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Forum: Gifted and Talented Children

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  #1  
June 9th, 2011, 11:05 PM
*~~Shannon~~*'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I know my 3.5 year old is ahead of his peers, but I'm honestly not sure where to go from here. He knows all of his letters and their sounds. He's beginning to sound out words and can read at least 30 words from memory. He writes his own name, can do addition and subtraction to about 10 and is developing a real interest in dinosaurs currently. Today, he came up to me and said, "a brachiosaurus is a quadruped. That means he has four legs." His memory is insane. Out of nowhere, he'll start talking about an event that happened 6 months or a year ago and remember little details about it. A few weeks ago, he told me what we ate and the fair last September, and not only which rides he went on but what color the cars were.

Is he a genius? Maybe not, but he's ahead of his peers and enjoys learning. I'd love some tips for fostering that. He will be 4 next December and we do not have him enrolled in preschool this year. I don't see a lot of value in it when he's already ahead of the kids he'd be in class with.

Given what I've told you about him and your experience with your gifted children, can you give me some recommendations? Would you classify him as gifted? How would you go about fostering his interest in learning?

Thanks for your time!
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  #2  
June 10th, 2011, 04:47 AM
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In my opinion, he definately sounds well above his peers. At this age, I suggest continuing to provide lots of opportunities for learning and discovery.

I'd also consider the preschool - just for the play and socialisation part. My little boy needs support and practice with the group play and changes in envoronment. I think preschool helps with these social skills before Kinder time.
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  #3  
June 10th, 2011, 04:52 AM
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By the way, I love your blog
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  #4  
June 10th, 2011, 07:00 AM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
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I'm going to definitely disagree here. I think he's gifted, yes. I don't think he needs "play and socialization" in the preschool setting, though. We did that (dh's idea), and it was a HORRIBLE mistake! In a group setting, the goal is almost always to get the group to think like a group and act like a group. There's no individualism, and I can almost bet your child has friends who are at least one year older, correct? Mentally, it sounds like your child is 5. Others in the class would be mentally 3. Why would a 5 year old even want to play with a 3 year old? I mean, at 35 and 33, there's no difference, but there's a HUGE difference between a 3 year old and a 5 year old. Kids learn so quickly at this age.

If you want to find friends, go to the park or library. Sign up for soccer teams. Go to homeschool outings with others in your area (since technically, you're homeschooling right now whether you choose to continue or not). If you want some academic guidance, take this little bit of advice: answer every question as best you can, don't be afraid to say "I don't know. Would you like to help me look up the answer?" and ask questions as often as possible, in every situation. Read, read, read! Don't push, but don't hold back, either. Engage in as much creative play as you can, and try to avoid "dumbing" games like most video games, things that require batteries (usually), or toys that are below level.
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  #5  
June 10th, 2011, 09:17 AM
*~~Shannon~~*'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tassiegirl View Post
By the way, I love your blog
Aww, thanks!

We have some playgroups we meet up with regularly, so we attend 1-2 playdates each week. When he's around kids his own age or younger, he's very much the leader, guiding, helping and policing the others. With older kids, he jumps right in and doesn't seem aware that he's younger. There is a distinct difference in how he acts in each age group. I feel they both have value and like to encourage him to be in both situations.
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  #6  
June 10th, 2011, 11:30 AM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *~~Shannon~~* View Post
There is a distinct difference in how he acts in each age group. I feel they both have value and like to encourage him to be in both situations.
Definitely! We're the same way!
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  #7  
June 10th, 2011, 06:29 PM
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Chrystal, I'm wondering if our ideas of preschool are different, since we are in different countries. Here, we don't really do "preschool" but a lot of parents will send their children to (paid) day care centres for a couple of days a week, maybe more, and these daycares are very play-centred. When children turn 5, or that calendar year that they turn 5, children go to Kindergarten, which is compulsary, and runs for 2-3 days per week.

That said, I do see what you mean. It's very contrived to have a room full of children within the same 12 months of age. There are a vast range of abilities. I've also realised just how contrived it is to "learn school". How to sit on the mat, do a job for a set amount of time, and have limited time to explore. And on top of that, make friends with children whom you have been forced to share a room with. I've taught kinder in the past, and it's a very, very difficult balance to find.

So I guess, Shannon, if you need to think about "school readiness" then maybe preschool is that way to go, but definately lots of friendship circles, of different age groups, are important.

Maybe I am just rambling! It's just something I've been thinking about a lot since Mia started kindergarten this year. Mia's had a hard time using a job chart, and has gotten in trouble for arguing with her teacher! Eek!

