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The holidays are nearly upon us, and we are again faced with the same question as every other parent... what to get? But for the parents of the gifted child, the answers are not always found in the TV ads or mailbox catalogs. And new ideas are always welcome. Here's a few of the favorites loved by gifted children of many ages, from around the world, along with the Internet resources to find them. Happy hunting...
For books, check out the great list of Hot Topics! books on Hoagies' Kids and Teens Page. Here you'll find books on genetics for the elementary school aged child, or the young adult; books on history for the preschooler through the young adult; science fiction for everyone, and tons of other books in math, science, and more, that really grab our gifted children.
For games, puzzles, and more fun and educational products, don't miss Products. Here you'll find SET and Quiddler, family card games for kids of all ages; Zome System, the great construction system for preschoolers through college (you can do architectural experiments and construct DNA strands!); and puzzles by Binary Arts and GamePuzzles that are sure to appeal everyone in your family.
For videos and DVDs featuring gifted kids in a positive light, check out Movies. From films for the little ones, to films for the young adults and their parents (hey, that's us!), there is something for every viewer here.
There are magazines for our gifted children Magazines, for all ages and interests, from Kids Discover to Muse, from Ladybug to Boomerang, the audio magazine!
The newest addition, sure to be a hit with gifted kids and parents and teachers alike, Nerd Shirts. Find a shirt on Hubble's Space, or Women in Science, or Math Rules, or The Periodic Table and Chairs, Harry Potter (of course!), or... lots more great t- and sweat shirts that amaze and amuse.
And don't forget teachers and parents: Gifted Books lists all the top titles in pretty much every facet of raising and educating these terrific gifted children... The most popular titles in gifted education are Guiding the Gifted Child: A Practical Source for Parents and Teachers by James T. Webb, Elizabeth A. Meckstroth and Stephanie S. Tolan, Teaching Gifted Kids in Today's Classroom: Strategies and Techniques Every Teacher Can Use by Susan Winebrenner, and Bringing Out the Best : A Resource Guide for Parents of Young Gifted Children by Jacquelyn Saunders. For younger children, don't miss Teaching Young Gifted Children in the Regular Classroom: Identifying, Nurturing, and Challenging Ages 4-9 by Joan Smutny, Sally Walker, Elizabeth Meckstroth. And for all our teachers, parents and kids, don't miss Some of My Best Friends Are Books: Guiding Gifted Readers from Preschool to High School by Judith Wynn Halsted.
And for the kids, the most popular books are The Gifted Kids Survival Guide (For Ages 10 and Under) by Judy Galbraith, and The Gifted Kids Survival Guide: A Teen Handbook by Judy Galbraith and Jim Delisle. Parents aren't left out: there's The Survival Guide for Parents of Gifted Kids: How to Understand, Live With, and Stick Up for Your Gifted Child by Sally Yahnke Walker.
Last but not least, two more great books, Cool Colleges: For the Hyper-Intelligent, Self-Directed, Late Blooming, and Just Plain Different by Donald Asher, and Helping Gifted Children Soar: A Practical Guide for Parents and Teachers by Carol Ann Strip.
Social and Emotional Needs of the Gifted Child
Gifted children are different. There's no getting around that. They learn more quickly, and in more depth than other children. They feel emotions more keenly, and are often upset more easily by world events that other children their age may be blissfully unaware of. But many people focus solely on their academic differences and needs, often to the exclusion of their social and emotional differences and needs. And just as often, other people working with these same children focus solely on their social and emotional needs in lieu of their academic needs, at least their perceived social and emotional needs, and the possible solutions to them.
But it isn't that easy.
Gifted children are children, and have similar social and emotional needs to those of other children. They need friends, peers with whom they can talk, play, interact at their own level. That's the first problem: that level is asynchronous. The gifted child may be 9 academically, 6 physically, 5 emotionally, and 7 and a half socially. Where is this child going to find a friend, a peer, who can understand his 5-year-old outbursts while playing 9-year-old strategy games and discussing 7-and-a-half-year-old social relationships?? Certainly not in the first grade class full of 6-year-old children, playing 6-year-old games in 6-year-old relationships!!
