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medawyn

Why are people so worried about running out of things to learn?

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I hear this about my own kid (who is 6, not that advanced, and seriously not in any danger of outstripping even my personal body of knowledge any time soon) and reflected in others' conversations about gifted or advanced kids.  It's as if there is a finite amount of learning in the world and what on earth will advanced children do if they max that out before they graduate high school?  Does anyone else run into this attitude/concern?

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I have concerns that may sound like that if someone doesn't know where I'm coming from.
-I worry about running out of age appropriate literature written with a higher vocabulary but not adult-ish themes.
-I worried about running out of math that could work with his age-appropriate handwriting skills.  (I found a solution, though, and then a few more)
-I worried about running out of ways to teach him /expose him to the above before he was ready for a classroom.

I'm not worried about content subjects in the least.  Or languages or music or anything else.  But sometimes a small person can create problems that seem big.  I was lucky as a kid.  I had a school that quickly realized that some of us needed something vastly different.  Even so, there were interesting scenarios they didn't foresee and there was some scrambling to get a plan - which is how a teacher ended up leading a class in Trig every day when I was in 7th instead of whatever we were supposed to be doing.  He literally ran out of things to teach us within his realm and went and borrowed books.

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I have had it said about my child, I have also heard it when I say that I am not in a hurry to graduate my child early and send him off to college in his early teens. In this day and age, the amount of resources available is mind boggling (I have heard of children of 2 people who have finished the entire MIT Open Courseware for certain subjects) and there are such a wide number of online course offerings, private tutors, tutoring through Skype, dual enrollment etc. If you throw in a couple of serious pursuits such as mastering a musical instrument, performing music at a high level, preparing for a competition like Spelling Bee/AMC/Latin exams, playing a sport at a high level with daily commitment etc, there is hardly any time to worry about running out of things to learn! 

ETA: if someone is not using all the opportunities of today's world and just thinking about a set of textbooks to learn from, then, there is a limit to how much learning can happen.

Edited by mathnerd
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lol - no, never ran in to that. (But then, I didn't have gifted/accelerated DC 😉 )

Although, slightly related, I did once have then-elementary-aged DS very earnestly assure me that his well-crafted 3 sentence paragraph contained the sum-total of information about World War 2, so no he didn't need to revise it -- what else was there to say? -- lol, nice try, DS. 😂

Actually, OP, that sounds like either the person saying it was either fearful that that their own kids were not doing enough in comparison, or they were smacking you with backhand jealously, along the lines of: "Oh, your DC is so smart and learning so much? Well if your DC keeps up at this rate, your DC will run out of things to learn. So there!" If either of those motivations are behind that type of comment, then it is just sad.

Edited by Lori D.
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I have never heard that said.

I think for extremely gifted kids, it’s not so much the availability of resources, but environment as well. I mean some kids need to be at MIT at 14 as opposed to their courseware site.  I am glad I have the latter though. :) it can’t be easy parenting PG kids. 

 

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I have heard it said (even by a family member who also homeschools).  In some cases it can be due to simple linear thinking where high school consists of a very rigid list of academic courses to check off.  When those are done, what else is a student to do if they don't go to college?  In other cases it can be due to parents speaking in terms of their own abilities and the child outpacing them and their skills.

Is it a valid concern?  For those who think that way, it is.  My family member sent her dd to college at 15 (and it was definitely a huge mistake for this young lady.  She has lots of issues as an adult.) 

If you don't, there are no boundaries and kids can study whatever they want.  (This is where we dwell.)

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I've heard people say that I "ruined my kids for school" by teaching them too much.  By that they mean, that I decide to put them in brick and mortar school some time that they would no longer fit.  Since neither of my kids would have fit to begin with, not a problem.  😉 

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4 hours ago, medawyn said:

  It's as if there is a finite amount of learning in the world and what on earth will advanced children do if they max that out before they graduate high school?  

 

DS14 didn’t want to go to early college and did not feel ready to start dual enrollment as a 9th grade. We can’t afford mentors and we couldn’t find free mentors since DS14 isn’t the kind of kid that advocates for himself (as in put himself out there like some kids are able to). So we end up paying for outsourced classes which is just slightly cheaper than college classes because kids want the brick and mortar classroom experience and thrive on it.

My kids’ public school teachers did ask if we intend to consider early college when my kids were in lower elementary but they were all well meaning. 

My husband max out when our kids reached AoPS calculus and he has a PhD in engineering. My dad maxed out at precalculus and roped in my cousins to help. My mom is laissez faire about academics and thought me more about running family businesses.

