The PYHI Project

Image Jo Freitag

mage Jo Freitag

Now that Sprite’s Site has been declared a neutral sanctuary zone Sprite has realised that there needs to be a few rules to ensure that the residents and their visitors are all safe and being respectful to each other. She sees that Sprite’s Site is a microcosm of the larger world and that the problems that afflict the world at large could become problems in her world unless wise steps to prevent them are put in place

The Twitter Birds have experienced greeting alien arrivals to their world. They presented Sprite with a slide show about their encounters. There were three possibilities they said –
1. The aliens came with warlike intentions
2. The aliens came with peaceful intentions
3. The aliens came seeking a place of asylum

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

They reassured Sprite that, unlike some places in the real world, it was not very likely that the new arrivals at Sprite’s Site would have warlike intentions. So she should concentrate on how to make them feel welcome. They told her that they had shared feasts and music and art and exchanged gifts with the aliens who came in peace and that they had all been enriched by sharing their cultures.

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

Sprite herself does not have very good social skills. She finds relating to her age peers difficult and never knows quite how to start a conversation.  And when she manages to get a conversation started she cannot always interpret facial expressions and body language to know when she is boring or completely confusing the other person. So she discussed the matter with the Utopian thinker Imaginational Dabrowski and then announced that there would be a meeting to discuss the introduction of the PYHI project.

As they had only heard the word PYHI and not seen it in writing Intellectual Dabrowski made the assumption that the topic of conversation would be the constant number Pi. He set about gathering as much information as he could and learning the value of Pi to as many digits as he possibly could. He wanted to be well informed to provide information at the meeting.

Edward, the Autonomous Learner, who loves to teach himself computer programming languages, assumed that PYHI would be in some way related to PYTHON programming language.

Sensual and Psychomotor Dabrowski immediately jumped to the conclusion that a PYHI project would involve eating a large stack of pies! Tortoise and Beloved Snail thought that PYHI would be the acronym for Pull Your Head In because that was their chosen method of avoiding conflict and seeking safety.

They all brought their opinions to the meeting and Sprite could see merit in all the suggestions.

Sprite agreed with Intellectual and Edward that education must be a basis for building a respectful multicultural society and that seeking and then freely sharing information was important.

She agreed with Sensual and Psychomotor Dabrowski that sharing culture was very important and that eating together was a great way of getting to know each other. She recalled all the fun the International Feasts and visits of the Taste Tester Dogs  had brought. Also she remembered how Evelyn’s Grandma’s donation of cakes and gingerbread men for the cake stall at the Sprite’s Site Voting booth had created goodwill with the Persona Dolls who wished to vote at the elections.

And Sprite agreed with Tortoise and Beloved Snail that the acronym PYHI could remind everyone to Pull Your Head In rather than making a situation any worse by being physically or verbally abusive.

Imaginational Dabrowski’s version of PYHI turned out to be Put Your Heart In which he conceded was simple but at the same time challenging. It was a call to give respect, speak graciously and do to others as you would like them to do to you.

For helpful information and resources in relation to social issues for the gifted see SENG  and Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page: Social/Emotional Aspects of Giftedness

This is a post for Hoagies’ August Blog Hop: Gifted Social Issues
Read more posts by going on the hop at


Beginning the journey: Gifted 101

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

Hoagies’ Gifted Blog Hop for August 2015 has the theme Gifted 101
‘For back to school, let’s share all we’ve learned with those who are just beginning the journey. Whether it’s your favorite resources, advocacy advice, parenting, schooling, homeschooling, acceleration… There are so many things we have to share!’

The stories about The Tweet family of Twitter Birds who live on Sprite’s Site Blog illustrate the beginnings of the gifted journey.

In February 2012 Retweet laid a blue egg and a pink egg and in March 2012 the tweetlets, Tweetil and Tweetelle, hatched.

