What comes to mind when you hear that word? A camera, moving from blurry to crystal clear? Getting a note perfectly in tune with warmth and clarity? Directing a sunbeam through a magnifying glass to see a little puff of smoke come off a dry leaf? Pure concentration?

It’s so easy to determine when something is out of focus. No little puff of smoke, an image that makes your eyes cross, a note that to this day has me jerking my head and pursing my lips, as though I could tune that flute from across the room.

But do we recognize focus? Or do we always think it could be better? What about with our gifted kids? Do we see the focus they have, on the things that matter most to them? Or only recognize the lack of it, when it’s something that bores or intimidates them?

This is something that has been on my mind lately. I have little focus these days, resembling nothing more than a whacked-out squirrel in an acorn field. Ooh! Acorns! Should I start here? Or here? Or over here??? My son, on the other hand, has ADHD and can focus just fine…if it’s quantum physics or Legos. No joke. Homeschooling is all kinds of interesting when the kid only wants to watch Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking and his brains fall out when I want him to write a paragraph or something.

Focus. Do you have it? Do your gifted kids? And how do we encourage them to focus on the less-interesting stuff without their brains falling out?

Just something to focus on this weekend.


4 thoughts on “Focus

  1. I tend to hyper focus, which is a great thing – and a not so great thing – depending on what it is I am focused on vs what I need to be doing 😉

  2. Yes, this is true. And it doesn’t work to clear everything off their agendas except the project at hand, that they really do not focus on, so don’t fall for the…no time. I try to get my student to meta cog, break down the ways in which he does intensely tackle a project he is interested in, so he’s aware of his innate process. Sometimes you can then get them to apply that process in a more mechanized way, without the love, to other projects. The other day my pupil said that he has instincts re: computers but not, for example, music. So we talked about the number of hours spent on the computer compared to the piano. Instincts to some degree come from experience. Another thing that sometimes works is to say: 1 hour. Sometimes they build things up to be monumental tasks, bc they are imaginational and emotional, but if you say: 1 hour, that’s it. They learn perspective and proportion. Great relevant post!

  3. This hits at the problem of the moment. I have no idea if my kid will test as GATE, but let’s just say she has the traits and I was in it myself. She is still only 7.

    There was this Science Project which Wasn’t Getting Done, and I have to admit, I Put Her in the Chair. And well, she is one of those ones, who just needs to get started, And it got done. My sister says to just let her not do some homework, let her fail, be embarrassed, and then it won’t happen again. But what if she realizes that not turning in her work is not the end of the world? And she keeps doing it? Like this very creative sister did herself long ago? So I kind of tiger mommed it.

    Part of the avoidance of the Science Project was the perfectionism and the hating of boring tasks, since it was to write ten facts on an animal. So I bought a rainbow of pen colors and told her to write each fact on a little piece of paper she could cut out in neat shapes and then glue the whole thing on collage style. That way, she wouldn’t start screaming every time she made a mistake in her writing, which happens a lot. It would just be one little paper to replace.

    I don’t always take pleasure in the pretend play she engages in, especially when it involves ME doing something, and her getting mad at me when I vary the script in my own way, being that I don’t have a script in the first place, OR when she gets mad at her doll house when some tiny object in it falls over. (darm playmobil and their cute tiny toys). But yesterday I had to smile when it was hamster training school and then I was called in to evaluate the teacher to her, the director. And she asked such cute evaluative questions with an awareness of the role of a school director. Wish there were more moments like that. Your reminder to enjoy her ideas is a good one.

  4. I go back and forth between having difficulty in focusing to hyper-focusing -so my husband ends up wondering why he is taking breaks from his paying work (he is working at home right now) to do the laundry, while I am typing away at the computer, or knitting or crocheting and not getting paid for it, and NOT doing laundry.

    For our son, we had to have the usual “no TV till homework is done rule.” For both of our daughters, they often did homework in front of the TV, or watched some TV before they started (or start, as in the case of our 11-year-old) homework, but they got and get straight A’s. If their grades began to drop, the TV would go away. In the case of our now 20-year old, that never happened –she did get a very severe case of “senior-itis” which caused her grades to drop, but it wasn’t TV-related. In the case of our 11-year-old, her grades are still up, so we continue to keep watch. Interestingly, our 11-year-old feels as though she HAS to have the TV on when she is doing homework (unless she is reading a book). She also HAS to have music or a VHS movie on in order to go to sleep. She tends to “freak out” a little if it’s too quiet.

    For me, I need to complete silence to be able to concentrate. I can’t have interruptions when I’m trying to write or I might hurt someone…I just can’t concentrate. As I was writing this last part, my husband kept coming in and out of the room, talking to my about things –he could SEE that I was typing, why does he do that? He does that, because he generally does quite well with interruptions. His work involves a fair amount of concentration, but he never seems to mind at all if someone comes in the room to talk to him.

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