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Hothouse Kids: The Dilemma of the Gifted Child
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Hothouse Kids: The Dilemma of the Gifted Child

3.25  ·  Rating Details ·  118 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Critically acclaimed author Alissa Quart breaks the news about an issue that will be of urgent concern to parents and educators as well as adult readers with "gifted" pasts: the dilemma of the gifted child. While studies show that children who are superior learners do benefit from enriched early education, the intensely competitive lives of America's gifted and talented ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published August 17th 2006 by Penguin Press HC, The (first published 2006)
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Skylar Burris
This book, if well written, could have been fascinating; instead, it is only intermittently interesting. The work is disorganized; there is no clear thesis uniting the random anecdotes of gifted children, the occasional academic study, or the incomplete speculations on giftedness. Indeed, I left the book with no clear sense of what should, if anything, be done to better serve the gifted population of children. The author, being a journalist, makes an attempt at balance, but her prejudices are so ...more
Sep 25, 2013 Rachel rated it liked it
"it's clear that child enrichment has filtered down into infancy, with such keystones as baby sign language vogue and the fad for infant edutainment videos like the Baby Einstein series. I call it the Baby Genius Edutainment Complex." (p.3)

"Despite these repeated demonstrations of the benefits of early learning and the location and enrichment of gifted children, however, the outcome of such intervention is not always positive. For instance, there's little long-term evidence to support a lot of t
Feb 20, 2013 Erica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: homeschool-edu
This book was kind of unorganized, covered a lot, but didn't really wrap things into a nice package. Maybe it's not wrapable. Nevertheless, I liked it. It covered all the insane lengths parents go to to encourage early development of talent in their kids.......they have them playing soccer at two, music lessons at one, math tutors at four. Not just academics, but people seem to want their children doing everything younger. I've noticed a shift since I was a kid. In my day, you started organized ...more
Katherine Rowland
Mar 10, 2015 Katherine Rowland rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up-on
I have read quite a bit about giftedness, and was hoping to add this book to the mix; unfortunately, it seemed so narrowly focused (in one way) and so vague (in another) that it was irrelevant to my interests and needs, and thus I did not finish.

Quart is fascinated by the outcomes of excessive parental/educational pushing for children to achieve, and by the adult stories of "formerly gifted" kids. She does indeed make a good case for the uncertain benefits--and highly-likely drawbacks--of inten
Summer B.
Sep 07, 2016 Summer B. rated it liked it
It's an interesting book, but somehow manages to be dry while not particularly academic. I've read a lot of books of this sort, looking at various neurological issues in history, and this one just didn't connect as well as most.

The author also manages to stay fairly neutral on almost all topics. So for parents hoping to get advice on say, what schooling option is optimal, or whether to sign up for that lesson, you'll get a fairly even handed description of kids who flourished and kids who tanke
Feb 12, 2009 Allison rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a great book. I think parents should read it as a cautionary tale, even if you don't think your child is gifted. Children are still being directed into activities that require a lot of dedication even if they have little to no interest in them, they will still do it to please the parents! The author points out what experts on creativity have shown, that people, especially gifted people will usually spend many many hours on activities they love willingly! That should be encouraged by ...more
Aug 19, 2009 Katie rated it it was ok
This rambling book is a loosely arranged series of vignettes of highly gifted children being raised in a culture that promotes their giftedness in unhealthy ways. The author's general question is whether fostering extreme giftedness early in life is helping the child develop their true potential or exploiting them at the expense of future happiness and success. The meandering stories of extremely gifted children are loosely collected into various themes and offer some interesting perspectives ...more
Jun 29, 2008 Emily rated it it was ok
This book presents a great deal of scientific research pertaining to the area of child giftedness and also contains some interesting anecdotes from former "gifted children." After reading the book, however, I find myself no less confused about key issues, such as "What is giftendness?" and "How does the label affect children?" The best part of the book was the chapter de-bunking Baby Einstein and other "Edutainment" videos. It confirms what many people have already guessed - no legitimate study ...more
Nov 08, 2007 Miriam rated it liked it
Shelves: education, sociology
What do we as a society do with gifted kids and how does that affect them as they grow? It's an interesting question and Alissa Quart does her best to examine it. I think it's weak in that it does not come to any strong statement of what should be done. It also would be stronger if it did not toss so wide of a net and limited it's topics a bit more. Quart spends most of the book bringing us into a world where most of us do not live. A world where every child can be "gifted" if taught well and ...more
Amy Haus
Feb 01, 2009 Amy Haus added it
Recommends it for: Gifted children and adults.
Tired of reading about those gifted kids who go on to do great things? Read about the ones who are all screwed up!!

