#075 Parents Guide  to Gifted Kids’  First Years of School Series  #1 Part 2  w/ Emily

#075 Parents Guide to Gifted Kids’ First Years of School Series #1 Part 2 w/ Emily

We continue our conversation today, in Part 2 of Parents Guide to Gifted Kids’ First Years of School Series with Emily. Emily is a mum navigating those big questions with her gifted child who has just started reception (prep).

This two-part episode covers when our gifted kids should start school, where they should go to school, what expectations we should have and much more…

Memorable quote… 

“I think at the beginning of the year for us, we did think it was as simple as, do we go to our locally zoned government school, which we could walk to, or a local private school, which we could also walk to. And we thought that it was as simple as that. They were the two choices. 

And then suddenly, we were considering relocating and just anything became an option. But you’re also,  considering logistics and working, how are you supposed to do drop-offs and pickups whilst working and everything else?

It felt like our whole life was kind of thrown up in the air and everything was an option, but then so many options were taken away as well.” – Emily


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[00:00:00] hello, and welcome back to the gifted kids podcast. We are here today to finish our conversation with Emily, that we started last week as part of our parents’ guide to gifted kids. First years of school series. So, if you remember last week, we talked to Emily, a mum of a gifted kid who is in this sort of period of those first.

Years of school.

So in last week’s conversation, we were talking a lot about when should we give to kids start school .

Today we talk about. Where could it give to get, go to school and what might our expectations be? Of that relationship with the school as a parent of a gifted kid. So a wonderful conversation. Thank you so much to Emily for joining us on the podcast. And sharing her experience and opening up this whole series for everyone to enjoy. We’ll be back later this week with our second episode in this series.

Which is a, with a lovely educator called Stephanie [00:01:00] Higgs. So stay tuned for that episode later this week. And let’s get stuck into it. Let’s finish this conversation with Emily. So stay quirky. See you soon. Bye.

Sophia Elliott: And we’ve already talked briefly. One of our other questions was, well, where do we send, , our, our kids to school? And.

And the answer to that again is not simple, sorry, sucks to be a parent of a gifted kid. So basically when it comes to [00:02:00] education, right? Either we do it or someone else does it. And if someone else is doing it, it’s basically state-based school or a private school. First of all, many gifted and twice exceptional kids, and, and parents and families do choose to homeschool.

And often because things have gone wrong they can’t find a place where their needs are, are adequately being met and for all sorts of reasons. But it is a relatively common path for, you know, people within our community to go down. And so, and yeah, and I remember thinking, oh my God, am I going to have to homeschool?

I feel very grateful. But I didn’t, I think it would’ve been fun for a term . I dunno, I just, my hat’s off to anyone who homeschools. Like seriously. It’s amazing. Like I, I see how it could be really fun, but then I also see how, like, I’m like, no. Anyway, moving on from homeschooling if you’re looking at schools, so [00:03:00] it’s basically state or private.

And so the question is what’s better for gifted, right? Because it would be nice just to go, oh, this one’s better, or That one’s better. But the truth is you can’t divide them that way. So, sorry, . I know that sucks not just to have a solid answer

so unfortunately it’s not as simple as saying Go state or go private. And you’ll find a good school because it just doesn’t work that way. There’s no guarantees in either camp. A good school often comes down to the leadership unfortunately, although sometimes it can be helpful to know that if you get a good sense of where the principal stands in terms of gifted education you’ll at least get a sense of.

What you going to either have to work with or to fight against. , the principal who says We have children with many gifts, that’s gonna be a constant battle. The principal who says, well, my daughter actually did early entry, go, ah, I’ve got something to work with there. ., and a principal who actually says, oh, well I’ve got a qualification, or We’ve got ex teachers who have qualifications [00:04:00] gifted ed, and here’s our gifted program.

Bingo. Right? And that could be state, it could be private. I know people who have been to very expensive private schools, and that is unfortunately no guarantee that your gifted child will get their needs met. And not just broken, which was their experience. So it’s not easy and even as easy to say, if you spend a lot of money, you’ll get your what you want, because that’s not even a guarantee.

It’s just tricky. And it’s just that hard work of having to visit the schools. And like you said, get a sense of is it safe to talk about this with this principal? And I think the reality is most parents will share the same experience as you and be like, desperately wanting just to go, right. My kids gifted, yay or nay, like, you know, just, let’s cut and let’s just cut to the chase here.

But not feeling like we can be that upfront and [00:05:00] looking for clues as to how much we can divulge and, and what kind of a conversation we can have. But not easy. Right?

Emily : Yeah. No, it’s definitely, it’s definitely tricky trying to Yeah. Navigate all of that. And I think at the beginning of the year for us, we, we did think it was as simple as, do we go to our locally zoned government school, which we could walk to, um mm-hmm.

or a local private school, which we could also walk to. And that, that we thought that was as simple as that. They were the two choices mm-hmm. and then suddenly, we were considering relocating and just anything became an option. But you’re also, considering logistics and working, how, how are you supposed to, do dropoffs and pickups whilst working and everything else.

So it’s. . It kind of, yeah, it felt like our whole life was kind of thrown up in the air and everything was an option, but then so many options were taken away as well. And I think for us as well, like after I did meet with that school and that principal, and I was like, okay, this, I think I’ve, I think I’ve got a good [00:06:00] option here.

I then decided to call, like, phone call without saying who I was. All of, basically all of the schools local to us that were logistically viable. And just be upfront and actually speak to them and say, Hey, my child’s gifted. Do you have experiences with this? What’s your understanding of it?

And some. of the conversations were, you could tell that they wanted to understand, but they didn’t. One school was like, oh, you know, the way you’re describing your child sounds like they’ve got pretty unique needs. And I was kind of like, I haven’t described anything about my child. I haven’t said anything.

And so, you know, it was kind of, they were already putting ’em in a too hard basket. And then there was one school that I spoke to who was so amazing. I was probably on the phone to them for about 40 minutes. They were full . They didn’t have any capacity for next year’s enrollments, but they still spoke to me and they got it.

And they they suggested other schools that would be good options, but we would, you know, need to relocate for them. But it was just so comforting to be able [00:07:00] to have just that one conversation with somebody who got it, who talked to me about what to expect, who talked to me about Just, I guess just to know that there were options out there.

And I know that, like, obviously you say that we’re ahead of the game in terms of, well, he’s four and he’s been identified as being gifted, but I wish that, you know, I wish we knew when he was two, so that he was on the list for that school. Yeah. So, yeah. But I think it was still really good to call back all of those schools and just have those conversations and sort of leave no stone unturned.


Sophia Elliott: And well done for doing that. Because the truth is, as difficult as it is, as parents, we, we need to be that parent. The conversation we need to have with these principals is literally like, my kid is gifted. Here’s a report. I’m not, you know, I’m not making it up. Here’s a report. What, how can you meet their needs?

Who here has qualifications in gifted ed? Tell me about your gifted program. What kind of [00:08:00] acceleration do you do? What kind of enrichment do you do? These are the kinds of questions that are completely reasonable to ask. And one of the reasons I’ve referred to that a E G T article is because it, it actually validates that which is really nice.

I’m like, oh, that’s a really nice article. And it even sort of says, actually, I’ve got it here. So it says, schools, preschools and educators should continually provide challenge as a part of an appropriate and stimulating curriculum. Gain the skills and knowledge to create optimal and flexible learning environments. Create a learning environment where a child’s potential talent and natural abilities allow themselves to be revealed.

Recognize a child’s strengths and interest, respond to the readiness of learners, foster curiosity, creativity, imagination, and perseverance. And extend a child’s thinking like they should do all these things. And it’s really sad that they don’t, in many cases, just lack that [00:09:00] expertise in this particular area.

And so therefore, it’s completely reasonable as a parent to be able to go, my kid is gifted. What is your program? Who in the school is qualified? And yet it’s so hard to do, it’s just such a hard conversation to have at the same time. So I think it’s wonderful that you went back and did it over the phone where you, you know, you felt like you had a bit of cover and the ability just to kind of tell it how it was like, and that’s the thing, it’s like, do it anyway that you can and need to do these things, but this is, you know, this is the work that we need to do as parents.

And I’m so pleased that you did find a school that. was able to validate that for you because they are out there. Like we can be very doom and gloom and I don’t ever want to be because they are out there, but it’s just harder to find them.

Emily : Yeah. I think, yeah, when you just having that one conversation was just really validating [00:10:00] as a parent, especially like, just sort of this whole thing being still very new to us.

Mm-hmm. , it’s like, no, I didn’t make all this up. Like, I’m not being crazy. I’m not asking for too much. And like this, , this person that I spoke to was basically like, you know, you might, you might need to consider moving house. I was just like, oh my gosh. Like, you know, this is all overwhelming enough.

So I think that’s where we kind of came to the decision of, all right, we’ll start with prep learn what we need to learn from that experience, and then if we need to consider relocating, at least we’ll know what we’re relocating for. Because I, I sort of. Also don’t necessarily think that, you know, one school that caters to gifted children is the school for all gifted children.

Cause I feel like they’re, they’re probably all different as well. So I kind of wanna have more of an understanding of his individual needs and how he goes and then find a school that’s gonna meet those needs specifically. Not just like an umbrella of, of gifted, if I even find that anyway, . [00:11:00] So, yeah, I think the next year is just kind of gonna be another, you know, input of information to inform our decisions, you know, for the next couple of years.

Sophia Elliott: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that’s a great idea because. We can get very caught up in parents of feeling like we need to solve the problem immediately. Like, it’s I need to do it now. You know, this week, today. And it’s like this journey with our kids is, is the long game. You know, and, and in as much as there are times where we need to take action and make things happen, it’s also okay just to take a big deep breath and consider options.

And the reality is like many families do end up moving to access different schools. And that’s a huge, that’s a huge thing for a family and not something Many families have to do because I, I, there is a school five minutes from here where I’m living that we don’t get to go. We drive past every day [00:12:00] and drive another 30 minutes to get to the school that meets the needs of our kids.

And unfortunately you know, that’s a very common experience for, for families of gifted kids.

 But that can lead us on to, , what are our expectations that we might have of a school. So we find the school, we’ve decided when they should start. We found our school. We’re giving it a bash.

What might our expectations be? And generally speaking, I’ll refer [00:13:00] back to our levels of giftedness because again, it depends on the kid and kind of where they’re at and what they’re needing. You know, , but generally speaking, gifted kids need acceleration of some kind right up to our profoundly gifted kids who need this sort of radical acce acceleration.

You know, differentiation should be a part of any class, and that’s where the teacher, you know, is teaching, you know, one particular subject matter, but is able to differentiate that to allow for all of the different learners within that space. But unfortunately, what research shows us is teachers can be differentiating from anywhere from like six to 12 different levels within one class.

And that’s extreme. Like our teachers are people desperately trying to do their best. Do not get. Informed about gifted education in their undergrad. And so [00:14:00] generally speaking, very few universities will actually teach teachers about gifted kids. So they’re already starting, you know, at a loss to help these kids.

And so you need to specifically do like a graduate certificate or a master’s in gifted education. So it’s not a great base. And the, at the very least what your expectations are is an openness or a willingness. For example, one of my children’s went to a kindergarten. I was very upfront because I had to be about where we were at and what we needed.

And they were very upfront and said, well, we’re not really across the gifted thing, but we’re up for learning about it and we are really up for meeting your child’s needs. And true to their word, they did. We had this amazing year where that child was supported beautifully. And so at the very least, you need people who are willing to work with you and, and have [00:15:00] that approach where we are building that community around the child, the student and working together.

And, and when it comes to being that parent, advocating, unfortunately as a parent of a gifted kid, it is our job to advocate their whole during their whole entire schooling experience. It’s probably something that we’ll, we’ll always need to do through that whole journey because they just don’t fit in that box and it really sucks to be in that situation for the child and, you know, for the family as well.

But, and it just, just does make it harder and it, I think it’s important to validate how tricky that is, how much energy and time and emotion goes into that, especially when you are bashing your head against a brick wall. But even just navigating things with, you know, educators who are on board, it can still be tricky cuz our kids are really complicated little [00:16:00] people.

But a basic expectation is what is your gifted program? In what ways do you currently accelerate students? I’d be like, gimme examples of what you’re doing now, because there will be, you know, there’s gifted kids everywhere. And, you know, and who do you have that’s qualified and getting a real sense that the leadership is on board because what so often you’ll get a good teacher and you, but you might only get that teacher for a year.

And, and that teacher can only do as much as they’re allowed to do from the leadership. So it’s really important that leadership is on board and knowledgeable about giftedness. Otherwise, it almost doesn’t matter how great the teacher is, if they’re trying to accelerate or whatever, they’re gonna hit a brick wall as well.

And some schools do composite classes and things like that. And I just think any opportunity where a gifted child has that chance to work at a higher level where they’re [00:17:00] needing to be met are things to consider. Because sometimes we’ve kind of gotta work with what we’ve got. But ultimately we want, I think everyone wants a learning environment where our kids are excited about learning where they thrive, where they can be themselves, ask questions. Lots of gifted kids just get told not to ask so many questions. Put your hand down. Yeah. Do you know,

I think that’s kinda hit the nail on the head, I guess with one of my big fears.

Emily : And we,

we were leaving the parent information night at the end of the year, and my partner was like,

Emily : you know,

you seem, you seem worried, like, what’s, what’s, what are you worried about? And I had this realization that my like biggest fear. of My son starting school is that he’s gonna lose his love for learning.

Emily : And I thought that was just so, scary that, you know, like I think that you, you send your child to school to [00:18:00] learn and then to have this perspective of I’ve already got a child that loves to learn, but I’m s I’m worried that you guys are gonna destroy that. And yeah, I think that was just really, I dunno, concerning to have that realization that that was, that was sort of my thought process.

And it is, it is. Things like you know, he does like to speak out, like he does like to ask questions and he’s, he’s such like, he, he loves to, like, loves to be a good kid, like loves to help, loves to, you know, be involved. But sometimes he does things that , might feel like he gets in trouble for, like, he’s not necessarily done the right thing.

So if he is, you know, if he does speak out, if a book’s being read or something like that. And if he gets told off for that, that’s like a massive trigger. And he just, you know, will get really sad depending on what the environment is. He might, it might turn into a meltdown. It might, he might be the naughty kid, so he feels like he’s been in trouble, so then he becomes naughty and then he continues to get in trouble.

So those are the sort of situations that I’m worried about. It’s like if he, if he does [00:19:00] interrupt during, you know, during a story or something like that and we’ll work with him obviously to make sure that he you know, understands I guess the. The way of a classroom and things like that as much as we can.

But if he does interrupt, don’t, don’t tell him off. Just say to him, you know, let’s talk about it after. He would happily accept that, you know? Mm-hmm. , don’t say shush. Just say, let’s chat about it after. Let’s catch up at recess. Mm-hmm. , or, you know, that sounds great. Let’s talk later. And that would just, you know, you, you can, you’d see the difference in his response just by the way that you are framing that and it’s, he’s still not getting his way.

He’s still not talking over the top of you or interrupting the class, but it’s just framing in a way that isn’t you know, isn’t discouraging or, or telling him off, you know, when he’s not trying to be naughty. So yeah, I just want him to come outta the school year, still loving to learn and having learned something

Cause I think ultimately that’s what he wants to do as. .

Sophia Elliott: And I think that’s a really hard thing because they, they’re like, woo, off to school, are you gonna learn? You’re gonna be awesome . And then you’re just like, oh, please be [00:20:00] awesome . And your gifted kids are so sensitive and, and generally have a really great awareness.

And so those things really do affect them. And they wanna be good kids. Do you know, it’s like cuz they’re so excited about learning. Unfortunately research shows us that gifted kids can spend as much as 80% of a school year without learning, which is pretty tragic. Yeah, that’s a downer. Moving on

Okay. What I will say as encouragement is,

You know, the very reason we’re having this conversation is of that it’s really hard as a parent to navigate your way through these for our kids, because it is, it’s really tricky. And even when, and even when that spark does get doused with a bucket of water, it’s always there. It’s who they are. And as parents, if we, you know, it’s up to us [00:21:00] to notice when that flame is under threat because it, it’s, it’s always gonna be there.

And if we can take action and find a place that will light up again, it will light up again. Do you know, it is kind of like, the truth is the, the threat is real. , but it can always be re lit, you know? And it’s like, yeah. I just think it’s, it’s about, I think having that confidence as a parent to trust your gut and keep an eye on things and you know, not, you know, like drive yourself crazy, stressful kind of way.

but just, yeah. And make those decisions when we can. And you know, and I, when I was thinking about it, I was sort of like, what are the, what are the things that I’ve learned that I would tell parents if I, or I wanted to know? Do you know? And I think [00:22:00] it’s very much trust your gut, your own intuition as a parent in, especially in how you feel your child is going.

And be having those conversations be that parent about how they’re going at school. and, and also have confidence that even the research shows us that parents are actually better at identifying giftedness in their kids than teachers. You know, we, we get it as parents, we’re like, something that’s not right here, , and this sticks all the boxes.

