Homeschooling a possibly gifted child? (*Long, I'm sorry*) - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 07-01-2014, 02:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Homeschooling a possibly gifted child? (*Long, I'm sorry*)

Hi everyone!

***This got really long, I'm so sorry in advance, especially this being my first post and all but thank you for any advice, or for just listening, because I don't know where to go/who to talk to****

I'm new to this forum, but have been lurking for a little while. I'd like to talk to someone that isn't in my friends/family, and someone who probably knows a little more about this than I do.

I know this question arises a lot, though I guess I have trouble with deciphering what is normal and what is not in regards to my son being a gifted child. He just turned four a couple weeks ago. He was always "ahead" as a baby- he learned to walk at 8.5/9 months... he could count to and backwards from ten by a year old and could count to ten in English, French, Spanish and Russian around 2 years old (he still can, though I rarely bring it up to him anymore).

He knew his shapes and colors and letters by about 20 or so months, as well. I'm not sure when he learned the letter sounds... I remember teaching him some of the "simpler sounds" like A, B, C and M... I'm not sure where he picked up the rest. Maybe an ipad game he has, or from me reading to him. I don't recall the exact age he began talking in real full sentences, but sometime before his little sister was born, which was when he was 23 months. His language was always really interesting. For example, he always would repeat the questions when answering. Like, "Would you like some milk?" He would respond, "Yes, I would like some milk."

At 2.5 years he seemed to have quite the attention span for things of interest, for example, he would sit through an hour long history channel documentary about monster trucks, which he was obsessed with for sometime, and could later rattle off facts about them and all the names of monster trucks. He was OBSESSED.

He has always been unusually quiet and observant. Sometimes when we go to the beach he just stands at the edge of the water and stares at the waves for, like, 15 minutes. As a baby he was always quiet, always just staring like deep in thought, or just spacing out? He also has always had sensory problems, he doesn't like the look of stringy things, (if there is cut up spaghetti "hanging" off his spoon he won't eat it, or "hang-y type of seaweed at the beach he is afraid of) he is terrified of piles of dead grass from lawnmowers and has serious anxiety about walking through them. He's always had weird ticks similar to that. Additionally, he's highly emotional. Often over emotional. For example, we drove past the playground yesterday that had only one boy playing at it, by himself, while his dad sat aside on a bench. Roman became incredibly sad asking "why doesn't this boy have any friends? Why is he all alone?" Close to tears.

Trouble started when I sent him to school. My children being multilingual has always been really important to me, so I sent my son to a french/english bilingual speaking preschool in September (he was 3 yrs, 3 months) which, now, seems like a mistake. At first it was fine. After about a month, sometime in October, we were having dinner and Roman held up 1 finger on each hand and said "Mama, 1 plus 1 is 2." I was like, "Yes! It is! You're learning that in school?" So, then I started practicing at home with him, playing adding jellybeans and gummy bears, etc. He did great for a while.

Come January, he started having a lot of problems at school. He did not progress much socially with classmates (a concern that had been addressed in November, as well). He got along with everyone, but preferred to be by himself. He also would not do tasks he was capable of. His teacher explained, "I will ask him to bring me four marbles, and he will bring me a handful." I responded, "That seems odd. We've been practicing addition, subtraction, patterns, counting at candies and blocks, etc. He can add numbers up to ten, so I know he can count out four marbles."

She responded "Oh, don't even DO addition with him. Addition and subtraction are just way too complex for a 3 year old to understand." Confused (What about the 1 + 1 thing at dinner a few months ago? Where did that even come from, if not from school?? Let alone he's been doing addition with me the past couple months) and discouraged, I didn't want to be "one of those moms" so I said didn't pursue it.

She also addressed concern with his writing. By the end of the year the preschoolers are expected to be able to write the numbers "1, 2, 3" And I explained, "Well, surely Roman can do that. He's been able to write his name for months. I've never seen him write numbers, but if he can write all his letters, surely he can write numbers, too?" He had been writing since around november-ish, again this meeting was in January. She suggested he was behind or had "behavior problems", and taking him to the doctor, which really freaked me out, because I don't like doctors at all.

