July 07, 2008,
R.M. asks from Bozeman, MT on July 03, 2008
Above Average 4 Year-old
Anyone out there have experience with handling the education of a very gifted child? My son just turned 4 yesterday and he's reading very well already. He is very articulate and asks very interesting questions. I put him into a Montessori preschool for a while, but the teacher suggested that he had ADD, which I know is not an issue with him. I think he was not being stimulated in the right ways. I have heard a lot of children have behavior problems when they are not challenged enough in the classroom. I am starting him in a more play-based preschool part-time next week, just so he can have more time with kids his age. I just wonder what's going to happen if he's reading at a 2nd grade level at the time he's supposed to start kindergarden. Will I have to home-school him? Would love to hear from moms who had kids who were advanced in their abilities, and how things worked out.
1 mom found this helpful
S.W. answers from Denver on July 05, 2008
My daughter is gifted. She's always been in regular schooling with children her own age up until now. The teachers have just always recognized this and supplemented her learning to keep things interesting for her. I also supplement for her at home...always have because that's what she likes. She's 7 now and starts a gifted program next week. She will be with other gifted children her own age.
J.B. answers from Great Falls on July 04, 2008
My daughter, who is now 9, was a lot like that. She was reading at a third grade level (tested by the school) when she was four and was doing some basic multiplication/division the summer before kindergarten started. It is very challenging to have a child like this in many ways, so I understand your concerns. But is also incredible! We were very worried about how school would go and how her needs would be met. We talked a lot to the school (that's when we had the tests done - so they would believe us!) and they were great. She was put into a kindergarten class with a teacher who had more experience with gifted kids, who recommended she skip 1st grade and go right to second. We did that and it has been the best decision ever for her. She did have more behavior issues when she was bored, and I couldn't imagine what would've happened if we went ahead with 1st grade. I was afraid she would hate school. Anyway, she is going into 5th grade this year and is at the top of her class. The school also has her in some gifted ed classes and tries to individualize some of the lessons for her. We have had lots of talk time with all her teachers so far and I think that makes the difference. Don't be afraid to let any teachers know what works and doesn't work for your son - you are the expert on him! But you also have to take in their input - they will be spending a lot of time with him in a different environment than home - so their perspective is vital too. We also make sure to really feed Maddie's interests and creativity at home. Like this year, her class was studying planets - she was very interested in astronomy and wanted more than the class was learning. So we got her a telescope, spent time at the library, and went to "Star Parties" where she could talk with astronomers. We don't homeschool, but we do provide and look for lots of opportunites for her to go as far as she wants with learning.
I hope this helped. It is a blessing for both you and your son, but can be a hard gift to have! It can be very hard for other people to support you - they just don't always understand! I think a lot of people have thought my husband and I were just bragging, when we were really looking for some ideas, help, whatever. If you need that kind of support, I would love to talk more with you. Let me know.
1 mom found this helpful
J.N. answers from Salt Lake City on July 04, 2008
I have been a kindergarten teacher for the last 3 years. First of all I have to say it was a GREAT move to put him in a play-based preschool - kids learn more by playing at this age anyway. As far as kindergarten, I agree with others who suggest talk to the teachers at the school so they understand his situation. But I would caution against advancing him in grade too soon. Many academically gifted children have delay in social or emotional development, and it is VERY important at this age for him to learn to get along with peers and manage his emotions -- especially if he is gifted. This may have something to do with his previous teacher's ADD assessment (most kids with ADD are also quite smart!) but I think it is definitely too early to diagnose and you know your child. I would also say, don't home school, again because of social/emotional development, but feel free to supplement at home so you know he is learning as much as you want him to.
Be an advocate for your child at school. Be involved in his classroom if you can. But don't be pushy about it, and be very willing to listen to what the teacher sees as well. That will help her to be on the same page as you.
A.H. answers from Salt Lake City on July 04, 2008
I understand what you are going through to some degree. I have a almost 3 yr old, that is very advanced that will miss the cutoff for K (Sept birthday - Sept 1 cutoff), and on the flip side I have a almost 7 yr old that made the cutoff (Aug b-day), that I considered holding back this year. They are night and day (amazing they come from the same parents really.
I guess I can't tell you how things have worked out - yet... but I will say I think it's great that you are thinking about these things, and being proactive. I'm quite surprised at the response from the M school, as we are considering a wonderful M school for DS when he turns 4. I wonder if it simply depends on the school/teachers, etc, or perhaps our child's personality's are different. (or maybe I/DS won't like it either).
Do you volunteer in the classroom? I do with my oldest and it has made a huge difference for DS. I can see how he is behaving, give suggestions to the teacher, and the school is more willing to help me/DS because I am showing an interest in his education.
I don't think there is one easy answer. It depends on you, your child, your schools (options, etc.).
I frequent BabyCenter.com's Gifted Preschoolers (and there is a Gifted Kids board too). They have a lot of parents in your same situation. You should check it out! Good luck!
S.M. answers from Casper on July 04, 2008
I googled home preschool program and came up with a few good responses. Try homeschooling with one of these and you will soon see where to adapt your son's education to play on his strengths. Good luck!