By late March the tweetlets were demonstrating characteristics often
associated with giftedness in early childhood and their stories described parenting
issues and differences of opinion with Great Aunt Hashtag

Then came a series of tales about asynchronous development as the Tweet family commenced Flight School

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

The Psych-Owl-Ogist was consulted and we learned about characteristics of giftedness and social/emotional aspects

Next came the discussions involved in finding the right flock for the tweetlets
and the decision to continue with Nest Ed and the challenges associated with that choice

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

I hope that sharing these stories about the experiences of the Tweet family will be helpful.

To read more about the topic of Gifted 101 join the Hoagies’ Blog hop at



Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

I often find that after I have given a presentation, even if it was successful and well received at the time, I tend to go over the presentation in my mind and think of all the things I should or should not have said. I agonise over the smallest of mistakes or the possible implications of omissions.

I know that it was not my intention to offend or fail to mention something important or to give a wrong impression. But other people could not be expected to know that and would assume that I had done it purposely (with malice aforethought as Intellectual Dabrowski would say).
And so the perceived magnitude of the errors becomes completely out of proportion, making me feel anxious about possible consequences.

So I was not completely surprised to find that Sprite and Retweet were suffering a bout of anxiety after giving their presentation recently. They had realised that they failed to acknowledge the importance of the influence of the Psych Owl Ogist.
It was not even as if the Psych Owl Ogist had been offended.
He had sent a very warm note of congratulations on the success of their presentation.

But the magnitude of the omission had hit them like a physical blow and the Dabrowski Dogs and the Black Dogs gathered round to analyse the situation.

The Perfectionist Poodle, Intellectual Dabrowski and Wistful Black Dog were horrified by the omission of credit for the Psych Owl Ogist and Guard on Duty Black Dog added that there could have been severe repercussions if the Psych Owl Ogist had felt offended and got his feathers ruffled.

Imaginational Dabrowski was trying to think of a way to remedy the omission and publicise the revision without completely devaluing what had really been an excellent presentation.

Wistful Black Dog was in favour of placing the blame on Sprite’s learning difficulties and telling Sprite to Plead the Pink Slipper.
But Sensual Dabrowski did not feel comfortable with doing that; as Sprite had managed to create and present the PowerPoint with poise and confidence (as was obvious in her ability to wear both of her new blue boots for the occasion).
She was certainly not feeling so capable, confident and self assured now!

Psycho Motor Dabrowski was suggesting they should all go outside and bounce as a distraction but SAD Seasonally Affected Black Dog was saying that the sky was grey and it had been raining, making the path slippery. Sprite said she was not feeling up to negotiating any slippery slopes.

To make the mood of the room bleaker Little Bully Black Dog had brought in the newspaper. The Black Hat Thinking Consultant Team, The Pair O’Noids, were discussing news items about the effects of climate change, broken promises from politicians, injustice to the indigenous peoples, and lack of compassion towards refugees, the elderly, the sick and the disadvantaged.  The Pair O’Noids were hinting at conspiracies and a socially engineered return to a feudal system which benefited the rich at the expense of the poor.

Sprite feels unfairness and suffering of others acutely and would like to be able to change all these things.
But, as a child, she does not even know where to begin as the problems seem to be so many and so profound.
In the past she has studied George Orwell’s Animal Farm. And she has set up her toys and friends to stage marches. She has tried to work out how the voting system operates and how it could be improved.

As Leaping Attack Black Dog was threatening to assault Sprite Psycho Motor Dabrowski sprang into action. “Go off and bounce until you can sit down nicely on your HALT mat and behave!” he growled.
Emotional Dabrowski pressed her head against Sprite encouragingly and suggested that serving snacks to everyone might make things look brighter.
And Sprite also found it encouraging that Imaginational Dabrowski was still busy considering what she could do to repair the minor oversight in the presentation and
what other positive actions she could take to make the world a kinder, happier place.

This post is part of the Hoagies Gifted Blog Hop for April 2015.
Find a complete list of links to all the blog hops at

On the April Blog Hop


We have returned with our bag of good reads, helpful strategies and inspiration.
During the month of April we have visited all the blogs participating in the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Bloggers’ Promoting health and wellness in the gifted/2E child blog hop.

We left comments at each post but some did not appear to have been received.