You know, like, and also gather, gather that community of support around you, the professionals that are going to help, who get gifted and who are going to help build you as a parent and your child up. So it might be the psychologist, the OTs, the whoever it is you need. And there are also even really great online forums like Sam Young and he is Young Scholars Academy, or Dr.

Dan do his biochemistry for [00:23:00] kids. Stuff like that where our gifted kids can actually get that cognitive need met in other ways, but also, See themselves in other kids. So that sense of I’m not alone because it’s incredibly important to get that sense of seeing my, you know, themselves in others. So even on that note, you know, getting in touch with your state association or even sometimes Mensa will have will do social things for kids.

Sometimes they don’t associations. They, everything can be hit and miss if it’s run by volunteers because, you know, volunteers do so much. But reaching out to whatever organizations are needed by to try and get those social opportunities for your kids to meet other gifted kids. Really important.

Yeah. And can really get them through and be prepared to know, be, have the confidence to know that you may know more about giftedness than the school or teacher that you’re talking to. Which [00:24:00] is a scary thought because you really want them to know it all. But unfortunately, as I said, they’re just not trained.

It’s not the teacher’s fault though, you know, the system really hasn’t done the right thing by gifted kids in that respect yet, you know, there really needs to be a part of every, every undergrad, in my opinion. So be prepared to make that call. Potentially move schools. Keeping an eye on those first years for changes in behavior.

We’ve talked a lot about the red flags. You know, ideally before it spirals into like mental health issues or burnout. And I’ll put a link to, there’s a great Davidson article on gifted kid burnout which basically is the more energy a kid has to put into getting through the day in an educational environment that is not a good match.

The more you know that, that takes that energy away from them and then they can eventually burn out because what they’re needing is a good educational fit.

Emily : And I think I was gonna [00:25:00] say as well, just in terms of that sort of sense of belonging that’s always just sort of been ingrained in me to make sure that sort of everyone everyone feels like they belong somewhere.

Mm-hmm. , I don’t think you’re, you’re gonna belong everywhere, but you need to have somewhere that you do feel like you belong. Yeah. And so we, as part of sort of our research throughout throughout the year well in the months really hasn’t even been year we did find a gifted program that supplements school.

So, we started him in that at the end of 2022 for term four. And that has been, amazing for him to be around other gifted children. Mm-hmm. But also for me because when I’m doing the drop-offs and pickups, I’m around other parents of gifted children mm-hmm. , so we can all just talk freely and just, you know, just talk about what it’s like and talk about what we’re experiencing.

And then he’s, he’s been accepted into that program again for 2023. So, at least I guess that will break up the school week for him. So sort of one [00:26:00] day a week, he won’t be at school, he’ll be at this other program. It’s not counted as an absence, it’s like an educational program. So, and it’s, you know, logistically it’s a bit of a nightmare.

But yeah, I just feel like that if, if we do end up in a path where the school isn’t meeting his needs, I’m hoping that at least one day a week you know, and like you say, he’s gifted all the time, it’s not just some of the time mm-hmm. , but I just hope that that one day a week does give him a sense of feeling normal and feeling Challenged and around other kids who he can engage with on his level. Yeah. So, you know, it’s, there are options out there. I guess it’s not, there’s not a lot. And they’re hard to find. But you know, we, we found one . Yeah.

Sophia Elliott: And so that was born to solar. Born to solar, yeah. Yeah. And in Melbourne.

Emily : Yep.

So they’re in Melbourne and I think in New South Wales as well. Yeah. I

Sophia Elliott: think they’re in Sydney as well. Yeah. I’ve come across them, so it’s really nice to hear that that’s been a great experience for you. Other parents might like to check that out as well, because there’s not a lot, but they are out [00:27:00] there and it’s about finding out what you’ve got locally, what your options are, and that’s a really great solution because guaranteed once a week he’s getting his cup full, you know, and, and that can make a really big difference.

He’s seeing other kids that are like him. He’s being met on the level. And that’s just what our kids need. In, in whatever way we can kind of pull that together as much as we can. And, and it’s nice to have parents in your life that get that, you know, you’re not being a pushy parent, putting ’em in this random program because you’re trying to hothouse them or something.

It’s like, no, no, no. They, they, they’re running off and we are just trying to keep up as parents, you know, we’re just trying to support them and what they need. And it’s nice to just be around other parents who get that, you know, that it’s actually, you’re just trying to support them, but they’re, they’re leading the charge on, on how much they wanna learn and how engaged they are with just [00:28:00] consuming knowledge.

Emily : And I think one thing that sort of, we’ve, we’ve, like a few of the parents and I have talked about is that I guess this perception that I guess parents of gifted children want, you know, that they’re pushing their children to become geniuses or something like that. Yeah. And we, you know, we’ve kind of all agreed that we, we don’t want, you know, that’s not necessarily what we want for our children.

We, we want them to be happy. And that’s, you know, that that’s, that’s ultimately what we’re, what we’re sort of doing all of this for. That’s what we’re doing all the research for and sending, you know, driving around to these programs and mm-hmm. , all that sort of thing. And I think that before, before we started our gifted journey with him you know, we just, we didn’t have any of those concerns.

We thought that, you know, you just send him to school and he would just grow up to be a happy, happy kid. And now it’s kind of, it’s changed a little bit and just, yeah. sort of really finding what, what does make him happy and making sure that you know, that the school environment does keep him. Yeah, just k [00:29:00] just keep him happy.

I don’t care if he’s, you know, if he’s a genius at the end of it. Mm-hmm. , just, just happy, that’s all. Yeah.

Sophia Elliott: Yeah. Absolutely. Like, personally for my own kids, I don’t care what they do in life, I just, I want them to be confident. I want them to get through the other side of school without being traumatized by it.

I, you know, I want them to be doing something they love because they’ve been on this journey with people around them who also love it and, you know, and I think, When you get into that gifted community where, where we all kind of get the challenges that come with this learning it, it’s very sobering. And you get that perspective of actually, this is just really about, it’s all, it’s all about the social and emotional because they’ve got the [00:30:00] brain to kind of do whatever they wanna put their mind to.

So, it, it really does become all about that social emotional piece. Yeah. I always think that you really know that you’re with like-minded parents when, when they’ve, they’ve, when that’s the value set, because I think it demonstrates that parent sense of, you know, given the, the struggles and challenges that go with this, actually all I really want is a happy kid.

, because it, it, what people don’t realize is, , there are the pros and cons of being gifted. It’s not all, you know, it’s, it’s actually quite a challenging journey. And at the end of the day, it’s really just about, yeah, seeing them onto this path, to adulthood, doing something that they love.

Hopefully, whatever that might end up being. So I dunno, we’ve, we’ve, we’ve, we’ve talked a lot. I feel like I’ve talked a lot. Hopefully , I haven’t bored you and answered some questions. And just kind of [00:31:00] things to, I don’t know, think about and look out for because it is incredibly important. And that was one of the other questions.

And why is it so important? Like, and I think that just harks back to the fact that they’re gifted from day dot. They need these accommodations through their whole educational journey. You know, they, their sense of self, who they are in the world, seeing other people like them it’s a, it’s a really important it just, yeah, it, it do, you know, it’s kinda like finding that it, it can change your trajectory of a kid’s life is actually what I’ve seen.

Finding that right. Educational fit for a gifted kid which is so challenging, but it can be as big as changing that trajectory and it’s incredibly important. And we have these conversations. I, I think to validate how challenging it is for parents who listen, but also hopefully it’s that [00:32:00] educators and policy makers can start to get a sense of what’s at stake and and.

What the challenges are and that we’re dealing with real people and real kids and real families. And, you know, we shouldn’t have to talk about moving house to access a school the only, or, you know, one of the few options that we might have to meet the educational needs of our kids. And things like that.

It’s a lot. So, I dunno, I hope that this conversation has helped anyone at that part of the journey. I often get to the end of the podcast, I’m like, oh, what did I just say? I don’t know. Something useful.

Emily : I think, I dunno, I’ve found it really overwhelming at the beginning, but I think, you know, generally, you know, if a task is overwhelming, you break it down into smaller chunks.

And for me, just focusing on prep, so rather than being like, yes, what’s my son’s schooling journey gonna be like for the next 12 years? Mm-hmm. This is such a big decision, you know, is he going [00:33:00] to, you know, he’s gonna be in puberty and he’s gonna be one of the youngest. All these sort of things. It’s like, yeah, prep.

Let’s deal with prep. Yeah. And I don’t know what’s gonna happen, but we’re just dealing with prep and we’ll see what happens. Yeah. So,

Sophia Elliott: yeah. Do you know, and I think that’s a brilliant approach and, and I think I’ve probably taken a similar one myself. It’s like, what’s just the next right step? You know? And, and also I think when you, your kids find their peers, like their gifted peers, whatever that journey is, kind of becomes the norm.

You know, so those things that people can get very wound up about, oh, you know, if we accelerate now, they’ll be younger then and da da. And it’s kind of like, well, if they know enough, are they gifted kids? That’s gonna be a norm, you know, whether they’re at school or they know through programs or whatever.

So it’s, it’s about shifting our perspective, I think, around norms as well. And it’s kind of like, and it’ll be okay. [00:34:00] Like it will be okay. It’s tricky, but we can get through this. We’re not alone. There’s actually lots of families going through this process. And, and, and the more that we support each other and talk about these issues and help each other find the helpers out there and the support, you know, networks like Born to Soar and.

Our gifted and talented associations and, and places like that then, you know, we can kind of get through this journey together. So thank you so much for reaching out with these questions, coming on the podcast, even though it can be a bit scary. And thank you for staying up late with me. I’ve just realized the time and and having this chat with me, I really appreciated it.

Emily : Thank you. Thank you for your time,​[00:35:00]

#075 Parents Guide  to Gifted Kids’  First Years of School Series  #1 Part 2  w/ Emily

#074 Parents Guide to Gifted Kids’ First Years of School Series #1 Part 1 w/ Emily

Today we start our Parents Guide to Gifted Kids’ First Years of School Series with Emily.

Emily is a mum navigating those big questions with her gifted child who has just started reception (prep).

This two-part episode covers when our gifted kids should start school, where they should go to school, what expectations we should have and much more…

Memorable quote… 

“The big question that I had [for the educational psychologist] was, do you think he should be going to school next year? Do you think he’s ready for school next year?

And she actually flipped that question on me and said, ‘it’s not about when it’s about where. Now that you know that he’s gifted, you now need to make a really considered decision about where you send him to school’.

And I thought that this day, this assessment was going to almost close the chapter and be like, okay, you’ve got your answer now get on with your life.

But it was just the beginning of everything.” – Emily


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[00:00:00] hello, and welcome back to the I’ll give to kids podcast. What a relief it is to be here. I have learned over the last couple of months that multitasking is an absolute myth, and unfortunately I just had to pause and get some backend stuff done. For the benefit of us all I promise. Well, I’m super excited to be back with a much anticipated mini series.

And I think that this mini-series is perhaps going to end up not quite so many and more of a mega series. Uh, some of the episodes are becoming part one part two, just to make them quick and easy to listen to. But everything you need to know. The parents guide to gifted kids at first years of school.

And today we’ve got part one with Emily mum, extraordinary of the gifted child. Who shares her journey of those first years of school and that kindie process, and really started off this whole miniseries journey [00:01:00] with a question, uh, To me in January of, Hey, Sophia. I think it was in Facebook.

Do you have any podcasts? About the first years of school? I was like, no. Emily, what a great idea. Would you like to come on the podcast? So be warned. If you ask great questions, you may end up being invited on as a guest. Emily’s been super brave because let’s face it. That’s a little bit awkward, the whole podcast thing. Sometimes it’s a little bit weird.

But she’s been super brave. And in this part, one. Shared a bit about her story, which I think. There’s a lot to learn for all of us in that. And we talk about. One of our first questions, which is when should give to kids start school. And in part two, we also talk about where should they go to school and what are some of the expectations? And we unpack other questions that you’re bound to have on.

What do you need to know as a parent, when your child is [00:02:00] approaching their, maybe they’re in kindie. Maybe they’re getting ready for kindie. You’ve got grade one, looming, reception, prep, whatever it’s called in your state. And it’s kind of like, what do I need to know? So we’re unpacking it all in this series.

Starting off with Emily because it was her fabulous idea. We’ve got a wonderful educator from the us called Stephanie Higgs. Who talks to us, and then we’ve got the wonderful Jessica Farago also wrapping up. The series with her. Experiences as well.

I can’t wait to introduce them to you. We’ve got a wonderful series ahead.

Each episode will come out weekly. So you will get part two of this one tomorrow. And so you don’t have to wait and then next week we’ll have another one and then next week another one, and I may even have a fourth in the works. Well, let’s see. It’ll be a little surprise for all of us.

It’s wonderful to be back with everyone. We’ve got such an amazing year ahead. I recorded so many [00:03:00] podcasts already this year with some amazing guests. I can’t wait to bring them all to you.

And if you do love the podcast, consider liking, subscribing, reviewing, sharing. It all helps us. Spread the word

and if you want more, you can become a patron of the podcast. Join our membership community or our free Facebook group. There’s all sorts of stuff going on. Check out in the show notes and let’s get into it. . . Hello everyone and welcome back to the our Gifted Kids Podcast,[00:04:00]

Sophia Elliott: I’m very delighted today to be interviewing one of our listeners. Emily got in touch with some questions and I said, do you know what? Why don’t we do a podcast ? So bear that in mind. If you ever get in touch, I may just be like, you know what? That’s a great idea for an episode. Let’s do a podcast. And Emily has been super brave and is joining me today.

Emily, welcome. First of all, thank you so much for joining us.

Emily : Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Sophia Elliott: I am delighted to have you. Emily, you got in touch because you were like, are there any episodes that talk about that first year of school, you know, as a parent when you have a, a child, a gifted child, starting that first year of school?

And I was like, no, not specifically. What a great idea for an episode. And then Emily, you were brave enough to join us.

Yep. Here I am. .

So [00:05:00] first of all, Emily, I think we would love to hear a little bit more about your story. And so you’ve obviously got a child who is about to start school this year,

Emily : 2023.

Yep. So I have two children. My oldest is starting first year of school prep 2023, and I have a two year old as well.

Sophia Elliott: So I remember vividly the first time my child started school, that first child. And I remember not having any idea how the whole school thing worked other than what I’d seen in movies or in, you know, things like that. And at that stage for us, we, we were about to crash into the gifted world, but we were not yet.

That, you know, that world hadn’t opened up for us. And so it was kind of scary enough just having a kid and starting that whole school journey, let alone you’re, you’re ahead of the game. Congratulations, you’re ahead of where I was [00:06:00] at. And you’re actually already asking the gifted questions. And so you have a, an awareness that your, your eldest is gifted.

Emily : Yes. I still feel relatively new to the whole the whole thing. It’s only been the last couple of months for us, but he was identified as gifted yeah, around August, 2022. So

Sophia Elliott: that is very early days. And like, how are you guys going? What, what tipped you off?

Emily : Well, I mean, probably prior to that I didn’t even know what giftedness was.

So it was learning that word, learning what that meant, and then figuring out what that meant for our child. But we as a family and like my partner and I, in terms of our parenting, we’ve never really been the type of parents to sort of follow milestones or track him or compare him to to other children.

But we did get complimented, I guess, from like educators and our family about, [00:07:00] you know, he’s quite switched on. He’s learned that really quickly. And we just thought they’re being nice. Like, you know, people say that, I don’t know, people say that to give you some sort of satisfaction as a parent. And never took it very seriously.

And then I guess the first time that we started to take it seriously was when we had a meeting with his childcare educator who was, who kind of suggested to us that our plan so he’s a February birthday, so we had the choice of when to send him to school. And we were originally planning for him to start prep in 2024.

And she had a conversation with us and suggested that that may not have been the best decision for him, and we should really look to transition him into four year old kindergarten and then onto primary school the following year. So that was kind of where everything started.

Sophia Elliott: And so they were actually quite onto it. They realized he was a very bright kid.

Emily : I don’t know specifically what it was [00:08:00] like. I mean, so academically we always knew that he, he liked to learn. He loved books, he loved facts, he loved animals, and all those kinds of things, puzzles. But they, it was actually more of a social need that they were sort of suggesting to us.

So they he was in a three, four combined room at his childcare center. And they just told us that basically all of his friends were all of the older children and that he would, he would really be lost when those children move on to school the following year. And they thought that would, you know, would basically be damaging to.

And he’s, he’s a very social kid and he, you know, whenever he goes to the playground, he always makes friends. Now we know is a, a gifted trait, but we didn’t think of it before, is that he does gravitate towards older children and for some reason they’re happy to have a four year old following them around and playing with them.

But then I think the really, sort of the like the second piece of interesting feedback we got was when we ended up speaking to his three-year-old kindergarten that he did separately to the childcare center. So he was in a [00:09:00] three-year-old, three-year-old program and they actually said, no, there’s, there’s no way he’s ready for school next year.

