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100 Hints That Your Child May Be Gifted

100 hints that your child may be gifted

Admit it, you’ve thought about it. You see your precious little one handling blocks with expert dexterity. Your heart swells as they garble through their ABCs. Your pride and joy is walking already or handles math problems with ease and you wonder, Could my child be gifted?

Maybe.

There is a growing community of support for gifted children, but still a lot of murky information about how to actually tell if your child is gifted. ~Raising Lifelong Learners #gifted

There is a growing community of support for the families of gifted children, but still a lot of murky information about how to actually tell if your child is gifted. I remember when my oldest was still a toddler, I was reading a popular parenting magazine and came across a one-page article discussing giftedness in children. Intrigued and convinced that my precious firstborn was obviously a genius, I began comparing him to the checklist they provided… and promptly discovered that he didn’t match a single criteria. Oh well, I thought. I wouldn’t know what to do with a genius. He’s fine how he is.

Years later, surprise! Not only is he gifted, but so is his brother… and his sister. It took a teacher telling us that they were likely gifted – and multiple test results – to convince me. As we began to learn more about what it meant to be gifted, hindsight became more and more clear. The signs were always there, I’d just been wholly misinformed as to what they were!

100 Hints That Your Child May Be Gifted

Here you’ll find 100 real-life and classic hints that your child may be gifted. Since gifted kids are as unique from one another as they are from the general population, not every one of these will be true for every gifted child, and there will definitely be anecdotes experienced by gifted families that aren’t mentioned here. But in general, you may very well have a gifted child on your hands if:

  1. The word “intensity” drums up your child’s image. Intensity is the hallmark of gifted children. Intense feelings, intense reactions, intense drive. Intensity is the word when it comes to gifted kids.

  2. Your child learned to read at an early age, or

  3. they taught themselves how to read.

  4. The questions never, ever stop.

  5. She often seems wise beyond her years, but

  6. sometimes she can seem to behave younger than her actual age, especially when it comes to social and emotional issues.

  7. He experiences fears that children his age don’t.

  8. They are aware of their own mortality.

  9. He sleeps less than other children. Less than the parenting articles say he needs. Less than you need to maintain your sanity.

  10. He takes hours to fall asleep – often because he can’t “turn his brain off”.

  11. She can draw inferences from data, evidence, or Sesame Street.

  12. She can grasp metaphors at a young age.

  13. He can understand and appreciate sarcasm.

  14. He is sarcastic.

  15. She isn’t content to simply absorb information and often asks “why?” what she’s learning is important

  16. They experience anxiety.

  17. He is able to grasp concepts quickly.

  18. She is observant.

  19. He has a large, diverse vocabulary.

  20. She does well in math and can easily apply mathematical concepts to new challenges.

  21. He can’t learn enough. His desire to investigate and ask questions and immerse himself in a subject is insatiable.

  22. She has a rich, vivid, active imagination.

  23. They make up their own elaborate rules to games… or even make up their own elaborate games.

  24. He has a strong sense of justice and becomes particularly upset when faced with inequality.

  25. She can pay attention for long periods of time, especially when compared to her age peers.

  26. He has an excellent memory and can recall facts and information accurately.

  27. Others commented on what an alert infant she was.

  28. He has an intense curiosity about just about everything.

  29. They experience intense reactions to pain.

  30. He corrects others, sometimes rudely, and is usually right.

  31. She has an increased sensitivity to sensory stimuli – noises are louder, smells are more offensive, sock seams are evil.

  32. He can retain information, not just sit through it.

  33. She experiences intense empathy for others in pain or peril.

  34. He thinks so far outside the box that sometimes the box is no longer visible.

  35. They offer creative solutions to basic – or complex – problems.

  36. She often has great insight into situations.

  37. He forms strong attachments – to people, to stuffed animals, to trains, to shoes, to a favorite toothbrush, to anything.

  38. She is able to identify connections between information, facts, and people.

  39. He’s just so original. Your kiddo is quirky and awesome and there doesn’t seem to be anyone like him.

  40. She requires fewer repetitions to master a new skill.

  41. They have passionate interest in (sometimes unusual) topics

  42. He can be pretty argumentative. Any disagreement is apparently an invitation to debate, and

  43. He oftentimes win those debates (whether you tell him or not is up to you!).

  44. She becomes frustrated with repetition and review. Spiral instruction is not for her.

  45. He lacks patience or understanding when others struggle with a task he’s mastered.

  46. She frequently finds school boring.

  47. They have very high standards for everyone around them, but they are often highest when it comes to what they expect from themselves. This often leads to

  48. Struggles with perfectionism.

  49. She daydreams.

  50. He craves and appreciates novelty.

  51. She has a deep self-awareness – though may lack the ability or language to actually identify and describe her inner experiences.

  52. He has an interest in politics and enjoys discussing the latest issues.

  53. They often speak quickly. Their little mouths sometimes can’t keep up with their excitement and ideas.

  54. He’s the classic absent-minded professor – brilliant and disorganized, smart but scattered.

  55. They have a parent or sibling who has been identified as gifted.

  56. She could carry out multi-step instructions from an early age.

  57. He’s very picky – food, textures, smells, oh my!

  58. She asks deep questions.

  59. He has little need for instruction and can often master skills on his own.

  60. She frequently seeks out older children or adults for conversation.

  61. He might have excessive energy, almost like he’s driven by a motor inside.

  62. She’s skeptical, sometimes cynical.

  63. They work well independently and

  64. May even prefer to work independently.

  65. She’s so creative.

  66. He’s aware of how different he is from the kids his own age.

  67. So. Much. Talking.

  68. He expressed an early interest and/or understanding of time.

  69. Her development is asynchronous.

  70. He spoke early… and well.

  71. She exhibited early mastery of motor skill functions.

  72. They hit several developmental milestones early.

  73. She has a deep need to learn, create, go, do…

  74. He has a laser-like focus and

  75. He’s able to multitask successfully.

  76. She has a great sense of humor.

  77. He appreciates puns and dad jokes, long before becoming an actual dad.

  78. She’s able to recognize problems and

  79. She’s able to propose solutions.

  80. “Why?”

