need help with dh's worries about homeschooling a gifted child - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-13-2007, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son is 5 and we are about to start homeschooling for kindergarten next month. He can count past 200, read numbers into the double digits (he understands the concept of place numbers and applies it), do addition into the double digits (and even add 3 numbers together), do subtraction IRL (he wouldn't know 5-3 but can say I was 2 years old 3 years ago, kwim?), recently grasped some multiplication, and understands what angles are. He has an insane vocabulary. After reading up on gifted children he fits the mold almost to a T. Dh is also gifted, I'm not gifted, I more fit the "bright" description. However, he does not know how to read or write (he can read and write his name, but nothing else). I know this is perfectly normal for a child his age (and for a gifted child his age); I have seen him slowly taking steps towards reading and know that when he's ready he will make the leap seemingly overnight and probably with very little help from us. I have seem him do it with so many other tasks, that is the way he learns. Dh does not have the same faith in his natural drive for learning that I do.
We have chosen to use the Enki kindergarten curriculum because dh is not comfortable with the idea of unschooling. When I chose Enki I asked dh to look at the website and tell me what he thought. He gave me the go-ahead to buy it so I thought he had looked into...but now I'm not so sure. He keeps talking about lessons and subjects, etc. I don't think he realizes there are NO acadamics in the kingerdarten year of Enki! I figured it would all unfold naturally and would't be too much of a worry...but when we realized that ds is gifted dh went back to thinking that we need to teach him how to read. He also seems to be worrying that homeschooling might not be enough for a gifted child.
Now for the actual questions I have, lol. I'm not sure how to convince dh that even though ds is gifted he's also still a 5 year old boy who needs to just play and have fun. I actually think he really needs some of the focus on play that's in Enki because he doesn't seem to really know how to play, he either wants to play video/computer games or play with other kids. He will make up elaborate games/stories and wants to tell me them or have me play with him, but he never plays with toys and never by himself. It drives me batty! LOL. Dh will not read all the Enki reasoning (who can blame him though, I can barely stay awake while reading it and I normally love that stuff), so I'm going to have to be the one to argue for delaying fomal academics and not forcing them. What can I say? I don't know how dh can't see that we don't need to sit down and make ds do "work" - he's already learned math and more vocab than some adults just by asking questions and observing life! So, any ideas? Am I wrong, would we be depriving our gifted child of something by not pushing learning? TIA

Genie, mama to T (4/02), I (10/04) and T (7/09)
 
 
 

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Old 07-13-2007, 02:10 PM
 
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I'd raise the more concerning issues of putting a gifted child into a regular school setting. With homeschooling you can meet him exactly where he's at and know just how much to challenge him.. you can excel him at his own pace..if he's mastered a concept you can simply move on..with homeschooling he has the benefit of one on one teaching and the option of putting aside the curriculum for awhile to explore areas of interest. It's not that simple in a regular school setting, unless you are blessed with a perfect school filled with wonderful teachers who understand the needs of gifted children you'll be fighting every step of the way.

Ds recently turned 5 as well and may be gifted (we haven't had him tested and really have no intention to). He's currently reading chapter books, is a few grade levels ahead with math, can hold his own with adults in a game of chess and highly creative. He's also terribly emotionally sensitive and highly perfectionistic..neither of which are qualities that tend to jive well in school.

Take a look over at the Hoagies website and print up some information about homeschooling gifted children for your dh. A great book to look into as well is "Creative Homeschooling: A Resource Guide for Smart Families" by Lisa Rivero.
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Old 07-13-2007, 02:13 PM
 
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As long as you are flexible enough to follow him if he charges ahead faster than Enki, I can't see how you could cause him any harm. Enki is based on Waldorf, which is based on Steiner's educational "indications" and his Anthroposophy. Assuming you aren't a die-hard anthro, there's no reason you have to proceed at the pace set by Waldorf.
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Old 07-13-2007, 02:24 PM
 
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Oh my goodness, having a gifted child is all the less reason, not all the more, to worry about teaching reading and other academics. Kids like this absorb the stuff without being taught so easily. They usually thrive in an unschooling environment. I have an almost-4-and-a-half-year-old who is doing the sorts of things you describe, plus reading and writing, and we are doing no academics with her whatsoever and have no plans to change that unless she insists. Why would we try to fix what ain't broke?

I'm with you in putting the focus on play and creativity. I did that via unschooling, though Enki's another way to do that.

Miranda

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Old 07-13-2007, 06:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamabohl View Post
He also seems to be worrying that homeschooling might not be enough for a gifted child.
In my experience (and many others I've talked to) school is the worst place for a gifted child. Is your husband concerned that school might not be enough for your DS? Most traditional public schools are not currently set up to meet the needs of gifted students. They are teaching to the test, no child left behind means your child doesn't get anywhere. There maybe some charter/private schools that are set up to embrace learning the way a gifted child learns, and there may be great teacher here and there who can keep a gifted student interested, but your really taking a gamble going into a regular classroom.

I agree that you need lots of play at 5 years old; I think you'll be able to figure out ways that play and child lead learning fits into 'subjects' for your DH. My son was interested in all things Mexican when he came out of school. So we ate lunch at an authentic mexican resturant a couple times, read some stuff on the internet about kids in mexico, checked out some books from the library. This was all feeding DS's passion, but for DH I translated it into 'today we did geography, foreign language, math (we counted in spanish), etc.'

