Educating the Gifted and Talented

“People should be free to find or make for themselves the kinds of educational experience they want their children to have.” -John Holt-

Tuesday, January 10, 2006



Looking back it would have been a good idea if both our intellectually gifted kids had been accelerated. Our daughter was in the "GATE" program (why all these acronyms?) in elementary school and her third grade teacher suggested she skip fourth grade. Fearing she might then be far behind and struggling we felt uncomfortable with the idea; parents too fall into the trap of relishing their children's perfect grades! Furthermore there was no explanation by school about the implication of intellectual giftedness and I did not become knowledgeable about it until our daughter was 12! That was way too late and she has paid the price for it with depression and dropping out of school in 10th grade.
Our son's intellectual giftedness showed in kindergarten, but again we were not told about the implication. He should have/could have gone into first grade but since he enjoyed being in kindergarten we never really considered it an option.
Fast forward to him now at 18 in his last semester of high school. Before Christmas he seriously considered quitting school despite a stellar GPA, and doing the GED exam instead. School for him too has been too easy and uninteresting. Both my children say they found school to be an enormous waste of their time!
Even so, I am hopeful that without the acceleration they will still do fine in their lives. My daughter has regained her love for learning and is now a college junior majoring in philosophy with a minor in environmental studies. The most important thing gifted children need is to get unwavering support from their parents and a true understanding (and especially the empathy) of what life is like for them as gifted individuals.