In This Issue . . . ▪ Dear GHF:Coping with mistakes▪ Linda Kreger Silverman, Ph.D.:The Gifted Development Center's commitment to homeschoolers▪ H

Dear GHF: Coping with mistakes
Linda Kreger Silverman, Ph.D.: The Gifted Development Center's commitment to homeschoolers
Homeschooling Success Story: Marie Watkins: An atypical early college experience, from a mom's point of view
What's Up, GHF?: Where to see us, new offerings, how to support GHF, and much more

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Dear GHF,

My son absolutely hates making mistakes. Even a small mistake can lead to big drama at our house. I’ve heard so much about how important it is to learn from mistakes, but how can I encourage that when my child is so set against it? He won’t even look at his errors—he’d rather crumple up a paper or project and throw it away, never to be seen again.

Batty in Buenos Aires

Dear Batty,

Your son has really taken his mistakes to heart, and not in a healthy way. That must be so frustrating for both of you. This, unfortunately, is a pretty common occurrence in the world of gifted. Kids can get so wrapped up in whether or not they are “right” or “good enough,” that making a mistake can trigger a lot of feelings of failure.

Fortunately, you can do something about it! Some families benefit from taking a big-picture approach, and working towards making a family culture that responds to mistakes in a productive way. You might try playing games that offer different possible outcomes, deliberately choosing work and projects that have multiple “right” answers, and cultivating an attitude of “Gosh, that was unexpected. What can I try next?” All of these possibilities can help loosen up a child’s strong negative reactions to failure, and leave space for more learning.

In thinking about why kids tend to get frustrated rather than inspired by failure, it’s worth noting that our society rarely allows any of us the opportunities to return to mistakes in a setting that invites us to further explore possibilities. Immediate results are what count. In the classroom as in the workplace, kids rarely have the chance to make mistakes and learn from them. If they fail, they fail, and the class—or group or team—moves on.

As homeschoolers with flexibility, on the other hand, we can allow for those opportunities, and even plan for them and encourage them. Give kids another chance. Don't worry about grading initial effort; pay more attention to what can be learned or what might be a different approach. When your child presents you with a project, don’t assume it is “complete” until you have talked it over with them. It may be that there is more yet to learn from it—if not now, then later. You may find that you are able to turn this dramatic stumbling block into a valuable skill that will serve him for his entire life.

For more ideas, help, and insight, check out GHF's Articles page at

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Ever since our inception in 1979, the Gifted Development Center (GDC) has strongly advocated for homeschooling. Many of our examinees have astonishingly high IQ scores, and their needs clearly are not being met in school. We found that the higher the child’s IQ, the less often their schooling keeps pace with their learning. In January, 1985, I initiated a support group for parents of exceptionally gifted children (160+ IQ). Shortly thereafter, two of these families joined forces to homeschool their children, despite believing that homeschooling was illegal in Colorado. Over the last 33 years, we have recommended homeschooling to scores of the 6,000 families who sought our services.

Thirty years ago, parents were often shocked by this recommendation. “You want me to do what?!” “Pull out all my teeth first!” My colleagues were bemused by my acknowledgment of homeschooling as a legitimate alternative for the gifted. But times have changed. The homeschooling movement is burgeoning. Thoroughly exasperated, some gifted children have announced to their parents, “You will have to homeschool me. I’m not going back there.”

There has never been a better moment to homeschool gifted children. Distance learning opportunities abound. Universities are aware that homeschooled gifted students are better equipped to become independent learners. Support groups like GHF offer classes for students and connection for their families. Once considered an oddity, being a homeschooler is now more acceptable than being gifted.

To demonstrate our support, each September GDC Denver offers homeschooling families a $200 discount on full assessment batteries. This includes a standardized intelligence scale (WISC-IV or WPPSI-III), a battery of achievement tests, a self-concept scale, Characteristics of Giftedness Scale, Introversion/Extraversion Continuum, Overexcitability Inventory for Parents, Behavioral Checklist, Short Sensory Profile, Developmental Questionnaire, two-hour post-test conference, and a comprehensive report with extensive recommendations. Families receive numerous articles, including several on homeschooling. We recommend specialists who can design a home program for a gifted learner, tailored to the child’s interests and rate of learning. And we alert parents to resources available on homeschooling (e.g., GHF and

Throughout the year, we administer individual achievement tests, such as the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement, Third Edition (WJ-III), to document the child’s progress in the home program. The WJ-III provides specific information about the child’s level of mastery and instructional needs in reading, mathematics, spelling, and writing. Although annual achievement testing is sometimes suggested, practice effects can balloon scores for the gifted; testing every two years is sufficient.