K.M. answers from Boise on July 05, 2008
Being advanced will help your son in a lot of ways, but it also requires a lot of work from you. I would encourage you to work with him on different skills where he may not be as advanced, that way he will be more well-rounded and also able to function within the classroom. It is so important that he not start out with a reputation for being unable to handle a classroom setting. This sets him up for all kinds of problems later on with peers, teachers, and his own self-image. Work with him on sitting quietly for periods of time, on following directions, listening respectfully, etc. While not academically stimulating, these skills will go a long way toward making him successful and will make teachers more willing to work with him. A big part of helping your child receive what he needs educationally will come from you, whether or not you home-school. If he is already advanced, you are probably doing a lot of these things in your home, but make everything into a learning activity. Cooking, shopping, gardening...anything you are involved in can be an opportunity to challenge him and will keep him learning. Gifted education differs from one school district to another and you will have to look into your specific district to see how they serve gifted children. When the time comes, I would recommend being very involved with the classroom and always look at your child's education as a team effort with you, the principal, and the teacher. My older children have all been academically advanced to one degree or another, and their teachers have been able to accomodate them in different ways. Some teachers are better able to work with gifted children, so a positive working relationship with the principal will go a long way toward having your child in a classroom equipped to handle his abilities. I hope this helps a little.
M.M. answers from Salt Lake City on July 04, 2008
Having a gifted child is both a blessing and a curse! It is great that you recognize the issue now and are being proactive in looking for solutions. I raised three very intelligent children and have had different experiences with all three. The best was the third who I made sure was entered into gifted and talented programs at a young age in public school to keep him challenged and interested. The other two struggled all through Jr. High and High School because they were bored. Don't wait until your child is bored! By then, the establishment has labled them and they don't have the grades to be accepted into the gifted programs. My daughter (the 2nd child) finally just started early college concurrent with high school. This helped her in the high school years, but she still has had to deal with the feelings of failure early on, even though she knows it was the system that failed her.
We now have a "2nd family" and we have been very proactive with our daughter who is going into 3rd grade. Although she is smart too, she is not on the level that the others were. However, we have chosen to put her into a charter school where she can get a more one on one type of education. She is excelling and constantly being challenged.
One of the biggest problems we had with regular public ed is that it is geared to those who are slower. Therefore, kids who are bright get bored and either get labled "ADD", act out, or just don't do the work because they think it is a waste of time. Your son is not likely to have real "ADD". He probably needs more to keep that wonderful creative mind active. Just remember, you are raising one of the great leaders of tomorrow. He's the type of kid that grows into a president or CEO!
S.L. answers from Boise on July 04, 2008
My son is also 4. At his check-up, his pediatrician said he'd look into the resources available to gifted children in the area. He couldn't find any (in Boise). He suggested calling the GATE program and see what they suggest. I will also talk to the schools around here and see if they have some sort of accelerated kindergarten. We're stuck in a rental 'til Spring, so I havesome time to rsearch them before we buy a house.,
My friend's daughter was so boredd inn kindergarten thatshe would sob everyy morning..I'm really worried about thathappeningwith my boyss. My friend has really laid off the academic stuff with her other children sothey have something to learn in kindergarten. idon't push my boys, but they learn this on their own, and I'm notabout to try to hold them back.
E.B. answers from Salt Lake City on July 05, 2008
My very gifted child is 24 next week. Having done this, I have a few observations.
1. Keep some perspective, just because he is brilliant at a couple of things doesn't mean he is at everything. There is a lot more to success in life that high verbal and logic IQ scores.
2. Find a good GT program (gifted and talented). All school districts are required by IDEA (federal law) to provide an appropriate education for ALL children. A great place to get information on this is the Council of Exceptional Children.
3. Don't discount the ADD theory out of hand. My gifted child suffers from both ADD and OCD. He "under performed" for years until we got a good diagnosis and therapy for him. He is so much better now. Teachers, because they see MANY children of te same age sometimes see things that are not apparent to the parent. I'm not saying she's right, but it might be worth considering if he has difficulty integrating into a school setting. Your pediatrician has some simple tests that can help.
4. Home schooling ought to be your last option. Your brilliant child needs all the socialization and opportunity to practice social skills he can get. The world can be a brutal place to the brightest. Having a peer group and lots of practice at working within the socail systems that he is going to have to negoitate as an adult is n important gift you can give him.
5. Give him opportunities to fail. Make him do some things he is not good at whether it be music or soccer or stepdancing. Having the expereince and frustrations that are experienced by "normal" kids will build empathy and perserverance. These are important skills for his future.
My gifted child has become a a fun and wonderful adult. I hope some of what we learned along our journey will help you with yours.
S.M. answers from Salt Lake City on July 04, 2008
There are alot of resources for high IQ kids, I used to live in Bozeman but not when my I had kids. I would check with the university, they should know of the schools available in town and ones that recognize the needs of kids like yours.
Also don't completely dismiss the ADD possibility. My oldest son had ADHD and has an extremely high IQ, this is relatively common with these kids as their brains are very active. It is hard to think that your child has any kind of issue but with ADD or ADHD they know so much more of how to help the kids focus and use their incredible intelligence without it being a negative. There are alot of resources for ADD kids and the sooner they are diagnosed the better.
Our son was almost 10 before diagnosed and has had a rough time with school because we waited so long. By the time they are 9 or 10 they have developed coping skills that are really hard to break and not good for dealing with learning as they get older. If there is any chance your son may be ADD I would have him checked, it's just tests that will also test his IQ but also his ability to concentrate for any length of time.... An average person has an iq of about 90 to 100, my son was close to 150 but also severely ADHD. I so wish I had known as much as I know now when he was younger so he could have been checked earlier, it makes a huge difference in their self esteem, to learn ways that work best for him as school structure changes, their ability to cope with how jobs are stuctured when they are grown. My son is 27 now and still drops into the bad habits he learned when he was younger.
