Some perspective on gifted programs (from an adult who was in them) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 48 Old 11-12-2012, 02:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is a message to all the parents and caregivers who are worrying about whether their child will be challenged enough in grade school, determining if their young child is gifted, feeling anxious that they'll be out of place in the classroom, etc.:

 

As an adult who was in the gifted program, I'd like to offer some perspective.

 

In the end, being classified as gifted doesn't matter all that much.

 

Has my life been greatly affected by being in the gifted program? Honestly...not really. I love learning, but this never originated from a gifted class.

 

First of all, there is only so much that you can do to nurture giftedness—if your child is gifted, your child is gifted. Being raised by a single mother, I definitely never had the time and investment geared toward genius that modern mothers give their kids. I never went to pre-school/pre-K, nor did I attend fancy camps or after-school programs or the like.

I did know how to read when I was young and continued reading voraciously throughout elementary school, but most of my development took place on my own terms. My brother and I were very creative and we’d play together for hours, inventing stories and contraptions. My mom was loving and supportive, but she had a lot on her plate, such as working full-time, doing household repairs, finishing her degree, mowing the lawn, etc.

Mind you, she was proud of us and generous in her praise, but she didn't have the time to devise ways to get my brother and me to realize every inch of our potential. We took the initiative to read, explore, create, invent.

 

As for the gifted program itself, I was apart of it in the ′80s and ′90s. We moved three times and I was re-tested each time (also, grades weren't a facet of admission), so I feel that I have a balanced perspective on different programs in different states. Truth be told, ultimately, there were few ways in which I benefited from the program. Most of the intellectual growth that’s expected from being in the program could be fostered in a child’s own free time at home.

In 4th and 5th grade, I did have a wonderful gifted teacher. She expected a lot from us. We were given projects that guided interests in engineering, writing, logic, etc… but, ultimately, the value of a gifted program tapers off once a child enters high school. In middle school, my gifted class was reading Shakespeare and Homer, and all that that amounted to by the time I reached 10th grade was that I reading books for the second time. Honors and AP classes fulfill the need to be challenged, and, by high school, it’s apparent that what determines success in life is not unbridled intelligence, but hard work.

 

This is my main point: inclusion in a gifted program doesn’t equate to learning life skills.

The two main factors of success are having determination and having interpersonal skills.

 

Success really is determined by hard work—discipline and perseverance, not sheer brilliance. Very few people at the top of our society are considered geniuses. Most, obviously, are bright enough, but determination is the most essential component that they share.

No one can give you the will to work hard or do it for you. You have to find it on your own.

 

I learned this the hard way. I always hated homework, and in my 11th-grade English class, I didn’t turn in a huge final project. Even with an ‘A,’ there was no way that I could pass the class without completing it. My teacher (one of my favorite teachers that I’ve ever had; kind, challenging, and innovative) called a meeting with my mother and me. First, she asked my mom if she thought that I should be failed. My mom replied that I should be given the grade that my teacher felt was fair.  My teacher then asked me what grade I believed that I should receive. She would have just barely passed me, I think, by extending the deadline for me to turn it in, but I hung my head in shame and admitted that I deserved to fail—after all, each of my classmates had prepared and presented a final project in the allotted time, and I had not.

 

It was perhaps the best lesson that I ever learned, especially as I listened to my class valedictorian speak at graduation one year later. She had the highest GPA out of almost 500 students in my class. She was clearly smart and capable—did it matter that she had never been in the gifted program?—nope, not one lick. Colleges sure didn’t care when they offered her several scholarships. What mattered was that she had put in the effort and had showed determination in her studies.

 

My message to parents: Please, don’t worry so much! 

Gifted/non-gifted—honestly, it’s irrelevant in life. (Especially once you get to college; it really is all about working hard under pressure). Brilliance is not the end-all, be-all, nor does it need expensive, specialized tools or summer camps to develop. Yes, there may be classes in which children are bored, but it doesn't mean that they can't learn.