GDC Denver offers phone consultations year-round, to assist parents at critical decision points, and to help parents handle the implications of their own giftedness. For advice on parenting and problem-solving, Linda Powers Leviton, MFT, director of GDC’s West Coast office in Granada Hills, CA, is available via Skype, phone or email. Another affiliate, Anne Beneventi, director of the Annemarie Roeper Method of Qualitative Assessment, assists homeschoolers in the Bay Area. All the articles on (our website)[] are now available as free downloads. Please contact us if you would like to receive our GDC e-newsletter. We look forward to serving you.

Linda Kreger Silverman, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist. She directs the Institute for the Study of Advanced Development, and its subsidiary, the Gifted Development Center in Denver, Colorado. She has been studying the psychology and education of the gifted since 1961 and has written over 300 articles, chapters and books, including Counseling the Gifted and Talented, Upside-Down Brilliance: The Visual-Spatial Learner and Advanced Development: A Collection of Works on Gifted Adults. Her latest book (in press) is Giftedness 101 (Springer, NY).


Summer Fantasy Writing and Gaming Camp
Helios New School in Palo Alto
July 23-27, 2012


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An Atypical Early College Experience, from a Mom's Point of View

Ah, summer. Time to relax after a hectic school year. But not this summer. Instead, we’re doing the “College Tour,” driving coast-to-coast for eight weeks in the annual ritual of college shopping. This would be normal, if my daughter weren’t a 14-year-old third-year community college student trying to figure out where she will transfer after she earns her associate’s degree.

My daughter was always hard to keep challenged academically, so we let her accelerate in second grade—where she ended up finishing three grades. The following year we started to homeschool. She wanted to absorb everything and didn’t really like “down time,” so we schooled year round. By the time she was 11, we had completed everything on the California school standards list and were faced with “what to do next.” After getting great advice from the GHF list, she took placement tests at the local community college to see if she could take language or science classes. She was offered early enrollment, so we issued her a diploma and transcript and enrolled her as a matriculated freshman.

She was called “Doogie Howser” by a few people, and was expected to be a math/science savant who would blow through school. In reality, she has very asymmetric abilities, but we weren’t going to hold her back just because she was at “age-level” in math. She busted the stereotype by wanting to major in theatre or dance, consequently competing with the training, body types, and life experiences of the college-aged students for roles and class placement. Her place was clearly in the humanities, so she enrolled in dance, theatre, and critical reading classes for her first semester.

Luckily, she developed strong relationships with her peers and the faculty. She performed in productions alongside the college-aged students, was involved with costuming, performed at a local theatre, was a dance captain for a local audition, and helped choreograph a community production.

Her academic coursework is slightly more challenging because, having been homeschooled, she resents teachers who don’t really engage the students. For example, she had a biology teacher who read word-for-word from the slide presentation, then had a political science teacher who didn’t bother talking about the current election-year events.

This semester, she was worried about her grades since she had to take math. Although she got a C in math, she has a 3.72 GPA overall, is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, and made the Dean’s List three semesters. She is on track to graduate in a year with an associate’s degree and then transfer to complete her bachelor’s. She navigates the byzantine maze of the Registrar’s office and all other campus services by herself and interacts directly with her professors and academic counselors. My main roles are driver and financier. She has grown and matured so much by being independent, and she is engaged and excited about school. People ask, “Does she have any friends?” Yes, a lot, of all different ages and backgrounds.

I can’t imagine having kept my daughter back just because she wasn’t advanced in math. Not every gifted kid is gifted in all areas. We need to let them play to their strengths, not hold them back due to weaknesses. I think the stereotype that all gifted kids are good in math does a disservice to those gifted in the arts, humanities, leadership, people skills, etc. I hope that parents take the opportunity to bust stereotypes about the gifted whenever they can.

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Come See Us This Summer!
Want to learn directly from the folks at GHF? Maybe have a conversation with us? Check out the GHF Events page to find out how we will be spending our summer.

Online Classes Geared to the Gifted
GHF Online is offering classes for the 2012-2013 academic year.Sign up, now, to guarantee enrollment!

For Professionals and the Families who Meet with Them
Check out GHF's revamped Professionals page.

While you're there, take a moment to read our brand new Healthcare Providers' Guide to Gifted Children. This free, downloadable brochure will help the professionals in your life better understand your child's needs. Print it today for your next visit to the doctor, dentist, therapist, . . . .

New Releases Coming Soon from GHF Press
Check out the upcoming books GHF Press has in store. While you're there, pick up or download a copy of Making the Choice or Forging Paths.

Looking for Ways to Support GHF?
Become a Supporting Member
Purchase GHF merchandise
eScrip: GHF ID #500003724
One Cause: GHF ID #130553

For organizations that would like to reach the gifted homeschooling community while supporting the mission of GHF, we have created two tiers of Institutional Membership. For more information, please contact


July 2012 • Volume 3 • Issue 2

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