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lynne
08-09-2012, 11:15 PM
I hesitate to post about my son (age 7), because I don't want to sound like I'm bragging but I've known for a while that his learning style is different and that he immerses himself in things that interest him to a very high degree for a kid his age. He began reading when he was 3. He had intense interests at age 3-4...elevators for one. He was somehow able to identify the make of an elevator by sight. He could say "that's a Dover". He was watching youtube videos of elevators when he was 4 and completely on his own. I never encouraged it.

Now he is interested in stars and planets - again I didn't teach him about this, aside from taking him to the library where he found some books on the subject. He knows everything about them and is now reading books in the adult section of the library on the subject. He wants to know every detail about every star and draws picture after picture of them and labels everything and is SO intensely interested.

So, my question - how do I educate a kid like this? It feels silly to do "science" when he is already learning advanced science on his own. So, do I just skip science and nurture his interest as much as possible with books, videos, trips to the planetarium? I guess he is a good candidate for unschooling, right?

We're doing the usual - math, spelling, handwriting, etc. but what else should I do? Is it enough to just provide as many sources of his interests as possible? And then continue to work on grammar and everything else?

He is also interested in computer operating systems (maybe a programming course soon?) and nutrition (wants to know all about vitamins and minerals in all foods and what the body needs).

I just want to make sure I'm doing what I should be doing for him. I am grateful to be able to homeschool him.

farrarwilliams
08-09-2012, 11:37 PM
Really, you never encouraged him to watch elevator videos? :D Sorry, I just found that amusing.

It sounds like you're doing a great job and your ideas are on the right track. Maybe look for ways to connect him with the "real world" of what he's into. I do this for my kids some, like I took BalletBoy on a tour of the country's best dance festival, but not being obsessive or gifted, it's worthwhile, but not transcendent, ya know? Like, for space, I would take him to the grown up astronomer's club or something like that - I can think of specific things, but they're all around here.

Sounds like it will be challenging but fun, Lynne.

lakshmi
08-09-2012, 11:46 PM
And make sure you hit the gifted forum at WTM.. it is at least a place where folks gather.. it may not be helpful .. and sites like Hoagies.. and all that...

And not really unschooling just schooling at the proper level for his abilities. If he is in 7th grade science then start there.. if he is in 1st grade reading (or whatever, just an example) then do that.


I assume that you know about Scratch and Kodu.. languages to program.... And just because the level is different just plan accordingly.. and make sure he can understand the higher level stuff by being prepared to cram the basics so he can learn what he needs to learn.

I am guessing.. my kids are average... but that is what I do for them, if they want to learn something... like cross stitch.. haha. not that it is a gifted subject but if they want to dive in and make something, then we have to cram the basics.... like needle threading.. etc... bad example..

Good luck, you can do it.. just keep on doing the best you can do.

Deli76
08-10-2012, 12:40 AM
this is something i very interested in. dd was tested for gifted and she took gifted in school. this is our first year hs'ing her.I hope I am giving her what she needs. she has written several books. 2 of them are prolly worthy of taking to a publishing company. And last week i decided when she is done reading her current book, i might up the next book a level. She started teaching herself multiplication before the school year ended last year. we started homeschooling the first week of August (this month) and she is doing very well. She actually picks some of it up and does it herself. I somewhat know where you are coming from. I am staring at a science project in my kitchen as I type this. LOL The one thing I have been doing is just going with HER flow. Letting her take the lead. If she wants to know something, we look it up. whether its online or at the library. I do educate about the basics of the subject and kinda take it from there. Quite honestly, Im not a pro at any level of homeschooling, but if he is still asking lots of questions, he is learning. I always believed a childs natural curiousity should be fed. I hope I helped, and hopefully i can learn from your post as well.

Stella M
08-10-2012, 01:38 AM
You educate a child like this by being their facilitator - doing the research to find them the resources and opportunities you know they will gobble up - the mental food they need.

And by educating yourself about giftedness and the real challenges it can present.

Finding other interested adults to spend time with your ds discussing/learning/teaching on topics of interest to him would probably be great as well, and give you a break from the intensity.

The other thing gifted kids really, really need is the experience of working hard at whatever doesn't come naturally to them. It might not be something academic; for me it was mastering the floor polishing machine at a home I worked at :) But gifted kids, imo, really do need that experience of effort followed by success, because often a lot of the learning they do isn't very effortful.

Stella M
08-10-2012, 01:41 AM
Oh, and never hesitate to post here about your issues re educating a gifted kid.

Anyone who has an ounce of knowledge about giftedness knows it is a two edged sword and most certainly it does not come under the heading of 'bragging'.