If your son isn't ADD then I am sure the university would be able to direct you to some gifted schools for young kids.
R.K. answers from Salt Lake City on July 04, 2008
Sadly, the majority of funds for "special" children programs are focused solely on the other end of the spectrum; if your child has a disability.
When my son started first grade he was reading at a third grade level and his math was just about there, too. The school did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to assist him in his learning. They insisted he sit quietly and refused to give him things to do when he'd already finished the "worksheets".
His second year was HELL. His teacher put him with a child with severe learning disabilities and expected my son to be his teacher. My son was advanced in learning his reading and math, not his personal social maturity. He didn't understand why everyone didn't know what he knew. That teacher would become angry at my son because he was bored and would do things to occupy or entertain him...as anyone would do. He (the teacher) would even call me from his room to tell me my son was "evil". That school refused to put him in a different class, they refused to give him more advanced reading and math books (because it might offend the older kids), and they wouldn't give him the social support he needed.
My son is now in seventh grade. I had to find an academy for him in order for him to be challenged.
I would suggest home schooling or a private academy. The child left in public school is often labeled with ADD because they're bored out of their ever loving mind!, dumbed down, or the child loses their desire to learn because they feel they already know it, if they come along something that takes 30 seconds longer than normal they give up ( because NOTHING is SUPPOSED to be hard for THEM), or they don't want to be the "smart" kid with all the expectations and labels that come with it.
It isn't easy being advanced. You'll have to put your ear to the ground each and everyday to know what's coming and where it's going.
N.R. answers from Denver on July 06, 2008
R., check out Beacon Country Day - it's a school geared or gifted & talented kids on Belleview near Monaco in Greenwood Village - it's a great place.
A.P. answers from Denver on July 04, 2008
I'm a teacher. And I'm also the mother of a bright 5 year old. We all want to think our children are special --- whether it's academics, sports, arts, music, or whatever. And there is nothing wrong with that. But you also need to be realistic --- for your child's sake. It is not out of the ordinary for a 4-year-old to read. My son has been in preschool part-time as a 3-yr-old and 4-yr-old. He starts kindergarten as a 5-yr-old in the fall. He's doing a little math and reading some site words. He has friends that are reading books. We spoke to the preschool teacher about teaching reading to the group since so many were ready. She wouldn't because there were other kids who were not ready. I think the first thing you need to do is see how he compares to other children his age. If you still think he's gifted, have him tested by an expert (teacher, child psychologist, etc.). I think you are correct about your child being misdiagnosed with ADD. Many people suggest that when a child is not stimulated enough. Start researching schools in your area to find the best fit. You will want to find a teacher that differentiates instruction. That means she teaches to kids at all levels (gifted & talented, special needs, English language learners, etc.). I encourage you to enrich your child at home. I am personally not a big fan of homeschooling. I don't think it's good for the parent or the child. The child needs socialization and the parent needs a life beyond the child. Just my opinion. Congratulations on having a bright child. That's wonderful. Continue to be involved in your child's education. But allow your child to enjoy the experience of being in a classroom with other children his age. Best wishes.
L.P. answers from Houston on July 04, 2008
My daughter who is gifted went to Hulstrom Options (in Northglenn) last year for Kindergarten. They have 3 different programs depending on your child's learning style how much structure they need. All 3 programs operate at an advanced level. My daughter was in the Connections program b/c that was the only space available. There is also Stargate Charter school for gifted programs only. Be sure to find out the deadlines for applications as there is a lot of demand for the programs. I agree with you that gifted kids can get bored easily, it is a challenge to keep them stimulated. However there is such a thing as being "twice exceptional", meaning that though they are advanced, they still can have learning disabilities too, such as ADD. I am concerned about my daughter because she is distracted easily and is so methodical and perfectionist that she has held up the class before. I am thinking of getting her tested again to look for ADD tendencies. Right now I am looking at the Gifted Development Center www.gifteddevelopment.com for this reason. Also I know there is a private school called Ricks Center, although I know nothing about it. Good luck!
P.D. answers from Denver on July 04, 2008
I don't know what part of town you're in, but it may be worth looking into charter schools in your area for kindergarten and up. Each one is different and you may be able to find one that meets your needs. The one we've been in in Littleton tests each student in the core subjects and places them accordingly for each class. So even if your child excells in reading but perhaps not so much in math, they will be placed at the proper level for each subject. We had one student who was advanced enough in math last year (an 8th grader) that he was beyond what our school taught- and arrangements were made through the charter school for him to attend a special math class at a nearby high school in the early mornings, just to keep him progressing at his level. So it is worth it to be shopping around now! Good luck!
M.G. answers from Denver on July 04, 2008
When my son was in 1st grade, the teacher tested him to see what reading level he was in. They ended up putting him in the 3rd grade reading classes, but kept him in the 1st grade science, and math classes. In second grade, it was the same, but 2 times a week, they also put him in the 3rd grade gifted and talented classes. Long story short, the teachers and principals will accommodate your child, to make sure he is learning to his fullest.
S.S. answers from Denver on July 04, 2008
There is a charter school, Stargate, near 128th and Colo Blvd which serves gifted children in this region. I would call, have your son tested, so he can be placed in the appropriate preschool classroom. I beleive they serve preschool through 8th grade. Otherwise your son will continue to appear ADHD in the class, b/c he will be bored to death and left to entertain himself while the other children are being taught things he already knows.
