont be able to integrate into a regular class room in the future. I would ideally like to see him with his peers in a classroom environment, however, right now we are going to continue homeschooling. 

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Maybe I'm misunderstanding. In the first post, you indicated that you were considering kindergarten for the social interaction, yet it sounds like the play-based pre-school is filling this need. It seems like you are concerned about his academics, In the first post you say that he's always asking to learn more and you find it physically and emotionally draining. That seems to be a reason to send him to kindergarten, but then you say he's unmotivated if he isn't mentally stimulated. It sounds like you are overwhelmed trying to manage your time with him and your dd, which is understandable. It's difficult at that age, when you can't just send a child to resource books or the internet for them to research answers to their questions independently. However, it isn't unusual for a parent to feel torn with balancing the needs of two or more children, whether or not the children show academic aptitude. 

 

I don't think you have to worry that a 3 y.o. will become uninterested in learning or will stop progressing academically if he has to wait awhile for answers to his questions or you share some of your time with your dd. You may have to figure out a few techniques to re-direct him or distract him or help him learn to occupy himself. As for integrating with peers in a classroom, he's more likely to be successful if he's learned some of these self-regulation techniques first, before he attends a larger group learning situation. If you consider how difficult he's finding it with just his little sister, imagine what it will be like with 20 other children. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Different montessori schools implement the philosophy differently, but it is not intended to be unstructured.  It runs on a cycle (internal structure), and within the cycles are opportunties for kids to be self-directed.

 

I really would recommend that you read up on self-regulation/executive function.  Don't be put off my mentions of ADD/ADHD in the literature, it's a lot broader than that.

 

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#17 of 17 Old 11-16-2011, 02:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AshleighMach View Post

 My daughter is also very curious about learning (2 yrs old) but i dont have the time to help her with colors or numbers because i am constantly having to keep him on task and he is always asking to learn more... it is very pulling physically and emotionally. I also would like him to eventually go to school and have that social interaction. I have heard numerous different opinions on testing early into kindergarten and would like to hear what everyone has to say!? Has anyone had their child test in early to a grade... this would be two years ahead of his peers....:-/

 

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He plays really well by himself.... will play for hours.... its more when it comes to wanting to learn about something....i NEVER want to discourage him from learning (he is easily unmotivated if he isnt mentally stimulated) but sometimes I feel like google and he keeps typing in questions! (:
 

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. He is in a play arts preschool (play based) and does gymnastics and soccer. Which are all times I work with dd.

 

I'm concerned that first of all, you feel you have to 'work' with your preschoolers. Preschoolers should be learning naturally, through play. If they want to learn something specific, fine. But if you're having to keep him on task, he doesn't really want to learn that, he wants to have your attention. If you have to 'work with' your 2 year old to teach her colors and numbers, why are you doing it? Colors and numbers can easily be learned through everyday interactions. I'm concerned that you're setting up a dynamic in which your children get your undivided attention only when they're learning something. If that's the case, then unconsciously, you're teaching them that they're only worth attention when they're engaged in academic pursuits. That's not going to set up a life-long love of learning.

 

What would happen if, instead of schooling, you worked on playing with your children and conversing with them. There's good research to show that quantity of parental talk with children, where the children are conversational partners, promotes a lot of learning, both academic and social. Now, 3 and 4 year olds aren't great conversationalists. It may be that your son demands to know something because he really wants to talk to you, and doesn't have any other conversational skills. That's OK. Now's the time to introduce generic conversation while you're doing something (non-academic).

 

A lot of 3-4 year olds (especially bright ones) go through phases where they ask a lot of questions, as a lead in to conversation. I agree that it's good to answer those questions. It's even better to think through them with him. And it's perfectly fine to say "That's really interesting, but I don't have the energy to talk about that now." Those were the exact words I used with my dd (who's 7) after she'd spent 30 minutes describing the plot of her latest novel-to-be, and then wanted to discuss the parallels between addition/subtraction and multiplication/division. It'd been a long day for me, with lots of intellectual interaction with students and I was fried. She was fine with it, because she'd had 30 minutes of my undivided attention in helping plan her novel.

