Good news and bad news, your child is gifted

One day last year toward the end of MBA Son's year in Kindergarten, he brought this home and said it was what he did during free draw time.

Ian math

Yeah. Feel free to double check but I am pretty sure they are all correct.

He started reading at age 3 1/2. I could tell because he would read street signs on streets we had never been on before. He did this on his own. I didn't buy anything from ABC Mouse, Your Baby Can Read or any of those other programs.

We recently had him evaluated for a summer camp for gifted children, just for a week this summer to keep his mind engaged but not too much time to detract from baseball, swimming lessons, and well, free play in general. It turns out he reads at a fifth grade level. Did I mention he is in first grade? Oh, and he was running a 101 fever the day of testing. I didn't realize this until later when he started hacking the night away. I am really sorry if the teacher administering the tests got sick from my kid. Well, he has been admitted to the program for both language arts and math.

He is such a treasure to us and we are incredibly proud of him. Still, lately I am starting to wonder if his giftedness is going to be detrimental to his enjoyment of school.

Last Friday when he came home to start Spring break, his backpack was not empty. It contained the chapter book he had started the week before in his reading group with a few other first grade brainiacs in his class. It also contained a couple of blank worksheets. He has to read 5 more chapters and complete 2 more worksheets over vacation this week. These are not easy, fill in the blank type of worksheets. He has to find favorite passages, and make predictions based on what he has read, among others.

I know he is going to get more work than his peers, and more work that is challenging. I just didn't think that the ruined vacations and elevated expectations would happen so soon. I did mention he was in first grade, right? I already see the heightened anxiety in him. Every week his class takes timed math quizzes and now he asks me to make up worksheets for practice so he can race through them and get every problem right on each sheet the first week. On average, it takes the children two to three weeks to complete each new sheet in the allotted time.

Setting aside issues relating to peer pressure, I also wonder if this increased work is really going to serve him well later in middle school and high school. The thing is, the standards in education have changed so much in the last 15 years with the advent of No Child Left Behind and now Common Core. Even the SAT is changing. Who knows how radically different the expectations will be by the time MBA Son arrives at high school in the fall of 2022. Will the standards be watered down? Will they be harder? Given all this uncertainty, is it worth overtaxing him now?

For now, all is well in the world of MBA Son. The first thing he did when he came home on Friday was take the book out of his backpack and start reading. Of course he did, the book is Matt Christopher's "The Kid Who Only Hit Homers" and he is psyched to start baseball in a couple of weeks. I just pray his love of learning stays this strong. But I really do worry for his gifted future.

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Tags: MBA Son, parenting

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