C.B. answers from Provo on July 04, 2008
My third child is the same way. She began reading very early, and is well above her grade level in a number of different subjects. We were homeschooling but decided to give public school a try last year. Because of where her birthday falls, she was eligible only for K. We had an evaluation with the school psychologist with the hopes of moving her up to 1st grade. 2nd would have been more level appropriate for her but we also had children going into 2nd and 3rd grade and did not want her in the same grade as her brother. Following the evaluation-which resulted in a very high IQ score, and academic level scores of 1st grade nine month (nine month of learning -she was on par for that subject for everything they teach in the last month of the first grade year), to 4th grade first month. (Handwriting was on the first grade level, reading and spelling at 4th grade level, everything else in between) The psychologist told us she had no problem skipping her ahead to first grade with academics, but was worried about bumping her up because she is short. Great-at least the priorities were in line. (note the sarcasm) We ended up having to fight the school, the school insisted on a "minimum 2wk trial" in K, and after 4 days her K teacher was in the principal's office demanding she be moved out of K before she started reverting. Thankfully that teacher recognized that she was well above K level. She had her doing extra work and had presented it to one of the first grade teachers whose response was to the tune of "first graders don't perform on this level yet". Had they not agreed to move her to first grade, we would have pulled her back to homeschooling within 2wks. She ended up in first grade for the year and was still performing at the highest level in the class and complaining to me that she was bored.
She is coming back HOME this year! Teachers just can't cater to kids when they are responsible for a class of 25+ children-they have to teach to the middle, or in some cases the lowest common level just for practicality sake. It just isn't possible to individualize for each child in the class. I have no problem with that, and completely understand why the system works that way-it makes sense. But I am not comfortable just letting my child float through while she dumbs herself down. We also started running into issue with her behavior about half-way through the school year because she was bored and came home complaining that she already knew how to do everything that they were doing in her class. We are trying the K-12 curriculum program (k-12.com), which is a new experience for us, but I already to like that there was testing for placement so that we can work with her individual level of achievement. She tested her way into the 4th grade language program and 3rd grade science, and we will be doing foreign language as well. (if the school had had their way, she would JUST be starting 1st grade this year) There are a number of wonderful options for the program. Hopefully we will enjoy it as much as we anticipate.
Homeschooling is a great option, thankfully it ended up being much easier than it first looked. It can be a daunting thought, but once you get into it it can be an amazing experience for both you and your child. There are also a number of wonderful charter schools out there as well. Check into the various options as there are SO many more than there were even just 10yrs ago! GL!
D.K. answers from Denver on July 04, 2008
Most public schools have a gifted/talented program for kids that are advanced, so they can stay mainstream but utilize their abilities. If he is just a great reader then they can sometimes help other kids that are no so advanced. I know in my daughters kindergarten there were all sorts of levels of children as far as literacy. Some kids were well above their level, some way below. They broke the kids up into groups so they could all learn from each other. My daughter started kindergarten barely reading but a few words and went to a second grade reading level by the end of the year. She is not "gifted" but the program they did with her in Kindergarten really helped her excel. She is entering second grade knowing how to read at a third grade level. However like the other post said she also was behind in social skills since she was a young Kindergartener. So there are areas he can be helped if he stays in mainstream too. Boys are lacking behind in social development mostly even if they are advanced in a academic level. Is he excelled in math, science and all the other subjects? Being excelled in reading will help him and he can be in an advanced learners spot for reading but if he is equal in the other areas then he will really do well in staying with his peers.
I know that each year through Elementary my daughters schools try and test them before they start each new grade so the teacher has an idea where they are at and if they need assistance or are advanced. Just make sure the school you chose for him is equipped to help advanced learners.
W.T. answers from Provo on July 04, 2008
I have 2 children who are like this. After dealing with the school here for 3 years, we had enough. Our school doesn't have a program for the excellerated, they do have one for resource. I was tired of my son sitting and reading most of the day after completing his work in a few minutes and having to wait for the other kids. We homeschooled last year and it was wonderful! It was difficult getting used to each other again and we learned together, but it was great! My son tested in the top 1% in the district and is now in an accelerated program for the next 2 years. I know he will thrive in that enviroment. I will continue to educate my daughter here at home. We have gotten involved in homeschool groups and she is making some great friends. She was in liberty girls club and we had park days, mother's nights out, book clubs, etc. This coming year we will be doing co-op classes with other families. We get work done, using the K12 curriculum (see k12.com) in about 2 hrs. if they are diligent and get it done. Then they explore things, build and create and they love it! My kids have more friends than I can stand sometimes. Our house is the one the neighbors gravitate to. My son was interested in pirates one week and we went to the library and got 6 books for him on the subject. He read the books in 1 day and started talking like a pirate, pretending he was a pirate and he built a ship like the ones in the book out of a huge box. The neighborhood kids came running over after school to see what he was up to and they played all afternoon and the rest of the week in that box. It was so neat to see. I don't allow much TV or video/computer games unless it is educational. The kids don't even want to watch TV anymore. When they are at other friends homes and their friends want to watch TV or play video games, they suggest doing something more creative. We get more time together and we love it! I wish we did this sooner and didn't waist our time with the public school. There are books on gifted children. Go to Amazon.com and look up the subject. Good luck.
B.M. answers from Salt Lake City on July 04, 2008
I don't know about where you live but in Utah a lot of children are reading very well before they enter kindergarten these days and the schools (depending on the teacher of course)are well equipped to handle gifted children. Typically each district has a gifted and talented program in place. I wouldn't be concerned at all. You are smart to focus on his socialization for a while.
