Hothousing is a form of education for children, involving intense study of a topic in order to stimulate the child's mind. The goal is to take normal or bright children and boost them to a level of intellectual functioning above the norm. Advocates of the practice claim that it is essential for the brightest to flourish intellectually, while critics claim that it does more harm than good and can lead a child to abandon the area studied under such a scheme later in life.
It was Irving Sigel who first introduced the term "hothousing" in 1987 after the greenhouse farming method. It was an analogy with the way vegetables are forced to ripen in this condition. Sigel, who worked for the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, used it to refer to a child who is drilled in academic fields such as reading and math long before other children begin learning them in school. The child is likened to a "hurried student" induced to acquire knowledge with emphasis on how it fits into a broader scheme of knowledge instead of acquiring bits of information. Some scholars have criticized hothousing, labeling it as early maturity of learning.
Famous people who underwent hothousing
- Charles S. Peirce
- Gordon Brown
- John Stuart Mill
- Aubrey de Grey
- Val McDermid
- Ruth Lawrence
- Jarvis, Matt; Chandler, Emma (2001). Angles on Child Psychology. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes. p. 183. ISBN 0748759751.
- Diamond, Marian; Hopson, Janet (1999-01-01). Magic Trees of the Mind: How to Nuture your Child's Intelligence, Creativity, and Healthy Emotions from Birth Through Adolescence. Penguin. ISBN 9781101127438.
- Colwell, Richard; Richardson, Carol (2002). The New Handbook of Research on Music Teaching and Learning: A Project of the Music Educators National Conference. New York: Oxford University Press, USA. p. 211. ISBN 9780195138849.
- Bruce, H. Addington (2013-04-16). The Education Of Karl Witte - Or, The Training Of The Child. Read Books Ltd. ISBN 9781447490036.
- Ben Macintyre (19 May 2007). "'Cruel' experiment that left its mark on a very precocious boy". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
- Tom Templeton (16 September 2007). "Holding back the years". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
- of Israel staff, Times (July 30, 2016). "UK math prodigy who graduated Oxford at 13 is now Orthodox mom of 4 in J'lem". The Times of Israel. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
- Hothousing Young Children: Implications for Early Childhood Policy and Practice by Tynette W. Hills, published by ERIC Educational Reports - article urging parents to be cautious about hothousing
- Child prodigies 'damaged for life by hothousing' - article by Judith Judd from Independent (London)