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What does precocious mean to you?

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You could consider this a s/o from the Am I Way Off thread (hope I'm using s/o correctly, it's supposed to mean spin off, am I correct? Or is it shout out?). I hope it does not lead to a heated debate/ end up hurting feelings. If you think it will, I sincerely apologize and will be quick to call for an end to the thread, or maybe the moderators will end it.

 

I am researching general opinion here. Some parents may have IQ scores that clearly ID their kids as profoundly gifted or genius level or superior intellect etc. It's easier to gradually come to terms with it when we have numbers correct?

 

Others don't have the numbers and may have fixed opinions that their children cannot be prodigies or PG because they are not doing XYZ. I understand how subjective it can be but I also ache for the parent who is trying hard to convince herself that her child cannot be as advanced as he or she is or at least that he or she cannot be precocious when that child very well could be.

 

So what is precocious to you? From the Am I Way Off thread, posters agree that reading at 4 is precocious. So I'm guessing reading at 3, as in actually comprehending what is being read is precocious too? Does it matter if the child has been formally taught using a program? For the sake of preventing debates, let's say the child willingly learned, perhaps even very hungrily learned, when being taught and was not forced.

 

What would you consider precocious in math? Or music, dance or art? In degree of empathy towards others?

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I love these kinds of discussions! For me, I think I've posted in a past thread about my own idea of "gifted" or really anything beyond average bright. I tend to think of those definitions as only applying to those people so brilliant you may only meet a few in your lifetime. I don't think it's normally used with a definition as restrictive as mine.

 

I know you didn't say this, but I would like to clarify since I started the thread this is spun off of. I'm not horrified at the idea of my daughter being advanced; I'm merely surprised that the material I have been providing is not what is normal for the age. You didn't say that, but I just wanted to be sure that no one took my words differently. :001_smile:

 

I didn't mention in the other thread that my (nearly) 3 year old knows a handful of sight words and is in the BOB book stage. I assumed that was a little early just because most kids won't sit still at that age (and my little one is quite a whirlwind) but I'm guessing that would be precocious also. I'm not sure at what age good listening comprehension is considered advanced, but I have noticed that kindergarten "testing" passages are generally very short and simple.

 

A few of the books on math acceleration I read recently reinforced my own perspective on giftedness. All of the case studies in the books were describing children doing multiplication at 3 or with similar abilities. I don't think those attributes are necessary for a child to do well in math, and I plan on moving through at whatever necessary pace. It does draw a fairly solid line between my own perception of "high ability" compared to "capable and in an encouraging environment."

 

Oddly enough, it seems like it is easier to recognize precocious ability in those areas that are usually so subjective, like the arts. I might also say that because I don't have as much familiarity with those areas.

 

I probably shouldn't even be responding since it is so clear that I am a terrible judge of age-appropriate abilities! :lol: But I am excited to see what comes of this thread!

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Well, my DD is considered PG based on testing, and honestly, while she was a precocious reader (in the sense that she was reading on about a 1st grade level before she was 2 years old, and was reading on a post high school level by age 5-6, and that's statistically a very, very small part of the population), I tend to figure that she's followed a relatively normal curve since she taught herself to read. That is, since she was reading on a K/1 level at age 2, is it so surprising that she's able to use 5/6th grade materials at age 7, or is it simply that she was accelerated in that one area and has been able to apply it? Even in math, it seems likely that the main reason she's able to move so fast is that she has a high level of comprehension of language. And I really don't see a lot of difference in difficulty between, say, 6th grade reading samples and "post high school"ones-the difference seems to be mostly in content, with the main difference being that at 6th, or even 9th grade the content tends to be general knowledge, while "post high school" often requires specialized knowledge coming in, and reading tests tend to give that specialized knowledge within the passage. I'm willing to accept that she's advanced as far as reading compared to the children her age right now, and that she's got advanced content knowledge because of it-but I'm not sure that reading at 15 months and being able to apply it means that, when she's a teenager, she's going to be at the level of the Davidson Institute fellowship winners, or that she's on target for a Nobel prize.

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I always thought that precocious meant a child who does something, in whatever field, noticeably younger than one would expect. Which is really not the same thing as being gifted, as it would include the kids who simply work out a particular skill early, and those who 'level out' as they age. I think it was 8 Fills the Heart who I remember posted once that her earliest, 'precocious' talker did not turn out to be particularly gifted.

 

I guess by that definition the easiest way to know if a kid is precocious is if others frequently see them do something and then turn and ask, "How old is ______ again?" I have one who is precocious in physical skills and one who seems to be precociously verbal; whether they will turn out to be unusual in those areas when they are older, only time will tell.

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I guess by that definition the easiest way to know if a kid is precocious is if others frequently see them do something and then turn and ask, "How old is ______ again?" I have one who is precocious in physical skills and one who seems to be precociously verbal; whether they will turn out to be unusual in those areas when they are older, only time will tell.

 

:iagree: Yes.

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I am researching general opinion here. Some parents may have IQ scores that clearly ID their kids as profoundly gifted or genius level or superior intellect etc. It's easier to gradually come to terms with it when we have numbers correct?

 

So what is precocious to you?

What would you consider precocious in math? Or music, dance or art? In degree of empathy towards others?

 

Precocious, for me, is when a child says/does something that is far beyond their chronological years. I agree that not all precocious children turn out to be 'high IQ'/gifted.

 

As far as my DD goes, even after she has been 'officially' put in the HG/EG bracket, I am...hesitant and take the results with a grain of salt. Maybe it is because of the culture(Indian) Ive been brought up in, that places achievement above all innate abilities.

 

If I may go on a tangent, one would think that, (ref Newtons Law of motion), a child who is speeding ahead of other children developmentally, will maintain the same velocity even as an adult.

But, I've seen instances where it isn't so. I've seen my academically brilliant and precocious cousins lose their 'edge' as adults, and I've watched my un-precocious, academically average younger brother, who's a trailblazer at his workplace.

