Highly gifted 5 year old

Angi - posted on 11/08/2013 ( 2 moms have responded )




Just found out our son has been I'd as a highly gifted child. Feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the options school has given us. He is in kindergarten and the school is already wanting to skip grades. Any advice? Any ideas for eductional extras at home?


[deleted account]

My son is also gifted. We were advised not to skip Odd grades (1st,3rd,5th), but even numbers were okay. That said, we opted not to skip grades at all due to social development. Most highly gifted children struggle socially, and it is important for them to focus on social interactions with their peers. If you move them up into situations where they are surrounded only by adults and children 2+ years older than they are, they miss very important parts of their social development that can hold them back later in life, cause behavioral problems, and even severe depression. I have some reading I can recommend on this issue if you are interested.

My son is now in 3rd grade, and we have opted for a "pull out" program called "Challenge". It doesn't officially begin until 3rd grade, but J has been in it since kindergarten. We just had to get special permission from the superintendent in our state--our principal handled it for us. He still has related arts, lunch, recess, language development, and individual reading with his class, but he is pulled out for challenge for 2 hours a day. The challenge program teaches on a platform that allows students to work at their own level--so they are not being held back. It teaches a "deeper" understanding in literature and math. This allows students to delve deeper into reading without forcing them to explore materials featuring content beyond what is appropriate for their age, and gives them the tools to explore more advanced functions in mathematics.

You will come to see that your child will need to be "taught" very little. If you give him the tools, he will teach himself. You just have to make sure that those tools are always readily available to him--that's the hard part.

I've signed my son up with a local university. He is NOT taking classes for credit, he is just "auditing" them. This means he can sit in on lectures and labs, use the university library, and have access to research and study materials authored by the university which are not available to the public. I don't make him go--he chooses when he wants to go, what he wants to do, I just take him when he asks. He doesn't have to take tests either. This has been a HUGE benefit for us. Tuition is expensive, but if you have your son take the SAT or ACT test and show the results to the dean of the university, they will almost always allow your child to audit classes for free, you just have to buy books if you want them, about $2000/year. We did this starting the Spring semester of 2nd grade on the advice of a professor who is also a family friend. A lot of the mathematical concepts covered on those tests require algebraic structures that he may not have been exposed to yet, unless he is really advanced in math. J did perfect on the reading portion (but then, so did I and I'm not even gifted), and he scored a 480 in math, so 1280 on the SATs. That's pretty average for college bound students, but it's impressive enough when a 6 year old does it that they'll let him audit for free. If you have a university nearby, do the same for your son.

I also keep him active in sports and music. 1 team sport, 1 individual sport, and 1 music. The team sports are important for that social development. It teaches them a lot about communication, team work, cooperation, etc. that they struggle with. The individual sport creates a situation in which they are forced to push themselves. My son is academically gifted, not so much physically, so the sport creates a challenge for him that he really has to work toward to overcome. Because he is gifted, there are few situations in life where he really has to push himself right now, but as an adult, he will encounter those situations, and he needs to be prepared for when things get difficult. The music keeps us sane. It is away for him to relax, but it also opens up and exercises a portion of the brain that is linked to creativity and logic, which often gets ignored or neglected though academic study. There are lots of neurological studies and papers on this--I love reading them, you and your son might enjoy them too. J does a little, but he wants to be an architect, so he's more interested in physics and stuff I just don't get.

Last but not least, most highly gifted children are somewhere on the autism spectrum. Most of them are highly functioning, but will struggle with human interaction, for us, it is a temper issue. This week, my son did $5k worth of damages to my car during a temper tantrum. We see a psychologist to help us cope with this, but I have a rough time keeping my husband involved--J starts doing great and dh thinks we've fixed the issue, so we stop going, and J goes downhill again. It is an ongoing issue, you can't "fix" it, only treat it. Make sure your child has an emotional and mental support system in place that meets his needs. The problem with the way society treats gifted children is that they teach us to think that they are prefect little people. If he can understand logarithms at age 5, then he should be able to share a ball at recess, but that is not the case. Society treats them as though they should be great at everything because they are great at academic thought, so when they do fail at these things they are not so great at, and that they see others easily excelling in--sports, cooperation, public speaking, etc.--it is a HUGE blow to their self esteem because they've been taught that this is the easy stuff, so they should be able to tackle it, no problems, but for them, it's the hard stuff. It's just that no one notices because for the rest of us, for you and me, this stuff is so easy we don't even have to think about it.

I hope I've helped. Let me know if I can be of more assistance.

Samantha - posted on 11/08/2013




I feel that you should not overwhelm your child with to much at once, just carry on as normal and slowly introduce new learning to him. we don't want to overwhelm him to much that pressure starts to arise, that could be dangerous. just simple advice.


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