 

And, ultimately, bright children need to take their own initiative in engaging with their world. Inquisitive children will find a way; they’ll get their hands on books (library!) or, heck, even craft things with toothpicks if they’re interested in design. (True story—one of the activities from my class was to construct a bridge from a few sheets of paper, a few inches of masking tape, and drinking straws. The bridges were then tested to see how much weight they could hold before collapsing—a great and cheap project for budding engineers). My father was an aerospace engineer and grew up in a very poor family. As a kid, he would take apart old radios and would spend hours at a local body shop, watching mechanics rebuild car engines.

My point? You don’t have to line up all these tools and put them in front of your child. If they’re gifted, they will seek them out on their own. Doesn’t matter how they spent the 7 or so hours at school.

Also, any child with a computer and an internet connection can take advantage of the numerous (free) TED videos—whatever field it is that interests them, there’s an enriching video about it. (There are also free podcasts of lectures from top universities at iTunesU). The internet is awesome at granting access to any possible subject in which one wants to be immersed.

 

Lastly, the other vital determiner of success that isn't incumbent upon being gifted is emotional intelligence. This also encompasses understanding how to read situations, even less-than-ideal ones, and how to behave accordingly, not having an environment tailored to oneself.

There’s something to be said about being in a regular classroom with other students. I enjoyed my twice-weekly gifted class; however, I gained something equally valuable (if not more) from interacting and building friendships with other children from all walks of life. There is a certain homogeneity in gifted programs where, out of an entire grade, seven or so students are put in a classroom together, each child having grown accustomed to the idea that they’re exceptional—and, quite frankly, that environment did nothing to teach me about humility, empathy, or communication.

 

It’s in the regular classroom that I learned how to behave appropriately (even if a class was ‘boring’) and exhibit decorum in all situations; it’s where I learned how to engage with others, how to listen, how to gauge what I should and shouldn’t say, and how to find a commonality with peers. It’s in the classroom that I learned to understand that people come from all walks of life. That type of learning doesn’t require an I.Q. test and special funding… that type of learning is integral to lifelong success.

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#2 of 48 Old 11-12-2012, 04:55 PM
 
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I think you'd be surprised at how many parents here wore the gifted label themselves as a child. Both DH and myself had the label, as did our siblings and many of our cousins. My own parents weren't tested because they lived in a tiny community with about 20 kids per grade. Both my in-laws were tested and were considered high IQ. Both our kids and all our biological nieces and nephews are gifted too. We have a pretty good sampling of how giftedness manifests... both the good and the bad. 

 

As for your post, I admit to only skimming it as it seemed rather preachy and based entirely on your own singular experience. As a parent (and since this is a mothering board, I assume you are one) you must know how different every child is. You must know how diverse and varied accommodation available to gifted children is today. You must understand that what allows one child to thrive can choke the next.

 

I agree that most parents don't need to worry so much but I've learned that really, that isn't something you can just say. Just like all things, we learn from experience. Those of us with teenagers and young adults tend to be pretty relaxed. Those with 4-year-olds tend to be pretty tense though I suspect, in 10 years, those same parents will be pretty relaxed themselves.

 

I'm sorry your own experiences were negative enough that you'd feel it appropriate to come lecture a community that you are not part of. I do hope it brought you some closure and I hope that our approach keeps our own children from feeling the need to follow suit.


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#3 of 48 Old 11-12-2012, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your reply.  However, I did not intend to lecture anyone--I was actually trying to say something reassuring. I cannot help but read other posts where parents sound anxious and worried, and my innate tendency is allay those fears and say, "It really will be okay."

Parents who care enough about their children to come onto boards (i.e. actively putting in time to research/discuss/etc.) are already loving and caring enough, that I have no doubt that their children feel very loved. All the other things will fall into place.

 

There was more to my post that I deleted, as it was far too long, but I think it would have further hammered home my intent, which is to offer a perspective that may relieve some anxiety. If, as a caregiver, you're wondering if you're doing it right or if your child will be better off in this place or that place--the mere fact that you're asking the question means that you are (doing it right).