  81. They have a wide knowledge base that comes from interests in multiple areas.

  82. He’s able to understand cause and effect relationships.

  83. She can imagine multiple outcomes to situations, which often causes her to

  84. Overthink instructions. In fact, she probably

  85. Overthinks everything.

  86. He can apply new concepts to multiple areas.

  87. She struggles socially, often because of the differences between her and her peers.

  88. He creates his own ways to solve math problems.

  89. They exhibited early pattern recognition.

  90. She’s often a square peg in a round hole world.

  91. He has a strong fear of or preoccupation with death.

  92. She is highly critical of herself.

  93. He doesn’t just get interested in a topic, he obsesses.

  94. They unknowingly dominate their peers.

  95. Their standards and expressive skills often push them towards natural leadership.

  96. She deeply experiences her surroundings.

  97. He doesn’t blindly accept unproven authority.

  98. What’s normal for her sounds like you’re bragging to others.

  99. He has a low threshold for frustration.

  100. She thrives on complexity.

Related: If He’s REALLY So Smart… When Gifted Kids Struggle

100 hints your child may be gifted

 

Is My Child Really Gifted If They Are Struggling In School?

You may notice that among the 100 traits listed above, not once were grades mentioned as an indicator of giftedness. Being a gifted child is not all about straight-A’s and perfect test scores, it’s a neurological difference that affects many, many areas of their lives and really turns up the intensity knob.

Sure, many gifted kids have impressive report cards, but they also have struggles, fears, and unique experiences that set them apart from the crowd.

No question, It is a unique set of complex circumstances that creates a unique family dynamic and educational challenges. 

But please know, you are not alone in it. 

Are You Homeschooling A Gifted Child?

The Learner's Lab

The Learner’s Lab is the community created just for your quirky family.  It’s full of creative lessons, problem solving activities, critical and divergent thinking games, and the social-emotional support differently-wired children and teens need most.

All from the comfort of your own home. 

This community was created to support children who are gifted and twice exceptional. We address topics just like this all year long, in a way that is educational and fun for children. They learn skills to help them cope and you learn how to help them along the way. 

We invite you to join us. Get all the details HERE.

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RLL #107: Learning as an Unschooling Family with Robyn Robertson

rll 107 learning as an unschooling family with robyn robertson

 

I truly believe that the best way we can educate our gifted and twice-exceptional (2E) kids is through homeschooling with self-directed learning and unschooling.

Self-Directed Learning vs. Unschooling?

Self-directed learning is a self-motivated pursuit of knowledge not based on a required set of circumstances but learning for its own sake. Using an unschooling approach to learning simply means that activities and lessons are not structured or required.

Children constantly learn through their interactions and experiences with the world around them.  Many families find that creating their own flexible homeschool and allowing their kids to be the driving force in their learning is the very best educational option for our above-average kids.

RLL #107: Learning as an Unschooling Family with Robyn Robertson

Self-directed learning and unschooling is better for gifted and 2E learners

Our kids aren’t cookie cutter, why would we think a one size fits all of educating will fit them? An example might be a kiddo who loves math and excels ahead of his same-age peers but is also struggling with reading. We could encourage his reading through the “strewing” of picture books about math, making them available for him to discover. This would likely be more interesting to him than a remedial reading curriculum. 

A lot of gifted kids are energized by making “dive deeps” into areas of interest. In our family, there is a genuine need to go into detailed study! Just because measures like tests or projects show mastery has occurred doesn’t mean our kids are done with learning about the subject. With self-directed homeschooling, limits are easily removed in open-ended learning at home; there is no timetable to follow. By exploring those tangents, our kids are motivated to learn more in depth and with greater passion.

The benefits of self-directed learning and unschooling point to just how good it is for gifted and 2E kids.

There’s a confidence that comes to children when they have buy-in to their learning. Self-directed learners are motivated in their learning and hesitate less to investigate new things.

More flexible learning gives us a way where overexcitabilities and asynchrony are less of an issue. Home is a safer environment in which to learn strategies to handle differences and adjust behaviors.  Homeschooling parents are readily available to give our kids the support they need if they’re asynchronous. Scaffolding can provide for areas where our child might struggle, so that they can continue to learn and create at their level. Take for example the child who has difficulty with handwriting, but who has a great imagination and concocts wonderfully imaginative stories. Allowing her to dictate her story to a parent to record is a way of giving her space to explore her talent as a “writer” while supporting her as she works on penmanship.

Unschooling benefits the whole family by creating space to create.

Grace Llewellyn explains, “You don’t need a schoolteacher to get knowledge – you can get it from looking at the world, from watching films, from conversations, from reading, from asking questions, from experience. When you get down to it, unschooling is really just a fancy term for ‘life’ or ‘growing up uninstitutionalized.’” 

Unschooling gives us more room to explore interests and have wonderful life experiences in the safest of environments, within the family, those relationships will always be their very best teacher. Important skills like critical thinking, problem solving, fostering authenticity and lifelong learning take time and attention which we can adjust and focus on while we homeschool.