There are many resources for social and emotional support and guidance for parents and educators of gifted children. SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) www.SENGifted.org is an organization dedicated solely to this aspect of giftedness. SENG offers a newsletter full of information and suggestions, and a bi-annual conference for educators, psychologists, physicians, other professionals, and families, with their gifted children, to discuss the social and emotional needs of the gifted child.
There are also print resources for social and emotional support and guidance for gifted children. For teachers and educators there is Guiding the Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Youth: A Practical Guide for Educators and Counselors by James R. Delisle. Another good resource, a quick read (though a little less detailed information) is Managing the Social and Emotional Needs of the Gifted: A Teacher's Survival Guide by Connie Schmitz and Judy Galbraith, with over 30 concrete, easy-to-use strategies for teachers to help gifted students develop socially and emotionally as well as intellectually. And Once Upon a Mind: Stories and Scholars of Gifted Child Education by James Delisle, introduces the research and practice of gifted child education, as well as the individuals who represent current and historical thinking in the discipline, with a strong emphasis on the social and emotional aspects of giftedness.
Print resources for parents include Guiding the Gifted Child: A Practical Source for Parents and Teachers by James T. Webb, Elizabeth A. Meckstroth, Stephanie S. Tolan, considered the classic book of this field, for parents, but also for educators and professionals. The Survival Guide for Parents of Gifted Kids: How to Understand, Live With, and Stick Up for Your Gifted Child by Sally Yahnke Walker is an excellent quick guide for parents, covering social and emotional issues along with the rest. And Helping Gifted Children Soar: A Practical Guide for Parents and Teachers by Carol Ann Strip is a user friendly guidebook that educates parents and teachers about important gifted issues, an ideal resource for the beginner to seasoned veteran in educating gifted children.
Web resources are probably the easiest to access (given that you are reading this page on the web right now!). Don't miss Nurturing Social-Emotional Development of Gifted Students (ERIC Digest #527) by James T. Webb, Giftedness: The view from within by Martha J. Morelock, Gifted Children: Youth Mental Health Update by Julia B. Osborn, and Myths of Giftedness by Association of Educators of Gifted, Talented and Creative Children in British Columbia.
The social and emotional health of the gifted child is just as important as
his the academic well-being. But that does not necessarily mean keeping
her with her age peers, denying her the opportunity to have true peers at her
own social, emotional, and academic levels, or forcing her to 'act' like someone
she isn't. Nor does it mean ignoring his social and emotional needs in lieu of
his academic needs, or ignoring her academic needs in lieu in her social and
emotional needs. Take the time to care for all the needs of the gifted
C R A S H !
School has been in session for a month or more, and suddenly... crash. Perhaps this is a new experience for your child, and she has suddenly realized that her wonderful dream of learning in school is a shattered nightmare of repeat, repeat, and repeat. Perhaps this is an annual event, as your normally enthusiastic son slowly realizes that this year will be no different from the last, and that the only thing different is him. No matter how you reach this point, the result is the same: a horrible clash between the child's expectations of school, and the school's presentation of education to the child.
It's really not the school's fault, or the teacher's fault. The gifted child makes up only about 2.5 percent of their student body, perhaps more in a high technology suburb, and perhaps less in a low-income inner city, or a rural regional school. But gifted children are few and far between, no matter where they go to school. And perhaps it's even worse: the highly gifted child may occur only once in a thousand kids, the exceptionally, once in 20,000 and the profoundly gifted... one in a million! These numbers are not exact - the study of intelligence is not an exact science, but they are the current estimates derived from the bell curve of normal population.
And it's not your fault. You didn't know, when you had this wonderful son or daughter, that they would not, could not, fit in the normal educational process. You did not know the difference between normal and gifted, between gifted and exceptionally gifted, between profoundly gifted and ... other profoundly gifted! You did not know that your child and the school system would create a horrible crash! There is really nowhere to place blame.
What there is, is changes to be made, improvements to benefit the child, and accommodations to create a viable learning environment for every child. But since you are the one with the unusual child, you are the one to ask for, persuade, and in some situations fight for an appropriate learning environment for your child.
But how to know what is needed, what to ask for?
This is the "million dollar question."
What is right for one child, may not be right for another. For the moderately gifted child, a pull-out program of enrichment based on the classroom materials or completely outside the curriculum materials may be sufficient (or it may not!). For the highly, exceptionally, and profoundly gifted child, this pull-out may look more and more like a useless placebo. "Giving these children simple bits of information is like feeding an elephant one blade of grass at a time - he will starve before he even realizes that anyone is trying to feed him."
