Giftedness disappearing?? Anyone else experienced this at 6yo?

(151 Posts)
Pearlington Sat 15-Jun-13 20:05:20

Apologies for the length, but I feel I need to give some background to convey the problem. Dd was scary pretty much from birth. But now, age six, I find it seeming to disappear. It's so odd. Ill give some examples of milestones and intellectual prowess for context...

First speech 6 m
Picked out letters spontaneously 11 m
Sentence speech 13 m
Knew all alphabet letters - names and sounds - 14 m
Naming dozens of plants in Latin 16 m
Drawing recognisable faces 19 m
Asking philosophical, science and maths questions 20 m
Writing name 21 m
Reading 26 m

By 2.5 she spoke like an adult, read non fiction obsessively and had incredible insight and unending spontaneous deductive reasoning particularly in science and philosophy.

She was identified as gifted when she started a highly selective pre-prep nursery at 3 and was given Year 2 homework. In reception, the teacher said she may need to skip a year in a couple of years time and her stock phrase was, ?It must be so exhausting to be her. I?ve never seen a young brain active like that. She never stops experimenting with concepts, deducing how things work, analysing everything around her. It?s tiring listening to it and keeping up with it.? The head of pre-prep and school head jointly decided DD should have her own curriculum put in place from Year 2 on. However, starting Year 2, her new teacher told us the other kids had probably caught up over the summer so DD wouldn't need extension work.

Now, she remembers little of what she taught herself then and seems to have lost the endless thirst. She taught herself the names of all the bones in the body, how the organs worked, today she does not seem interested. The eternal incisive questioning has stopped and if I offer to explain something she says it?s boring and she doesn't want to know. If I ask her about things she used to love to discuss, she looks blank or gives a fairly thoughtless (or perhaps more age-appropriate) answer. If something looks challenging, she avoids it. Her brain never seems to get into gear.

She still says amazing things occasionally and about two months ago, I found her in the kitchen trying to extract DNA from her saliva - she'd found instructions in a book and got the whole experiment together on her own. Her reading age at 6 is pretty much adult. But all the burning curiosity and drive has weakened or even gone.

I've never pushed her but responded to her interests. Now I feel a little lost and confused as to what's gone on. I feel like I'm parenting a changeling. I asked her today if science still interested her and she said, "not like it used to. I'd like to know a bit more about cells.""What would you like to know about them?""I dunno". That was it. She has a Brian cox app and watches a lot on space. The only other relevant info I can think of is that I?m currently pregnant and have been seriously ill with my pregnancy and she seems to be suffering enormous self-esteem problems and keeps telling me she is stupid, a bad person and ? today ? a loser.

Does anyone have any thoughts? Has anyone else experienced this? Thanks so much in anticipation.

ChazDingle Sat 15-Jun-13 20:17:33

i have no experience what so ever of this so not sure if my comments will be of any use to you. However i read somewhere that often gifted girls tend to try and fit in with their peers as they get older, its a peer pressure thing they don't want to be different. Not sure what you could do about this

veraminaj Sun 16-Jun-13 02:42:47

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

ggirl Sun 16-Jun-13 02:51:18

A friens dd was very very bright top of class but not genius like your dd, when she reached yr 2 her peers had caught up and she was struggling in school to the point that her parents and teachers questioned whether there was something going wrong medically . She had numerous tests that showed nothing was amiss .. She's fine but not bright ..strange but apparently normal.

ggirl Sun 16-Jun-13 02:52:21

I don't mean that she's strange , just the change in her

Pearlington Sun 16-Jun-13 04:36:58

Thanks everyone. The point about screens rings true. We used to limit to 20 min a day but found she was stretching that by all sorts of devious means. Now I banned screens except for weekends but she's constantly complaining about it. I notice that she seems more herself after a few days without a screen but come the weekend it's a constant battle. This weekend her grandparents got her electric circuits out trying to distract her from moaning about Sonic The Hedgehog and suddenly she started asking about different forms of light and wavelengths so maybe there's a lot of truth in that. But this is where I feel stuck as I would never ban screens completely - I ultimately want her to be a normal kid and we told the school we don't want her skipping a year. I just feel like I equally don't want to see all her interest in the world abandon her. It was tiring but I enjoyed her questions and passion. Now she comes across to me like a lazy disinterested teenager. :-(

amazingmumof6 Sun 16-Jun-13 05:06:35

my gut instinct is that she may have realized how smart she is (especially compared to peers ) and has some sort of inner conflict about it.

I don't buy that she's not interested anymore!
I think she is only pretending she isn't ( not in any malicious way though)

perhaps she wants to fit in?
or a teacher made her feel bad
or she's embarrassed in some way

there are many possibilities including of course somehow being insecure about baby.

whatever negative things she states about herself there's no point saying she isn't.
The truth is irrelevant, she needs to know you understand how she FEELS and WHY!

next time she says she is a loser don't invalidate her feelings by saying "no you are not"

just say something like: oh that must be awful to feel like a loser.
then go on to finding out why
best way to keep her talking is just rephrase and repeat what she says.

she'll know you are really listening, which will make her feel secure again.


keep posting

prissyenglisharriviste Sun 16-Jun-13 05:19:45

I think quite fatten kids realise the teachers aren't bothered, whereas the parents are always encouraging. So it seems kinda pointless to be interested and strive for more.

With interested spectators and quality feedback, being bright and being recognised as bright is super easy. In a class of 30 where the adult can't really be arsed one way or another, it's fairly pointless. You'll see flashes of brilliance, but if they aren't nurtured, the kid loses interest fast because no one else cares.

And yy, screens. I suspect the govt is in league with apple to dumb down children so they don't have to fork out for teachers capable of extension work and appropriate differentiation.

Cravingdairy Sun 16-Jun-13 05:31:04

I think the self esteem issues may be key and should be a priority either way.

Cravingdairy Sun 16-Jun-13 05:31:13

I think the self esteem issues may be key and should be a priority either way.

Pearlington Sun 16-Jun-13 07:53:39

I've been trying to focus on the self esteem but it's really hard. She's so disproportionately hysterical about failure. By which I mean, if she drops a glass, she hates herself. If she yells at me, ten minutes later she is a worthless human being. I have wondered if being disengaged is a way of avoiding failing academically so as not to feel more stupid.

You're right, amazingmum, if I try and convince her that her thinking is irrational she literally says, "you can say what you like but I know you're just trying to make me feel better. I know I'm bad and you can't change that". FYI I have taken advice about the self esteem from professionals and been told she doesn't need counselling, that I should keep doing what I'm doing.

It does seem to be improving after a few different interventions. For one thing, we've tried to really change the balance between discipline and reward and asked all 5 other adults in her life to stop trying to discipline her as I think she was getting it from all angles. We also had a few chats about it.

She seemed a little happier then yesterday she wanted to play boggle, a game she's loved since she was three. She was doing really well then he grandparents came in. One of them started helping her then the other kept clapping when she found a long word. She won the round but became intensely upset saying, "I'm a loser. I don't want to play now. I'm rubbish". I think it was the sudden attention from spectators and I had a chat with them afterwards, explaining she was better left alone and the applause and help were both embarrassing to her. I pointed out to dd that she won and that at 6, she had no reason to think she should be able to play like a grown up, that most kids her age would not be able to play as well as her, but nothing was good enough. Then later, when all had left, she asked to play again...

Pearlington Sun 16-Jun-13 08:18:57

Thinking about the point above re her teacher, her reception teacher gave her one on one time to do extension work through discussion. This teacher says dd always wants to discuss the material but she doesn't have time and dd needs to learn to get her head down and focus. Perhaps this has some bearing but I can't really change that, right?

RikeBider Sun 16-Jun-13 08:27:07

"Giftedness" at say, 3, isn't always a predictor of future greatness - often kids who are late starters overtake those with early promise. It's one issue with assessing and streaming children early, especially at super-selective schools - it often misses those who show their greatness later, while early starters are gradually caught up with.

Also, children who believe/are told they are clever are often less likely to try things that they find challenging or not immediately easy as failure would challenge their identity as "the bright one". It can feel safer to just coast along doing things you know you will succeed at.

Pearlington Sun 16-Jun-13 08:46:30

Just to clarify, she was still being assessed at five as needing acceleration and being several years ahead of her peers and has never been told she's bright. Also, the research shows that for hot housed kids, the other kids do catch up academically, which is probably what ur referring to. She is still ahead academically and was never hothoused. It's the obsessive fascination with science and spontaneous problem solving - ie the pace and thinking patterns - etc that tends to distinguish pushed vs gifted kids and until the last few months she had that in buckets. The research shows that for genuinely gifted kids, the evening out phenomenon does not happen and this was a common myth until the research teased out the hot housing factor. I'm not saying she's been caught up academically, I'm saying she's lost her internal interest and drive. I don't think that's at all the same. She now looks like a pushed kid as she's advanced in academic ways but not showing the other hallmark behaviours of natural giftedness.

neontetra Sun 16-Jun-13 09:05:44

I find her achievements just staggering - especially the Latin names for plants at 16 months. I am struggling to imagine how a 16 month old even sources that information, let alone applies it. And lots of my friends work in academia, and have very bright, academically nurtured kids - but nothing in this league (as for my dd, I was very proud when she said "sheep", yesterday!)
Being so very different from even the brightest of her peers, as I assume your dd is, must be incredibly difficult, and I am not surprised it is impacting on her self esteem etc, as you find this with even normally bright kids. I think it is essential that you get professional advice on how to support her. As you say, the only priority now can be insuring her future happiness and emotional well-being - the rest doesn't matter at all.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 16-Jun-13 09:53:23

I have a slightly older girl (9) who is described be her school as really very bright. One thing I have noticed is that at certain times (certain teachers in particular) she feels the need to 'hide' her brightness. So we get plateaus and then massive accelerations. This was a real issue in infants where one teacher taught pretty much every subject. Now she is in Juniors and she has a variety of teachers it is harder to have this waxing and waning.
There are times when she wishes to be normal and not mark herself out as really clever. Lack of competition is often a factor in this.

