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The Gifted Child

For years I've known that my now kindergartner has a special talent. He spent hours and hours doing tangrams at age 3. When other kids his age were just learning how to put interlocking puzzle pieces together, he was doing 24- and 48-piece puzzles bottom side up just for the challenge. And when we'd turn the puzzle over, he'd have done it correctly. By his fifth birthday he was doing 500-piece puzzles. That was before he discovered Legos and learned that he can follow any set of instructions to build amazing toys, even when those instructions are meant for children much older than him.

Unlike Mason Flood's parents in Texas, it never occurred to me to test his intelligence to get him the challenges he needs. Five-year-old Mason is now a member of Mensa. His dad says testing his intelligence "was more just to ask questions and find out what should we be doing, if anything, for him." That's a sentiment I understand firsthand.

The first testing that anyone's done on my five-year-old has occurred this year -- in kindergarten. And as we suspected, he's ahead of his classmates. Thankfully, his teacher and school are investigating ways to challenge him -- even before the official "gifted" testing in 2nd grade. But this affirmation has yielded far more questions than answers and it's revealed a whole new world that few talk about openly. After all, saying your child is gifted makes you sound like a braggart rather than someone who's just trying to meet his needs like anyone else.

The elementary schools in my area group kids by reading ability and have systems in place for reading acceleration for those far beyond the rest in their class. But for math, particularly in the early grades, it's more fluid. Acceleration may mean pulling the child out of one class and putting him in a different one for math. Or it may mean giving the child harder work inside the classroom while his peers are working on the things he already knows. Some parents keep their kids in their home schools while others opt to move gifted kids to magnet programs specially designed for them. However, there are more gifted kids than open spots, at least in these early elementary years. And parents of gifted kids can find support groups of parents like themselves. With some digging, I've found gifted PTA groups, both for my county and my school.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a lack of information on what works best for gifted kids. "Few states have tests that measure the progress of students who are working above grade level," writes Daniel de Vise in 'No Child' Law May Slight The Gifted, Experts Say. And "a study published last month by two University of Chicago economists, analyzing fifth-grade test scores in the Chicago public schools before and after enactment of the [No Child Left Behind] law in 2002, found that performance rose consistently for all but the most and least advanced students."

In addition to managing the gifted child's academic abilities, there are a whole set of social challenges. How does a parent of a gifted child ensure that he doesn't get teased for being smart? How can we ensure that he doesn't feel "different" than his age peers and remains proud, yet humble, about his abilities?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  November 26, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Elementary Schoolers
Previous: Developmental Delays Determined | Next: Getting With the Program


First off, could you share which county you reside in? Because that certainly has a bearing on the discussion.

One thing that would help any discussion of giftedness is that there are *levels* of giftedness. See:

As to advice...educate, educate, educate yourself and seek out other parents of gifted children because it can be a very lonely path. There are countless wonderful resources on the web, the pre-eminent being HoagiesGifted. Also check out SENG...Social and Emotional Needs of the Gifted.

Good luck and I look forward to seeing where this blog discussion goes..

How can you

Posted by: SwitchedOnMom | November 26, 2007 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Wow, this brings back memories. First, he *will* be picked on, at least in elementary school. Kids are cruel. Bullies are everywhere, no tolerance policies or not. Eventually he will learn not to put his hand up every time he knows the answer. He'll want to show the teacher that he knows, but he'll have to either decide he'd rather have his peers like him than show the teacher he knows, or understand that the teacher already knows he knows. In Junior High, though, if the school separates kids into Honors and regular tracks, at least he'll not have to deal with the bullies who pick on all the smart kids for a few periods per day. And he'll gain the ability to choose like-minded people to associate with by joining the band, drama club, or what have you.

Another important issue is please, don't TELL your kid how wonderful and smart and different and special he is. If he's already the best, he has no incentive to keep trying beyond whatever internal motivation already guides him. Although you should probably not go as far as my parents did, who, as I recall, only asked me where the other two points were when I brought home a 98% on a test and didn't tell me they were proud of me until I graduated as valedictorian of my high school class. The trick is to find the balance between praising him for his truly good efforts while showing you're not satisfied with nearly-perfect-but-not-quite grades that come without effort. Making homework a kitchen-table activity when possible may help with that.

Posted by: Former Gifted, DC | November 26, 2007 8:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm a 17 year old who bore a lot of similarity to your child at that age.

The real issue, I think, is that the level of natural immaturity every child has at that age makes it very difficult for them to stop their intelligence from getting in the way of their social activities. Until high school, I was very uncomfortable around anybody but people at the level I was. I'm not sure how avoidable that is, but I think it's pretty difficult to change that. I don't think its possible for your child not to feel "different" -- he'll feel quite different about schoolwork, but more importantly, hes interests will take a different direction. If he can't find friends his age who'll do puzzles and Legos with him -- at his level -- he'll feel stifled unless he does them on his own.

From my experience, the best way to get your child to socialize is to keep him around students at his LEVEL, not his age -- but if you can find friends that are both his level and his age, so much the better.

There are a few things I found helpful in keeping myself busy at that age. One was an immense and unending supply of books, at my level or above -- keeping me busy. Walter Farley's Black Beauty was a favorite of mine in second and third grade, I recall. One useful source was a rather interesting computer game entitled The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis -- it was made for Windows 95, but a) it still works on my XP computer, b) I still enjoy playing it, c) I loved every minute of it in kindergarten, d) it's a really natural, logical type of thinking that I see parallels to in college-level work I do today, and e) over 60% of the friends I've asked played it themselves as children.

That's the best advice I can think of right now. You're in for a difficult trip ahead, but you're likely to get through it -- eventually -- with a bright and wonderful son.

(I should mention that center programs are a really good move, by the way.)

Posted by: anon | November 26, 2007 8:11 AM | Report abuse

FormerGifted, by the way --

If you get your child into a gifted or a center program, it's difficult not to tell them -- and it may be safe for them to know it once they're there. My parents still haven't told me my IQ score, and I don't particularly feel a need to know, but I distinctly recall walking outside with a book and seeing on the back that its estimated grade level was four years ahead of my grade at the time. You can't stop your child from noticing such things, and if you clamp down on the discussion they'll ask their friends -- which will just alienate them and attract teasing. There will come a point when you need to be honest, but postpone it until your child has some more maturity.