What you need next, after the crash, or before it!, is information. An excellent summary of the situation is Stephanie Tolan's Helping Your Highly Gifted Child. Some great books, both for your child and your self are the "Survival Guide" series from Free Spirit Press:
The Gifted Kids Survival Guide (For Ages 10 and Under) by Judy Galbraith
The Gifted Kids Survival Guide: A Teen Handbook by Judy Galbraith and Jim Delisle
The award winning Guiding the Gifted Child: A Practical Source for Parents and Teachers by James T. Webb, Elizabeth A. Meckstroth, and Stephanie S. Tolan is considered the classic text of the field, and an excellent resource for both the parents and teachers, for many different levels of "Crash!" And if some form of acceleration is called for (there are over 13 different forms of Academic Acceleration!), Academic Acceleration, Knowing Your Options published by Johns Hopkins IAAY publications (now out of print, use interlibrary loan to locate), offers a short, inexpensive summary of the options, the academic results, and the social and emotional impact (or not!) of various forms of academic acceleration.
Probably most important to both parents and educators in this situation, is to know that you are not alone. The simplest way to get support from other parents, or other educators, in this Internet age is... Internet support mailing lists. There are many listed on Hoagies' Gifted Support, from GT-Families for the families of these terrific children, to TAGPDQ for families of those kids who are beyond garden-variety gifted, to TAG-L and the William and Mary lists for educators, administrators and teachers grappling with the same issues from inside the schools.
And, last but not least, know that others have found successful routes around
and/or through this educational crash that you are encountering. Success
Stories is a page full of other parents experiences, with solutions ranging
from grade acceleration to Montessori schooling to home schooling (even with
working parents) to... Read these stories, and realize that you, too, can make
education work for your child. And good luck!
Back to School...
August and September bring the Back to School season in the Northern hemisphere, with its retail sales, school supply shopping lists, and angst about the new year. For families of gifted children, the angst is sometimes the greatest feature, whether the child will be returning to the same school situation, hopefully a successful one, or venturing into a new world. Here are a few favorite resources to help make this season a little easier.
And coming in 2000-2001 from Gifted Psychology Press, a book for Gifted Boys!
Mentorship : The Essential Guide for Schools and Business by Jill M. Reilly
This month has been a difficult time for a family who are friends of mine,
and for all the people that know the family, both in real life and through the
technology of the Internet. The family lost their 8 year old son, in a few brief
days, to an illness they never knew he had. Dr. Linda Silverman wrote this
beautiful tribute to remember this wonderful child, and honor his special
family. Please take the time to read it, and for Jonathan, give your children a
little extra Unconditional Love today, and tomorrow...
New Books on Gifted
Published this month: Uniquely Gifted: Identifying and Meeting the Needs of Twice Exceptional Students by Kiesa Kay and others. A compendium of 40 articles by parents, teachers, researchers, administrators, and students consider the best educational possibilities for gifted students who also have a disability.
Starring quotes from many of our own kids: You Know Your Child is Gifted When...: A Beginner's Guide to Life on the Bright Side by Judy Galbraith, published by Free Spirit Press. A little book, full of great stories of gifted kids, illustrating their gifts from verbal to humor, and lots of great quotes from the experts, all to get you started on your adventure with your gifted child. The cartoon illustrations by Ken Vinton really add to the book!
Kidstories: Biographies of 20 Young People You'd Like to Know by Jim Delisle. These true stories profile real kids who are doing something special to improve themselves, their schools, their communities, or their world. A great book for our kids, to show them how kids can make a difference!
Guiding the Gifted Child: A Practical Source for Parents and Teachers by James T. Webb, Elizabeth A. Meckstroth, Stephanie S. Tolan. Considered the classic text of this field, this book is now in its 18th printing, and has sold over 100,000 copies! Called the "Dr. Spock" for parents of gifted children, it deals with the issues of motivation, discipline, peer relations, sibling rivalry, stress management and depression. The Wall Street Journal called it "An excellent book," and it was awarded the National Media Award from the American Psychological Association in 1983. And this month, it will be featured in every Barnes and Noble store across the country. Every home of gifted children should have a copy of this book.
