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    I walked away while writing the below, so I can see I'm duplicating a lot of what's been said already, but I'm too lazy to edit, so:

    Based on his rate of progress, it sounds like your DS is on track to be doing calculus at about age 10 or so (assuming he is allowed instruction appropriate to his pace). This is still well within reach of most high schools, so I don't think you necessarily need to worry about live college classes until then. In any case, many intro level college courses are available as online or blended classes, where his face time with young adult classmates would be relatively limited.

    When my sib started college courses at about that age, my mother attended classes for the first several weeks (discreetly, in the back of the lecture hall), until she was comfortable that a good transition had been made. (Of course, not everyone can do that.) I also attended some college courses as a pre-teen, unaccompanied, but with frequent consultation between my parents, program staff, and my professors.

    As a parent, I have a hard time imagining my own children taking college courses at that age, but I know my siblings and I did it without any noticeable ill effect, so I'm pretty sure it can be done...

    WRT science, labs are great, but there are safety concerns with young children for some types of labs, even if they are very careful, simply because the scale of lab equipment is not suited to their size. I think it might make more sense to not worry about for-credit, sophisticated experimentation, and, instead, give him access to a range of information (we used to have subscriptions to magazines like Scientific American, when we were children--wait, maybe my parents actually wanted to read that themselves?). On the experiential end, the basics of physics (other than quantum) can be picked up in everyday life observation. (I think there's an old physics teacher saying, "Everything you need to know about physics, you've learned by the age of two.") Most of biology up until biochemistry is just observation of organisms around you. Tons of chemistry happens in the kitchen. (We had a little book, now out of print, I think, called Science Experiments You Can Eat. Oh, here's the revised edition on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Science-Experiments-You-Can-Eat/dp/0064460029) Lego robotics and design software and MIT Scratch are highly recommended by many people for engineering.

    And don't forget, the scientific method can be applied to anything open to repeated measurement. If he understands the empirical method before college, he will be well ahead of most of the adult population of this country.

    I guess I am not as concerned with credentialing, rather with feeding the interests of the child, and a solid foundation in scientific thinking.


    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...
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    OK, great advice as usual here. Thank you!

    As far as the teacher's background, he is a second career teacher. He was an engineer for a few years (maybe 5-8) and then decided he wanted to teach. He has been teaching for about 10 years and maintains a consulting firm on the side. The school that he teaches at is a county public magnet school. The students have to test into the school, so I'm sure they are getting some top students.

    I wasn't actually thinking of putting DS into a college class. That would be nuts. I myself was a bit confused (that's why I came here!) when the teacher suggested that DS should be working at the college level - when DS is just starting algebra in the fall.

    I'm just going to keep doing what we're doing and see how the first lego league goes. I was able to get him into an older group on a trial basis, since the group leader doesn't know him.

    I just worry that I'm not doing enough for DS. Like, that really gnaws away at me. In my mind it's like having a very gifted dancer in my house, and I'm only letting her dance in her pack n play. And the worry is fueled by my huge weakness in his areas of strength. I don't have a sense of what the typical sequence is in a lot of these subjects. The extent of my STEM education includes all of the AP classes offered in those subjects many years ago (minus the programming classes). DH is helpful, though he tells me that he wasn't truly challenged until he was working on his Ph.D. - when he was 18. So DH has the experience, but I do the legwork in terms of finding the appropriate resources for DS.

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    Originally Posted by HowlerKarma
    Some suggestions for activities where he can explore some of those interests--

    * science museums-- check online and ask around for a good one near you-- think Exploratorium-like, hands-on places that offer workshops and lab classes.

    * local university-- see if they have science programs for early secondary students. Many do-- but make sure that they aren't just fluff, first. There is "outreach" intended to maintain INTEREST in average-and-bright children, and then there is the hard core stuff that "average" students can't manage-- go after the latter, not the former.

    * LEGO robotics.


    Thank you! We pretty much live at our local science museum (it's a big urban one). The docents know DS by name. The docents who do the electricity and magnetism shows joke that DS can run things if they are ever absent. (Not only is this museum awesome for science, but they have an amazing indoor space where my toddlers can run around freely. We are there A LOT.)

    We are signed up with a first lego league in the fall. First time trying it. We will see.

    I will definitely look into university summer programs. Thank you so much for the tip!

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    Originally Posted by Zen Scanner
    You could try to find a local hackerspace. The hacker mentality is about doing and learning; the folks I know are very open to anyone of whatever age (given certain safety caveats.) Many of them even without kids volunteer for local FIRST teams and such.

    Here's a locator:
    http://hackerspaces.org/wiki/List_of_Hacker_Spaces

    Such a great idea! I will definitely try this out! Thank you!

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    Originally Posted by aeh
    I walked away while writing the below, so I can see I'm duplicating a lot of what's been said already, but I'm too lazy to edit, so:

    Based on his rate of progress, it sounds like your DS is on track to be doing calculus at about age 10 or so (assuming he is allowed instruction appropriate to his pace). This is still well within reach of most high schools, so I don't think you necessarily need to worry about live college classes until then. In any case, many intro level college courses are available as online or blended classes, where his face time with young adult classmates would be relatively limited.