Ultimately, as parents of these “outside-the-box thinkers,” we learn to trust our children better and respect their learning needs. All kids have an intrinsic desire to learn and create; but our kids tend towards MORE of everything. In self-directed learning and unschooling, we can be our kiddos’ greatest champion, cheering them on to becoming the very best people they can be.

unschooling life learning grace llewellyn

Families who already use self-directed learning and unschooling provide support and encouragement.

This week’s podcast episode is a conversation with Robyn Robertson of Honey I’m Homeschooling the Kids. She shares the background of her unschooling family and makes an important analogy of self-directed learning as being a journey we travel on with our entire family.  Some of the ideas Robyn and Colleen share in this episode are:

  • Travel together as a family in your learning, even if everyone is learning about different things.
  • Keep going back to knowing why you’re doing it and adjust as needed.
  • Experience life together, share stories as a family. This will cause you to build connections through these shared experiences.
  • Take field trips, have family projects, attend independent classes and enrichment programs, enroll in online courses and exercise programs, and leave room for a lot of personal time. If the individual wants to pursue a formal class, that can be unschooling as well!

Learning Mindset Happiness is goal Robyn Robertson

Links and Resources from Today’s Show:

            

Leave a Rating or Review

Doing so helps me get the word out about the podcast. iTunes bases their search results on positive ratings, so it really does help — and it’s easy!

    • Click THIS link to go to the podcast main page.
    • Click on View in iTunes under the podcast cover artwork.
    • Once your iTunes has launched and you are on the podcast page, click on Ratings and Review under the podcast name. There you can leave either or both! Thanks so much.

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If He’s REALLY So Smart… When Gifted Kids Struggle

if hes really so smart when gifted kids struggle

“Boy is he an EXTREME thinker! If he actually took the time to sit and focus on his work, he could accomplish anything…”

when gifted children struggle

As helpful and positive as his preschool teacher thought she was being, words like this can set some of our most intelligent kiddos up for a lifetime of failure. So, why do some gifted children struggle so much?

If they’re really as smart as we say they are, why can’t some of them just do their work? Or behave better? Or act nicer? Or…?

I remember watching my son spin in circles in the back of his preschool classroom while the others sat raptly taking in their teacher’s read aloud. And cringing. Why couldn’t he just sit still? All the other kids were managing it.

Never mind that he understood everything that was going on in the story, and could recount whole passages, identify individual characters and speak to their motivation, inferring cause and effect at a much higher lever than any of his intently listening classmates. He couldn’t do it in a way that didn’t disrupt the others – or distract the teacher.

Related: A Kid with an Issue Can’t Be Gifted, Right?

Twice Exceptional Gifted Children

 

What do Twice Exceptional Children Look Like?

Twice exceptional children are gifted kiddos who struggle with other neurological, learning, or physical issues. Twice exceptional children can look perfectly ordinary in a classroom setting. Their abilities mask their disabilities, and their disabilities mask their abilities, making them seem perfectly average.

Sometimes, though, a child’s giftedness might shine through more than his disability, making it seem like he’s not living up to his potential. He seems like he should be achieving so much ore than he is, but is choosing not to. The reality is that his difficulties make it impossible to live up to his potential. He just can’t overcome them without intervention.

I remember the fall parent-teacher conference we went to when our son was in first grade. We were invited to look inside his desk to see what his teacher “had to put up with.” Our kiddo, who meticulously organized his action figures, cars, and LEGO each night before he went to bed, had a desk full to the brim with crumpled papers, broken pencils, dried out markers, and ripped folders. There was also a thick stack of unfinished worksheets in a folder.

Those were the ones he’d never turned in because they’d gotten lost somewhere in his desk or classroom. The teacher had recopied them and placed them in a new folder for our bright, hyperactive, wiggly, and sensory kiddo to work on instead of going out to recess with his friends.

Does this sound familiar?

Many twice exceptional children struggle with executive functioning issues, and can’t organize their thinking enough to turn things in, keep things organized (when they’re not interested), or follow multiple step directions. It doesn’t matter how smart they are, they just can’t do it. Their lack of organizational skills results in a messy desk, overflowing backpack, and problems keeping track of books and papers. Difficulties with prioritizing and planning make it impossible for them to complete assignments in a timely manner. They are easily distracted and struggle to focus and sustain attention.

Related: Homeschooling Twice Exceptional Kids

Twice Exceptional Gifted Children

 

Why Do Twice Exceptional Children Struggle?

The extreme frustration these kiddos feel when they can’t meet their own and others’ expectations, combined with the frustration of adults who don’t understand why a bright child does not achieve, can lead to conflict, misunderstandings, and failure.

Our twice exceptional kids can seem stubborn, opinionated, and argumentative, but they also appear to be overly sensitive to criticism. Many of these kiddos struggle with social skills which leads to feelings of isolation when they have trouble making and keeping friends. In order to avoid failing, 2e kids may try to manipulate the situation or simply refuse to try an assignment.

These kids are literally wired to struggle.

I mean, really, can you imagine how incredibly difficult it must be to have big thoughts swirling around your head, with the cognitive ability to understand things at a much deeper level than kids your age normally can, but have trouble spelling or reading words?

My 6 year old struggles mightily with sensory processing disorder, anxiety, and reading. She solves math problems for fun. Asks for science experiments and documentaries. Can converse at length about an incredibly intricate and imaginative world that lives only in her head. But she can’t read the simplest text. Her thinking is complex, but she lacks the skills to work independently because she has such trouble with words. It is incredibly frustrating for her.

And, since she already battles anxiety, the difficulties she faces with reading make her feel like a failure, and she acts out and argues when it’s time to read.

