Sunday, December 02, 2007

To know or not to know...

I haven't even been able to post this yet because I still have such mixed feelings. I have only told Grammy and a few close virtual friends because I cannot bring myself to tell anyone else. Tuesday I am having Haley assessed at John's Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.

I have never really been one to think about testing before and in fact could always list all the reasons I would not test my kids until now.

1. We homeschool so I don't need to advocate with a school system for differentiated teaching or grade skipped in school.

2. I have a firm belief that IQ is meerly a potential to learn and would not change the way I treat/teach my kids because I had this number...I would continue to expect great things from them even if they didn't have as high an IQ as I originally thought.

3. It costs a lot of money.

Well, then, you may ask, why have I suddenly done a complete 180 with Haley?

I know my boys are smart, incredibly smart actually. Newt learns like I learn...sequentially, everything in order as he is taught it or learns it himself from books/experience. Dylan is a hands on learner who is incredibly creative yet not very into school and its trappings. If he can't figure out why he needs to know something then he can't see the point of putting in the effort.

Haley has been different from the start. She met her milestones more quickly, maybe because of them, who knows. But she learns in a way I have only read about in books on gifted kids. She is taught one little thing then suddenly has a huge leap in knowledge and knows how to do way more than she was ever shown.

Some examples:

Reading: She picked up letter sounds from a Leap Frog video at 18 months. She asked me how to sound out small words so I showed her how to blend them then played a few games to teach her. We started the 100EZ lessons book a few times but never made it past CVC words then she started a Phonics Workbook and, before she finished the basic consonent sounds, was reading anything and everything including words with phonics rules I never taught her. The most amazing thing was that she never went through the slow reading...sounding each word out stage (you know, that agonizing for parents stage where you just want to give them the word because you are going to forget what the story is about before they read it).

Music: She is taught the basics on her violin and the first 4 Twinkle variations. From that she figured out every other song's notes before she was taught all the way through Book 4. She played around with her violin and figured out slurs, shifting, and different bowing techniques.

Math: She knew everything from 1st grade in 4 months and the first half of 2nd grade in 2 months. She figured out the concept of multiplication and extrapolated on what she was taught about identifying simple fractions to figure out more complex fraction problems. I don't even know what level her math knowledge is.

These incredible burst of knowledge and the ability to take knowledge and figure out so much on her own have led me to feel like I can't keep up with her. I feel like I need to know where she is and how to best teach a child who learns in this way to help her reach her full potential.

I am also interested in some of the gifted classes offered through CTY and EPGY but need test scores to be approved to take those.

And lastly, I know that now is a pretty good time to get this testing done. She is old enough to be cooperative yet young enough not to ceiling out any tests. Having these scores may help get her into programs in the future.

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