Smarty Pants

Leila’s really smart.I mean, I know everyone’s kid is the smartest, but honestly? She’s very bright. She was talking well before a year, in full sentences by the time she was two. Now she holds adult-caliber conversations. I’m, uh, not quite sure what to do with her.

There’s an all-girl private school in the city that offers pre-kindergarden and Steve proposed it to me for Leila a few months back. I said no for a multitude of reasons, first and foremost because she’s going to be in school for many, many years to come, why did she need to start a year early? Also, it’s not the school we’ll be sending her to in primary, also her daycare is such an amazing an nurturing and stimulating place, I think she has what she needs education wise, also the money.

It’s been suggested to me to have her tested, but I honestly don’t really see the point in that. I mean, doesn’t labeling kids as “gifted” put an awful lot of pressure on them? What if she hates science or math and subsequently does poorly in those subjects and everyone’s all “She had so much POTENTIAL” and she’s all “You put too much pressure on me!” and then slams her door and listens to whatever emo music is popular in 2020.

Steve and I talked about her skipping grades, if it came to that (do they even do that? I know here they *won’t* hold kids back, which, yeah, different rant entirely, so it only goes to reason that if they’re dragging kids along by their toes, the school board is equally out-of-touch with gifted kids and are holding them back), but I’m kind of opposed to that, too. Because ultimately, she’ll graduate high school younger than expected and come on now, no one can argue with me that 18 is a little young to be out on your own, let alone 17 or 16. I feel that there are other ways she can be stimulated, through sport and music and if it came down to it, tutoring, or whatever else she wanted to try.

And I honestly did consider home-schooling just for that reason and then I laughed at myself cause, oh wow that is not what I’m cut out for, as much as is appeals to my protective nature. So for now, we keep life as it is and, as always, cross our bridges as we come to them. Leila received Charlotte’s Web for her birthday and we read it (for the second time, we had read it last summer as well). Today we’re off to the library for another chapter book. I’m thinking Trumpet of the Swan (one of my faves), but we’ll see what’s there. The problem with 8 year old books for a four year old, is that they’re not always appropriate for a four year old.

One more thing, actually. She’s been working writing her letters and numbers and while she can usually get them squiggled onto paper, she gets very frustrated that they’re messy. The curse of a perfectionist nature, I suppose, and she’s way more receptive to Steve’s help than mine (which has always been the case). One afternoon, she haphazardly drew lines on paper and told me she couldn’t figure out an “L”. I dropped it because I try not to push and we moved on. The next day while I was gone, she brought her notepad and marker to Steve and happily wrote her own name. By herself. And wasn’t bothered by the squiggly lines. I told him that no matter how long his work days are, come homework time, he’s going to need to be home. Otherwise it’ll end in a whole lot of door-slamming, mark my words.

So? What do you guys think? Do you have smarter-than-the-average-bear kids? What do you do with a clever kid?

5 Comments on “Smarty Pants

  1. I think LM is pretty smart, at least when it comes to verbal skills. And he can recognise almost all letters, even abstractly, and is starting to sound out letters a bit too, like he’ll say “Gymnastics, gggg, starts with G”. In other ways he is very much normal and average. I was at a party recently and all the kids are in a very high-end academic focussed preschool and I was starting to feel like maybe I should be doing that too instead of the home-based centre we’ve got him in. But most of the reading I’ve been doing (admittedly, not that much, but some) really emphasizes the importance of play-based learning, especially for boys. I guess my thinking is that I doubt he will struggle academically in the first few years, so there’s no reason to rush things. And if he gets too far ahead there’s a risk he’ll be bored.

  2. I think you can get her tested if you want, but I like your attitude and approach to it. Just let things happen and allow her to go public school if you like and you can speak with her teacher about helping to challenge her or do other projects if she wants to. I know you’ll figure it all out! 🙂

  3. We have this conversation a lot, and today I pulled out my copy of “Raising Gifted Kids” by Barbara Klein for moral support. Because it sucks. I never wanted a gifted kid. I wanted a smart, easy kid.

    I expect P is in the moderately gifted range, but we’re completely opposed to having her tested, at least for now. I had the tests, knew the IQ, skipped the grades – and dropped out of high school. I am completely opposed to grade skipping. Gifted kids will be bored, no matter what – they might as well be with the appropriate age group.

    We’re committed to no academics until 6-7 (unless she’s interested in it independently: example, she’s in violin lessons and just started drawing letters). I don’t know if we’ll make it, though.

  4. It’s a tough call. The big joke in my family with our daughter was “I hope she’s not as smart as her father!” He was one of those kids who was tested, labelled, made to skip grades and graduated early. Before he entered school his Mum used to give him workbooks to do at home to keep him busy but was frustrated by the fact that he would go through them so fast. Well, it turns out our little Miss may just be as smart as her Daddy which is making me wonder many of the things you are wondering. (My side of the family, as my Mum likes to put it, is “blissfully average” which made raising us kids really easy). My daughter is only two right now so I have time to wait and see what happens but I would have her in preschool right now just to stimulate her if we could afford it. I know there is more support out there these days for so-called gifted children but as my husband says sometimes being exceptionally bright in some areas (he has four degrees – one a PhD in Physics) means that you are lacking in other areas (like the fact that I need to make sure his shirt is clean before he leaves the house because he would never notice it). Good luck with whatever you decide.

  5. This is a topic on which I can ramble on and on and on. I was tested in early elementary school and shipped off to a gifted program, first a full-time segregated stream and later, when we moved to a county district, a once-weekly gig. I can tell you without a doubt and without ego that my oldest, E, is gifted academically. He would be destroyed in public school, though, both for his appetite for information and his boy-ness and all that entails. For us, homeschooling is what works now. It may not always fit, but for now I believe firmly it is exactly what works best. For what it’s worth, I think you are doing the exactly right thing for Leila. She needs balance, and time to play and dream and explore everything she wants to learn at her own pace. For me, that’s tantamount; when I push a skill I think they need to learn, they usually balk. When they decide they want/need to know it, they master it within an astonishingly short amount of time. It’s only natural, and common sense. 🙂

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