Have fun with your little guy,
M.M. answers from Great Falls on July 04, 2008
please, forget ADD, this is what 'they' call these kids.
that's a very dangerous approach
especially Ritalin: this is pure destruction.
we call these gifted dear ones: INDIGO CHILDREN.
google these two words, you will find a lot of useful info, including how to teach them and how to be around them.
One good magazine is this:
and this issue also:
there are articles, you click on links.
I home schooled my children until their 4th grade.
The elder son knew all the letters at 2;
at three, he invented his own way of writing with letters,
placing ONLY TWO letters on one line, then moving on to the nexy line. His sentence of "Mama eats rice" looked like this, for instance (3 years old!) :
it was more like Chinese, and he wrote stories!!!
I never told him that this is a wrong way of writing, Instead, I said: "Oh, this is ONE INTERESTING WAY, and see, here is ANOTHER WAY of writing, and showed him more children's books.
At 4, he wrote like 'normal', and read with awesome speed. First, I bought him books, but then I realized our income won't catch up with his speed. We started frequenting the library.
My second son is 2 years younger. Once we starter "playing school' with his older brother, he was very soon ready to join, and he requested that he is always doing the same exercise that his elder brother does. I was not sure he will understand all, but I followed his request.
As a result, when they were 5 and 3, I had two happy students sitting at the desk happily and with enthusiasm doing arithmetics, or completing language exercises. A lot, I mean A LOT of drawing, handcraft, building with blocks (Lego and whatever you can find creative, requiring imagination and some skills to improve), puzzles, playing on improving memory (one is out of the room, another moves some little thing from one place to another, then the first one comes in and tries to find out what was moved from the spot = this was our eternal game, we ended up not even announcing it: Me or one of them just moved things around, and as soon as somebody noticed, here came a happy exclamation: "The vase was on the shelf, now it's on the floor near TV !!!"> This is a good way to educate:
1. make it interesting, like a game, always.
2. incorporate it into life situations, so that exercises on grammar and math are INCLUDED into life, not something boring that requires sitting at the desk perspiring with boredom :(.
Say, when you drive someplace, think miles and time and even gas mileage! "We go to granny's, it's about 60 miles away. If we drive there with the speed of 60 miles/hour, what time will we be there?" This is the simplest one, right, then make it harder: "Suppose we got a race car, and we drive 120 m/h!!! How long will it take to get there?" If he figures out that it will take but 30 minutes, then remind him the real situation: "YES< IN CASE there won't be any policemen on the road, and our car does not break down, then yes," because kids need to be taught morals, ethics, common sense, and the ways of living in the society also, right?! :)
One more hint:
a) I NEVER told my boys that they do something WRONG,
b) and I NEVER told them that this law/rule/regulation is THE ONLY way of how things should be understood.
I ALWAYS added the OPTION, not the restriction:
for a) oh, this is an interesting way of looking at the idea; I do not know if it will work, though, but there is one that I know will work for this situation... and give a hint or a correct response, depending on the situation.
for b) Nicolas Copernicus said, that the Earth revolves around the Sun; before that, scientists of the olden times thought that the Sun revolves around the Earth, (they LOVE Astronomy! at this age). Later: the law of gravity is thought to be one of the most important laws of physics for all the things in our world. (Notice "is thought to be")...
Why did I do that? R., we never know: maybe, you are raising another Nicolas Tesla, or a great writer, or a coming outstanding neuroscientist: how do they come to be? We need to leave them open space for thinking: everything is possible, they need to know the rules that scientists operate now, AND they are the future of our world, they will go one step further: with the contemporary access to all the information, with media, available internet, imagine how fast they gain the info: now, what are they to do with it? This might become the basis, the foundation for further creativity in any field, to be applied to whatever his soul will feel the most interesting area, right?!
Ritalin and such is a n easy way of getting rid of the need to WORK with the challenging kids. I am a teacher, R., and I used to work in many places in our beautiful globe. The ONLY place where Ritalin is used massively,and where kids are diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, and bi-polar problems, is USA. This is one of the saddest things that I know... If you only can, home school for the starter, and then see later if you wish to send them to school. Of course, you will need to learn also, to keep up with the speed of your kids. I know a dad, he raised 5 girls, home schooling, now he is 60 something = he attends classes in the University, as he is afraid he does not know enough, to teach his younger girls. His elder daughter is already married, and has a family and a little pie-baking business, his second daughter graduated from the university with the degree of a photographer, and she works in a little photo-store on the Main street... home schooled, bachelor's degree from the university, having a job she loves, happy, and most caring young lady!!! quite possible, as you see :). Dad and mom have a home business, a little daycare on Tracy street in Bozeman = if you are interested, contact me, phone # ###-###-####. I will introduce you: maybe your son wants to meet this wonderful family?! :)
My sons are 25 and 23.
The elder son is a web designer, starting from the age 13, he already did assignments for companies in California. He works for one company now, and when it changed the owner, of 10 designers, 5 were fired, but my son was invited to be the boss for the rest of the 4 who were kept. Why, I asked him. "Well, he answered, 'they think I have an original way of thinking". He really always comes up with very unusual ideas, and he's really good at the techniques that require their accomplishment.
My second son takes classes in Berkeley, still did not decide what his major should be, as he excelled in all the subjects, and is interested in everything equally. I always thought he is more of a scientist, but lately he called me and said, "Mom, I take three classes this semester." "What classes?" "Spanish, French, and Japanese." Hmm, I though, this is INTERESTING! ... :) three, and all at once! He already speaks fluently 3 languages (English, Estonian, Russian). Now, it turns out, he decided to do a COMPARATIVE STUDY of different languages. There is no such class as to cover the ideas that he has in his mind, so he combines the classes, to come to some conclusions of his own.