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If I may go on a tangent, one would think that, (ref Newtons Law of motion), a child who is speeding ahead of other children developmentally, will maintain the same velocity even as an adult.

But, I've seen instances where it isn't so. I've seen my academically brilliant and precocious cousins lose their 'edge' as adults, and I've watched my un-precocious, academically average younger brother, who's a trailblazer at his workplace.

 

I think part of this may have to do with work ethic. The gifted child that has always had it easy will eventually have trouble when met with a real challenge in the work place. The average child that has had to work hard all their lives academically will know how to work hard in the workplace and do a better job.

 

This is why I think it's important to let a gifted child go at their own pace and not leave them coasting through school. I coasted through school - even college, getting an engineering degree... and it wasn't the school because I went to 3 different schools in my 4 years of college. :lol: I didn't hit a challenge until I got to the workplace, and that made it harder for me to be much of an innovator. When I saw my son coasting through school, I pulled him out to homeschool. Now he has a challenge and is learning to work for his academics. I still keep his age in mind, and I don't squash his love of learning, but I don't let every subject be so easy that he's getting easy 100s on everything without even trying.

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I love these kinds of discussions!

 

So do I! :001_smile:

 

For me, I think I've posted in a past thread about my own idea of "gifted" or really anything beyond average bright. I tend to think of those definitions as only applying to those people so brilliant you may only meet a few in your lifetime. I don't think it's normally used with a definition as restrictive as mine.
I would love to have examples of what you consider so brilliant. Especially among children.

 

I know you didn't say this, but I would like to clarify since I started the thread this is spun off of. I'm not horrified at the idea of my daughter being advanced; I'm merely surprised that the material I have been providing is not what is normal for the age. You didn't say that, but I just wanted to be sure that no one took my words differently. :001_smile:
Oh definitely. Thanks so much for clarifying and I apologize if there was any confusion about where I was coming from. :001_smile:

 

A few of the books on math acceleration I read recently reinforced my own perspective on giftedness. All of the case studies in the books were describing children doing multiplication at 3 or with similar abilities. I don't think those attributes are necessary for a child to do well in math, and I plan on moving through at whatever necessary pace. It does draw a fairly solid line between my own perception of "high ability" compared to "capable and in an encouraging environment."
:iagree:

 

Oddly enough, it seems like it is easier to recognize precocious ability in those areas that are usually so subjective, like the arts. I might also say that because I don't have as much familiarity with those areas.

 

I also agree strongly with this. In my humble opinion (and I would love opposing views to this so I may learn from them) it is easier to identify precocity in the arts because there is usually a tangible output vs. say precocity in math or science.

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So what is precocious to you? ... Does it matter if the child has been formally taught using a program? ... What would you consider precocious in math? Or music, dance or art? In degree of empathy towards others?

Agree with others. I understand "precocious" to mean doing things / attaining skills unusually early. Since it's about achievement more than anything, I definitely think it's possible to hothouse a child into being precocious-- especially in the younger years, when most teaching tends to be more about fact memorization than exercising the capacity for abstract and creative thought. But then again, showing a capacity for abstract thought and creative ability early on could well be noted (correctly) as precocious.

 

What would you consider precocious in math? Or music, dance or art? In degree of empathy towards others?

I guess one could pick a particular achievement benchmark a number of years ahead of grade peers, at least for purely academic subjects, but I like the general definition given by prior posters: whatever makes people take notice of the precocity.

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Well, my DD is considered PG based on testing, and honestly, while she was a precocious reader (in the sense that she was reading on about a 1st grade level before she was 2 years old, and was reading on a post high school level by age 5-6, and that's statistically a very, very small part of the population), I tend to figure that she's followed a relatively normal curve since she taught herself to read. That is, since she was reading on a K/1 level at age 2, is it so surprising that she's able to use 5/6th grade materials at age 7, or is it simply that she was accelerated in that one area and has been able to apply it? Even in math, it seems likely that the main reason she's able to move so fast is that she has a high level of comprehension of language. And I really don't see a lot of difference in difficulty between, say, 6th grade reading samples and "post high school"ones-the difference seems to be mostly in content, with the main difference being that at 6th, or even 9th grade the content tends to be general knowledge, while "post high school" often requires specialized knowledge coming in, and reading tests tend to give that specialized knowledge within the passage. I'm willing to accept that she's advanced as far as reading compared to the children her age right now, and that she's got advanced content knowledge because of it-but I'm not sure that reading at 15 months and being able to apply it means that, when she's a teenager, she's going to be at the level of the Davidson Institute fellowship winners, or that she's on target for a Nobel prize.

 

It's interesting to me that 2 parents of a statistically very, very small part of the population are discussing the same thread on the same board. :) I'm glad to hear you say this so easily about your DD. Took me ages to talk about it re my son.

 

Your observation about moving so quickly in math being something to do with language...wow, I never considered that as a possibility. I need to think about that. Do you think your DD will find high school math easy as a result too? We found elementary and middle school math not challenging for my son at all. He breezed through Dolciani's Algebra (no AoPS Pre-A at the time), and AoPS Counting and Probability, and loved AoPS Number Theory but is finally stumped half way through the book. Jurgensen's Geometry is easy right now and he eyes AoPS Geometry warily although he admits he likes the challenge of the problems. I'm happy that something is finally difficult for him.

 

I agree about what you said at the end. We haven't thought much about competitions or prizes yet. The challenge that presents itself most obviously to me is how to help him use his abilities towards achieving future happiness, whatever it may be. What role motivation plays in the equation. And what other life tools do these kids need to get there (to get to future happiness, by which I mean, a peaceful, satisfied life and even if it is not peaceful, they are well-equipped enough intellectually and emotionally and perhaps, financially too, to face the challenges).

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I think part of this may have to do with work ethic. The gifted child that has always had it easy will eventually have trouble when met with a real challenge in the work place. The average child that has had to work hard all their lives academically will know how to work hard in the workplace and do a better job.