Posted by: anon | November 26, 2007 8:15 AM | Report abuse

As a former gifted kid one piece of advice - challenge them! When I got to college I realized I had none of the study skills I needed because I had breezed through K-12 with little difficulty. It did help that I went to a gifted magnet school, BUT make sure it's quality. Most of my "gifted" classes were spent solving puzzles - not exactly practical in the study skill area.

Posted by: CTJM | November 26, 2007 8:30 AM | Report abuse

As another former "gifted" child, I first have to say that I hate the term. I always found it embarassing, even as child. My parents made a point of telling me that there are many kinds of "gifts" and that everyone has some sort of gift, that I just happened to be advanced at math and reading and needed more of a challenge.

The day my parents took me out of my local Catholic school and sent me to a "gifted" one was one of the happiest days of my life. I stopped getting in trouble for talking and finally found some friends.

But instead of "gifted", I think that a better term would be "accelerated", or something like that.

Posted by: acquaphile | November 26, 2007 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Just wanted to share a funny story. I was in gifted programs growing up (from the scale posted earlier, probably was only level II). My standardized test scores were always 95th percentile+ (usually 99th). Come age 24, I was not prepared to see my GRE percentiles. My verbal GRE was something like 60th percentile. I was in tears, since I had never seen something like this. It took a while to reconcile, but I did eventually realize that (a) GREs are only the grad school bound population. So its a self-selecting population, and my 60th percentile was probably among those who were mostly 80th+ percentile on everything else. And (b)I have never been great with verbal skills, vocabulary, English classes, etc. I've been told I have great writing skills... "for an engineer." *sigh*

Posted by: RT | November 26, 2007 8:42 AM | Report abuse

You might try using Hands On Equations at home; it's a fun way to teach very young, gifted kids algebra. It's the sort of thing that appeals to highly able kids who like Legos and puzzles.

Posted by: JFH | November 26, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I was bored stiff throughout K-12, and only started finding school exciting when I got to college. My husband went to a *very* selective public magnet school for gifted kids grades 1-12 and loved it. I envy him! So I think it's definitely worth it to work at finding the right school/program for your child. But I also agree that it's important not to push. Don't be like my dad whose only response was "Which question do you think you got wrong?" when I scored 1590 out of 1600 on my SAT!

Posted by: Tamar | November 26, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I had the same issue as CTJM. When I got to college, I did very poorly because I had never really been challenged before, and I didn't know how to study.

Posted by: Dennis | November 26, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I would love to hear about DC area programs for these types of children.

My pre-K'er is reading and doing addition, but is stuck in a class with kids who can't say the alphabet or count. Even the top NW DC public schools have no desire/ability to challenge students moving faster. I dread the future when hours and hours are spent in class learning how to fill out bubbles on standardized tests.

Posted by: drmommy | November 26, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

"a study published last month by two University of Chicago economists, analyzing fifth-grade test scores in the Chicago public schools before and after enactment of the [No Child Left Behind] law in 2002, found that performance rose consistently for all but the most and least advanced students."

This is because of the stupidity of NCLB. The incenvtive is for schools to focus on the kids in the middle, because that's where there is the most opportunity for improvement. The kids at the top can't go any higher, and there is too much work involved in trying to bring up the kids at teh bottom. The kids in the middle can move up with the least amount of effort, so that's where the schools focus.

Posted by: Joe | November 26, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

"For years I've known that my now kindergartner has a special talent. "

Is that the one that sucks his thumb while playing with his privates? Is that his special talent?

Posted by: chittybangbang | November 26, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Yes, my son has the spatial abilities discussed here, creating complex sculptures that almost perfectly mimic robots that he's only seen in passing. At age 4 he can take photos with remarkable depth and write and film movies that are far better than I was making at age 7 or 8. Yet I also find that he has other talents that aren't as well-defined. He can write and read, but never wants to practice or demonstrate those talents to people outside our family. I've got a tough road ahead of me here.

But to correct something, Mensa is a BS organization. I took their test and passed, but then realized that if the top 2% of Washington, DC qualify and Washington, DC has somewhere around 4 million people in the city and suburbs then that means there are 80,000 possible Mensa candidates around here alone. Not particularly exclusive at all. Back then I'd rather go to venture capital meet and greets than hang out with people comparing phrenology lumps.

Posted by: DCer | November 26, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I would love to hear about DC area programs for these types of children.

My pre-K'er is reading and doing addition, but is stuck in a class with kids who can't say the alphabet or count. Even the top NW DC public schools have no desire/ability to challenge students moving faster. I dread the future when hours and hours are spent in class learning how to fill out bubbles on standardized tests.


HEAR HEAR! What is the city going to do NEXT YEAR to address this issue?

Posted by: DCer | November 26, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

As an educator of 17 years I have seen many children of exceptional ability pass through my classroom. Some have dropped out only to sell drugs on the street while another is a former Jeopardy Tournament of Champions winner and current researcher at Stanford. The bulk of such children have continued in life pursuing their goals with varying degrees of "success." What has been a constant has been the variance in their socialization. Please do not lose sight that while academics are the primary function of education, socializing the child is of utmost importance. Theodore Kaczynski was labeled a genius and the world was no better for his "gift." My suggestion is to encourage him as you would any other child; combining both a love of life and learning as your primary goal.

I, too, am a parent of an academically exceptional child. I am just as proud of how she used her head to score a 5 on the AP Calculus test in tenth grade as I am of her ongoing decision to use her head to grow hair for Locks of Love.

In other words, we're pretty sure that Aristotle's geocentric vision was "full of holes," but his advice on seeking the Golden Mean is still a precious goal to seek.

Most of all, be sure to continue your love of the sum of his parts.

