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So how do you know for sure your kid is gifted?

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So I am just wondering how do you know for sure your kid is gifted?  I really am not pro-putting a label on my kiddo but he begged me to learn how to read when he was 2 1/2 and is 5 1/2 and doing 2nd grade work and some 3rd grade work.  I pulled out Saxon 2 to start working and he knows how to do over half of the book-he needs to learn fractions and multiplication and division but already has a grasp on some basics of those anyways.  He's just burning through curriculum which is fine but it's hard to budget for it and I'm not sure where to go on math for him especially because he gets bored really easily.  It's taking a ton of time for me to sit down and evaluate which lessons to do and which to skip.  He's worth it I'm just having a rough pregnancy so it's hard to sit down and focus with a 2 1/2 year old (also begging to read like brother and already knows his letter sounds so we're starting to sound out words).  Anyways I don't know who to talk to about this.  I already am worried about testing because our state requires it however they don't let you report until they're 7 and we'll be moving before that school year after he turns 7 because my husband *should* be finishing grad school at that point. 

And before I get attacked I don't force him to do school or anything I follow his lead-if you don't have anything nice to say please don't comment because trust me I've already been attacked plenty over the past few years by people that think that kids shouldn't have any formal education the first 7 years of life.  That just wouldn't work for him and when I was flat on the couch he taught himself astronomy and other subjects from books we had on the shelf.

by on Nov. 13, 2013 at 9:44 PM
Replies (21-26):
by on Nov. 14, 2013 at 5:15 PM

Yes, she mentioned that too...they are hyper aware.  That they actually tend to not like to perform because they are VERY aware of who is watching them and what if any mistakes they make.

Quoting PurpleCupcake:

I completely agree. Quality over quantity of work. 

The only one point I might disagree with and that is that they avoid challenges, the gifted kids I've seen relish challenges that are above what other kids thier age are doing. 

I would also add they tend to be more aware and sensitive to problems in the world and they are much more aware in general. 

Quoting ablackdolphin:

I attended a gifted seminar by someone who is gifted at our expo.

Interesting stuff! Gifted kids get bored with things they already know so don't beat a dead horse. They often have a fast brain but slow body so things like writing might be frustrating to them. Meaning they know what they need to do but their body isn't as easily controlled.

Often active.

She said that sadly gifted do not succeed as often as"normal" and that when you teach them they do not need MORE work they need better work. Again not beating a dead horse.

She said to watch for what they avoid that is where you need to teach. They are used to things being easy and avoid things that are a challenge. Handwriting seemed to be a theme for her. That whatever their challenge you need to force them to deal with it that for gifted kids the sooner they learn that life lesson the better because they will learn it at one time or another. They are not used to struggle KWIM?

My DD started reading at 2 as well and is crazy into science! Last night she drew a pic and declared look I drew a cochlea....she is 4 . I am constantly scratching my head wondering is she is part alien or just reincarnated! lol

by on Nov. 14, 2013 at 5:20 PM

CRUD, my DD is every one of those traits.  Honestly, I know it but it's a blessing and a curse!

by on Nov. 14, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Randi also pointed out that in public schools many times gifted kids ended up in the office....working.  That when she was in k - 3rd grade she would paint while other kids worked on reading.  That She (Randi) did not know how she knew how to read at age 3 but she did and she couldn't understand why she got to paint while other kids had to do work.  She would just paint picture after picture.

Then she asked those in attendance at the conference how many of them are gifted and did they work in the office.  I was SHOCKED to see all the hands up in the air.  What a freaking waste of their education.  The teachers and schools had no idea what to do with them so they put them to work in the office and library.  So sad!

She is now homeschooling her grandson who is gifted. Really interesting lady!

by on Nov. 14, 2013 at 5:27 PM

This is Randi's information...she does consulting. I have no idea how much but might be worth just a call to find out.

by on Nov. 14, 2013 at 8:07 PM

He definitely sounds high achieving if nothing else. I would expect his IQ puts him in the gifted range.

I have 2 kids with high IQs (one was tested as part of a bigger evaluation). The both taught themselves to read at age 3, and were doing multiplication at age 5 w/o any instruction for me.

I do belive in very little formal instruciton before age 7, but like your son, these kids were begging for it (though 99% doing it on their own). Not workbooks mind you, they'd have rather cut of their right arm!

Knowing my one son's IQ, looking at this article it was spot on for where he fell based on the descriptions:

Ruf Estimates™ of Levels of Gifted Assessment

How Smart Is My Child?

Using the Ruf Estimates™ of Levels of Gifted

Deborah L. Ruf, Ph.D.

Many parents wonder how their children compare to other children. They worry about how to select the best school for their young children and wonder if they will not only learn up to their potential but be happy in their school environment. But, before parents can make good choices about where their children go to school, they need to learn how their children compare to the other children who will go to that school choice. The single most important factor for achieving academic as well as social and emotional success, I have found, is whether or not the child fits the school.

So, you need to find out how smart he or she is compared to the other students likely to become classmates. You may have very good reasons to suspect your children are above average, maybe even gifted (for example, your five-year-old is adding pupils and eyelashes to drawings of people or your three-year-old can read an “Exit” sign), but you’re not sure if this is advanced, normal, or means anything in particular at all. Knowing how smart your child is can be critical, because it helps parents to provide more opportunities for their kids’ increased growth, enjoyment, and success in areas of interest.

There are certain childhood behaviors—milestones—that can tell us when children are ahead of or behind others their age. Most of the charts on childhood development show the typical range of behaviors for each age group. If your child is ahead of those tables, that doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is on the fast track or slated to become the next Einstein. Levels of Giftedness range from those who are simply bright to those who are intellectually astonishing.