 

:iagree: To be honest, I've often considered throwing an age-appropriate adversity at my son now and then to give him a wake up call. I've seen too many gifted adults flounder because things have been too easy for them for most of their lives.

 

I've also met the gifted adult who has been through adversity and worked hard to over come it. People like that are formidable and very inspiring (but I've also met some of the overly pushy types :001_smile:).

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Thanks to everyone who has replied to this thread. I've usually equated precocity with giftedness and am thankful for the the opinion that it isn't always so. If anyone else wants to add a comment, please do so. I'd love more food for thought.

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I am really thinking dmmetler has a point about the language tie in to math. My dd who is 6 also reads on a high school level and has demonstrated a high ability in reading comprehension since she was around 3. She is also advanced in math but has never really liked it. Over the last few months I realized a lot of our struggles were because I was making her do too much repetition and she was bored. We picked up the pace a lot and she seemed happier and more engaged. Because of her language skills I am expecting as we move in to more problem solving and algebra she will enjoy math more. Interestingly, this week I started supplementing our mus with Singapore cwp and she actually asked to do more problems because she enjoys them so much.

 

It is fascinating to read other parents' post about their similar children. I too have been telling people for the last three years that I didn't think there was anything that different about my child...every child could read at Magic Treehouse at 3 and Chronicles of Narnia at 4 if their parents taught them, etc. The more I read here and other places the more I realize how "not normal" some of her skills are.

 

ETA: btw at 2 dd had obviously advanced verbal skills. I chalked it up to spending all day with adults who engaged her in conversation (we have a family business and at the time both sets of grandparents were at the office with dh and I all day...she was rather spoiled). When your two year old carries on conversations with people they inevitably say "you are so smart". My mom taught her the word precocious and she often responded to the smart comments with, "i'm just precocious"

Edited by acurtis75@yahoo.com

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:iagree: To be honest, I've often considered throwing an age-appropriate adversity at my son now and then to give him a wake up call. I've seen too many gifted adults flounder because things have been too easy for them for most of their lives.

 

.

 

I don't just consider it, I do it. The last thing I want is a smart child who is unmotivated. Btdt myself and it's heck to overcome when you become an adult. It's one of the main reasons I homeschool and challenge her. I feel like the worse thing I could do for my daughter would be to let her ease her way through her education. Hard work is important.

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I hope this isn't too rambling -- I'm operating in an extremely sleep deprived state right now, thanks to a two-year old who has developed extreme night owl tendencies. I've realized I have two definitions of 'precocious': one intellectual and one emotional. My intellectual definition is much like what Iucounu says here:

Agree with others. I understand "precocious" to mean doing things / attaining skills unusually early. ......
which is compared to "a normal" child, whatever that is. Under this definition, other people would probably name a few things my kids do as precocious.

 

I don't see them as precocious, though, because in my emotional definition, the baseline is my extended family. My kids would have to do things significantly ahead of when my sibs did them, or significantly ahead of when one of their sibs did.

 

I think that's why most of us have drifted over to this sub-forum: we are dealing with a different "normal." I'm so glad you all are here!

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Some parents may have IQ scores that clearly ID their kids as profoundly gifted or genius level or superior intellect etc. It's easier to gradually come to terms with it when we have numbers correct?

 

Yes. And then you can accept it, get over it, and move on. When you have "proof" there's no more need to prove anything or question or doubt yourself when you use appropriate resources.

 

People insinuated (or even directly said) that I was pushing my kids and overestimating them. Many laughed and/or didn't believe me. A common lament is "Well, EVERYONE thinks their own kid is gifted." That summarily dismisses a parent's observations and I have found that it isn't true, anyway. (NOT everyone feels this way.)

 

It was always hard for me to resist all of that until I had "proof." With those numbers I could just let it go and get on with my life. I now have the confidence to nod and smile, but know that I *am* doing the right thing. I am not imagining anything.

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I had another thought about this last night, so I'm going to get that down and then go read back through the thread!

 

When a very young child has precocious physical or athletic ability, we recognize that they won't always be so far ahead of their age group. A child running and climbing at 1 year will have many other children to run and climb with by 3.

 

On the other hand, some precocious athletic development will give children a "time on task" advantage. If you've read the Gladwell book with the hockey players you know what I'm referring to. His general idea is that if you spend 10,000 hours on an activity, you will become a master in that area. Older children within an age group are generally more physically able, and are selected for better teams with more practice and playing time from a young age. I could see a child with precocious physical abilities falling into a similar advantage.

 

I think there is a possibility, but not a certainty, of the same thing happening to a child with precocious intellectual abilities. A child reading 3 years earlier than his or her age group is able to put in many extra hours on that particular task, and also on other tasks during the time other children spend learning to read. Once other children begin reading, it seems like things even out quite a bit. It's hard to tell how much of that is gifted children who were not precocious, how much is slowing down of previously ahead children (although I doubt many move backward in the way the "even at 3rd grade" argument seems to assume), and how much of it is a shift in focus to areas that make disparity in ability less evident among children with the minimum skill level.

 

I'm still rolling this comparison around in my head, but it seems to me that there are potential but not definite grounds for acquiring skills at an early age to snowball into larger gains, even in children who are of average ability but develop earlier.

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Agree with others. I understand "precocious" to mean doing things / attaining skills unusually early. Since it's about achievement more than anything, I definitely think it's possible to hothouse a child into being precocious-- especially in the younger years, when most teaching tends to be more about fact memorization than exercising the capacity for abstract and creative thought. But then again, showing a capacity for abstract thought and creative ability early on could well be noted (correctly) as precocious.

I guess one could pick a particular achievement benchmark a number of years ahead of grade peers, at least for purely academic subjects, but I like the general definition given by prior posters: whatever makes people take notice of the precocity.

 

:iagree:

 

"Precocious" can be taught or "hot housed" (whatever term you want to apply). It is simply doing things/attaining skills unusually early as Iucounu and others have said. Precocity is more easily seen and commented on in the very young.