So here are all the posts we visited and the comments we left (or intended to leave)

Being Smart About Health and Wellness Wenda Sheard, J.D. Ph.D. Thoughts on Life & Learning “I believe that parents should tell their children the truth about health and wellness, warts and all. Let children know that we can no longer pretend that the first world lifestyle is benign. Teach children about society’s health and wellness foibles as well as our own personal foibles. Teach children about moderation, and teach them the dangers of assuming that moderation will work seamlessly or sufficiently to bring us health and wellness.”

Thank you, Wenda! The vastness of the problems surrounding health and wellness and environmental issues can seem overwhelming; but you have shown how teaching our children about it openly and making small changes in habits can lead to improved health.


The Care and Feeding of Your Gifted Child ~ Homeschooling Hatters

Cara, thank you for sharing what is working for you; while we wait for the appearance of that manual that was supposed to accompany our own individual, asynchronous, eccentric, atypical, outlier child. Establishing routines, spending time in exercise outdoors, setting some quiet time and ensuring that mum takes adequate care of herself are all wise measures!

Keeping Balanced: Promoting Health and Wellness in the Gifted/2E Child  Gluten-Free Mum “As I have talked about before, both my kids have LDs. My son has SPD and ideopathic toe walking (plus another unknown disability we’re going through the wringer to get diagnosed). My daughter has anxiety disorder – she gets stressed and then is unable to feel pain – which causes her to be a sensory seeker – she likes throwing herself onto the floor for the bump. I cried the first time she complained about a minor injury. Because it was a big deal – it meant that she was able to feel it, and therapy was working. So today I’m going to talk about how we incorporate strategies into our day to keep everyone on an even keel. Some of these are for the disabilities, some for the OEs. They all help.”

Thank you for sharing some of your strategies for dealing with the sensitivities and OEs – the bean bags, stretches, swinging and spinning, the animal walks and breathing exercises!

Little Ones and Car Seat Fury ~ Through a Stronger Lens

I am glad she is happy with the new seat! That will make life so much happier all round!

Minimizing Stress, Anxiety and Emotional Outbursts ~ A Voracious Mind Minimising stress, anxiety and potential emotional outbursts by carefully choosing how, where and with whom we spend our time is omnipresent.

Knowing who you are and therefore lessening stress, anxiety and potential emotional outbursts by careful choice of activities is such wisdom. Thank you for sharing.

Physical Fitness for Kids Who Like to Sit   Ecletic Homeschool “Several years ago I realized that we had to do something different if I wanted to give my kids the gift of a healthy lifestyle. I had to make it a priority in our life and in our school day.”

What fun ways of including incentives to exercise! I need to read Dr Sears L.E.A.N. kids book!

School Lunches versus Packing a Lunch: How to Keep Both Healthy ~ Mama in the Kitchen 
There is a wealth of study topics offered here which would help the children learn to make informed choices about nutrition and health. Thank you for a great post!

Simple ways to nurture wellness in gifted/2e kids (and grown-ups!) ~ RedWhiteandGrew 

Yes Absentminded Professor meal distraction could be a problem for us too; particularly if circumstances caused us not to be eating together at the same meal time.

Sometimes western medicine has no answers. Holistic medicine and my 2e kid  ~ Laughing at Chaos

Jen, I am just SO delighted to hear this good news!

Steps for dealing with anxiety, feelings/emotions, and your 2e child ~ A 2e Fox Revived Steps for dealing with feelings/emotions…. such as identifying feelings (sad, mad, bad, glad), validating those feelings, and sharing the feelings

Thank you for a great post with lots of helpful suggestions and reference links! You are so right the key is getting them to recognize their feelings and when they’re getting anxious.

Tips for Taking Your Kids to the Dentist ~ Scleratus Classical Academy Strategies for first time visitors and sensitive kids, co-authored by an experienced dental assistant and father

Thank you and Principal Daddy very much for such helpful tips! I wish we could rewind and try those early dentist visits again using some of these suggestions!

