Possible gifted child...not sure where to begin - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-13-2013, 07:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I always knew my son was bright, and he is very intense and always has been. Lately, though, I have been thinking he is more than just bright. His questions and comments take everyone by surprise. He teaches himself things, meaning that I have never attempted to teach him letters, numbers, colors, shapes, etc., yet he knows them all. He retains information after hearing it once or twice and is able to apply it. He recognizes and reads many words now as well, with no "training" from me. He hasn't ever been in school. He has a wonderful memory, talking about things that happened over a year ago (sometimes I don't even remember what he's talking about!). I could go on and on, but my question is, what do I do with a gifted child at this age? What is the point of testing? Is there any research about remaining at home vs. going to preschool and how that affects the gifted child? I had planned on keeping him home until kindergarten age. I really have no idea where to begin. I have zero experience in this area. Any suggestions, including previous threads that may be helpful, are appreciated!

ETA: He will be 3 in April, I thought I mentioned it!

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Old 02-13-2013, 08:53 AM
 
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Awesome, Mama!  This is your almost 3 yo?  I would suggest just letting him continue as you have, and not pouncing on the chance to fast-forward him academically.  He might enjoy word games, such as rhyming as many as you can together.  Maybe some of the flash cards of sight words, but only if he wants to play with them.  He can write letters to friends and family, and ask you how to spell if he wants.  I think just letting him play around with writing and reading all on his own, as he has naturally, is just the thing to do.  He'll progress as he wishes, but won't feel pushed or pressured to do something that is otherwise beyond his age group, in general.  Does that make sense?

 

My son is 4, and loves reading and writing, but only on his own terms.  He usually just wants to write free-style on blank paper without concern about the structured stuff, like capitalization and size/spacing.  I have workbooks and flash cards and all that, but he doesn't like to do that stuff unless it's all his idea to "play school".  Any time I encourage him to try them or ask if he wants to practice, he doesn't want to.  :)  I just keep them where he can access anytime, and let him lead the way.

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Old 02-13-2013, 09:31 AM
 
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It's exciting to see a child grow and develop and learn, isn't it? Enjoy and don't be too concerned. 

 

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Originally Posted by mrs.t View Post

I could go on and on, but my question is, what do I do with a gifted child at this age? What is the point of testing? Is there any research about remaining at home vs. going to preschool and how that affects the gifted child? I had planned on keeping him home until kindergarten age. I really have no idea where to begin. I have zero experience in this area. Any suggestions, including previous threads that may be helpful, are appreciated!

 

 

What to do? Everything you would otherwise do.

 

Provide him with opportunities to explore at home and outside and in different environments. Take him to the library. Read him lots of books, tell lots of stories, sing lots of songs. Give him materials for lots of creative play with building blocks, Lego, puzzles, crayons and construction paper. We gave my nephew, who is about the same age, a puppet theatre for Christmas this year and he is fascinated with it. His new best friends are the 2 hand puppets (a mouse and an elephant) that we gave him with the theatre. 

 

Let him help around the house, sweeping the floor, wiping tables, measuring the ingredients and stirring the muffin batter, sorting and matching socks. A 3 y.o. can participate in all of those tasks and more, with varying degrees of success at first. For many tasks, it helps if he has child-sized tools to use, like a child-sized broom or smaller scissors, so he can manage well without getting frustrated. 

 

In the bath, let him experiment with filling up different size containers and pouring them out to learn about volume. He can play with different objects and learn about buoyancy. 

 

Lots of physical activity is awesome too. He can experience physics by kicking a soccer ball around or flying a kite or riding a tricycle/bicycle. 

 

Take him on nature walks. Let him point out what he sees. Take photos. Look up information about it when you get home. Bring home interesting rocks and leaves to study. 

 

You are probably doing all of that already. 

 

What is the point of testing?  There is no point to test at age 3, unless there are other issues. Standard I.Q. assessments are unreliable in pre-schoolers. It's typical to assess at about age 8 and usually it's done as a precursor for admission to a specialized gifted program or to receive differentiated schooling in the regular classroom. There are programs that start earlier, at kindergarten age, that require earlier testing, but the results aren't necessarily reliable. 

 
Home vs. Pre-school? That's a personal family choice that often has more to do with lifestyle, parenting philosophy and an individual child's personality than anything else. Many gifted children do very well staying at home through the preschool years and beyond. My (both gifted) children attended preschool (Montessori) from age 2 1/2 and have done very well. They are both pretty much grown now (a 19 y.o. and a 16 y.o.). It was obvious early on that they were well suited to preschool and they benefited from the experience. I'm sure homeschoolers will tell you the same about their children. It's a personal decision. 
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks. That has been my strategy so far, letting him choose what he learns about and how he does it. He is doing so well, I just started to feel like I have this huge responsibility to develop his mind and I don't know if I'm doing enough. We have plenty of books, craft activities, outdoor time, play dates, etc., and limited screen time. If he isn't with me, he's with my husband or my mother in law, and all of us agree on how to parent him, so he really has a lot of positive experiences. I don't know if there is more I should be doing.

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Old 02-19-2013, 10:02 PM
 
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Agree on providing a stimulating environment- great suggestions. Also continue to read and research about giftedness. Gifted children will face biases from educators and other parents. You will need to advocate for them. For instance a lot of research shows that grade-skipping can be very beneficial for gifted children. Compare that to the policies and attitudes of most schools in the US- they'll say the exact opposite.
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:16 AM
 
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Hi!  I'm new here too, trying to take it all in! notes2.gif

 

My dd will be 4 in May and sounds a lot like your ds!

 

I totally agree with PP about a stimulating environment.  I love the notion of strewing, filling their environment with things for them to discover.  If they are interested great, if they aren't there is no pressure for them to play or learn with it.  

 

http://naturalparentsnetwork.com/strewing-their-paths/

 

Once dd turned 3 I found she really started articulating her interests (err, obsessions) and it became easier(but harder in some ways) to help her...I know she wants to learn everything about astronomy, the periodic table and volcanos...so that gives us a place to start, you know? Although I try to always pick out extra books or supplies on new topics so she gets a taste of what else is out there.

 

I really put a lot of emphasis on creative play and art as well.  We have an art table that is always set up with basic supplies and I often "strew" it with new things for her to discover. I try to always pick a new book of art up at the library, and try to pick really beautiful story books.

 

And a big yes to letting him help with the work of the household, it has given dd great confidence and pride.   

 

As for preschool etc....I think it totally depends on your child AND what options you have available.  My dd is a very social child and very able to let all her seriousness go and make silly knock knock jokes with her friends, ykwim?    Right now she is in a morning preschool two days a week.  The "preschool" aspect of this is kind of a joke for her....I mean, they are learning their letters and colours and doing simple  puzzles and she's way past it all.  But, she loves her teacher and loves the kids and they go swimming one of those days and it's really just a social activity for her.  

 

Testing:  I don't imagine we will test anytime in the near future....we will if we have to as it comes down to choices of schools or entry into programs...but that's a whole level of anxiety I don't want to think about right now huh.gif


Beth knit.gif.  wife to DH and Mama to DD1 heartbeat.gif (May 1-09) and DD2 heartbeat.gif (Nov 2-11)   

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Old 02-23-2013, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone! I like the "strewing" concept! We sort of do that already, but it's not something I really put any thought into.

I guess mostly I'm worried that school will not encourage his interests, since they are so varied and he really goes in depth to learn things about them. I know he has the freedom to explore his interests at home, so I'm happy about that. I wish I could say that I had a lot of options for schooling in my neighborhood, but I don't.

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