Question about gifted child

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  • Bekah Burkey

    My son has not been tested or anything but I’m going to venture out and say he is gifted. I know CM didn’t recommend starting lessons until 6 but my son would love to start doing school work now (specifically math and reading). I’ve never pressured him into learning or doing anything formal as I’ve been planning on waiting to start until he turns 6. I’m wondering if I wait if it will hinder his learning as he is already so hungry to learn everything or if it is helpful to be more mature with age to start. Just for reference he is 3.5 years old and loves letters and numbers. He has taught himself to read (can read level one and some level two readers on his own) and is familiar with all numbers (can tell you pretty any number in the hundreds and some thousands) and does addition, subtraction, and has started multiplication tables. He will beg me to do numbers with him and his only form of free play is doing math on his own with his toys. When we have coloring time he writes word and now math problems. I was thinking it might be helpful for him to start the elementary arithmetic series to help him have some sit down learning time and have an outlet to dig into numbers. I’m so hesitant to do anything formal because I really want to have a Charlotte Mason homeschool but I’m still learning about all the methods. Any advice would be much appreciated. I feel a bit over my head.

    Karen Smith

    By formal lessons, Charlotte Mason meant required lessons. It is okay to do informal lessons with a child that is ready for them before age 6.

    Because your son shows a readiness, go ahead and start the arithmetic book with him. Some things to keep in mind:

    Keep it informal, “Would you like to do a math lesson today?” If he says no, put it away and don’t press him to do a lesson. If he says yes, work on a lesson for 5-10 minutes.

    Keep the lessons short, even if he seems to want more. Children often will desire more because they enjoy what they are doing in the moment. Doing more because your child wants to will very likely lead to burn out and take the joy out of learning.

    Move at his pace. If he needs to move faster through the beginning of the book, do it. Don’t require every lesson if he shows an understanding. Move on to where he is challenged, but not frustrated. Lessons that are easy are great to build confidence, but lessons that are too easy for too long will kill the love of learning. On the flip side, if he shows a reluctance to do a lesson or if he shows signs of not grasping the concept, be willing to put the book away for awhile.

    Don’t require the little bit of writing that is in the book. If he wants to write the numbers or a math equation, let him write them in sand/flour/cornmeal/or uncooked rice on a tray or on a chalkboard/whiteboard or on a sidewalk or driveway with chalk.

    Keep in mind that the first arithmetic book is focused on exploring numbers, not memorizing the addition/subtraction tables. Learning the tables is part of book 2. Some children will learn those tables as they work through Book 1, but some will not. Either is normal as children grow and learn at different rates.

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