Gifted child? What do I do?

Laura - posted on 05/21/2009 ( 3 moms have responded )

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My son, not quite three, recognizes all the letters, has most of the sounds, knows his colors, knows his numbers, counts objects, is starting to read words like "rattlesnake," has a huge vocabulary (when he went in for his 2 year exam, the doctor said that he had already "blown past a 4 year old"), and has incredible logic and reasoning skills. He also recognizes opposites like big and small, up and down, etc. If I worked with him every day on these skills, I would understand his progression, but I really don't do much other than casually mention things throughout the day. He's also reading clocks and telling time. I'm wondering if he is a gifted child, and if so, do I encourage this, or let him be a little kid. My mom works at an elementary school and I've been told to enroll him in preschool now and that he's already past Kindergartners in some things. I'm worried about his emotional education as well as his academic. Any advice would be really appreciated.

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Karen - posted on 06/29/2011

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Oh, yeah, he's gifted. :-D You might want to enroll him in a Montessori school. I was working outside the home when my son was two, and wanted a daycare that would encourage his intellect. I found one that exactly matched what he needed and he loved it. They believe in play that helps a kid learn, and they don't keep a kid back or push them beyond what they're capable of either. So he was in with a lot of kids who had differing abilities and ages, but he was happy puttering around, drawing, playing with conceptual blocks, and reading. He gained an interest in human anatomy, and instead of talking down to him, his teachers told him the scientific names of the bones of the body. So by the time he was 2 1/2, he could tell me what the femur, ulna, clavicle, phalanges, etc. were. At the same time, they had plenty of playtime and fun activities, and they allowed him to carry his toy bunny with him whenever he wanted. In other words, they let him be a toddler and helped him intellectually at the same time. Do visit the Montessori school and ask if it's possible to observe the classroom environment for an hour or so to see if it's a good fit. The Montessori school I had actually made it a requirement for parents to observe their child for at least an hour every once in a while in the classroom and give an assessment. If a school refuses to do that, it's not the one for you or your child.

Lucy - posted on 06/29/2011

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I have wondered many of the same things - what about being bored at school, not fitting in socially, etc, as it was something I personally battled with as a child - and have come to the decision to home-school (for that reason among others). That way, you can work on what your child needs at their point in development, rather than the school having to assume all children of the same age have the same needs. So, if you are teaching reading at 3 and algebra at 8, so be it... Also you can then guide his social activities more to his needs and interests too - a gifted child obviously has the difficulty that they are unlikely to connect well with kids their own age, but are just as unlikely to manage the company of those at their academic level, so you can seek out those friends he does connect with and encourage that. Of course, I believe home-schooling has to be something you have a passion for, and not something you do because you feel obliged to for any reason, so please ignore my advice if it doesn't work for you! :)

Hclemap - posted on 06/16/2009

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If he is gifted (which it sounds like he could very well be), then you don't have to encourage it, it is who he is! My son only liked Montessori, because they would work on his level, he could practice writing 6 to 7 letter words at age 4, instead of learning colors, which he knew at age 2. It is very good that you are aware that emotional education and academic are not the same and need to be treated differently. We ended up taking my son out of preschool, because he wasn't ready for the rules and discipline that came along with it. It is hard to remember what they are supposed to be like socially, because they act like they are little tweens. I completely understand your concerns and have them myself. . . if you come up with other solutions or advice, please pass it along.

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