What will come out of them eventually I do not know, as they are grown up young men, very kind, caring, witty, funny, focused, and dedicated to whatever they undertake... They are not great inventors or starts, but they are definitely very happy people, and we are lifetime REAL friends.
I believe, one thing that we managed well is this: they were never bored while being kids: always laughing and happy, I mean always. They did not fight, quarrel, whine, never. And, all the studies for them were always fun thing to do. They started regular school from the 4th grade. they both went through it on all "A"s, without me pushing, they just liked studies, and it came easy. As they did very well, I allowed them to stay home from school, when they asked "Mom, I don't feel like school today, may I stay home?" and it lasted from 1 to 4 days, never longer, they needed some break, and I knew it is like with breathing: inhaling only will not be good, you need to exhale also at times, right?! :) I just said: "If all your homework and classwork will not suffer, you find out from friends what they did in class, and accomplish the tasks, then you can take a little break", and once they were rested, the studies continued with the same happy feeling, because they did NOT do it for school, or a teacher, or a grade, but for their own pure joy: the teacher gives only a window, indicates the path to follow, they can never cover the whole topic, they're out of time. Once tis window is seen by the student, now it's a good way to start the4 RESEARCH, and see what you can find in this field: this solves the problem for Ingigo kids, of being bored in school: it is too easy for them, this is true, but if they do the homework, AND immediately go deeper into the indicated field (INTERNET, my goodness, limitless options now!) with their own personal investigation, then it will be fun for them. Returning to class with the assignment, AND the additional pile of information, they get their "A"s 'by the way', impress the teacher, but this is not SO important. Important is, that they learn to STUDY on their own, for THEMSELVES, and they learn to analyze whatever info they find.
Well, R., I outlined you a little on the current time-frame, and gave you some hints for the future so that you can see the big road. I would assume your little daughter will follow her brother's steps very soon, as she grows in this happy educational environment.
I wish you very happy study-time, and great creative days!!!
Never give up, educate yourself, and enJOY to see-hear what your dear little ones will be coming up with!
You are one happy Mom, I say :) ! Hugs! M.
R.P. answers from Fort Collins on July 05, 2008
T.K. answers from Denver on July 05, 2008
I've been homeschooling my 4 children for 12 years now, and it's been an incredible journey. Each child is free to explore their own passions and move at their own pace without any pressure to be doing what others their age are doing - and yes, they often are far ahead of children their age simply because they can move at their own pace and are not bogged down with doing a lot of meaningless "busy work" and learning things simply to be able to pass a test. Why wouldn't you want to homeschool your child? I understand that it may seem overwhelming, however, there are many resources and groups in your community to support this choice. If you are interested in more information about homeschooling, please feel free to write to me offline - I'd be happy to discuss the subject with you in depth.
All children have unique gifts and talents - maybe one reads really well at a young age, perhaps another is incredibly artistic, and another is talented musically, and yet another has an incredibly scientific mind. The beauty of homeschooling is that each child can be treated as an individual and allowed to deeply explore what moves them and allows a natural unfolding of each individual's uniqueness. I have four children with distinctly different passions, talents and preferences, and each one of them has a different learning style. In my opinion, putting them into school where they are told day in and day out what to do and how to do it seems counterproductive.
K.D. answers from Denver on July 04, 2008
You can check with Child Find in your area. MT is very advanced with their gifted program. They will test him at no charge to you and then will be required to find placement for him. We've been happy with our care through them. We personally have chosen to homeschool for the same reasons and are really enjoying it. We use videos as I find it too hard with 3 to keep up otherwise, but we've been very pleased. The videos we use have given enough extra information that it keeps a gifted child busy and learning. We are starting 1st grade with our son who's almost 5. He finished kindergarten in about 9 months as a 4 year old. I babysat some kids who went to a school for the gifted. They were very well adjusted and challenged. At 10 the son was helping me with my high school math home work. It was a great program run through the local college. You might see what you have in your area. They did require an IQ test for admission with very high requirements, but it sounds like it might be good for your son to at least check them out. GL! It's a fun challenge to keep up with a bright child!
J.S. answers from Salt Lake City on July 04, 2008
I have a pretty intelligent 4 year old myself - but my experience with this issue primarily comes from being an advanced child myself. I was like your child & reading well at the age of 3. I also had a fall birthday & just missed the deadline for school. I also had the unique situation of being the child of 2 educators. Knowing what they knew, they did not attempt to get me started in school early. I did not attend preschool & my mom just concentrated on teaching me at home. When I started kindergarten, the teacher immediately recommended that I be put straight into 1st grade. Against my parents' better judgement they moved me up and I was still the head of the class. From my own experience I will give you a big warning. Don't be so tunnel-visioned on challenging your child that you ignore the social aspect of his life. I think parents of intelligent children are a little caught up in making sure their kids are not bored - and assume that is the reason for behavioral issues. From my experience, the behavior problems typically come from being separated from the herd and not always knowing how to relate & mesh with other kids - NOT from the lack of academic challenge. What's missing is a lack of feeling accepted by peers. I think it's great to get your son into a play-based preschool. The fact is that your son is going to do well in any school you choose for him. Gifted & talented programs are great - I was always in them. But the most important thing in my opinion is to give him lots of opportunity to mix with kids at all levels of learning & have him get along with them. As smart kids become adults, they are faced with certain challenges. If they have always been set above the crowd, they learn to expect different treatment and are often crushed when challenges come along that they can't THINK their way through. You also start to realize that success in life is just as dependent - if not more so - on good social skills as it is on mental acuity. So in a nutshell - think about what will make him a successful adult & nurture ALL of those skills. And don't be so worried about teaching him everything TODAY that is up with his capacity. He will learn it all - and easily. He doesn't HAVE to learn it NOW. Let him be a kid & don't make him too different from everyone else. That's my two cents. Enjoy the journey - and make sure his self-esteem isn't based solely on achievement - but also on being a good person - he'll be happier & more successful in the long run. Life is a marathon - not a sprint - make sure he paces himself. I wish you & your son the best!!