Posted by: Ben | November 26, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I didn't grow up in the US, so there was no "gifted" label. I think that helped mitigate awkwardness. I just was one of the best students, and did better in math than anyone else. But I couldn't draw and didn't have the amazing social skills my sister had. I had the feeling that although my talents were more valued by school, others had other valuable talents.
Friends are important. I had lots of friends my age, "gifted" or not, we all like to explore, make up stories and act them out. At some point, I did try to stop working in school, trying to become a "cool" kid. Luckily my mother noticed, and sat me down and made me do my homework each night.
As a teenager, I made lots of friends and learned a lot from participating in sports in the summer (especially sailing, where math is useful). These are some ideas of what might work.

Posted by: Toni | November 26, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

fr Former Gifted:

>...Another important issue is please, don't TELL your kid how wonderful and smart and different and special he is. If he's already the best, he has no incentive to keep trying beyond whatever internal motivation already guides him....

See, I don't agree with that at all. Every kid needs to hear that they are special, and the idea of "If he's already the best, he has no incentive to keep trying beyond whatever internal motivation already guides him" is just wrong. ALL kids need incentive, and praise works WONDERS.

Posted by: Alex | November 26, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I went through the GT program in Fairfax County. I found it to be a very positive experience. Basically the same group of kids from 3rd grade to 6th grade. Some of the kids in the program were really, really smart, so maybe those kids would say that it wasn't challenging enough for them. I think that it was better for me than the normal school system, but how can you tell when you didn't go to the other! I did opt out of going to the magnet highschool Thomas Jefferson, as I was not particularly gifted in math and science (I'm more language oriented) and their program is very strong in those areas. Might have been a mistake because for me the English and History in 'normal' highschool was too easy. But by the time you get to highschool you can handle being bored better. You get out of a class what you put into it. I think that being in the GT program helped me to be better adjusted socially, because you avoid getting teased for being smart and you realize pretty quickly that you may be smart, but there will always be someone out there smarter than you. Helps keep your feet on the ground! :)

Posted by: former | November 26, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

As the mother of a former 5YO who was very much as you described yours, I would like to emphasize Ben's comments above on the importance of socialization. What I found w/my son was that the academics would pretty much take care of themselves, but he needed a bit of help in learning to relate well to others when he was younger. Enrolling him in the GT Center in 3d grade helped immensely, as he found himself with a peer group. The other advantage of Center is that each of these kids came out of a class where they were the best in everything, and now they were in a class where they each were the best at something, but not at everything -- and humility is a lesson more easily learned at 8 than at 18.

My son went on to have a wonderful high school experience at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology, which I wish had been around when I was in school (yeah, I'm also a former gifted kid) because the experience was so much more positive than my HS experience, especially for the girls in the school.

Posted by: johnsondeb | November 26, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Go Fairfax County GT! (aka Garbage and Trash, as my lovely peers reminded me every day...)

Posted by: Anonymous | November 26, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I was in the FFX county GT program for years, and I don't think they really know what to do with kids who may be accelerated learners. At the time, at least, they seemed to think that giving us lots of extra worksheets and poster project was challenging in some way. The work was the same as the kids in the base classes- we just got more of it.

I'm not a fan of the whole system, myself. I don't like that some kids are told they are "God's gift" because they are so naturally clever, while the kids who are not in GT have to live with the implication that they are "just average." We finally saw what BS this all was when we got to high school, where GT and AP classes had open enrollment. Sure enough, the kids who had not tested into GT early on did just as well in those classes as the kids who had been told they were geniuses at age 8.

I would like to find my kids a more montessori-like program, where kids get to learn at their own pace in every subject. But Arlington County is the only local district I know with a public montessori school.

Posted by: reston, va | November 26, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Yes, your child will probably be picked on. But how you help them deal with this can make a huge difference in his ability to socialize with others later on. Don't let him withdraw from friendships and social activites, which was my response in middle school to being badgered for being different. Being picked on is painful, but parents can do alot to help children navigate through these feelings. Don't let him take on a dismissive attitude toward the world of human beings just because some of them can and will hurt you. There are too many wonderful people out there to just give up on all of them, and you can draw this to your child's attention by pointing out all the wonderful traits of the people around him, and by cherishing your own friendships. This is a lesson we all have to learn, but for kids that are different and kids that are abused this lesson has to be learned earlier, often before they are ready for it. I'd worry less about the intellectual challenges, when your kid learns to read he will be well on his way to being able to keep himself challenged, and more about the emotional development which being gifted can sometimes get in the way of.

Posted by: anon | November 26, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

About GT: check Johns Hopkins U and Stanford U (online programs strat at K level). For middle and high school kids Virtual Virginia does unexpectedly amazing job, lots of personal attention and better bang for the buck than private programs. Don't worry too much about socialization, if kids have clubs, sports and playdates you got it covered. OTOH, don't be surprised if you supersmart kid will let you know that you are not up to his standards and he had chosen smbd else as his role model. If the parents are supersmart themselves -- they have a chance for respect.

Posted by: Been there | November 26, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I was also labeled "gifted" as a child. My parents certainly did their homework on how to raise two gifted children (my brother and me). I don't really remember being teased for being too smart, or feeling left out in my family (my father and mother were similarly oriented). I also remember having friends with all different kidnds of gifts and talents.

The big surprise for me has bee the tensions and misunderstandings I've encountered in the work world because I think a bit differently. A few years ago, I found a wonderful book called "Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential" by Marylou Kelly Streznewski. It really helped me to understand more about myself and the opportunities and pitfalls of negotiating adulthood as someone with these gifts.

Posted by: giftedgrownup | November 26, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

"But Arlington County is the only local district I know with a public montessori school."

Washington DC public school district has at least one Montessori school-- Watkins Elementary. My child doesn't attend, but I know it is quite popular. I think it has selective admission process, but it is open to application citywide. My brillant sister attended Montessori schools early on and then had a terrible time later in public schools, so I'm not eager to go that route. could be just a coincidence.

Posted by: capitol hill mom | November 26, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

some gifted kids are so bored in the classroom that they just turn off. they find the assignments boring so they don't do them. They already know everything the teacher is saying, so they stop paying attention in class. If they have social difficulties, which is extremely possible because their intellectual and emotional maturity levels can vary a lot, they might try to blend into the background, not taking the lead in group assignments or doing anything that could classify them as different, or they might act out. Teachers tend to recognize the bright, well behaved, well adjusted hard workers as gifted and overlook the even more gifted kids who do not respond well to the regular classroom.