Yet she adores stories. She’ll look at the pictures in books for hours and listen to audio books and read alouds all day long. She can make the most amazing connections between what’s happening in stories she hears and the world in which she lives.

Related: Parenting and Teaching a Twice Exceptional Child

Twice Exceptional Gifted Children

 

Living a Gifted/Twice Exceptional Life

We’re in a wonderful position because with homeschooling, we can easily nurture her giftedness while remediating for her disabilities in a loving way. It’s often thought that kids need to have their problems solved before working on pushing their strengths further, academically, but research shows the opposite is true. When we focus on a child’s strengths and build them up, they gain the confidence they need to tackle those deficits.

When gifted kids struggle with anxiety, ADHD, learning disabilities, sensory processing disorder, or other struggles they need to be nurtured and built up by the ones they trust most – parents, teachers, and friends. It’s important to work together with the other people in your kiddo’s life to help them understand how best to help your child.

And your twice exceptional child needs to know what a gift he or she is to you. When someone says or implies that, if your child is so smart he should just get it and be able to be successful, you need to be the one to educate – whether it’s a family member, friend, or teacher.

You’re your child’s biggest advocate. And he’s perfect just the way he is.

Extreme thinking and all…

What “If he’s really so smart…” moments have you had lately?

You Don’t Have To Homeschool Your Gifted Child Alone!

The Learner's Lab

The Learner’s Lab is the community created just for your quirky family.  It’s full of creative lessons, problem solving activities, critical and divergent thinking games, and the social-emotional support differently-wired children and teens need most.

All from the comfort of your own home. 

This community was created to support children who are gifted and twice exceptional. We address topics just like this all year long, in a way that is educational and fun for children. They learn skills to help them cope and you learn how to help them along the way. 

We invite you to join us. Get all the details HERE.

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RLL #106: [Audioblog] Young Gifted Children | Reflections from Parents

rll 106 audioblog young gifted children reflections from parents


Did you just know that your child was gifted from the start? You know, that feeling down deep in your gut that something was different about your tiny tot, but you weren’t able to completely pinpoint it?  Or maybe you went straight to a search engine with questions like, “signs my baby is gifted” or “What age can you tell if your child is gifted?”

Research shows that parents are pretty accurate when identifying their young children as gifted.  Whether early talking or walking, having extreme abilities of observation or learning, or even needing little sleep, a lot of our quirky kids start demonstrating unusually advanced behaviors from a very young age!

Today’s episode is an audioblog of a post that first appeared on the website, where Colleen asked parents to think back to when their young children were infants or toddlers. The responses were fascinating! Listen as parents share in their own words what traits and characteristics they could see now, in hindsight, that made them realize their child was gifted.  

RLL #106: [Audioblog] Young Gifted Children | Reflections from Parents

Links and Resources from Today’s Show:

         

Leave a Rating or Review

Doing so helps me get the word out about the podcast. iTunes bases their search results on positive ratings, so it really does help — and it’s easy!

    • Click THIS link to go to the podcast main page.
    • Click on View in iTunes under the podcast cover artwork.
    • Once your iTunes has launched and you are on the podcast page, click on Ratings and Review under the podcast name. There you can leave either or both! Thanks so much.

Want to record your own question, comment, or have your kids tell us what they LOVE to learn about? Click below and start recording!


 

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RLL #105: Parenting ADHD and Autism with Penny Williams

rll 105 parenting adhd and autism with penny williams


Parenting our neurodiverse kiddos, whether gifted or twice-exceptional kiddos (including autistic and ADHD), is just plain different. Typical parenting books and practices won’t always work when we’re trying to find ways to help our children become the very best people they can be. Parenting them takes intentionality and a different kind of parenting mindset.

Today, Colleen speaks with Penny Williams of Parenting ADHD and Autism about how we really need to be okay with who our neurodiverse kiddos are and learn how to celebrate their differences.  This is a terrific conversation to glean wisdom from two parents who have faced struggles that are common in parenting atypical kids.

RLL #105: Parenting ADHD and Autism with Penny Williams

Links and Resources from Today’s Show:

            

Leave a Rating or Review

Doing so helps me get the word out about the podcast. iTunes bases their search results on positive ratings, so it really does help — and it’s easy!

    • Click THIS link to go to the podcast main page.
    • Click on View in iTunes under the podcast cover artwork.
    • Once your iTunes has launched and you are on the podcast page, click on Ratings and Review under the podcast name. There you can leave either or both! Thanks so much.

Want to record your own question, comment, or have your kids tell us what they LOVE to learn about? Click below and start recording!


 

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Should You Homeschool Your Gifted Children?

should you homeschool your gifted children

The longer I homeschool my gifted children, and the more I see and talk to other parents of gifted and twice-exceptional kids, the more I believe that homeschooling is the best educational option for our nation’s above-average children.

Why Should You Homeschool Your Gifted Children

Just to clarify something, though, before I get started – I am not saying that homeschooling is the only way to meet the needs of your gifted kids. I have some wonderful friends who have gifted children of their own and send them to school. I also have friends who teach gifted children in school settings, and don’t want to discredit their passion.

I believe, though, that homeschooling is “best-practice education” for gifted kids. I’d also like to note that, throughout my coursework in gifted studies, I came to the conclusion that the basic underlying tenet of gifted education – meet children where they are, wherever that is, and move them forward towards their potential – is best-practice for ALL children.

Why, though?

Why do I think that you SHOULD homeschool your gifted children?

