could he be gifted??? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 08-19-2002, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We are HS (unschooling) my four year old. He's all about work books, so I got him a few. He is flying through them...He's totally reading and finished a second grade level math book...HE'S FOUR!!!! I am not pushing him at all, he's just a sponge!!! Am I going to be able to keep up here? What challenges might arise?
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#2 of 21 Old 08-19-2002, 04:16 PM
 
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It sounds like you are doing all the right things. If you let him take the lead he will continue his love of learning. The great thing about homeschooling (unschooling) is that if he is interested in something that you don't feel comfortable with, you can find him a mentor.

Many people here at MDC do not like the label "gifted" so don't be surprised if you get some strong reactions (I learned the hard way about a year ago). I recently purchased "Creative Home Schooling for Gifted Children" but haven't had a chance to read it yet. It does seem to have some good resources and may answer some of your questions.

I understand your concerns about keeping up. Feel free to pm if you have more questions.

~Jill
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#3 of 21 Old 08-19-2002, 05:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I too am not for labels, but I am not sure how else to describe him...this is all so new to me so I hope people are friendly even if I use an offensive term innocently.

My concern is HS is being able to keep up with him...

Holly
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#4 of 21 Old 08-19-2002, 07:25 PM
 
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Holly, I understand what you are saying. I don't like the label either but sometimes it is the easy way to relate a lot of information quickly. I never use the term around my ds.

I am currently in the process of finding a tutor for my ds in robotics. He is getting beyond me and I don't have that much interest in mechanical things. I want him to have time with someone who has as much passion for building and creating that he has! I don't have to know as much as he does, I just need to find him the resources to move ahead.

For me the biggest challenge comes with dealing with my ds's emotions. Accepting his intense feelings and trying not to stress when I realize how different he is are the biggest factors for me. Sometimes I expect to much of him and need a gentle reminder that he's still a 7 year old kid.

Here are some traits of gifted kids from the book I mentioned before. A quote from the book says "Keeping in mind the diversity of gifted or creative learners, we can find enough common traits and tendencies, however, to talk about them as a group".

*Precociousness, especially early language development
*Uneven development
*Intensity
*A creative nature
*High levels of sensitivity
*Complexity of thought and personality
*Perfectionism and high expectations
*Highly developed or pervasive sense of humor
*Idealism and sense of justice
*Exceptional memory
*Fascination with patterns
*Unusual ability to concentrate on topics of interest
*Strong drive and developed sense of self
*Unquenchable curiosity
*Excitability

The needs of this type personality are challenging but I think you will find that his need to learn will make him a delight to homeschool. Finding resources for him will be your greatest job and one that I am sure you can succeed in!

I hope this helps and hopefully we won't get flamed too much!

~Jill
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#5 of 21 Old 08-19-2002, 09:38 PM
 
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There is an email list called "Tagmax" out of St. John's University for parents hs'ing gifted kids. I have found it to be very helpful with ideas for hs'ing my kids/keeping up with them, and also for finding out that my kids are not the only ones doing.....well, whatever makes them look weird compared to most of their peers! Just be forewarned that the Tagmax list is very chatty and the messages really accumulate quickly (although since many of them [like hs'ing a teenager] won't be applicable to you, you will probably be able to delete a lot).

The Hoagie's Gifted page is a great site as well: http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/

Good luck!

Mama to four great girls: 14 , 12 , 7 and 4
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#6 of 21 Old 08-20-2002, 03:50 AM
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I think the whole "keeping up" thing is kind of overrated. I don't feel like I have to keep up with my daughter - she's nine, and she already does things I couldn't do and knows things I don't know. She has found other people and resources to do those things with, which is as it should be, IMO.

If she asks a question and I don't know the answer, we usually start with a google search, and then ask people we know. My dad can answer any science-type questions, our friend Gordon is a big history buff, shemet a woman this summer who was a great help with her singing and preparing for auditions. When all else fails, I ask an email list or two for help. The only thing we haven't gotten an answer on yet is a way for her to learn to roll her r's (for that Irish accent :-)

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#7 of 21 Old 08-21-2002, 12:52 AM
 
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just a quick warning - whatever you do, don't subject your child to tests to determine whether or not s/he is gifted, what his/her IQ is, etc. As a gifted child with pushy parents I could go on for pages about the trauma of being in a room full of strange adults at age 5, being asked questions and having them whisper amongst themselves after every answer. I'm 23, so maybe they do those things differently now, but I went through a battery of tests from the age of 4 to the age of 6, trying to be labeled and placed by IQ and other "talents". I've been through a lot as an adult but these were the worst things that ever happened to me. Testing changed my view of myself forever. DO NOT subject your children to this, PLEASE!!!
Nernie the Lab Rat
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#8 of 21 Old 08-21-2002, 09:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, Nernie for your concern. He went o preschool last year and they tested him there. They were simple test and Nigel had no idea he was being "tested". They did want me to get more extensive tests but I refused. I am also careful not to ever use a "lable" around him...
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#9 of 21 Old 08-21-2002, 11:30 PM
 
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good mama! You have made the right choice. YAY YOU!
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#10 of 21 Old 08-22-2002, 09:17 AM
 
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breathingmom: have they been watching my child? I keep saying, well, she doesn't demonstrate any "real" precocity, it's just the overall picture adds up. She's enrolled in a local public school for kindergarten, but I am really taking a wait and see attitude.