Pearlington Sun 16-Jun-13 10:21:43

Re the plant names - she would ask what different flowers were called of whomever was with her in the garden and they would tell her. We don't dumb down - if she pointed at a dicentra and asked what's the name of this flower, I would say dicentra rather than love lies bleeding. I never imagined she would memorise them. Then pushing her round a garden centre in a pram she'd just shout, "look, hydrangea, and a rhododendron" (that was at 15 months and her pronunciation was spot on) and people would stop and ask how old she was. I've always given her the information she wanted but I've only done it when asked and never expected it to be memorised instantly. I think the amazing thing to me has been what she's wanted to know.

But yes, my priority has always been for her to be happy and balanced and yes she has been very hard work. She manages to be very normal with her peers though. We have always prioritised socialisation and play: her school commended us on how grounded she is.

So why do I care if she has lost the spark? Because the change is so dramatic and she seems very unhappy. Because I think it's disappointing for a child who has been the personification of passion and enthusiasm to become so disinterested in the world. Because I miss the child I knew and I don't yet know how to relate to the new one.

Branleuse Sun 16-Jun-13 10:24:53

i wouldnt worry that shes losing anything. I would just carry on, and maybe be slightly more gently pushy to encourage her,

FriendlyLadybird Sun 16-Jun-13 15:21:44

Her brain is still developing and maybe it's developing in different ways at the moment -- so it's giving itself a rest on the obsessive interest in science front. You can't see it, but there may be all sorts of linguistic and emotional programming going on.
You DD had a tremendous head start by being an amazingly early talker, which meant that she was able to zoom off very fast, and very obviously, in some directions. But she needs time to consolidate and time to explore other ways of thinking and learning.
And maybe she's got a bit bored with science? Quite understandable in my book. At 6 my DS knew loads about volcanoes and loved science and geology. Now, at 11, he retains a residual interest in volcanoes but is much more interested in history.
PS Knowing the Latin names of plants is a bit of a red herring by the way, seeing as you told her that was what the plants were called! That's just naming things, which is how all children learn to speak.

Pearlington Sun 16-Jun-13 16:07:56

I think you're missing the point about the plant names. She got words from us but it's still surprising that she used them at 6 months. She must have learned her letters from somewhere but it's odd for her to read them at 11 months. She picked up counting from people countimg in front of her but it was stil surprising when she started counting at 12 months. No one would work out the names of plants without learning them from some place. My point is Latin plant names are long and hard to say. We answered her question about the plant name factually. At 15-16 months it's not typical to correctly identify and name all those plants, just as speaking at 6 months is early. Half of them I've no idea who told her. The ones that came from me weren't repeated or practised, just mentioned in passing. I had no vested interest in the idea of my little baby naming all those plants and it was just another thing that was surprising!!

She was the same with lots of things. I just used that as an example. I didn't have the space to list all the things she was doing so I picked that to be illustrative. A lot of the time I had no idea what she was doing was odd and it was the reaction of other parents with same age kids that tuned me in. A friend whose son was born the same week came over when she was 14 months old and said something was too hot for the baby and my daughter said, "it's not hot actually, it's just warm". This seemed perfectly rational to me but my friend thought it was crazy she spoke like that. This on its own is also meaningless but when you live with a child who does things constantly and ppl are constantly telling you how scary it is, the big picture is different.

And to this day, everyone in her life swears they never told her the letter sounds at 11 months - I can only assume there was a toy with alphabet sounds she must have played with somewhere. But when your 11 month old points at letters in books and tells you their sound correctly, you do know that's not normal. I actually felt slightly sick when that happened because it seemed so wrong it scared me.

prissyenglisharriviste Sun 16-Jun-13 16:15:12

She sounds very like ds1. Including the games thing. I think that's very age appropriate at this point, and to be honest, some age appropriate stuff on amongst everything else is entirely normal. I think sometimes we forget that they are so young, and so sulking about having a tantrum because you aren't as good at a game as an adult (even if you have won, but you feel they are patronising you) seems disproportionate. She might be clever, but she's still a little child.

Everyone pushes carol dweck's stuff. It isn't about what you can do, but the effort you put in, to help brighter kids succeed along the way. So many of them seem to decide they don't want to continue to challenge themselves as they seem to have subliminally decided that they can't afford to fail.

Ds1 has a very fixed mindset. The school were supposed to be working on this with him (as he is 2e) but have done pretty much nothing. His current teacher has decided that because he is happy, then he has had a good year. He is happy because no one has asked him to do a single thing. This suits him, as he would like to decide what he does and when. They are completely blind to the fact they are failing him absolutely.

My other 2 (only one of which is 2e, the other is bog standard gifted) are in different schools. They are making a presence of differentiating, at least.

When dd2 was tested at 5, it was very interesting. It gave us a formal score which is useful to flash about when folk are patronising her, but tbh it didn't make much difference. We use it more to get folk to treat her as normal, tbh.

She's still getting used to the sausage machine stuff of school. It's all a very normal response to sitting in a class with 29 other kids and learning to be part of the herd, in the same way that other kids will use Disney princesses. Completely normal.

amazingmumof6 Sun 16-Jun-13 16:28:51

just a thought, she might enjoy learning/playing chess

Pearlington Sun 16-Jun-13 16:52:08

Thanks prissy. Do you think getting tests done is helpful? At her current state, mind you, she'd just tell them she didn't know in answer to most of the questions!

Amazingmum: she had an 8-month chess obsession when she was four and joined a chess club at school. The chess coach got all excited at her ability in chess and kept calling her the next grand master. I really didn't want her to get too into it tbh as it's such an all consuming hobby and I think a bit elitist. Anyway, she won't go back there because Phoebe moved a rook diagonally and got away with it!! So no more chess...:-) she still tries to teach her friends when they come over but most of them aren't hugely interested.

Pearlington Sun 16-Jun-13 16:57:54

Prissyenglisharriviste - have yours also lost interest then? Yes I do think she's decided she can't afford to fail. What can they do? Anything?

prissyenglisharriviste Mon 17-Jun-13 01:05:06

I just don't think school (or at least the conventional, what passes for education in the state environment) works very well for very bright kids. <understatement>

Ds1 in particular has totally lost interest in learning (or rather he has had every ounce of interest in learning quashed by teachers). For example - learning about instruments that measure the weather: ds1 was sooooooo excited. He came home and wanted to design and make each instrument, a working machine. He asked his sister if he could have a single piece of her long blonde hair, as he had read and wanted to find out if it was true that blonde hair worked better than other colours for measuring humidity etc etc.

His homework was to google which country x instrument was made in, what year y instrument was invented, and which scientist invented such and such z. He then had to draw or make one of them, but it didn't have to work. Just a copy. With labels.

He wanted to make all of them - but then got so fed up with trying to find out what year blah blah blah was invented and where, that he ended up hating everything to do with it. And of course, we weren't helping, be a sue we were trying to get this to do his boring and completely pointless (except as a lame research exercise) 'science' homework.

They then had another science project, and were sent home with a list of electrical components and had to design a steerable remote control car. (We were given a shopping list for the components, and duly ordered the bits he needed). When the stuff was delivered to the school, he was given a one sheet 'how to make a car' rubric, which they were not allowed to deviate from (the simplest possible design with a single steerable axle etc) He was gutted that he wasn't allowed to make the car he had designed himself and ordered the pieces for - he had been looking forward to the pieces arriving so he could get on with it. The spare bits were sent home in a bag at the end of term, by which point he had completely lost interest because the project at school was over and he hadn't been allowed to follow through. (I was also mildly pissed at the waste of money). I mentioned his disappointment in passing to the teacher at the next parents evening, and she basically said 'god, no, they are only allowed to follow the rubric. We don't even let them design a body now, as they were coming up with all sorts, so we have taken that out of the program'. The teacher was so openly adamant that any deviation at all from the bare bones of the curriculum was not in any way accepted or desirable, that the kids have no chance to experiment or actually find out things on their own.

It was a shocking example of exactly what sort of deviations from low average are acceptable in a classroom. None.

Getting tests done is interesting, but doesn't make the blindest bit of difference in my experience. The psych suggested they look at him skipping a year. The school read the report, digested it (allegedly) and then put him in a mixed year class with the year group below.

My girls are a different kettle of fish. One just does all her homework at school in the lessons, so even at 13 hasn't had to do any homework. Even she, by last year, was just essentially whizzing through it because she didn't really have to learn anything - it was just ploughing through, there's no extension involved. Just churn out what's expected and wander off.

The little one has other issues as well. Their way of differentiating was not to give her any math classes for a year, because she knew it all, so was allowed to read or write a story instead. No, I didn't know this at the time.

I'd homeschool if I could afford it. I get flashes of absolute brilliance from all of them - and they get hooked on something and want to keep devouring it, making stuff, learning, but I have to make them sit down and do some pointless worksheet instead, because it's their homework and even though I know they know it (and so does the teacher) the most important part of their education is to churn it all out again and hand it in tomorrow like everyone else.

And don't even start me on spelling lists that are misspelled.

I feel sorry that teaching has become such a dumbed down by rote hideous experience. And that goes for the teachers too, not just the kids.

prissyenglisharriviste Mon 17-Jun-13 01:05:54

Mine love chess. They play each other before school. grin I suppose it beats cbeebies. <sigh>

Pearlington Mon 17-Jun-13 09:13:06

Oh god. Tell me about those sheets. DD was doing more advanced sheets in nursery where the head of nursery got her and really stretched her. That was three years ago. I can't believe the mindless nonsense she has to do now. At least they take her less than a minute to do for the most part! She got one math sheet where some of the answers went into minus numbers and she loved that but they hadn't done it in the class and a load of mums complained that it was ridiculously advanced and none of the kids could do it. I did ask for different sheets last year but was told it wasn't possible.

What on earth was the rationale for putting DS1 in with a lower year group?? You've had an awful experience. I'm so sorry!