ETA:

I was easily bored and still am. I was up to lots of mischief in school and college, didn’t have good grades because I was too bored in engineering school, and my extracurricular activities were what help me land my first job after college. 

I definitely contributed to my parents’, aunts’ and uncles’ hair turning gray early. I didn’t break any laws though I did play truant.

Edited by Arcadia

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9 hours ago, HomeAgain said:


-I worry about running out of age appropriate literature written with a higher vocabulary but not adult-ish themes.
 

Oh this!  My daughter is 10 and I need a wholesome book list.  I have a hard time searching for books for her.  She has read so many of the well known classic and I don't have time to proofread all her books.

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10 hours ago, HomeAgain said:

I worry about running out of age appropriate literature written with a higher vocabulary but not adult-ish themes.

 

1 hour ago, parent said:

Oh this!  My daughter is 10 and I need a wholesome book list.  I have a hard time searching for books for her.  

 

Encycopaedia Britannica at the library was what I ended up reading in 1st grade (6 years old, 1979) when I ran out of reading materials and I have read the latest issues of the magazines (e.g. Scientific America, New Scientist, Harvard Business Review) as well. 

My catholic nun teacher told me to read Crime and Punishment unabridged in 2nd grade because I talk too much in class.

Edited by Arcadia
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14 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

 

 

Encycopaedia Britannica at the library was what I ended up reading in 1st grade (6 years old, 1979) when I ran out of reading materials and I have read the latest issues of the magazines (e.g. Scientific America, New Scientist, Harvard Business Review) as well. 

My catholic nun teacher told me to read Crime and Punishment unabridged in 2nd grade because I talk too much in class.

Well. I do keep the library basket stocked with non fiction,  which she enjoys but she loves stories as well.

Dostoevsky... ugh..  I found that disturbing and depressing when I read it in high school or college.  I would never give that to my daughter.   So she just finished Peter Pan and loved it.  Heartwarming classic literature is more what I want without adult themes or overly romantic.  Today, at the library, I did find a few things from our SOTW lit list.  Unfortunately,  the Don Quixote has some very gory illustrations that my 7 year old found right away.  That may turn into a read aloud. 

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I have a child who walked into the local college at age 11 and applied. She hadn’t run out of things to learn, but she had run out of people to talk about what she was learning with other than parents, and online wasn’t doing it. She has been using that college, plus online classes, as basically a salad bar, giving her people to learn with and supplementing with other content at higher/different levels. She is now starting to run out of classes interesting to her at the local 2 year school, so the plan is that she will use the state DE grant at a not too far away4 year next year, and go on to university at 16. Because she will need the greater community to talk about topics with.  

And she is by no means the most extreme kid I know of. Not every kid is happy learning mostly by themselves as an adolescent. 

Edited by dmmetler
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The variation I hear on this is something along the lines of “woah, she’s going to need to go to college when she is 12!” when some people learn anything about how accelerated DD is. 

I find it comes from people with a very “traditional school” mindset. For them, if a kid did algebra at 8 or takes physics at 9, they count up how many years of school they had after that benchmark and assume that’s all the years of schooling left for her, and then she’ll go to college. They don’t think of the possibility of moving sideways into topics not normally studied in school, and a rare few don’t see it as completely valid when I point it out. They don’t understand why someone might study at a college level at home, without expecting (or even wanting) to earn college credit for those studies. Some think she’ll then learn too much, and college will somehow be ruined for her.

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I think that most people don't know what they don't know or how they might remediate their weaknesses, and so they can't imagine how one might deal with teaching a kid who goes beyond that.

Edited by EKS

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My profoundly gifted kid who had already skipped a few grades in public school wasn't allowed to move ahead of grade level in math because he'd "run out of math". Yes, they actually told me that. Twenty years later he's still studying higher math, so I guess he didn't run out. If they were worried about him running out of math offered at the local high school, there's a large university about a mile away and they have math classes too. 🙄

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I don't think I've ever said that but I sometimes feel like that even though I know it's not true. DS learns and masters new concepts, especially in math, so quickly but then sometimes isn't ready for the next conceptual leap for a few months. Even going sideways it's all gobbled up and it feels like a lot of the time he's sitting in this space between way too easy material (and therefore uninteresting) and not quite ready yet material (or perhaps just intimidating at first).

But he's very young. Older kids have a lot more variety of resources they can explore. Maybe parents just get tired and are unwilling to find and buy more, more, more. I know I do for long periods of time.

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2 hours ago, Sarah0000 said:

...Even going sideways it's all gobbled up and it feels like a lot of the time he's sitting in this space between way too easy material (and therefore uninteresting) and not quite ready yet material (or perhaps just intimidating at first)...