Those above reasons make me interested in the Montessori system. Unfortunately, there aren't any Montessori schools in my state. They have 3-6 year olds in one room and lots of time for self-directed play.
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  #8  
June 11th, 2011, 02:45 PM
HS&Fsmom's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Shannon, Liam sounds like he has a lot in common with Hugo. Hugo does/says many very similar things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tassiegirl View Post
It's just something I've been thinking about a lot since Mia started kindergarten this year. Mia's had a hard time using a job chart, and has gotten in trouble for arguing with her teacher! Eek!.
I don't think you're rambling Liz- I get it. All of that is why I have Hugo in a preschool despite that he doesn't "need" it. I want him to be able to "do school" and do it well, and we are not planning on homeschooling at this point for any part of his academic career. I work in a public school and know just how difficult it is for kids who aren't able to go along with the routine and comply with the teacher. I want him to gain those soft skills because he'll need them later, in college, working in an organization, etc. I am not saying I want him to be dumbed down or fit in a round hole or what have you, but I want him to have the ability to succeed easily in the mainstream because it looks like that is where his life path is headed at this time. We will do plenty with him outside of school hours to ensure that he is an independent thinker, pursues his passions, etc... (and monitoring his educational setting closely the whole way so he doesn't have quite the bad experience I did in school as a child).

I just feel fortunate that in his preschool he was placed in an older class, plus most of the kids in his class are also pretty bright. We got lucky with the mix of kids, so he is not terribly bored on any level. On the contrary- he says his school is so much fun and he talks about it every day. There is a little boy turning 4 soon who is the other most articulate child in the class and they have made fast friends, which is a blessing. I am talking to the other moms to find out what they are doing for elementary school. I would like for some of them to continue to be in his peer group if we could work it out!

So yes, I think preschool does have its perks!
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  #9  
June 11th, 2011, 02:53 PM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
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I was actually wondering the same thing. I know there's a huge variation between countries, especially Aussie and UK, when it comes to preschool and kinder. They mean different things.

Here, preschool is usually all day, 5 days a week. There are 2-3 day and half-day programs, but most people interchange the words "daycare" and "preschool". To me, a preschool is an educational setting that sets a child up for what it will be like in kinder/1st, and it academically prepares them to be a step ahead of their peers. A daycare is just a place where kids are taken care of while parents work, and inevitably, a bit of learning will happen, because kids are sponges. Kinder in the US usually starts when a child is already 5 by the time the school year begins, although some wait until age 6 (called "red shirting"). That especially happens with boys, because their social skills mature more slowly than girls', and because it sets them up to be a year larger physically when they start high school sports.
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  #10  
June 11th, 2011, 02:59 PM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tassiegirl View Post
They have 3-6 year olds in one room and lots of time for self-directed play.
Those are wonderful for a gifted 3 year old, but torture for a gifted 5-6 year old. I'd like broad, multi-age classes with a little guidance, a lot of self-direction, freedom to choose ANY subject matter (even things a 10 or 15 year old might choose), and enough teachers to take the time to work individually with one child on something. That just doesn't happen, though. ... well, not in "preschool" anyway. The vast majority of preschools are simply daycares.

I like the idea of old "one-room school houses" where K-12 all worked together, and there were no boundaries. Older children helped teach youngers. Your assignments were challenging to YOU, no matter what level you were on. The teacher really knew her students inside and out, and she was able to tailor learning to the individual - even if there were 30 kids in the class.

Last edited by BensMom; June 11th, 2011 at 03:01 PM.
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  #11  
June 11th, 2011, 03:47 PM
HS&Fsmom's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Good explanation of daycare vs. preschool vs. kinder Chrystal...

To clarify my post about preschool, Hugo goes to a 3-day, half-day program that is for school prep, not a daycare. He spends the day with his grandparents before and after preschool on school days.
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  #12  
June 12th, 2011, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BensMom View Post
A daycare is just a place where kids are taken care of while parents work, and inevitably, a bit of learning will happen, because kids are sponges.
Actually an awful lot of US daycare offer accredited pre-school programs and often kindergarten as well.

Noah went to one and he didn't just learn a little bit. He learned everything my sahm neighbor's kid learned in pre-school. Lucy went to an accredited kindergarten at a daycare center. She was ahead of the kids who went to public kindergarten.
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  #13  
June 12th, 2011, 02:06 PM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
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Interesting! I wonder if that's regional ... like saying pop or soda or coke? Around here, a daycare is just babysitting.

I think part-time programs are pretty fun for most kids, but I don't think full time ones are necessary for anyone whose parent has the option of staying home.
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  #14  
June 12th, 2011, 05:18 PM
shari626's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Hmmm. This thread has gone in several different directions. First - WELCOME!! I do agree that your son sounds like he needs to be challenged more than the average kid. Gifted? That won't be known for a few more years but usually a parent can just tell.

Here daycare runs from about 630 am to 630 pm. They usually have preschool in a classroom setting but it's just care for the majority of the time. Preschool here is on a half day basis 2-3-4 or 5 days a week depending on the age. It runs about two and a half hours and that's it. It's good for some kids. My kids never went, but we have plenty of socialization going on here at home with four kids. Every situation is different and there is no right or wrong answer.


Again - Welcome and I hope you stick around!
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