Tiggles Mon 17-Jun-13 10:12:22

Maybe she is just changing interests and feels you will be disappointed if she no longer likes science?
DS1 sounds very similar to your DD. Except that at 18months he wasn't into flowers, but digestion - he knew all the enzymes used in digestion, what food types were broken down by them etc - because he was interested and he learnt it from me.
At 2 he changed to being into history, a fascination he held until he was about 8, although he is still interested now (Aged 11) it isn't in the same way, he hasn't constantly got his nose in a history book, but he enjoys doing school history projects for example.
Around the age of 8 or so, he came really interested in music (pop music, not anything 'cultural' in the classical sense). I was a bit disappointed as it seemed a bit of a waste of his brains, although I didn't let him know that. Now however, he is still very into music, he writes his own songs (quite amazing poetry and music). If I had tried to keep him focussed on history I would probably never have seen this side to him. Every now and then I google the stuff he writes, just because I can't believe he has made it up himself. (Yet ask him to write a poem and he can't as he doesn't yet understand that his song words are poetry).

cory Mon 17-Jun-13 10:47:08

LittleMissGreen's point is one to consider. My db had an interest in science and astronomy when he was little, but then switched to music, and is now a linguist.

I personally wouldn't think someone who was trying to extract her DNA from saliva had lost her interest in learning: that seems pretty cool to me.

It may be that she just wants to be more independent in her learning (which again would be a sign of unusual maturity). The endless questioning is a characteristic of small children; older children learn in different ways and are often jealous of their intellectual privacy.

My (admittedly far less bright) ds went off parental explanations at a fairly young age. Greatly to my disappointment as I love nothing better than a good expounding session in an art gallery or a museum. I thought he had lost interest and would end up uneducated and dull. But lately his teachers have been telling me how very well informed he is about the world. I find it particularly odd as he never reads a book. But he clearly has his sources of information.

Pearlington Mon 17-Jun-13 10:53:16

Thanks LittleMissGreen. Your son sounds amazing. The scary thing for me is she is disinterested in everything and until recently was interested in everything. SO a case in point: the club list for school arrived yesterday. Normally she wants to sign up for everything and we have to prioritise. Yesterday everything sounded boring. Book club - she usually LOVES reading and then discussing what she's read - was rejected because, "discussing things is totally boring". We were going to a stately home to watch jousting and I asked if she'd like to know more about jousting before we went. I found some info on medieval history and the traditions of the knights. She said it was boring and she wasn't interested. Until the last month, I pretty much never heard the word boring come out of her mouth. Every single thing was interesting: current affairs, nature, science, history, music, maths, languages...and now nothing.

I'm glad you made the point he learned that stuff from you. People don't seem to realise, we don't force them to learn this stuff - they want to know. Just because we answer their questions it doesn't make us pushy. Just because we provide the information they asked for, doesn't make them hothoused. And just because we told them the stuff they internalise and then use, it doesn't make them less smart. Or put another way, you can try and make a kid learn stuff as much as you like but no regular 18 month old will memorise and be able to discuss which enzyme is used for which food just because their parent told them. Funny enough DD developed a digestion obsession from about 2.5 after she read about it in a book. We didn't get into enzymes, but it did lead to her wanting to understand osmosis among other things.

Pearlington Mon 17-Jun-13 10:55:04

Thanks Cory. I'm finding all this really comforting and helpful. It was all so new and odd to me but it sounds like it's a little to be expected...

Acinonyx Mon 17-Jun-13 14:47:56

Nothing like as far-out gifted as your dd but we have gone through something similar this year. Dd (now yr3) similarly lost the 'thirst'. She changed schools and as she is still 2-4 yrs ahead teachers completely unconcerned - but the change in her that I saw was shocking. I have never rationed screen time as I didn't need to - until this year otherwise she would loll about for hours watching kids TV. She stopped reading - just wasn't interested in anything. I've been at my wits end wondering what has happened.

But over the last couple of months it's come back. And as pps have said - her interests seem to be changing and still not entirely fixed. She is suddenly very into music and I have started her on lessons pdq - she had NO interest in this at all previously. confused She has mostly stopped watching TV but still has the odd hour on the pc. She's just more engaged again - it's a relief but I half expect we will have phases like this in future.

We still have a terrible aversion to challenge or failure to deal with - I want get to grips with that over the next year.

GooseyLoosey Mon 17-Jun-13 15:09:13

Ds is now 10. Because of concerns about his social skills he was assessed by an ed pysch at 7. He has an IQ of 150 something and is (or was at the time) up to 7 years ahead of his peers in maths and english. He was described by his year 2 and 3 teachers as "exceptional". He did nothing like your dd though.

At his last primary school he stopped asking questions in class because he was always told that he should let other children have a chance (which is true, but he never got a turn of his own). He did little extension work and was in an environment where it most definitely was not cool to be clever so he never asked questions. In the view of the ed pysch he had little understanding of the motivations and actions of his peers but was trying to moderate his behaviour to fit in. He appeared to disengage with all learning, except for maths where he was doing extension work several years ahead.

The ed pysch informally suggested that if we could move him to a selective school he would benefit. We did so (for other reasons) a year ago.

Ds is now enthusiatic and committed to school. He is set work that he cannot complete sometimes so he is challenged and it is seen as good to succeed. We were astonished to discover that our very outgoing child would not at first answer anything in class or give only 1 word answers as he had been taught for so long that talking in class in his case was a bad thing.

What I am saying is have a good look at how your daughter is interacting with her educational environment and what she thinks about the different aspects of it.

Pearlington Mon 17-Jun-13 15:51:38

Acinonyx - your DD sounds similarly gifted to mine! how did things get back on track? did you intervene? What did you do about screen time?

GooseyLoosey - I honestly don't think DD has anything like 150 IQ!! However she has not been given any extension work yet and is not, IMHO, working at her level. I don't know if this has had an impact. I will try and ask her more tonight but she hates talking about school. The teacher did say she often has to remind DD that there's only one teacher in the classroom.

Acinonyx Mon 17-Jun-13 19:08:28

I did eventually start monitoring the screen time. We'd started to have regular screen slots - and I just stopped even referring to or offering the TV/PC and I would just say 'not now maybe after XYZ' if asked. I had become a bit slack about having the TV on e.g. while making dinner to keep her occupied blush. I got more scrupulous about letting her find something to do rather than stepping in with the easy fix.

I chose a few books to read with her at bed time that I thought might spark some interest - and some of them she did start reading herself again. She's certainly not a bookworm though - as a pp commented - she seems to have ways of finding out stuff though.

I think the music has been a big turning point. She's really interested in musical notation - it's a big new interest.

I still don't really understand what was going on though - I've never seen her so mentally floppy like that - just like a bored teenager. I think she's not always very engaged at school and that's something I will pay a lot more attention to next year. by the time I realised how much time she was wasting at school the year was practically over.

Acinonyx Mon 17-Jun-13 19:09:32

Other big interests now are magic and card games generally. She seems to really thrive on stuff that is very different to school stuff.

justaboutalittlefrazzled Mon 17-Jun-13 19:24:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pearlington Mon 17-Jun-13 19:29:50

You sound a lot like us. DD exactly reminds me of a disenfranchised teenager. Sometimes she even stomps around like the Harry Enfield perry character, it's hilarious.

And like you I really feel like I'm tuning into the school problems very late in the year and I feel really bad.

Thinking about it, she's suddenly practising the piano a hell of a lot. I used to have to nag her but now she loves it and has to be nagged to stop. But she's no musical talent, I would say she's doing quite well and enjoying it so that's what matters. That said, in restaurants she will take a napkin and draw a stave and work out the notation of a song she likes so she can play it when she gets home. She gets it pretty spot on. I hadn't thought that music could be overtaking her academic interests but maybe that's the case.

Pearlington Mon 17-Jun-13 19:30:09


Pearlington Mon 17-Jun-13 19:34:58

School friendships are really good. She has loads of friends and has several play dates every week. The only trouble she has at school is some of the rough and tumble she gets into with the boys. She likes to play hard but she can't hack the consequences! She's a football playing, tree climbing tomboy and not really into dolls or princesses. So the complaints are "Jack pushed me into a tree" type rather than "Sophie said I was stupid".

Acinonyx Mon 17-Jun-13 20:46:27

Dd doesn't play by ear - honestly I thought she just had no musical talent at all. But being able to read music has really opened that up for her and she's really into it. She still doesn't just play by ear - but she has a bit more of an ear developing than I had considered. Is your dd into languages - dd is interested in the idea of languages (unfortunately not so keen on the hard slog of actually learning vocabulary hmm]) and I think that's where the music notation interest is coming from - it's a code.

She seems especially disengaged with school but I can't quite get to the bottom of where things have gone wrong this year in particular. She was offered extension work but just doesn't want to do it - I'll look at that again next year and see if we can make it more appetizing. I've never been one to talk to the class teacher much, but for the first time, I think I'll ask to talk to next year's teacher in Sep. I'm going to be so popular wink.

Pearlington Mon 17-Jun-13 20:57:31

Ha! I was literally thinking today I would meet the teacher in September and send an introductory letter before term ends to request the meeting.

She LOVES language. She took two terms of mandarin club but then the club got cancelled. The teacher was blown away by her. Said she'd never seen an English kid pick it up like that and asked if she'd had lessons already. She keeps asking for a mandarin tutor because she wants to carry on but I can't find one. The Chinese mums hunted me down to say they speak mandarin at home but DD was better than their kids in the club and I must let her carry on. She watches YouTube stuff on reading and writing the characters which interests her. She also will translate takeaway names as we drive past :-) so yes I guess you are right, she is a languages girl. Such a shame I can't help her take it further.

inthesark Mon 17-Jun-13 21:03:48

You've had lots of good advice on here, but one thing I would say is that DD (also six) does exactly that teenage stomping when she is bored at school. They 'forgot' the promised extension work at the start of the year, and for three weeks she was awful. The work started up, the strops stopped. Drama classes also cheered her up.

We've spent all year talking to school about extension work. It finally got sorted out about three weeks ago, but to be honest I have been so exhausted by the whole process (and school have not been entirely receptive) that I don't know I'd do it again. Next year's teacher is apparently 'laid back' and I'm not sure I can face the battle.

Acinonyx Mon 17-Jun-13 21:12:47

That is so funny - a couple of days ago dh suggested learning mandarin with dd. He fancies himself linguistically hmm. Youtube - of course - great idea. The great educational resource of our time smile.

