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1/14/2010 3:08:45 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner Newsletter

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HSLDA's Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner Newsletter
January 2010--Gifted with a Glitch
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By Dianne Craft, MA, CNHP
HSLDA Special Needs Coordinator

What a privilege it is to homeschool our children. We get to know
them so well, can plant God's Word into their hearts, and help them
find their God-given gifts. All of our children have unique gifts
that God has imparted to them to be a blessing to others.

For the purposes of our discussion today, let's look at giftedness
from the purely academic viewpoint. One of the most puzzling
scenarios we see in educating our children is the child who is
academically gifted but performing so far below that standard. The
temptation is to see the child as having a "character" problem. We
reluctantly come to the conclusion that the child is "lazy, sloppy or
unmotivated." We use many different strategies to help that child
perform better. However, today I want you to consider another
possibility. This could be a child who is gifted but still has a
learning glitch. Commonly, the child who is "gifted with a glitch" is
the most misunderstood of our children. Let's see if we can unravel
this mystery child a bit.

Characteristics of Academic Giftedness

The general consensus is that an average IQ is 90-109. One can
accomplish much with an average IQ. In general schooling settings, a
child is considered for entry into "gifted" classes if his IQ measures
at 120 or above. However, we home educators often do not have to have
our child tested in order to know that he is academically gifted. We
can see it in so many ways. Dr. Linda Silverman, author of "Upside
Down Brilliance," and founder of the Gifted Development Center in
Colorado (http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7466), agrees with this.

She states that parents are excellent identifiers of giftedness in
their children. She has found that 85% of the children whose parents
say they fit three-fourths of the following characteristics score at
least 120 (superior range) in an IQ test:

1. Reasons well (a good thinker)
2. Extensive spoken vocabulary
3. Has strong curiosity
4. Has a great sense of humor
5. Is a keen observer
6. Has a wide range of interests
7. Avid reader (if a reading glitch is not present)
8. Concerned with justice and fairness
9. Tends to question authority
10. Often prefers older companions or adults

You may have recognized these characteristics in your own child but
are puzzled because his performance does not match his IQ. Is this a
manifestation of a character issue or a learning glitch?

Twice Exceptional

After I had finished homeschooling my son, I went back to teaching. I
taught children who were identified as "twice exceptional." I thought
of them as "gifted with a glitch," because they were identified as
gifted, which was one exception, while experiencing another
exception--their below-average performance in schoolwork. I learned
so much working with these wonderful teenagers. I helped them
overcome their learning glitches, so that they were free to do the
things that God called them to do.

Most Common Glitch

The most common learning glitch that these children displayed was
dysgraphia. (See HSLDA's Struggling Learner email newsletter for
September 2008 http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7467 for a complete
description of children with dysgraphia, and home corrections.) These
teenagers had great ability to tell a story orally, but when they put
the "offending utensil" in their hand, their minds shut down. I had
them in my language arts class because they were turning in so little
written work. (Math teachers also reported that they refused to "show
their work" or they made "careless" math errors because they didn't
line up their numbers correctly, which is another subtle sign of this
visual/spatial disorder.) Because spelling is usually taught by
writing words multiple times, or by filling in worksheets (with the
offending utensil--the pencil), these young people had not memorized
many common spelling words, such as "was" (wus), "sure" (shur) or
"what" (wat). They continued to misspell the days of the week and
months of the year, even after we had studied them many times. This
made their writing appear very primitive.

When it came to spelling errors, my first goal was to determine
whether these children really had not memorized the necessary words.
It could be they actually knew how to spell the words correctly but
wrote them down wrong because of the writing glitch. When a child
misspelled a common word, I asked him to spell it orally while I wrote
it down for him to see. If he spelled it orally correctly, then I
determined that the writing glitch was the biggest cause of this
child's spelling errors in writing. In that case I employed the
crossing the midline exercise described in the September '08
newsletter.

If the child spelled the word incorrectly even when I wrote it in
front of him, then I realized that the method which had thus far been
used to teach this child spelling was not the correct one. Thus, I
chose two methods that bypassed this problem:

1. Right brain spelling, utilizing the child's strong photographic
memory for storing non-phonetic spelling words (see Struggling
Learner email newsletter, December 2009
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7468) and;

2. Sequential Spelling to learn words with a phonetic pattern to them
(http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7469).

To teach paragraph writing skills I used a very basic step by step
program I called "right brain writing," (I sometimes called this
"writing without curriculum," because it is the parent/teacher working
with the child, showing him how to think through all the steps of
paragraphing). This method allows the child to see the end from the
beginning and follow an easy path to success. Another, more
sophisticated writing method that is also good for struggling writers,
is the one developed by the Institute for Excellence in Writing
(http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7470).

It is such a relief for a child to have his glitch identified and,
based on that information, to utilize new methods in teaching him. He
will be grateful. God says in His Word that He will give us insight
and understanding in everything, as we pray. We can thank Him for
that every day, as we homeschool our children!

Resources

"Home Schooling the Gifted Child"
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7471

Gifted Development Center: Homeschooling Information
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7472

Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner Newsletters
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7473
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-> Remember the last time you wrote a term paper?

Research can be grueling-digging through archives, wading through
articles, conducting interviews. But if it's related to
homeschooling, you can relax a little. There's a good chance that
you'll find what you're looking for in HSLDA's bimonthly
Home School Court Report. Providing in-depth, insightful articles
on much of what affects the world of homeschoolers, the
Court Report is a must-read for the serious homeschooler. This
publication is provided free to each HSLDA member.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1933

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