CatInTheSun
08-10-2012, 01:57 AM
Agree with PPs. I'd just add I wouldn't necessarily skip science -- he may benefit from breadth since his nature seems to be to draw himself deeply into topics. But if you don't expose him to the breadth of science (or other subjects), he won't know what next to be intense about. ;)

I would think that the usual spiral through topics in science and history won't work well for him (assuming his retention is good and he'd find that annoying to cover the same subject just slightly deeper year after year), so you may want to more methodically cover history and science over larger cycles or scales (in other words, if you want to cover human anatomy, cover whatever you want to cover for the next several years now and don't come back to it again for a few years unless he shows an interest).

hockeymom
08-10-2012, 07:14 AM
The other thing gifted kids really, really need is the experience of working hard at whatever doesn't come naturally to them.


Anyone who has an ounce of knowledge about giftedness knows it is a two edged sword and most certainly it does not come under the heading of 'bragging'.

Such good points, Stella. I totally agree.

Gifted kids are challenging, no doubt. Most casual onlookers (or even close friends and family members) will likely have no clue what your life is actually like dealing with such intensity; they'll praise how "smart!" he is or be impressed (or bored) by his knowledge, but dealing with the real issues can be pretty lonely. Come here to vent, laugh or cry: there are plenty of us! :)

I laughed at your elevator video comment too--he sounds so much like my DS at that age. I'm sure people thought I was crazy for feeding him so much "adult" information while he was in preschool, but really they were just his own interests.

DadTeaches
08-10-2012, 07:52 AM
I have two gifted boys, one who pursues knowledge on his own, and one who pursues creative outlets on his own. Both are talented, but in very different ways. My youngest (age 7) became interested in Geography over the summer. He can take a blank map and identify every state in the US and every country in the world-- never taught him a thing about it. He was multiplying and dividing in his head before kindergarten. One thing I have noticed, and I'm not sure whether this is unique to him or not, is that once he moves on to a new passion, he loses quite a bit of the old (for example, his math skills appear to be weaker now than they were two years ago). My older son can build an elaborate Lego ship while listening to Narnia on audiobook and talking to you about something else. He's an inventor and a communicator, but remembers few facts, where my younger son is a fact sponge (and a poor communicator). I try my best to teach them to their strengths, but, as someone mentioned, to force them out of their comfort zones as well.

bcnlvr
08-10-2012, 08:34 AM
Just wanted to echo the sentiments. Ds10 is my astrophysicist. Hoagies gifted is very helpful for pulling together things that might help him explore/go deeper. I also try to learn everything I can about giftedness and over-excitabilities....of which my son has several. (did I mention SEVERAL?!)

I really ramped it up this year with the volume of work that I am requesting of him. He has always had input >>> output (writing, oration/narration) and I want his output to be challenged this year. We are only in week 1 of school, but he is really doing great! He reads a lot, but only about physics or astronomy. This year we are reading more anthologies, novels, and history (Hakim). Normally, he hates that stuff, but he is digging it this year. I think it's more developmental than "I am the best curriculum picker, EVAH!" lol

Pefa
08-10-2012, 09:26 AM
Ditto to PP. You have fun because they make your life easier - if they want to learn something they're going to learn it.

For my kiddo, it's become less about content (because I know he absorbs content like a sponge) and more about the scaffolding around the knowledge - keeping track of assignments, writing the papers, actually studying for a test (just because he knows the stuff doesn't meant the prof's going to ask questions the way he'd think to answer them) and test taking strategies.

Sherry
08-10-2012, 09:28 AM
I have two like this. We are covering most subjects at a basic level, supplementing heavily. Finding appropriate science curriculum is tough. In the early elementary grades, the content of grade-level science curricula is too basic. The content of higher level curricula is better, but my children are not up to the expected level of output. (Writing skills are not advanced.) We read/learn about current interests outside of lesson time. So they learn a lot about human anatomy and a little bit about nutrition and hygiene. A lot about physical geography and a little bit of cultural geography.

I second finding something he needs to work at - a musical instrument, a sport, a foreign language. Then require that he put the effort into learning it. Too often gifted individuals are able to soar through academics without ever really working at anything. They don't know what to do when faced with a challenge. Or when faced with having to repeat a boring task over and over again.

lynne
08-10-2012, 09:35 AM
Thanks everyone! That was really helpful. bcnlvr - my son only wants to read books about food/vitamins and stars right now, so I'm having him read with me and his older brother some classic books. He would never read them on his own, so hopefully this will encourage him to enjoy reading other types of books. He seems to be enjoying it so far. My older son loves fiction and is always reading. I can choose books for him and he loves most of them.