The extension work is totally <<meh>> - part of me wonders if there is any point but you take what you can get, eh?

inthesark Mon 17-Jun-13 21:15:30

DD meanwhile, is learning Latin, of her own free will. We should set up a languages school for them.

Pearlington Mon 17-Jun-13 21:15:36

Inthesark - how did you persuade them to give her extension work?

One weird thing - following a pp advice I grilled her about school and she told me there are five math sets and she's in top set with four kids. She said they her really hard maths. But the math homework is stuff she could do at 3 yo mostly. So I don't know what to think. She might say it's hard because she got something wrong today because she misunderstood a question - that would be enough in her world to mean she sucks at math and it's really hard - or maybe she actually is being stretched. She finds year 3 math enjoyable at home so not sure.

Pearlington Mon 17-Jun-13 21:21:33

Great idea inthesark :-)

Exciting! How is she learning Latin? Does she have books?

inthesark Mon 17-Jun-13 21:22:36

Being a relentless pain in the arse, mostly. Have you asked school to actually test her levels - this was the first thing we did that opened their eyes. DD isn't so special at maths, although she picks it up quickly, but her reading age is 6 years ahead. Although, weirdly, getting an IQ test (which we did for other reasons) also made them sit up and take notice, which I didn't expect at all.

But we've pushed and pushed and pushed, it gets results for three weeks then it all slips back. Next year, if we stay, we're going to be much more laid back. But ideally we'll move school.

inthesark Mon 17-Jun-13 21:24:25

Minimus! We ordered it from our local library and I've found worksheets and so on online. It's fab and DD loves it.

Pearlington Mon 17-Jun-13 21:27:48

I know she's 6-7 years ahead in reading and spelling and moderately advanced in math (I think maybe two years). We are starting to consider a formal assessment externally. What was your DD's IQ if that's not intrusive? It sounds like they are similarly advanced so perhaps that might be indicative for us. I understand if you'd rather not say.

Layl77 Mon 17-Jun-13 21:28:35

Sounds like she's just focussing on exploring her feelings and social abilities rather than the other areas she used to. Just as you wouldn't hothouse her then I wouldn't now either just stand back and let her guide you.
It's probably important for her to feel like she fits in more at this age, which is as important as academic abilities IMO.

Acinonyx Mon 17-Jun-13 21:37:38

Pearl - we had a quite a math crisis this year. Teachers saying all is fine - top set yada yada. Dd says it's too hard and she hates math - even tears over it. Had a tutor for a while to get to the bottom of it - dd just can't cope with getting anything wrong or taking more than 10 seconds to figure it out. It's not her best subject and she feels bad at it. Tutor was a big help and we may have a few weeks now and again to build confidence.

School did lots of testing which has been a big help but not sure on the follow-through aspect.

Pearlington Mon 17-Jun-13 21:37:45

You're right layl77. I definitely don't want to do that and I won't.

Pearlington Mon 17-Jun-13 21:40:32

Acinonyx - sounds like my daughter to a tee. Wow. Realising how similar they are is making me feel so much better.

prissyenglisharriviste Tue 18-Jun-13 00:33:06

Dd2 was tested as being between 2 and 7 years ahead across the board when she was 5. She's a bit of an oddity though - she also has cerebral palsy and wasn't expected to be able to talk. It was only when she became verbal that we realised she could read, so we don't really know when she taught herself that, for example. (She became verbal at three, but was reading c s lewis at that point). Her iq only came out at 142, but the psych explained that this was a depressed score because of her inability to carry out some of the tasks due to her fine motor difficulties (the block assembly and whatnot - so she knew exactly which way to turn and assemble, but couldn't manipulate the blocks in the time allowable - and of course was really excited to do it, but her fine motor gets worse with intention grin. They used the older kids on her instead of the wechsler that goes up to 6, as they knew she would top out.

The other two have lower iqs, still well in the gifted range but don't have the issues with 2e. (Well, ds does, but his issues are different).

justaboutalittlefrazzled Tue 18-Jun-13 01:50:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pearlington Tue 18-Jun-13 06:18:10

Gosh prissy, she sounds remarkable. How wonderful!

Pearlington Tue 18-Jun-13 08:40:40

Well, after a weird month or so, and lots of work to reassure her about various things, this morning seemed a bit more normal. She wanted to discuss molecules, atoms, electrons and elements over breakfast then asked me if I can buy her some mandarin books. She was analysing what was going on inside the coffee machine fr She seemed full of energy and enthusiasm and really happy. Hope this is a sign things are improving for her.

Pearlington Tue 18-Jun-13 09:04:33

Ps since I've been ill, my mum's been giving her breakfast every day in her lounge. I realised she's been sticking the tv on throughout brekkie when we would always chat. Breakfast time used to be one of the times DD was most hyper about all her questions and analyses. This morning I pointed out the fact that tv was on out and DD instantly switched it off saying, "yeah mum, mealtimes are for families to talk". Then suddenly it all came spilling out of her. My mums in a real strop about it as she missed the news but I think it's been contributing to the problem and if it wasn't for all your advice I wouldn't have started connecting the dots. She's so excited about getting a mandarin book she was singing about it! Hoping we are turning a corner. :-)

milkymocha Tue 18-Jun-13 09:21:37

She sounds delightful.
Could you look into getting her a mandarin tutor maybe? smile

Pearlington Tue 18-Jun-13 09:30:04

The Chinese mums at school have been looking for one for a year and don't seem to be able to find anyone. She'd love that. Such a shame.

Acinonyx Tue 18-Jun-13 11:38:32

I think we'll have to watch the screen time - it's one of my own weaknesses blush. This may sound mad, but I actually wonder if it's also the time of year - spring to summer. I feel a lot more engaged myself (not that it's much of a summer so far...hmm).

Tiggles Tue 18-Jun-13 15:54:39

Sounds promising smile

RedHelenB Wed 19-Jun-13 19:42:16

Watching the news is educational too!

Snog Wed 19-Jun-13 19:50:22

How does she get positive attention from you?

Portofino Wed 19-Jun-13 20:06:19

Are you in the US? Makes it easier to I know so people can suggest resources.

How on earth did she get hold of the ingredients to extract saliva?? grin

*extract DNA from..

CotherMuckingFunt Wed 19-Jun-13 20:31:35

There is another option here. You could let her be a child, watch TV, chill for a bit. If she is as gifted as she appears to be it won't 'disappear'. In order for a gifted child to be able to utilise their talents they need to enjoy them. Her brain might just need an academic break in order for the rest of he to catch up.

ouryve Wed 19-Jun-13 21:08:54

Most likely the drinks cabinet, Amazing - the instructions online use strong vodka.

Yeah I know the ingredients, I'm just amazed a 6 year old managed to get her hands on them!

littone Wed 19-Jun-13 21:45:14

Would any of the chinesebmums have her to play on a regular basis, so even if not formally taught she could hear and speak mandarin?

Pearlington Wed 19-Jun-13 21:50:34

You can do a scaled back / basic DNA extraction with detergent, acetone and saline actually. She found the instructions in a book.

Ah that clears it up, was wondering how she got her hands on high proof alcohol! grin

Pearlington Wed 19-Jun-13 22:04:11

Seriously she's plenty a kid. She overdoses on screens and that sends her bad tempered and hyper so, like all parents I know, we try to limit it. But it's replaced with healthy outdoor time, board games, making stuff, outings, playing with other kids, reading and general family fun. My golden rule is that mealtimes are for families to communicate. She can and does watch the news, but not at a meal table. I was brought up with strong values about the importance of sitting down as a family to eat and talk about our day or the news or anything that takes our fancy and I stand by that as an important value of mine.

Positive attention from me is thin on the ground when I've been laid in bed for two months sick. But normally we have lots of stuff we like to do together. We live near a Heath, she brings her scooter and I take my jogging stuff and we run/scoot together, pick up whatever she's collecting - leaves, flowers, and she likes to take photos of stuff to go in a scrap book we do together. We play board games. We bake. We do craft projects.

Why is it everyone thinks if a kid's a bit intellectual that they don't play? My daughter couldn't be more normal and well adjusted.

Pearlington Wed 19-Jun-13 22:34:54

And just to clarify, at no point have I suggested I wanted to do anything other than let her be a kid. I refused her being shoved up a year at school for that reason. I started this post because I couldn't work out what was going on with her. She wasn't herself and seemed to have lost her interest in the world. I think I got to the bottom of it now and she's really snapped out of it remarkably. No more angry self loathing teenager. No more waking three times a night. No more everything is boring.

She's ten times happier, more confident and excited about everything. She's basically herself again. And yes, that does mean that her brain is constantly whirring with ideas, concepts, number patterns, new projects - she's bouncing all over the place full of the joys of spring. That doesn't mean she's not a kid. She's just a happier and more engaged one than she has been for a while.

And I don't think I should have to justify not wanting her to be raised by a TV set and iPad. I think parenting is more than that. Letting my daughter become a screen zombie is not the same thing as letting her be a kid and is not a badge for healthy parenting IMHO. And letting her discover other things in life to enjoy is not stopping her being a kid either.

justaboutalittlefrazzled Thu 20-Jun-13 00:00:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ThirdTimesABrokenFanjo Thu 20-Jun-13 00:07:09

op, I don't know anything about gifted children but if you took the g&t out of the picture, I'd just be concerned about the behavior. Is school ok? are her teachers ok? does she know she can talk to you if something wasn't right?

ThirdTimesABrokenFanjo Thu 20-Jun-13 00:13:28

just finished thread blush Glad she's herself again

Pearlington Thu 20-Jun-13 04:54:57


Pearlington Thu 20-Jun-13 04:59:07

Oops portofino, I'm in the uk.

Justabout - I think you could be right. I do feel that this experience has equipped me with some better skills and I think with my illness, I assumed her resilience was greater than it is. I also think that there are too msny adults in her life dishing out discuI do think there are issues at school too which we can address.