 

Thanks, though, for your reply--I appreciate that you expressed yourself in a civil way. I do have to disagree with one last statement--my experiences were not negative. But, with the distance that time provides, I've realized that they weren't as life-altering and major as they seemed at the time (or as they seem to caregivers).

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#4 of 48 Old 11-12-2012, 06:52 PM
 
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Have you considered that perhaps your experience was generally positive because you were in the gifted program vs being bogged down by frustration by not having your needs met?  Where I am there are no gifted programs at all, but there are other ways to meet the needs of individual learners.  I also believe that the school system today if very different from that of the 80s and 90s and isn't directly comparable.  

 

 

 

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It’s in the regular classroom that I learned how to behave appropriately (even if a class was ‘boring’) and exhibit decorum in all situations; it’s where I learned how to engage with others, how to listen, how to gauge what I should and shouldn’t say, and how to find a commonality with peers. It’s in the classroom that I learned to understand that people come from all walks of life. That type of learning doesn’t require an I.Q. test and special funding… that type of learning is integral to lifelong success.

 

I agree with many of the sentiments in your post.  I think it's a mistake to assume that many parents here have no direct gifted experience, or lack insight into what their kid needs and what the limitations of their environments may include.  I agree with WNM that the intensity can be higher with little kids and mellows as the child grows and is increasingly able to advocate for themselves, and as the parent better understands the available options and their kid's style/needs.


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#5 of 48 Old 11-12-2012, 07:05 PM
 
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  I think it's a mistake to assume that many parents here have no direct gifted experience, or lack insight into what their kid needs and what the limitations of their environments may include.  I agree with WNM that the intensity can be higher with little kids and mellows as the child grows and is increasingly able to advocate for themselves, and as the parent better understands the available options and their kid's style/needs.

 

Yes. I would say most of the people on the board who have gifted children had to deal with the gifted label in childhood and all of these issues, ourselves. 

 

I think in addition to the problem of younger children being more intense,  there's the fact that it's younger children for whom we have to make decisions. Once we've made those choices, for good or ill, it's done. The anxiety is at the moment of picking a path forward, at the instant of decision. When I thought the direction I'd chosen was working fine, I was not anxious. Every time something comes up that means I have to do something, I'm anxious all over again. 

 

It's kind of like with nursing. I came to MDC for breastfeeding help when my son was a baby. Clearly, now that my kid is school age, those problems seem long ago, and it seems obvious they were going resolve. We can always see what we should have done in hindsight. 

 

Heh. I'm just now realizing that maybe my intensity over these issues is still about being "gifted," whatever that really meant. It's not like I'm a different person--I'm just older! 

 

KimbleJ, are you familiar with the work of psychologist Carol Dweck? You might find that interesting, since it's all about whether gifted labels can rob children of their motivation. Yet another wrinkle for me in making parenting decisions. 

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#6 of 48 Old 11-12-2012, 07:07 PM
 
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As another gifted parent of gifted kids I see your points, but I think they're only true for some gifted kids. 

 

When you say "If they’re gifted, they will seek them out on their own. Doesn’t matter how they spent the 7 or so hours at school." that's patently not true of some kids in some situations. It wasn't true of my brother who was presumed gifted but not formally identified until 7th grade, who developed atrocious study and behavioral habits in school because nothing challenged him, who had no friends and was relentlessly bullied for three years -- until he was placed in an alternative school with a bunch of other gifted kids. It wasn't true of myself, grade skipped but otherwise left alone in the public school system, where my inability to connect socially or intellectually with my peers at school or find anything to interest me there led me to a cycle of drug and alcohol use which was almost my total undoing. And which miraculously disappeared once I almost by accident got on a pre-med track with a bunch of similarly gifted kids at college: if only I could have found those people when I was 13! My parents were caring and involved in our lives, but they were of the opinion (common in the 1970's, I think) that schooling is best left to teachers, and that it is not a parent's job to question, advocate or interfere. 

 

I realize your intent is to reassure parents that things mostly work out okay. But for some kids things go pretty wrong and things get pretty miserable even if they are deeply loved by caring parents.