This is NOT an overview of giftedness or an attempt to define giftedness or a list of things to do with gifted kids. There are way too many people complaining about how this book focuses on only the worst cases and is not applicable to their interests in gifted kids. BUT THE POINT IS that these worst cases do happen, and it is worth taking the time to explore the other side of gift
Jun 18, 2010 Susie rated it it was ok
Wasn't what I had expected - I hoped that the book would provide ideas for intervention when public school isn't quite working for your gifted child. Instead I felt like it was more of a criticism of parents who "create" prodigies by pushing them at a young age. Which is fine - just not applicable to my situation. What do you do when they just come that way? There weren't a whole lot of answers in this book - though I presume that if a pushy parent were to pick up this book looking for answers ...more
Jun 14, 2009 Kim rated it it was amazing
I borrowed this book from the library because of unfavorable reviews at Amazon; I was unsure of buying it -The book is very interesting/eye opening, covers a wide array of topics; psychology, sociology, the marketing of giftedness, religion, cognitive science and more - I don't think I have read a book that has so many bibliographic notes and references before - The Author obviously did a lot of reasearch. I'm impressed.
Jun 11, 2010 Amy rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I found her ideas interesting and I enjoyed reading the book (I even read parts to Lance) but I didn't agree with most of her conclusions. I think the problem was that it was coming from the perspective of someone who grew up gifted but does not have children yet. It's a whole other ballgame when you throw kids into the mix. I wonder if her conclusions/ideas will change once she becomes a parent.
Jun 03, 2011 Stephanie rated it it was ok
Not particularly cohesive; there really is no clearly identifiable thesis to this, other than perhaps relaying stories of floundering adults who were once prodigious as children. The author was caught in an awkward position of seeming to want to state opinions, but redacting them in the same sentence, perhaps in an effort to not come on too strong, avoid controversy, assuage the anxiety of feelings of inadequacy of the parents of gifted children...
May 01, 2016 Courtney rated it liked it
I'm conflicted about this one - I think there are 2 completely different things that the author is addressing: so-called "hothouse" kids and actually gifted children. Both interesting topics, but personally I don't see them as one and the same. You can over-program, drill, teach, and attempt to specialize kids all you like, and you may get results, but at least in my experience the truly gifted children are the ones who seek out those experiences on their own.
Jul 30, 2011 Wordwizard rated it it was ok
Actually more like three stars, but I knew or suspected a lot of what the book covers from personal observations and psych classes (parents push kids to achieve young, intelligence tests are often culturally biased, etc.).

Some of the "enrichment" activities for kids under a year old, or pre-natal, were truly bizarre. I found the born-again teen preaching competitions even stranger, though.
Jan 08, 2008 Kyla rated it it was ok
Fairly interesting account of the perils of "gifted children" - my favourite parts involved the dissection of the terms gifted, which is used in the USA and I think is crazy. What are the rest of the kids - chopped liver. But read very much like a pitch perfect fulfillment of a book proposal with "hooks" - a product sold and delivered.
Jul 07, 2007 Nancy rated it really liked it
The take home message of this book is that childhood "giftedness" more often than not doesn't predict achievement in adulthood, but rather leads kids to a false expectation that everything is going to come easily to them. It's more important to let kids find and pursue their own interests than to make sure they have French, violin, and ballet classes when they're 2 years old.
Jan 26, 2014 Sholeen rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up-on
Read only half of this one. She edges up to an argument and then doesn't really complete the idea. Comes back to it later but still gives it shallow treatment. Never really sure what she thinks about any of it. Also not enough evidence, need some meat.
Thorn MotherIssues
Sep 02, 2011 Thorn MotherIssues rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2011
Maybe more two-star. It was a bunch of interesting vignettes. I don't think I really learned anything new, but Lee is interested in reading it and it may mean more to her. I think I expect too much out of general-interest nonfiction. Maybe I need to hit up a university library more.
Jun 09, 2015 Keri rated it it was amazing
Interesting read. Interesting quote on p 48 "Lurking beneath the surface of this obsession with classes is a nearly Hellenic notion of the total child who will become an adult of superior ability and mastery."
Jul 27, 2011 Tori added it
2008- Interesting but it took me a while to get into it. I think we are definitely shortchanging some of our gifted kids by cutting programs."
Aug 18, 2013 Kim rated it liked it
Eh. Mostly examples of ways parents screw up their kids (IQ testing, Baby Einstein videos, Scrabble bees, 2r old soccer). Confirmed what not to do with bright kids.
Dec 05, 2007 Susan rated it really liked it
I gave up trying to finish it and took it back to the library, but hope to pick it up again one of these days.
It was interesting and had lots of information and research behind it.
Aug 22, 2013 Megan rated it liked it
Great topic; so-so delivery. It would be nice if the author had an idea of what to do with truly gifted kids and also those who merely have pushy, well-off parents.
Jul 30, 2007 Angela rated it liked it
Not that I think I have a gifted child. I just want to see what the author has to say about the bogus Edutainment toys for children.
Amanda rated it it was amazing
May 03, 2015
Grace rated it it was ok
Nov 22, 2012
Shari rated it liked it
Aug 15, 2008
Anne rated it really liked it
Jul 27, 2008
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