M.T. answers from Fort Collins on July 04, 2008
My son is not as gifted as yours (reading 2ndL @4yrold) however he was inqusitive and seemed more intelligent than others. I did what you did, get him involved in school early. However, that is not the main point of my writing today. I have spent a lot of time int he schools volunteering and I would advise you to put your child in school on a regular way. The child will grow socially from it, (in a good public school) the teachers are soooooooooo helpful in getting to each child. The BEST part of sending your child to school isYour child can be of assistance to other kids in class that my need help. He will become of service to the teacher. There has been one of the "advanced" children in each of my kids classes for 7 years and "the gifted" children are sooooooooooooooo useful to the entire unit. Send your child to school in my opinion. Enjoy. God Bless
S.W. answers from Salt Lake City on July 05, 2008
There's an article about academically advanced children in the current issue of Wonder Time magazine you may find interesting. Best wishes!
S.S. answers from Salt Lake City on July 04, 2008
First the ADD thing is bogus as you have already noticed. I know that girls are different than boys but my daughter that is goinginto 1st grade was reading chapter books as she entered kindergarten. We don't have a gifted program at our school but most of the teachers will give them more challenging work and help them to keep exploring and learning. The main consideration with my child and why we didn't have her test out of kindergarten and go straight to 1st grade was her social developement. It was age appropriate. There are so many brilliant young children that can't hold their own socially. We could tell this would be an issue with my daughter and had she been extremely socially savvy and mature, I would have moved her up. Girls can be brutal and emotional though and we decided it best for her to be well rounded with her social and emotional skills to be at the top of the class in every other way. We still do additional teaching at home and she is involved in music and sports. Her mind is so busy that she wants and needs a lot to do. I know it is just my opinion but when it comes to school and jobs, social skills are half the battle, not just brains. It depends on the child b/c I have seen some that are totally ready to move ahead but others that do so because they are so smart and then have social issues and confidence issues around 3/4th grade. You iwll do the best thing I am sure. Best of luck to you!
S.B. answers from Denver on July 04, 2008
My children aren't older like yours but I taught preschool and then art to elementary and high school. It is my experince that they do tend to level out a bit in first grade. The school will also cater to his needs better then and get him in an advanced programming, etc. Look into your public school to se if they have a Pre-K program instead of trying a preschool again. Or, my kids go to Rocky Mountain christian Academy. They have the 3, 4 and 4+ preschool. I choose it for my "dreamer" as it is an academic based program as opposed to some montesories. She did quite well in 3s last year. Her 2 year old brother will be in 3s even though he isn't quite three. Also, I know several kids going up to the 4+ class. This class is four days a week and closer to Kindergarten in curriculum then regular 4s. This type of "advanced" class maybe an option for you and more challenging. It has many kids who are fall birthdays and just not ready but I bet it has advanced four year olds too. Try calling the school. either way, I would get on some waiting lists for a school or academy as opposed to a montessori preschool. Then, I would focus on other activities through out the years while the others grow up a bit (and before there are gifted programming...or he gets moved up a year). Get him involved in soccer, karate, etc. Get him physical as this will challenge his brain to learn these skills. Of course, continue to read at home. But I don't think you HAVE to home school if you don't want to. Make challenges for him and keep him busy. BUT not too busy. Allow a great mind to create on his own too. Set up an art table. Teach him to collage, paint, draw, etc. Start teaching him to look at something and draw it (or put him in an art class if you aren't sure). If he truely is advanced, his righ brain will be too. Teaching him to do oservation draw (as opposed to just out of his head) will strengthen his right brain..but this might be a few years yet as this happens around age 7 for most kids. Lastly, use drawing to write stories. Learn beginning, middle and end and start working on the 'other' concepts of reading. (So if he is "bored" he will have the skill to start drawing his own stories while the other kids are learning to read.) Good luck, and be excited. Teach a balanced kid and you will have a balanced teen/adult who can entertain himself and not 'get bored'. Rather, he will find opportunity in his advanced skills and be a help to his community.
S.W. answers from Denver on July 05, 2008
My daughter is gifted. She's always been in regular schooling with children her own age up until now. The teachers have just always recognized this and supplemented her learning to keep things interesting for her. I also supplement for her at home...always have because that's what she likes. She's 7 now and starts a gifted program next week. She will be with other gifted children her own age.
J.R. answers from Colorado Springs on July 07, 2008
Hi there,for today reading at that level is not very uncommen, my daughter goes to Cheyenne Mountain Charter Academy one of the best schools in the state of Colorado, she just finished kindergarden and there was 7 children in her reading group that could read fluent at the age of 3 they are all know at third grade level including my daughter and going into first only, they are also very high academically with math, and the school works and challenges them all the time.
I think your choice of a school for him is very important, and he will definitly not fit in a regular public school.
If you live in the area of Colorado Springs I would suggest to go and check the school out once it starts in the fall, you can also look at the comments on the web Greatschools.com
It is a great school and it meets all of our families standerds.