Gifted kids tend to:

  • learn basic skills quickly and with little practice.
  • construct and handle abstractions easily.
  • pick up nonverbal cues & draw inferences that are tough for children their age to see.
  • take little for granted, preferring to know the ‘”hows” and “whys.”
  • be wildly eclectic and intensely focused in their interests.
  • have boundless energy {causing many to be misdiagnosed as ADHD}.
  • relate well to adults, preferring to spend their time conversing with older children and grownups.
  • be highly inquisitive.
  • be interested in the unusual.
  • want to explore their world persistently.
  • observe deeply.
  • be single-minded.
  • ask “what if” all.the.time.
  • to learn faster & with greater depth than age-peers.

Homeschool Your Gifted Children

Any of these characteristics in isolation is tough to address in a typical classroom, a kid with many of them is completely lost in the masses. There is simply no way a teacher can meet these needs while remediating for those who struggle, and teaching the typical students well.

Too often, gifted students get pushed aside because they “already know the material” and “will be just fine.”

But they won’t be fine.

All children have the right to be met where they are, intellectually, and given the tools and teaching they need to work towards their potential.

At home, you are able to talk to your son about what he wants to learn.

You can choose to skip whole chapters in the math series if you see that your daughter has already mastered those concepts.

If your child struggles with his thoughts coming faster than he can physically write, you can be his scribe for awhile. Or you can hand over your old netbook or laptop.

You can easily incorporate movement into the day for your child who seems like he is in constant motion. {We’ve had a mini trampoline inside the house since we began homeschooling.}

Homeschool Your Gifted Children

Lessons can be chopped to the five or ten most difficult problems. If those are answered correctly, why bother having your daughter do the rest of them? She clearly knows the material.

Is your child intensely interested in astronomy? You can see that he visits the local science center, writes to an astronomy professor at a local university, joins a junior astronomical society, finds books in the library that match both his interest-level and reading ability, and that he pulls all his knowledge together to share it with someone and solidify his learning.

During his first half-year of homeschooling, right after we pulled him out of first grade mid-year, Trevor did just that. He immersed himself {as a 7 year old} in the world of advanced astronomy. While he couldn’t read all of the books we found at his intellectual and interest level, I was able to incorporate them as read alouds. He pulled everything together into a lapbook so thick it has to be rubber banded closed, and shared it with anyone who stopped by {for a r-e-a-l-l-y long time}.

But he KNOWS about advanced astronomy still. He asks great questions when he visits the science center and someone from the NASA-Glenn Space Center is visiting. By tapping into his interests, and running with them, we were able to cover science, reading, writing, and history in a way that was motivating and engaging for him.

Homeschooling works for gifted kids because their needs can be met in ways that are as unique as they are.

The hardest part of homeschooling your gifted kids, for you, will be getting out of the way. I don’t mean leaving them to their own designs, though many would argue that unschooling is a good option for gifted kids – I’m too, well, controlling to give up the reigns completely, and I know my kids’ personalities. They don’t do very well when things get too unstructured.

By getting out of the way, I mean not getting tied to one thing. Be flexible and ready to embrace new topics and methods. It might be pirates one month, and astronauts another, with butterflies and lifecycles thrown in their for a week when your child has stumble across a cool fact and wants to explore, but learning will take place.

When you make the leap to homeschool your gifted children, worlds of possibilities open up. The hardest part for me was shifting paradigms and embracing a homeschooling lifestyle fully.

Do you homeschool your gifted child?

You Don’t Have To Homeschool Your Gifted Child Alone!

The Learner's Lab

The Learner’s Lab is the community created just for your quirky family.  It’s full of creative lessons, problem solving activities, critical and divergent thinking games, and the social-emotional support differently-wired children and teens need most.

All from the comfort of your own home. 

This community was created to support children who are gifted and twice exceptional. We address topics just like this all year long, in a way that is educational and fun for children. They learn skills to help them cope and you learn how to help them along the way. 

We invite you to join us. Get all the details HERE.

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For more information on homeschooling gifted kids, check out:

         

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RLL #104: A Conversation About Mindset with Shawna Wingert

rll 104 a conversation about mindset with shawna wingert

 

Mindset is generally thought to be the attitudes or habits of an individual’s mind that is formed by previous experience. These attitudes can predetermine a person’s response or interpretation to any given situation. Our quirky kiddos are not immune to “fixed” mindsets, and it can sometimes be a real challenge to help them to see things in a different way or try a new approach to something that has them stumped.

Today, Colleen and Shawna Wingert have a conversation about mindset, specifically to help families like ours move away from rigid and inflexible thinking. They also discuss the incredible resources inside the RLL membership community, The Learner’s Lab, and how families can work on social/emotional needs like mindset through the fun lessons and activities for kiddos, the parent master classes and the monthly online teen chats.

RLL #104: A Conversation on Mindset with Shawna Wingert

Links and Resources from Today’s Show:

                     

Leave a Rating or Review

Doing so helps me get the word out about the podcast. iTunes bases their search results on positive ratings, so it really does help — and it’s easy!

    • Click THIS link to go to the podcast main page.
    • Click on View in iTunes under the podcast cover artwork.
    • Once your iTunes has launched and you are on the podcast page, click on Ratings and Review under the podcast name. There you can leave either or both! Thanks so much.

Want to record your own question, comment, or have your kids tell us what they LOVE to learn about? Click below and start recording!


 

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RLL #103: Entrepreneurial Mindset with Brian Weisfeld

rll 103 entrepreneurial mindset with brian weisfeld


Here at Raising Lifelong Learners, we are very much concerned with promoting the social and emotional needs of gifted and twice exceptional children. Research shows that resiliency, adaptability, accepting rejection, and “bouncing back” from failure are some of the critical skills necessary for having a successful life. They are also vital skills for being a successful entrepreneur!