If your kid fits into that second category, you've just got to be really vigilant about advocating for him/her. If she's not doing well in math class, maybe instead of moving down to an easier level, she needs to move up to a more challenging one. If he finds the elementary school work too boring to bother with, try to teach him that even busy work needs to get done, but also find ways for him to learn on his own outside of class. And find opportunities for your kid to be around gifted peers. She doesn't necessarily need to go to a special gifted center for school, but maybe she can do weekend enrichment programs like montgomery county's Saturday Discoveries or go to special summer camps like CTY.

Posted by: another former gifted kid | November 26, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I think parents should NOT tell their kids they are gifted. I remember kids in my G&T reading program bragging that they were gifted and it made me feel bad until years later I realized that, duh, we were all in the G&T class, they were just obnoxious about it. I saw that with two girls at my son's preschool who were awful braggarts who did nothing but show off their skills in competition with the other kids while my son ran and played with kids with Downs, kids who hadn't mastered language or potty training and kids who were average or above average. Meanwhile this one girl kept saying to me, "I can do addition, watch, 1 + 1 is 2, 2+2 is 4, 3+3 is six" etc. There's nothing in the rule book of being smart that says you must perform for adults. I don't blame giftedness for those girls' behavior, I blame parenting. I don't believe there's anything about being gifted that precludes one from taking soccer classes on saturday.

Posted by: DCer | November 26, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

If private school is an option, Montessori schools can provide a looser framework for a self-starting child to explore and learn at his or her own pace, with less emphasis on grade levels based on age. It is less structured, though, and can be an aimless experience for a child who is not exploratory by nature, however.

Posted by: Tom T. | November 26, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I'll echo a lot of the statements here as a former "gifted" child:

Other kids are going to pick on your child. It is the nature of kids, and there's not a whole lot you can do about it.

As a corollary to the above: unless you can find other children at your child's intellectual level, your child will be lonely. This is unavoidable, and you should learn now how to help them over their rough spots in the future.

Oh, and I did the split class thing (half my time in a grade above for things like math). It SUCKS. All it does is give two grades of kids reason to pick on you. If your child really is that smart, perhaps you should just discuss - with whatever powers that be - skipping a grade completely. It might challenge him more and make him seem less "smart" to his new peer group. Once he's a full-time part of their world, it's less jarring than having him show up from time to scheduled time.

You can tell your child that they are smarter than other kids their age...but you need to stress normalcy as well. Not to mention instill some humility - because smarter doesn't mean better. Make them do their chores, play some sports, and do other things that will give them commonality them to kids their own age.

Most importantly: UNLESS YOUR CHILD ACTIVELY ADVOCATES FOR IT HIMSELF, do not push him into a lifestyle of all super-accelerated programs and tell him over and over again that he is destined to be better/smarter than other people. I did the GT thing, I did the TJHSST thing, and I know a lot of us burned out in our late teens or early 20's because we were under so much pressure to be brilliant and special. Even the supernova smart ones, not just the "smarter than the average bear" ones like me ;)

He will find his own way in his own time as long as you support him. I'm not saying let him be a slacker, but your child is ultimately a child. The intellect may be there, but the emotional growth has not caught up. He needs to understand and accept that he probably won't be perfect at everything, which is okay. And that down-time is actually beneficial to his thought-processes in the long run - all work and no play make Jack a dull boy and all that jazz...

Posted by: Another Former Gifted Kid | November 26, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

This is an issue close to my heart. My two 10yo daughters are in a gifted school, but my 7yo son is in a regular VA public school (no gifted school until 3rd grade). He is among the youngest in his 2nd grade class and doing math on a 6th grade level. He is also doing much higher science and social studies (!!) then his schoolmates, but reads -only- on a 4th-5th grade level.

I have been told numerous times to wait until HS when the math will challenge him. So for these 7 years, he'll just twiddle his thumbs? I fussed (gently) because study after study after study shows we are leaving our gifted children behind. That gifted children drop out at the same rate as nongifted children and that gifted children who are not ever challenged often balk at school when they are finally challenged.

What to do? The school finally tested him (and this was a HUGE process), admitted he was substantially ahead in math (past 5th grade in nearly everything), but since he didn't know his metric system (he does!) they'd keep him in 3rd-4th grade math. After all, that was a challenge for him. I just gave up. I totally bribed him with extra computer time if he did an online math course 3x week. So we get our math from there and figure that we can be behind in science and social studies because he is still learning at least, even though he can learn more.

Keep in mind that this child a boy who is extremely active. My girls, who are also very active and gifted (one profoundly gifted and the other highly gifted), would have absolutely benefited from acceleration. They are far more mature than he; he is totally at grade level maturity and would have suffered with acceleration.

We, as a society, are holding back our best and brightest because we don't want the "normal" kids to feel dumb and the gifted kids to feel "different." Schools have to put 3 levels of kids in each classroom and everyone suffers for that.

Posted by: Andrea | November 26, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Please don't make him study extra at home once you've gotten him into the proper classes (I have no problem skipping a kid ahead of the class, as long as the teacher he's going to understands what the deal is). Kids need to be challenged, not pushed. My dad was always angry with me that I wasn't THE top of my class, even once I was put into the gifted Magnet. He always pushed, and it was in my nature to push back. If he had just left me alone with a stack of books, I probably would have ended up as a happier adult.

Posted by: Kat | November 26, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I was tested in elementary school and chosen for the GT pull-out program in Fairfax County. I went to a special class twice a week where we worked on special projects and in 4th grade, took special field trips (before they cut out field trips altogether). I never had a problem with being picked on because of this program. Once in junior high, I was tracked to GT versions of the core subjects. I opted not to test for TJ because I had no interest in the school and liked my SS just fine.

My parents always encouraged me in both my GT and regular studies and although I know I think differently than my peers, it never really seemed to be an issue. I liked to be challenged and my parents always provided plenty of books and puzzles/exercises to keep my mind engaged when the coursework didn't. They never told me my IQ or other scores from the testing and I've never really had the desire to find out. I think if you just follow your child's lead in this instance, you'll be fine.