Tips from a Coach for Keeping Gifted Children Active ~ Great Peace Academy “An Interview with the Coach of The HomeSchool Gym, a unique program designed specifically for homeschool students. He shares his principles for including, interacting and managing expectations for his students, specifically gifted and special needs children.”

Coach Chris sounds like an excellent inspiring teacher! I love his emphasis on helping each individual student to achieve the best possible results and enjoy the activities.

Your Shame is Their Shame ~ Building WingSpan

Thank you so much for a great post! I love your words “You have to show them how to appreciate the unmeasurables.” and “But you can give them a road map for loving themselves anyway and embracing those parts of themselves that are so very different to others.”

Sprite’s Site missed the blog hop, but she has been visiting the posts! Here’s what she has to say about it: April Blog Hop

And we are home again. We have left messages where we could and will post about our experiences on the hop soon.

Sprite’s Site has been nominated in the Australian Writers’ Centre Best Australian Blogs 2014 Competition

If you would like to vote for Sprite’s Site (and Gifted Resources blog and as many other great Australian blogs as you wish) in the People’s Choice section click on the badge in the sidebar of the blog and follow the link to the Survey monkey poll. Gifted Resources blog is on Page 2 and Sprite’s Site is on Page 4.

Please visit this month’s Blog Hop contributors and leave a comment. Be part of the conversation!


Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 6

In line with his New Year resolution, that in 2014 he will increase his efforts to bust the myths surrounding giftedness and advocate for acceleration and ability grouping opportunities for gifted students, and in preparation for a webinar and Global GT chat on Twitter for the next two weeks, Columbus Cheetah is updating his myth busting presentations.

Columbus Cheetah’s discussion of the myths surrounding giftedness are based in his own brand of cheetah logic and the wonderful analogy of the cheetah to the gifted person given in Stephanie Tolan’s wonderful article ‘Is it a Cheetah?’


This is a myth which particularly concerns Columbus Cheetah.
It is used to argue against accelerating gifted students on the grounds that either
a) it will be detrimental to the flow of the student’s learning or
b) it will have negative social effects on the student

Columbus Cheetah is very eager to advocate for gifted students to be able to learn at a suitable LEVEL and PACE and to have the opportunity to spend time with their TRUE PEERS who may not be the same age as themselves.

Acceleration is an educational intervention that moves students through an educational program at a faster than usual rate or younger than typical age.
Acceleration means matching the level, complexity and pace of the curriculum with the readiness and motivation of the student.


In order for students to be engaged in their learning it is important to pitch the teaching at what Dr Katherine Hoekman would call ‘the eyebrow wrinkle level’ of challenge – possible to attain with effort – but neither impossibly difficult nor far too easy.

Professor Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi’s work, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, notes that people are happiest when they are in a state of flow when they are completely absorbed in the activity at hand and nothing else seems to matter. For the state of flow to occur the challenge of the task and the ability of the performer need to be matched. The task should be neither too easy nor much too difficult.
You can listen to the TED talk at

For gifted students to find that eyebrow crinkle level or state of flow they may need to be given acceleration.

This could take the form of early entry, year or stage level advancement, subject level advancement, dual enrolment, curriculum compacting or telescoping, correspondence courses or extra-curricular programs or mentoring.


Regarding pace Columbus Cheetah says this myth can be busted using similar methods of observation of the cheetah’s running gait, physics and common sense as were used for busting Myth 5.

The cheetah is the world’s fastest land mammal. It can accelerate from zero to 40 mph in three strides and to full speed of 70 mph in three seconds. As the cheetah runs, only one foot at a time touches the ground. There are two points, in its 20 to 25 foot (7-8 metres) stride when no feet touch the ground, as they are fully extended and then totally doubled up. Nearing full speed, the cheetah is running at about 3 strides per second

Slow motion of cheetah running from National Geographic

Note those two points when the cheetah has no feet touching the ground.
Not only do gifted students learn at a faster pace they also often make great leaps in understanding by seeing the implications of the facts or by associating knowledge from several fields


One of the main concerns about acceleration is that the student could
have social problems because of being with a group of older students.

