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gifted education

how does one go about educating an academically advanced (but socially behind) child?  I'm just starting to do research on the topic... I have about a year to figure this out before I have to start applying to kindergartens for little purple...
Permalink the great purple 
September 5th, 2012 10:23am
"Socially behind" at age 4?  Hint -- everyone is "socially behind" at age 4.  I don't know what metrics you're trying to apply, or how you're applying them, but I find your conclusion very dubious.

The way children learn social skills is by attending school.  You could conclude your child was "socially behind" by 4th grade or so -- 2nd grade might be enough.  Starting "corrective actions" at age 4 is way too soon.

One thought: we too thought our 4-year-old was "Socially Behind", so we put him in kindergarten as soon as we could.  This was a mistake -- he's now almost 1 year younger than all his school peers -- and for the "Socially behind", always being younger than everyone else does NOT help with "social development".
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
September 5th, 2012 10:30am
If it's a boy, don't worry about it too much.  Boys are socially behind girls.

If it's a girl, well, c'mon, she's four.  How behind /is/ she?

The best thing you can do for them, honestly, is give them lots and lots of personal attention where you set good boundaries.  Don't get up lots and lots of play dates - it will be hard for them to learn at that age by interacting with peers. 

Have the child interact with people who know how to act; play with him yourself.  Take him to the park.

Consider homeschool.  Does the child spend a lot of time with proxy parents - at baby-sitters or day care?  Stop doing that.
Permalink hoyza 
September 5th, 2012 10:45am
Don't overthink it Purple. It's not like there's reliable research on the topic. Fads seem to change every 10 years or so.

Put him in at 5 and play it by ear.

I bet that that's what your husband's saying.
Permalink Shylock 
September 5th, 2012 10:46am
Above was my serious, not CoT answer, by the way.  I'm trying to help.  It may come off a little harsh, but I have friends who cart the kids off to daycare for 16 hours a day, kid sleeps seven, then they wonder why the kid lacks social skillz.
Permalink hoyza 
September 5th, 2012 10:46am
Kids teach each other social skills on a constant basis.  I'd have them just spend a ton of time with various other kids.
Permalink Kenny 
September 5th, 2012 11:06am
Not at 4 they can't.  Time with other kids is good; I'm just saying, don't ignore your kids and talk to parents while the two sets of kids play in the yard. 

A little of that will help; a lot of it is still ignoring the kids.

Parents can be great /models/ of social skills by /hanging out/ with the kids.
Permalink hoyza 
September 5th, 2012 11:45am
Im an expert on this topic, having had 2 sets of twins.

It turns out the absolutely best answer for raising a kid is almost always "dont sweat it".

Your kid will reach her potential best if you let her find it herself.

We got ourselves worried about stuff when Thing 1 and Thing 2 were younger, but actually everything just kind of works out.

The girls are at different stages in different areas, everyone is different and the worst possible thing you can do is start obsessing over whether they are the same or better in some particular area compared with whatever selection of children.

Its *really* tempting to worry about stuff, particuarly with your first child (hence "oldest child syndrome").

But seriously, if she is smart, it will all work out.  if she is socially adept, it will all work out.  If she is neither it will all work out.

Dont give her a complex by worrying about stuff. 

If you are good, relaxed parents then whoever she is will shine forth and she will be able to feel good about being that person.
Permalink worldsSmallestViolin 
September 5th, 2012 3:07pm
But Purple is a woman. And women obsess over these things (g,d,r)
Permalink Shylock 
September 5th, 2012 3:17pm
ok, let me be more specific.
- I would like him to be in a classroom with other academically advanced and possibly socially behind people. How do I go about finding such a classroom?  What do you look for in gifted schools?  Or do you just put your fluent reader in a classroom with people who barely know their letters and hope that it goes well?

- You are right that there is a wide range of normal but I do see how he is in the classroom - all the kids play together and he goes and plays by himself.  That is fine for now, he is happy, but he is not developing skills for the inevitable time when he wants to play with others.  I am not worried, but am keeping an eye on it in case it becomes a problem in the future.
Permalink the great purple 
September 5th, 2012 3:25pm
"Consider homeschool.  Does the child spend a lot of time with proxy parents - at baby-sitters or day care?  Stop doing that."