Posted by: Jenn in NJ (formerly SF) | November 26, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Andrea, please talk to the principal of your boy's school. With at least one computer in every classroom he can do online math with headphones on (my son did!) while his classmates are doing their math work. Then he doesn't have to do acceleration and pullout programs, and can spend more time playing after school. Yes, you have to pay for online classes, unless you can convince the school that they should subscribe to the online program at cut rate and make it available to other students too. We were not able to convince our school to do it, but I still think they might have been surprised to discover that many other students would have come forward as gifted if such opportunity was offered.

Posted by: Been there | November 26, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I have 2 girls in Fairfax County's GT CENTER program and a 3rd on her way there and I just can't say enough about it! It has been a Godsend to our family. My girls now love school, their report cards are much better, they have lots of friends and for the first time they "fit in." They are admired for their brains instead of teased. As for socializing with non-GT kids, just remember that sports are a great equilizer.

Posted by: momof3 | November 26, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

My parents struggled with putting me ahead a grade when I was a kid - and I shouldn't have known anything about it. I was in all the gifted classes, etc, excelled in math.

What was disturbing was how I kept being told that the schools I was in were so wonderful - and I thought, wow, that can't *possibly* be. Then i went to college and saw how it's true. Which is disheartening, no question about it.

I see my son, who is very bright - and I think he's doing okay in kindergarten. They made it a point to tell parents that they don't test until after 1st grade for gifted - and they test ALL students. And you need teacher approval *and* test scores to get in the program. But I see that when things are difficult for my son (he gets homework in kindergarten - Don't Get Me Started!) - he just doesn't want to do it. I don't know how to deal with that with him - I try to help him out with what he's working on (and yes, he does math workbooks cause it's fun for him and some of it is above grade level). It's not that I think that he's the most brilliant kid, I just think he picks things up easier than some others, and I want him to have a positive experience at school, etc. One reason I think most parents want their kids to be in gifted programs is cause many schools aren't challenging enough for the TYPICAL kids, either - and they want the kids to be challenged.

Posted by: atlmom | November 26, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

This is in response to the two parents of children in DC public schools. Both of my children attended public schools in upper northwest (one for one year; the other for two years) before we put them in indepedent, private schools. Unfortunately, the tuition at DC private schools is ridiculous but if you can figure out a way to pay it, it's definitely worth the sacrifice. I'm sorry to say that the DC school system is not equipped to educate the gifted child. Both of my children regularly fell asleep in class while attending DCPS. I'm happy to say that they are now being challenged.

Posted by: DCmomofgifteds | November 26, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

"There are a few things I found helpful in keeping myself busy at that age. One was an immense and unending supply of books, at my level or above -- keeping me busy. Walter Farley's Black Beauty was a favorite of mine in second and third grade, I recall." (anon at 08:11)

Actually, Anna Sewell wrote Black Beauty. You are most likely thinking of the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. Black Beauty is a bit more of a challenge, both from a literacy standpoint and from the standpoint of emotionally challenging material. A good children's librarian could be a help in finding reading material suitable for your gifted child, but just setting the child free in the children's "chapter book" section (including nonfiction) of the library is a good idea.

Posted by: giving credit where credit is due | November 26, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

"UNLESS YOUR CHILD ACTIVELY ADVOCATES FOR IT HIMSELF, do not push him into a lifestyle of all super-accelerated programs"

I understand your point, but a lot of kids aren't self-motivated and need to be pushed a bit. Some kids are very happy to just coast through school and get straight A's in classes that don't challenge them very much - I was one of them. I was bored silly in most of my classes, but I wasn't about to take on extra work because that would've cut into my free time, which I spent doing a lot of nothing. My parents didn't notice and/or didn't care because I was getting straight A's.

Then when I went to college with a bunch of other "gifted" people, I didn't have a clue how to study and work hard. I really wish there was someone who pushed me to live up to my potential when I was in school.

Posted by: Yet another former GTer | November 26, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I went to GT for the full-time GT program and I hated it. I didn't go to TJ because I wanted to be with other kids and quit feeling so ostracized. I hate hate hated that I became alienated from my best friend from up the street because she was "popular" and I was a GT "nerd". I hate hate hated that I had to spend all my free time working on mountains of homework "because this is preparing you for college" in third grade, while my brother got to play outside.

With the wisdom of hindsight, I see that perhaps the problem wasn't entirely the fault of the GT program, which kept the GT classes completely separate from "regular" classes even though we were in the same school. The problem more likely lay with my lack of socialization skills and the school / parents' disinterest in dealing with that aspect of the program.

Posted by: Fairfax GT class of 92 | November 26, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

"Another important issue is please, don't TELL your kid how wonderful and smart and different and special he is."

I read a little while back that children who were praised for how smart they are did more poorly compared to children who were praised for how hard they worked. The latter gives them an incentive to try harder. The former tells them they can coast on their natural ability.

And yes, I was labeled early on and, like several posters, had difficulty which I hit college and didn't know how to study.

Posted by: YetAnotherFormerGTKid | November 26, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm a former "gifted" student, though they didn't formally use that term in my school. My parents put me into a small, private church school in Philly to keep me out of the public system and challenge me.

Your child will be picked on. It's going to happen, whether the child brags about being smart or keeps quiet about it. The kids know who's bright and who isn't, and those who aren't will cause yours problems. My teachers indavertently helped the bullies by assigning me to help tutor the slower kids in the class. That went over well with the other kids, let me tell you!

My school tried - they gave me "old" textbooks from the grade or two ahead of mine to work through. Two problems with that, though. First, that meant I was being assigned twice the work (my own class' work plus the extra), and don't think I didn't resent that. Second, when I reached the last year at that school, there wasn't anything more to give me but I still had to do the work with the rest of the class. I basically ended up repeating 8th grade! What a waste. Be careful when your child gets near a change in schools so that this kind of overlap/repeat doesn't happen to him.