Socially he’s not getting along with the other children in his, in his group. And you know, he was sort of having meltdowns, like quite severe meltdowns. . And so they were actually sort of expressing quite a lot of concern for him. So I sort of had two very different perceptions of him. And then we sort of had to go exploring and yeah, that was when I kind of uncovered the term of giftedness and started to go down that

Sophia Elliott: path.

So he was struggling to get to connect with his same age peers in the three-year-old group, but in the other four-year-old group, he was kind of befriending the older kids and quite happy.

Emily : Yeah. So he was thriving in the childcare and then really struggling in the three-year-old group. And I think so I I had experienced the meltdowns at the kind at the kindergarten.

So, when I would drop him off in the mornings, he. just be [00:10:00] screaming and clinging to me, refusing to go. And we sort of, we put it down to separation anxiety, especially being in Melbourne, coming out of, you know, the, the pandemic and the lockdowns, um mm-hmm. . And yeah. So we sort of put it down to separation anxiety and thought that if we persevered that was in his best interests.

And I would literally have to sort of run out of the room whilst holding my baby. You know, and I’d be crying myself , like as soon as I got outta the room. Yeah. Cause it was quite distressing for us both, but I thought that, you know, he, that that would be better for him. Like, I, it feels crazy now, but it it seemed like he just, he needed that separation and that was the right thing for him.

But then when I sort of had this other feedback that he was actually thriving in the childcare center, it just sort of got some questions moving around in my head that something wasn’t quite right. Yeah.

Sophia Elliott: Yeah. And that really resonates.

So I had a similar experience with one of my kids and, and it was, and it was almost exactly the same. They were in run childcare [00:11:00] center with their same age peers and we had all sorts of, Struggles. It was actually really distressing and we ended up stopping. And, but that same child in another center where they had access to an, an older sibling, but then also older children to play with, was, was much happier.

And, and it can be really difficult to know as a parent because there are all these social norms around , you’ve just got to be firm and leave quickly. And, and I would do all the right things according to all of those social norms that we get told as parents. And, and really, , , when I had the hindsight and that understanding later on, berate myself as a parent for, you know, doing what at the time seemed completely, , Normal to do and, and was encouraged to do in terms of that kind of process.

But it was [00:12:00] really hard and, and we’ve had to do a lot of work with that child since then but it’s, it’s one of those things about parenting a gifted kid, which is really hard because you do what people tell you to do. You do what seems normal and you do what seems right and it doesn’t work.

But you don’t know yet why. Yeah. You know, and it just makes it really damn hard to. Do the right thing, because at that point, no one’s picking up on giftedness or, you know, divergence and these other issues necessarily. And everyone keeps ushering you in this sort of direction as a parent. And so you in good faith, are going on this journey

until I guess something happens or you get more information, something shifts. But but yeah, that, that really resonates with me as well. And yeah, and it’s just [00:13:00] hard, like it’s just hard.

Emily : And I think, like in our situation, we are fortunate that he was exposed to the kindergarten environment and the childcare environment so that we could sort of identify that something was working in one situation but not in the other.

And it kind of gave us, , more information to sort of empower us with our decisions, um mm-hmm. , but I think that if he was just at the kindergarten, we would’ve stayed on that path and just, , put it down to separation anxiety and then, , that probably would’ve snowballed into, , other issues and bigger issues.

So, yeah, I think that, yeah, we were really, , really lucky to have both of those environments. Yeah,

Sophia Elliott: definitely. So you’ve gone through this experience with childcare in kindie you. You now know that your child is gifted, you’ve had an assessment, so you’ve kind of got a sense of certainty about in some ways, I guess, you know, what you’re, what you’re dealing with.

And w so what made you make [00:14:00] the decision to actually go ahead with the assessment or go down that path?

Emily : I, so after we sort of had these this feedback from the childcare center in the kindergarten, we then had a meeting with the school that we had that was on our plan that we’d picked out. And so it was a local private school and he was on the list to start there in 2024.

So we met with the principal and just they did sort of a quick prep readiness assessment with him and. , the first thing that we noticed was that he, like my son, loved it. Like he, you know, was really engaged, really loved being asked all those questions. And just like, he just thought it was fun.

And he, you know, he knew all of the answers. And for us, like we were watching him and sort of not like we knew that he knew them. There was nothing challenging there. And I don’t, I don’t necessarily, even now I don’t know what’s expected of a child going into their first year of school, what they’re expected to know.

So, you know, and I think similar to other gifted people or parents of gifted kids, you kind of think like, oh, they’re just giving like the [00:15:00] basic test or something. Yeah. And so they said, yeah, no, he’s academically, he’s more than ready to start school. He would be at the top of his class. And then me being the type of person that I am where I want.

As much information about something as possible, and I wanna make sure that I’m making an informed decision with all of the information. I then like found out about assessments and, and this sort of thing. I was lucky that throughout this process I actually had a friend whose daughter had already been identified as gifted at quite a young age.

So, you know, I was sending her questions daily to get some more information from her. And then through that, sort of found out about the assessments and I booked him in for a a sie. And we got in quite quickly for that, which was quite quite lucky, I think. And I went into that situation thinking like, you know, I, I didn’t necessarily expect a gifted like diagnosis or anything like that.

I just wanted to know. , her opinion of where he’s at. I just kind of, I don’t know, I just didn’t want my mom telling me [00:16:00] that, you know, he’s ready for school and I, I wanted somebody else to, you know, sort of verify that . Yeah. It wasn’t, you know, emotionally invested. And yeah, I was really surprised which I feel bad to say, but I was quite surprised.

But again, he, like, he loved it. Like he just thought that he was sitting there playing games for a couple of hours and he thought that it was, you know, the most fun thing ever. And so from that, yeah, he was identified as as gifted and then I was kind of like, okay, what do we, what do we do now? And the educational psychologist the big question that I had was, you know, do you think he should be going to school next year?

Like, do you think he’s ready for school next year? And she actually flipped that question on me and said, it’s not about when it’s about where, so now that you know that he’s gifted, , you now need to make a really considered decision about where you send into school. And I thought that this answer, you know, that this day, this assessment was going to , you know, almost close the chapter and be like, okay, you’ve got your answer now get on with your life.

But it was just [00:17:00] the beginning of

Sophia Elliott: everything and bravo to your psych for asking the right question. Like, that’s brilliant. Because that, that’s definitely the issue, isn’t it, with gifted kid, it’s like, where do they go to school? So a big journey for you guys and a lot of and like no, no one expects their kids to be gifted.

Yeah. Yeah. And I remember being in that place and it just felt very surreal. Definitely didn’t expect it. And. Yeah, there’s, there’s no real words to explain that moment. It, it, yeah. Other than just really surreal and weird and unexpected, I don’t know. But how are you feeling now that you’ve so in terms of the assessment, you’ve got some certainty.

Yeah. How does that feel? Yeah.

Emily : So I think we were a bit naive about everything that comes with it because we, we basically got the assessment and then just straight away went to the school that [00:18:00] we’d, we’d already chosen and just shared that information with them and just said, , Hey, we’ve got this information.

We just wanna understand how , what your approach is to this and that sort of thing. And, you know, whether we could have like a, a catch up to discuss and, , go from there just to make sure, I guess, that we had chosen the right school, but at that point we, we weren’t really considering.

anywhere else it was, , we thought we’d chosen the best school. And the principal basically wrote back to us and said, , there’s there’s no need for a meeting that , essentially all children are gifted in their own way. And we understand if we’re not the right school for you,

So yeah, we kind of, that was our first experience of like, oh wow, okay, this is this is a bit like, you know, like controversial I guess. Like, you know, it’s, yeah, it was a bit it made me then sort of, I guess, you know, hide in my shell a little bit and go, okay, this isn’t information that I necessarily want to just come out with upfront.

And it, yeah, made me hide a little bit, I guess. .

Sophia Elliott: Okay, so hang on. So you send the report to the principal and the [00:19:00] principal’s response was, , all kids are gifted in their own way. We understand if we’re not the school you wanna go ahead with

Emily : essentially. Yeah. Essentially. Yeah. Yeah. , that’s,

Sophia Elliott: , that’s quite an email response to here’s a psychological report for a gifted kid.

I didn’t even know what to say to that, but I mean, okay, let me gather myself because you, no one could see my face as you were telling me that the first time. . Okay. So in the first instance, that’s really disappointing because obviously what you want a principal to say is, you know, like, thanks, let’s have a chat.

Let’s talk about how we can meet your child’s needs. Acknowledging, you know, the report and the recommendations of the psychologist, I, I guess, is the kind of conversation you would wanna be having, not. , all kids are gifted in their own way. We might not be the school for you. So anyone who says all kids are gifted, and I [00:20:00] was literally at a school scoping out for my kids where I asked the principal, do you have any gifted kids here?

And their reply was, we have kids with many gifts. And I’m like, Hmm, red flag. Not the, not the correct answer. So it’s just kinda like, Nope, . And, and, which is incredibly disappointing as a parent. Okay. So what did you do next?

Emily : Well, I think, so this was, this was the big turning point for us because we, you know, we had a plan like at the beginning of the year.

We thought we knew when we were sending him to school mm-hmm. , and we thought we knew where we were sending him to school. Mm-hmm. . And then suddenly that had been brought forward by a year, which I guess as a mother I was sort of grieving that as well because Yeah. You know, I, like, I wanted more time with my with my son before he started school.

But then at the same time I felt like now we’ve got this pressure, we’ve gotta find another school. And , by this point it was, it was like August or September, so it was pretty late in the, in the school year. , to be doing tours and, and [00:21:00] reaching out to different schools. But yeah, so, we basically toured every school in Southeast Melbourne, to try and.

Find the right place, but also I think because we felt a bit scorned by the response from that principal, we didn’t want to necessarily come straight out and, you know, go on a school tour. Which quite often was, was with other parents and stuff as well. And we didn’t necessarily wanna come out and be like, so what’s your approach to gifted children?

So we were just kind of, we would go on the school tours and just like, look for hints, like, just like see if they mention things and you know, and just try and gauge a response from, from what they were saying without sort of openly asking those questions. And we, I was feeling a bit stuck actually.

I was feeling really like hopeless. Like there was, there was just no options around us. Like none of the schools seemed to be the right place. And. Yeah, just felt like, you know, I was looking into homeschooling just thinking like, how am I going to, how am I going to do this? And then somebody had [00:22:00] mentioned to me about a, a very small local school that, you know, accepts children outside of the zone.

So obviously all the schools are zoned. So this school does accept children outside the zone. And they said they’ve just got a new principal, like, , all these changes are happening, , go and have a look. And I went for a look and the straight off the bat, the principal. because I, I was talking to him about the fact that my son was, , a February birthday and he wouldn’t be five until until after he started the school year.

And then the principal was just like, oh, well, my daughter was early entry, so she actually started school when she was four. And she wasn’t like, she’s like a July birthday or something, and in Victoria that’s beyond the cutoff, so they had to actually request early entry for her. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. So I was like, oh, that’s interesting.

So that was sort of a bit of a nice, you know. Yeah. Yeah.

Sophia Elliott: Nice to hear. Yeah. Yeah.

Emily : And then, , I sort of started to warm up to the idea of actually Yeah. , asking more questions and I was happy with his sort of openness and understanding to it. And I think as well, being a new principal, he [00:23:00] sort of wants to make his mark and mm-hmm.

, embed himself, I guess in that school. Yeah. And yeah, so that was just like a super positive experience meaning him and yeah. So we, we ultimately decided on, on that school. Yeah. Probably around October time. Yeah. So, yeah. Quite late into the year.

Sophia Elliott: Yeah, definitely. And so I just kind of wanna note as well, like on that journey, you’ve gone through there and it, it’s something that parents so often have to navigate.

It’s that sense of, , like it was completely appropriate for you to share that report with the principal, the first principal, right. And you should never have felt shut down by that and, or that you had to, like, we should never have to feel as parents that we, we have to navigate so carefully this fundamental part of who our kids are and the education that they need.

[00:24:00] And yet, Time and time again, as you’ve experienced as parents, we’re kind of put back in this box where we don’t feel like we can just say, this is my kid and this is what they need because it’s related to being gifted. I’m so pleased that you did find a little school and a principal who sounds like he has a dif gifted daughter who obviously gets it and is able to have that openness to it.

And, and, this is a part of the, the real challenge around having gifted kids because there is so many other things that could complicate education or challenges where people can just be upfront and say it and share their information. That giftedness has this very awkward, difficult thing to navigate.

So, you’re onto school too. And you’re starting that this year with your son, and when you reached out to me, it was, it was lots of sort of questions around that sort of first year of [00:25:00] school. First of all, how are you guys feeling about it now? Cautiously optimistic? ?

Emily : Yeah.

Pretty, pretty much sums it up. I think. We yeah, I’m a bit, I, I kind of don’t know what to expect. I don’t know. Yeah, I don’t, I don’t really know what to expect and I I’m hoping for the best. I’m hoping that he loves it. Again, I don’t really know what is expected of a, you know, a child going into their first year of school in terms of what they already know or what what level they’re at.

So, . I, I just feel like, , especially that first term I’m expecting, we’re gonna really learn a lot in terms of where he’s at, where he needs to be and what his needs are and how he responds to that. So ultimately for me it was , making sure that his teacher and his principal whether or not they have, , are, are familiar with gifted children already.

But just being open and understanding to like, working with us on whatever challenges we do face and just can’t, cause I, like, I can’t tell them what I’m expecting him to do or [00:26:00] how he’s gonna react. Yeah, I, , I just hope that, that we can work together and sort of navigate it together.

And I just, yeah. , I just don’t want him being flagged as like the naughty boy or a disruptive boy if he’s, , if he is bored or Being silly. So it’s just, , I don’t know if he’s going to be like that. Mm. But I just, yeah, I, I don’t really know what to expect, but I’m just hoping that he doesn’t sort of get like labeled as something that is not, or sort of, you know, put into some sort of bucket and seen as for his behaviors rather than what’s going on underneath.

Yeah. And I’m hopeful that, , that it will work out. But we are also we’re also very open and realistic with the possibility of, , maybe this is just a prep decision. And after his first year of school, we’ll know a lot more about how he reacts to school, how he goes, what his needs are, and then with that information we might make a different decision by the end of the year.

So we’re kind of just open to, , seeing how everything goes,

Sophia Elliott: which is a great place to be. And I think an important one. With a gifted [00:27:00] kid because sometimes it goes well and sometimes it doesn’t go so well. And I was actually talking to another parent this morning who’s gonna come and have a chat with us.

And one of the things she was saying upon reflection, and she now has a, a teen child, was wishing she hadn’t been so patiently waiting for the school to sort the stuff out and had been a bit more assertive and confident in that assertion. , because sometimes we do need to make the difficult decision of moving schools with gifted kids.

And that’s not, it’s never an easy decision.

 [00:28:00] okay, let’s start the beginning. So one of the questions, you know, we sort of had a chat about was, when is the right time to start school? You know, and, and quite rightly you’d sort of said that you know, there’s a lot of general advice out there about boys starting a little bit later.

We’ve already, early entry has come up, so it’s kind of like, well, what should gifted kids do? And, and as a parent I mean maybe it’s just me, but certainly as a parent, what I really love is when someone just says, here is an answer and this is just how it is and it’s gonna work. , and I can’t give you that because the reality is, when is the right time to start school is going to be different for every kid, you know, there’s maturity, there’s, when they’re [00:29:00] born, there’s the, the personalities.

It’s how they express their giftedness. So there’s no clean answer about the when. . But if we think about what we know, right? The reality is no matter what age our kids are, or age or stage, the one thing we need to do as parents, as grownups in their life is meet their needs at that point in time. And we know that gifted kids, you know, are gifted from birth , there, there’s, and are going to be gifted, right?

Until they clock out. Like there is this doesn’t come and go. So it’s always a thing. And so, so at all times they’re needing to learn and operate where they’re at. And, and that goes for a two year old, an [00:30:00] eight year old, a 10 year old, a 40 year old, a 60 year old. Like we’re always needing to. Exist and interact with the world wherever we’re at.

But what we also know about kids, and, and I kind of wanna say especially in those early years, but not even, it is just any child at any age, is when things aren’t going well, when they’re not getting those needs met. They do communicate that to us, but not always in words. It’s in their behavior, it’s in their mental health.

Or it might be through gifted kid burnout, which is a thing, and I’ll touch on that briefly. So basically, wherever they they’re at, we need to meet them where they’re at, and they’re gonna let us know if their needs aren’t being met via their behavior or their mental health and their burnout state, you know, as an example.

[00:31:00] So, or I would say to a parent of a gifted kid who’s in those early years of, you know, 3, 4, 5 in that kind of getting into that school age is no matter where they’re going, their intellectual academic needs need to, need to be met. And and whatever that looks like for that child might be different. You might be able to meet those academic needs through a really great kindie.

You might need to go, actually we need to meet those academic needs through early entry or or, or we’re, we are getting away with it because of birthdays or whatever it might look like. It’s like for that child, how are we meeting those needs? And this is something as well that you can look out for in those first few years of school.

