I knew my kids were "smart", but was unsure if they were "gifted". I did not have much experience of young children and we all seemed "normal" in our family! But there were signs....
- Video Boy had a bit of a lag between his first words (the usual "mama") and further words. But when he did open his mouth - out came complete sentences! At 2, his preschool teachers were amazed by his large vocabulary.
- Both children loved books - would pick them up (the right way round) and turn the pages before age 1. Wombat Girl was reading books to the other preschoolers at age 4. She amazed the sales assistant at the shops by reading the signs out loud at age 3. Video Boy reading Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy in Year 3.
- Video Boy has an amazing memory - everything read is retained and regurgitated when appropriate. Wombat Girl was able to describe the colour of the local swimming centre at age 2 (when I certainly couldn't tell you!).
- Both children loved counting and letters. Wombat Girl was counting the legs on the chairs at a gathering by counting by 4s at age 4. Video Boy asked for "change" after handing over his "coins" at preschool.
- Wombat Girl sees the patterns in everything. The creche staff at the swimming pool called me over to show me the 50-piece jigsaw puzzle she completed at age 2.
- They are such divergent thinkers - at her IQ test, when asked to compute how many people were left on the bus if there were 20 passengers and 7 got off, Wombat Girl asked if the number included the bus driver!
- Wombat Girl loves board games, word games, number games. Her favourite sentence is "can we play a game?" She is always ready to be mentally challenged.
But there is also a dark side of giftedness....
- Preschool staff were concerned about Video Boy only engaging in parallel play instead of playing with the other boys with the trucks.
- Ultra-sensitive sensory systems means Wombat Girl cries when I brush her hair and Video Boy can't stand tags on the back of his shirts.
- They have different interests than kids of their age and make complicated strategy games that others cannot understand, but due to their emotional sensitivity, cry easily and can appear "immature".
- They can work years ahead of "grade level" in some areas, but struggle to write fast enough to keep up with the rest of the class.
- The need to know overrides everything - a simple "because I said so" was never enough - I was better off to explain why straight away. Video Boy could argue before he could walk.
- Video Boy was questioning Biblical versions of creation in Year One at school, basing his argument on evidence provided by scientists.
- The injustice of the playground frequently became too much for Wombat Girl, who would spend most of the trip home from school in tears.
There are positives and negatives to every situation, every child. Sometimes I think they are magnified with gifted children. They are so different from other kids that they can sometimes think there is something wrong with them. One of the great things about homeschooling is that we are "normal". We can think and feel deeply and that's OK.
Gifted kids are all individuals - they differ from each other as much as they differ from "average" kids. If you have gifted kids, what was your biggest "sign" that something "not normal" was going on?