The school did do three key things for me: they taught me to work independently, they told me to stop raising my hand (that helped cut down on the bullying), and they had me bring in my own books for when I was finished with other work. My parents encouraged me to explore anything that interested me, and I spent lots of hours sitting at my desk in the back of the classroom, reading about astronomy, chemistry, spaceships and space travel, history, and anything else I wandered across.

High school was much better. It was a college-prep private school, and I found a clique of kids just like me - all fascinated with science and math, and not picked on at all for it.

I ran into the same problems that some other posters have mentioned - I got to college and really had no idea how to study. Also, I was with people who were as bright or brighter than myself - I was just in the middle of the pack. That was an ego blow, no way around it. Your child needs to be prepared for that, but it will still hurt.

And to RT, who has great writing skills "for an engineer": I heard that all the time, too, but revenge is sweet - I became a technical writer!

Posted by: Lee | November 26, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

To "Yet Another former GTer"

I'm not saying don't let your kid coast - that doesn't teach your child how to be accountable for his work (or the fact that, in the workplace, his gifts will probably mean more will be expected of him).

I'm saying don't push them into a curriculum that is ALL about being advanced or accelerated. Let them have some extracurricular activities they enjoy and that let them be kids. If they want to join the Drama Club or sing in the choir? Fabulous. Draw cartoons for the school newspaper? Great. Take photos for the yearbook - click away.

I've seen it a lot: kids that are all about learning don't always learn anything else about being human. As a matter of fact, when I went to TJ (in its earliest years), the final period of the day was...hmmm, can't remember the name, but we all used to call it our "mandatory extracurricular period". We had to play a sport, join a club, do SOMETHING that wasn't sitting in class but required interaction with other kids in a more social format. And we all loved it because it was a break from the major educational grind we were all stuck in. (Don't know if they have that now.)

I think someone mentioned it above - some smart kids are always performing, showing how smart they are. Adults are impressed - but your general peer group, rarely. And THAT is something all people need to learn - how to get along within a group that is not made up entirely of your intellectual equals.

My mother and my uncle like to say - both of whom have IQ's closer to 200 than 150 - "We're geniuses...but who cares?" They know that just because they are smart people, that doesn't make them overly special in day-to-day life. It just means that they can see a little farther, reason a little more clearly, and perhaps organize their time better. But most importantly, they know when to go with the flow or when to just say "!@#$%^&* it. Let's open a bottle of wine and play Uno Attack."

Life is balance. Don't force your kids into a life of imbalance...or they'll overcompensate further down the line.

Oh - and you know what? So few are ever prepared for college. Being in advanced HS classes has nothing to do with that. My oldest friend (a fellow TJ alum) went to CalTech - a school filled with the smartest of the smart. And freshmen there receive pass/fail grades (in addition to only taking introductory classes and forcing a few humanities down their throats) to get used to the crushing workload and to take off the pressure to be "the smartest". I thought that was the most brilliant thing I had ever heard - letting the students actually adjust to the change in lifestyle brought on by living away from home and having to structure their own time.

Posted by: Another Former Gifted Kid | November 26, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I need to echo the sentiments of some of the former GTers. Both my brother and I were in a GT center program from 3rd through 8th grade in upstate New York. It was a WONDERFUL experience because it helped to teach a love of learning and to seek knowledge both inside and outside of the classroom. At the GT center, we built a dodecahedron, put on our own production of "Macbeth", solved puzzles, analyzed news articles and prepared for the Olympics of the Mind. First and foremost, we were guided through intellectual and creative adventures, and this type of approach to learning has stayed with me throughout my life. I was never picked-on, though we GTers were sometimes resented by teachers who didn't like what they perceived to be our special treatment. Other teachers loved having us in class. I went to a private high school where I was challenged every step of the way, though I was an A-/B+ student. The most important lesson here wasn't that I was a math wizard (I wasn't) or a testing ace (wasn't that, either); the lesson was that learning is a lifelong experience and that school is just one facet of that journey. I have to agree with other posters that NCLB takes learning in exactly the opposite direction--a very, very sad path.

Posted by: amhass2002 | November 26, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. Here's a thought: is it me or does everyone think their child is gifted? There's a mom whose child is in my son's preschool class and she's talking about how she wants this kid to go straight to 1st grade, not Kindergarten, next year. This is a boy who hits others, doesn't listen well, and seems moderately intelligent but no more so than the rest of the class. She feels strongly that he's "gifted". (The rest of the moms from that class feel strongly that he's slightly wired and intellectually average. There's a mom in the room probably every other day, so we all speak from experience.)

What does it mean to be "gifted"? I don't even know anymore. Honestly, there are plenty of times I'm left thinking it means a kid has a learning disability.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | November 26, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Not all gifted kids are picked on -- the program I was in produced super-popular cheerleaders as well as ostracized nerds. The difference wasn't brains, it was social skills and emotional IQ. (And looks, but not much you can do about that.)

My suggestion would be to put kids in the school that best serves their learning needs and then look for fun outside activities to help build social skills. Look for things where brains are not necessarily a free pass to success: theater or dance classes, sports, etc. Introduce them to a variety of activities, but accept that if they want to join the Chess Club, the Debate Society, and the SciFi Club, that's ok too.

Re not telling kids they are gifted -- HELLO!! Have we forgotten who we are talking about? Truly gifted kids are bound to notice they are different. (And if they don't, they probably are not gifted.)

Posted by: Yet Another Past Gifted Kid | November 26, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

What does it mean to be "gifted"? I don't even know anymore. Honestly, there are plenty of times I'm left thinking it means a kid has a learning disability.
One thing I know to be true was that more than half my elementary school class was considered "gifted" and my mother made fun of the term. You know, how all the kids in the school are "above average." Then I met other kids in high school and I realized that yes, everyone from my neighborhood really was gifted, and wealthy, and well-read and most of our parents were doctors at NIH, but some of the parents in other schools sold cars for a living, etc. Now I see kids at some elementary schools and I know that the majority of them are below average- most of the kids have a poor command of English, science concepts, US history, etc. As my father used to say, if a sixth grader can't explain the difference between the Articles of the Confederation and Federalism, they're in big trouble academically. At least half of the kids at my son's school's 6th grade are recent immigrants who speak other languages on the playground. I have grave doubts that they know Federalism and if they can't discuss those terms now how are they going to get 5s on AP US History?