 

A gifted kid may or may not be precocious early on but, to me, a gifted child has an entirely different way of looking at the world and making connections. Gifted kids go beyond what they are taught or the skills they attain. A child may not be a dozen years ahead in a certain subject but may be able to apply those skills in a different way or context, innovate, or think beyond the skills in a way that the average child cannot.

 

So gifted kids may or may not be precocious just as precocious kids may or may not be gifted.

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As far as my DD goes, even after she has been 'officially' put in the HG/EG bracket, I am...hesitant and take the results with a grain of salt. Maybe it is because of the culture(Indian) Ive been brought up in, that places achievement above all innate abilities.

 

I'd be curious to know, is the idea you mention that your success results from the work you put in and anyone can achieve that regardless of their natural abilities? Or is that your IQ doesn't really matter if you don't actually present some kind of success to back it up?

 

 

 

I would love to have examples of what you consider so brilliant. Especially among children.

 

 

Well, those case studies in the math books I was reading would count. An elementary age child completing rigorous (not the level of CC around here) university courses with top grades would count. I don't know if that's even possible at most schools, but having the ability to process and provide output at that level and that age is the kind of child I envision.

 

 

It is fascinating to read other parents' post about their similar children. I too have been telling people for the last three years that I didn't think there was anything that different about my child...every child could read at Magic Treehouse at 3 and Chronicles of Narnia at 4 if their parents taught them, etc. The more I read here and other places the more I realize how "not normal" some of her skills are.

 

 

Yes! I was coming from this same point of view! It probably doesn't hurt that most of my comparison for ability at my daughter's age comes from what I read here. I try very hard not to discuss accomplishments with other parents that I see in person, which probably ought to have tipped me off. It isn't that I thought badly of other parents who hadn't taught their children to read or anything of that sort. Not at all! It was just kind of surprising to not see other children engaged in the same things.

 

 

I don't see them as precocious, though, because in my emotional definition, the baseline is my extended family. My kids would have to do things significantly ahead of when my sibs did them, or significantly ahead of when one of their sibs did.

 

 

Yep. I think this comes into play for me for overall ability. I said in the other thread that I'm discovering our "normal" is way off base. It's been a paradigm shift.

 

 

People insinuated (or even directly said) that I was pushing my kids and overestimating them. Many laughed and/or didn't believe me. A common lament is "Well, EVERYONE thinks their own kid is gifted." That summarily dismisses a parent's observations and I have found that it isn't true, anyway. (NOT everyone feels this way.)

 

A line I read on a different board is what prompted me to post my thread. It ties in to what I said a few lines up. I realized that I was purposely not discussing what my children were doing. I don't post on facebook when my children complete a new puzzle. When I read the comment that your child might be different if you are hesitant to share their accomplishments, it was like a light bulb went off in my head. And since then I've been saying "Huh, how about that?" an awful lot.

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I don't use precocious in the academic sense. It is more in a case where you are walking next to a tiny person and this tiny voice chirps out some thought that you would expect to come out of a much older person's brain. It could be something impressive or something awkward or shocking.

 

For example, my sister had a babysitter when she was 2 who, we learned, was having her sit and watch soaps with her. Also, she'd listen in to the babysitter's side of phone calls and ask questions and get them answered. I'd come home from school and 2yo would give me the whole spiel about her babysitter's latest romantic drama and who has the hots for whom on the soaps. She'd also offer her personal opinion on it ("she should dump R because he doesn't respect her"). A bit disturbing, but I guess that would be considered precocious in the usage I'm used to.

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I tend to think of "precocious" as someone who has an extremely unusual level of innate ability coupled with significant achievement/output at a young age.

 

I know a lot of HG+ people between my parents' friends, DH's and my college friends, DH's grad school friends, DH's work colleagues, local G&T support groups, and so on. However, I would only describe a small percentage of those as being "precocious".

 

The kid who was in our HS support group who won both the Scripps National Spelling Bee and the Intel Science competition. DH's friend who got a perfect 800 on the math SAT in 7th grade for CTY and was making the equivalent of $95k/yr in today's money as a high school student doing part-time computer consulting. My dad's friend who memorized the picture and bio of every single guy in their Harvard class the summer before they started so he could better schmooze with them (he went on to become a long-time member of the Boston City Council and knew almost everyone in his district).

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It's interesting to me that 2 parents of a statistically very, very small part of the population are discussing the same thread on the same board. :) I'm glad to hear you say this so easily about your DD. Took me ages to talk about it re my son.

 

Your observation about moving so quickly in math being something to do with language...wow, I never considered that as a possibility. I need to think about that. Do you think your DD will find high school math easy as a result too? We found elementary and middle school math not challenging for my son at all. He breezed through Dolciani's Algebra (no AoPS Pre-A at the time), and AoPS Counting and Probability, and loved AoPS Number Theory but is finally stumped half way through the book. Jurgensen's Geometry is easy right now and he eyes AoPS Geometry warily although he admits he likes the challenge of the problems. I'm happy that something is finally difficult for him.

 

I agree about what you said at the end. We haven't thought much about competitions or prizes yet. The challenge that presents itself most obviously to me is how to help him use his abilities towards achieving future happiness, whatever it may be. What role motivation plays in the equation. And what other life tools do these kids need to get there (to get to future happiness, by which I mean, a peaceful, satisfied life and even if it is not peaceful, they are well-equipped enough intellectually and emotionally and perhaps, financially too, to face the challenges).

