Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My Gifted Grasshopper (Really, I Had Nothing to Do with It!)

When Grasshopper was 5 weeks old, she could already roll over and would take steps when you held her on her feet. I thought this meant she would be an active child. But this was really just my first clue to something very different than that. At 4 months, she would do motions to songs, and at 20 months, some of her first words were hearing her count pictures of sheep on the cover of a book. About the same time, she could identify all of her letters, upper and lower case. With her foam bathtub letters, she would turn them upside down and flip them over to make other letters (like W and M, or 5 and 2).

At 4yo, she is reading. I have had people ask me how I "got her to do that." Really, I had nothing to do with it. She just came out that way. Sure, I held her on her feet until my back hurt, but that was only because she screamed if I didn't. Of course, I read to her, but that is not exactly going above and beyond.

I have always felt it important to keep an open mind about schooling options--that homeschooling was not going to be the best answer for every child. I even thought that I would include my children in making that decision. But now I do not see any other way for Grasshopper. She is a 4yo that is the same size as her 19mo brother, smaller than her 3yo friends and who can read better than her 5yo friends. She loves geography and knows where many countries are that even most adults would be hard pressed to remember. Where will she be next year when they would accept her into kindergarten? Would there even be anything for her to learn there? Yet, even if I could convince the school to put her with her academic peers, could those children ever accept her as their peer when she is half their size (literally). It seems to me that public schooling for her would likely mean being bored with her age peers or being bullied by her academic peers.

Only I wish it were as easy as accelerating her a grade or two. I have seen her read as high as 3rd grade level, but it takes everything she's got to do so, and she tires quickly. And while she is advanced in her writing skills, writing at about a 1st grade level, she also does not have sufficient stamina to do the volume of work that 1st grade would require. So I am looking for curricula that (1) challenges her sufficiently, (2) do not hold her back for her writing ability, and (3) still give her some writing practice. And lastly, she absolutely craves one-on-one interaction, so the bulk of her assignments need to provide her with that interaction.

I am finding it quite complicated to figure out how to meet her needs. I can't just say that she is in first grade and find a first grade curriculum. I have to analyze not just what is being taught but the amount of writing that is required and whether it can be easily adapted to her needs. That is sometimes difficult to do without actually seeing the book.

Next I will share what we are doing now and how that is working for us.


  1. 4 years old seems so long ago. :-) My daughter is almost 9 and I can relate to a lot of your story. We had the added 'twist' that my dd is born right after the school year cut off, so she would have been almost 6 when she started school! And, she'd been reading since before she was 3, advanced in numbers, etc. We have been homeschooling and it works well - you can be so much more flexible and meet your child's individual needs this way!

  2. I love being able to meet other homeschoolers, especially those with gifted kids. Thanks so much for reading!


Latter-day Homeschooling