Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Raising Gifted Children

What is a gifted child? How do you know if your child is gifted? According to the dictionary, "gifted" is having an exceptional talent or natural ability. The second definition is having exceptional intelligence. When you think about gifted programs in schools, what do you think about? Usually gifted programs are filled with kids that are exceptional in math and reading. What about the rest of the kids? Are they not gifted?  I am telling you that they are gifted, just not necessarily in those two intelligences.

Multiple intelligences theory was introduced by Howard Gardner in 1983. He stated that there are nine intelligences all people possess. These intelligences are: logical-mathematical, spatial, linguistic, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal (interaction with others), intrapersonal (introspection and self-awareness), naturalistic, and existential (spiritual). Every person will have gifts in certain areas and will struggle in other areas. This is why every child is gifted.

Unfortunately, the public school system is not with the times yet. Standardized tests like the SATs, PSSAs, IQ tests, and placement tests only test the logical-mathematical and linguistic intelligences. If someone doesn't excel in these areas the tests are unfair. This is why teachers should try to use a broad spectrum of methods and exercises to reach all the students. We should strive to develop all the intelligences, not just a couple.

As a homeschooling mom I find it invaluable to know how to teach for each of my children.  My son is gifted in logical-mathematical and linguistic intelligences. He loves word problems and reading to his sister. I can give him logic brain busters and he can figure out a solution without much trouble. My daughter is a little young yet, but I think she may do well with musical and interpersonal intelligences.  She sings everything all the time (I guess this is my penance). The beauty of the theory of multiple intelligences is that you can continue to work on your intelligences and get better in each ability.  I do pull my son out of his comfort zone to work on his intrapersonal intelligence.  My daughter needs to work on her spatial intelligence, but I am not sure how to help her. She walks into walls and chairs. A lot.

This is why I can say that I am raising gifted children. I don't need them to take a test to show me they are gifted.

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