I was really frustrated, and not sure what to do. I knew he could do the work, but I didn't know why he was pretending he couldn't. Also, I noticed the more I asked him to do work at home, the more he'd pretend to not be able to.. like, practicing writing his name, he would deliberately make random scribbles and say "this is just what I can do." Then I learned to back off with the practicing, and just pulled him out of school all together in March. It got to the point where he started throwing tantrums and crying ever morning before school.

Now, at four, he likes playing starfall.com learning to read once in a while, but overall has lost a lot of interest in doing any kind of math, reading books, etc. that he used to have. It seems he is capable but doesn't like me asking him. Now I've just stopped all together with the "treats if you do some math with me" and let him just do what he wants to do. Lately he's taken a strong interest in jellyfish and how rust is formed with iron/water, asking about all different metals "will this rust? does this have iron in it?" or accordingly pretending to be an "ephyra" or "polyp" (premature, baby jellyfish), words he just learned.

I'm going to be homeschooling him in the fall, as I'm really discouraged to send him back to that school, or any school for that matter. He doesn't like to be tested on his knowledge at all, and it makes me really afraid to send him to school. Also, I don't want to get him tested for gifted with a doctor or anything. I brought up to my boyfriend (his dad) that I think our son might be gifted and he literally laughed at me and said, "no, he's not." When I brought it up again, he told me I was obsessed and to stop. Hence the reason I don't want to talk about it with any other family members.

What do you make of this? Are any of these things above average, bright, gifted? Part of me thinks they are, or I wouldn't be here, but another part of me is unsure and I don't know what to go off of. And if he is gifted, what is the best way to move forward with him as far as a homeschool curriculum? Do I just let him guide me with his interests and go from there? I'm on the fence about whether I'm just crazy or not, and I want to start putting together a curriculum this summer to start in the fall.
ferociousmagic is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 07-01-2014, 08:23 PM
 
moominmamma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: In the middle of nowhere, at the centre of everything.
Posts: 5,807
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 95 Post(s)
I was in a similar place with my 4-year-old sixteen years ago. I think we made it to about March too with the preschool thing. Our preschool was play-based, and the teachers thankfully saw my dd as just a quirky kid who preferred to spend time by herself rather than as having social/behavioural problems, but the disconnect in performance and the dissatisfaction were both there very strongly.

We ended up unschooling because she was impossible to direct or "teach" in the traditional way (i.e. with parental direction and ongoing informal quizzing). I didn't bother getting her tested. After a while I was no longer really even curious about whether she was gifted although it seemed pretty likely that she was. She was quirky, intense, asynchronous, amazingly precocious in some areas, stubbornly achievement-resistant in others. Unschooling allowed her to be fully who she was, and to grow up according to her own timetable and her own pathway. She developed passions for written language (creative writing and linguistics) and for classical music performance.

She ended up attending high school part-time and was ID'd as highly to profoundly gifted at that point at the school's request. She adapted to school just fine at age 14 and made her peace with the evaluative mentality that pervades it. She's now in her third year of college and is a competent and confident young adult who is extremely self-sufficient, independent and widely travelled. Although many people expressed concern that we weren't pushing her to overcome her idiosyncrasies, to adapt to school, to separate more completely from home and family as a young child, we followed our hearts and feel very much vindicated in our approach now.

Your ds sounds wonderfully square-peggish and bright. Whether he's gifted or not probably doesn't matter for the foreseeable future if you're planning to homeschool, and no one on this board is likely to ask for your credentials as the parent of a gifted child, so if you find this a useful place to gather ideas and get support, stick around!

