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Middleton07

Advice for teaching gifted child

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Hello, fellow homeschoolers,

I just finished testing my first year of homeschooling (using the Well-Trained Mind), and we decided to give our children a standardized test to see how they were progressing.  Our rising 4th grader took the IOWA and CogAT.  He tested in the top 4% on the IOWA and in the top 1% on the CogAT.  I was floored, but not shocked.  I feel that I now have a new challenge to figure out how to teach this gifted child in a way that will challenge him the way that he needs.  We live in the Atlanta area, but I am looking for programs here or online that may give him some new challenges (like Duke TIP).  Does anyone have any advice?     

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Giving an out of level test can be a useful way to further identify what you are dealing with. (ie give the Iowa 2 levels above). Also, Duke probably offers out of level testing but likely not until next winter. 

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One of the things I've taken to heart was to involve my child in the whole educational process. It means he often picks his curriculum and decides how to schedule it.  I've not liked some of his choices but he has thrived with them.  I want him to take ownership of his learning so he never feels like it's something he's passive in.
The other thing was to shelter him somewhat.  He never does academic things with age-peers and I try to avoid grade leveled material choices.  My goal is to have him be able to reach a struggling point so that learning to learn is something he gets as well.  So when he tells me what he wants in a curriculum or I show him a variety of samples, grade levels aren't part of them.

Other than that, I'd recommend taking a browse over on hoagiesgifted.org .  They have a wealth of knowledge for parents and educators.

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I also live in the Atlanta area, but my kids are a bit younger. One thing I'd suggest is looking into places he could volunteer in a couple of years. I volunteered several years at the Fernbank Museum as a teenager, and it was great because I could study up on the exhibits and then have really interesting discussions with patrons and employees. Some of my friends volunteered at the High Museum and had a fantastic experience. The zoo is another possibility and even has opportunities for families to volunteer together until kids are old enough for the teen volunteer program.

I think there are lots of opportunities for classes and clubs. Fernbank Science Center at least used to have some awesome classes that were open to homeschoolers. A homeschooled friend of mine did one that was sponsored by NASA, I think, and still talked about it years afterwards. A lot of stuff seems to open up in the teenage years. There's a math circle at Emory for middle and high school, for example.

Right now, with a rising first grader and younger siblings, we are just doing academics on our own and joining with others for social opportunities. We take lots of field trips, and my daughter will do the monthly Homeschool Academy at the zoo in the fall. I look out for interesting events in the area, like the Archaeology Day that took place in Stone Mountain (not at the park) about a month ago. We take any chance we can get to meet professionals in a variety of fields who are passionate about sharing their work. I want my kids growing up knowing real people who do all sorts of things so that they can imagine themselves doing those things as well and see what sparks their interest.

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Fwiw, I just teach my kids.  I don't worry about grade levels or what goes on in ps. It doesn't matter if they are extremely advanced or behind.  I design courses around their interests and abilities. The challenge level is appropriate bc it didn't come out of a box or from another teacher designed for the masses.  Their courses are designed for them.  They work at their level, progress at their speed, and no need to worry about perceived challenge bc it is customized to exactly what they need to be doing.

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Nothing earth-shattering, but I always let mine pick every year what they want to do.  They make a list of what they want to study and last year, we decided to use curriculum (I usually put everything together myself).  They chose what curriculum they wanted to use.  

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Keeping an eye out here for more ideas. DS is in PS, but I definitely am not relying on them to keep up with him. 

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Remember that gifted children are often asynchronous learners. They may race ahead in one subject while other subjects lag behind and in 6 months those subjects may be flip flopped. It's ok to let them learn this way and no reason to force them to "catch up" where they are lagging at any moment in time. It will only serve to frustrate both of you. They will learn what needs to be learned in due time.

Don't be afraid to let them pursue advanced subject matter on their own. They don't need a curriculum for everything. In fact, it is rare to find a curriculum for any subject that is actually a good fit for gifted learner. You can use it for a spine but let him chase rabbit trails until his enthusiam for the topic wanes and then you can go back to the curriculum for the next topic

Don't suddenly raise the stakes just because you now have paper evidence that he is exceptional. Obviously what you have been doing up until this point has been working and working well. Don't go overboard trying to fix what isn't broken. If he was breezing through his work and complaining it's too easy this past year then gradually raise the challenge level of the subjects that need the challenge level raised, don't raise it across the board if he had any subjects that did present a challenge for him this past year.

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Don’t make generalizations or set any specific expectations of the future - teach the child in front of you.  