Today, Colleen speaks with Brian Weisfeld, girls’ entrepreneurship advocate and author of The Start Up Squad, about how encouraging an entrepreneurial mindset can be a key component to helping all kids, boys included, to develop these important life skills, follow their passions, and reach their full potential even beyond kids starting their own businesses.

RLL #103: Entrepreneurial Mindset with Brian Weisfeld

Links and Resources from Today’s Show:

               

Leave a Rating or Review

Doing so helps me get the word out about the podcast. iTunes bases their search results on positive ratings, so it really does help — and it’s easy!

    • Click THIS link to go to the podcast main page.
    • Click on View in iTunes under the podcast cover artwork.
    • Once your iTunes has launched and you are on the podcast page, click on Ratings and Review under the podcast name. There you can leave either or both! Thanks so much.

Want to record your own question, comment, or have your kids tell us what they LOVE to learn about? Click below and start recording!


 

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100 Quirks of Famous Gifted People (That Will Make You Feel Better About Your Own Quirky Kid)

100 quirks of famous gifted people that will make you feel better about your own quirky kid

If my son had a theme song, it would sound like nervous laughter. People often aren’t sure what to make of him.

Is he being sarcastic?

Is he being rude?

Does he even know what he’s saying?

Are those… dead bugs he’s displaying?

Hasn’t he worn that hoodie every day this week?

What’s with the stuffed monkey — isn’t he supposed to be some kind of genius?

Yes. To all of it.

My profoundly gifted son is full of quirks, preferences, and aversions. Some of them are funny. Many of them are frustrating. But all of them make up who he is and serve as reminders that he’s just… different.

For those times you need a reminder that different is their norm, here are 100 quirks of gifted people throughout history! #gifted ~Raising Life Long Learners

I’ve written before about how gifted kids aren’t always the stereotypical nerds you might imagine, or are used to seeing portrayed on tv. They’re just kids, really, whose brains happen to work differently, and who are just trying to go about living their life as normally as they can.

But their normal isn’t always society’s normal, and as much as I emphasize that they’re not caricatures, they still don’t really… blend in.

Gifted kids – gifted people – are full of quirks. Sometimes they’re due to sensory issues, sometimes overexcitabilities, maybe asynchronous development, or just plain odd interests or hobbies. Whether we embrace them or try to hide them, these quirks are not only hallmarks of giftedness, they’re part of what makes our kiddos just so endearing (and sometimes difficult). Annoying, adorable, or enervating, for better or worse, these kiddos are just plain different

Related: 100 Hints That Your Child May Be Gifted , Survival Mode for Parents of Quirky Kids 100 quirks of famous gifted people

For those times you need a reminder that different is their norm – or maybe just need to know that your kiddo isn’t the oddest one out there – here are 100 quirks and eccentricities of gifted people throughout history!