, if you get to a point where like the wheels are falling off, , the behavior shifts you start to have concerns about mental health then they’re the red flags to [00:32:00] say the needs aren’t being met. , and the kinds of behaviors that parents talk about is the teachers will be like, oh, he’s fine at school.

But then you get to the car or the school gate and they’re already melting down, or you get home and there is a shift in behavior. Or they get home and they’re voraciously trying to meet their cognitive need to learn because they’re not getting that at school. And, and they’re the sort of things that parents will report of kids in those early years of schooling that are those sort of red flags that let us know that while they’re at school, they’re not being met.

 Intellectually and, and therefore potentially also socially and emotionally. Because what we also know is that, , there’s this kind of myth around that social and emotional growth of a gifted kid. And, and it can look like there is a social [00:33:00] emotional delay and sometimes that’s just compared to this very advanced intellectual.

So when you compare it to where they are intellectually, it can feel like a delay, but actually maybe it’s just age appropriate. Or maybe it’s in response to really struggling to connect with same age peers. Because they’re not able to connect intellectually. And what they’re desperately needing is a buddy, be it their age or older, who can, they can connect with intellectually as a gifted kid.

You know? So you’ll often see a reason used for refusing acceleration for gifted kids is, oh, we’re worried about the social emotional wellbeing. They’re not connecting with their same age peers. So we don’t think they’ve got the social maturity to, for acceleration and or they’re not showing us what they can do at school.

So we are not going to accelerate them. And all of that is wrong. And the [00:34:00] research shows that. And the proof, , gifted Edge shows us that, cuz what is actually happening is they’re not coping in those environments cuz their needs aren’t being met and they’re not gonna show you what they can do.

Cuz what you’re doing is boring them into their soul. Not like it’s Christmas holidays and I’m bored, mom. It’s like, , it’s completely different type of boredom. And so they’re not gonna show you what you need to do is give them harder challenging, you need to meet them where they’re at, right? But also meeting them where they’re at socially as well with peers that are like intellectual peers.

And then you, you’ll see shifts. So in these early years, there are various red flags that, that we can look out for that are indicators. And the best thing to know how your kid is going is they’re happi at school and they’re happy at home. You know that. Yeah. That, you know, that’s the best thing that that can ever [00:35:00] sort of, the litmus test, basically.

And it is really tricky. And it, it can also depend on your child’s level of giftedness and. If listeners haven’t listened to the two episodes we did to Cantara Phillips, we talk about the levels very candidly. And, and it is important to have this knowledge, but, and I say this with the caveat of accurate assessment knowledge because not all assessments are equal.

There can be inconsistencies in assessing kids at that under the age of five in particular, but at those early ages. So if you are confident that your assessment is an accurate picture of your child, it can indicate their level of giftedness. So you can have a false negative but not false positive.

So you can’t fake a 99.9 percentile result, but you can have a very bad day and come out in the 90th when you’re actually [00:36:00] quite higher, you know? So, and what those levels can help us understand is. A child at the 99.9 percentile is going to need something quite different. There are literally standard deviations difference between that child and a gifted kid in the 90th percentile, for example.

And a gifted kid in the 90th percentile may be accommodated very well at a, at a school with an enrichment program. Whereas a kid 99th point, ninth percentile is most likely going to need acceleration, possibly even. What are they calling it now? Not extreme radical acceleration is the term that’s come up, , which makes it sound very radical, but it’s actually just what the kids need.

Right. So, I’m gonna put in the link. I did have a little bit of a Google. There’s a really nice article from the A A E G T, which is the Australian Association for the Education of the Gifted and Talented, and they’ve got a really lovely article [00:37:00] there about. Early entry early entry to primary, and it’s just got some great things in there.

So if you are kind of in that situation, a really lovely article to have a look at. So when it comes to when is the right time the answer is it depends, but gifted kids always need to be met where they’re at. And so most, I would say gifted kids do need to. I would say start on time rather than be delayed.

Or start earlier, depending where they’re at and what kind of options are around, especially kids I think, who are already reading before they go to school. And another red flag in terms of what kind of response your school is going to get can come early in that journey. You know, if your child is reading chapter books at home and at school has given the cat, sat on the mat then you know, you’ve, you’re gonna [00:38:00] have issues there.

And there are also many, many stories like far too many, quite honestly, stories from parents where their child is in that first year of school or the second year of school reading at a very advanced level. But the teacher and or librarian is refusing to give them literature at their level because they don’t want them to get ahead or they don’t think it’s appropriate.

But it’s kind of like, well, this is where the kid is at. You need to meet them where they’re at. So you need to find something that you feel is appropriate. But you can’t give them the cat sat on the mat cuz they’re gonna get bored out their brain. And you may well see behavior issues and things like that.

I feel like I’m talking a lot in this episode. ,

Emily : I was gonna say as well in terms of I guess choosing or for us choosing the right time, like which year to send to school. This has been as a parent especially prior to the sort of [00:39:00] uncovering of giftedness one of the hardest decisions that I’ve been, you know, pondering on for years, like literally the last three years, which year am I going to send him?

Because I’ve had so much feedback of like, oh, I’ll send him me. And then all of the, you know, general advice is always like, no, they’re better off going later. Think about when they’re a teenager, he’s a boy, blah, blah, blah. And I’ve so many times just been like, I hate the fact that he’s a February birthday and that I have a choice.

I wish I didn’t have a choice. I wish he was, , born in August and it was just a done deal. Yeah. But then that changed this year when, , we did decide to send him to school next year. And I was grateful that we had the choice. And I still did get some pushback, like when we were trying to find a new four year old kindergarten for him.

Some of the kindergartens I spoke to were really judgemental and, , Yeah, just not, not very nice to talk to about it. And so I had to find the right place. That was, , that was basically the teacher was saying, you are, , you are his mom. I know you wouldn’t be making this decision lightly.

No one would want to be [00:40:00] changing their child’s , group this late in the year. So I know that you’ve, , you’ve obviously thought hard about it. And they embraced him. And so I was grateful that I could make that decision without having to go down that path, I guess, of early entry or requesting any, approval to do that.

Mm-hmm. , but then since he did change kindergartens, there was not a single day that he had a meltdown at drop off. I never had to run away from him. Mm-hmm. . He, , immediately made friends with, , all the kids there. Some days I would drop him off later just because of our schedule, and the kids would literally run to the gate.

There would be no less than 10 kids, , screaming at his name when he came to the gate, and that was just so. I guess comforting and validating in terms of that decision. And so I think that that’s kind of empowered me and prepared me for, , what’s to come in his schooling journey to say if we do come up with a situation where we are going to be asking for acceleration or a grade skip or anything like that, I’ve already seen firsthand the impact that can [00:41:00] have.

And I’m not gonna be patient , , I’m gonna advocate for it because I’ve, I’ve seen, I’ve seen what happens if, , if his needs aren’t being met in that way. So, mm-hmm. , that was really insightful I think for us to sort of experience

Sophia Elliott: and what you mentioned earlier about being labeled the naughty kid or the bad kid.

These things are really important. And again, I’ll put in the show notes the episode that we did with Geraldine Townsend about self-concept because her research was with twice exceptional. Students so gifted with something else going on. And it showed, , at very young ages, their experience of education in the world was affecting their sense of self and who they were because they were going to school.

They could see that they didn’t fit in like other kids. They could see that they were getting in trouble more often than other kids. They weren’t, as much as they wanted to do the right [00:42:00] thing, they weren’t doing the right thing like other kids and whatever that was. And so they were developing this sense of self that they were somehow naughty or bad or different or broken.

And from a really early age. And so one other thing that I would say is often schools. They will wait until year three to do like assessments around giftedness and, for acceleration and enrichment, like it’s just not okay because what research like Geraldine has done shows us is from a, a much earlier age, we can be doing damage by not meeting their needs.

 what a great episode that was, and that was just part one part two, and we’ll drop tomorrow. And we talk about where, where do you find these good schools for gifted kids? What should your expectations be? And more so stay tuned and catch that tomorrow. Bye. If you [00:43:00] enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way, I’d love to hear about your biggest takeaway in the comments. For more episodes, you can subscribe and to help others find our podcast, please leave a review. You can find show notes and more resources@ourgiftedkids.com and connect with us on Facebook and Instagram.

See you in the same place next week.

#073 Celebrating & Reflecting on 100,000 gifted downloads!

#073 Celebrating & Reflecting on 100,000 gifted downloads!

In this episode, we’re celebrating reaching the 100,000 downloads milestone and reflecting on what a big two years it has been!

Join our host, Sophia Elliott as we look back and look forward.

Memorable quote… “an absolutely massive thank you to everyone who listens and shares the podcast, all of the guests that we’ve had, and of course, my family and friends for supporting me in doing this.” – Sophia Elliott

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Hit play and let’s get started!


Sophia Elliott: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome back. It’s 2023 and this is the Our Gifted Kids Podcast. I am very excited to be here today talking to everyone. Today we’re doing, uh, slightly different podcasts because we have had more than 100,000 downloads of the Our Gifted Kids podcast, and I just wanted. Take a moment to celebrate that and reflect that with you a bit.

So that’s what today’s episode is all about. So let’s do it. [00:01:00] Hello and welcome back. , it’s a delight to be getting in touch with everyone again. I feel like I have quite deliberately had a bit of a break over Christmas, slightly extended.

I have been telling myself for the last few weeks it’s like, right, let’s get the podcast out, get the podcast out. But in all reality, I obviously wasn’t quite ready. And you know, one of the many lessons that I have learned over. Just a little over two years of doing the podcast. So today we’re gonna celebrate, when I checked, uh, recently, like in the last 24 hours, it was like 102,600 and something downloads in a little over two.

across 72 [00:02:00] episodes, with a, like a, a wonderful, like, just delightful number of guests joining me. Uh, and to be honest, these are the hardest episodes to do the ones where I’m just talking. I am never quite like organized or patient enough. Script them. Like I, I do a lot of thinking about it when I’m like driving around and my day to day about what I’m gonna say and I’ll, I’ll make some notes and I’ll procrastinate a lot.

This is actually the third time I’ve sat down to do this. I wasn’t happy with the first two times, but I’m like, right, this is, it doesn’t matter what I say. This is the episode. It’s happening right now, and there is an element. Uh, done is better than perfect and it has been my mantra over the last two years because anyone who has listened, I am a reformed perfectionist and, and my old self would still be [00:03:00] thinking about doing a podcast cause it would never be quite right.

And, and that is one of the big lessons that I have learnt done is actually. Better than perfect. And it has got me to, and us and all of us to a hundred, 2000 podcast downloads. Um, that’s pretty awesome. And I, I wanna say thank you sincerely heartfeltly for listening, for sharing, and, and especially to our members who have actually helped the podcast stay afloat in their.

Um, I hugely appreciate it and it’s really wonderful. Now I’m actually at the park. I’ve dropped one of my kids off two scouts and I thought, darn it, I’m gonna record this podcast, come hella high water. Um, so I’m just moving because a family has come and I don’t wanna accidentally film the kids in the background.[00:04:00]

And I’ve, I’ve already come to terms with background noise. This is the second place I went to. I thought initially, oh, just go to the nearby shops, car park. That’ll be quiet enough. And it wasn’t. And to be honest, it probably is more quiet than here. , but I’ve got to the point I started off and I had an hour, so I’ve dropped, dropped my little one off to scouts, right?

I’ve got an hour. I really only want this podcast to be short. Plenty of time, but I have been very procrastinating. And so I’ve probably got about 30 minutes left, uh, maybe less before I need to go pick him up. So that’s the reality of podcasting when you’re a mom of three and you’ve got all sorts going on, to be honest, uh, a lot of people like, oh, I don’t know how you do it and just fit it in.

I dunno, either. And sometimes I don’t. And you may have noticed over the last couple of years there have been gap. In putting the [00:05:00] podcast out. And that has been essential because there have been those times where I just couldn’t speak cuz of stuff that was going on for us. And that’s kind of the journey and, and I try to be really honest about that because the last thing I want is to be another person on social media that appears as though they’ve got it all sorted and.

Someone else that we feel the pressure of comparison against, because I really don’t, I mean, I might have a bit a bit more sorted these days. I have learnt an awful lot. But it really is just a journey and that journey starts with our kids. And inevitably that journey extends to our own personal growth.

And I think if I’m gonna reflect honestly in the last two, That’s the big thing. It’s the more we learn about ourselves, the better we know [00:06:00] ourselves, then we can actually use that to parent and to know our kids better. And so for me, that’s very much the journey and, and what I think I’ve tried to share through the podcast and the different topics that we do, just kind of being very honest about where I.

And asking those questions and looking for those people and having those conversations. And from the feedback I get, I feel like I’m hitting the mark. Um, and, and that sharing that story is helping you as parents to feel less lonely about that journey that you are on. And we’ve had some amazing, wonderful guests.

Like sometimes I really pinch myself. Uh, someone got in contact late last year. and they were like, oh, we’d love to organize this podcast. You might have heard of this person. And I’m not gonna tell you who it is cuz I’m like super excited. It’s like proper teaser. But I was like, [00:07:00] yes, yes, I’ve heard of that person.

Oh my God, totally. Come on the show. So I have a really cool interview coming up in the next couple of months with someone. Next level, um, awesomeness. Not that they aren’t all next level awesomeness, but you know, just kind of, I don’t get fan girly very often, but it was like, oh wow, wow. This is special.

And I’m always incredibly humbled by that. People getting in touch and wanting to be on the show and people’s generosity with their knowledge and experience what everyone’s prepared to share with. , it’s an absolute privilege to host this podcast and to meet all of those people and to share all of those people with you.

So when we started out, the whole point of the podcast was I wanted to make it easier for other parents. So when I [00:08:00] started this journey, it was really hard to find the helpers, the information, figure out what it was all about, and I just thought if there was one place that you could just go. To figure out what it was all about, find the helpers, find the people, and just kind of get that leg up.

And that’s why our gifted kids was all about the podcast and the website. And I feel as though we have done that. But I’m also excited about the next 12 months refining that and really doing that. But even better than we have been. Like there’s a lot of space for improvement. Believe me, . You know, it’s a work, it’s always a work in progress.

And so I’m excited to have space in my life this coming year, which is one, no number one, absolutely amazing. And to be able to, hang on, I’m being eaten by aunts here. I’ve gotta keep moving. And to be able to actually focus [00:09:00] on what our, our mission was when we started. and really make sure we’re delivering on that mission.

Um, and so keep an eye out over, you know, the next 12 months to see what we get up to. Because I feel like, I feel like I’m at a point where we can finally do some of the cool stuff that I’ve always wanted to do and finally deliver things in a really clear and simple way for parents just to make it nice and easy for.

So today’s all about celebrating. It’s about reflecting. I’ve never been particularly good at celebrating stuff and it’s something I have been working on. So, uh, in celebration of this milestone, uh, uh, an absolute massive thank you to everyone who listens and shares all of the guests that we’ve had, and of course, my family and friends for supporting me in doing this [00:10:00] because, You know, it’s, um, there’s a, there’s a cost to everything and my time and energy and, um, resources.

And so it’s, um, it’s been very much a team effort. And so all of my sincere thanks, uh, I probably would say especially to my family and husband, except I know he doesn’t listen and I know that because this is a funny. we’re in a, uh, Facebook group together as parents, uh, associated with the school maker to go to, and this topic came up and he made this comment in the group of, oh, wow, I’d really love to know more about this.

Does anyone, you know, know of any resources on this particular issue? And one of the other parents who was a friend of mine, uh, put this cheeky reply in, like, well, actually I, I know this really cool podcast that has these episodes on this particular issue. Maybe you should have a listen. And of course, shared my podcast with my husband to have a listen to.

So [00:11:00] that, um, had a real chuckle there. And of course he didn’t listen to them. He just said, can you just give me the short version , which is the way that we work. I read the books and give him the, the cliff notes. So to. and uh, and it’s important to have that relationship with each other because there’s a lot of learning to do and there’s a lot of work and everyone has, uh, the different strengths that they bring to the table.

Uh, and so my sincere thanks to him and my family and my very good friends who have supported me along the way, it’s meant an awful lot. And my new friends I have made along the way. Um, and people who get in touch. To be on the podcast or to have ideas about, you know, do you wanna do this? Someone just late last year got in touch and said, Do you have any episodes on the first year of school?

And I was like, no, not explicitly. Yeah, that’s a great idea. Uh, do you wanna be on an episode? So we’ve actually got a [00:12:00] little mini-series coming up, which is all about those first years of schooling, which I’m super excited about. , and I think there might be three or four, and they, they’re gonna come out next.

So that’s exciting. And I’ve been recording those through January. Uh, and, and so you never know, you message me, email me, comment on, uh, social media, and you, uh, you know, you may end up being on the podcast with your great ideas and you never know where it ends up. But I really love the organic nature of that.

Um, I mean, I could. More organized about it all. But, um, I actually really enjoy that spontaneity and going with the flow as things arise. And, but there are a few things I’m going to return to that have been in the pipeline for a while, which I’m super excited about this year. I’m not gonna tell you anymore.

