Friday, August 29, 2008

Is Your Child Gifted?

Parenting Magazine is running a cover article this month called Is Your Child Gifted? Author Paula Spencer dispels the myth that all kids are gifted and even that all kids who walk and talk early are gifted.

""Gifted" has become one of the most tossed-about words in the parenting lexicon. Unfortunately -- sorry, but let's get this out of the way right up front -- it's also one of the most misused. The vast majority of children are not gifted. Only 2 to 5 percent of kids fit the bill, by various estimates. Of those, only one in 100 is considered highly gifted. Prodigies (those wunderkinds who read at 2 and go to college at 10) are rarer still -- like one to two in a million. And despite the boom in infant-stimulation techniques, educational DVDs, learning toys, and enrichment classes, those numbers haven't been increasing. You can't build giftedness; it's mostly built in. ..."

Their Ask Dr. Sears column also touches on gifted toddlers. Although he begins by writing "all kids are gifted," he writes: "...Homeschooling a preschooler can actually be better for a gifted child for a few reasons: First, you know your child. You are the perfect student-teacher match. You know what holds her attention and what doesn't. Second, for toddlers and preschoolers, learning is mood-dependent. There are times they need to rest, and times they need to be stimulated. At home, you can follow your child's natural rhythms instead of requiring her to stick to a pre-set schedule.

In her excellent book, Top of the Class, author Arline Bronzaft discusses research on academic high achievers (AHAs), gifted children who went on to achieve academic success. The number one key to nurturing an AHA is to instill a love of learning early on, and you can do that better at home. Since you can easily match your teaching skills with your child's learning skills, you are more likely to instill a love of learning in her, and you're more likely to focus on the journey rather than the outcome. Homeschooling moms are also apt to place more emphasis on creativity and enjoying learning than on a grade. ..."

They're great articles. I highly recommend you check them out, print them out, pass them out, etc. etc. ;-)

1 comment:

Alison said...

I'm definitely in homeschooling for the journey. It must be hard for teachers to focus on the journey, no matter what their personal philosophy, with all the current demands for testing, the demands of parents, and the trend of fitting kids into boxes.

What use is a label such is gifted except as a way to enrich our lives by better understanding needs and helping others? I believe we all have a place in this world, no matter whether we are gifted or not. Hopefully every child is special to their parent, regardless.