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Raising a Gifted Child: The Trials and Triumphs
posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - April 24th, 2013
I am a very proud parent of wonderful, highly gifted 8 year old girl. I am writing to tell you about the whirlwind adventure that is raising and nurturing a gifted child.
I guess I should start with a little background of how I arrived at writing this entry. My husband, daughter, and I moved from the South to New York City. Four and half years later (much to my amazement), we are still living in the Big Apple, and we have adjusted to fast paced – sometimes crazed – city living.
Shortly after we moved here, our daughter was selected for a highly coveted preschool program in our neighborhood public school (we won the lottery, literally – our daughter was among a few children selected from hundreds of applicants). In 2008, during the middle of her preschool year, we received a letter letting us know that our daughter would be taking a test to qualify in the gifted and talented programs in the public schools in New York City! It was at this point that my husband and I made a pact: we would always make parenting personal, and we would be involved our daughter’s education in very way we possibly could.
We were about to embark on a stressful testing adventure with our daughter. After she took the test, we anxiously waited for her scores to come in. Once we found out that she made the cut, there was a whirlwind of gifted school tours. After we chose the program we wanted, we could finally breathe a little easier. Despite the enormous stress and anxiety brought about by this process, placing our daughter in a gifted program was the best decision we ever made!
When she started the gifted program in Kindergarten, my question was: OK, now that I have a child in the gifted program, what is my role as Mom? Do I rest on my laurels, and let the teacher do all of the teaching? How do I consistently make my daughter’s learning outside the classroom my biggest priority?
Fast forward to 2013. We now have a precocious third grader who loves school, has an insatiable curiosity, and an incredible drive to learn. She is in a wonderful school that fosters critical thinking skills and offers many programs to supplement the supplement the “Rs” -reading, writing and arithmetic. I realized early on that my daughter learns best when she surrounds herself with different experiences that reinforce the academics in a challenging, engaging, creative way! This was certainly a learning process. I tend to be a bit more traditional in my educational methods, and I quickly realized early on that workbooks and constant trips to different libraries were not the answer for her.
Raising a gifted child is always an adventure. While our daughter was in pre-k my husband and I read a list of gifted learner traits, and we were not surprised that several of them described our daughter to a T. Among some of the traits that we recognized right away were her creativity, imaginative thinking, and a memory that would stop us in our tracks. She is highly sensitive, self-critical at times and a bit of a perfectionist. In the last year and a half she has developed a sense of justice and has become the class debater. On occasion she tries to use those sharpened skills to convince my husband and me of why it so important to stay up that extra half hour, or watch that inappropriate YouTube video. She is a keen observer of her environment, and asks pointed questions (I have an answer for her most of the time).
The main purpose on my blog is to write about my experience about raising a child who in many ways is extraordinary, but who, at the end of the day, is still an eight year old kid. Hopefully, our hits and, yes, some misses, on nurturing a gifted child to become her own thinker will be helpful for you!