    When my sib started college courses at about that age, my mother attended classes for the first several weeks (discreetly, in the back of the lecture hall), until she was comfortable that a good transition had been made. (Of course, not everyone can do that.) I also attended some college courses as a pre-teen, unaccompanied, but with frequent consultation between my parents, program staff, and my professors.

    As a parent, I have a hard time imagining my own children taking college courses at that age, but I know my siblings and I did it without any noticeable ill effect, so I'm pretty sure it can be done...

    WRT science, labs are great, but there are safety concerns with young children for some types of labs, even if they are very careful, simply because the scale of lab equipment is not suited to their size. I think it might make more sense to not worry about for-credit, sophisticated experimentation, and, instead, give him access to a range of information (we used to have subscriptions to magazines like Scientific American, when we were children--wait, maybe my parents actually wanted to read that themselves?). On the experiential end, the basics of physics (other than quantum) can be picked up in everyday life observation. (I think there's an old physics teacher saying, "Everything you need to know about physics, you've learned by the age of two.") Most of biology up until biochemistry is just observation of organisms around you. Tons of chemistry happens in the kitchen. (We had a little book, now out of print, I think, called Science Experiments You Can Eat. Oh, here's the revised edition on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Science-Experiments-You-Can-Eat/dp/0064460029) Lego robotics and design software and MIT Scratch are highly recommended by many people for engineering.

    And don't forget, the scientific method can be applied to anything open to repeated measurement. If he understands the empirical method before college, he will be well ahead of most of the adult population of this country.

    I guess I am not as concerned with credentialing, rather with feeding the interests of the child, and a solid foundation in scientific thinking.

    Thanks so much! My DH began college classes around 11 and he also thought it worked just fine for him in the long run but complained that they were not challenging to him at the time. It is very hard for me to imagine DS on a similar path, but I better get used to the idea because I suspect he will have the same needs (DH comments that DS is "faster" than he was at the same age.)

    We have done lots and lots of home experiments fortunately. I do feel like DS has a good grasp on the scientific method.

    At the moment DS is in love with physics and engineering. He has plowed through the $.50 hs physics book that I got for him at the used book store. He also loves quantum physics and wonders how he can experiment at the quantum level.

    He studied chemistry on his own last year (when he was in first rade), again devouring a cheap used textbook. He has done some the experiments found in his texts.

    I am extremely fortunate that when DS says something like, "Dad, do you think that I can jump a farther distance if I am standing on a higher object?", my DH's response is to grab a stack of graph paper, chalk and a measuring tape. They will head out to the playground and use the proper methods for finding out the answers.

    Thank you again for your response!

    ETA: yes, we have a subscription to SA! It's great for DS.


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    Sounds like your DS is growing up in the same kind of STEM immersion environment that our home has provided for our DD! She can come across as way more knowledgeable (well, more than WE think that she is, anyway) to adults that don't know this about her-- but it's just because of things like that.

    She started doing real experiments with controls and everything (and talking to us in an organic kind of way about variables-- controlled and uncontrolled, and onward from there) along with learning algebra and basic writing skills. To her, there is no bright line that divides "science" from "reality" or "daily living."

    From my perspective, it doesn't have to be complicated to be sophisticated, and you can grow the types of questions you can (realistically) explore as his math skills grow.

    DD was thrilled to take AP Physics and Stats in high school, and immediately saw the applications and extensions in what she was learning. She also went back to things she had been stymied by in earlier investigations-- which surprised me some. She did this experiment re: acid raid and geology at about 8 that she didn't (yet) possess the statistical understanding to fully ANALYZE. As soon as she saw how to do two-tailed t testing, she was all over it again, and with a great deal of satisfaction for having finally figured out something that had been brewing at the back of her brain for years.

    It's all part of the big picture with a child that thinks about things this way. smile All of that to say-- just keep doing what you're doing. In growing a scientist or engineer, the best thing to do is stay out of the way as much as you can. wink Avoid asking things like; "What IS that thing?? And why is it stinking up my living room?" or "Is ____ on fire/smashed/painted for a reason?" LOL!



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    I don't have much to offer but your post reminded me of a video I watched on the news some time ago about this 12-year old boy who loves to build robots. Here is a link http://mashable.com/2013/09/12/robot-developer/. I remember from the news story that his dad somehow got him an internship at a local software firm and the owner was amazed at what this kid could build. Maybe there are similar internship opportunities in your area where your DS might get the opportunity to solve real life problems. I also had a childhood friend who was totally into chemistry and her parents setup a real lab for her in the house when she turned 13. I thought that was so cool that they could afford it though looking back, I am not sure how we averted any accidents with zero adult supervision! Anyway, sounds like you have a fun challenge at your hand.

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    Originally Posted by HowlerKarma
    Avoid asking things like; "What IS that thing?? And why is it stinking up my living room?" or "Is ____ on fire/smashed/painted for a reason?" LOL!

    You have me chuckling.


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    Originally Posted by HowlerKarma
    From my perspective, it doesn't have to be complicated to be sophisticated, and you can grow the types of questions you can (realistically) explore as his math skills grow.