 

I guess I'll find out! She's DYING to go into algebra (I blame Basher), and has taken to downloading placement tests from online to do them to show me that she's ready. I've told her that she has to finish SM 5B first, and I have Fred Decimals and Percents coming for her, and hopefully by the time she finishes those I'll have decided which Algebra program might be a good fit without breaking the bank. I'm not sure she wouldn't be happier doing SM 6 with LOF Pre-Algebra so she gets one more year of the cute pictures and colors and word problems that she's loved so far, as opposed to the less visually interesting middle school/high school texts. Singapore has been great for her, both because it has so many word problems and tends to encourage talking through math, which is her preferred way of attacking anything (while also providing the challenge), and because, while it's higher level content, it's not visually intimidating. It has bright colors and cartoony pictures, the books are broken down and it's not page after page of dense problem sets with the expectation that you copy them over and solve them, and it's just "pretty"-which fits her "just turned 7 yr old girl" ethos. But SM6 doesn't have that magic word "Algebra" on the cover.

 

 

Right now, I rely on outside of school stuff to provide DD's emotional challenge. I never thought I'd be the mother of a cheerleader, but cheer has been wonderful for her, because it's pushed her to push herself physically and to be part of the team. She's not the best out there, and she knows it-which led to her wanting to take gymnastics to improve her tumbling, and that's been even better for her physically. She can't talk her way into success at a cartwheel or walkover-she simply has to work at it and gradually improve. And an added bonus about cheer-you lose a LOT more than you win, because really, all the teams aren't all that far off on skill level, and it's just a matter of who is on or who is off that day. So she's had the experience of being on a team that was 1st in the state one season, only to come in as a flat out loser at the next competition-and to realize that, you know, the sun still comes up the next day and you get back to the gym and start working again, win or lose.

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I'd be curious to know, is the idea you mention that yoursuccess results from the work you put in and anyone can achieve that regardless of their natural abilities? Or is that your IQ doesn't really matter if you don't actually present some kind of success to back it up?

 

.

 

Both.:001_smile:

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The kid who was in our HS support group who won both the Scripps National Spelling Bee and the Intel Science competition. DH's friend who got a perfect 800 on the math SAT in 7th grade for CTY and was making the equivalent of $95k/yr in today's money as a high school student doing part-time computer consulting. My dad's friend who memorized the picture and bio of every single guy in their Harvard class the summer before they started so he could better schmooze with them (he went on to become a long-time member of the Boston City Council and knew almost everyone in his district).

 

That's very interesting. I never would have thought to apply the word precocious to a teenager or adult, but only to a child.

 

I tend to think of "precocious" as someone who has an extremely unusual level of innate ability coupled with significant achievement/output at a young age.

 

I think of precocious as applying solely based on demonstrated skills--which is probably why, as noted earlier, it is so much easier to recognize precocity in the arts or athletic ability than in intellectual ability. There are particular skills that are easy to pinpoint in intellectual development, like learning to read, but there is so much more that is subjective. The two-year-old who can do a handstand is far more obviously precocious in her area than the two-year-old who makes unusual and deep connections between subjects.

Edited by mmconde

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That's very interesting. I never would have thought to apply the word precocious to a teenager or adult, but only to a child.

 

IDK, maybe because except in athletics or music, there really aren't that many opportunities for younger kids to show extremely unusual output. Whereas teenagers have quite a number of opportunities.

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I'll chime in since I think I was the one to start using it in the other post. I use the term precocious to mean, well, exactly what it means:

 

pre·co·cious/priˈkōSHəs/

Adjective:

(of a child) Having developed certain abilities or proclivities at an earlier age than usual.

 

I like to use the word here because it is an exact "measurable" term. By comparison, words like "bright" or "gifted" (EG, PF, 2E) are both less well defined (our at least the definition can vary from person to person, especially if you choose not to have your dc tested) and just more loaded emotionally.

 

I also think precociousness is just as easy to see in academics as athletics *if* you know the "norms". Pick up any book on developmental psych or pediatrics and you'll likely find a nice list of when certain skills are accomplished by the 25th, 50th, and 75th %iles (sometimes they have the 10th and 90th as well). They are the basis of the handouts from your Ped on what Johnny should be doing at age X. ;)

 

I'd point out that a precocious child is likely gifted, but may not be. A gifted child may not be precocious at an early age. So it's really not a euphemism.

 

Plus I can KNOW if a child is precocious pretty easily (by comparing the performance to the "norm") without getting into the more murky issue of opinions on what it means or WHY or HOW MUCH. :D

 

My 2cents.

Edited by ChandlerMom
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Loving the discussion! Thank you everyone. Let me make it clear just how delighted I am to have this board available to discuss this. I have found it difficult to share about giftedness locally. Apart from the few kindred spirits within my local gifted support group, I am usually reluctant to share with others. I find myself more comfortable listening and providing suggestions than going into details about what we're using.

 

It is partly my upbringing. Partly my huge worry about bragging. Writing more than I normally do about my son actually keeps me awake at night worrying whether I might have said too much and if anyone would have considered it bragging. It is also partly from shyness and awareness that there are many kids doing so much more at the same or even younger ages.

 

There is some danger to not being able to share all the time. When the avenue finally presents itself, I find I share too much. I apologize if anything I write about my son here comes across that way.

 

Yes. And then you can accept it, get over it, and move on. When you have "proof" there's no more need to prove anything or question or doubt yourself when you use appropriate resources.

 

Even with the numbers we have, it is easy to fall into a pattern of disbelief, esp. with a very asynchronous child who tends to daydream way too often. :) But yes, in general, although I used to think it isn't necessary if you're homeschooling, I now suggest to anyone who suspects that their child is HG+ and not learning happily to get the numbers as affordably as they can. The validation in itself is empowering.

 

I know a lot of HG+ people between my parents' friends, DH's and my college friends, DH's grad school friends, DH's work colleagues, local G&T support groups, and so on. However, I would only describe a small percentage of those as being "precocious".

 

The kid who was in our HS support group who won both the Scripps National Spelling Bee and the Intel Science competition. DH's friend who got a perfect 800 on the math SAT in 7th grade for CTY and was making the equivalent of $95k/yr in today's money as a high school student doing part-time computer consulting. My dad's friend who memorized the picture and bio of every single guy in their Harvard class the summer before they started so he could better schmooze with them (he went on to become a long-time member of the Boston City Council and knew almost everyone in his district).