Ruf Estimates of Levels of Gifted

The Five Ruf Levels of Gifted (Levels 1-5) plus Average & High Average levels and their associated IQ ranges.

Here’s an overview of the various levels of giftedness and milestones that are common—but not necessary—to each Level.  Here, also, are the numbers at each Level of Giftedness that you are likely to find in an average elementary classroom of 28 children.  It is the overall "feel" of where the child fits that tells you the Level.

  1. Level One
    • These children show interest in many things before they are even two years old - like colors, saying the numbers in order, and playing simple puzzles.
    • Most of them are good talkers by age three, and by four, many print letters and numbers, recognize simple signs, their name, and know most of alphabet.
    • By the time they are six years old, many read beginner books and type at the computer, and most read chapter books by age seven.
    • It is not unusual to find six to eight Level One children in an average classroom, children who are nearly always a few steps ahead of what the teacher is teaching the whole class.
  2. Level Two
    • These bright children love looking at books and being read to, even turning pages without ripping them, by 15 months. Some shout out the name of familiar stores as you drive past.
    • They’ll sit for what seems like hours as you read advanced level books, especially fiction and fantasy, to them, but they require a bit less of your time by age six, because most of them read for pleasure and information on their own by then.
    • Level Two children can find only one or two others in their classroom who are as advanced as they are, which starts to make it hard to find good friends.
  3. Level Three
    • They know what adults are telling or asking them by six months. You say a toy, pet, or another person, and they will look for it.
    • By the time they are barely 12 months old, they can get family members to do what they want before they are actually talking.
    • By two years, many like 35+ piece puzzles, memorize favorite books, and know the entire alphabet - in or out of order! 
    • By three years old, they talk constantly, and skip count, count backwards, and do simple adding and subtracting because they like to. They love to print letters and numbers, too.
    • They ask you to teach them to read before five years, and many figure out how to multiply, divide, and do some fractions soon thereafter.
    • Most of these children are a full two to five years beyond grade level by age six and find school too slow.
    • There are one or two Level Three children in every 100 in the average school.  They are rarely in the same elementary class and can feel very, very lonely.
  4. Level Four
    • Level Four babies love books, someone to read them, and pay attention very, very early.
    • They have extensive, complex speaking while still in their toddler years, and their vocabularies are huge!
    • Most of them read easy readers before kindergarten, and then read for information and pleasure soon thereafter, with comprehension for youth and adult level books while only in the early years of school.
    • There are about one per 200 children in the average school. Without special arrangements, they can feel very different from their typical classmates.
  5. Level Five
    • Level Fives have talents in every possible area. Everything is sooner and more intense than others Levels.
    • They have favorite TV shows when barely out of infancy, pick out letters and numbers by before they can talk, and enjoy shape sorters earlier than most children.
    • They print letters, numbers, words, and their names in their early toddler years, and often use anything that is available to form these shapes and figures.
    • They show ability with 35+ piece puzzles, often before they actually speak and interest in complex mazes while still only toddlers.
    • Musical, dramatic, and artistic aptitudes usually start showing by 18 months.
    • Most speak with adult-level complexity shortly after they speak at all!
    • They understand math concepts and basic math functions well before they start formal schooling.
    • They can play card and board games ages 12 and up when they are still in preschool.
    • They have high interest in pure facts, almanacs, and dictionaries by age 3½.
    • They read six or more years beyond grade level with comprehension by six years and usually hit 12th grade level by age 7 or 8.

Once you have a sense of your children’s abilities, you can provide them with more activities and experiences that build on these strengths and take advantage of their talents. Once you have a good estimate of how smart or advanced your children are, you can begin your search for appropriate environments. Choosing the right school for your children might be the most important decision you ever make for their healthy intellectual and emotional growth.

Although this article certainly gives you a chance to make a good estimate yourself - we know that! - the Ruf Estimates™ Kids IQ Test (Online Assessment) not only verifies it for you based on your detailed input, it includes up to 12 pages of Feedback specific to your child's profile. You not only need more than an IQ score or IQ score estimate, you need to know what it means and how to use it to find the best possible educational environment and support for your child. You'll find it here for a fraction of the price of working with someone who only gives a test and still can't give you all of this advice, guidance, interpretation, and resources.

Author’s note: Deborah Ruf, Ph.D., Minneapolis, is an international authority and specialist in gifted assessment, test interpretation, and guidance for the gifted. Having been a parent, teacher and administrator in elementary through graduate education, she writes and speaks about school issues and social and emotional adjustment of gifted children. She developed the Ruf Estimates of Levels of Gifted™, which is delineated in her book, 5 Levels of Gifted: School Issues and Educational Options (formerly titled Losing Our Minds: Gifted Children Left Behind, 2005, as well as in the new online assessment at TalentIgniter.

by on Nov. 14, 2013 at 8:13 PM

My twin 5 year olds, just turned 5 in September, are halfway through Saxon level 1, and are on their way to learning to read.

You don't have to use the label "Gifted" to accelerate your student's curriculum.

Have you seen the video about this family, several of their homeschool kids started and finished college really early... and are well adjusted human beings:,,20752586,00.html 

What I would do when they finish one set of curriculum is take a few months to do unit studies and explorations of things using library and internet resources. Study the planets, or the USA states, or dinosaurs... whatever he's interested in. 
Fostering a love of learning is the most important things. And that would give you a break from constantly buying new workbooks.

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