  1. Let’s start with history’s most well-known quirky brain – Albert Einstein, who did not wear socks. He bragged about this and how he secretly got away with such lack of civilization, that rebel, but also decided that since his big toe always made a hole in his socks, he’d just cut out the middle man and stop wearing them altogether!
  2. Pythagoras, a famous vegetarian, hated beans so much that not only did he forbid his followers from eating them, legend says that he was killed by attackers because he refused to escape by running through a bean field.
  3. Charles Dickens always carried a comb with him and fixed his hair hundreds of times a day.
  4. Dickens also slept facing north – he was convinced this improved his creativity, and kept a compass with him to ensure he was sleeping correctly.
  5. Edgar Allen Poe, admittedly not the most conforming guy as it is, refused to write on paper and instead wrote on scrolls. Stylish.
  6. Andy Warhol kept a mummified human foot next to his bed.
  7. Benjamin Franklin talked to himself.
  8. Dr. Yoshiro Nakamatsu, the inventor of the floppy disk, CD, DVD, and digital watch, believed that staying underwater long enough to nearly reach the point of drowning would stimulate his brain.
  9. Dr. Nakamatsu also had a bathroom tiled in 24k gold, which he believed blocked out television and radio waves, and where he liked to go and think.
  10. Another believer in the power of water, Ludwig von Beethoven would pour water all over himself periodically throughout the day while he was composing.
  11. Henry Cavendish was so shy that he would communicate with his servants only through letters. If he unexpectedly ran into one, they were dismissed.
  12. Cavendish also had a second staircase built in his home to help him avoid accidental interactions with the servants.
  13. Truman Capote refused to start – or finish – a work on a Friday.
  14. Capote also never allowed three cigarettes to burn in the same ashtray.
  15. Apparently very passionate about numbers, Capote would refuse to call anyone whose phone number added up to what he considered an “unlucky number”.
  16. Mark Zuckerberg only eats meat from animals that he kills himself.
  17. Honore de Balzac, the playwright, drank up to 50 cups of coffee a day. But honestly, how unreasonable is this, really?
  18. The mysterious mathematician Paul Erdos drank excessive amounts of coffee took caffeine pills, and even the occasional amphetamines to stay awake while only sleeping 4 hours a day.  “A mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems,” he once said.
  19. Nikola Tesla worked from 3 am until 11 pm. This eventually lead to a mental breakdown, but once recovered he continued with the same schedule.
  20. Leonardo DaVinci, in a similar vein, followed the Uberman sleep schedule, which meant that he took 20-minute naps every four hours.
  21. Stephen King’s pillows must all be facing a specific way before he can fall asleep.
  22. Winston Churchill’s sleep schedule was such a mess that he often held cabinet meetings while he was in his bath!
  23. Emily Bronte was an insomniac and would walk circles around her dining room table until she felt tired enough to sleep. (Are you sensing a theme with all of the sleep quirks and how difficult it is to turn those brilliant brains off?)
  24. Thomas Edison would test interviewees by offering them a bowl of soup: if they added salt to their bowl before tasting it, he believed they made too many assumptions.
  25. Mary Shelley kept a boa constrictor in her writing studio and wrapped it around her shoulders while she worked. When it began to squeeze, she allowed herself to take a break.
  26. Ezra Pound breathed through his nose until it was time to write – then he would breathe exclusively through his mouth.
  27. Leonardo da Vinci makes another appearance on this list because the left-handed dyslexic polymath wrote backwards in all of his notebooks.
  28. Salvador Dali, when asked for an autograph, would keep the pen of the fan who asked!
  29. Nikola Tesla would not touch anything round.
  30. Demosthenes, an ancient Greek statesman, rehearsed his speeches in an underground hideout for long periods of time, often with stones in his mouth, and sometimes shaving half of his head to ensure that he wouldn’t speak before an audience until he was ready.
  31. Ben Franklin would spend up to an hour, every morning, standing naked in front of his open window. He called these “air baths.”
  32. Winston Churchill also loved spending time in his birthday suit. Not only was he known to dictate letters and conduct business in his office in the nude, he met Franklin D. Roosevelt while completely in the buff!
  33. Conversely, Ulysses S. Grant bragged that no one had seen him nude since his birth, as he just preferred to remain dressed.
  34. Alexandre Dumas color-coded his writing – blue for fiction, pink for articles, and yellow for poetry.
  35. John Quincy Adams greenlit an expedition to dig into the earth and discover the mole people he believed lived beneath our surface. To his credit, he wanted to form a diplomatic relationship with them.
  36. Tesla – back again – would curl his toes 100 times every night before he fell asleep in order to boost his brain.
  37. Jane Austen was known to continue daydreaming about her characters years after a work was finished.
  38. Composer Igor Stravinksy would start each day with a 15-minute headstand. Also to boost his brain.
  39. Charlie Chaplain loved to throw custard pies and nude women. There’s no known explanation for this.
  40. Ernest Hemingway would share his daily writing goals with his six-toed cats. He refused to discuss plans with normal-toed cats, as he believed they were poor listeners.
  41. William Wadsworth, however, read his poems to his dog. If his dog got agitated or barked, Wadsworth would go back and tweak the poem.
  42. Nikola Tesla, the lovable quirk who can’t keep himself off this list, once invited Mark Twain over. Tesla had just completed his high-frequency oscillator and Twain was troubled with constipation, and Tesla was convinced that he could help if only Mark would stand on the oscillator. Funnily enough, after only 90 seconds, it worked!
  43. Marlon Brando was such a fan of flatulence that upon receiving the gift of a fart machine, he exclaimed, “I’ve found God!”
  44. Michelangelo wore his boots for such long periods of time, even wearing them to bed, that when he finally did remove them his assistant said that his skin came away with them.
  45. As you can imagine, leaving his boots on for so long meant that Michelangelo rarely bathed.
  46. He also hated speaking with people and was known to walk away mid-conversation! Although I’m sure the person he was speaking to was grateful.
  47. Beethoven was also a hygiene hater. He got so dirty that his friends would take his clothes away and wash them while he slept!
  48. Emily Dickinson was a hermit who would often only speak to guests through a locked door.
  49. Lady Gaga is so afraid of ghosts that she spends thousands of dollars on paranormal investigators and ghost-hunting equipment.
  50. Marjori Desai, the first Prime Minister of India’s non-Congress government, drank his own urine. Every day.
  51. Ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes would defecate in public.
  52. William Faulkner preferred to type with his toes – and kept shoes on his hands while he worked!
  53. Sir George Sitwell had a sign upon entering his estate that read, “I must ask that anyone entering the house never to contradict me or differ from me in any way, as it interferes with the functioning of my gastric juices and prevents my sleeping at night.” I may actually try this one.
  54. Franz Kafka ate a pineapple upside down cake anytime he finished a story – and wouldn’t share a bite with anyone.
  55. Tesla makes the list again for his obsession with pigeons. Towards the end of his life he lived in almost total isolation… apart from the pigeons he would cover himself with.
  56. Alexander Graham Bell kept his windows covered at all times. He wanted to protect himself from the harmful rays… of the moon.
  57. Quentin Tarantino writes screenplays with mostly felt-tip pens, but will make the occasional exception for his ex-girlfriend’s 1980’s word processor. Vintage.
  58. James Joyce kept a pair of doll underwear in his pocket.
  59. Steve Jobs cried. A lot. Over just about anything.
  60. He also refused to put a license plate on his car.
  61. Mozart wrote graphic, expletive-filled poems to his mother – who responded in kind!
  62. Elon Musk read for up to 10 hours a day as a child. This one also seems totally acceptable.
  63. Einstein, being either thrifty or green, would pick up used cigarette butts off of the streets and use the leftover tobacco he found in them for his pipe.
  64. That’s not the only thing he picked up. Albert Einstein also picked up insects from the ground and ate them. Live.
  65. Nikola Tesla (you didn’t think we were done talking about him, did you?) was so averse to pearls that he once sent his secretary home for wearing them.
  66. Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe believed a dwarf named Jepp possessed psychic powers and would pay him to sit under his dinner table during meal times.
  67. French King Charles “The Mad” believed he was a wolf made out of glass. He not only chased people around his castle while howling at them, but he also would not allow anyone to touch him for fear of shattering.
  68. Andrew Jackson constantly challenged people to duels and is believed to have participated in hundreds of them.
  69. Martin Luther reportedly ate a spoonful of his own feces for “health benefits” from time to time.
  70. Victor Hugo would have his assistant hide his clothes in an effort to force him to meet his writing goals.
  71. Cisco Systems co-founder Sandy Lerner is such a fan of jousting that she breeds her own horses and wears Elizabethan costumes while practicing.
  72. Our friend Nikola Tesla would walk around a building 3 times before entering it.
  73. He was so obsessed with the number 3 that he also ate his meals with 6 sets of 3 napkins.
  74. Georgia O’Keefe, while surrounded by views and space on a ranch in New Mexico, preferred to paint in her car.
  75. Former emperor of China Zhengde loved playing shopkeeper so much that he had an entire fake city block built.
  76. Howard Hughes is another famous brain known for multiple quirks and mental illness. He once lived in his screening room for 4 months, surviving solely off of chocolate bars, milk, and chicken.
  77. Other times, however, Hughes would enjoy a steak meal with 12 peas of equal size. If the peas were not uniform, they were sent back to the kitchen and replaced.
  78. Lord Byron kept, ahem, hairs of his lovers in a file, which remained at his publishing house for more than 100 years after his death. Whoever kept that file should also be on this list.
  79. Less strangely, Lord Byron kept a live bear in his dorm room as a pet… and tried to get it a fellowship.
  80. Agatha Christie would write anywhere but at a desk.
  81. She also fueled her creativity by eating apples in the bathtub while examining crime scene photos.
  82. Virginia Woolf wrote standing up – though only to prove to her sister, a painter, that her work was not any easier.
  83. Sigmund Freud, while delving into the depths of the human psyche, was addicted to cocaine.
  84. When he wasn’t looking around for stuff to pick up, Einstein would play his violin for birds, while tears streamed down his face.
  85. Stephen King hates adverbs. Passionately.
  86. Andy Warhol kept more than a human foot – he was a bona fide hoarder.
  87. Pablo Picasso disliked discussing his art with fans so much that he fired a small revolver loaded with blanks whenever he found them to ask too many questions.
  88. Abstract painter Wassily Kandinsky had synesthesia and heard certain colors “hissing” at him when he tried to mix them.
  89. Leonardo da Vinci loved birds so much that he would buy them at markets just to set them free.
  90. Hans Christian Anderson carried a coil of rope with him everywhere he went, in case he was ever caught in a hotel fire.
  91. Sir Francis Galton, a prolific scientist, carried a brick with him regularly, in case he found himself in a crowd and needed something to stand on.
  92. Composer Gioachino Rossini wore a wig due to being completely bald, which seems reasonable. However when it got cold outside, he would pile them on and wear 2 or 3 wigs at once!
  93. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was convinced that Harry Houdini had actual magical powers – no matter how much Houdini himself insisted he did not.
  94. Henry Ford was pretty uninterested in food, preferring instead to gather roadside weeds to be prepared and eaten.
  95. Salvador Dali is featured again for this gem – he carried around a jewel-encrusted cigarette case filled with false mustaches, which he politely offered to his friends.
  96. German poet Friedrich Schiller could not work without the stench of rotten apples sitting on his desk.
  97. Architect Richard Buckminster Fuller worked on a scrapbook of his life for almost 7 decades until his death. If stacked, the scrapbook would be roughly the size of the Empire State Building.
  98. Steve Jobs would eat only one or two foods, such as carrots or apples, for weeks at a time.
  99. He also believed his plant-only diet negated body odor. According to his coworkers, it didn’t.
  100. Oscar Wilde is rumored to have once walked a lobster down the street. On a leash, thank goodness.