 

I appreciate this reply and find it interesting that your examples point to output that is at a public level.

 

My deep concern is to reach out to parents who do not pursue public output and do not realize that their suspicions about their kids could be true.

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I'm trying to understand whether or not this example could be considered precocious:

 

A just turned 6-year-old child creates on his own without any parental help, a cipher involving the reversed alphabet with a subtraction substitution code. He uses A in place of Y because Y is one step away from Z. He uses B in the code in place of X and so on. He realizes a formula and is able to "see" the whole pattern to the cipher without writing any of it down.

 

Can someone here decode XKB given this rule? How about VKL'F CHQFU FRQG VKCL! ?

 

Now imagine him writing paragraph-long codes in a few minutes for his parent to solve. When his parents return the favor with sentences for him to decode (sentences because they can't code paragraphs as quickly as he can!), he solves them in minutes because he "sees" the whole thing in his head.

 

Is this unusually precocious? Does this indicate an ability to manipulate numbers abstractly? Is this child ready for algebra--at least beginning algebra--at his age?

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My mom taught her the word precocious and she often responded to the smart comments with, "i'm just precocious"

 

For example, my sister had a babysitter when she was 2 who, we learned, was having her sit and watch soaps with her. Also, she'd listen in to the babysitter's side of phone calls and ask questions and get them answered. I'd come home from school and 2yo would give me the whole spiel about her babysitter's latest romantic drama and who has the hots for whom on the soaps. She'd also offer her personal opinion on it ("she should dump R because he doesn't respect her"). A bit disturbing, but I guess that would be considered precocious in the usage I'm used to.

 

:lol: :lol: :lol:

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I'll chime in since I think I was the one to start using it in the other post. I use the term precocious to mean, well, exactly what it means:

 

pre·co·cious/priˈkōSHəs/

Adjective:

(of a child) Having developed certain abilities or proclivities at an earlier age than usual.

 

I like to use the word here because it is an exact "measurable" term. By comparison, words like "bright" or "gifted" (EG, PF, 2E) are both less well defined (our at least the definition can vary from person to person, especially if you choose not to have your dc tested) and just more loaded emotionally.

 

This response is closest to my own understanding of the word.

 

I also think precociousness is just as easy to see in academics as athletics *if* you know the "norms". Pick up any book on developmental psych or pediatrics and you'll likely find a nice list of when certain skills are accomplished by the 25th, 50th, and 75th %iles (sometimes they have the 10th and 90th as well). They are the basis of the handouts from your Ped on what Johnny should be doing at age X. ;)

 

Any books to suggest? I'm especially curious about books that go up to the tween-age years. It's easy to find milestones for younger kids online and at my ped's office but I can't find any for 8-12yos.

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I guess I'll find out! She's DYING to go into algebra (I blame Basher), and has taken to downloading placement tests from online to do them to show me that she's ready.

 

She's really showing you she's ready. When I was fretting about starting my son on Algebra, it was a big relief that the beginning chapters of most books were review. We could begin without me feeling as if we were making a HUGE leap. Just saying!

 

(Who am I kidding? Trying to brainwash you, actually, into letting her try it :Angel_anim:)

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I now have the confidence to nod and smile, but know that I *am* doing the right thing. I am not imagining anything.

But would things really be different if you did not have the formal results? You would be raising the same child, who would be giving you the same signs as to readiness, struggling, etc.

 

As to the topic, pre-cocious literally means matured / cooked "before its time". That is the way I always conceived it, too.

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I'm trying to understand whether or not this example could be considered precocious:

 

A just turned 6-year-old child creates on his own without any parental help, a cipher involving the reversed alphabet with a subtraction substitution code. He uses A in place of Y because Y is one step away from Z. He uses B in the code in place of X and so on. He realizes a formula and is able to "see" the whole pattern to the cipher without writing any of it down.

 

Can someone here decode XKB given this rule? How about VKL'F CHQFU FRQG VKCL! ?

 

Now imagine him writing paragraph-long codes in a few minutes for his parent to solve. When his parents return the favor with sentences for him to decode (sentences because they can't code paragraphs as quickly as he can!), he solves them in minutes because he "sees" the whole thing in his head.

 

Is this unusually precocious? Does this indicate an ability to manipulate numbers abstractly? Is this child ready for algebra--at least beginning algebra--at his age?

Hmm. I don't think most would consider doing the mental substitutions precocious, because most grownups don't do mental substitutions like that to my knowledge, so there's not some rough mental benchmark for comparison (but it does indicate higher-than-average ability). It certainly points to a child with a good working memory and processing speed, both of which would help in doing math, and increase his capacity for mental math. I think that the creation of a cipher at age 6 is precocious compared to the general population, though I'd guess many people never show an interest in codes by adulthood either. Precocious always includes the notion of early, not so much unique.

 

Re: algebra readiness, I guess the answer would depend on his foundation of math knowledge and skills; he'd ideally need more than just an ability to understand the idea of substitution*. If placement test results or prior work show that he's ready for pre-algebra or algebra, I'd definitely not hold him back.

 

Now, doing algebra at an abnormally young age would qualify as precocious, since a great many people study algebra, and there's a rough idea in most people's heads as to what age is appropriate for doing that.

 

* There is some disagreement on what constitutes algebra and pre-algebra, so the question itself is open to different interpretations. Some parents will discuss their children doing algebra at the time that their children are able to comprehend the basic idea of a variable, and do basic number-fact evaluations such as "3 + x = 5". Meanwhile some math programs introduce these ideas as early as first or second grade these days, as an early algebraic-readiness measure, with the idea of spiraling back.

Edited by Iucounu

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So what is precocious to you?

 

Great thread, Quark. :)

 

I have never referred to my children as 'gifted' or precocious -- and we have no IQ tests. I haven't needed a label for dd8 since we are keenly aware of her strengths, growth areas, skills, etc. She is an eager learner and a hard worker. She sees something once and can usually remember it. Not sure what that means. Either way, she is a joy & blessing (as all my kids are). I often wonder what she'd be doing in China as a student if she still lived there...