Pearlington Thu 20-Jun-13 05:04:17

Grrrr phone interface playing up. Should say, too many adults giving her discipline which I put a stop to about a week ago and I think that really helped. It can't be easy being one kid with loads of adults (7 to be precise) around telling you what you're doing wrong all the time. I'm sure that would affect anyone's motivation, self esteem and enthusiasm after a while.

mathanxiety Thu 20-Jun-13 05:55:32

I've been trying to focus on the self esteem but it's really hard. She's so disproportionately hysterical about failure. By which I mean, if she drops a glass, she hates herself. If she yells at me, ten minutes later she is a worthless human being. I have wondered if being disengaged is a way of avoiding failing academically so as not to feel more stupid.

I am wondering if you or someone else inadvertently focused on the end result (thinking of statements like 'The next Grand Master!') rather than the process of thinking and exploring that can sometimes lead you to an end result (but sometimes not). If anyone ever made remarks along the lines of 'What a smart girl you are' then a child can become something of a performing pony and 'perform' her smart schtick for her audience. Which is all right and mighty fine until some other child who never even appeared as a blip on the radar suddenly gets 100% in maths or dazzles the teacher with something she does in art, and the child who has up to now been getting all sorts of (unhealthy) attention for her 'performance' suddenly finds herself adrift.

It's always better to encourage effort and thought process and other elements of learning such as organisation, thinking out your methodology, using your time well, etc., and not end result, certainly not the end result if it is described in terms that link the achievement to some innate quality of the child at a time when a child, no matter how advanced in terms of intellect, is still in the process of forming a self image. Phrases like 'Clever girl', 'Walking encyclopedia', 'The next Grand Master' are millstones around a child's neck.

Pearlington Thu 20-Jun-13 09:05:48

I think the opposite actually. We never told her she was smart because we didn't want her self worth to be based on her performance. We have always focused on being kind to others, trying your best and never let her think she was anything other than normal.

As with many kids like her, she does put pressure on herself and we could see early signs of perfectionism at a really young age and we asked the school for help with that. We set up rewards at school and home for trying things that she couldn't do well to try and give her a greater sense of being valued when things aren't going well and never made a fuss of the things she was freaky advanced in. Never discussed it in front of her. I so desperately didn't want her to feel special for her brains. The most important thing has always been for her to be happy, have fun and be kind to others. And apart from the crazy perfectionism that the school say is all self generated pressure, she really has been extremely happy, fun loving and renowned among the mums for her kindness. That's exactly how it should be.

That's why it was so scary for me when it all went weird. We discussed with her teacher whether we actually went too far concealing her ability from her and should actually tell her she's pretty clever and we took a decision to try that. Sadly, she didn't really believe us. But then, our mantra has always been be a good person and everything else will work out so I guess it is meaningless to say anything else now.

Performing pony? Never my daughter. There are a couple in her class. Hot housed to death. One is only allowed to play with educational toys, only allowed one friend a week, only allowed to play with certain children - the other days are for studying. Fifth birthday party was a classical concert. Uptight miserable serious kid it breaks my heart. I would never do that to my daughter.

Incidentally, her mother wants her kid to play with mine after she figured out what kind of a kid she is and suggested to me that a kid like mine should be taken out of the school and sent to a special academic centre and that she must be bored to death and would run into real difficulty being in our school with such a brain. I politely explained that I was in no hurry for dd to rush ahead just because she was capable and I would rather she had fun at this age.

Please note I have never told another school parent about my daughter's ability as I do not want her to be judged for what she can do but accepted for who she is. I also don't think it's of any consequence to anyone. All the kids are special in some way. Her assessment of dd is just based on what she has witnessed in her house and she has told a bunch of mums that my dd is a genius. I fervently denied it when asked and said, she's just a bit of a science head at times and she likes to read but really she's pretty normal.

Pearlington Thu 20-Jun-13 09:15:45

Ps the next grand master comment was made to us not her and I don't think she was in ear shot. And yes I have heard teachers say "clever girl" to her but I'm pretty sure they say that to all the kids when they do well. Her grandfather used to clap and say clever girl when she did stuff and we really pressed him repeatedly not to do that exactly for avoiding that kind of pressure in her head. But I do wonder if we over compensated. I'm pretty sure most parents don't avoid telling their kid they are clever when they read well or do something good at school. But we have. Perhaps the strategy was wrong and a bit more praise for achievement would have been of benefit?

Thinking sensibly there are also genes involved. I've not been too shabby myself on the achievement front but I suffer from terrible self doubt and inferiority issues so for all my efforts to give her the right balance I also guess I should recognise that some of it might be hard wired.

Fishlegs Thu 20-Jun-13 13:23:45

H, I'm so glad things are improving. Once you feel better, I'd suggest getting hold of How Children Fail by John Holt, I suspect you'll enjoy it. It's a positive book, not as negative as the title sounds. Also, there's How Children Learn which I also found useful.

Pearlington Thu 20-Jun-13 13:48:16

Thanks so much fishlegs - googling now!!

CotherMuckingFunt Thu 20-Jun-13 18:33:50

I wasn't trying to insult you or criticise you. I was just saying that maybe she needed time for her body to catch up with her brain. And I'm saying this as a parent of a child who is considered gifted. Where I live it is common for children to be put up a year, do well for a while and then suddenly drop behind and end up redoubling the year. Often they regain their academic abilities later on and the thinking is that their brain is focusing on other areas of development. All children ebb and flow but it is more noticeable in a child who stands out.

Pearlington Thu 20-Jun-13 23:11:33

Ok sorry. I just get frustrated sometimes that ppl see the word gifted and want to make all sorts of crazy assumptions about the kind of parent I am and the kind of kid she is. I've met many who fit that stereotype - parents and kids - but we truly don't. I've worked hard at keeping dd as grounded and normal as possible and anyone who knows us would vouch for that, but ppl online don't know and it never ceases to amaze me how quick ppl are to judge, condemn and patronise ppl they know next to nothing about. Yes, I thought you were one of them. Apologies.

justaboutalittlefrazzled Thu 20-Jun-13 23:35:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mathanxiety Fri 21-Jun-13 00:12:35

This is a very intelligent child who somehow picked up all sorts of information without being hothoused. I would say she picked up the phrase 'clever girl' too, either from family or in school from classmates, and of course from unthinking teachers.

Why do teachers do this? Whether a child is 'clever' or not is neither here nor there as far as the teacher is concerned. A teacher should no more say 'clever child' than 'stupid child'. It's up to teachers to mind their mouths and provide stimulating work, quietly if necessary. The DCs' school had a system for this - a folder called 'never done work' was in each child's desk, and if a child finished their set work early then they were supposed to take out the folder and work away on anything inside it that took their fancy, and then hand that in too. Work was replenished in the individual folders as necessary, with the teacher making sure each child had something to do that was up to their standard. Extra work was sent home quietly in the take home folder.

Resilience has been brought up, and imo resilience is an incredibly important quality to foster in children, maybe gifted children in particular, because there will come a point in the life of every gifted child when she meets her match, intellect wise, or she hits a wall and actually has to work really hard at something to get on top of it. You foster resilience by focusing on emotional intelligence through listening, talking, togetherness in general, by including the child in chores that are necessary for the running of the home (becoming part of the home team); competence and having a valued role produce confidence and keep a child grounded, by getting the child involved in a coached sport that requires effort and commitment (or a musical ensemble), supporting your teammates/bandmates and shrugging it off when you have a bad meet/performance. Sports teach the gifted child that others have gifts too -- and who knows, the gifted child might also be pretty good.

Fraxinus Fri 21-Jun-13 09:56:11

* You foster resilience by focusing on emotional intelligence through listening, talking, togetherness in general, by including the child in chores that are necessary for the running of the home (becoming part of the home team); competence and having a valued role produce confidence and keep a child grounded, by getting the child involved in a coached sport that requires effort and commitment (or a musical ensemble), supporting your teammates/bandmates and shrugging it off when you have a bad meet/performance. Sports teach the gifted child that others have gifts too -- and who knows, the gifted child might also be pretty good.*

Wow, yes. I agree with math anxiety.

Pearlington Fri 21-Jun-13 10:12:05

I agree mathanxiety! A fair bit of what you suggest has already been included in our repertoire of strategies for combatting perfectionism and failure phobia. House chores, musical instruments and sports are in there and lots of talking too. There are also a few great novel ideas in there to work on. Thank you!!

She has a great and very ticklish sense of humour that we also use to diffuse moments of overt failure fear. Yesterday, for example, I had her on the floor in giggles because I was dramatising having to call emergency services because we found out my daughter had a human brain in her head and not a computer after she admitted that if she doesn't see the solution to a math problem absolutely instantly, she would call it impossible and give up.

After that, she played a five minute computer game where she had to make guesses to reveal the information in a time limit. As soon as the timer runs out it starts again with a new question so no chance to contemplate. Using the running joke about brains not being computers, she started to find the strength to blurt out answers that she wasn't confident about, amidst lots of hilarity. She had enormous fun and took an enormous step forward: by the end of the game she had lost all her fear of getting things wrong within that game and was laughing riotously when she got a big cross.

The next day after school, ske begged to play the game in front of dh. This time, no fear of the big red crosses and loads of excitement and pride as her accuracy improved. Dh was amazed. We talked about how much she had learned once she stopped fearing the mistake and just enjoyed the process, and how she could use that in other situations. She's really pleased with herself too.

As a personality, ironically, her self confidence (socially not academically) is excellent and I often think borders on over confidence. Although that waned lately, it does seem back on track.

Badvoc Fri 21-Jun-13 10:19:12

Like you made assumptions about "screen zombies" you mean?
My 2 sons both use iPads.
They enjoy them and have fun.
They are also both very bright boys (but not gifted) who enjoy school.
Assumptions go both ways do they not?

BusterKeaton Fri 21-Jun-13 11:14:56

Is she learning any computer languages? This is a good way of getting screen time. In computer programming there are many ways of skinning a cat so it can be helpful in combatting perfectionism and that sense of there being a right or wrong answer.
In my experience (clinical psychologist/academic) of testing gifted children, parents of girls tend to neglect computing.