You’re just gonna have to wait and see. There is lots, which is really exciting and I’m feeling very excited. [00:13:00] Um, and so if I’m going to reflect on the last couple of. Hang on. I just make sure I’m not being eaten by ants. No, I’m good. If I’m going to reflect on the last couple of years, oh, uh, do you know, it’s just been huge.

Uh, if I remember, you know, the first podcast I did. Uh, the first, you know, like Facebook and Instagram lives, I did basically just shedding myself. Um, just kind of like that fear of, oh my God, what am I doing? Going out there talking about gifted nurse outing myself as a parent of a gifted kid. It was terrifying and hard.

Uh, and I’m obviously, I’m glad I did it. It’s much easier these days. I care less. The fear. Um, and, and I feel really [00:14:00] thankful that that’s opened up a space for other parents to,

to connect and feel less lonely because that was the whole point of it, that we all feel less lonely. And so it’s been a real journey with the podcast, um, learning the lessons about. Computer memory, uh, and saving things like, oh man, that don’t, don’t get me started. I can’t share that story without swearing, um,

But there’s been a lot of, there’s been a lot. There’s just been so much and personally over the last two years, and I have shared some of this story along the way, uh, my own kind of journey parallel to the podcast of. , you know, investigating my own neurodivergency and giftedness, having, you know, bringing those conversations in to the podcast, uh, and making [00:15:00] those connections, um, between giftedness and, and being neurodivergent in other ways as well.

And I feel as though we will talk more about that as the year goes on, because, , whenever I sort of do talk about that, I get a lot of people get in touch. Uh, a lot of adults, parents, women, um, especially, uh, kind of sharing their sort of where they’re at in that journey. And I, I feel, you know, like that’s definitely a conversation that we need to keep going and keep having.

Because it’s such a big one for all of us, and as I always say, it’s worth it because it helps us be better parents, and that’s what our kids sort of need from us as well. So it’s been wonderful to celebrate a little. A wee little podcast in between my scout drop off and pick up. Uh, we’ve had [00:16:00] ants, we’ve had folk at the park.

There was a fellow here earlier and I had to sort of wait for him to go. There’s actually been some really big ants anyway, so hundred over a hundred thousand downloads, two years already. We. cool stuff coming up this year. I’m super excited about it, like, and stuff that really makes me excited. There’s a lot of, um, podcasts and videos and things that w planning for this year, but also it’s, what you won’t see is all the backend systems that I have been working on, um, since sort of, you know, Mid to late last year and continuing to refine to make it all easier and, and, and work, which is super exciting for me.

And you, you may notice in, in terms of efficiency, uh, if you were, if you by chance messaged me by the [00:17:00] website at late last year and I didn’t reply. I apologized with all my heart, but I had major tech issues. That, uh, I had to really do a massive overhaul. Like it’s a long story, but all that stuff should be sorted now and it should be more reliable because it’s important to me that, uh, when you get in touch, you feel heard and that I have the opportunity to say hello and reply.

Uh, so, um, so on the off chance I have missed anyone, please get back in. Tachos feel terrible at the idea. Um, but ways that you can support the podcast, uh, because we do need support. This doesn’t happen by itself. It takes about 12 hours from beginning to end to publish a podcast. Probably not today’s , but normally, uh, um, and that’s a whole lot of time and energy and resources, so, Review us.

Uh, you can give us five stars right now, even if you don’t have [00:18:00] time to leave a comment on your podcast player of choice. Uh, that really helps us spread the word and find more people, and that in itself is a huge help. You could also, joy, join our newsletter on the website. You can like us on social media.

We’re on Facebook and Instagram. We have a free. On Facebook where we, uh, are going to hopefully, you know, we have a bit of a chat and there’s stuff going on in there, and I hope to do more of that this year as we get on a bit of a role. We also have opportunities to financially support the podcast, which is also appreciated.

Uh, we have a sort of patron style, 7 99 a month, uh, which accesses your own online portal, which has a few little perks in there. In return for that support. And then we have two tiers of membership, which [00:19:00] access a different online portal, private Facebook group, zoom webinars with myself and guests throughout the year.

And the higher tier also does some one-on-one discovery call, sort of consultations, um, for like peer support. So check those out on the website. Uh, and if you. benefited some way in, you know, in the last couple of years. Even just a, a one off tip jar style. Thank you. Donation is appreciated and helps us continue to deliver the podcast, um, and all the cool stuff that we’ve got planned for the year.

So over a hundred thousand podcast downloads. Thank you so much for coming on this journey with me. It is an absolute privilege. I feel so grateful to meet so many awesome people in our community. Uh, all the guests I’ve had, all the listeners that I chat to and get to know. It’s [00:20:00] just such a privilege. I feel so humbled that people are coming on this journey with me.

and that it can be helpful in any way. So get in touch if you’ve got topic ideas, uh, questions that we haven’t addressed yet and need to answer. Uh, I love hearing from everyone. It really does keep me going and, and help to know that we’re making that connection because it’s all about community and it’s all about our gifted kids being that hub in the.

Of that community, connecting parents with like professionals who are offering services and, and other parents just for that validation and peer support. So it’s a wonderful journey to be on. I’m super excited to get into 2023 and share more of that with you guys. So thank you so much, and I’ll be talking to you very soon with a little mini-series on the early years of.[00:21:00]

Uh, and I dunno if you can hear that wonderful laughter in the background. It’s absolutely delightful. So I’m gonna get outta here, uh, away from the ants, pick up my child from scouts and I’ll talk to you again soon. Bye.

#072 A Very Gifted Christmas – Permission for Parents of Gifted Kids to Make This Christmas Easier

#072 A Very Gifted Christmas – Permission for Parents of Gifted Kids to Make This Christmas Easier

In this episode, we’re daring to re-imagine what Christmas might look like for our gifted families and giving parents permission to make it easier!

Enjoyed the podcast? 

If this episode inspired you in some way, I’d love to hear about it in our Facebook group or Instagram or feel connected & supported in our community, the Our Gifted Kids Hub.

Please leave a review on your podcast player and help parents find us!

Memorable Quote

“And so by this time of year, our kids are also tired and frazzled. We all are. So then, I dare say what we don’t need to add to that mix is a lot of stress and the demand of a hectic Christmas. Over the last couple of years, my husband and I and our family have made different decisions around Christmas. And they have been decisions in response to… Where are we at? How are we feeling right now? What do we actually need?” – Sophia Elliott


Hit play and let’s get started!


[00:00:00] Hello and welcome to this week’s podcast. This week, we’re talking about a very gifted Christmas. What does that even mean? Well, we will get to that, but first of all, thank you. Thank you for coming on this journey with me. We’re like at the end of another year, it’s been another amazing year. And we’re getting very close to reaching a hundred thousand downloads at the, our gifted kids podcast, which is incredible and super exciting.

[00:00:27] And you will certainly hear about it when we do get there and it’s amazingly not far off. So thank you so much for listening for your reviews for sharing it with friends and for letting me know when. Things are. Do you know, when you’re having those aha moments or it’s making an impact and it’s helping.

[00:00:50] Because that helps me too. Keep going. Uh, two. No. What’s resonating with other people. Because we are a big and varied community. Um, but nonetheless, I think many of the themes are very universal.

[00:01:07] So I really appreciate all of the kind words everyone has sent through this year. Thank you so much for being on this journey with me. So this is the last podcast of the year. We’re going to talk about Christmas. And.

[00:01:21] In this podcast, I talk a lot about parenting gifted kids. It’s what I do. And 24 7, it’s a very lived experience thing. And sometimes I am knee deep in living that experience. And I wrote a very recent blog about hitting the wall really badly. Recently I had to cancel some stuff. And make some different decisions about what I needed, what my family needed right now.

[00:01:52] And the reality is as parents of gifted kids are gifted kids themselves. At this time of year, we all do often hit the wall.

[00:02:04] And we hit the wall for a lot of reasons. And we’re going to have a chat about that in this podcast episode.

[00:02:11] And instead of doing the recent webinar that I had hoped to do, we’re going to walk through some of that stuff in this podcast instead. So you won’t miss out. Anyone who’s looking for. Or is having challenges around the whole Santa thing. And what do I say with my kids and how do I deal with that? In the past, we have done a couple of great episodes on.

[00:02:36] Uh, new approaches to the whole Sante conundrum. And I’ll put those links in the show notes. So you can check that out. It’s all still very relevant. And now that we’re a few years in trying that sort of philosophy. I can tell you it has worked. It’s been really useful.

[00:02:54] Also, I want to acknowledge that while Christmas is all about joyful and connection and family time. And. Presence and all sorts of things. It can also just be a really hard time of year for many people, for all sorts of different reasons. And.

[00:03:11] And if that’s you. I just want to say. I see you, it can be really hard and tricky. And encourage you to reach out and get some support around you as you go through this holiday season.

[00:03:27] Next year, we’re going to have more exciting podcasts coming your way. A new course about giftedness, our membership communities. Continue. Uh, eBooks both freebies end for sale on the website. If you love the podcast, you can leave a review and help people find us. You can share it with a friend. You can say, thanks with cake or join our support community for the cost of as little as a coffee a month. But most of all, thank you for listening.

[00:03:57] This is an important conversation. There is real change needed for gifted kids and gifted adults. And we’re all a part of that change by having this conversation and being engaged and involved. So thank you. It means so much to me. That.

[00:04:13] This podcast is, you know, it’s a privilege to do it and to have that impact. And so thank you. So have a great Christmas holidays and we will be back in January. Uh, stay quirky and let’s get on with the podcast.

[00:04:58] Hello. And let’s talk about having a very gifted Christmas. First of all I want to ask you. How are you? Like really. How have you been the last couple of weeks? The last month? This year. How are you going?

[00:05:22] ’cause I know in this family, we get to this time of year and it’s just this slippery slope downwards. As we all just become. More and more fatigued.

[00:05:34] And well, we know that research shows that parenting gifted kids is. As stressful. And difficult as parenting a child with a physical disability. And I think that speaks to the challenge that people have with all sorts of things, where we don’t fit into the mainstream box of life. So if you’re always butting up against that box, it takes extra energy.

[00:06:04] Uh, and extra work to, to kind of work. You know, work around that box. And within the gifted community. That means us too. We did our kids. Don’t fit into the education system easily. I often have a range of therapies and accommodations and support that they need. Accommodations in parenting. That’s harder for us as parents.

[00:06:32] I got this wonderful validation recently. And, and I’ve had it before in my parenting journey where talking to a psychologist and they’ve said to me, do you know. All these things you’ve tried. Any one of those things. Would most likely have worked with a typical child. But your child, your child is a very complicated and complex.

[00:07:00] And so it’s not that you’re doing anything wrong. It’s just finding the correct approach or solution. He is taking so much more effort and work because you have this child that just doesn’t fit in the box. And as a parent, it’s really nice to hear that. Because. Oh, that’s, you know, sometimes you, if there’s a particular issue or challenge, you try a million different things and.

[00:07:28] You feel like it’s you. Do you know, I feel like it’s like, what am I doing wrong? Why can’t we move forward and find some progress on this? And it helps to know that. You know, And a typical parenting situation.

[00:07:44] Those things probably would have worked any number of those things, but without complicated complex, Little asynchronous. Gorgeous fabulous children. They haven’t. And so we, we need to keep trying, but that takes extra energy, extra effort. And so that empties our cup. So by the time we get to this time of year,

[00:08:09] We’re knackered. But then our kids are knackered too, because they’re also at the coalface trying to engage with and work their way through. Uh, an education system in a world that is not made for them. So they get weary. They get tired. And it’s hard for them. And so by this time of year, they too are.

[00:08:34] Tired and frazzled. So then if we consider. You know, A family of tired and frazzled individuals.

[00:08:45] I dare say what we don’t then need to add to that mix. Is a lot of stress. And demand of a hectic Christmas.

[00:08:57] Over the last couple of years, my husband and I and our family have made different decisions around Christmas. And they would decisions in response to.

[00:09:09] Where are we at? How are we feeling right now? And even recently. Uh, you know, living the experience of having all this going on. I had to ask myself. What can I cancel? Like, do I really need to be doing it? Well, can I reschedule? What can wait until January. What can I delegate? Like, do I have to do it, or can I just delegate this to someone?

[00:09:35] And so I’ve been left with a list of things that I do need to do, but it is a smaller list. After being quite ruthless. And sometimes that is just absolutely necessary.

[00:09:49] So how do we apply some curiosity to Christmas?

[00:09:54] I want to give you permission. To make life easier for yourself and your family. This Christmas. And this is what the ebook is all about. It’s all about re-imagining Christmas as a family of gifted neurodivergent complex, complicated. Grownups and children. And kind of asked ourselves. What does a fabulous Christmas look like to us?

[00:10:26] What. You know, we often feel. You know, at Christmas time that there is all these things that we have to do. What if we did not have to do them. What would it look like to you?

[00:10:41] What do you actually want more of in your life right now? And what do you actually want less of.

[00:10:48] So I’m going to go through. A few questions that we talk about in the book that help us to start to reimagine what kind of Christmas we might have.

[00:11:02] And first of all, I want to ask you. What does your family need? What kind of year have you had? And so what do you actually need right now? Because from thinking about this, we can actually create a holiday intention. So, for example, our family. Has had another very busy year. There have been some big things going on that have impacted us all.

[00:11:30] In the home front. That have worn us down. And I think it’s okay to acknowledge that. So we’re all got to the end of this big year and we’re all feeling quite tired. And, you know, our cups are empty. So, what we need is rest. That connection with nature, because that always helps you ground and feel good. And it helps us to move. Be.

[00:11:56] We’ve had a very wet and cold yell. And the sun has finally emerged. I think we’re now having summer. And so we desperately need to get outside, enjoy that warmth and get moving. And really just. KA reconnect in that space. So our holiday intention is all about resting. Eating well, moving our bodies and connecting.

[00:12:27] As simple as that. And so if it doesn’t fit into that box, we’ve got to ask ourselves, why are we doing it?

[00:12:36] So think about what maybe your family needs, what kind of a year have you had? Has it been really busy, like, like RC. You need a rest or. Have you, are you still feeling the impact of COVID and what you’re all desperately seeking is connection with your extended family. What is it? Reflect on your year and the year that you’ve had.

[00:13:01] To help you answer that question.

[00:13:03] And then once you’ve had that reflection, what we do every Christmas is we have a family board meeting. And this concept came from a book. And I can’t remember what the book was called. If I do, I will put it in the links, but the idea is, and we do this periodically throughout the year. We have our family board meetings.

[00:13:28] And it’s an opportunity for everyone in the family to have a voice. And to have a say in guide, you know, where we’re going and we definitely do this at Christmas. And what we ask each other is.

[00:13:43] What does Christmas mean to you? You know, if you think about Christmas, What are the things that you love to do? First of all, what do you love to do? So. For me personally, I love baking with the kids, Christmas cookies and things like that. I really love. Getting them involved in making some kind of gift.

[00:14:10] I love having a quiet, easy day.

[00:14:14] My kids love swimming in the pool. My kids love it. When some of our extended family visit. They of course love the gifts. Uh, and they love food. And so we also talk about food and it’s like, when you think of Christmas, what food do you think of? And everyone’s got their own little personal take for me. It’s Pannetone Annie. I love it. I would just eat the whole thing if I had the chance. So I really only get it at Christmas so that I can share it. And. Do I need it all myself. One of my kids said pavlova.

[00:14:48] Another one. My kids loves those gold coins with the chocolate inside and candy canes.

[00:14:54] One of my other children talked about fruit mince pies, which they really love. Um, my husband loves chocolate orange, and I usually get tonics teacakes, which is a Scottish sort of marshmallow biscuit. At Christmas time because they are absolutely divine. And it’s one of my Christmas treats. So we all have something and we all write the contribute, and we have this conversation about what food. Inspires us at Christmas and we add that to our list.

[00:15:26] Then we talk about the activities that we like at Christmas, and we add that to our list. And we talk about. Who Christmas means to you? Like. Who do you love to have here at Christmas and as much as possible, we try and incorporate that as well. So by the time we’ve had this family board meeting, we’ve got the food that we really love, the things we love to do, who we love to see. And from that we create a day.

[00:15:52] Or, you know, it’s usually a few days. In which we can fit some of those things in, but we tend to take the view of that. Christmas is not just one day it’s, it’s a number of days. And that way there’s less pressure on doing all, everything in one day. Yeah. We see family Christmas Eve and boxing day as well as Christmas day. And that just makes it easier for everyone. And we eat the food we love over numerous days.

[00:16:22] Rather than trying to eat all of our favorite desserts on the one day. Because let’s face it. When you start talking about Christmas and your favorite fruit food, there’s usually at least six different desserts you want to eat. So we do that over a week.

[00:16:38] But this way, everyone is kind of scratching that itch for Christmas. We’re meeting all of our needs. And when we talk about needs, we may also reflect on those needs that are particular to being gifted and you are divergent. So. For some of us may, may be avoiding the crowns. And for some of us, it may be avoiding going out to dinner or those things that we just don’t fit well into. Or if we do, it’s having a strategy about how do we get through that?