 

For kicks, I asked her this morning while we were cuddling in bed:

Abi, are you familiar with the term precocious?

 

Yes. From Mary Poppins (If you say it loud enough you'll always sound precocious...). And my teacher at Beacon gave me an award for being precocious because she said I was precocious and smart and that I was always excited to learn new things.

(Abi attended Beacon Academy for K & 1st).

 

ETA: Not sure how I don't remember this award.:001_huh:

Edited by BethinWA

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But would things really be different if you did not have the formal results? You would be raising the same child, who would be giving you the same signs as to readiness, struggling, etc.

 

As to the topic, pre-cocious literally means matured / cooked "before its time". That is the way I always conceived it, too.

 

"Cooked before it's time". Is that anything like "early ripen, early rot." Root words and origins are cool as far as they go, but words change over time as they become used in a different context than they were born in. Terman's studies in the 1920s disproved the "early ripe, early rot" belief. Nowadays precocious means "earlier than normal", not "earlier than they should" as before their time would suggest.

Not that I know anything. I like to read a lot and I like to discuss.

 

I agree with the posters saying precocious means doing normal things that most people do but doing them earlier than others. I think semantically precocious relates to prodigy in that precocious would be an early skill or two and prodigy would be an entire set of skills that adds up to an early talent. I could go on typing word associations and opinions because I love reading, writing, and discussions and now I have kids so this is an area of high interest at the moment, but what I type is just opinions based on semantics. Yeah, I <3 these discussions as well.

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The kid who was in our HS support group who won both the Scripps National Spelling Bee and the Intel Science competition. .

 

We must be in the same homeschool group. At least, I'm assuming you're talking about Evan. :)

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I don't see them as precocious, though, because in my emotional definition, the baseline is my extended family. My kids would have to do things significantly ahead of when my sibs did them, or significantly ahead of when one of their sibs did.

 

Yes, I do this too. However, my emotional definition takes huge swings. The issue here is that we have an 'only' and my family is spread out all over the world. Everything he does seems normal because we have very little opportunity to compare with peers and cousins. Maybe that's another reason for our late identification and coming to terms with things. (Is there a sighing smiley?).

 

I think that's why most of us have drifted over to this sub-forum: we are dealing with a different "normal." I'm so glad you all are here!

 

:iagree:

 

But would things really be different if you did not have the formal results? You would be raising the same child, who would be giving you the same signs as to readiness, struggling, etc.

 

Not Zaichiki but for us, yes! And although it was the same child, the signs did not stay the same. Something obvious was going on cognitively that we could not understand.

 

I seriously believe the personality of the parent matters too. It has become very different for me after testing because I am not afraid now to make the decisions I do. I am much more confident. And 99% of the time, my decisions end up working very, very well. My husband was always aware of things the way I was not so I don't think it has changed for him. I'm not the astute one in the family! :001_smile:

 

It also helped (very much I must add) that we tested for a very affordable fee at a local university's psych dept.

 

I have never referred to my children as 'gifted' or precocious -- and we have no IQ tests. I haven't needed a label for dd8 since we are keenly aware of her strengths, growth areas, skills, etc. She is an eager learner and a hard worker. She sees something once and can usually remember it. Not sure what that means. Either way, she is a joy & blessing (as all my kids are).

 

Beth, I love what you do for your girls and am a fan of everything you quote from Abi's sayings. :001_smile: I'm so glad you chimed in. Thank you!

 

"Cooked before it's time". Is that anything like "early ripen, early rot."

 

I know Ester Maria did not mention anything about early rot so referring only to her definition "cooked before its time", I must say I loved it, :001_smile:! Truly found it hilarious.

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Hmm. I don't think most would consider doing the mental substitutions precocious, because most grownups don't do mental substitutions like that to my knowledge, so there's not some rough mental benchmark for comparison (but it does indicate higher-than-average ability). It certainly points to a child with a good working memory and processing speed, both of which would help in doing math, and increase his capacity for mental math. I think that the creation of a cipher at age 6 is precocious compared to the general population, though I'd guess many people never show an interest in codes by adulthood either. Precocious always includes the notion of early, not so much unique.

 

Re: algebra readiness, I guess the answer would depend on his foundation of math knowledge and skills; he'd ideally need more than just an ability to understand the idea of substitution*. If placement test results or prior work show that he's ready for pre-algebra or algebra, I'd definitely not hold him back.

 

Now, doing algebra at an abnormally young age would qualify as precocious, since a great many people study algebra, and there's a rough idea in most people's heads as to what age is appropriate for doing that.

 

* There is some disagreement on what constitutes algebra and pre-algebra, so the question itself is open to different interpretations. Some parents will discuss their children doing algebra at the time that their children are able to comprehend the basic idea of a variable, and do basic number-fact evaluations such as "3 + x = 5". Meanwhile some math programs introduce these ideas as early as first or second grade these days, as an early algebraic-readiness measure, with the idea of spiraling back.

 

Iucounu, hope it's ok if I PM you sometime today? Would love your take on something else related to this topic.

Edited by quark

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The youngest sister in Pride and Prejudice was "precocious." In the traditional meaning of the word.

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Precocious..having thinking skills that were developed without parental intervention to be in the 99+% for the age group. An example would be demanding those cool multiplication problems that were seen hanging up by the grade 3 classrooms on the walk down to kindy without every having been taught math at home...and having no problem with negotiating independent study of math with teacher.

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But would things really be different if you did not have the formal results? You would be raising the same child, who would be giving you the same signs as to readiness, struggling, etc.