Miranda

Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up

moominmamma is online now  
Old 07-01-2014, 09:20 PM
 
crazyms's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Way down south
Posts: 1,190
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 71 Post(s)
I don't think testing for gifted is a concern unless you want access to the gifted program if they're in public school. If you're going to homeschool then it really doesn't matter. Are you looking for curriculum suggestions or....? With mine we focus on reading/language arts and math skills being kept at grade level and then everything else we learn by interest. Some things they learn when they bring them up or show interest. Some things I introduce like taking them to see something. We just go with the flow around here for most stuff. It's amazing what their interests will bring up and how much they retain when they want to learn.
crazyms is offline  
Old 07-01-2014, 10:08 PM
 
moominmamma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: In the middle of nowhere, at the centre of everything.
Posts: 5,807
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 95 Post(s)
Yes I should add we used no curriculum unless the kids asked for it. That meant nothing at all until the 2nd grade level, and then a casually-done math curriculum, maybe a handwriting workbook one year, and a bit of second language software on and off, a science textbook once or twice for one kid or another, and that was it. If they'd started to lag way below grade level in academics I might have tried to gently persuade my kids into doing a bit more formal school-type work, but it was never an issue: they were always way ahead of their schooled peers in everything (except handwriting ).

Miranda

Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up

moominmamma is online now  
Old 07-02-2014, 12:41 AM
 
crazyms's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Way down south
Posts: 1,190
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 71 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
Yes I should add we used no curriculum unless the kids asked for it. That meant nothing at all until the 2nd grade level, and then a casually-done math curriculum, maybe a handwriting workbook one year, and a bit of second language software on and off, a science textbook once or twice for one kid or another, and that was it. If they'd started to lag way below grade level in academics I might have tried to gently persuade my kids into doing a bit more formal school-type work, but it was never an issue: they were always way ahead of their schooled peers in everything (except handwriting ).

Miranda
Yep this! We have shuffled through different curriculums and methods as needed. We don't usually keep much of a set schedule either. There's a goal in mind but I find it works better to do it when they're interested. DS is much less interested in the school stuff than dd but he still learns. Alternative methods are very helpful for learning opportunities without the kids needing formal curriculum or workbook type stuff. Some examples we've done to show what I mean are... I'll have ds count up the cost of items that we pick up in the grocery store (can be in his head, on paper or with a calculator whatever he's feeling) - addition and counting; writing down the shopping list (I'll spell out words as needed) - spelling, handwriting. Things like that happen in daily life and help them learn skills. They will learn! You can check out the unschooling forums here also to get a feel for how some of those mamas teach without formal schooling if you want inspiration to help him learn and not feel pushed.
crazyms is offline  
Old 07-02-2014, 06:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Wow, thank you all so much for your support and input. I just started checking out the unschooling forum last night! It may be better to have less of an official structure and do what he's feeling that day, as long as it's stimulating and educational for him. Yes, when I really think about it I don't care all that much if he IS gifted or not -I don't feel like I can have him tested now and I don't think I want to. Although, I would like to know where to start as far as his learning, and what methods to teach with. I guess every child is different, though, of course, so I'll have to experiment a little and see what he responds to best!

Thank you all so much for your replies/suggestions!
ferociousmagic is offline  
Old 07-07-2014, 06:30 PM
 
starling&diesel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: West Coast, Canada
Posts: 3,813
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
We're homeschooling, but with no specific curriculum, except for math (we do Jump).
We haven't done any 'gifted' testing so far. I agree with the idea that there isn't much point unless you want to access programs/supports that require a designation for an IEP.
What I love about homeschooling is that we can support her where she is, and not limit her to Projected Learning Outcomes, grade-specific 'units', or group-applied curriculum.
For my kid (she's 5yo) this means that she can study viruses and bacteria and pathogens to her heart's content, read to her ability and interest, and do math that challenges her.
I can't imagine her in a classroom setting (never mind that she's also exceptionally quirky and has various struggles that set her apart too), and I am so thankful that homeschooling/unschooling is so easy where we live.

dust.gifFour-eyed tattooed fairy godmother queer, mama to my lucky star (5) and little bird (2.5). Resident storyteller at www.thestoryforest.com. Enchanting audiostories for curious kids. Come play in the forest!
starling&diesel is offline  
Old 07-14-2014, 03:33 PM
 
mamasee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 254
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Just wanted to say "good for you, mama" for listening to your childs cues and, just as importantly, listening to your gut and heart during that early experience with school and a teacher. You know your child better than anyone - even during the times of doubt or uncertainty (which we all experience as parents, right?).