Stella - that is a good point about focusing on weaknesses. For him it is handwriting and writing in general. He can write a couple of sentences about a topic, but we need to work on this. I started having the boys do notebooking pages for some subjects and they both seem to like it, so I'll stick with that.

hockeymom
08-10-2012, 10:25 AM
Do you ever take your son on a field trip to the grocery store, Lynne? My son is super interested in nutrition as well and can spend hours reading food labels. He is especially fond of looking at products that we DON'T buy, and that totally gross him out. :) He recently spent over half an hour reading the labels of every.single. Lunchables box on the grocery store shelf (who knew there are so many?).

He will totally berate (um, educate) others for their food choices though, so we have to talk about that a lot, how to just keep quiet. But his interest does help keep me on the straight and narrow, since I can't buy junk when he's around! :) And, especially since he is so active in sports, he does take a real pride in eating well and making good choices. He knows it has a positive effect on not just his game but his long term health as well.

hockeymom
08-10-2012, 10:26 AM
Writing and input vs. output for us here this year, too. Having high hopes!

lynne
08-10-2012, 10:39 AM
Do you ever take your son on a field trip to the grocery store, Lynne? My son is super interested in nutrition as well and can spend hours reading food labels. He is especially fond of looking at products that we DON'T buy, and that totally gross him out. :) He recently spent over half an hour reading the labels of every.single. Lunchables box on the grocery store shelf (who knew there are so many?).

He will totally berate (um, educate) others for their food choices though, so we have to talk about that a lot, how to just keep quiet. But his interest does help keep me on the straight and narrow, since I can't buy junk when he's around! :) And, especially since he is so active in sports, he does take a real pride in eating well and making good choices. He knows it has a positive effect on not just his game but his long term health as well.

Oh, Yes! He loves reading the "stats" on all the foods. I can't buy junk either when he's with me and it's tough because my 11 yo wants donuts but if both kids won't eat them, it's too much.

WindSong
08-10-2012, 11:37 AM
I highly recommend that you look into Project Based Learning as described by Lori Pickert at her website, Project-Based Homeschooling (http://project-based-homeschooling.com/about). I have been devouring her new book (http://www.amazon.com/Project-Based-Homeschooling-Mentoring-Self-Directed-Learners/dp/1475239068/) on the subject. I can't wait to incorporate her ideas into our routine this year. She basically believes in students choosing, directing, and managing their own work with you, the parent, as their mentor. It's not about assigning parent-chosen projects or projects from their curriculum. It sounds like your son has already taken the initiative to learn in this manner. Lori's book explains how to help you mentor and support your child's learning. She also has a forum in which she actively participates. I can't say enough about her ideas.

Suki
09-25-2012, 10:39 PM
I believe that it's just the choice of word that makes us hesitant to discuss our kids in public. "Gifted" implies a value judgment, but the fact is that different kids develop differently and have different needs. No one thinks a mom who says her kid is "autistic" is bragging. Research shows that dyslexic people are in general more creative than the non-dyslexic population, but parents who use the word "dyslexic" don't have to apologize for it.

My favorite resources for giftedness:
A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children, Webb, et al - absolute must read
Living with Intensity, Daniels & Piechowski - if you need to understand how your kid is wired differently
Hoagies' - already mentioned - Hoagies' Gifted Education Page (http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/) - one stop online guide
Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted - SENG (http://www.sengifted.org/) - to help you understand your child's emotional life
I wrote about a bunch of topics concerning gifted kids at the National Gifted Children Examiner until recently - Suki Wessling - National gifted children Examiner - Parenting Issues | Examiner.com (http://www.examiner.com/gifted-children-in-national/suki-wessling) - lots of links there

I have just started a page with links to all my favorite resources here: Gifted links – Avant Parenting (http://blog.sukiwessling.com/gifted-links/)

Homeschooling gifted kids can be incredibly fun and incredibly challenging. We have very few peaceful days at our house. But it's worth it!

Suki

Amy
10-07-2012, 11:49 AM
I understand the hesitation, as we don't discuss that part of our daughter with too many people.... it's complicated. I didn't see this web address above but forgive it already said. Hoagies' Gifted Education Page (http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/) is a good resource to find out things on many topics "gifted". I would also say, nurture his loves and make sure he's exposed to other things as well and you can't go wrong! :)

Operetta
10-07-2012, 12:18 PM
I highly recommend that you look into Project Based Learning as described by Lori Pickert at her website, Project-Based Homeschooling (http://project-based-homeschooling.com/about).

Windsong - thanks so much for this link! This is pretty much what we do and i am just winging it....I'm ordering her book tonight!

Operetta
10-07-2012, 12:23 PM
I am guessing.. my kids are average... but that is what I do for them, if they want to learn something... like cross stitch.. haha. not that it is a gifted subject but if they want to dive in and make something, then we have to cram the basics.... like needle threading.. etc...