[00:17:12] So it’s about taking that power back to ourselves to make those decisions so that we end up with. Uh, holiday experience that is actually meeting our needs. And working for us. So they are some of the ideas that we. Are included in the Christmas ebook that we have. So take some time to look at your Christmas traditions and ask yourself, are they working for you? What could be different? What would make it easier and more enjoyable for everyone?

[00:17:46] You can check out our new ebook, a very gifted Christmas. Uh, on the website, it’s there for sale. There’s a heap of ideas about how to make it through a new re-imagined Christmas for your gifted family. There’s planning pages. There’s some stories there’s. There’s a whole kind of framework to work through. It’s like 50 pages.

[00:18:09] There’s tons in it. But if that feels too overwhelming. Check out the blog. There’s some questions in the blog. And maybe just start to imagine what Christmas might look like for you. And build on it over a number of years, don’t feel like you have to achieve all these things in one year. So Merry Christmas.

[00:18:32] Thank you for coming on this journey with us this year. Um, it’s hugely appreciated. We’re very grateful. We will see you in January. We’re super excited about that. So stay quirky, stay safe and have fun. Bye.

#071 Unpacking Strength-Based Learning w/ Sam Young

#071 Unpacking Strength-Based Learning w/ Sam Young

Today we catch up with a recent guest Sam Young, from Young Scholars Academy, as we unpack strength-based learning and find out what the big deal is all about!

Keep an eye out for:

Please leave a review on your podcast player and help parents find us!

If this episode inspired you in some way, I’d love to hear about it in our Facebook group or Instagram or feel connected & supported in our community, the Our Gifted Kids Hub.

Memorable Quote

“When we think of strength based learning we’re really talking about focusing… where the energy or where the mind goes… everything flows… and a strength based education is just a choice to focus on here, the strength area, and just bring this up knowing that this [the area of deficit] will come to.

It’s a choice that we make as educators and as mentors, as psychologists, as a therapist, everyone to say, yes, there are these areas, there are these struggle areas, but we also need to focus on developing, primarily, the strength areas, the areas that feel good and know that everything else will follow suit.” – Sam Young

“At its core, deficit-based learning… steeps our students… in a space where they are not thriving and it constantly reminds them… of where they’re struggling, how they’re coming up short and what they’re not doing. And that has been shown to have real consequences on their psyche, on their self-worth, on their self-esteem, on confidence and their ability to then be successful in this life. Paradoxically, by helping someone bring the bottom up, so to speak, you’re actually harming them.” – Sam Young




Sam Young

Samuel Young, MEd, is a growth-minded, two-time Fulbright Scholar and Director of Young Scholars Academy, a strength-based, talent-focused virtual enrichment center that supports twice-exceptional students and their families. Samuel is a neurodivergent educator who has ADHD. As an ADHD learner, he has a tremendous understanding of, experience in, and respect for all things related to neurodiverse education.

Before founding Young Scholars Academy, Samuel taught in a variety of capacities—including nearly a decade at Bridges Academy—at an array of programs in the US, Europe, and Asia. Travel and culture are near and dear to him. He has led 2e students to over 7 countries for immersive cultural and educational trips.

Samuel has been featured in the documentary 2e2: Teaching The Twice Exceptional, the textbook Understanding The Social and Emotional Lives of Gifted Students, 2nd Ed., Variations Magazine, 2e News, and other publications.

Hit play and let’s get started!


[00:00:00] Sophia Elliott: Hello, and welcome back to the Al gifted kids podcast. I am delighted to be back, and I’m also excited to present this episode to you. We catch up again with Sam young, from young scholars academy. Now that name may ring a bell. He was on the podcast recently as a part of gifted, talented, and your diversity awareness week.

[00:00:21] Where we discussed, why they use D and D as a part of their young scholars academy offerings. Which was a great episode. But Sam’s back because I felt like it was really important. That we have a conversation about. Y the strength based approach to not just learning, but even parenting gifted kids or, I mean, any kid.

[00:00:47] Is the bee’s knees. We go on about strength based learning. On the podcast, you would have heard that term before. And we were well overdue having a chat with someone. About just kind of, what is it? What is it all about? So we dive into that with Sam. Which is lovely because that is what young scholars academy is all about.

[00:01:11] And so I feel very grateful that he made time and we got to catch up and dive into that. Now young scholars academy. I think they have a new round opening soon. I think they do 10 week sort of blocks and a new one coming out. But what they’re doing is an open house online on the 8th of December, where you can actually kind of take a sneak peek and meet some of the students and families.

[00:01:36] Who get involved and the teachers or educators. And Sam, so a really great opportunity to kind of check it out. If it sounds like it might be something that interests you. Because I know as a parent of gifted kids, I’m always looking for those opportunities for my kids to connect with other gifted kids.

[00:01:56] And also find those spaces where. They can just be themselves and there’ll be understood and people kind of get what they need. And so young scholars academy is certainly one of those places. So thank you, Sam, for joining us. Um, it was a lovely episode. Uh, as a couple of ADHD is, and I think Sam why me saying we did go off on a couple of tangents, but like that we’re really good tangents.

[00:02:21] And we certainly came back onto topic. So really lovely episode, I enjoyed it thoroughly. Also at the moment, our gifted kids has a new Christmas book for gifted families. I got rather carried away. It’s about 50 pages long. It’s an ebook. Called a very gifted Christmas available for sale on the website for 9 99, Australian.

[00:02:45] And we’ll be doing a free webinar. We worked through a couple of things from the book. Uh, which is kind of exciting because it’s all about. Well, actually, I shared it with a couple of friends and one of my friends. This is what she had to say about it. She said Christmas can be many things. And here is a book to help you along full of inspiration. But at the end of the day, it will empower you to not feel like you need to live up to expectations.

[00:03:11] And as I, oh, that is so sweet. It is. Exactly. The intention is just kind of like taking back Christmas and. Making it something that meets our gifted needs. And so it was really fun. I could have made it so much longer. Uh, and may well in future years. Um, and I’m excited to be talking about it in the zoom. So we’re going to go live on a zoom webinar. It’ll be available for replay if you register as well. And that’ll be December 5th, 7:30 PM. Adelaide time.

[00:03:45] And there is links in the show notes about that also links in the show notes for young scholars academy. So check out their open house on the 8th of December and. Have a lovely Christmas.

[00:04:00] It feels slightly early to be saying that, but I’ve got to get the Christmas decorations out this weekend. So maybe not.

[00:04:07] Enjoy the podcast stay quirky and I will talk to you soon.

[00:04:43] Hello and welcome everyone. I’m super excited to be here today with Sam Young from Young Scholars Academy.

[00:04:49] Sam joined us recently in gifted, talented and neurodiversity Awareness Week to talk about why. He uses Dungeons and Dragons as a part of his kind of offering to engage young people. And Sam is back today and we’re gonna dive into the power of strength based learning, which I am super excited about because if you’re a listener of the podcast, first of all, thank you.

[00:05:14] But secondly, we have talked about strength based learning a lot, but never really sort of dived into what is it really all about? It is what Sam is all about. And so Sam, welcome. I’m delighted to have you

[00:05:30] Sam Young: back. Thanks, Sophie. I’m really happy to be back and again, I feel very fortunate to be here two times in uh, two months I think.

[00:05:36] Sophia Elliott: Yeah, no, it’s super exciting. Uh, I love to have regulars. It sort of, I feel like it builds a relationship and part of the community, so thank you for making the time. I really appreciate it. Absolutely. So first of all, for anyone who didn’t catch the d and d episode yet, , tell us about what you do and how you got into what you’re doing.

[00:05:59] Sam Young: I like that. Yeah. Go back and listen.

[00:06:01] Sophia Elliott: Pause that. That’s right. It’s really good. You’re missing out .

[00:06:05] Sam Young: So, yeah. My name’s Sam Young, as Sophia said, and I run a virtual enrichment program for neuro divergent students, twice exceptional students and gifted students. And the vision is really to have a, a strength base as we’ll get more into today environment where our students can be celebrated.

[00:06:21] Scene where they’re triumphing as opposed to what we know is often the status quo, which is where a lot of our students are, you know, kind of, uh, steeped in their deficits, right? Steeped in areas where they need to improve and where the kind of bringing the bottom up, so to speak. So the vision at Young Scholars Academy is to create kind of a school without walls that does learning for the sake of learning.

[00:06:44] Where in the business of saving, learning, connecting students, uh, fostering creativity and building friendships and, and also

[00:06:51] GMT20221115-200712_Recording_640x360: mentor.

[00:06:53] Sophia Elliott: And that really warms my heart because the joy of learning is, I think, intrinsic to the gifted soul. And the one thing that gets like, smashed to a pulp in the school system sometimes if you’re not lucky.

[00:07:10] So I, I love that your approach is all about that joy of learning and, and not having walls. I really, that’s a great visual for me. You’re online, you’re virtual, so literally people from around the world can tune in and. Your classes?

[00:07:29] Sam Young: Yeah, so there’s synchronous classes. So the only thing that can hold people back are the, uh, the time zones, right?

[00:07:34] Mm-hmm. . So, uh, we’re working on offering more and more actually, and, uh, offering them at different times that, uh, we historically haven’t to reach a broader audience because we have families. Probably once a week I get a, a new family from a new country reaching out and just saying, Can you offer this earlier, uh, or way later?

[00:07:52] And I’m like, Well, we haven’t yet, but Sure, let’s try. So we are, we’re working on bringing together, the vision is to connect students from all over the world who may be the only student like them. Yeah. And cause the research is very clear that they need to be with other students like them. Right. So going from Maros to, you know, fitting in and being like part of a group.

[00:08:13] Sophia Elliott: Oh, do you know? And that’s just. The heart and soul of it, isn’t it? It’s like our kids absolutely need to see themselves in their similarly aged peers, and it’s not like, it’s not like an age thing, but they need that reflection back to them of who they are in other people around them, other kids around them.

[00:08:34] It’s so important and getting so tricky to find. I often have parents reaching out. With very sad stories that really like, you know, tear jerking stories of just their children’s struggles to find friends and not getting invited to parties. And it just seriously breaks my heart. And so, you know, as we know, virtual is real.

[00:09:00] I think the one gift over the last few years is those virtual connections that we can make. And, you know, as someone who connects with people from all over the world doing this podcast, you know, like these connections are real and valid. And thank you for offering those because it’s very much needed.

[00:09:19] Yeah. A wonderful, Yeah. Oh, sorry.

[00:09:21] Sam Young: Go ahead. No, no, you go. I think it’s just so important to, you know, we sort of let go of like what we’re doing and focus a lot more on who we’re doing it with and Yeah. You know, we’re one of my favorite guests on my show once said, human beings are social creatures who happen to.

[00:09:36] Not thinking creatures. Who happen to feel right we’re we’re social first and a lot of times we get so caught up in what our students aren’t doing and what they need to be doing. But the reality is that when we focus on the social development and we focus on that connectedness and you know, these basic human needs that they then can blossom, right?

[00:09:55] They then can access that like prefrontal part of their brain. They can then start doing this sort of higher order thinking because they feel accepted. They feel like they’re a part of something now that they can ascend, so to speak.

[00:10:07] Sophia Elliott: I absolutely like Spawn because it’s like no one can learn or be creative or connect when your brain is, you know, operating in a state of fear or uncertainty or a lack of safety.

[00:10:21] And so it’s, it’s integral to our children’s development that they find that safe place that they can then explore and connect with. And. And I think what you said is so important because sometimes as a parent of a gifted kid, it can be really tricky to find that balance between the expectation, the pressure and responsibility of it’s like, Oh, I’ve got this child with potential, like the P word, and it’s like, Oh my God, I’ve got to, what do I have to do?

[00:10:55] I’ve gotta make sure they’re doing, uh, stuff and extending and uh, you know, and get really kind of wound up and stressed about offering stuff, stuff, stuff. When the reality is we just kind of need to breathe. And like you said, the best thing we can do is actually find that space where they can connect.

[00:11:18] People like them socially feel, feel connected, a safe space and the other stuff will come, you know, and you know, yeah, find the classes or whatever. But as a first port of call, addressing that need that we have as human beings, like tribe animals to find our tribe. Mm-hmm. , are those. A great, we, you know, we, we did a great podcast with Dr.

[00:11:46] Geraldine Townsend, and her research was about how important it is that our kids find that sense of self and have that positive sense of self from an early age. And I strongly believe that a huge part of that is finding those like-minded peers to reflect back to them. And like you say, meeting those social emotional.

[00:12:08] Sam Young: Yeah. I often say, I might have said this in the d and d one that we did recently, so forgive me, but I think about like the X and the Y axis, right? On the one hand. Mm-hmm. , like we have our students who need the, they need like the lateral, they need peers just like themselves, as we’ve said. Right. And then they also need on the other, they need like to look up at a neuro divergent mentor or educator.

[00:12:26] Yes. And be able to say, Okay, these people are like me. That person’s like me and they’re doing something. They’re succeeding. Yeah. So like it’s gonna be.

[00:12:34] Sophia Elliott: Yes. Ah, that’s just beautiful. I love it. And perfect. And I really like that. Again, I’ll, I’ll remember that. I’ll be like, Mr. Sam said , the X and the Y.

[00:12:46] The X and the Y. Because it is, we do need those mentors. And you know, even personally on my adult journey, that often comes after you figuring your kids out. Uh, I have, especially over the last year or two, been seeking out my. Equivalence, you know, to connect with. So to help me see myself in that kind of neuro divergent space.

[00:13:12] And so it’s really important for all of us to, to have the X and the Y needs met . Absolutely. Yeah. So I love that. So let’s dive into today. You’ve touched a little bit on it already, but what is strength based learning like? Break it down for us. What’s it all about?

[00:13:32] Sam Young: When we think of strength based learning, we’re, we’re really talking about focusing, right?

[00:13:36] We’re talking about where we put our focus, and I like a saying like, you know where, where the energy or where the mind go, right? Everything flows. So what a lot of the times our students are, They’re really sort of being depicted like this, right? Like we’re focusing like they’re asynchronous, right? They have this gifted area and they have this kind of lagging struggle area, and we often think like, we need to get this here so they can be successful.

[00:13:59] And a strength based education is just a choice to focus on here, the strength area, and just bring this up knowing that. This will come to, Right. So it’s a choice that we make as educators and as mentors, as psychologists, as a therapist, everyone to say, yes, there are these areas, there are these struggle areas, but we also need to focus on developing primarily the strength areas, the areas that feel good and, and know that everything else will, will follow suit.

[00:14:26] Right? So an example, I have a student who really, really struggles with emailing and a lot of the executive function around that kind of, And, uh, I spoke with him and I, I just kinda shared my story. I was like, Look, me too. Okay. It’s a big thing in my head. I open ’em and I forget to do them. So here’s a couple systems that I’ve done, but to be honest with you, I didn’t really start getting good at emails until they became authentic.

[00:14:48] Like, until they became like the other end is a family that I can help, right? Or the other end is like a network of families I can help. Then all of a sudden I got better and so I spoke with him and then over the. Uh, he came back and we connected and I said, How’s it going with the timeliness and, and the executive function stuff?

[00:15:06] He said, It’s great, and I, I said, I, I heard you got a job. How’s it going? He said, I haven’t been late once. I said, Why? And he said, It’s like my email’s, Mr. Sam, I get paid to show up. And I, Oh my God, it’s amazing. And it’s like, you know, just now being on time, now doing these things is all of a sudden it’s not like vanished, but all of a sudden he’s handling business because there’s a reward, there’s a reason to do it.

[00:15:29] Mm-hmm. , Right? So, sort of a bit of a tangent, but a lot of the times choosing to be strength based or choosing to focus on what students are already doing can kind of take away from that deficit focus. And like with a student that I exampled sometimes choosing to focus on someone’s strengths. And then just shifting the context can allow a student to absolutely thrive, right?

[00:15:50] Like a fish out of

[00:15:51] Sophia Elliott: water, so to speak. I love that because we can also get caught up in this idea that our kids have to be good at everything, and especially like all they’re gifted, well they’ve. Kind of gotta be good at everything. And it’s like, well, no one is, We’ve all got various different strengths and areas of weakness, and I too have a find emails very challenging.

[00:16:14] I’m currently catching up on, you know, A couple of inboxes that got totally away from me over the last month, and I have in introduced a system. So I’m all about systems at the moment, which is working, but I agree with you when you find the meaning behind it. And so I, I get a lot of emails from, from parents and folk, which I absolutely love, and I.

[00:16:38] I take quite a bit of time to reply, you know, to those which, and I really enjoy that. And now that I have this system around it, I’m like, okay, I’m feeling like I can catch up and, and, but stay on top of that from now on because I’ve kind of created that space. So, And that’s the thing, isn’t it? It’s kind of like finding the meaning for us.

[00:16:59] So the meaning for me, Like the whole point I do all this is to connect with people and try and make things easier for people. And so by connecting to that and finding a system to support it, I’m better able to do the things I’m not particularly good at, which is like yourself, emails . And it’s the same with our kids.