J.L. answers from Salt Lake City on July 04, 2008
My oldest was reading well before she turned 4 years old, and tested at the 5th grade reading level in kindergarten. We debated moving her ahead a grade but decided against it because she was already one of the youngest in her class (summer birthday.) We also looked at homeschooling her, but decided against it at that point because she really wanted to go to school. So we just sent her and held our breaths. She loved it. She had teachers who were willing to let her excel in her strong areas. She went to higher grade classes at reading times, and in other subjects she actually was very helpful to the teacher as a tutor for other kids (she is very nurturing.) We are very pleased with how she is doing. I'm sure that we could have found a private school or an internet school that would have really pushed her to the limits of her abilities, and we could easily see her finishing high school in her early teens and college by 20, but that kind of advancement really has a cost, in social relationships and in a quality childhood experience. We decided to let her really enjoy her childhood and school experience, and to be a kid. She will have plenty of chances to excel in school as she gets older, and I think her opportunities are almost as limitless in the track she is on as they would be on another, more accelerated course. She is going into 6th grade this year, the dreaded intermediate school jump. We are very involved in choosing her teachers and in her schoolwork, and we still discuss the possibility of homeschooling every year as we send her back to school, so maybe in the future we will keep her home if she ever shows any signs of being bored or has any problems with peers, etc. But we feel we made the right choice for her. It's a very personal choice, though. I just wanted you to hear from somone who didn't push their child as much as they probably could have, and are happy with that.
R.W. answers from Denver on July 04, 2008
We are currently in the process of researching schools in the Denver area since we are moving there this summer from TX. We have a highly gifted child and there seems to be some great options for young gifted children in your area. There are several gifted charter/magnet schools. Do you live in Denver? You could look at Polaris at Ebert, the Challenge school in Cherry Creek school district and I know there are more.
J.B. answers from Denver on July 04, 2008
I have 2 kids that started out like yours. I would recommend that for preschool stick with the play based! Then next year when he starts kindergarten put him in a GT program.(research the school district in your area)...and make sure his challenged.
At age 4, social skills are more important than academic. The little smarties will always be able to figure out the academic stuff but social skills are a little more difficult for them. No matter how smart kids are, what really makes them happy is the abillity to make friends get alone with other kids.
C.C. answers from Dallas on July 05, 2008
I am an Education major and recently took a class on gifted and talented children. I am also a gifted and talented peron who was in the first g/t class in my town.
First, you should have your son tested. If he scores above 130 he will go into the gifted and talented program, if there is one in your area. In Cheyenne there are programs at Poineer Park and Afflerbach. The school can help you with getting your cild tested and seeing what kind of program he needs.
Second, if your son does have ADD don't be suprised. Many g/t kids have a "learning disability". They are twice exceptional, even more special. They can be helped by the schools.
Third, your child may be really good at reading at 2nd grade level but not be so good at math for example. They can still be in the g/t classes.
Fourth, you really need to consider the needs of your child first. Will he be okay with g/t kids? Will the advanced education make up for socil skills? There are a lot of things to consider.
I am willing to answer any of your questions that I am able to and if I can't answer them I can direct you to people who may be able to help you more.
C.E. answers from Provo on July 04, 2008
what your son gets out of public education will depend a lot on where you live. i grew up in small towns in the midwest. the Gifted and Talented programs were not so great for lack of understanding and lack of money. i'd never even heard of an AP class until i went to college. i was so jealous of the opportunities some of my roommates had had living in larger cities. one roommate entered college at sophomore level because of all the AP classes she had been able to take in high school. but you don't necessarily have to home school to get your son the educational speed he needs. you simply have to evaluate what he is being taught at school and in whatever area they are not helping him advance when you think he's hungry for more, you supplement at home. you can do your own special projects with him at home, take him on your own field trips, etc. some schools are great at helping advanced students advance at the rate they need and want to. you may get lucky. or you may end up doing a lot yourself. my mom was a teacher. some of my teachers understood my brother's and my speed of learning and would actually sit down with my mom and discuss their lesson plans and schedules with her to see how they could fit in extra stimulation for us. other teachers were insulted by my mom's interference in their classroom, so she had to back off. my knowledge-hungry niece lives in Clearfield and gets one day a week to attend a gifted and talented class. it's not enough for her. so my mom does themed projects with her on the side. in the summer, she asks my niece, "what do you want to learn about this summer?", then plans a fantastic program around that theme which my niece can do at her own pace. she absolutely loves it. once my brother and i got into high school, there was no gifted and talented program for us. in part we were disappointed, but in part we didn't care because we had learned that we didn't like to do homework so much and preferred to do social things. the best was when a teacher would pick up on our way and speed of learning and let us do special projects instead of the regular homework. by the time we were in high school, we could understand when we needed to stick with the class and when we were beyond that speed, so it was nice if a teacher allowed us that choice, but it didn't happen very often. so i wish you luck in finding the best schools/teachers for your son!
K.T. answers from Salt Lake City on July 07, 2008
I know how you feel. My daughter is 5 1/2 and has been a "Prodigy" since she was 2. The best advice I can give you, is to concentrate on building her social skills and don't worry about her education yet. She needs to be able to play and socialize with children her own age. I was going to have my daughter skip kindergarten altogether, but on the advice of my doctor, I have decided to keep her in. If you find that your daughter is thriving to learn, teach her at home. Read with her, practice writing and spelling and all the things that she will learn in Kindergarten. That way she is still learning, but having fun at the same time. It will be a challenge, but in the end I think You will be glad you did. Good Luck