Gifted Children and Learning: Gaining Academic Support for Your Gifted Child

Getting the school system to recognize that your child needs unique learning support can be an obstacle.  However, gaining academic support for your gifted child does not have to be a hassle.

History of Gifted Learning Challenges

First, it is important to explore some of the historical facts.  Here are a few that challenge gaining academic support for your gifted child;

  • Traditional schools are equipped to accommodate age-banded academics and social-emotional learning.
  • Gifted children excel in competency-based learning environments, which poses new challenges for social matching in the learning process.
  • Education is still compulsory up to age 16, which yields a greater probability for younger gifted students to lose interest and fail in traditional settings.
  • States may offer gifted instruction, but few teachers are specialized in intellectually gifted teaching.
  • Many of the traditional schools do not have a gifted identification program, causing many gifted children to go unnoticed.
  • Since most gifted children are not identified at an early age, gifted programs are usually neglected.

Most teaching skills are developed around teaching large classes of typical students. This is not a criticism of this approach.   Our society depends on an excellent education for everybody. What this does indicate is that traditional schools just are not oriented towards offering specialized classes for gifted scholars.

Accelerated Classes are Inadequate as Gifted Programming

Many schools offer “accelerated” programs. This indicates the curriculum is tougher so the student engages in a more difficult workload.  However, most parents would attest that this approach is not truly a program for talented scholars. These are classes for students who are incredibly good at quick discovery.  Unfortunately, insights gained do not always highlight the value of the practical application or advanced critical thinking processes.

Truly gifted students often sink in these environments. When a child demonstrates a specific aptitude, the result is not “automatic gifting” in all academic subjects. For example, a scholar might be a brilliant musician, mathematician, chess player, or dancer.   However, in every other activity, they are barely above average in daily routine schoolwork.

The outcome of putting such students into talented programs is

  • (a) they miss having customized quality sessions (benchmark vs. skill development)
  • (b) they do inadequately in accelerated programs (focus on quantity)

These factors result in anxiety and poor self-confidence.  The domino effect results in bad report cards which camouflage the real genius of this child.

Opportunities with Private and Parent-Led Instruction

Have you considered these challenges with how traditional schools deal with gifted scholars?  They point to private, customized instruction that can take your child to the next level in their area of specialization.  This specialized focus helps them achieve in other academic subjects in ways that the child can excel in every undertaking at school.

This is why many parents incorporate some type of ongoing home education, home school, pre-college, talent identification, or private enrichment program.

Parent-directed education can provide a significant focus on a child’s particular needs without distractions. Essentially, this is due to the fact that homeschool is a type of non-public or “private” institution.  Parents do not have the burden of supplying educational opportunities for everybody.   However, they have the choice to determine the best methods available to their child.

The Role of Specialized Training in Gifted Development

Specialized training typically requires the services of specialized instructors. There is one good thing about specialized training in gifted development; the average parent is not trying to teach multiple learning styles or giftings at one time.  Even gifted siblings with different abilities require less focus than a classroom.

Parents are more successful when they incorporate tutors who specialize in an area.  This is a good strategy as opposed to finding one team of trained gifted instructors for general instruction.

Consider this example:  if a child is sensational in playing the violin, incorporate music instructors and professionals who can hold your child accountable to that one skill. This leads to long-term engagement for the scholar and the specialized trainer.

The private school setting can also tailor your child’s curriculum.  Some provide peer and instructor mentorship groups that act as an incubator for gifted students.  Unfortunately, this availability is based on geography and income.  Giftedness is not based on either one of these factors.   The challenge for the majority of gifted children remains.

Gifted instructors provide mentorship opportunities that show scholars their unique path.

The Economy of Gifted Scholar Development: Time and Engagement

These are engaging factors to discover the best setting.  Having an accountability partner or academic coach can help bring out the talent or gift in your talented scholar. It does not always have to take spending more money on “guinea pig programs”.

Gifted scholar development may be more time-consuming for a short period of time.  Investing in excellent education for your scholar indicates genuine potential development.   It is worth whatever it takes to make that happen.



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