Posted by: Anonymous | November 26, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: IndigoMom | November 26, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

When I was in kindergarten, I was tested and found above grade level in both math and reading (I was already reading little house on the prairie series at that point). To address this, I was sent up a level in reading and math both for kindergarten and first grade (I was known as the only first-second grader in the school). This actually killed me socially because I wasn't sure where I belonged...did I go to the first grade Xmas party or the second? My mom, a kindergarten teacher herself, is actually against skipping kids but ended up doing so because I didn't have a peer group due to the weirdness in bouncing around different grades and classes. So be aware that some of the solutions in challenging kids might also introduce their own problems. I did end up getting in a gifted program in fourth grade (the earliest you could at my school), but I think skipping a grade worked best for me because it was more mainstreamed. Interestingly, of the things they do look for is whether the child would physically fit in with older kids, so if the child is really small for their age, that might preclude being skipped for a different host of social reasons.

Posted by: Zonie | November 26, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Wow I missed this. Yet another formerly gifted child here. I totally prefer the term "asynchronous learner" by the way because it describes me well - I learned early and fast, but it didn't always translate into adult ability.

Anyways to reiterate what people said - yes, there will be social challenges. I wish my parents had seen me more as a person and less as a walking academic success. I wish people had chilled out a little on ensuring that I was working up to my "potential." And a little more on ensuring I was enjoying myself. I wish I had been encouraged more to be well rounded and pursue my love of dance even though I was decidedly UNgifted at it.

What helped me the most was going to a school for asynchronous learners for high school. There was no way to be the smartest at everything there, and so I had to learn some nominal study skills as well as learn that despite being so smart in a small public elementary school, there were much bigger ponds. It's a hard experience to replicate but it was a good one.

Posted by: Shandra | November 26, 2007 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Oh and also there is a real difference between intelligence and being good at school. Lots of times the kids that are identified as being gifted are the ones who are most keyed into pleasing the adults around them... which is fine, but not quite the same thing.

Posted by: Shandra | November 26, 2007 8:56 PM | Report abuse

You've been given a lot of great advice already. I just want to suggest that you look into the Center for Talented Youth (CTY) from Johns Hopkins. (

It has been only at CTY that my son has found intellectual peers that are in his age group.

When he wasn't being challenged in school, we turned to CTY distance learning courses for him to do at school. He also attends the summer programs.

CTY offers services to kids in 2nd grade and up. Some of the services are expensive, but we have found them worth every penny and then some.

Try to find a peer group for your child now, just so your kid *doesn't* feel weird about knowing how to read, or do difficult puzzles, or how to do arithmetic and algebra. One of the greatest benefits of CTY summer programs is that these gifted children get to be with other kids who are also gifted; many of the kids write later about what a relief it is to be with other smart kids.


A child can have a learning disability and still be gifted. A child can have a physical disability and still be gifted. A child can have a neurological disability and still be gifted. A child can have an emotional disability and still be gifted.

Giftedness comes in many packages.

Posted by: owlice | November 27, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I know I am late to join this discussion, but wanted to add my comment.
My now 25 year old daughter thought she was "slow". The school system could only offer her reading at her intellectual level when she was in second grade by grouping her with fifth graders (the highest grade available). She was the only one in her group who had not yet learned cursive writing, and had to print her essays and homework. She was teased and didn't tell anyone. She did not know she was far ahead of her group and suffered low self esteem for the school year. Getting A's on report cards didn't matter. She was "slow", with all the social self doubt that creates. This has helped her be compassionate with people who do not understand her "quickness" now and find fault when she learns "too fast". She finished high school using the University of Nebraska distance learning program. I highly recommend this path for gifted students as a way to get the credentialing out of the way to get to the better learning opportunities in the world. She has attended college, but has not received a degree, because she usually learns by experiencing and reading. Most lecturers just don't keep a pace that holds her interest. She has a trade, pays taxes, does volunteer work, and adds to the world in a unique way. She has a circle of friends much like her who were also not served by the usual education culture, who all have trades and pursue their intellectual needs through workshops, reading groups, and discussion. It may be that financial success or recognition as "smart" are the last attributes this group will ever have. But they are content, purposeful, enlightened, kind, and self-aware. What more could a mother possibly wish for?

Posted by: Flicka | November 27, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Make sure your kids are challenged, but skipping grades is rarely a good answer to that. Social development is a very important part of school and putting an 8 year old in 6th grade is only going to serve to isolate them further.

Posted by: Mom of 5 | November 27, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

My academically gifted child turned 8 today, stuck in the second grade because Fairfax County seems to be dead set against allowing kids to skip grades. We've seen what NGLB does to the schools; our local elementary school is full of special needs teachers but shares a single GT teacher with another elementary school. They do have blessedly small classes, 17 kids in a second grade class, 16 in her first grade class.

1 hour of GT every other week doesn't cut it for kids who are reading several grade levels ahead and capable of doing math at an equivalent accelerated pace, if only it were available. It's relatively easy to give kids challenging reading materials in the form of a book, but much harder to give them math at their own pace.

We are hoping that the GT program will work for our daughter. Both of us are former gifted kids ourselves, who went through public school systems that were very different in their ability to handle us.

For balance, we have the whole family enrolled in a tae kwon do program and she is progressing toward her black belt. We thought it would be a good idea for her to have at least one regular activity where things don't necessarily come easily; if she doesn't work at tae kwon do she won't advance. We know plenty of extremely bright people who are failures at adult life. Our obligation as parents is to make sure our bright kid learns practical life skills like hard work.

Posted by: Herndonmom | November 27, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Awesome topic.

For the kids I say- do whatever you can to instill motivation and curiousity in them. All the potential in the world can mean nothing if not acted upon, or if acted upon to get results. Discourage perfectionism, discourage RESULTS oriented tasks (there will be plenty of time to have that crushing idea banged into them later). Encourage social events as much as possible, preferably with kids also talented.