    ITA with Howler smile

    FWIW, and please don't think this is critical in *any* way at all, just an observation smile - but my first thought when I read your OP was - you must not be a scientist smile

    Speaking as a scientist (in a family of science geeks and engineers), and as a parent of an obviously future engineer who was coming up with some danged original and very cool ideas about science at a very early age - it sounds like your thoughts were headed in the direction many folks' thoughts default to for kids who are good at science: accelerate in math, and look to Lego League smile Acceleration in math is good - as long as your child *wants* it and needs it - (which all of your past posts point to lol!)… but it's also not something that has to happen for a kid who is good at science, and it's also not a given that every child who has amazing scientific ideas and loves science is also going to be gangbusters-excited and interested in delving into uber-math-acceleration smile My ds is accelerated in math, but he wasn't when he was little and had all these amazing science ideas and was capable of deep complicated scientific thought processes. And that was ok - his math caught up with him. Had we tried to have him spend extra time on math because of his science interest, that would have backfired (does that make sense? I'm not sure I explained it well).

    Re Lego League - it's great for some kids, and it doesn't work out for others - so I would go into it just looking at it as something fun to try. My ds is very much into robotics - but when he was your ds' age our attempts to get him interested in First Lego League fizzled - he was much happier programming his own robot at home. What we ran into was a three-fold: if your group is going to participate in the competitions, it's not all about robotics. Half of the competition for First Lego League is (or at least used to be) a research/presentation project on the topic-of-the-year - which was fun for some of the kids in our group, but ds was never really into it. Second thing was ability - ds could see solutions to programming challenges by osmosis, but many of the kids in the group were much slower to see solutions and also much slower at picking up programming skills - so ds spent a lot of time waiting plus being the 'helper'. Third thing was boundaries on what we could/couldn't do placed on us by the school we sponsored the group through. Please know this isn't everyone's experience - we have a friend with a HG+ kid who is a bit younger than ds who was able to organize a group of kids that really gels and has a good time with it smile

    We also had people suggest learning programming for our ds when he was young - again, I think this is another easy default thought because it's relatively easy to find programming courses online or for some people to learn programming through tutorials or a book. (Please know I'm *not* being critical of learning programming :)). The thing is, don't substitute an activity like that for time spent learning, experimenting, and loving science if *science* is what your ds is interested in. If he's begging to learn programming, that's great, let him. If he's constantly asking questions about science and devouring it when he reads, give him more opportunities to explore wherever his mind leads. Programming can be picked up later when he wants to or has a need to.

    Anyway, for a science-minded child I firmly believe the best thing you can do is to follow their lead (which you are doing!) - listen to their ideas and questions, give them opportunities to dig deep into whatever interests them, and just go with it. They don't have to be enrolled in a college-level physics course at 8 to be thinking through high level concepts - as HK mentions, they will come back to the questions that interest them as they learn more about math and other things smile Or they may abandon some of their early interests and move on into other areas.

    Have fun seeing where your ds' interests lead smile

    polarbear

    ps - I would also talk again to the person who brought this up. He might be a person who would be able to suggest a mentor for your ds - a scientist he could spend time with just having "fun" with whatever your ds is interested in. I'm not suggesting tutoring or formal training, but for instance, if your ds was really into bridges and structures, maybe you could find someone who has training in civil engineering to spend some time with ds…. etc smile

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    My DS is 8 and is super science guy but for awhile I worried what the heck we were going to do in science because his math interests and skills were behind (in the crazy sense that he comprehends really advanced science like quantum physics, but wasn't doing double digit subtraction well but was devouring murderous maths). Eventually his mathiness clicked in, he is globally skipped but with no interest in moving faster beyond reading about it or doing apps. So will start 4th/5th grade math in fall.

    So what this has meant is an evaluation of how to get him the science he craves, and to keep growing with it. There is really no good answer - he hated CTY science. And he can't go to college. So we do a lot of videos like the great courses series - they are pitched for adults but don't use math, just the advanced concepts. Tons of stuff on YouTube. And we take him to lectures, like at the World Science Festival, we tried it at a colleague reunion when he was 6 and he did really well behavior wise and so have been doing it ever since. And there is plenty to read - not text books necessarily but books. We have been working through Max Tegmark's new book. Basically we accepted that he "could" go to college if we pushed him to move faster in math but didn't see the point of it particularly since he didn't have the dexterity to really do lab work. There are some cute iPad apps that simulate lab experiments also. My DS is not a builder per se, so lego robotics only interests him in terms of the coding. He did scratch and some other languages but also isn't totally immersed in minecraft or anything like that. So we support going wide. And DS tolerates science at school basically for the experiments which are grade appropriate. And he is also a good kid so doesn't really complain even though it's an utter waste of his time and will continue to be. Part of our problem is that he has an elementary science teacher who is a gifted elem Ed teacher. He gets the science teacher, trained to be a science teacher next year!! He also works with a science mentor, an older student, basically to encourage tolerance for the sad state of classroom science, they did all sorts of things from videos to experiment to just talking about science.

    Not sure if any of this helps, more of a btdt.

    DeHe

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