He's currently in a Montessori preschool.  The quality of education that he is getting far outstrips my ability to teach him right now.  It is kindergarten that I am not sure about; I want to find a place that is as fantastic as our current school but am not sure how to go about looking.
Permalink the great purple 
September 5th, 2012 3:27pm
Um, "Google is your friend"?  Maybe?

My sister is a Montessori teacher, and from what I understand about that method, it supports self-determination and excellent habits of self-discipline and neatness.

Most Montessori schools support education through 6th grade, though.  Is there some reason you don't want to continue there?  At least through kindergarten, perhaps first grade?

In some parts of the country, the public schools are excellent.  In others, not so much -- but if you want to get into a really good private school for kindergarten, you'll have to be applying pretty soon.  Frankly, I wouldn't worry about private school until first grade.  But that's me.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
September 5th, 2012 3:34pm
"Or do you just put your fluent reader in a classroom with people who barely know their letters and hope that it goes well?"

Yes.
Permalink Shylock 
September 5th, 2012 3:39pm
>> Or do you just put your fluent reader in a classroom with people who barely know their letters and hope that it goes well?

He'll be fine, it happened to me. Eventually he retards to their level :D
Permalink Io 
September 5th, 2012 4:04pm
the school he is at stops after preK, so I can't continue him there after that.  the local public schools are beyond awful.  there are some charter schools, moving is an option (but I have no idea what to look for in public schools...), and private school is the other option. Homeschool is an option as well but maybe only for the lower grades.  Mr. purple would be the one in charge in that case.
Permalink the great purple 
September 5th, 2012 4:11pm
To find good public schools, look to live with secular rich people.

My wife teaches in a NYC ghetto school. At the end of the day, it all comes down to the woman in the room. You'll have a better chance of finding a better teacher in the rich areas, because they pay better, but it's not certain either way.

Sandra Tsing Loh had a good piece in the Atlantic magazine about her experiences with her kids in the LA public school system. They turned out to be not as bad as she thought they would be.
Permalink Shylock 
September 5th, 2012 4:20pm
Rita Rudner has this topic covered pretty well.

From my memory, I'll try to give you one of her stories:

I've been thinking about having a child. I was talking to my friend about this. I said that I was worried that I would try my best to be a good parent. Then, in spite of all of my efforts, what if my child grows up and resents and hates me?

My friend reassured me, "Oh, don't worry, Rita.  There is no 'if' they resent and hate you."
Permalink Fan boy 
September 5th, 2012 11:57pm
"You are right that there is a wide range of normal but I do see how he is in the classroom - all the kids play together and he goes and plays by himself.  That is fine for now, he is happy, but he is not developing skills for the inevitable time when he wants to play with others."

Well, that could have been me, perhaps. From the earliest age I have been comfortable with my own company and have had no compulsion to mix with other people. This is a concept that may be hard for a female of the species to grasp, but it is by no means odd for males. Remember your child is a different sex from you and therefore his brain is wired differently. One thing you must not do with children is try to make them like you--they have to find their own way in the world. You must support them and love them, but allow them to make their own choices. If your son chooses not to play with others but rather prefers his own company, let him be. He has made a choice, and therefore he is (presumably) happy. Only if he acts sad and alienated should you consider assisting.

Seriously. Everyone is different. Don't stress it.
Permalink Q 
September 6th, 2012 12:36am
Anyone looking for an accelerated school for their 4 year old is an egotist. It doesn't matter if he's a reader. He will need to catch up on the social skills you mention and putting him in with other introverted "geniuses" isn't going to deliver that. He's not a genius, he's got strengths and weaknesses just like every other 4 year old.

My oldest never went to preschool, was turned down by every magnet school (issue of space, not qualifications), and is now in AP EVERYTHING in her public high school, a prolific writer, cartoonist, and has a bright future ahead of her in nearly any field, almost certainly headed for a full ride scholarship SOMEWHERE.

