Raising and educating a gifted child is a great blessing as much as a challenge. Any given day you can bounce from deeply intense scientific questions about life to a meltdown about sharing with his sibling. Or you will be amazed at the mathematic reach that goes years beyond his age only to, moments later, question how in the world he can’t seem to complete the simplest of tasks. You will find yourself wondering if you’ll ever be able to keep up, bring enough rich experiences into your child’s life as you continue his momentum forward, while still tending to him as a whole child rather than puzzling his educational experience together one piece at a time to view the bigger picture of life. Thus is the conundrum of a home educating parent to that of a gifted child.
When our now eight year old was not even four he amazed us with the ability to create multiplication equations from the light fixtures at Home Depot or Target and we knew something was a bit different with how he processed his world. Even as a licensed educator, he took me by surprise. He was a very early reader — reading well at three years old. However, his reading ability never really struck us as advanced since his older brother had also been an early and avid reader. By the time he was five I had decided to do all the same academics with him as his older brother (31 months apart), a bit selfishly on my part to ease my workload. It was at this time I realized I was in for some hurdles when it came time to attend any out-of-the-home classes or workshops.
Because of his chronological age we were often met with resistance, but just briefly. That is, until his abilities exceeded the preconceived expectations of any given instructor. However, as we move forward I find less and less opportunity locally for our gifted gem. Many times facilities want strict adherence to their age-designated classes. Parents of gifted children, we’ve discovered, feel compelled to keep said giftedness to themselves out of fear of being accused of bragging, being too prideful, or even having their child seen as odd or socially inept, rather than interesting or unique with great substance to share with our world. The needs and concerns truly are the same for those raising a gifted child as those raising one with other different needs such as the Autism Spectrum, OCD, ADD/HD, or Tourette Syndrome (which our older son happens to have). We all require help and guidance at times regardless of the need or how it manifests.
As we move into the upper grades and beyond with our son, we are concerned for how we will best meet his academic abilities. In our research we’ve discovered online courses are the most frequently used avenue for advancing gifted children in their academic course load.
The following are some books we’ve found:
- Creative Home Schooling for Gifted Children: A Resource Guide by Lisa Rivero
- A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children by James T. Webb
As well as some websites:
- Florida Association for the Gifted
- National Association for Gifted Children
- and one we personally created hoping others will find us and share what they’ve learned and how they‘ve maneuvered through their own hurdles and joys of maintaining their Gifted child‘s whole self - Our Gifted Children
By, Michelle L. Ellis, FPEA Ambassador – External Lifestyle Curator/Events Calendar Contributor