I would dearly like to avoid nernie's experience for her; the last thing her prefectionist nature needs is to have an audience. I affirm her effort and her "hypotheses" in themselves (she likes experiments) and hope that that serves as a counterbalance. If she feels she has done a task poorly, or her painting doesn't come out right, she CAN become very angry. People hovering and the feeling that she is being judged I can't imagine will be good for her.

I wonder if a public school parent can refuse these tests?

I am planning right now to "part-time " homeschool her, making sure that we continue the enriched envionment of her early years. For now it's nothing formal. Does this plan make sense to anyone?
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#11 of 21 Old 08-23-2002, 03:12 AM
 
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It's been my experience here in Alaska that testing was an option. The teacher recommended it but also felt that my ds was young enough to not push it (kindergarten). We moved to a new city in Alaska towards the end of the school year and started homeschooling.

Enhancing your dd's school experience will be great, however, in the long run you may want to consider homeschooling. From the reading that I have done, homeschooling is the best option because the child does not lose their love of learning nor feel labeled within the school system. Since homeschoolers are able to interact with children of many ages they don't end up feeling like they are so "different".

Keep in touch and let us know how it goes for your dd.

~Jill
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#12 of 21 Old 08-23-2002, 08:26 AM
 
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thanks breathingmom, for the info and the support!
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#13 of 21 Old 08-23-2002, 09:54 AM
 
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Thanks for making that point, nernie. You just changed our short-term plans for DS#1 ...

And besides and beyond not liking to label our children, can someone please fill me in on the problem with using the descriptor "gifted"?

Don't be mad, anyone, I'm really just looking to understand this.

Thanks.

- Amy
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#14 of 21 Old 08-23-2002, 07:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by darlindeliasmom
I am planning right now to "part-time " homeschool her, making sure that we continue the enriched envionment of her early years. For now it's nothing formal. Does this plan make sense to anyone?
I think that in the long run your ability to provide an enriched environment for her will shrink as the amount of time she spends in school and on homework increases over the next few years. Kindergarten is usually a lot of fun. It is the sucker them in stage of schooling. You may findfirst grade to be a whole different deal.
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#15 of 21 Old 08-23-2002, 08:34 PM
 
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just want to say, i think homeschooling him gives you a much better chance of keeping him interested in learning than many public schools would.

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#16 of 21 Old 12-13-2002, 11:36 PM
 
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This link has a lot of info on homeschooling and "gifted" children.
http://www.gomilpitas.com/homeschool...nks/gifted.htm
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#17 of 21 Old 12-14-2002, 10:06 AM
 
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thanks, leafylady, for the link. It's intriguing, and I want that book!

Linda in Ariz.>: from my 4-mo experience, trust me, kindergarten can be no fun too, esp. as this teacher sees it! The repetition of basic skills is driving me bonkers, and DD is trying so hard to fit in and be a "good girl".

I am intimidated by the thought of teaching DD because of her sensitivities and perfectionism, but then this teacher just blows us off when we try to discuss it, so really, can I be any worse?
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#18 of 21 Old 12-15-2002, 02:38 AM
 
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dearest Friends:

I do not like labels nor do I like giving "levels" to abilities. Let him learn as he goes. He may plateau and then move on to another interest. Keep him stimulated, but be careful of burn out too.

A difficult balance, but one that must be done.

Mothers know best.
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#19 of 21 Old 12-15-2002, 02:55 AM
 
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Future homeschooling mama popping in to offer a different perspective from nernie's on testing. I was extensively tested beginning at age 3. I actually have very fond memories of it - I remember visiting, on a number of occasions, a very nice woman (a diagnostician who was a dear family friend) and a nice older gentleman (a college professor), and doing fun puzzles, reading, and talking.

In my situation, I think testing was beneficial because it helped my parents and grandparents (who were instrumental in my education) come to the decision that I had special education needs. I was reading on a 6th grade level at age 4; waiting until 5 to start school was not suitable for me. So, I began first grade at 4.5, and skipped 2nd grade.

HOWEVER, had I been homeschooled (my grandmother desperately wanted to homeschool me, but it was not a workable option for our family), I don't know that the testing would have made any difference. We would have just gone with the flow and worked at my level, whatever that might have been. Testing helped my family determine, however, what that level was for the purpose of figuring out what to do with me school-wise.

I guess my point is that gentle, respectful testing (as opposed to the type nernie describes), can be a useful, productive thing under certain circumstances. I know this is kind of off the topic of the original post, but I wanted to throw in my perspective on this issue.