 

My own kids are doing fine. I come here not because I'm worried but because it's nice to be able to chat about what they're doing without having to self-censor to avoid making other parents feel uncomfortable, and because as a homeschooling parent I find that parents of similar children make excellent suggestions for resources that might work for my kids.

 

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#7 of 48 Old 11-12-2012, 07:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Have you considered that perhaps your experience was generally positive because you were in the gifted program vs being bogged down by frustration by not having your needs met?  Where I am there are no gifted programs at all, but there are other ways to meet the needs of individual learners.  I also believe that the school system today if very different from that of the 80s and 90s and isn't directly comparable.  

 

 

 

Hmm, that’s a very good point. I’m sure it definitely had an influence.

 

Although, I will say that (with the bureaucratic nonsense of moving to different states), there were periods of time when I wasn’t enrolled in the program—where I was waiting for results from being re-tested and, in the meantime, continued in my normal classes.

 

I will definitely agree that things have changed since my experience. Schools are both better and worse; the various ways that one can approach teaching are now actually a conversation (!); however, budget cuts in nearly every state have left a dearth of innovative teachers and programs, and the onus seems to fall on parents to pick up where the system has failed.

 

Also, my experiences definitely varied in each school district. Some had better funding than others. I’ve gone to amazing public schools and not-so-amazing schools. I understand how hard it is nowadays. Where you decide to settle—literally, which neighborhood you choose—directly impacts the quality of your children’s education. You are at the mercy of your school district, unless you have unlimited funds (which most of us don’t!). It’s nerve-wracking and frustrating.

 

However, the main positive change between then and now is the internet. It’s amazing what has been made available—such a plethora of knowledge from experts in their field. It really is incredible! I think the main hope that I have for public schools, gifted children, and underfunded programs is that there is no longer a definite barrier as to what we have access to. Materials are no longer reserved for only those that can afford them.

So, I feel a lot of hope. Everyone wants their child to have access to the best things—we all want them to have the best chances and experiences—and I do feel like the internet has become a great equalizer in that respect.  Where the system has failed, knowledge can still be sought and found for free.

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#8 of 48 Old 11-12-2012, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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@CaptainObvious: Yes! (About Carol Dweck's work). Really fascinating stuff...of course, I can't help but read her publications and go back in time and apply them to myself and think, "Huh...maybe that did have an effect."

 

I understand what you're saying about young children and how they need their parents' advocacy. It feels like so many momentous decisions have to made early on. I also see what you're saying about what drives parents to come to the boards and chat. I also think there's way too much pressure nowadays on parents to do everything "right"--there's always a new study emerging that basically negates everything you thought before!--and that was mainly why I wanted to write and offer something encouraging. No matter how awesome or shoddy a school is, having a stable and loving home environment is key.  Just having parents taking an active interest is so huge--school districts be damned! That's what I'm trying to say.

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#9 of 48 Old 11-12-2012, 07:51 PM
 
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@CaptainObvious: Yes! (About Carol Dweck's work). Really fascinating stuff...of course, I can't help but read her publications and go back in time and apply them to myself and think, "Huh...maybe that did have an effect."

 

Ha! ROTFLMAO.gif

 

It had to happen eventually, that someone would call me Captain Obvious! Better, I guess, than Captain Oblivious. 

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#10 of 48 Old 11-12-2012, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh no, I'm sorry!! I guess I skimmed it too fast (also, my eyes start to blur after so many hours looking at the screen).

 

If it's any consolation, I thought that was a really clever name!

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#11 of 48 Old 11-12-2012, 08:08 PM
 
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I want to underscore the point that giftedness is far less important in the long run than a strong work ethic, passion, and motivation. The older I get the more that I realize that success is predicated much more on doing than knowing.
 

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#12 of 48 Old 11-12-2012, 09:28 PM
 
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I want to underscore the point that giftedness is far less important in the long run than a strong work ethic, passion, and motivation. The older I get the more that I realize that success is predicated much more on doing than knowing.
 

