Out-of-School Suggestions for Parents
Provide advanced learning opportunities in your child’s talent or interest areas, regardless of age. Rather than rigidly filling your child’s schedule, focus on one or two activities at a time. Once an activity or class has finished, you and your child can decide on the next activity together.
Provide opportunities for socialization with others of like ability or interests. Outside-of-school enrichment classes, clubs, summer school programs for gifted students, Talent Search classes for middle school and high school students on college campuses and other programs on college campuses are great opportunities to interact with other bright children.
Provide opportunities for socialization with a mix of adults and children of varying ages and abilities. It is important for children to receive the message that they are part of the human community. Participation in scouts or similar character building organizations, fund-raising projects, church-related activities and other community improving projects give children the chance to interact with others in their community.
Find ways for your child to understand and discover his unique identity. This involves helping your child to develop his/her talents and interests through private competitions, special lessons, mentors/tutors, self-study or on-line instruction. But this also involves his personal development. Gifted children must be helped by an adult as they confront the moral and ethical dilemmas of life. Many gifted children are concerned with human issues, moral causes, and problems such as terrorism, injustice and pollution. They need the chance to think about these issues before they confront them in life. Books can be a wonderful way to explore these complex ideas and situations- readings parents and children can do together.
Provide your child with some of the classics in literature, art, music and theatre.
Provide experiences that will build fine-motor skills, dexterity and spatial visualization. The new brain research suggests that it is important to develop all parts of the brain to create new neural pathways. Instruction in a musical instrument is great. It is also important to develop your child’s keyboarding skills so they can get their thoughts down on paper as quickly as they come to mind. This will help written communication to be a joy instead of a burden. Activities like orienteering help build spatial skills.
Provide experiences that require memorization and improve the ability to remember. This skill helps guarantee success in higher-level study. There are lots of things to learn; vocabulary words, science, history and social science facts, and poetry and prose to recite from memory. Teaching your child a number of different ways to remember information is very helpful.
Help your child learn to communicate precisely and expressively. Communication requires both the ability to express and receive. Children need to opportunity to understand what they hear, interpret it accurately and then express their own ideas and beliefs both orally and in writing. Listening to taped books, having “book club” meetings and regular family discussions of current events and/or social moral issues will help develop these abilities.
Teach your child a variety of problem-solving strategies. This will help children deal with situations in both real world and academic settings. Gifted children are often better problem finders than they are problem solvers.
Help your child feel comfortable in the world. Expose your child to as much of the world as possible in person, as a family. Travel can also be done through books and videos. Your child needs to know how the world works and how it varies from location to location.
From Re-Forming Gifted Education How Parents and Teachers Can Match the Program to the Child by Karen B. Rogers, PH.D. Great Potential Press, 2002.