(Also, I hope no one thinks I am blowing my own horn or anything...I really don't mean to sound like that! I only offered the information I did because I thought it was relevant to my post!)

I have learned a lot from this board and look forward to learning more!
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#20 of 21 Old 12-16-2002, 03:57 PM
 
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I haven't read all the posts here yet. Sorry if this has already been said. If you do have a child who might be gifted, I recommend being very careful about allowing any kind of assessment that might allow them to be labelled as gifted (actually, I would say this about any formal assessments--ADHD, developmental delays, etc.) I've heard a number of stories through the net of parents whose kids have an IEP they don't agree with (and yes, some schools do IEP's for gifted kids and it's hard for even homeschooling parents to get out of them!), and it can really suck. A number of parents I know of were not allowed any input into their child's IEP, and the school fought extra hard against homeschooling because their child is "special needs."

While this may be seen as a bash against some public schools, from reading parent's stories I think that _some_ districts really harass special needs homeschoolers. Maybe it's just out of concern, but while special needs money is woefully inadequate for kids who need lots of help, that extra special needs money for a gifted child in a 1 hour a week enrichment program or the ADHD kid who gets nothing special except the school nurse administers meds or the child who gets 1/2 a week speech therapy in a group of 10 other kids and the school gets a couple thousand a year extra per child for this...I'm not sure it's not about the money.

Like I said, just a warning. I totally believe that this does not happen in all school districts, but I have heard some horror stories. But if you're homeschooling, you usually adapt the entire curriculum to your child's needs and could only be hurt by the labeling.
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#21 of 21 Old 12-16-2002, 08:51 PM
 
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We have done testing for both our son with delays, our son born with orthopedic birth defects, and also our highly gifted son. Never had a problem with any of it.
Oldest son got into college early that way by showing scores & we were always able to figure out which level of materials for which subject they were interested in learning (our public schools offer TAG and Challenge programs, later AP classes at high school and clepping out of college courses, parents can request gifted program but children must be referred/accepted by teacher reccomendation and test scores), younger son also got speech and occupational therapy from age 3-- As far as labeling goes- I do not mind labels, but really mind pigeonholing kids KWIM? As far as refusing services, requesting goals rewritten, and withdrawing with an active IEP, we have done that with our kids it can be done.
In some ways test scores can be extremely helpful as long as you don't let them define your child. And all children are gifted in different ways, as parents we need to remember not just academically.
For a gifted 4 yr old, I would~~
* try to make friends with someone at the local public library to help refer you to local resources that are free, we found a children's librarian that is a homeschooling mom, she knows our kids interests and can help them find things that are appropriate/challenging.
*And hook up with a homeschool group to find a social group for your child that would have simliar interests kind of fostering a little peer group of comparable intelligence.
*Start to learn as much as you can about gifted children, their characteristics and special needs. You will get conflicting info, but keep reading and you will find what suits your child's needs best.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/giftedpre/
a discussion group for G/T toddlers-preschool-baby age

The ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education (ERIC EC)
The Council for Exceptional Children
1920 Association Drive
Reston, VA 20191
Toll Free: 1-800-328-0272
TTY: 703-264-9449
E-mail: ericec@cec.sped.org
URL: http://www.ericec.org

Welcome to the Gifted Resources Home Page:
http://www.eskimo.com/~user/kids.html

The National Foundation for Gifted & Creative Children:
http://www.nfgcc.org

The Gifted Development Centre:
http://www.gifteddevelopment.com

I hope you find your answers, please pm me if you want more links on something specific. Good Luck to you!!
Mary
mom to 4 wonderful homeschooled kids

helendowland@senet.com.au she has a website somewhere and is a consultant that helps solve problems common to young gifted kids, these are her words pasted below--
"Because gifted children have a longer concentration span and higher intelligence than most toddlers or preschoolers, they may begin early to spend more time doing cognitive, sedentary tasks and play, to the neglect of the physical and fitness developmental work all toddlers need. I've worked with groups of gifted preschoolers, some of whom could read anything in the room, including any instructions for the parents and teachers, yet during a "kindergym"-type activity most of them were physically "retarded" compared to a group of average children. The development of fine and gross motor coordination which toddlers and preschoolers need, can't proceed if the toddler is sitting reading or doing puzzles most of their waking day. Thus their developmental "profile" can begin to become unbalanced very early in life.
As much as the intellectual stimulation many gifted children crave, social interaction with other gifted children is probably their most important need.the issue which I'm stating is the very important issue for gifted preschoolers is not rushing to make an early start on schoolwork; it's helping the child in as many ways as possible to have positive experience and develop social confidence with at least one group of other bright children, and also to develop confidence in his or her own ability to function at her or his intelligence level, that is, to lay down some confidence in him or herself as a gifted child. This latter objective may obviously involve some activities which come within the future school curriculum, but that's not the main goal in making them available to the child. The amount of genuine academic content in the 7 years of primary schooling is relatively small, and no gifted child is likely to have any trouble mastering it in the future. "
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