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Should I Test my Child for Giftedness?

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Should I Test my Child for Giftedness? ~ 
Written by Colleen Kessler from Raising Lifelong Learners

Do you have a bright child? One who is constantly surprising you with all that he knows — things you didn’t teach — and how quickly he learns and remembers things? Do you wonder if you should pursue gifted child identification?

I am often asked that question: Should I test my child for giftedness? Does it matter?

My answer?

Yes… and no.

When I taught as a gifted intervention specialist, I often pushed for the early identification of those kids I knew were highly, highly gifted. It was important to me that they get that identification so that when they moved on from the grades in which I taught, they’d be guaranteed services.

I had a specific reason for wanting those kids to have that identification, so I advocated for it. If my kids were going to a brick and mortar school right now, I’d push for their identification, too. I’d want to know that their needs would be respected and met.

But they’re not at a school.

My kids are young. They’re home with me, learning at their own pace, according to where they are. As long as I’m the one who is taking charge of their education, I don’t really need an official gifted child identification. I don’t think it’s critical to have a label put on a homeschooled elementary student.

There are many people out there who will tell you differently. They believe that identification matters a lot and think all gifted kids need to have that label so that their gifts are appreciated and validated. My opinion may not be popular.

Remember… it is my opinion. We can get along just fine, even if you disagree with me. I do not like any young child being subjected to testing for the sake of testing.

When you’re thinking about your child undergoing a test for giftedness, ask yourself about your motivation:

  • Do you just want to know?
  • Are you trying to prove something about yourself or your child to someone else?
  • Are you concerned that there are other issues involved too; maybe something that you don’t know how to manage like a twice-exceptionality?
  • Are you trying to get your child into a specific program, camp, class, or other opportunity that requires a test score or gifted child identification?

Your motivation will guide you to the correct answer to the question when it comes to your child.  Every family’s answer will be slightly different. My suggestion goes beyond the need to know whether or not your child is gifted.

I want you to know your child.

Your child’s uniqueness matters. It matters a lot. It shapes how you run your home, how you discipline, what your family standard is, and what curriculum you use in your homeschool.

Your child and his needs will always matter more than the term used to describe those needs. 

Know your child inside and out. You love your child more than anyone ever will, and I know that there’s a part of you that is afraid he’ll miss out on something if you don’t know exactly what his IQ is or what type of child he’d be labeled.

Rest assured that if you really understand your child, and love him for who he is, he’ll have a great start to life.

Know:

  • What motivates him.
  • What interests him.
  • How he learns best.
  • What his learning style is.
  • What upsets him.
  • His favorite and least favorite subjects.
  • Anything that will help you motivate him.

Then think about what you are doing to meet your child’s needs right now. Are you finding an interest-based or delight-direct curriculum plan for your child? Have you figured out great ways to motivate him to do his work?

Will a test score change how you approach your homeschooling for your child?

If the answer is no, and you are working hard to get to know your kiddo for who he is and meeting his needs in the best way you can, then there is no need to put him through any kind of testing. Your time, and his, would be better spent finding great resources that pique his interests.

You’ll know when the time is right – if ever – to test for giftedness.  When that time comes, you’ll both be ready. In the meantime, remember to celebrate and love your child for who he is.

His giftedness matters. He matters. You knowing and loving him well will give him the start he needs.

Should I Test for Giftedness?

What’s Your Homeschool Mom Personality? Take Jamie’s quiz now and receive a free personality report to help you organize your homeschool based on what your personality type needs most!

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