You're way obsessing about this. Unless your kid is playing Mozart flawlessly on the piano or reciting prime numbers to a million, he's not a savant. Calm down.
Permalink muppet 
September 6th, 2012 10:01am
Also, if you're so worried about this, why are you living in an area with terrible schools? From your posts you certainly seem reasonably affluent and mobile.
Permalink muppet 
September 6th, 2012 10:10am
Reading at the age of 4 isn't very common, I was only doing it at 5. My mother was a primary school teacher (now she's retired) and getting stimulation at home she also took me with her at her classes. I don't hold many memories from that age though, some 1'st graders aged 7 (while I was 5) having terrible difficulties getting the letters while I was boredly reading something at the back of the class. 1'st grade, at the age of 6 (7 was the official entry) was still rather boring but it did bring chores and stuff I didn't know - like math or handwriting (I was already writing, but drawing typed letters). I did my 1'st grade in a village of some 500 people.

In the 2'nd grade, I moved to a different school in a small town of about 3000. No problems there either, compared to the average level I had no competition. This is great from a kid's point of view, as basically I wouldn't have bothered to learn anything and still finish first in the class, but my parents knew better and I got enlisted in the math olympics. It's there where I realized the astronomical difference between my "top" village level and the guys, starting 4'th grade, who were attending the competition.

Next 4 years (5'th to 8'th grade) I had an ambivalent attitude towards math. On one hand I hated it for being hard and unpleasant, on the other hand I couldn't have lived with the thought of being the village retard. So I continued to do the occasional push and try it at math olympics, only to find out the others are progressing too and alarmingly, at a faster rate than me.

If you would have asked me to name the things I like and consider easy, I would have said "reading". A very significant difference from today is that in the Romania of the beginning of the 80's, there was essentially no TV (two hours a day showing The Great Leader visiting African dictators, they were the only ones who still received him). And a computer, about which I had read and seemed kinda fascinating thinking about it, used to cost about the price of an apartment - so I obviously didn't get one. The school had one though but no teacher knew how to use it so it just laid there accumulating dust until I borrowed it home in the 9'th grade, promising to return it, shall anyone find a better use for it.

Getting back to reading, for me it's synonym to "entertainment". I used to read books the way I now watch high budget action movies. It's still the way I read them when I decide to get one. Understand very well what Schopenhauer said in "The art of not reading is a very important one."

Then, in the 9'th grade I moved again to another high school in the district town, about 50,000 people. It's a town since it doesn't have an University, but it has one of the best Lyceums in the country and certainly the best in the district. Panicked by the perspective of the admission exam, I did take a whole year of dropping my social habits and actually doing some learn. Got admitted the 3'rd (from the back) in a class of 30, actually best class, best Lyceum in the district and 3'rd generation of computer science classes. Met there basically all the faces I remembered from math olympics and very few who I didn't know (visually).

The Lyceum was the start of a different world, followed by the city where I studied and now live in and heck knows what in the future ;)

Ahh... and all along, I'd say it were the people I met and only secondly the teachers who made the difference.
Permalink Io 
September 6th, 2012 1:31pm
I agree that he's got strengths and weaknesses like everyone else, but I also think that the typical kg classroom does not address his particular strengths / weaknesses and instead makes them liabilities.

Moving is an option.  I'm not sure where to move and I don't want to move if we are going to end up putting him in a private school or charter school anyway.
Permalink the great purple 
September 6th, 2012 2:16pm
I pay 2 private school tuitions. It'll kill you Purple.
Permalink Shylock 
September 6th, 2012 3:45pm
Io, none of that is particularly unusual and probably describes most people on this board.
Permalink muppet 
September 6th, 2012 5:10pm
>I agree that he's got strengths and weaknesses like everyone else, but I also think that the typical kg classroom does not address his particular strengths / weaknesses and instead makes them liabilities.

You're a helicopter parent and if you don't get a dose of reality you're going to raise a twat.
Permalink muppet 
September 6th, 2012 5:10pm
>> muppet: Io, none of that is particularly unusual and probably describes most people on this board.

So I ain't some social oddity, that's cool, thanks :)
Permalink Io 
September 7th, 2012 3:19am
Muppet is now the resident expert in how to raise healthy children in a well balanced and safe home.
Permalink Idiot 
September 8th, 2012 12:54am

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