Recognize that talented does not mean "amazing in all ways." Recognize that until college (and somewhat in HS) unless you can prepare to sacrifice a lot of money and time- your kid is pretty much stuck in a system that panders to the common denominator. Again, why curiosity and motivation to learn for the sake of learning independently is so important.

And expect to be challenged- you will have to prove why the values you embody are important and why they should take them on as well.

Posted by: Liz D | November 27, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why DCer is so hostile, but here is my experience as a former gifted child, current mother of 3 gt boys and member of Mensa's Gifted Children's Program: Not telling a gifted child why they feel different is the worst thing you can do. As someone else pointed out, they *will* feel different and if you don't explain, they will come up with their own explanations. Generally you get the "everyone else must be stupid" thought camp, which leads to arrogance and poor social skills, or the "I must be stupid (or slow)" thought camp, which leads to poor self esteem and poor social skills. You should have seen the relief on my youngest son's face when we finally had test scores showing he's wasn't stupid, he's just gifted!

Finding intellectual as well as age peers is a supremely difficult task, particularly for kids who are PG or HG. (The MGers don't have to deny as much of themselves to fit into an age-correct classroom, I know from personal experience.) Mensa's gifted children's program provides local activity groups for gifted kids to get together (usually whether they are Mensans or not, that depends on the coordinator). The joy of finding a soul mate--another 5yo who reads Harry Potter and likes Legos--is the best gift you can give a gifted child. The more Mensans in a given area, the more likely you are to find that soul mate within driving distance. Out here in the sticks, friends can be few and far between.

By the way, DCer, your figure of 80,000 possible Mensa candidates is likely a low ball. Entrance requirements are for the 98th%ile in the whole country so, being the seat of our government, one would hope there would be more gifted people concentrated inside the Beltway than in other areas! (This is also why schools in prosperous suburbs and university towns may have more gifted children per capita than inner cities.) Mensa is meant to be an inclusive, not an exclusive, social group, which is why there are no other restrictions for prospective members. And while I don't doubt there are some (maybe many) Mensans interested in phrenology, I've never met one. I just joined to find people who get my jokes.

Posted by: PrincessMom | November 27, 2007 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Music lessons:

Has anyone else mentioned music lessons? Music is very math-based. I put my 5 year old who seems extremely advanced in math (he learned chess when he was 4) into piano lessons! It helped him because it is so difficult, you move at your own pace, it has constant challenges, etc. I don't know if the music appeals to him as much as the counting, figuring out how to "read" music, etc. I think that these lessons have enhanced his education more than if I'd demanded that he be given 5th grade math in Kindergarten. He does math games and problems at home for fun - but everyone is eventually going to learn algebra. This way, he's learning something else and his curiosity is satisfied.

Posted by: Amelia | November 28, 2007 6:51 AM | Report abuse

Here is another for someone who was always ahead of the rest of the class and ultimately suffered from the lack of a challenge. I wasn't challenged by my school or my parents, my good performance was always good enough for everyone.

I was accepted into law school where I, for the first time, found myself in the bottom half of the class. I clearly was missing something that my other classmates had, and it wasn't native intelligence. I believe it was study skills they had developed during their educations that I hadn't b/c I was allowed to make my own way.

If my 15 mth old daughter shows herself to be "gifted" I won't make the same mistake.

Posted by: alove | November 28, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

"Unfortunately, there seems to be a lack of information on what works best for gifted kids. "Few states have tests that measure the progress of students who are working above grade level," writes Daniel de Vise in 'No Child' Law May Slight The Gifted, Experts Say. And "a study published last month by two University of Chicago economists, analyzing fifth-grade test scores in the Chicago public schools before and after enactment of the [No Child Left Behind] law in 2002, found that performance rose consistently for all but the most and least advanced students.""

It's always interesting to me that parents surrender their expertise to the "experts" when it comes to what is best for their gifted child. It is when parents give up their power as parents that the gifted student "falls through the cracks". If the system in place doesn't work for your kid, homeschool them. I have been homeschooling a gifted student for almost a decade. He is at Sophomore level and moving through and Aerospace Engineering course we designed using the MIT Open Courseware as a basis. Socially he finds that being in the community on a daily basis gets him the opportunity to be around peers of all ages instead of being thrown into a classroom where peers are all at the same age, learning and thinking about the same things. Education is not passive, yet that's what it seems the public school system insists on. Gifted kids "think different" and as soon as the "system" can deal with that then No Child Will Be Left Behind.


Posted by: A.Cortez | November 28, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Has there been a single comment today by a person who is NOT herself gifted, or who does not have at least one highly gifted child? Are we really all gifted? I guess we self select in responding to blogs.

Anyway. We have one preschooler who appears to be average. Dad is off-the-charts, explosively smart, and I'm just "gifted" / 98th percentile. I may be forced to conclude that I should've monitored my diet / lead levels better while pregnant with our preschooler.

Interestingly, the child already seems happier, sunnier and funnier than Dad. Hopefully that will continue.

A question for all the many, many of you who wrote in to complain about your local public school's handling of your highly gifted kids: is there a private school somewhere in the metro area that could serve your child better?

Posted by: ...where everyone is above average | November 28, 2007 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey Where:

Yes, it is self selecting. To be able to take the time to go online, read a blog on parenting regularly, post, keep up with the culture of the blog itself- all that is very unlikely unless you are the type of person with a decent job/leisure time and an interest in self awareness and social observation which is almost inherent to "gifted" intelligence.

And for us, Elizabeth Seton was a quarter mile away from where we lived. But we didn't have the money to get me there (and I really didn't want a religion school) so I went to Bladensburg High, pushed as hard as I could to get as many AP classes as possible, researched and got myself into as many extra programs as possible and made it work. I think most of the difference between private and public is that private makes things more available and immediate while public you have to go for it yourself.

Posted by: Liz D | November 29, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Suggestion for Army Brat: We started a Christmas Eve tradition some years ago of going out for SUSHI on Christmas Eve--the Japanese restaurant was the only one open, and Mom needed a break from the hectic preparations. The kids loved it, and we now do it every year.

Posted by: Holiday Baby | December 5, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Samuelking209 | January 5, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Samuelking209 | January 5, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

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