 

Additionally, I'm not sure why you'd send him to school. You've demonstrated that they aren't going to be able to meet his academic needs. He's getting plenty of social interaction with his arts-based play school and soccer. You can join a homeschooling group or a homeschooling co-op, and get the same thing. If you're looking for downtime for yourself, then, as others have said, you need to work with him on patience, learning to take turns, not dominating the conversation and learning when to accept 'no' as an answer. These aren't skills he's going to learn overnight. But they are good life long skills.
 

 

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I don't think I made myself clear. Allowing the times that you are with BOTH of your children to be dominated by the demands of either one of them isn't healthy. Doing it because "he's just so gifted" is allowing bad behavior to continue because of seeing it as part of his gifted package. It isn't. It's just bad behavior. You aren't doing him any favors. Learning to take turns, share, amuse one's self etc are all basic life skills that every single child, even the oldest, even if they are gifted, need to develop to have a happy life. Homeschool vs school doesn't matter. Both when we homeschooled and after my kids started school, they both have times they need to go amuse themselves because I need to spend one on one time with the other one, or I have something I need to do without either of them.

 

Raising ANY child is draining at times. All kids are amazing. Helping our kids learn to not be overly draining is part of our job. All kids will have their moments, but letting them suck us dry isn't a long term plan.

 

nod.gif our daughter is much more persistent and draining than her older brother. I have to actively protect my time with her brother. It's crucial that I do so so that I don't send the message to them unintentionally that demanding behavior is rewarded or that ds is somehow less important than dd. Both kids are intellectually curious and active thinkers. Dd is just more obnoxious about it. That's NOT behavior I want to encourage.I'm happy to engage her in conversation, I'm not happy to stop talking to her brother because she can't wait to talk.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post


I too worry that something is wrong here about the dynamic. If he's asking to learn more but you're having to work to keep him on task, I think he probably needs to be left to his own devices more. If he's really that keen to learn whatever it is, you shouldn't have to work to keep him on task. He'll either focus on what he wants to learn, or he'll flit away regularly but return to task of his own volition. If he doesn't focus, so be it. That's his problem, which I doubt very much is a problem at all. Don't take that responsibility on yourself -- it's his! He's 3, he doesn't need to be trained to focus on sustained learning tasks at this stage.


Yep, I totally agree. Our daugther really wanted to learn to read at age 3. So, I got some BOB books from the library and we worked with those as long as she was interested. She was interested enough to go through about 3 of them. The she stopped. A year later, she really wanted to learn to read again. So, I got out the BOB books. She didn't like them. Instead, she chose to memorize books that she was familiar with. She memorized 2-3 books and then she stopped. Just about the time she turned 5, she began reading, fairly fluently on her own. She was reading chapter books by the end of the summer (she's got a late spring birthday) and has never looked back. Just after she turned 7, she read the entire Harry Potter series. I figured it would be too difficult for her, but she was determined. When we were on vacation, she read the entire 6th book in 3 days (because her aunt had borrowed it from the library for her, and we were leaving in 3 days). I didn't have to focus her. She focused herself.

 

I relate this story for two reasons. First, it's really common for kids to be interested in something then give it up, then get interested again and repeat the cycle over and over. I'm not sure that keeping my daughter "on task" when she first wanted to learn to read would have been a good idea. She wasn't developmentally ready. When she was finally developmentally ready, she took off like a rocket. That age at which kids are really ready varies, even among gifted kids.

 

Second because I agree with Miranda that you shouldn't have to work so hard to keep him on task. I offered dd the opportunity, some time and the materials. When she was done, I let her be done. That didn't hinder her learning at all.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by moominmamma View PostMy guess is that he has discovered that asking you to help him learn things is a very efficient way to get you to engage with him. And when he loses focus (because he mostly just wanted your attention), all your exhausting work trying to redirect and keep him on task has simply made it very much to his advantage to let his attention wander. The less on-task he is, the harder you work to pull him back ... and that's more attention you're directing at him.

 

nod.gif I totally agree here too. No wonder you're exhausted. You've got a kid with a high need for interacting. But you're also feeding into this. It's OK to say no, really. He's not going to fail to learn something because you said "I'm playing with your sister" to him when he was 3 1/2. Really.

 


 


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