 

Sure. The architecture of the mind isn't important, insomuch as what a person does with it. On the other hand passion, motivation and a strong work ethic can be in part built or whittled away by the goodness of fit of a person's educational program. And a recognition of giftedness can be part of meeting a child's educational needs.

 

Miranda

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#13 of 48 Old 11-12-2012, 09:49 PM
 
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I think that too often the labels are more for the parents than the children. Do you really think it's challenging to reread books or plays when the rest of the class is finally getting to those things? It's not a popular opinion, I'm sure, but I think, in the long run, things do work out, with or without the labels.
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#14 of 48 Old 11-12-2012, 09:54 PM
 
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I want to underscore the point that giftedness is far less important in the long run than a strong work ethic, passion, and motivation. The older I get the more that I realize that success is predicated much more on doing than knowing.
 

 

I think this is definitely true: but I also think that for many gifted kids, these qualities are more likely to be developed in a program that's hard enough that they have to work hard.

 

I am a student teacher in a gifted program right now and I have to say that as a teacher, I can TELL which students were in the program last year, where they had to work hard, and which kids entered this year straight from the general education program, where they were coasting along on little effort. The coasters are really having to step it up this year, in a way that I suspect will be very healthy for them in the long term. 

 

That said, in seeing what parents report here, talking to other former gifted students, and through my own experience (I went to 4 different elementary schools, and was in gifted programs in 2 different districts), I think one of the big problems with gifted education is that there is no standard for "gifted education."  It can be whatever a school district thinks it should be, and there's a lot of variation between different districts and different regions. Consequently I am hesitant to make any blanket statements about how useful a gifted program is to the students, because it really depends on the program. For me, I was lucky enough to get a pretty solid education and make lifelong friends. But others have had vastly different experiences.

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#15 of 48 Old 11-12-2012, 10:10 PM
 
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There is a really terrific quote of Calvin Coolidge on the subject of persistence. Unfortunately, my android didn't want to copy it. Here's a link to it, though.

http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/2771.html
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#16 of 48 Old 11-12-2012, 10:47 PM
 
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I really think that teaching persistence and empathy are a parent's two most important jobs.

 

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#17 of 48 Old 11-13-2012, 12:21 AM
 
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I wasn't any less bored in the gifted classes than I was in any of the mainstream or remedial classes. I don't remember doing anything at school either way except listen to someone else talk, take notes from off the blackboard, memorize stuff for tests, hand in homework ect.

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#18 of 48 Old 11-13-2012, 12:27 AM
 
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I want to underscore the point that giftedness is far less important in the long run than a strong work ethic, passion, and motivation. The older I get the more that I realize that success is predicated much more on doing than knowing.
 

 

 

While this is true, it is often a challenge to instill those things in a gifted child who grows up forced into an inapprorpriate environment.  Much the same as it would affect any non-gifted child who is in an inappropriate environment for their needs.

 

But alas, this is a gifted forum--where we deal with the challenges and share ideas that are a direct result of having a child with one of the various levels of giftedness.  And I think there is unlikely to be a parent on this forum that doesn't understand the point you're making--we are simply trying to find ways to instill those things in our children so they grow up to be those people.

 

I, for one, believe that where you are for 7 hours/day, 5 days/week matters.  It's a lot of a child's life during a lot of formative years.  Just my .02


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#19 of 48 Old 11-13-2012, 05:32 AM
 
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I think that too often the labels are more for the parents than the children. Do you really think it's challenging to reread books or plays when the rest of the class is finally getting to those things? It's not a popular opinion, I'm sure, but I think, in the long run, things do work out, with or without the labels.

 

Wow, so, reading things twice is a dreadful fate. How about reading things once, like the other posts in the thread, or the forum heading? 