Reading doesn't need to happen right now for him to be learning. It bet it will happen suddenly, on it's own.
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Old 07-13-2007, 11:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Cassiopeia View Post
As long as you are flexible enough to follow him if he charges ahead faster than Enki, I can't see how you could cause him any harm. Enki is based on Waldorf, which is based on Steiner's educational "indications" and his Anthroposophy. Assuming you aren't a die-hard anthro, there's no reason you have to proceed at the pace set by Waldorf.
Thank you, that is exactly what I needed to hear! I've been reading these Enki guides and I think they're getting me all paranoid that I've ruined my children by accidentally making them mind-centered too early or some other wierd stuff like that. I'm liking what we will actually DO in Enki, but the whole Waldorf theory thing...welll....it doesn't make sense to me.

I have to remember that while I love the idea of unschooling I also don't think it's harmful to do respectful parent-led learning. I think I'll try to find some way to help give ds some more info about reading without actually teaching him how...I know he will pick it up easily once he gets the concept down, lol. Thanks everyone.

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Old 07-13-2007, 11:27 PM
 
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Since your child learned all that without school, what makes you think the child needs school?
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Old 07-14-2007, 04:59 AM
 
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Since your child learned all that without school, what makes you think the child needs school?

This is a great point. I have a 'different ' learner in ds. One of the actual traits of his 'giftedness ' is need to focus. He is adamant about having personal space to do his work. He has an amazing attention span but doesn't like to be bothered. Public school would not be a good fit for him for many reasons but this is one if you are talking academics. Before he was even of mandatory school age he had learned so much , but I went to an hs board and said "Well I am not planning on sending ds to school, this is what he can do? What should I do to homeschool him, am I doing this right"

They were like "You already have been homeschooling if that is where he is" They were very right.
Your child sounds very bright and seems to be thriving, which is a great reason to 'keep' homeschoolingThe proof is already there that homeschooling a gt child is working

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Old 07-14-2007, 12:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamabohl View Post
Thank you, that is exactly what I needed to hear! I've been reading these Enki guides and I think they're getting me all paranoid that I've ruined my children by accidentally making them mind-centered too early or some other wierd stuff like that. I'm liking what we will actually DO in Enki, but the whole Waldorf theory thing...welll....it doesn't make sense to me.

I have to remember that while I love the idea of unschooling I also don't think it's harmful to do respectful parent-led learning. I think I'll try to find some way to help give ds some more info about reading without actually teaching him how...I know he will pick it up easily once he gets the concept down, lol. Thanks everyone.
And please remember...not everyone here is unschooling, so if you choose to go the structure route, there will be a lot of support here from those of us with advanced kids who thrive on structure.

If you prefer structure (a lot or a little), the beauty of homeschooling is that you can tailor each subject to your child's level. There are a lot of curriculum ideas out there if you want something written down in fornt of you, since you're just starting out. Or, you can peruse curricula just to get ideas you may want to try.

Dd1 loves structure. She's doing some 1st grade math from Singapore while also going through various pages throughout the entire Miquon Curriculum. She understand the basics of chemistry and loves to do experiments, yet she also "just" enjoys spending hours watching animals (chickens, especially ) with NO desire to read more about them.

Let your child develop where he may. Try structure, try no structure, find what works for you and yours.

Homeschooling means you do NOT need to try to fit him in to some giant classroom mean. It can be all about what he needs, however he needs it.

As for reading, Teach Your Child To Read in 100 EZ Lessons worked really well for us. I did it in a very silly way when dd1 was 3.5 and sight-reading a few words. She loved it and the method worked well for us. Just one option to chew over (but pay no attention to their insistance that you must read the directions out loud verbatim....make it your own).
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Old 07-14-2007, 06:20 PM
 
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I am homeschooling because my son was labelled "gifted". To me, the resources were so limited. He ended up waiting around for his peers to finish their work and started using a word he'd never used before..."bored". Gifted children dont get "bored" , they find things to do! But, in a traditional learning enviroment where they are confined to desks etc.. he had to sit and wait. I use Sonlight without all the religious stuff, and this gives him plenty of time to do what he wants!!! School takes us about 1 1/2 hours a day. The rest of the time, he is reading what interests him, searching for info. on internet, building with legos ( for hours on end!). He just finished making a model satellite (sp?) based on a picture he found on the NASA website and using a ping pong ball and aluminum foil. We just hung it in his room. For us, the 8hours a day he was gone from home when in school, was a lot of wasted time for him....he has much more time to learn now.
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Old 07-14-2007, 07:38 PM
 
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My 10y/o dd was tested as gifted at 6 y/o. She was writing words/her name at 2, reading small books at 3, chapter books at 4, was a whiz at math, and loved world geography and science before she was 5. School was a disaster from the get go. At first all the teachers thought she was ADHD, talked too much, was too fidgety, etc. She was so bored with the work and tended to love school for the social outlet only. She started a school for the gifted in 2nd grade (25 seats for over 1000 applicants). Although it was considered an amazing program, it still didn't allow for much creative freedom. After 1 1/2 yrs there, we both had enough of it.

Homeschooling was the perfect answer. It took a while for her to become that curious, motivated kid again, but now that she's free to explore her world on her own terms, there's no stopping her. It was definitely the best decision. She goes back and forth between wanting structure and wanting to do her own thing. I follow her lead and it's worked great for over 2 years now.

A structured program is fine if you feel it's not going to stifle his creativity and enthusiasm. At 5 y/o he does need play and exploration as his main source of education, though. Play it by ear with Kindergarten and see where his interests take you. What I did when we first started homeschooling was keep a log of all the cool stuff we did every day (written out with an educational flair to it, lol) to show dh - who suddenly became very impressed with homeschooling!

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