Book Review: High IQ Kids

Lorel Shea is the gifted education editor for BellaOnline(sm), which provides an encouraging, supportive publishing community for women.

Currently, Lorel is a stay-at-home mom and homeschool facilitator in rural New England. She and her husband have four gifted kids, ranging in age from toddler to teen. Lorel’s children have experienced all sorts of educational situations, including public school, public magnet school, public charter school, private Montessori, homeschool, and college. It is blatantly apparent even among her small family sample that being in the same intellectual ballpark does not mean that one size fits all. Her work with gifted children predates her parenthood, serving as a Gifted Children´s Coordinator for two different local Mensa groups before getting married. Lorel has presented at the New England Conference on Gifted and Talented Education and Beyond IQ. Other recent projects with gifted kids include coaching an academic knowledge bowl team, leading a macro/microbiology water study, and extracting sunflower seeds from gifted toddler nostrils.

Kay, K., Robson, D., & Brenneman,  J. (2007). High IQ kids: Collected insights, information, and personal stories for the         experts. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing.

High IQ Kids: Collected Insights, Information, and Personal Stories from the Experts is not a guidebook on how to raise a profoundly gifted child. It is, rather, a collection of deeply moving personal experiences from parents of highly to profoundly gifted children packaged together with professional observations from some of the world’s foremost experts on these children. Children who are twice exceptional are given center stage, which is not surprising, as Kiesa Kay, the project’s originator, is a well known champion of children who are both profoundly gifted and also learning disabled or challenged. Kay is co-editor of the book, along with Deborah Robson and Judy Fort Brenneman.

High IQ Kids is for both parents and for educators who may be searching for answers as to how to address the needs of a child who is “way out there” on the far right of the bell curve. Stories alternate between touching and humorous; informative and inspirational. Unfortunately, there is no single “right” way to raise and educate these enigmas. Highly gifted children are different both inside and out, and they tend to learn in a manner that is unusual; not just faster than the norm.

I particularly loved Annemarie Roeper’s chapter on the SAI model of education. Roeper says, “Giftedness includes heart and soul and is not limited to intelligence and achievement.” I find her ideas on education and life for profoundly gifted kids to be very uplifting. She views gifted individuals holistically, and not just as a set of numbers on a test.

Carolyn K., founder of the number one online resource for and about gifted children, Hoagie’s Gifted, outlines her family’s struggles with school advocacy. Eldest child “Dolphin” is followed through the ups and downs of her public school career.

“Normal Kids Don’t Quack” by Cathy Marciniak is a hilarious look at life with high IQ children. Cathy muses, “My life is full of things that other parents can’t relate to.” A baby who quacks, a seven year old who wonders if she should pick up her beanie babies in a, “sequential, chronological,or alphabetical” order… normal is a relative term, isn’t it?

Annette Revel Sheeley and Linda Silverman collaborate on a chapter titled, “Defining the Few” which opens the book and sets the stage for later reading with a clear description of the various levels of giftedness. This entire book is based upon the “old” Stanford-Binet form L-M standards; so, it references IQ scores are on a scale that measures beyond two hundred. Sheeley and Silverman continue to recommend the Stanford-Binet form L-M for children who have taken a more modern IQ test and scored 99th percentile on two or more subtests.

An excellent piece on homeschooling profoundly gifted children by Kathryn Finn might just nudge parents on the fence into giving it a try. Homeschooling has become a more commonplace educational solution for gifted kids, and it offers many advantages.

There are many other notable contributors to High IQ Kids, including Dierdre Lovecky, Karen Rogers, Sally Reis, Miraca Gross, and Stephanie Tolan.


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