Smiler9891 Fri 21-Jun-13 12:47:26

May I ask please what area you are in? My son is a highly intelligent 2 year old whom we are looking for schools for as we are concerned about the situation you have highlighted. I am based in the North East UK, and am looking to start a focus group where parents/carers of gifted children are able to come and share their experiences/views with regards to education. The purpose of this research is to gather evidence in support of opening a gifted and talented school/unit that understands the social and emotional aspects of being gifted and allows our children to learn together at their own pace with like-minded individuals in an environment where they are stimulated and happy in their learning. Please contact me if you feel you could be of any help. Thank you.

zzzzz Fri 21-Jun-13 13:36:44

In your place I would be worried that she was being bullied.

Her development is very similar give or take a few months as my children's, and certainly not remarkable for my siblings children either. We are an academic family. We didn't experience the drying up you describe, but possibly that is because mine have a wider interest (they enjoy literature/art/music as well as non-fiction) so perhaps have more fodder?

Has she always lived with your parents? Sometimes grandparents can be less encouraging as they are from an age where children required less spoon feeding. Perhaps the silent breakfast with telly is not the easiest start to the day?

Pearlington Fri 21-Jun-13 15:23:46

Badvoc, that wasn't a judgement about anyone. Dd has access to an iPad. She plays on it and has fun. But if I let her have free access to it, she turns into a screen zombie. Her behaviour goes haywire and she becomes bad tempered. I don't think that allowing that to happen is healthy and I want her to have a healthy relationship with screens as a part of her life, not an unhealthy addiction.

Pearlington Fri 21-Jun-13 15:27:12

Buster, she isn't but I think that's a really interesting idea. My husband was a programmer for a long time and I learned to program as a kid and also did some low key programming during my research years. I think she'd love that. Thank you.

Pearlington Fri 21-Jun-13 15:28:40

Smiler if only. We live in l

Pearlington Fri 21-Jun-13 15:28:53

Grrr. Sorry. We l

Pearlington Fri 21-Jun-13 15:30:16

Third time lucky, we live in London!! Good luck. Sounds like a great project.

Pearlington Fri 21-Jun-13 16:08:42

My mum actually lives with us rather than the other way round. Normally breakfast is a lively affair. Just been on hold while I've been ill but I'm getting better every day and managing to get back to normal for mealtimes. I definitely agree that has been an issue. When I came down this morning mum had left the tv on and left my dd in there. I asked if she wanted it off and she said "yes please" and seemed very relieved to be able to chat.

Dd does also love literature, writing, languages, maths, music, history and anything to do with nature, marine biology and science generally so I'm not sure that explains it. As I say, she's back in interested mode with a vengeance. She's going crazy on the maths front and says she wants to write a book at the moment so I honestly think it's been a combination effect of school problems, my illness, crazy screen time and some issues with too many adults giving her discipline in the house (which I put a stop to a few weeks back now).

I can see why you'd suggest bullying, but I really don't think she has any non-academic problems at school. She says the work is mind numbing but she lives for playtime because she has so much fun with her friends. More than half the class have play dates with her so I think she's ok for friends plus she has lots of friends outside school.

Thanks for the thoughtful suggestions!

Smiler9891 Fri 21-Jun-13 17:40:30

Ah, that's a shame but feel free to visit my blog and post about your experiences anyway. Any feedback will help the cause, and who knows?! If it works out up here, we could set up camp across the UK! :p ( Hope you get sorted out. And get well soon. :D x

LittleBearPad Fri 21-Jun-13 19:30:46

She sounds great. Are you happy with her teacher's ability to keep her interested? It's just that the teachers comment that DD needs to recognise there are other children in class sounds like they are struggling a bit.

zzzzz Fri 21-Jun-13 19:48:31

Cargo-bot (iPad app) is good for pure logic style very early programming. I delete all but the apps I want them using on iPad and just pull them down from the cloud when I need them.

I hear you on the crushingly bored at school. Get some past papers from the schools you are considering for secondary (I assume you're going selective) and give her a go with them. If she can score consistently highly I think you are going to have to think seriously about how you are going to challenge her for late primary.

Snog Fri 21-Jun-13 20:31:07

If you have been in bed sick for two months perhaps there is your answer?

Pearlington Fri 21-Jun-13 21:42:15

TBH LittleBearPad, I don't think the teacher really gets her and I definitely don't think she knows how to engage her. Her last teacher LOVED the chats they had. She used to have lots of in depth discussions that went way off course for the curriculum but got to explore very complex and surprising topics. But this teacher complains that DD keeps wanting to discuss the work and she can't do that. DD says she is a really boring teacher.

Pearlington Fri 21-Jun-13 21:44:42

Snog - I normally work full time so I don't think that' the whole story. I do think it's definitely contributed.

Pearlington Fri 21-Jun-13 21:51:20

zzzz - the app sounds brilliant. Thank you - will download tonight.

She is just over 6 years old though. Do you really think she could attempt secondary school papers (assume you mean entrance papers?)? I'm guessing she's two or three years ahead of herself, but probably not 5...unless its all 11-plus style, in which case she'd be fine.

Smiler - will do...:-)

LittleBearPad Fri 21-Jun-13 22:13:44

It sounds like the teacher is out of her depth to me which is a shame. Do you know what next year's will be like.

Surely one of the joys of educating children is not sticking rigidly to the lesson plan. Appreciate this may be a bit unrealistic sometimes.

Pearlington Fri 21-Jun-13 22:30:19

I don't know anything about him. I should do some research!

inadreamworld Fri 21-Jun-13 22:34:01

Wow to the plant names! I don't know any plant names in Latin even if my DD asked me which luckily she hasn't!

I agree with others that your DD wants to fit in with her peers - it must me really hard for her. It is great she is so gifted but her happiness is the most important thing. I would leave her to her own devices to study or not as she pleases. I would also encourage her to see her friends and mix with more average children. She probably just needs a bit of fun and to feel like a child.

She sounds extraordinary though, how lucky you are to be her Mum but it must be difficult too.

zzzzz Fri 21-Jun-13 23:18:02

Personally if it was me I would put her up a year. My dd2 will be going yr5 to yr7 this summer and I wish we'd done it when she was 5/6. She so loved her year group I was reluctant to unsettle her. There is no easy answer when you are out of step though.

I think the verbal reasoning and non verbal reasoning are probably within her grasp, English too, though maths unless you have supplemented will almost certainly be beyond her. I think it's interesting to see the sum of what she is going to be learning over the next 5 years. If you think it's enough to challenge her, you can relax. If not you at least will have an idea of where you're headed.

Music lessons can also enrich an otherwise dull academic experience. Certainly most of the scholarship children at the secondary mine attend seem to have achieved grade 5 to 8, sometimes in two or more instruments.

mathanxiety Sat 22-Jun-13 04:44:17

DD1 loved programming and website creation really caught her fancy when my DSIS taught her.

Getting into a group and learning to fall down publicly and get up again (metaphorically speaking) is really, really important for gifted girls, who tend to think 'getting it right' is the most important thing -- this results in being put off maths and gravitating to more subjective areas even when they could, with effort, do very well in maths. As gifted girls advance in school and in university they will most likely find themselves in mixed groups, and that boys do not fear public 'failure' so will hazard more guesses (in every subject), get more of a teacher's attention through perceived enthusiasm for their subject, and verbally dominate a classroom. They tend to keep on trying until they get an answer even when they fail at first. This is putting it in simple and very general terms and of course there are exceptions, but gifted girls need to get over their fear of 'getting it wrong'.

I would not advance a child to an older group no matter how advanced, because the school experience is as much about emotional growth as intellectual, and there can never be shortcuts there. Plus - being put off by 'failure' in any given subject can be a huge setback. Boredom isn't the worst thing a child could encounter.

noteventhebestdrummer Sat 22-Jun-13 05:19:04

You live in Hampstead in London and you can't find a Mandarin tutor??

Pearlington Sat 22-Jun-13 12:28:02

Not even - I don't live in Hampstead or anywhere near!

IsThisAGoodIdea Sat 22-Jun-13 13:19:49

It all sounds exhausting and I don't envy you one bit OP (and others in similar situations). DH and I both went to Oxbridge and our DS is considered to be "a bright boy" and that's good enough for me. I'm a SAHM but I think I'd be back at work in a flash if my 3 yr old wanted me to teach him about DNA and electrical circuits instead of playing trains and doing finger painting!

Honestly, I can't see how being so advanced in childhood can bring anything but misery in adulthood. If she wants to watch tv and read a comic - I'd let her.

Forget for a minute her obvious abilities (not sure I'd call it a gift really) and let her show you how she wants to be happy.

mathanxiety Sat 22-Jun-13 16:16:18

My tack when they were little was to buy lots of cheap blank notepads and colouring materials and let them at it. Looking through their drawings and poems and designs was always a pleasure. I have five DCs, never had home help, and really didn't have the time to get into much detail when they asked questions, though I always gave some sort of answer. I let them look up lots on the computer and there was the library too if their interest outpaced my expertise or my available time. They also learned a lot from TV - dvds of documentaries as well as children's fare. They regale each other with chunks of Simpsons dialogue even still when we're out in the car.

Finding something that interests them when bored and pursuing interests without constant feedback from a parent help create independent learners who are happy when their brains are in gear even without a teacher or parent nearby. (Weirdly enough, there's an episode of the Simpsons where Lisa panics on a day off school and whines so much about not having daily grades for her performance that Marge gives her an A just to shut her up. That particular episode sparked the question 'What are the laws of thermodynamics' iirc.)

I sent DD1 and DD2 to a summer chess camp when they were about 8 or 9. They were the only girls in their respective classes and it was a great experience for them. They met most of the boys later as they all went to the same high school and ended up in the same classes. I felt it was important for them to compete on an even playing field with boys, with no speed or strength advantage either way. Chess is a game that can keep your mind nicely occupied and it imparts a lot of skills that are useful. Card games that are more complicated than Fish can do the same.

BusterKeaton Sat 22-Jun-13 16:37:01

Actually, very high IQ people don't tend to be miserable in adulthood. They tend to be quite successful, whether or not they are labelled as "gifted", though of course the usual characteristics - hard-working etc - differentiate outcomes within a group.