Dr Karen Rogers says “Gifted and talented students should spend the majority of
their school day with others of similar abilities and interests”

And Prof Miraca Gross emphasises the importance of finding a true friend who
can be a sure shelter and share at a deep level and that the likeliness of this
happening is greater if the student has been accelerated


If there is doubt about whether a student is a suitable candidate for acceleration working through the Iowa Acceleration Scales will give a helpful conservative indicator score.

Iowa Acceleration Scale Manual: A Guide for Whole –Grade Acceleration K-8
The Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development
Susan Assouline Ph.D., Nicholas Colangelo Ph.D., Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik Ph.D., Jonathan Lipscomb B.A., Leslie Forstadt B.A
Published by Great Potential Press

You can read more about acceleration at

Hoagies Gifted Education Page

Policy and implementation strategies for the education of gifted and talented students

Socialization 2

The Psych-Owl-Ogist listened intently to Retweet’s concerns about the earworm Tweetil had contracted after the visit of Trending and her tweetlets, Promoted Jnr and Popular.

“It seems to me you have a bigger problem than just an earworm” he said. “You remember when I told you how the higher the IQ was the smaller the percentage of the population it represented;
and that this could make it difficult for Tweetil and Tweetelle to fit in and that it was very likely that they would choose older tweetlets and adult Twitter birds for their friends. The problem they have with socializing with age peers is not related to your decision to continue with NEST Ed!”

“What you need to do is try to find some true peers for the tweetlets. I suggest that you join a parent support group or take some courses at the community centre in the subjects they love. You might also find some like-minds at the library, museum or planetarium.”

“For example” said the Psych-Owl-Ogist “when Owls who are interested in folk music want to meet others like them they go to a hootenanny!”

Often you can find great programs being held during the holidays. Humans can find information about holiday programs suitable for gifted children in the Gifted Resources Extension and Holiday Programs Newsletter.
The Autumn 2013 issue can be read at

Retweet was delighted to find that the Un-Olympics Bower was offering many interesting courses during their holiday program and that many bright eyed tweetlets of all ages had enrolled.




“But what about socialization?” Great Aunt Hashtag had demanded of Retweet “That is the main problem with NEST Ed. Your tweetlets don’t spend any time learning how to get along with tweetlets their own age. No wonder they are so strange!”

“That is not true!” Retweet had replied “They spend time with Twitter birds of all ages.”

But when she thought about it afterwards Retweet had to concede that her tweetlets preferred the company of older Tweetlets and adult Twitter Birds.
She decided to invite her friend Trending whose tweetlets Promoted Jnr and Popular were the same age as Tweetil and Tweetelle to visit.

Retweet had known Trending for a long time but since Trending’s marriage to the entrepreneur Promoted and the arrival of the tweetlets Retweet had lost touch with her.

Retweet found that Trending had not changed very much.
She still kept up a lifestyle of whirlwind social engagements with a very large circle of friends and acquaintances.
She still knew all about popular music and fashion and the lives of celebrities.
Of course she was very proud of her tweetlets
Promoted Jnr was building a powerful social network by attending Fine Feathers as his father had done and Popular was flying with the local flock and gathering quite a flock of followers according to Trending.
Promoted Jnr and Popular had all the latest  gadgets, devices, phone apps, music players and games and prattled on about them non-stop.

Promoted Jnr played one popular nesty rhyme over and over with the volume on the maximum setting. Tweetil listened to it while he bounced on the trampoline but Promoted Jnr did not want to take a turn at bouncing.
Popular did not want to pat Tweetelle’s caterpillar or paint on the easel. Popular was very engrossed in preening but it was a very different style of preening from the Preening 101 course which  Tweetelle had studied and she was not really keen to discuss the details with Tweetelle.

Retweet breathed a sigh of relief when Trending and her tweetlets went home.
Unfortunately the noisy nesty rhyme had lodged itself in Tweetil’s brain and he could not stop singing it.
“You have caught an earworm” Retweet said and contacted the Psych-Owl-Ogist for advice.

“Sometimes I think socializing with age peers is over-rated!” said Retweet.