 

Other parents in the thread are telling you that things do not always work out with or without the labels. They have described bullying and drug and alcohol use, and to me, that's not "things working out."  That's why I'm asking questions now, while the child is in elementary school. Your suggestion that "too often the labels are more for the parents than the children" is offensive. At least, it is to me, since I'm in the middle of trying to figure out what to do for my kid.  It's "not a popular opinion" around here on the Parenting the Gifted Child forum, FOR SOME REASON, but in the wider society, it's a very popular opinion that gifted children do not need any special consideration. 

 

I'm in the middle of this question right now and I'm really anxious. My son's teacher has told me, casually, that she thinks he's too gifted for his public school. I'm pretty sure that's not true, but what if it is? I need to advocate for him. How do I do that? It's already too late for him to avoid this label. How can I make this into something positive?

 

When you're all snotty about how sometimes the gifted label is more for the parents, it's really hurtful, because I'm stuck here trying to figure out what to do, and you're dismissing the problem with some hand-waving. Perhaps it doesn't matter what decisions I make as a parent, but if that were my attitude, why would I be here? 

 

(And really, who hasn't read a lot of the literature assigned in high school English classes before they get there?  How gifted do you have to be for that?)


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#20 of 48 Old 11-13-2012, 07:26 AM
 
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Wow, so, reading things twice is a dreadful fate. How about reading things once, like the other posts in the thread, or the forum heading? 

 

Other parents in the thread are telling you that things do not always work out with or without the labels. They have described bullying and drug and alcohol use, and to me, that's not "things working out."  

 

Unfortunately, it's true, it doesn't always just work out. My niece and nephew are classic examples of gifted kids who fell through the cracks. My gifted nephew barely graduated high school and my gifted niece didn't graduate at all. They are in their mid to late 20's and still struggling. They tested gifted but they never received any accommodations and there was no program for them to be part of. Their parents were never worried.... figured they were smart, things would work out, God would take care of it... nope. So far, the kids are just lost... no education and unable to hold a steady job. My little brother too... very highly gifted but didn't graduate high school. In fact, it's quite alarming how high the drop-out rate is for gifted children. I think my own DD could have gone that route if we didn't get her out of high school and into an early college program... high school=depressed, falling grades, pulling away from friends and loved ones... early college=happy, engaged, restoration of high achievement, healthy relationships. It pays to pay attention and take action when needed.

 

I had the label but no one TOLD me until middle school. I spent most of elementary working alone and because I had little work time with other students, I thought I must have been stupid and needed all the extra work to keep up. No, labels can help kids too. I remember my DD being openly relieved when we laid it all out on the table. If she had a label, it meant she wasn't alone... that it was a common enough issue to have a group and that eventually, she was going to come across others who shared her experiences.

 

This isn't to be alarmist. Being over-worried is just as dangerous as not worrying at all. I just agree that the notion of things "just working out" really shouldn't be the parenting technique for ANY child. 

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#21 of 48 Old 11-13-2012, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I really think that teaching persistence and empathy are a parent's two most important jobs.

 

miranda


Absolutely.

 

However, (what I did not clearly emphasize in my original post), while my mom was instrumental in teaching those things, the best opportunities that I had to put them into practice without her guidance were in the classroom. Especially empathy. You can be told that (to quote Atticus Finch), "You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them," but it's a very different thing to interact with the cross-section of people in a given classroom. One of my schools was zoned so that the student body came from several different areas of very different socioeconomic status. I learned a lot in my 3rd-grade class..some of it scholastic, most of it about people. So, even though this was one of those years where I was in limbo re:the program, I don't think of it as time wasted.

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#22 of 48 Old 11-13-2012, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I want to underscore the point that giftedness is far less important in the long run than a strong work ethic, passion, and motivation. The older I get the more that I realize that success is predicated much more on doing than knowing.
 

 

I definitely second that!

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#23 of 48 Old 11-13-2012, 10:22 AM
 
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I'm curious about those who had depression, dropped out and are struggling in their 20's. But perhaps that's for another thread. I just have questions, such as "how do you know they are gifted if they fell through the cracks?", and "in what way are the adults struggling?".
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#24 of 48 Old 11-13-2012, 10:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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There is a really terrific quote of Calvin Coolidge on the subject of persistence. Unfortunately, my android didn't want to copy it. Here's a link to it, though.

http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/2771.html


Thanks for that. Great quote! (Now I'm distracted looking at all the other inspiring quotes...)