There is a tendency for high-IQ children to be MISdiagnosed with ADHD in childhood.

ouryve Sat 22-Jun-13 16:56:58

>Honestly, I can't see how being so advanced in childhood can bring anything but misery in adulthood.

How? I don't get this, at all. It's a pretty strong assertion to make.

I agree that bright kids should be encouraged with a variety of activities, not just purely intellectual, and mathanxiety has that covered pretty well, but if a 3 year old wants to learn about electrical circuits, that's great, too.

mathanxiety Sat 22-Jun-13 17:27:12

Wrt learning about electrical circuits and the like from a parent, I think it's important for a parent to start out with the shortest possible answer that still conveys the truth (NOT 'It's magic') and not the whole Encyclopedia Brittanica article. If more questions are asked, then reply with more short but accurate answers. It's easy for a parent to go into more detail than a child actually wants but if you wait for the questions then you can use them to set the pace. There are a lot of fine lines.

zzzzz Sat 22-Jun-13 17:49:12

Why would having a high IQ mean you were going to be a miserable adult confused

Is the converse true? Do you feel people with low IQ skip through life without a care?


IsThisAGoodIdea Sat 22-Jun-13 17:59:35

This thread is not about a child with a high IQ. It's about a child who is exceptionally and unusually advanced. There's a big difference.

zzzzz Sat 22-Jun-13 18:04:09

I didn't know that. So are there children who are academically advanced (high IQ for age???) that as adults have average or below IQ?

BusterKeaton Sat 22-Jun-13 19:51:19

Isthisagoodidea. Perhaps I should not have referred to high or very high IQ. Perhaps "exceptionally high IQ" would have been a better choice in this context. Individual IQ testing identifies children who are exceptionally and unusually advanced in the areas tested, which in turn correlate with academic achievement. I could use another term, for instance I could refer to standard deviations from the mean.

I personally have never tested a child who was as intellectually advanced as the OP describes, who did not have a very high IQ. Of course, one of the advantages of IQ testing is that we can get a relatively objective measurement of a child's intellectual abilities compared to their age-mates. In research, we use IQ because it is relatively objective. I personally dislike the term "gifted" but perhaps not for the same reason that you do.

How about this: the research shows that people with exceptionally high IQs, whether or not they were identifed in childhood and labelled as "gifted", don't tend to be miserable in adulthood.

pickledsiblings Sat 22-Jun-13 19:56:57

OP, your child is not 'normal' in terms of her intellect and I don't see the problem in sharing that information with her (using the computer analogy/processing power perhaps). I would also share that school caters primarily for children of a lower intellect as that encompasses most of the population so there will be many things taught at school that she will already know. They will be taught in a methodical way that may or may not be the same way that she learnt them and the pace will be a lot slower than 'her' pace. However, there is more to school that learning facts/concepts, it is about getting along with people, team work, setting and achieving her own personal targets etc.

Is there evidence to show that doing so (telling gifted children that they are gifted) is harmful to gifted children? She is not a 'better' person than anyone because she is 'cleverer' than them but to hold back from her just how clever she is is bound to cause problems with her self esteem as self esteem is all about marrying up how you see yourself vs how other people see you. I can't see with problem with her seeing herself as 'gifted', not 'lucky' to be so but just 'gifted', a bit like having brown/blonde/hair - just a part of who she is.

Pearlington Sat 22-Jun-13 20:36:05

Isthisagoodidea: totally agree that gift is a misnomer. It's not any kind of advantage and definitely a worry and headache. The word gives the instant idea of superiority and i personally just think these kids are simply developmentally different and very hard work. To me, the ingredients for success are not starting life like dd but a heady combination of determination, interpersonal skill/emotional intelligence, ability to deal with failure, work ethic and some basic intellectual capacity. That's why I'm more into her socialisation and helping her learn to face and handle failure and disinterested in getting her pushed ahead academically.

At the same time, I know a lot of ppl who had comparable early development and have been very successful and happy as adults so I really don't get that idea of spelling disaster.

But honestly, if she had been happy all switched off, I wouldn't have started this post. She was anything but!!

And she does lead. Today she said she was bored and couldnt think what to do so I gave her the choice of dressing some cut out dolls, Lego, board games, piano, reading, drawing or doing aqua beads. She said no, can we do sums please, but I want really hard ones, I want to multiply big numbers. So we did and she was in her element. Later on it was sonic hedgehog. Then it was mandarin. Then piano. Then sums again. Then pick up sticks. She's been happy as larry all day. Right now, we're watching a program she'd been looking forward to all day and I just realised she's nose in her new mandarin book, practising pronunciation and ignoring the screen. I told her she's missing her program and she said ok but she's still reading. This is how she is.

mathanxiety Sat 22-Jun-13 20:40:48

I would steer well clear of setting up any distinction between this child and her peers based on brain power. It's as bad and as pointless as telling her she is pretty, or that she has a fine muscular pair of legs -- use those legs or they won't stay strong.

Knowing a bunch of stuff isn't the be all and end all of inquiry. It's how you put those facts together, the links you make between maths and art or music, or some book you read with history that matter. And of course how you get along with others -- nothing in telling the child she is different in a good way from her peers would accomplish that.

Wrt the intellect, I would only draw attention to other qualities she has that enable that intellect to be productive -- persistence when something appears hard at first, ability to investigate for herself, drive to learn more, good time management and care of materials. I would keep my mouth firmly shut otherwise. The child is bound to encounter someone just as 'clever' as she is or moreso as she progresses through school and while in school she is going to need friends - not easy to find them if she ever blurts out how much smarter than her peers she is or that they are less intelligent than she is. Moreover, she is going to need the qualities that make a good brain a useful tool more and more as she goes through school -- being organised, not being a procrastinator or perfectionist to the extent that work doesn't get handed in, ability to find a reward in mastery of some subject and not doing it for the approval of others -- will all stand her in good stead for a lifetime of learning. These are the qualities that give the Rolls Royce brain the engine of a Rolls Royce and not a Citroen 2CV (though I like very much the Citroen 2CV and it will get you from point A to point B, a RR needs a RR engine).

I think it's the children who have been 'too precious children' who end up miserable or at least under performing as adults. 'The Too Precious Child' by Leanne H. Williams MD and others explores the pitfalls of 'super-parenting' and its effects on the children whose parents are micro-focused on them. This book is not strictly about parenting gifted children -- it's a book aimed at parents in general that asks them to examine what they are doing (and for whose benefit). Children who show signs of being very bright and whose parents have the time and energy to devote to encouraging that often fall into the category of the 'too precious child' because the child will reward a parent endlessly with quick results once information is inputted.

You don't ever want to give your child the impression that their intellect is what you value about them. You don't want to give her the impression that she will automatically and without effort be tops at everything (or that this is what counts). The crumpling (emotionally and in terms of academic performance) of really, really bright children who do not have the resilience or the organisational or time management tools to get going when the going gets tough is horribly painful to witness.

I have a niece who imploded at age 16 and has not yet recovered at age 25. There is no word as bitter to her parents' ears as 'potential'.

mathanxiety Sat 22-Jun-13 20:52:41

Pearlington I am nodding in complete agreement with your thoughts on good qualities to encourage there.

Do you encourage her to investigate maths related games, or games that are visual but challenging and open ended or versatile as to the challenges she could choose? Tangrams are another area where she could give her brain a workout. I wonder about the focus she seems to have on sums where an answer can be right or wrong. I would try to encourage engagement with more open ended activities that require thought.

pickledsiblings Sat 22-Jun-13 20:58:52

"nothing in telling the child she is different in a good way from her peers would accomplish that"

But Math, you don't tell her that she is different in a good way, just that she is 'different' or in the 'minority' or at the tail end of the bell-shaped curve of IQ. I tell my children they are beautiful, I want them to like what they see when they look in the mirror. I don't tell them they are more beautiful than x,y or z or that they are lucky to be beautiful, I tell them it is important for their self esteem to like what they see when they look in the mirror.

OP, if your child had a beautiful singing voice you would be proud to hear it on show I'm sure but mostly you would be proud that she had the confidence to stand up and sing and that she enjoyed the experience of bringing pleasure to others. Her giftedness is a talent that should be nurtured and shared in the same way - she could be a fabulous asset to her friends with lots of facts and figures at her disposal. All talents should be celebrated.

mathanxiety Sat 22-Jun-13 21:57:41

I absolutely avoid telling my DDs (and DS) they are beautiful or pretty or good looking. I had someone in my life when I was young who had bulimia and comments on appearance were her stock in trade. Always compliments mind you -- but they showed her focus on outward appearance and her preference for thinness without ever saying anything negative about weight. There was no mistaking what she valued.

Likewise, telling your child she is different as if this is a good thing -- the child will understand what you value.

If I mentioned appearance at all when the DCs were young (and actually not that interested in their looks) it was to make sure their teeth were brushed or hair neat and clean, nails in clean condition. There was also the question of whether their choice of clothes and footwear was appropriate for weather or the occasion. When they hit the teen years I let them shave their legs and use makeup, do their hair whatever way they wanted, and choose their own style of clothing. As long as they were happy with it that was fine with me. I had rules about tattoos and piercing apart from soft tissue in the ear before age 18 but outside of that their appearance was their own business. My DSIS gave DD1 a book called 'Teenage Beauty' by Bobbi Brown that focused on health and beauty, good habits and being happy in your own skin, plus how to make the most of your natural looks that I thought very positive. For the facts of life they all read 'The Care and Keeping of You' by American Girl Press, focusing in again on health, practical questions of hygiene and self care. We all like looking at fashion magazines together and discussing styles, whether they would be flattering, etc., plus the inanity of the magazines. I think butting in with assurance about how beautiful they were would have been met with puzzlement.

They have all managed to look good and as they have got older and as their self image has become firmer I have told them they are looking nice imo. It hasn't hurt that DD1 and DD3 tend to be approached by modelling agency scouts when they are out. They have been flattered but have lives that are full enough and their future is promising enough via school/university that they have not taken anyone up on their offer (yet). Both are redheads and that has brought its own challenges even though they were not brought up in a country that sees red hair as disgusting. But people make remarks and again, no matter how complimentary, calling attention to appearance just leaves small girls lost for words in my experience -- giving them ideas for responses to unsolicited comments has been part of their socialisation process.

