I have found an interesting irony as we have discovered that our son is gifted. There is now this ‘push’ to have him tested to see exactly how ‘gifted’ he is. Yet if we were to find out and quantify his giftedness, there are very few resources for home schooling gifted kids. I still need better resources because we’re still home schooling him, but we have decided not to have him tested.
Reason #1: Socialization
I will admit that the only reason I put this as reason #1 was because it’s the first thing people ask us when they find out we home school. It’s not really reason #1 in terms of priorities. However, gifted kids notably tend to have social problems. They frequently have trouble with peers because while they may be age 6 in physical size, they are mentally much older. Often times it’s hard for them to find friends because of lack of common interests. Gifted kids tend to be interested. . .in their gifts. For example, my son is into engineering things and physical sciences.
Alex however does not have social problems when he’s with peers. I attribute this to the home schooling. First of all he is not ostracized, pulled out, or notably different to his peers. . .he doesn’t even realize he’s gifted and neither do his classmates. To everyone around he’s just Alex who likes to explore trajectory. . .you know, normal five year old stuff. Second, home schooling involves a much more community oriented atmosphere. He plays chess with the guys at the park now (or he will when it’s warm), and he has older kids to play with as well. He has younger kids to cater too and he has peers. Third, his home schooled peers enjoy learning. I realize that might not be true for everyone, but I think in general, home schooled kids like learning better. They find enjoyment in science experiments, looking through microscopes etc. So when he has a friend over and he wants to look at a microscope, they all stand around going, “Oh cool” instead of “You’re a bore”.
Reason #2: What exactly is gifted anyways?
In my first blog about realizing that my son was gifted, I wrote about how it was difficult for us as parents to admit it because we then had to admit that we wouldn’t be able to teach him. . .we will eventually have to seek outside sources to help us.
However, another reason that it has been a hard journey to this realization is that Alex has siblings who are also bright. My 3 year old understands fluent Spanish and my 7 year old reads well above her grade level. They are definitely not gifted, but they are well educated, and they’ve been surrounded with the right opportunities.
What we want our son to understand about his unique abilities (when he is at the age to realize that his abilities are in fact unique) is that they are God given. We believe that he was made this way for a specific purpose and it is NOT to show off how smart he is. We try very hard to teach our kids that knowledge without compassion for other human beings is wasted. Identifying how gifted he really is does not serve this purpose.
There are more reasons we are not testing our gifted son–but you’ll have to come back tomorrow to read them!
You can also click here for a story about Alex from this summer.