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#25 of 48 Old 11-13-2012, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm curious about those who had depression, dropped out and are struggling in their 20's. But perhaps that's for another thread. I just have questions, such as "how do you know they are gifted if they fell through the cracks?", and "in what way are the adults struggling?".


Those are very interesting questions...I wonder about these things, too. I wonder if the effects that you're describing have to do with how much one's identity is intertwined with the label...?

 

I don't know. The label is both helpful and harmful, I suppose.

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#26 of 48 Old 11-13-2012, 11:41 AM
 
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You know what's really cool?  Some professionals have spent a lot of time studying and thinking about these sorts of things:

 

http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/browse_by_topic_articles.aspx

 

http://www.sengifted.org/resources/resource-library

 

http://hoagiesgifted.org/


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#27 of 48 Old 11-13-2012, 11:42 AM
 
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I'm curious about those who had depression, dropped out and are struggling in their 20's. But perhaps that's for another thread. I just have questions, such as "how do you know they are gifted if they fell through the cracks?", and "in what way are the adults struggling?".

 

Um...they fell through the cracks after being identified/in spite of being identified?


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#28 of 48 Old 11-13-2012, 03:23 PM
 
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You know what's really cool?  Some professionals have spent a lot of time studying and thinking about these sorts of things:

 

http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/browse_by_topic_articles.aspx

 

http://www.sengifted.org/resources/resource-library

 

http://hoagiesgifted.org/

There are also critics of gifted programs like Alfie Kohn and Mara Sapon-Shevin. My most painful memories are of school. I was depressed, bored and a social outcast both in and out of gifted programs. I noticed early on tho, who the "gifted" kids were. They were almost all either asian or jewish while the black and hispanic kids were almost all stuck in remedial.

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#29 of 48 Old 11-13-2012, 04:43 PM
 
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There are also critics of gifted programs like Alfie Kohn and Mara Sapon-Shevin. My most painful memories are of school. I was depressed, bored and a social outcast both in and out of gifted programs. I noticed early on tho, who the "gifted" kids were. They were almost all either asian or jewish while the black and hispanic kids were almost all stuck in remedial.

 

I went to look for an article about or by Mara Sapon-Shevin (because I'd read Alfie Kohn) and found this feature story from 2001:

 

http://old.post-gazette.com/regionstate/20010610giftedmainnewreg2.asp

 

This is so frustrating. In this article, Shevin talks about differentiation as an alternative to ability grouping. That's why we picked the school we did--it was supposed to have effective differentiation. Ha. Not so much. 

 

Now that you're not in school, what is your approach? I'm assuming unschooling. 


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#30 of 48 Old 11-13-2012, 05:22 PM
 
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I have largely stopped participating in online forums on the topic of giftedness because it's frustrating, and because I'm less comfortable talking about my kids online.  This thread is frustrating.  We've got a bunch of people talking past each other, and about a variety of topics.

 

Sure, there are parents who live through their kids, hyper-focus on excellence and achievement, and that's in areas of academics, sports, the arts, whatever.  Sure, there are kids who thrive outside of gifted programs, who thrive inside gifted programs, who just need modest differentiation, who derive no benefit from a label, who get services because of a label, who are harmed by a label  etc etc etc.

 

It's pretty clear based on lots of neuro research and social/psych research that "success" is underpinned by self-regulation, "grit," perseverance, temperament etc.  I think kids are more likely to achieve their potential (broadly using this term) if they're in environments that encourage the development of things like self-regulation and perseverance, and what that environment looks like will vary by child.  So I just don't know what the point is of these trite remarks about the negligible value of labels, perseverance over smarts, and focus on gifted programs as the only mechanism to meet individual needs.

 

I think the fact of a gifted label/identification is being conflated with a host of parental egocentric follies.  I think it's more complicated than that.


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