My Kid Is Freaking Me Out

My 5-year-old is officially freaking me out.  It's not just that she eats chapter books for breakfast, or that she has finished the first and second grade science and social studies curriculum in our online program, or the fact that she has been able to name and identify all fifty states for months, and so on and so forth.  We took the state practice exam for 2nd grade, and she scored about 90% on the math sections... without first doing the exercises.  Last fall, she read at an independent third-grade level. 

Really, it's her curiosity and passion for learning that freaks me out.  She wants to know everything.  She's curious about every animal, every country, every war.  In the past day, I've received questions like, "Is Santa Claus real?  ...Because the ancient Greeks and Egyptians didn't believe in Santa."  She wants to know about everything from how clouds taste to how we could repair the Liberty Bell to what my friends are saying on Facebook. 

She also doesn't give up.  My husband and I joke that she has Attention Surplus Disorder, because she won't stop doing particular tasks until she's mastered them.  For example, she had difficulty in learning how to tell time on an analog clock, so she worked on workbook pages, talked about clocks, changed the hands herself, and so forth.  Finally, she would ask me questions wherever we went.  "When the hour hand is past the two, and the minute hand is on the three, does that mean it's 2:15 now?"  She eventually got it, through her own drive.

She also learns quickly.  Today, she was practicing piano, and she came to a new song where she had to play the melody with her right hand while holding down the harmony notes with her left hand, and the beats were different.  She seemed out of her depth, so I kind of shrugged and told her that she did fine practicing, that she didn't have to worry about that song.  She practiced a few more times tonight, and she played the whole song.

Lest you think that I am another version of the Tiger Mother, I can assure you that Lolly has more free time than most kids.  We do formal lessons for only a couple of hours a day.   On days like today, we played at two different playgrounds with friends, so no formal lessons were done.  I do make three musts for each "school day": she needs to do silent reading, practice her piano, and play outside.  Everything else these days is unplanned before the day begins - and thus, optional.

I am trying to figure out what to do from here.  I also have many thoughts, such as:

Is she truly gifted (of her own nature) or "hothoused" (pushed to learn)?
If she were to ever enter a regular school, could she advance 1-2 grades?  If so, should she?
Will this rate of learning eventually plateau, leaving her feeling insecure because she sees herself in terms of her academic abilities?
Am I neglecting another part of her life?  Or am I neglecting my other kids without knowing it?
What does this mean for her future?  Can she get college scholarships?  What if she doesn't want college?

Finally, is there anyone I can talk to about this without annoying the person to death (besides my husband)?

Overall, Lolly is a happy-go-lucky, very sweet, spiritual kid who plays well with 2-year-olds and 12-year-olds alike.  She has lots of resources and good friends, and most of all, the attention and support of her parents. She enjoys learning, and I can only hope it will continue.

We told her that she could read before bed...


  1. OMG! That photo totally cracked me up! IMO, if you're not pushing her to be a total overachiever, she'll turn out fine. She sounds like one sharp cookie, so if she's not interested in a subject or an activity, I'm sure she'll tell you. The fact that she is able to focus on her own for long periods of time probably means that you do have time for your younger kids and aren't neglecting them at all. The only thing you might want to watch out for (which is what I used to do) is staying up all night reading, with a flashlight under the covers, and not getting enough sleep to function the next day.


  2. Also, if she were to go to a regular school, I would say that it's not wise for her to skip several grades until she's in her teens, unless she gets there and realizes that her maturity level really is several grades ahead of the others. My homeschooled brother started college at 15 1/5 after going to high school for a year because he saw that the things his peers cared about really had no interest for him. He's 16 1/2 now and he LOVES college and doesn't seem to have any trouble fitting in.


  3. She's like her mama: naturally bright! You're providing her with the ideal learning environment, and she is flourishing within it. Just my opinion. When I met you, I knew you were special--something unlike what I had observed in most people. I don't say that to flatter you (or conversely, to make you uncomfortable). I think she is just responding very well to your willingness to let her explore and develop. I am amazed with the things you have described here. I think you should just keep doing what you're doing! Hopefully, you are helping to develop an individual who will have great things to offer to us all. (:

  4. My eyebrows were raised in excitement through the first paragraph! What a smart, little girl you have on your hands. I love that she's wanting to learn all on her own and the education is not forced. This is what Ashley and I talk about a lot regarding Juni - that she will pick up and learn what she wants to and any other knowledge she may need to progress the original subject of interest will become another interest or an obstacle she wishes to conquer in order to excel. It won't be a hindrance or something she dreads having to learn.

    Keep at it, Charlotte, you're doing wonderfully!


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