[00:17:20] It’s sort of like, what is it that intrinsically motivates them? How can we tap into. And build on that. So why is strength based learning a better kind of approach than a deficit based approach? And what is a deficit based approach? I mean, you’ve kind of explained it there, but maybe, Yeah.

[00:17:42] Sam Young: And. It’s, it’s a very good question.

[00:17:44] I would love to delve way deeper into strength based, cause I think I was eager to share my , Dunno that I did the question justice. But when we think about the difference between strength and deficit, again, strength-based approach is choosing to focus on what the student is interested in. An area in which they are strong and it’s helping them to develop those interests and things.

[00:18:04] Uh, deficit is often focusing on bringing, I like to say, bringing the bottom up. Okay. So it’s, when we think about our two E students, so our students who are twice exceptional, right? They’re characterized by having these dual exceptionalities. On the one hand they have the exceptional strength area, uh, above average IQ or a certain strength in a certain domain, kinesthetic, whatever it may be.

[00:18:25] And then they also might. In above average struggle area, right, Which would be that they are, maybe they have ADHD or dysgraphia or dyslexia or autism spectrum disorder, and so they have this, this, this chasm, this. And more often than not, deficit is simply just focusing on the bottom right. It’s the, it’s usually the, uh, Japanese proverb, right?

[00:18:46] Like the nail that sticks out gets hammered down, right? So we focus, okay. You know, so and so is really brilliant. They’re doing such a great job in class, but they’re not turning in their work. Okay. You know, red flag. So we need to work on that. And I’m not saying we don’t, by the way, I do think that we do.

[00:19:01] I think it’s important that we can help our students be successful, but the difference. We’re choosing to focus on the area in which they shine and then bake those things in. Uh, now this is a delicate balance. One of my favorite guests who’s native to your country, uh, Dr. Shaban Lamb, uh, was on my show and she talked about the importance.

[00:19:23] She did this kind of break, the fourth wall. I wanna talk to you parents. And she said, Just make sure that you don’t bake all the deficit stuff around. The strength, right? Because what do we do? We, we, we can kill the strength, right? If I say like, Sophia, I know you love Dungeons and Dragons, so we’re going to do Dungeons and Dragons math.

[00:19:41] You’re gonna do Dungeons and Dragons writing. We’re gonna do a Dungeons and Dragons science experiment. It’s gonna be great. Right? You may very well at the end of that Hate Dungeons and Dragons because of what I’ve done, right? So it’s a fine line. But at its core, To answer your question, at its core, deficit based learning trenches, our students, steeps our students, if you will, in a space where they are not thriving.

[00:20:04] And it constantly reminds them, It’s constantly a reminder of where they’re struggling, how they’re coming up short and what they’re not doing. And that has been shown to have real consequences on their psyche, on their self-worth, on their self-esteem, on confidence, uh, and, and their ability to then you.

[00:20:22] Be successful in this life, paradoxically, you know, by helping someone bring the bottom up, so to speak, you’re actually harming them.

[00:20:29] Sophia Elliott: Mm. And some, I, you know, I’m aware of some extreme examples where you’ve got a twice exceptional child. So someone who is, does have that gifted degree of intelligence. A very evident deficit area.

[00:20:50] All that focus being on the deficit area and, uh, you know, being in classes that are, you know, special classes that are solely focusing on that deficit area. So that intelligence is. Just ignored. Absolutely. And I could only imagine the damage done in that extreme situation. And in fact, I’ve got a very close friend who, and that was their experience at school, very intelligent issues with dyslexia and dysgraphia got put in the special class as a teenager.

[00:21:25] and just eroded confidence and that sense of self during those very important teenage years, uh, because the, the intellect was never acknowledged. Mm-hmm. . And, you know, obviously that’s being done with good intentions, but we know better now, we know better that, you know, you’ve gotta meet the, the whole person where they’re at and.

[00:21:54] and we’re talking very heavily about two e kids. Uh, but also I think it’s important to acknowledge. You know, if you’ve, if your kid is just gifted and use, you know, air quotes mm-hmm. giftedness within itself is a synchronous and will have relative strengths and relative weaknesses. And so those can be more extreme with a twice exceptional kid who has a diagnosed something else going on.

[00:22:25] But nonetheless also, Situation that gifted kids find them in because of those relative, sort of weak areas compared to their strengths. Uh, so yeah, a real potential pitfall regardless of kind of where you’re at in that journey but something worth really keeping an eye on. So for you, you’ve mentioned a few sort of examples of things that you do but maybe, you know, what does that look like?

[00:22:56] Uh, so if. A parent or an EDU educator listening, what would a strength-based sort of approach look like in that classroom setting? In terms of what Some examples of the kind of approach you take?

[00:23:12] Sam Young: Lots of choice. Uh, I mean, strength-based education is election. It is fundamentally very democratic. It is very flexible and malleable, and the students are co constructs with you.

[00:23:22] So when we think about what it looks. It what it looks like is just as important as what it does not right. Again, as you say with the example, with your friend, you know, focusing on what students aren’t doing. Right. Focusing on where they’re coming up short is going to fundamentally rob them of the development, rob them of the, the, the, the learning and rob them of their becoming themselves.

[00:23:47] So what we want to do is we want to allow them to have more choice, right? If we’re teaching a unit on, on history, right? Are we flexible in the piece? Are we flexible in the product? Are we flexible in the process? Can we make it so that our students can maybe go through a certain, there’s certain things that we want them to do.

[00:24:04] Let’s say we want them to, uh, reference sources. We want them to be critical consumers and information. That’s all well and good, and those can be our standards that we, we hope to hit, but we can let go perhaps of how it gets done and what it looks like when it’s done. So if you say you have to write a paper, you’ve just.

[00:24:24] A good part of your brilliant kiddos, right? But you could probably get more depth, complexity and rigor out of them. If you say, I want you to record a podcast, or I want you to make a documentary, or I want you to put on a play right now, they’re, they’re casting, you know, they’re, they’re, they’re thinking about the historical accuracy and they’re doing all of these really deep-seated incredible things that we want our, you know, young historians, young students to be doing.

[00:24:46] And they’re doing it in a way where they feel like they’ve had a voice, they’ve gotten to navigate it, they’ve had uh, choice, and, and now they’re proud of their work.

[00:24:56] Sophia Elliott: Right. Yeah. That’s really beautiful.

[00:24:58] Sam Young: Keep going. Sorry, the last thing I, I go on like these long. No, no. I love them. Keep going. Authenticity.

[00:25:05] But it has to be authentic. So when we go back to, like Joseph Zuli, who I think I talked about last time mm-hmm. , you know, Zuli talks about in his three rings. One of them is that it has to be something that is authentic. It has to be something, uh, that’s really meaningful. Excuse me, not three rings. The, uh, the type three model.

[00:25:22] It’s, it has to be something that’s authentic and is meaningful to them so that they can, they. Be doing something bigger than themselves, right? If it’s just an assignment, it’s enrichment’s only going to go so far. Strength application’s only gonna go so far. So do they have choice? Is it an authentic assignment and is it a flexible assignment?

[00:25:41] I think those are the

[00:25:42] Sophia Elliott: big three. What that brings to my mind is now where particularly lucky that my kids go to a school that is strength based and child centered. Very different approach to mainstream models, and I know that a part of their approach is, like, for example, at the beginning of each term, they, they assess the kids on where they’re at with a particular sub stream of the subject.

[00:26:16] So, so first of all, they’re learning at the right level, which is amazing, but. They have a conversation with the kids around, right? These are the outcomes. This is, this is what we need to learn this term. How, like you said, having that conversation with them, How are we going to do that? I’ve got some ideas.

[00:26:35] What are your ideas? Let’s workshop that. This is the, you know, these are the points we need to hit. This is what we need to learn. This is where we need to end up. How are we gonna get there on that journey together? And it is, when you were talking there, I’m like, Oh wow, this is comforting . Cause it’s all about the flexibility and the negotiation and the conversation.

[00:26:56] Because the truth is with gifted kids, you know, they can go through a terms worth of content in. A couple of weeks, you know, it’s sponge, just suck it up. And then it’s kind of like, well then what is the point of school if it’s not just churning through content? And there is, there is much more going on at school than just kind of sucking in facts.

[00:27:19] It’s how do you work as a team to present what you know, you know, And how do you build your skills around? You know, like eventually you will need essay writing skills to go to university and get into the deep stuff. How do we start to build those skills at whatever level you’re at? And so it becomes those sort of, the skills and experience needed around the content, you know, and the sort of the teamwork, the social aspects.

[00:27:53] And so it becomes about more than just. Wrote learning facts. Mm-hmm. which I thinks really beautiful because that’s the world we live in. As an adult going to work, you don’t work, you know, as an island you’ve gotta deal with people around you. You’ve gotta present them with your ideas. You be convincing, This is where we need to end up on this project.

[00:28:15] How do we get there together? And it feels very, A very authentic journey to go on with a student, and so I really love what you’re saying there about that flexibility and that negotiation.

[00:28:29] Sam Young: It’s so important everywhere. I mean, if you look at the foundations of, of, uh, gifted education, uh, and, and, and go beyond just schooling and we look at, you know, gifted application, right?

[00:28:40] Talent application. You look back at like the United States military and, and going into World War I, right at some, one of the first times that we really had. Uh, early testing. What are people’s strengths and talents? Like? It wouldn’t make sense for me to have someone who is a, a doctor and then just chuck ’em on the front line, right?

[00:28:59] And say, Go get him. Here’s your carbine. Let’s go fight him. You know, what the military did going into the war, into the, the great war, the first World War was they actually took the time to reflect what are our talents and, and strengths for our different soldier? And then let’s put together this elite fighting force by maximizing people’s talents and strengths, right?

[00:29:18] And the same is true of everything. When during the Cold War in the 1950s, the Soviets got Sputnik into space and the United States thought, Hold on, maybe we need to start doing more testing. And they placing our students with really high aptitude, high IQ in certain domains, right? Let’s develop their strengths, uh, in the workforce, right?

[00:29:36] Same thing. So it doesn’t really matter what domain, I mean, we’re talking academically. But strength based, talent focused education is everything. And, and you’re so right Sophia, Like when you’re talking about the, the, the, the application of what it looks like in a school, it’s a huge disservice to our students.

[00:29:54] It’s a massive disservice to our students to only focus on. You know, everyone doing the same thing because that’s not the real world. The real world dictates that our students become deep seated experts, right? That are, we’re in the information era. This is no longer, you know, the 1890s and like terrorism where everyone goes into a workshop and you.

[00:30:14] Rotate on the bell and the whistle, and we’re, we’re trying, we’re, we’re in the information era where students are, should be encouraged to. We have a responsibility, I say, to encourage our students to explore their interests, explore their strengths, and then figure out how can they serve, how can they better society, How can they create a brighter future with those strengths, with those interests?

[00:30:32] And I can tell you it’s not going to come from making students focused on whether or not doing. And then having them do more of it. That’s just not the answer. .

[00:30:40] Sophia Elliott: Absolutely. And you know, if I think about what I want for my kids, uh, do you know it is to have a life where they’re doing something they love with people that they like.

[00:30:54] You know, fundamentally, you know, is that not success? If you can go to work, do something you love, get paid well for it, be surrounded with like-minded peers, and so why would you focus on things that they don’t love? Why would you beat them down with deficits? And, and sure. You know, uh, as a six year old, as a 10 year old, as a 14 year, Whatever they’re into right now, it may not be the exact thing that they go off and into the sunset as an adult and work on, but it will lead them somewhere.

[00:31:29] One love will need lead to another. Love will need lead to another love. And there, there is a, there’s a pathway there where they’re developing the expertise and the skills and experience as a big foundation to. You know, what they could potentially do into the future. And so I think that’s a, a much nicer vision than, you know, and we’ve all, anyone listening who’s done a job that they hated , you know, like, I did not want that for my kids, you know, And so let’s build them up from the beginning in, in that space of, of, of doing something from a place of joy and love.

[00:32:09] I think there’s a lot in.

[00:32:12] Sam Young: And, and let’s be honest, you know, I’m not pretending to say that strength based education is that students will never have to do anything they don’t love. I do agree with you. Oh yeah. It’s not fun doing what you don’t love. Right. But our students actually do need to be able to tolerate, you know, complexity and handle difficult tasks and so forth.

[00:32:27] So I’m not saying throw all that out, I’m just saying where do we choose to place our students? Where do we choose to steep them? And if that’s not the majority focus, Than, than something needs to give. And there are so many different pathways to a strength-based education, right? A strength-based education can sometimes be, Hey, let’s knock out what you have to do so we can do what you want to do.

[00:32:48] Right. That’s fine too. We can say we don’t need to, it doesn’t need to be all about the interest. Let’s just, let’s do what we need to do to check the boxes. So, and then let’s do. What you love, right? And then what we’ll build extra around that. And that’s well and good as well. Obviously it’s less ideal, but that also is a way for parents who say, like, I can already hear a lot of my parents say like, Okay, we’re in a public school and you know, we are in a great district.

[00:33:13] We don’t have a lot of control. We can’t really dictate as much. The classes are big. Okay, great. Can we make a program so our students can realize life’s a pie chart, right? , Yeah. Life is a pie chart. How can we shrink what we have to do so we can do more of what we want to?

[00:33:26] Sophia Elliott: and that’s a really important life lesson.

[00:33:28] Uh, and we, you know, on the podcast we talk a lot about helping our children be comfortable in being uncomfortable, you know, and the grit and the growth mindset and working through that space. So, like you say, it’s absolutely not about some kind of nirvana where we’re just floating around doing things we love all the time.

[00:33:49] We do have to live in the world and be off the world. But. It’s those systems and strategies and that knowledge around it, and you, you’ve framed it really well there. Let’s just, sometimes we’ve just gotta do the stuff to get to the other stuff

[00:34:04] and that in itself is a really important life lesson, a really important skill for our kids to have, uh, learning that grit and. In reality, sometimes, you know, sometimes we’ve gotta put the laundry away. Mm-hmm. , , no one, no one wants to put laundry away. , uh, or we’ve, we’ve, you know, we’ve gotta do the thing, uh, but let’s do it quickly and get it out the way and, and do the other thing.

[00:34:29] So, yeah, that’s a really great analogy. I like the pie chart. I’m a very visual person, so that appeals to me. And in breaking that down for, for my kids, it’s kind of like, okay, there’s this much of stuff that we don’t really enjoy, but we’ve gotta do tidying up . If I’m a parent and I’m thinking, you know, at home, uh, some of those things, So for example, If we’re having to do chores, I might say, All right, let’s put on three songs.

[00:35:00] Let’s dance our way through tidying up let’s, and, but let’s like see if we can get all this done in three songs. And it’s kind of like a race and the music’s on and it’s like a bit of a disco race, but it’s kind of like, how can we. Turn this into an obstacle that we have to get through as a team just to get it done as quickly as we can.

[00:35:23] And, and so, and then let’s go do something fun. So perhaps a good example there of how, how you could apply that as a parent.

[00:35:34] Sam Young: That’s a great example. Yeah. You’re, you’re, you’re prioritizing, you’re thinking creatively, you’re, you’re problem solving, you’re collaborating, right? Like you’re doing all these things and you’re having.

[00:35:43] Yeah.

[00:35:46] Sophia Elliott: And isn’t that a key to it? Do you know? Doing anything you don’t actually wanna do is humor. Yeah. You know, and if I was going to suggest anything, uh, to parents listening, uh, when you hit those big brick walls And some kids have those walls that shoot up more quickly than other kids. . Uh, you know, as parent we try to break that down with humor, uh, and it’s like, yeah, it’s, it’s the one tool in the back pocket.

[00:36:19] My husband is particularly good at it because he’s naturally a very cheeky individual and, and my, my particularly challenging child is also very cheeky, and so thankfully that works really well. Just cracking down the wall with a bit of humor. Mm-hmm. .

[00:36:39] Sam Young: No, that’s so, so important. I always say that when I train my teachers or bring on my educators, I’m always talking about how it’s the number one way to diffuse.

[00:36:48] Mm-hmm. and our students have really witty sense of humor. Right. They’re really bright mm-hmm. and they often have a sense of humor that’s well out, matured their body. Right. And so they’re misunderstood by their students. So sometimes we. Place where once they come to the classroom, all of a sudden there’s a bunch of students who can handle their sense of humor, right?

[00:37:05] And they mm-hmm. , they get really excited. I’m like, It’s rain in a little bit here, so I’ll crack a joke, you know, and try to reign everyone in and be self-deprecating Right. And, and sort of try to pivot a little bit. Yeah. But you’re right, it’s such a, such a powerful tool.

[00:37:23] Sophia Elliott: So I, I feel like we’ve, we’ve done strength based learning.

[00:37:27] Justice there. Uh, and can I add one more thing though? Yeah, yeah. I was gonna say, what else do you wanna tell us? ?

[00:37:33] Sam Young: Yeah, so, cause you asked, you asked for an example and I don’t know that I gave you one. So a good example like of strength-based learning like we’re doing at Young Scholars Academy would be, I’ll give you two if it’s okay actually.

