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5/20/2010 9:50:55 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru the Early Years Newsletter--May 2010

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HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru the Early Years Newsletter
May 2010--Finding the Gift in Your Child
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When we were first considering home education, I was unsure about my
own ability to meet my children's needs. Not only did we have a
daughter born with cerebral palsy, but I had two children classified
as "gifted and talented" by the local public school. Speech therapy
and occupational therapy in a home environment weren't nearly as
frightening to me as the thought of challenging my "GT" kids! I was so
afraid that I could not offer a motivating, stimulating environment
equivalent to that of the local school program. And I was right....

Instead of producing an equivalent program (i.e., limiting our own
"gifted and talented" situation to one or two half-days a week), we
were able to tailor our entire program to the accelerated learning and
creative development of our children! Instead of having to wait for
the rest of the class to catch up in math, they could move ahead at
their own speed. Instead of halting their fascination with the topic
at hand because the bus was coming, our children could delve into
their latest passion for hours or days or weeks at a time. And one
child's passion was usually contagious, infecting her siblings with at
least a functional interest in the topic, as they worked together to
learn, create, read, experiment, explore, and discover.

Along the way, I made a discovery of my own--all children are gifted.
Not only did our school-labeled "gifted" children flourish, but our
"challenged" child could grow beyond the limitations the world had
wanted to impose. This child who would supposedly never speak not only
learned to talk, but she sang, performed in radio "plays" with her
sisters, and memorized Scripture and completed service projects--to be
crowned one of the youngest Missionettes Honor Stars in our district.
This child who would "never walk" became one of the most entertaining
players on her varsity softball team, with other parents attending
practices just to watch her ball-catching "ta-daaa!" gymnastics in the
outfield.

Academic giftedness is not the only measure of intelligence--it's just
the most easily discernible in a typical scholastic setting. According
to theorists such as Howard Gardner, there are many different types of
intelligence http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8327 , including:

> Visual-spatial (Thinks in pictures/images; enjoy mazes, puzzles,
construction)
> Verbal-linguistic (Writer, reader, storyteller, word puzzler)
> Logical-mathematical (Fascinated by pattern, strategy, math, logical
relationships)
> Bodily-kinesthetic (Natural talent in athletics, dance, practical
arts such as crafts or woodworking)
> Musical-rhythmic (Has a discriminating ear for pitch or rhythm;
often sings to himself or drums on everything in sight)
> Interpersonal (Leader, communicator, motivator)
> Intrapersonal (Self-motivated to an unusual degree; often shy or
introverted, but very aware of his own emotions and thoughts)

As parents, whether or not we agree with the psychology behind such
theories, we recognize that some of our children may exhibit great
talent in some of these areas, while other children excel in other
areas. In addition to teaching our children the basic skills and
content areas, we can encourage our children to delve more deeply and
excel in their own areas of interest or talent.
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8328

Maybe you don't have any doubt about your child's giftedness; you just
aren't sure what to do with him!
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8328 If your child is capable of
working ahead of his age-mates, think in terms of his ability rather
than his grade level, and let him move to the next stage of his
learning.

However, in many cases, it may be less obvious to you that your child
has potential far above that considered average for his age; many
children who display ADD-like or highly distractible tendencies are
actually gifted learners. Do you have a child you were sure was gifted
until her performance started lagging behind her potential? She could
be "twice exceptional," or what Dianne Craft terms "gifted with a
glitch." http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8329

Dianne writes:

"Maybe your child exhibits symptoms of dysgraphia, such as being
'allergic' to a pencil and moaning and groaning when any writing is
required. This is the most common learning glitch for kids who are
gifted learners. Because of the combination of giftedness and this
writing glitch (which it looks like they could surely overcome, since
they are so bright), these children are often labeled as 'lazy,
sloppy, or unmotivated,' when in reality they have a bona fide
learning glitch that can easily be overcome at home using specific
methods."

Meanwhile, keep in mind that this child's emotional or social maturity
is likely not at the same advanced level as his cognitive maturity, so
it is important to have realistic expectations. The precocious
5-year-old may have the vocabulary and reasoning abilities of a much
older child, but she will often behave like, well, a 5-year-old.

In a recent column for The Old Schoolhouse magazine's e-newsletter,
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8330 cartoonist, speaker, and
homeschool dad Todd Wilson of Familyman Ministries
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8331 shared this perspective:

--------------------

I don't mean to brag, but . . . I am the proud parent of extremely
gifted children. I mean one of my kids is great with children, one can
pick up bugs and snakes without flinching, one smiles almost
constantly, and yet another one can burp his ABCs. That's the cool
thing about children; they're ALL gifted. After all, that's how God
delivers them . . . as gifts, endowing each child with a specific gift
designed to build up the body of Christ.

Now I don't buy for one moment the notion that only the ones who are
good at math, science, or some other academic discipline are the
gifted ones. Yes, they are gifted, but no more so than the child who
can draw, cook, work on cars, build, or is just plain kind. I get a
little tired of the parents who humbly say, "Oh, it's nothing I've
done . . . but I just praise God that my child is in the 99.9th
percentile in academics." Oh, give me a break. Have we been duped by
the world for so long that we measure our children in percentiles?

How I long to hear from the parent, "I just praise God because my
child is in the 4th percentile."

Truth is, 99.9% and 4% are both gifts from God, and both should elicit
praise to HIM.

So, I know you don't mean to brag . . . but all your children are
gifted, too. Your job is to tailor their education to best fan those
gifts. http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8328

That's what homeschooling is all about. And the greatest resource for
training a gifted child is . . . the home.

--------------------

Thanks, Todd, for the reminder to appreciate and nurture the gifts in
all of our children!


Blessings,
Vicki

Vicki Bentley
HSLDA Early Years coordinator


RESOURCES

"Stir up the gift of God which is in you...." (2 Timothy 1:6, NKJV)


Gifted learners

Gifted Learners resources listing
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8328
Articles, links, books, and e-groups for parents of children who are
intellectually and/or otherwise-gifted (HSLDA Early Years webpages)

"Gifted Learners and Twice-Exceptional Resources" (HSLDA Struggling
Learners/Special Needs webpages)
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8343

Gifted Learners e-newsletter, April 2010, from The Old Schoolhouse
Magazine
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8333 Not only does this include
helpful information on teaching accelerated learners, but it
encourages us to recognize and capitalize on areas of strength in all
of our children.

"Homeschooling Gifted Children" (extensive resource list from Hoagies'
Gifted Page)
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8334

"Gifted with a Glitch" by Dianne Craft, HSLDA coordinator
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8335

"Guiding the Gifted Child" by Maggie Hogan
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8336

So You Think Your Child May Be Gifted by Helene Barker Kiser
(e-booklet) http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8337

Gifted Children at Home by Maggie Hogan, Kathleen Julicher, and Janice
Baker
Three moms of gifted students share what they've learned about the
best resources and opportunities and options for educating an
intellectually gifted child.
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8338

"How Do I Homeschool My Gifted Child?" by Tiffany Tan (Methods,
Materials, and Mentors) http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8339

"Teaching Highly Distractible Kids" by Carol Barnier of OpenGifts.org
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8340

"The Animal School" by Dr. George Reavis
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8341

A few scripture verses on talents and abilities
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8342
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More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1104

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