 

I would be raising the same child, but the results would be different. And this is why --

  1. So many people made comments that made me doubt what I was observing. I talked myself out of the idea that my child could be gifted. I doubted my approach, my ability to assess my child, and the curriculum choices I had made. Without the IQ score, I would have probably *not* expected as much b/c people were actively working to reduce my expectations. I certainly wouldn't have had the courage to use Sonlight's curriculum with my child when I did... SO many people told me I was *wrong.* Very directly. I thought I was right, but I was only willing to go the road alone b/c of the validation I had in those numbers. I knew my child *was* in that top percentile and that other people wouldn't get it. (Before that I thought he was average-bright and not that much of an outlier, therefore I assumed a lot of other people had similar kids.)
  2. One of our kids has dyslexia. We never would have discovered this without her baseline IQ score. She struggled learning to read, but she was compensating... many suggested to me that I "just had a normal child as opposed to a gifted one." I was told that *now* I understood what was normal and I should quit pushing her or expecting too much. Without the baseline IQ score, I wouldn't have gone to the pediatrician with my concerns... which led to a developmental opthamologist, who sent us to a neuropsych and the discovery of the dyslexia. She wouldn't have gotten the remediation. I would have expected less. I would have lost a lot of confidence in myself, too, and therefore I probably would have followed all of that unsolicited advice more easily.

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Reading Zaichiki's post makes it clear to me that testing was and is beneficial in her situation but I still don't feel compelled to test. I am on the same page with whichever pp said you find yourself unwilling to discuss what work your child is doing and their accomplishments but i don't think it's impacting what I do or how I push her. It might have if I hadn't found this board. Reading here gives me good perspective and keeps me grounded. I read about other kids who are about on the same level and some who seem farther ahead. Several times after reading about what others are doing here I've skipped levels or stepped up the challenge for dd and discovered that I wasn't expecting enough. Other times I've been reminded about the asynchronous behavior all of you are dealing with which reminds me not to be surprised when my six year old acts six. I can't say I won't change my mind about testing next week or next year but for now I'm okay without it. If we ever have another child and that child is struggling to learn to read I would probably do exactly what Zaichiki did.

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Reading Zaichiki's post makes it clear to me that testing was and is beneficial in her situation but I still don't feel compelled to test.

 

I apologize if it sounds like I'm trying to convince other people to test. Not my intention. I just feel really strongly that we did the right thing. There are people who make it sound like testing is a frivolous thing to do... so I guess I just wanted to give testing, itself, some validation. :D

 

I also wanted to add that we did the IQ testing *before* dd learned to read. The testing came first (just b/c we were testing her brother and the psych offered a discount). I honestly don't think I would have tested her afterwards... I think I would have been swayed by those who insisted she was just typical and my expectations were skewed.

 

So to all of you out there who think, "Well, hey, I just have these advanced/gifted kids and this typical one." Don't decide that too quickly, okay? :001_smile:

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I apologize if it sounds like I'm trying to convince other people to test. Not my intention. I just feel really strongly that we did the right thing. There are people who make it sound like testing is a frivolous thing to do... so I guess I just wanted to give testing, itself, some validation. :D

 

I also wanted to add that we did the IQ testing *before* dd learned to read. The testing came first (just b/c we were testing her brother and the psych offered a discount). I honestly don't think I would have tested her afterwards... I think I would have been swayed by those who insisted she was just typical and my expectations were skewed.

 

So to all of you out there who think, "Well, hey, I just have these advanced/gifted kids and this typical one." Don't decide that too quickly, okay? :001_smile:

 

I didn't feel like you were trying to convince anyone to test. Your post just made me consider why I hadn't done it yet. It also made me realize that everyone's situation is different and I need to keep open to the idea for the future. I try hard to keep an open mind because the more I go down this road the more I learn and I have changed my perspective on several things.

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I'm actually curious about my only-slightly-accelerated child and would love to have an occasion to test her IQ. When she came into my custody, a friend actually suggested she might be a "mongoloid." She has overcome a variety of hurdles and there are some she's still dealing with. She seems to get sharper by the day. How much of her intelligence is being inhibited by barriers we could maybe mitigate? I'd like to know. So if an opportunity presents itself, I'll take it, I think.

 

The other child will probably have to be tested for the school's purposes this spring. I am curious to know her IQ as well.

 

In the family I grew up in, we were generally in the mildly-gifted category (IQs around 130+) and we thought it was kinda cool. Not something we would mention outside the family, of course, but certainly not a cause of concern. Maybe if we had any real outliers, my views would be different. I recall that when my brother learned my nephew's scores (he's really brilliant), it was kind of "shock and awe" and he refused to tell anyone how high the IQ was. But it was obvious that the kid was smarter than the rest of us, and what's not cool about that?

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We tested our oldest when she was 4 3/4 and we were trying to figure out about schooling options. Having the number really helped to clarify the right decision. It also helped gain access to certain talent search and other GATE programs that want an IQ score.

 

We have not yet tested our DS because we had already made the HS decision. It's still TBD if we will do a formal IQ test or just use out-of-level achievement tests like the EXPLORE, ITBS/CogAT, etc. Those are much cheaper and can be used as qualifying scores.

 

Full siblings are typically within +/- 5 IQ points of each other under normal circumstances. Obviously, if there are LD's involved, those could bring down a full scale IQ number.

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Full siblings are typically within +/- 5 IQ points of each other under normal circumstances. Obviously, if there are LD's involved, those could bring down a full scale IQ number.

 

My kids are not biologically related to each other nor to anyone I know, so there are no precedents to go by in our case.

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Bumping this thread because of an incident at a private high school open house we attended. My hubby was discussing the possibility of a gIEP with the principal who was open to discussion about it.  The principal ask a subject specialist to come and give his opinion by saying "This gentleman has a precocious child...."  First time I had heard it being used as a code word for gifted because the subject specialist immediately went on about what subject differentiation they are offering and could offer. The principal has done gifted programs before in another country.

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This was a neat thread to re-read. At this point, I'm pretty confident saying that DD is precocious in more ways than just being an early reader :).

 

And that I'm really glad we've had a chance to be on this road together! I don't know that I'd still be sane given how much has happened between 2012 and now....

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