[00:37:43] Cause I can’t think. Yeah. So one example of strength-based learning would be, uh, a speech. You’re taking something that is authentic, you’re taking something that students care about that they want to do well in. And you are, you are creating an environment where they can. Pick a topic they care about.

[00:38:00] Okay. School should start later, right? We’re not saying like, let’s compare this book to this book, which they may be interested in by the way, but it’s something that affects them. Let’s, School should start later. Everyone should be homeschooled or school. Everyone should wear uniforms. You know? Something that,

[00:38:13] Sophia Elliott: Something meaty to

[00:38:14] Sam Young: care.

[00:38:15] Yeah, exactly. We sink the teeth in. It’s authentic. And then, Okay, Now what, what are your strengths? Are you the kind of person who really wants to like, open with, you know, bravado? Do you want to really kind of research like what are the roles that you can play both within as a, as an individual and also perhaps on a team?

[00:38:32] Right. So we can kind of empower someone by getting them to not only care about what they’re learning about, uh, focus on the method in which it’s being delivered. And there there’s real pressure. Like in two classes I’m gonna. We have three minutes to talk. This is something that you know is real. And then we’re getting them to now, you know, research and tap into their strengths.

[00:38:51] I’m more of someone who’s gonna do better. Winging it. I like to just be the cross examiner. I’m someone who really wants to write every word down. I need to read a script, you know? So, and getting them to kind of tap into their strengths that way. So, so that’s one example. Cuz I, I know you asked for examples, the, another example Yeah.

[00:39:08] Of, of strength based learning. And this is something that I think is key, and I hope this is a big takeaway for anyone listening, but another example for, for strength based learning can be done with executive functioning, right? So a lot of the times it’s like, okay, kid, you get an agenda book, write your work.

[00:39:22] You’re not doing it, what’s wrong with you? Right. But it could be that it’s this system. So what I try to do is I break task management into three key sections. And I say like, we have a class called Young and Thriving, which is all about creating a strength based system for getting tasks done. And so I say, if there’s three things you need to do, you need to record tasks, prioritize, and plan, and then execute, right?

[00:39:48] So it’s sort of like the capture. And then weekly plan, and then daily plan to do list. So if those are three non-negotiables, those are the three pillars of task management. How are you going to do that work? What’s your learning profile like? Are you the kind of person that would dictate into a voice recorder so you can remember later?

[00:40:06] Will really bright sticky notes work well for you. If you saw my desk, it looks like a highlighter threw up on it. would, would you benefit from a linear system that’s digital that allows you to intent, You know, and then all of a sudden we get really flexible and they’re reflecting, right? They’re thinking of what kind of learner they are and how they do best.

[00:40:25] And so we’re taking a strength based approach, even to something that doesn’t feel like learning a classical subject, right? It’s building a system, like you said, building a system, and they’re, they’re building a system based on their strength so that they can be strong in all areas, right? Or in other areas and so forth.

[00:40:38] So, so those are, I just wanted to make sure that I did give you a concrete example that’s in space and debate and in the executive function world, like, those are two courses that, uh, that we definitely believe in strength based approach, and it’s an easy tweak, uh, but it makes the world.

[00:40:53] Sophia Elliott: Yeah, I love that.

[00:40:54] Cause it’s so important to figure out the way that we learn and think because I like you. I’m a post-it note person. I have figured out if I can’t see it in terms of my tasks, then it, it doesn’t exist. The worst thing I can do is have a pile of things to do, which, If you could see my desk, I do, I have a pile of things to do next to another pile of things and they always get ignored cuz they’re in a pile and I can’t see them.

[00:41:23] And then I have my sticky notes of these are things I need to do today right in my face. So I can’t not see it. And, but it’s taken me a while to figure out why some things work for me and some don’t. And what a great thing to figure out as a kid or a teenager. You know, and take on into the world. Ah, actually no, that won’t work for me cause I won’t be able to see it.

[00:41:43] Or, or conversely, you know, actually I really like a list on an app where I can just look at it and tick it off. You know, whatever kind of ends up working for you and having that flexibility to, like you say, work around people’s strengths and weaknesses, but, but focusing on the ways that their, their individual brain works.

[00:42:05] So, no really great examples. Thank you.

[00:42:09] Sam Young: It’s omni presenting. My wife and I both have adhd, so like we always joke that like leftovers are dangerous because they get shuffled to the back of the refrigerator, right? And then like the new meal’s exciting and all of a sudden, like there’s a month worth of leftovers in the back.

[00:42:23] But because it wasn’t toward the front, we have to be careful. So we reshuffle the fridge at like scheduled intervals so that we’re using things and not being wasteful. And you’re right, like I, I often say this is like one of my favorite sayings that I kind. I think I maybe made up, but it’s that piles develop a group identity, right?

[00:42:42] Like a pile, a stack of things. Like I have a stack of mail right now that is, it is a month old to be honest with you, and it is now a stack. What happens? New mail goes on and it joins the stack. Those are no longer bills invoice. Like that’s probably really important stuff, but it has lost its identity and you have to be very careful when you know that about yourself.

[00:43:01] It’s a little easier. So I might just like scatter and reshuffle things and okay, now I have to deal with it. Put it somewhere, I’m gonna trip over it. But becoming more self aware and doing these kinds of things and then saying, Okay, how can I leverage my strengths? How can I tap into the things that I’m good at to like handle these things I’m not, mm-hmm.

[00:43:16] Or how can I advocate and get someone else right to help me do these things that I’m not as good at? I

[00:43:24] Sophia Elliott: absolutely love that. And if you could see our fridge , that’s totally our fridge and that is totally my desk. Just stacks of stuff. I love that identity idea. I haven’t heard that before. That is so true though.

[00:43:37] Cause when you have a pile of things, it becomes this overwhelming pile of things and it’s like, it’s like I never have time to deal with it because it looks like a lot and I, because I have no sense of time management at all. It’s kind of like it. Too much and too overwhelming, but, but if it’s one thing, oh well I can do that.

[00:43:58] I’ve got two minutes. Like, thank you. Thank you for that. I love it. That really

[00:44:03] Sam Young: helps. It’s just a way that I think about things. I dunno, but, you know, if that makes sense. But

[00:44:09] Sophia Elliott: yeah, no, it does. I, you know, I, hopefully in a few months I will be able to, uh, we we’re doing some moving around the house and I will, More of a dedicated space.

[00:44:20] And what I’m imagining is actually a wall where I get to pin the things, you know, instead of piling them up so that I can see them. There’s gonna be crazy wall business going on, but I’ve been thinking about the way my brain works and how I can set that up for success, you know, and and kind of get over some of these pitfalls.

[00:44:43] But, and, and that’s the journey, and I think it’s sort of like, It’s really nice to acknowledge, first of all, that. You know, we have these kind of quirks or our brain works in a particular way, but there are other people like us too, and , and it’s actually just about, it’s this little puzzle about thinking about, okay, well actually, what is it?

[00:45:06] Oh, it’s a visual thing, right? Well, how can we get creative and meet that? Do you know where it’s at? And problem solve that. And it becomes quite an exciting little adventure of, Right, okay, this isn’t working. What is it about it? Oh, I can’t see the leftovers. Right? Okay. How are we gonna solve that problem?

[00:45:23] And it’s you know, parents are kids. I think it’s the same for all of us. We’ve gotta think about. How it all works and breaks down and stuff. And, and

[00:45:35] Sam Young: that really brings, you know, that brings me to a really good point, which is that a lot of the times I think, you know, to kind of go full circle, when we think about like the deficit model and moving away from strengths, it’s, it’s that it’s, it’s, we say like a square peg in a round hole, right?

[00:45:48] Like, like mm-hmm. twice exceptional gifted or a divergent kids or square pegs in a round hole. And, and it’s a great metaphor, but we don’t want to round out our students to fit mm-hmm. , right? Because when you, when you say, Our students have such unique strengths and interests, the worst thing that we could do would be to shave those off, right?

[00:46:06] That’s what makes them them. So the problem, the number one, the number one problem without a doubt, with the deficit based model, is that it shaves off our students’ edges, interests, quirkiness, et cetera, and it makes them normal, right? And, and, and to quote Jonathan Moony, Normal sucks. You know, we shouldn’t converge to the.

[00:46:28] we need to stay off to the fringes. Our students have extreme interests, extreme talents, extreme curiosities, extreme creativity, and that is what will make them successful. Unless your goal is just to turn out a great student, which I beg you, please don’t do that because being a student doesn’t necessarily prepare one for success, then it’s important that we continue to move to the fringes and that we continue to develop the things that make us quirk, that make us tick, that let our fire and understand that that will better serve us in life beyond school.

[00:46:59] Becoming good at school. Cause that’s just one form of giftedness, schoolhouse, giftedness, but it doesn’t necessarily apply to the real

[00:47:04] Sophia Elliott: world. Absolutely. And that idea of a good student, uh, a friend of mine actually, we were talking about school reports one day and she actually said what she looks for in the school report is, you know, if her child’s getting an A, it’s kind of.

[00:47:27] Well, they need to move up. It’s, you know, it’s kind of like too easy. And what she wants is her child to be in like the b, c, you know, kind of space, because then that tells her that the child is working in a space where they’re having to put some in. But if that child’s getting all A’s, Well, then it’s just like, well, this is way too easy.

[00:47:49] We actually don’t want straight A students. We want them in a space where they’re actually having to put some effort in. And unfortunately for a lot of gifted kids, that means. Moving up and around in different levels and finding that space, which is more challenging and and doesn’t always fit in the mainstream system, but it’s kind of really challenging that idea that the ideal is a straight A student.

[00:48:11] And it’s kind of like, well, is it though? So, Yeah, exactly. So yeah.

[00:48:16] Sam Young: That’s a great perspective. Yeah. You know, my dad always said like, you never wanna be the smartest person in the room. Right. If you are, you need new friends, , you’re not being like, you’re not being stimulated. Right.

[00:48:28] Sophia Elliott: Absolutely. Yeah. And that’s the best thing when you’re in a group of people who can really like Yeah, really have you on the edge of your, of your seat, you know, with the.

[00:48:41] In a nice way, challenging and, and kind of getting that debate. I love that. But yeah, my, my friend with the report, it really made me look at school reports in a whole new way, uh, and reinforces that idea that.

[00:48:55] When it comes to gifted kids and twice exceptional kids, we’ve gotta be very cautious about applying these sort of mainstream mm-hmm. ideals that, you know, we should question anyway. But and it is just, yeah. Another thing as a parent of a gifted or twice exceptional kid that we kind of have to learn to shift our mindset around.

[00:49:16] Sam Young: Yeah. And, and there’s so many, right, Like failure, I mean grading inherently punishes failure. Hmm. Right. And like I, as an entrepreneur, if I don’t fail once a day, I’m not trying hard enough. Yeah. Like if I, I, my, my coach is like, You don’t fail enough. You’re so scared to try something new. It’s deeply rooted in me wanting to be a student and successful, but I could have shaved years off my growth if I would just try bigger, scarier things mm-hmm.

[00:49:46] and let them flop every so often because, Through that, I’m going to learn at a way more accelerated rate than I would by incrementally turning up, you know, the heat. And so it’s really important that like, again, these are lessons that apply to school, but they’re so much bigger than just school, but mm-hmm.

[00:50:04] Yeah. If you wanna truly move beyond grades, and again, grades have their place, it does give us good data and they can serve us well they can also be quite harmful. But it’s so important that we move to a place where students are really learning, really taking risks, and we’re, and we’re alleviating them.

[00:50:17] The freedom. Making mistakes. Like if you fail in my debate class, Bravo, you took a risk. You know? Yeah. If you’re not failing, then you’re probably kind of failing yourself because you’re not trying hard enough, You’re not taking on something that’s really big. Right. So it’s really important to sort of alleviate that anxiety and empower our students to take bigger risks.

[00:50:38] Sophia Elliott: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

[00:50:40] You know, as a reformed perfectionist. I hear ya, . I totally hear ya. Yeah, it, it’s knowing and, and such an important thing for our kids to learn how to get it wrong and being brave enough to get it wrong, you know, and if we’re too wound up on the, on the outcome, there’s no space for that. And so it’s really, it’s really better just to play it cool and provide that space to, oh, you gotta.

[00:51:10] Tell me about that. What’d we learn outta that? What happened there? You know, let’s be curious. What can we learn outta that? Mm-hmm. . Yeah, absolutely. Uh, so yeah, as we wrap up today, uh oh. There was something, Oh, okay. First of all, hang on, stop everything. You referred to a podcast. Tell us about that. You, you referred to doing interviews.

[00:51:37] Do you do interviews?

[00:51:38] Sam Young: Oh, yeah. So I, well, I’m, I have a once a month show that I do. It’s really just kind of for fun. Um mm-hmm. , it’s not, By any means on the level of which you’re doing, which is commendable, uh, I, it’s called Illuminating Interviews. You can find the videos on the Young Scholars Academy site, uh, young scholars academy.org.

[00:51:59] And it’s under, I, I kind of consider it like a blog passion project, but, uh, every other month I’ll interview either an expert or a student or a panel of students. And when I say students, these. Young adults now, but they’re former students of mine. Cause I think that’s something that a lot of our kiddos need is seeing older versions of themselves, as we said, but not as old as me.

[00:52:21] Right. . So someone who’s, someone who’s maybe, you know, 23 mm-hmm. , who’s just finished school and now they’re doing something and they’re twice exceptional or they’re gifted, or they’re NeuroD and, and giving them the space. Someone’s a little closer to them in age and talk about their struggles, their accomplishments, and everything in between.

[00:52:39] And then I’ll interview people. I think last time I saw you, Sophia, I had just interviewed that morning, Joseph Zuli, Dr. Joseph Zu. I can’t remember. Yeah, you mentioned that. I was like, I’m still coming off that high. So yeah, share that episode next week, I think. Yeah, I had like the shakes during that. So very excited about, about that too.

[00:52:56] So I’ll bring in different people, but the goal is really just to kind. Just pick different people’s brains and try to get little clips and snippets for people who want like a sort of a quick insight or a quick thought provoking like your one friend, right. Sometimes mm-hmm. , one person can say one thing and it can completely transform our lives.

[00:53:15] Yeah. And uh, so I’m just kind of conversing in, in the wilderness, I guess, with different people. trying to find. Provoking thoughts and so it’s awesome.

[00:53:26] Sophia Elliott: Thank you. So check that out on your website and I’m gonna check that out and I will start sharing those cuz they sound amazing. And so how can people get in touch with you?

[00:53:36] Sam Young: Yeah. So you can check out Young Scholars academy.org and if you hit the Contact me button, you, that’s me right there. Uh, also on Facebook at Ysa Enrichment, so that’s for Young Scholars Academy and then on Instagram at Young Underscore Scholars Underscore Academy. And anyone doesn’t know the underscore, it’s like the lower hyphen.

[00:53:58] I always say the hyphen on the

[00:54:00] Sophia Elliott: ground, you know? Yeah, I like that. Yep. And, and, and you, I mean, you’ve touched on sort. Very briefly, uh, some of the. Things you do, but important for everyone to know that you offer a whole range of classes on different topics and all sorts of things. So really check out the website for more detail on all of those

[00:54:21] Sam Young: things.

[00:54:22] Yes, please do. We have winter camps. Summer camps, and then we run courses every eight weeks and we’re usually running 20, 25 courses. Mm-hmm. , uh, at a time. So we have a tremendous amount. Opportunities and we try to do everything that no one else is doing. So crypto, you know, debate investing, virtual robotics, anything that you can think of.

[00:54:43] Book clubs, psychology, college level courses, things that fire.

[00:54:49] Sophia Elliott: That, that sounds amazing. So a great opportunity for young gifted kids to find their peers in a strength based environment. Sounds perfect. And you, like, just very quickly, you mentioned in the d and d podcast, uh, you were telling us a story about, uh, you know, the, the d and d group, but like they’re from all over the world getting together and playing this game on a regular basis, which, Just feels like a really beautiful thing to share.

[00:55:17] So a great opportunity to meet people potentially from all over the.

[00:55:22] Sam Young: Absolutely. And I don’t know if I shared this story with you. This is a 32nd story, but I had two students actually meet in a park. Did I tell you this one? It’s beautiful. Yeah. Tell and recognize one another. So like that just happened?

[00:55:34] Yeah, about a week or so before you and I connected, so yeah. Amazing. So yeah, there’s a virtual community and sometimes people trip across from real people too. . Yeah.

[00:55:43] Sophia Elliott: Uh, well thank you so much for making time to talk to us today. I feel like that was a really great convers conversation about strength based learning and a few other tangents in between.

[00:59:21] Sam Young: I’m always gonna be good for a tangent. This is great. Thank you so much. Me

[00:59:25] Sophia Elliott: too. Thank you. It’s been delightful to have you back, and hopefully you won’t be a stranger and we’ll, we’ll see you again on the podcast.

[00:59:33] Sam Young: Absolutely. Cheers. Thank you.