famous gifted people

Whew, there have been some brainy and bizarre people in our time! Now your kiddo’s bug collection or qualms with their food touching don’t seem quite as hard to swallow, huh?

Hopefully you got a good chuckle from this list and remember it the next time you hear the nervous laughter from a stranger. More than anything, though, I’m dying to know – what are your kiddo’s quirks?

A Perfect Option For Your Quirky Child

The Learner's Lab

The Learner’s Lab is the community created just for your quirky family.  It’s full of creative lessons, problem solving activities, critical and divergent thinking games, and the social-emotional support differently-wired children and teens need most.

All from the comfort of your own home. 

This community was created to support children who are gifted and twice exceptional. We address topics just like this all year long, in a way that is educational and fun for children. They learn skills to help them cope and you learn how to help them along the way. 

We invite you to join us. Get all the details HERE.

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RLL #102: A Conversation about Connection with Shawna Wingert

rll 102 a conversation about connection with shawna wingert


Today, we begin featuring a new type of podcast episode at Raising Lifelong Learners with Colleen Kessler, what we’re calling “A Conversation About.”  Colleen will be meeting with Shawna Wingert of Different By Design Learning at least monthly to discuss topics, common struggles and questions that come up often with our quirky and “outside-the-box” kiddos and families.  This week’s conversation centers around connection: how important it is to foster connection with your kids, encourage the relationships between siblings, and build a culture of connection as a family and as part of your community.

RLL #102: A Conversation about Connection with Shawna Wingert

Links and Resources from Today’s Show:

         

Leave a Rating or Review

Doing so helps me get the word out about the podcast. iTunes bases their search results on positive ratings, so it really does help — and it’s easy!

    • Click THIS link to go to the podcast main page.
    • Click on View in iTunes under the podcast cover artwork.
    • Once your iTunes has launched and you are on the podcast page, click on Ratings and Review under the podcast name. There you can leave either or both! Thanks so much.

Want to record your own question, comment, or have your kids tell us what they LOVE to learn about? Click below and start recording!