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-

Monday, September 03, 2007

Learning about giftedness when a child is young "Is A Good Thing!"

It is great when parents seek info regarding giftedness before their child has even entered school! I did not learn about the complex issues tied to high intelligence until my daughter was in middle school. She had breezed through elementary school with A's and I never stopped to wonder if she had been challenged.

Later, due to underachievement and depression (it's hard to say which came first) she lost academic self-confidence and self-esteem. She dropped out of high school in 10th grade. At 20 she regained interest in learning and now, at 23, she will graduate Summa Cum Laude with a degree in philosophy. Click here for more about her journey.

Even though each Greeley-Evans school has a half time GT teacher, you are your child's most important advocate!

These books I found especially helpful for learning about giftedness. Some are available at the Weld County libraries; others can be purchased from
Some parents worry and believe they may not be able to homeschool their gifted child because they are not gifted themselves. Remember though, as parents you are likely the only people who can and will truly empathize with your child when he or she experiences the shadowside of giftedness, such as intense frustration, unhappiness due to loneliness; the feeling that no one "out there" really understands how sensitive and caring he or she is and that their experiences can therefore be intense and difficult to process.

You can give public schooling a try as long as you regularly touch base with your child's teacher to make sure your son or daughter receives appropriate challenge. If your child's needs are not met, homeschooling may be an option.

Tour several schools to get a feel for the staff and the building environment. Be sure to meet with the GT teacher too. We visited several schools before deciding in what "school boundary" to purchase a home.

In retrospect I wish I would have pulled my daughter out of Junior High when she started to fail and got deeply discouraged about school. I too thought I wasn't capable of homeschooling. I now know she would have been able to educate herself more efficiently by pursuing areas of interest at a time she was ready to tackle them. You can always call in the help of a tutor for the tougher subjects like math or sign your child up for on-line classes.

The most important thing is to be supportive of your children and to accept them for who they are and to respect what they may want to do in life. Our 20-year-old son is gifted too. He did graduate from high school, but wanted to work before starting higher education. He's had several different jobs already, mostly blue collar ones. Right now he's working for a company that makes dumpsters. He likes the job because it offers him much variety including welding, and at the end of the day he can see exactly what his labor has produced. It is not clear where his life's journey will lead, but as parents we simply want him to be content and do what he enjoys.


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