What grade-range is he? We might be able to come up with a stack of resources to help you go wide and avoid thumb-twiddling. 😉

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57 minutes ago, Lori D. said:


What grade-range is he? We might be able to come up with a stack of resources to help you go wide and avoid thumb-twiddling. 😉

He's 7yo and is working on any level, grades 2-5 of BA Online. Honestly I just let him do whatever he wants on there anymore and review the weekly status report. He gets about 20-30 stars a week working about twenty minutes a day, 3-5 days a week. So I figure he's keeping his math skills up at least.

He's gone through LoF through Jelly Beans and just recently picked up Penrose again. I have Lives of the Mathematicians but haven't made it a priority yet. Something he will do independently and is fun and engaging long term would be great.

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I think it's more not being able to keep up with the pace the child can learn at.   It's not that you're going to run out of knowlege or things to teach...but say the child really developed a love of a certain subject...it's worrying that their ability to understand that subject will quickly outpace yours and you won't be able to help them grow from there. 

Also, with friends I have with gifted children, it's the ability to make the higher level stuff age appropriate.    Like, my friend has a daughter who can do 7th grade math at age 6, and understand science concepts that are way past her age.   Doesn't mean she's not a 6 year old in other ways.  Doesn't mean my friend can just hand her a 7th grade math or science book and let her have at it.   She can do the 7th grade work but doesn't find it interesting unless it's presented in a fun way, like a game (does that make sense?).    Now, she's good at tweaking the 7th grade stuff but it takes time and she's struggling to give her child as much as her child would be happy to do.  And she's looking ahead to when her child will be doing stuff that maybe is passed what she herself understands how to do, and thinking of how slow the process will be if she still has to tweak things but she has to learn those things first to properly tweak them since she's not at quick as grasping things as her child is. 

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On 8/30/2019 at 9:11 AM, goldenecho said:

I think it's more not being able to keep up with the pace the child can learn at.   It's not that you're going to run out of knowlege or things to teach...but say the child really developed a love of a certain subject...it's worrying that their ability to understand that subject will quickly outpace yours and you won't be able to help them grow from there. 

Also, with friends I have with gifted children, it's the ability to make the higher level stuff age appropriate.    Like, my friend has a daughter who can do 7th grade math at age 6, and understand science concepts that are way past her age.   Doesn't mean she's not a 6 year old in other ways.  Doesn't mean my friend can just hand her a 7th grade math or science book and let her have at it.   She can do the 7th grade work but doesn't find it interesting unless it's presented in a fun way, like a game (does that make sense?).    Now, she's good at tweaking the 7th grade stuff but it takes time and she's struggling to give her child as much as her child would be happy to do.  And she's looking ahead to when her child will be doing stuff that maybe is passed what she herself understands how to do, and thinking of how slow the process will be if she still has to tweak things but she has to learn those things first to properly tweak them since she's not at quick as grasping things as her child is. 

I can’t imagine why anyone would use a 7th grade science textbook with a child like this. There are so many real science books and documentaries out there not to mention everything available on the internet and all of the hands on resources available. The parents don’t need to have all the answers and understand all the science and then present it to the child, they can explore and learn together. And if they really get focused in on one area of interest, then that’s the time to look for mentors. Most children that advanced will avidly pursue their own interests once they can read well and there’s really not a need for the parents to keep up with knowledge, they just need to keep looking for good resources. My son surpassed my knowledge of physics and chemistry by age five and it really wasn’t an issue. 

It seems like something like BA online followed by AoPS classes could take care of the math instruction at least for awhile. There are also lots of resources available for math games, puzzles, etc. that can be a fun addition to any program.

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On 8/28/2019 at 7:49 PM, Jackie said:

The variation I hear on this is something along the lines of “woah, she’s going to need to go to college when she is 12!” when some people learn anything about how accelerated DD is. 

For a profoundly gifted child, parents may not be able to provide a college level education at home and may need to outsource. My DD started selected college courses at age 13. I was, for example, not capable of providing the necessary level of foreign language instruction, and attending the classes at the university was the only way she could progress with her French (and yes, I did the learn-alongside-the-kid, but stalled after 3 years. At some level, you need a native speaker or fluent teacher, just fumbling mom isn't going to cut it). For other people, it may be an inability to provide advanced math instruction. So yes, even with parents who are happy to think out of the box, outsourcing may be the only viable option, especially if the child is craving the live interaction with fellow learners and a teacher who is a subject expert. 

Edited by regentrude
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