Being proud of the confidence to stand up and sing and do a song justice is different from being proud of the voice. You can tell a child you are proud she works hard to develop her singing voice (especially if that involves sacrificing something she would prefer to be doing), but to praise the voice itself is misguided.

mathanxiety Sat 22-Jun-13 22:01:02

she could be a fabulous asset to her friends with lots of facts and figures at her disposal. All talents should be celebrated.

Equally, she could become the proverbial party bore and providing facts and figures might be met with rolling of eyes and very hurtful snide remarks.

pickledsiblings Sat 22-Jun-13 22:14:38

'Likewise, telling your child she is different as if this is a good thing -- the child will understand what you value.' What you value is the child and being open and honest about who they are with them is a good thing.

'Equally, she could become the proverbial party bore and providing facts and figures might be met with rolling of eyes and very hurtful snide remarks.' This is why being open and honest about your child's abilities and teaching them how to 'manage' them is important.

'calling attention to appearance just leaves small girls lost for words in my experience', - when I tell my small girl and boys that they are beautiful they tell me that I'm beautiful too smile.

justaboutalittlefrazzled Sat 22-Jun-13 22:16:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FrameyMcFrame Sat 22-Jun-13 22:22:54

Sorry have just read your op. All children go through phases even gifted ones.
In some countries your child would not have even started formal school yet.
Do you think she may have been put off learning by being pushed too early?

Hi OP. Your daughter sounds amazing!

I was a clever child but nowhere near as bright as yours. My parents thought I was exceptional and at 10 I took a MENSA test which came out at 176. My parents proudly informed the local paper and it became common local knowledge.

I was mortified, and teased not a little bit. The publicity marked a very swift end to my desire to be exceptional and I chose instead to focus on being normal and less threatening to my peers (not that I was, but the MENSA tag made me into something alien).

I think my parents would have reported a similar 'shift' to the one you describe at that point although they didn't understand why for many years.

Your DD is probably too young to feel the need to conform quite so keenly, but I wouldn't be surprised if she were becoming more aware of the differences between herself and her friends and working out whether she wants to stay the course?

Oh and I did this:

"The crumpling (emotionally and in terms of academic performance) of really, really bright children who do not have the resilience or the organisational or time management tools to get going when the going gets tough is horribly painful to witness" (as per mathanxiety).

Everyone thought I was so able that I didn't need to work. Senior school was a bit of a shock!

Pearlington Sat 22-Jun-13 23:45:49

Framey McFame, she hasn't been pushed. She just has a particular approach to the world. You couldn't push her if you wanted to. She very much dances to her own beat and I have no idea how to make her do anything. If anything, I've been dragged along behind her mostly!!

Mrs noodle head you just hit my fear on the head. If she coasts through school finding it all ridiculously easy, what happens when eventually something requires actual mental effort. I already see signs she won't be able to cope.

Mathanxiety: it's the open ended problems you need to put your brain in gear for! That feels threatening to her I think. However, on her own, she sets up hypothetical problems to explore or sits thinking quietly and suddenly comes out with something that shows she has been applying herself to a problem she's noticed and worked out a solution. The problem comes if the challenge is not from within. So she can startle us with her thinking through complex problems and pulling information from everywhere to solve it by linking ideas together in really novel ways, but she can't make the leap if someone else challenges her to do it.

I guess that's what I mean by you can't push her. I couldn't ask her to work on something. But if she wants to work on something then I will try to give her the opportunity if I can.

With sums, that's a recent thing. I just think she likes the feeling of performing the calculation in her head. I guess it is just satisfying to work stuff out sometimes.

Pearlington Sun 23-Jun-13 00:01:10

Justabout: how is your son now?

colditz Sun 23-Jun-13 00:11:17

She's probably just catching down.

justaboutalittlefrazzled Sun 23-Jun-13 00:27:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ouryve Sun 23-Jun-13 00:31:40

Tangrams are interesting. DS2 is 7, has ASD, is non verbal and needs help to feed and dress himself. He pretty much presents as a large toddler. And he can do tangrams!

They rely on a type of intelligence that is completely independent of verbal skills. They also make fewer demands on his motor skills than, say, lego. He does them on his leapster or on our iPad, so doesn't have to pick up and physically manipulate the pieces, which he finds difficult. He can slide and turn them on the screen, with minimal help.

DS1 is hungry to learn, but impossibly to push. He was analysing the price of lego sets in the argos catalogue, today. I suggested he made a bar chart and he gave me that don't be silly, mum, look. He kept a tally, instead.

toomanyfionas Tue 02-Jul-13 10:15:39

I think she needs other genius friends. It must be lonely being so smart and no one to play chess with/share your fascination of science.

It does sound as though she's a bit unhappy and trying to hide her intelligence which is sad.

MusicMake Tue 02-Jul-13 17:10:13

There are so many areas of human expertise involving our bodies, emotions and senses as well as minds. I would encourage your daughter to develop a range of interests to stimulate her mentally and physically in the widest possible sense and enable her to become resilient to failure and learn to work hard.

Clearly academic work is unlikely to be a big challenge to her at this stage so I wouldn't focus too much on that.

Some ideas are below. Obviously she wouldn't be able to do them all. It might be possible to try some new things out over the summer holidays to see what she liked.

Tennis - Good exercise you can keep up as an adult. A high level of skill involved. You have to get used to losing and coming back when you are behind.
Gymnastics - Great fun learning to do handstands and cartwheels. A fast way to impress her friends.
Football - Good exercise and good for team work.
Swimming - Good exercise and important life skill. Can be very relaxing too.

Ballet / Dance - Good exercise. Develops musicality and coordination. A good ballet school will also allow performance opportunities which will be fun and develop self confidence.

Music - Some music schools run programs for children where you can start to learn an instrument, perform in a choir, develop general musical awareness and start to learn music theory. Great for a child on lots of levels. Teaches the importance of practice.

Art - Drawing lessons or arts and crafts activities can help to develop a whole new and more visual way of looking at the world as well as being lots of fun and improving coordination. Useful for everything from being a surgeon to an architect.

Foreign Languages - Romance ones are great because they sound lovely and Europe is close enough to visit and practise. People say they are easy. To learn a few words maybe. There is nothing more fun than being fluent in a foreign language and reading novels in it as well. It opens up a whole new part of your mind. Mandarin would also be good. Learning the few thousand characters needed to become literate is a challenge.

Drama - Good for self confidence and fun and appreciation of literature.

goldrunner Sun 07-Jul-13 23:38:17

Totally relate to your complaint about the school, Prissy, but actually i sounds like you've got a much better school than our ds.
We don't do homework - we get in too late - so any questions about lack of progress are instantly challenged with 'well he doesn't do his homework' as if that 15 minutes held the key to top grades in everything and the hours in school mean nothing! Now that everything has become my fault through 'bad parenting' (no homework), we are having to take him out of the school because they put me down in front of him! Thats not such a bad thing, though.

Pearlington - sounds like she's bored which is pulling down her self-esteem.

Computers can be a disaster for bright children because they are getting so much instant easy stimulus but its like junk food - addictive and not nutritious. So I reckon they develop brain-malnutrition looking for a quick fix at school and finding it all frustratingly slow.
Losing focus, curiosity and concentration can be a sign of that rot beginning.
I fight to keep mine off them and if I had a choice (e.g. no older dc's) would lock them away from my ds altogether. If googling needed, encyclopaedias still work like they used to, (but we have a good library nearby so that's an option, not everyone has).

Don't worry about this but sometimes 'high-functioning autism' can be worth looking into as that pulls down self-esteem if not spotted young enough.

She sounds like my nephew, though, (it was trains with him) and he went downhill at this age but then picked up later got lots of scholarships and is now highly talented successful musician.

The right school - she should get a scholarship - will be so important. Do some research on the most academic ones?

goldrunner Sun 07-Jul-13 23:39:45

Musicmake - that sounds like brilliant advice - sports are the thing for restoring concentration levels

inthesark Mon 08-Jul-13 11:05:43

It is a great list, but the problem is fitting it all in around school. I'm always trying to balance giving DD some challenge, with just letting her hang out and play.

My ideal solution would be to take her out one day a week to do extension stuff - even with tutors - but Mr Gove has just banjaxed that totally.

Acinonyx Mon 08-Jul-13 11:24:07

Pearl - I really worry that dd will not learn to make a consistent effort at anything. I was like that - school was easy, university was easy. Having a job where you actually had to actually work *every day* was quite disastrous and still not my strong suit, decades later.

Music and sport has been great this year for dd - she's just not naturally good at sports and she doesn't have a particularly good musical ear - she really works at it. I had to explain to her several times that it is normal to practice a piece of music - even concert pianists learn a piece and practice it and don't just sit and play it perfectly. Like pp says though - I've found we can only fit a couple of things/week that need lessons and practice.

I'm not at all sure though, that she will ever make the effort with school subjects that she does with other stuff.

totallyopera Mon 08-Jul-13 17:00:54

Mr Gove is a disaster for education!

Prozacbear Wed 17-Jul-13 15:55:14

To me, it sounds like a self-esteem/wanting to fit in issue. Particularly the mood swings, the 'I dunno', the high level of self-criticism.

I was a little bit the same as your DD - not into science at all, it was books - although I say that and do remember asking my mum to buy me a pig's heart (at the age of 7...) as I'd found a biology book and wanted to do a dissection. I have no idea why she humoured me, but I had an excellent afternoon.

The point of that anecdote is that very bright and inquisitive children can seem intense, and their interests bizarre and a bit creepy (really!) to others - people wonder what sort of troubled child I was, doing dissections!

It makes you very very self critical (I still present as incredibly hard on myself on personality assessments) and prone to self-analysis. I think nipping that in the bud is the key - whether that's a counselor or a supportive teacher, or something else ... focus on her unhappiness as the issue, because if that changes, it's likely the rest will too.

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