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Hi, Newbie here.  I posted in the K-8 curriculum board, and a few people suggested I post here as well.  I'm homeschooling BECAUSE I have an accelerated learner on my hands that I know will not do well in public school.  He is 5 years old, has been reading since he was three-something he mostly taught himself to do.  He also loves math (taught himself addition and subtraction too *shrug*) and science and knows more about tsunamis than any grown adult I know.

 

A few people have mentioned testing.  Should I do this?  Where would I go?  What, if any, are the benefits of it?

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I'd only recommend testing if you want to get him into a program that requires it. A quality IQ test is expensive and will just give you confirmation of what you already suspect (but check the list of recommended psychologists on Hoagies' gifted site if you decide to do it).

 

Just treat him like he's gifted - read a book or two about it, teach him at an appropriate level, expect some intensity or other related issues.

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I saw people mention that, but I didn't understand why they thought you should. Generally, if you have a question that needs to be answered, you test. I have had no need to test my oldest (almost 10) or my youngest (just turned 5). They're both accelerated, but they're "easy" to teach. There are no questions that need to be answered. Getting them tested would be a waste of money. Just because a kid is gifted doesn't mean they need to be tested. If there is a gifted program you wanted to get him into, then yes, testing would be beneficial. But if you're planning to homeschool and aren't having any problems, I don't think it's necessary. Just meet him where he's at.

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We tested because we had questions. It's been helpful, but I think I would wait until he's old enough to take the WISC (that would be six). Both of our kids are twice-exceptional (they have another diagnosis besides gifted).

 

 

 

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I agree with the others that (1) getting into a particular program, and (2) suspecting a potential learning issue are good reasons to test.  Needing more confidence in knowing how much to challenge your child is another possible reason, though the more you work with your child, the better feel you might get for that.  I also agree that waiting until 6 for a WISC would be what I'd do if you truly think you need to test soon.

 

I recommend spending lots of time reading this board's discussions for resources to try and for ideas to guide the development of your goals for educating your child.  (For example, do you go deeper or wider or both?  How do you balance an asynchronous level of ability to read or write with developing their high ability to understand and learn and think?  How do you follow their interests?) 

 

Eta, as for specifics, for a 5 y.o., essentially K grade level, I'd pick a good math program (lots of threads here on that!) and place accordingly, find something to work on handwriting, read, and generally spend lots of time playing and exploring the world.

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I did not test until my youngest came along mostly because she learned differently than her brothers and seemed to already know anything I thought she might need to know. The testing itself, I felt, was not worth the money simply because all it did was confirm what I already knew…she's gifted. I didn't need a test to tell me that. She did qualify for Johns Hopkins CTY program because of it but in the end I decided to not use any of their courses because of the expense.

 

I did do a phone consultation with the Gifted Development Center (I think…it was a long time ago and I don't have time right now to look it up). They sent a pile of paperwork with questions about development, personality profiles for all of us, and wanted all dd's records from the testing we had done. I learned a lot about dd, her personality, and the way she learns from that phone conversation. The information helped me to refrain from trying to fit dd into a learning style that might not have suited her and helped me parent her in a way to fit with her personality type. I still sometimes go back to that information and re-read it…funny how spot on they were about her because now almost 7 years later, I can look back on decisions she made or reactions she's had to certain things and make sense of it because of some of that information.

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The only reason I can see testing at age 4-5, unless you suspect that there's something else going on (my DD has sensory and motor skills issues, so was tested early more because of that than for GT-getting a PG label was just an added bonus) is if you're considering sending your child to a traditional school, where having the identification, even in absence of a formal GT program, could open doors. My DD was tested to get into K early, and it really didn't tell me much I didn't already know, but it did make it easier to advocate for her (and, at the same time, make it easier to make the leap from a traditional school setting, because I knew they WERE operating with full information and that this truly was all they'd offer to a GT kid at her level with supportive parents. If I hadn't had the testing already in hand, I might have been more likely to push them for testing and an IEP instead of just pulling her when we did).

 

When your child is older, talent search testing may or may not be valuable to you. For us, it was because it did open doors to programs that have been helpful and supportive to us.

 

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My kids were tested because they were still in public school when they did testing in 3rd grade to determine eligibility for the gifted program. The tests did not give me any information I did not have from parenting my kids over several years.

 

I would test if there are behavioral or learning issues that needed diagnosis. If the kid is fine and there are no problems, I see no benefit in a test.

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We never tested dd because we've never had a need. Standardized testing was enough to get her into talent search programs when she was older. 

 

For us, it's a situation of it not mattering much except on the rare occasions it does. We appreciate the opportunities the talent search programs provide, but on a day-to-day basis our goal is to meet her needs, regardless of where they are on a bell curve. If we weren't comfortable assessing that, or if there were learning difficulties or some other issues, testing might be warranted.

 

To clarify: I'm not saying that intelligence doesn't matter--of course it does. I'm saying that being formally identified as gifted doesn't matter on a day-to-day basis because we are homeschooling. In a brick-and-mortar school that might not be the case.

 

 

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The other reason for testing is if you tend to second guess yourself or have a completely skewed idea of normal (common if your whole family is gifted). I knew ds7 was bright but I didn't really think he was gifted let alone PG. Apparently not thinking your kid is gifted is more common in this country though.

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Thanks everyone.  This was a confirmation of my initial thoughts.  I know what we need to do at this point, and I don't think we'll have trouble or need outside help to do it.  I already know that my local school district is useless as far as any programs or services go, so there isn't really a need to test for that.  I will keep in mind some of the other things mentioned here, and maybe revisit this idea every few years.

 

I appreciate the input, thanks again. :)

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