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Gifted Testing for Homeschooled Child?
Q: My son is nine and very curious and articulate. He loves science and nature, and is a whiz at math concepts. On the other hand, there are areas of his life in which he exhibits no "gifted" traits whatsoever. We began homeschooling him this year and things are going great. My question is: Since he's not in a traditional school setting, are there really any benefits to having him tested? I have administered a few "self-scoring" IQ tests, and he has scored very well, but this is not necessarily indicative of his IQ, right? Money's tight, and educational hindrances in a classroom are not an issue. Would there be a point?
A: It's quite possible for anyone to be gifted in certain areas and not in others. Your son may be a math and science whiz, and not necessarily be gifted in language arts.
Self-scoring IQ tests are only indicative of high ability and are not considered to be scientifically valid. I always think it's valuable for parents to have some valid measurement of their child's ability to help plan for their academics accordingly. Prior to homeschooling, did he have any group achievement tests administered in school? If so, you are entitled as a parent to see those results.
If you do choose to have him privately tested, this can be a costly event. You could contact a local university with a psychology department and see if they are willing to test for a reduced fee in exchange for allowing well-supervised graduate students to conduct the testing. If any learning problems appear, that is another situation in which parents should have diagnostic testing done so that they can best help their child. Since your son does not appear to be in any immediate need, you can consider testing for the future and "shop around" for the best affordable situation. Good luck.
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Noreen Joslyn is a licensed independent social worker in the state of Ohio and is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. She has a master's degree in Social Work, specializing in family and children, from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a psychiatric social worker in private practice with Ken DeLuca, Ph.D. & Associates, where she counsels parents and children.