My daughter had a similar pre-school experience and I remember intensely agonizing for many days about whether to pursue pre-school or, to go down what felt to me like a completely unknown path with her of home/un-schooling. Since then I've had my moments of doubt, but more often I've had glorious moments of peace knowing that I have given her a different, more powerful and perfect for her option of unschooling. She is now nine and doing great. She tried school again at age 7.5 for a few months (a small, private school, which a good friend was attending). I feel also glad that I can be open with her to the idea of going to school if and when she is ready. That is really freeing - to not insist that we home or unschool.

Good luck with your journey!
mamasee is offline  
Old 07-15-2014, 12:48 PM
 
Tigerle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Europe
Posts: 1,388
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ferociousmagic View Post
Trouble started when I sent him to school. My children being multilingual has always been really important to me, so I sent my son to a french/english bilingual speaking preschool in September (he was 3 yrs, 3 months) which, now, seems like a mistake. At first it was fine. After about a month, sometime in October, we were having dinner and Roman held up 1 finger on each hand and said "Mama, 1 plus 1 is 2." I was like, "Yes! It is! You're learning that in school?" So, then I started practicing at home with him, playing adding jellybeans and gummy bears, etc. He did great for a while.

Come January, he started having a lot of problems at school. He did not progress much socially with classmates (a concern that had been addressed in November, as well). He got along with everyone, but preferred to be by himself. He also would not do tasks he was capable of. His teacher explained, "I will ask him to bring me four marbles, and he will bring me a handful." I responded, "That seems odd. We've been practicing addition, subtraction, patterns, counting at candies and blocks, etc. He can add numbers up to ten, so I know he can count out four marbles."

She responded "Oh, don't even DO addition with him. Addition and subtraction are just way too complex for a 3 year old to understand." Confused (What about the 1 + 1 thing at dinner a few months ago? Where did that even come from, if not from school?? Let alone he's been doing addition with me the past couple months) and discouraged, I didn't want to be "one of those moms" so I said didn't pursue it.

She also addressed concern with his writing. By the end of the year the preschoolers are expected to be able to write the numbers "1, 2, 3" And I explained, "Well, surely Roman can do that. He's been able to write his name for months. I've never seen him write numbers, but if he can write all his letters, surely he can write numbers, too?" He had been writing since around november-ish, again this meeting was in January. She suggested he was behind or had "behavior problems", and taking him to the doctor, which really freaked me out, because I don't like doctors at all.

I was really frustrated, and not sure what to do. I knew he could do the work, but I didn't know why he was pretending he couldn't. Also, I noticed the more I asked him to do work at home, the more he'd pretend to not be able to.. like, practicing writing his name, he would deliberately make random scribbles and say "this is just what I can do." Then I learned to back off with the practicing, and just pulled him out of school all together in March. It got to the point where he started throwing tantrums and crying ever morning before school.

Now, at four, he likes playing starfall.com learning to read once in a while, but overall has lost a lot of interest in doing any kind of math, reading books, etc. that he used to have. It seems he is capable but doesn't like me asking him. Now I've just stopped all together with the "treats if you do some math with me" and let him just do what he wants to.
Sounds like he has been exposed to a lot of formal teaching, both in school and at home, has been very confused by the mismatch in expectations and as a consequence, has become highly resistant. I think you are right to back off for now. Time to decompress! Just let yourself be swept up by the ride, and enjoy immersing yourself into his obsessions. He'll learn,believe it. You have reason to believe he is way ahead anyway, so no reason to worry about curricula or grade levels either, still time to double check on grade levels when he is actually grade school age.
If you want to gain an idea of how far ahead he is compared to age mates (and need some solid numbers to convince your boyfriend), I recommend checking out the PBS development tracker.
And I urge you to read up on asynchronous development in (presumably) gifted kids, this is something you need to always be aware of, even when homeschooling or unschooling. Understanding that even though a 4 yo may be ready and able to do first grade level math, he may not be able to handle structured teaching or formal expectations the way a first grader could. And so on. The Hoagies Gifted website is a good place to start, or you can search for the term in this forum and just browse.
Oh, and welcome!

MeDH DS1 10/06 DD 08/10 DS2 10/12with SB and
Tigerle is online now  
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off