One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is to be an engaged partner in their lives. This involvement needs to extend to their school work. For many parents, this is a given; but not all.
There are parents who once their child is identified as gifted think they don’t need to do anything more. When I first started to organize parents in my local school district, I was appalled when a father expressed those exact sentiments to me. Fortunately, 30 other parents did not share his feelings and we eventually became a very strong and influential parent group.
So how does a parent become a partner? Some of the most precious memories I have of my daughter when she was in elementary school are of the nights we spent reading together. Even though she was an excellent reader, far above grade-level; I still read to her. She chose the books and I did the reading. She could have easily read them herself, but it was far more enjoyable reading together.
Gifted children are extremely sensitive to how adults feel about them. They appreciate interaction with the adults in their lives. Parents and grandparents can make a real difference in developing a love for learning.
The opportunities are endless when you take the time to look for them. Explore options available at your child’s school first. Next, consider your child’s personal interests and then research possibilities with your child which will nurture these interests.
Like many children, my daughter loved dinosaurs. As a very young child, we made weekly visits to the library to find books on dinosaurs. As she grew older, we spent many weekends at a nearby natural history museum. Later, we incorporated side-trips on family vacations to include visits to known dinosaur sites. When a world-renown archaeologist came to our museum, we attended his lecture together. We eventually even met one of her most favorite archaeologists at a museum reception.
Did she grow up to be an archaeologist? No. Does it matter? Absolutely not. What did matter was that my daughter knew I cared about her and encouraged her to follow her interests.
Learning for gifted kids is so much more than scoring ‘advanced’ on standardized tests, winning awards or finishing at the top of the class. These things may well happen, but their memories will be sweeter if they include the special times bonding with you over a favorite book or walking over the foot prints of a long gone dinosaur in a now exposed river bed. Take time to become a partner in learning with your child.