That alone is a wild ride, and getting a preconceived idea of your asynchronous kid can lead to anxiety, disappointment, and emotional strain.

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Thank you all so very much for your advice.  My plan is to continue to teach him the way that we have - moving at his pace.  It has been great.  Although he started with 3rd grade level books, we moved on to 4th grade level when he was ready this year.  I thoroughly believe that homeschooling is the best option for him.  My real question, I guess, is if anyone has used any programs like Duke TIP, Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, or another such program that really helped them in giving their gifted little ones some extra fun challenges with kids similar to them.  I think programs like this may be a helpful supplement to homeschooling for a lot of reasons.  Does anyone have any experience with a particular program?  Any that you would recommend?  Thank you, everyone!!  

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My DD is a DYS, and we will make our fourth trip to Reno this summer so she can have social time with other kids-and so so can have social time with other parents ?. For online classes, DD really liked Athena’s Academy and  Online G3 which had a lot of outlets for social interaction-to the point that she is now a junior instructor at Athena’s. CTY and TIPS have been less useful for social purposes, and the classes tend to be expensive. I’ve heard good things about the camps, though. 

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8 hours ago, Middleton07 said:

Thank you all so very much for your advice.  My plan is to continue to teach him the way that we have - moving at his pace.  It has been great.  Although he started with 3rd grade level books, we moved on to 4th grade level when he was ready this year.  I thoroughly believe that homeschooling is the best option for him.  My real question, I guess, is if anyone has used any programs like Duke TIP, Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, or another such program that really helped them in giving their gifted little ones some extra fun challenges with kids similar to them.  I think programs like this may be a helpful supplement to homeschooling for a lot of reasons.  Does anyone have any experience with a particular program?  Any that you would recommend?  Thank you, everyone!!  

 

AoPS online class was excellent, showed my kiddo that he had true peers.  Also, youth orchestra in your community, and any hobbies. 

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10 hours ago, Middleton07 said:

Thank you all so very much for your advice.  My plan is to continue to teach him the way that we have - moving at his pace.  It has been great.  Although he started with 3rd grade level books, we moved on to 4th grade level when he was ready this year.  I thoroughly believe that homeschooling is the best option for him.  My real question, I guess, is if anyone has used any programs like Duke TIP, Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, or another such program that really helped them in giving their gifted little ones some extra fun challenges with kids similar to them.  I think programs like this may be a helpful supplement to homeschooling for a lot of reasons.  Does anyone have any experience with a particular program?  Any that you would recommend?  Thank you, everyone!!  

The very large homeschool center where my son took classes and became involved with lots of other stuff was chock full of highly gifted kids. Outside of that, fully pursuing his own passions from a young age, even when that meant sometimes being the only child or youngest in a group of adults, worked very well. And he took classes almost for free at the local LAC and the state health university while in high school through specific programs at those schools for highly gifted high school students. For us, local long-term things were far preferable to anything far away or temporary, and we were fortunate that we had no trouble finding things that worked for him, even if it sometimes meant lots of driving.

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I would suggest discontinuing anything grade level. I found that to be incredibly restrictive because when my son really wanted to learn about chemistry at 5, doing a single unit in a grade level science program wasn't going to cut it. Homeschooling curricula that is designed for a range of grades made it much easier to access higher level material and depth. We do a lot of STEM, foreign language and history around here. So, I am often running multiple programs in each subject area as you can see in my siggy. Math is something that we did grade level but with a lot of extra resources. Athena's Academy was really great offering middle school and high school level material with less require output. We will be adding in Online G3 courses as well. I teach classes that I offer at my homeschool co-op and lead a math circle to help meet my son's needs. 

+1 on the advice above to teach the child you have. 

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On 6/12/2018 at 1:36 PM, Middleton07 said:

Thank you all so very much for your advice.  My plan is to continue to teach him the way that we have - moving at his pace.  It has been great.  Although he started with 3rd grade level books, we moved on to 4th grade level when he was ready this year.  I thoroughly believe that homeschooling is the best option for him.  My real question, I guess, is if anyone has used any programs like Duke TIP, Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, or another such program that really helped them in giving their gifted little ones some extra fun challenges with kids similar to them.  I think programs like this may be a helpful supplement to homeschooling for a lot of reasons.  Does anyone have any experience with a particular program?  Any that you would recommend?  Thank you, everyone!!  

My three kids (2 are now in college) took classes with CTY online.  

One of my kids was really into science and attended the CTY summer camp for three years.  The science classes use college level text books and the kids spend every afternoon in the lab. He had a blast and learned a ton. 

  

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