how do you balance gifted ability and maintain innocence.

Laura - posted on 02/08/2010 ( 5 moms have responded )

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I am running into an issue and would like some ideas on how others have handled it. My son was just classified gifted. He is in a wonderful school district and at a just opened school that has 15-20 students per class. So everyone knows him. We have received wonderful support now that we have the IEP we have more support and control over things. Our first issue that has come up is with reading. He reads at high level (hasn't been tested yet) and so to keep him interested in reading has been difficult. He has recently come home with books that are way over his "social/sophistication/maturity level", but just right for reading ability. So I have had to go back to the gifted teacher and class teacher and say "can we be more careful of what he chooses". The issue I am seeing is now that we have all this wonderful help they seem to want to cater to his "brain power" and not stifle it. Which is wonderful. However, how do you balance that with his maturity level? Just (and this is an extreme example didn't happen) because a child can read the shinning doesn't mean he should. I find myself spending a great deal of time monitoring what is going on with him now than I ever did before. I feel my job is to protect his innocence. Have others noticed once you get the gifted stamp that you now have to be more protective and watchful? It is driving me nuts and I am probably driving the teachers crazy because I am involving myself. I am not a helecopter mom. I just feel like I said just because you are able to read something doesn't mean you should. I have had some very interesting conversations with DS about nature and life because the gifted teacher suggested a book for a project. The book would be better read by a 5 grader and above instead of a 2nd grader. The author is very good at evoking emotion and uses graphic detail. In the 1st 3 chapters of the book he described, in detail, a doe being taken down by wolves, a serious sleding accident that tore up his knee and a squirrel killing and eating a chipmunk. Yes this is all nature and normal, but I would not let him watch a show on tv that went into that much detail. Not until he is older. I fully believe that when you are exposed to a lot of violence you become inmune and I don't want him to become immune. I am thankful it bothered him and he did not say "wow that is so cool" Although nature is cool I don't want the violence to become cool. BTW I was a marine biologist who studied sharks before I became a mom so I know how violent nature can be. How do you keep your supper brainy kid at an age appropriate innocence?

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Mandi - posted on 02/08/2010

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Thanks Laura for that link - a great resource! My 5 yr old girl loves those Capt Underpants books and i have mixed feelings about them too!
THere are many books that will meet both needs. If you are after recommendations let me know when you have a rough age and would be happy to recommend some titles (I run a bookshop!). If Capt Underpants is about the right level there are some great Usborne readers and also some classics that wouldn't be too difficult ....

Laura - posted on 02/08/2010

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This is the site I was sent by the gifted teacher. . http://bookwizard.scholastic.com/tbw/hom...

It is from scholastic. I have used it before. I have typed in a book title and they rate it by age appropriatness. Doesn't really tell you about the book except what is written on the back of the book. At least you know who the books are directed toward. I did have issues that for Captain Underpants and diary of a whimpy kid that it is considered ok for 8 year olds when the kids in the story are at least 5th grade and above. I know that for some 8 y.o. those books are ok, but my DS has a tendancy to start behaving like the kids in the book. He has enough of a mouth without adding to it.

Kylie - posted on 02/08/2010

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I had the same issue when my daughter was in Year 1. The school was actually hesitant to allow her to read at her tested level and so capped her. Their reason was exactly the same as the one you provide in terms of finding ethically/socially appropriate material at the right ability level. I tried to encourage them to allow her to read classic literature as well (she read Black Beauty over the holiday break between Kindy and Year 1) but they were not overly open to that.

What astounded me though was at Library the reading levels are colour coded and so she was able to select any text from a particular area and the first book she brought home after the above discussion with the Principal, had the child's best friend dying in a car accident within the first chapter!!! The reason she chose the book was because a girl and horse were on the cover. I then had to explain to her that she must read the back of the book to ensure it was an appropriate topic for her and one she would enjoy, as it was obvious the school were not going to do so. She has never brought another inappropriate book home.

Good luck finding interesting and challenging material for this age group for a boy and if you do please post as I have similar issues with my nearly 7 year old son.

Missy - posted on 02/08/2010

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I completely understand this. My five year old now knows how babies are made because a friend of ours gave him a book about the human body. He is SO interested in science and especially how our bodies work, but of course this book included a section on reproduction. It wasn't detailed or graphic, but it did talk about the sperm and egg and which comes from who, so of course he needed to know how the sperm got inside the mommy and inside the egg from there - so THAT was interesting.

Rebekah - posted on 02/08/2010

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I agree, and I think it's the beginning of a line you will have to walk for a while. We already have some of this problem with my 4 yo and I know my mom struggled with the same with me in elementary when I was reading HS level. I think there is a posted topic in this forum about recommended books -- start by browsing there. Or you could post with a specific question re: his reading level and interests and see if you can compile a list that you could give to his teachers. I've found that usually if you look for more "classic" books they are usually a little more PG (although you still have to watch some for the "nature" stuff). For example, he may be interested in the Hardy Boys series or something like that. Also, although I understand your desire to limit the graphic details, you may have to accept a certain level of precociousness with his knowledge of these types of things. Our kids tend to figure them out/ pick it up themselves sooner anyway.

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