I think this is a really good point, lakshmi -- even if the interest level in a subject is really high, if the underlying basics aren't there it's going to end up being frustrating. I think it's a good motivator, too -- learning the basics is still working towards that goal. I have this issue with DD sometimes, she wants to jump right in and do the hard stuff.

lynne
10-07-2012, 08:17 PM
I think this is a really good point, lakshmi -- even if the interest level in a subject is really high, if the underlying basics aren't there it's going to end up being frustrating. I think it's a good motivator, too -- learning the basics is still working towards that goal. I have this issue with DD sometimes, she wants to jump right in and do the hard stuff.

The things that interest him are completely self directed though. It's not like he says "I want to learn about xyz." and I have to figure out a plan to make that happen. He dives into it on his own and reads everything he can find, watches every video he can find and he draws what he learns. What I tried to do was order advanced materials in his subject of interest (astronomy). He is 7 and this was geared for middle schoolers. So far I haven't been able to teach him anything new in this subject. It is really unbelievable. He even found a typo in the book where something was supposed to be labeled "white dwarf" and the book had "neutron star". I checked online and he was correct so I notified the people at Elemental Science.

I think I need to just let him go it alone and if he asks for help, I'll do what I can. I plan to continue with the Astronomy unit because you never know. There may be something new there for him. We're also planning to get him a decent set of binoculars for Christmas for his "star hunting". It's a lot of fun watching him as he learns things. I wish I had had a strong interest like that in something as a kid. It's very cool.

Amy Schneider Nichols
10-08-2012, 06:15 AM
Hi Lynne,

I did not read through all of the other posts, so someone may have already suggested this, but I will anyway. I have a son, also 7, that is very similar to yours and am, also, thankful that I'm able to homeschool him. His interests have always lied more with alternatives forms of energy and things that are environmentally 'green'.

We belong to a homeschool co-op and last year he took two science classes (astronomy and geology) through there. I thought the teacher was wonderful, but it was a bit like torture to him. She was very soft spoken and they sat around a table while she talked to them, and then they would complete little craft projects based on what she was talking about. He's not much of a complainer, so when I asked him whether he liked the class, he would just look at me - with the look that only I know! When I pressed it, he would just say that it was 'kinda boring'.\\

Anyway, I had him signed up again this year, but then had this thought of 'why'? I thought the same thing you did...he loves this other stuff and is so self motivated for it, why not build on that? So this year, I just decided to let him focus on what he loves. I've just decided to support his learning, with field trips to all different places that use various forms of energy - solar houses, places that use geothermal heat, a coal mine, etc. Last week we were at a nuclear power plant.

But then at the end of the year, I thought I would have him work on a project that he came up with a year ago. This is not that they stop being interested in it or stop learning in May, but I thought it would be a good thing for him to work on something that displays his knowledge. He had this idea a year ago to make a board game that had to do with collecting various forms of energy, and I always thought it was such a creative idea. So at the end of our 'school' year, I thought we would actually work on creating the game. Seemed like a good way to pull together everything he's learning into one place.

My point being is that maybe it's not his learning you should direct, but maybe what he's doing with it, if that makes sense. Is there something he could create or build with what he's learning? Something he could present to others? Or maybe there's a local astronomy club he could join? I guess I'm thinking something he could do with everything he's learning. Just an idea anyway.

Also, about the computer programming. My son's been interested in this as long as I can remember, and had taught himself a lot about it. But I did end up signing him up for a game design computer programming class, which starts in a week. It's very hard, however, to find classes for kid's as young as ours...so good luck with that! John Hopkins CTY has a Scratch class that he'd have to test into, since it begins at 3rd grade. I thought it would be fun at first and went through the testing, only to discover that the class cost like $600. Consider the $20 book he had been using was a bit cheaper, we decided to stick with that. :)

It sounds like our kids have a lot in common and if you'd like to talk further, I'm on FB under Amy Schneider Nichols.

lynne
10-08-2012, 10:17 AM
Hi Amy. Yes, our boys sound very much alike. I love what you've done as far as field trips on your son's interests. That was a great idea!

We do have an astronomy club, but it's all adults. I think when we get the binoculars and at some point a telescope, we'll take him to good spots to search for constellations, planets and stars. That is all he talks about but you can't see much from our home because of so many tall trees. I will find you on facebook.

fizzypop
12-27-2018, 02:42 PM
And make sure you hit the gifted forum at WTM.. it is at least a place where folks gather.. it may not be helpful .. and sites like Hoagies.. and all that...



Pardon my ignorance. What is WTM?

GloriousWeed
02-14-2019, 09:23 PM
Pardon my ignorance. What is WTM?

Well Trained Mind. It's a teaching style. I haven't personally used it with my crew, but know some folks who have and love it.