And don't miss the Gifted Psychology
Press summer 50% off sale (on selected items), including Gifted Children and
the Law: Mediation, Due Process, Mentorship: The Essential Guide for Schools and
Business, Talent Development II (1993 Wallace Symposium), and more...
Parent Advocacy (click here for lots more...)
Parent Advocacy for our Gifted Children. It sounds like a tall order, and there's so much to be done, but... it can start with a tiny step. My own advocacy started with a web page class I was writing anyway, so I wrote the sample page as a resource for myself... and that's the very short history of Hoagies' Gifted Education Page. And lots of other parents are out there, doing big and little things to help advocate for their own children, that can and will also help you advocate for your gifted children, or even your grandchildren.
Many parents are sharing their advocacy with other parents through their
It isn't just parents who are advocating for gifted children: Perfectionism and the Highly Gifted by Shaun Hately.
Parents aren't just writing about it... A Civil Rights Action for Gifted Children by Wenda Sheard, and one of my personal favorites, The Tea and Terrorist Society - Parent Advocacy at the District Level by Monique Lloyd.
Even the U.S. government is publishing articles about Gifted Advocacy: Prisoners Of Time Report of the National Education Commission on Time and Learning, April 1994.
Surviving the Gifted Child
Surviving life with a gifted child (or as a gifted child!) can seem quite difficult at times, and at first, it may seem like there are no resources available. Your relatives may not be supportive, your neighbors may not understand, and your friends... you'd like to keep as friends, so generally, you quickly learn not discuss your gifted child and the situations you encounter. There are resources, however, places to start, not only for you, but for your children, too, who are probably feeling just as lost and out of place as you are!
For parents, The Survival Guide for Parents of Gifted Kids: How to Understand, Live With, and Stick Up for Your Gifted Child by Sally Yahnke Walker, contains all sorts of good advice for getting started advocating (and just plain living with) your gifted children. From "Early Readers" to "How Not to Raise a Nerd," this book covers all the bases. It's a great place to start, and refer back to often, when you discover that there's really nothing wrong with your child, it's just that she's Gifted!
For your children, there are two choices (and in my humble opinion, a hole, but I'll get to that later). For the younger gifted child, from the time they discover that they are different to about age 10, there is The Gifted Kids Survival Guide (For Ages 10 and Under) by Judy Galbraith. This guide strikes a chord with nearly every gifted child. "Hey, that's me!" There are the 8 Great Gripes of Gifted Kids, and of course, the 8 Great Things About Being GT. (And there are definitions, so that the terms being thrown around their heads, like GT, TAG, Stanford-Binet, WISC, Magnet school, and lots more.
For older children, there is The Gifted Kids Survival Guide: A Teen Handbook by Judy Galbraith and Jim Delisle. This volume picks up at teenhood, and goes right through starting college (or alternatives to college), covering the basics: On being "gifted," IQ, Tests and Testing, and Relationships, plus more. Then it covers some of the more sticky topics of being a teen and gifted: Top Ten Teenage Lies, Drugs Sex and Death, and finally Death with Honors: Suicide Among Gifted Adolescents. Though not many people want to think or talk about this subject, there is a great deal to be said, and intervention to be offered, and this book leads the way.
The hole, you ask? What about the gifted child from age 10 to 13? Perhaps I should write a book...
And my daughter's favorite: Gifted Kids Speak Out: Hundreds of Kids Ages 6-13 Talk About School, Friends, Their Families, and the Future by James R. Delisle. In their own words... Great reading for your gifted child!
A few more book resources to complete the picture:
Guiding the Gifted Child: A Practical Source for Parents and Teachers by James T. Webb, Elizabeth A. Meckstroth, Stephanie S. Tolan, considered the classic text of this field.
Managing the Social and Emotional Needs of the Gifted: A Teacher's Survival Guide by Connie Schmitz and Judy Galbraith, includes over 30 concrete, easy-to-use strategies for parents and teachers to help gifted students develop socially and emotionally as well as intellectually.
For lots more books on all aspects of Gifted Children, visit Hoagies'
Homeschooling the Gifted Child (click here for lots more...)
"We arrived early and Ellen, trying to amuse the already-squirming
toddler, decided to lead her by the hand up to the makeshift stage to look at
the instruments, none of which Ali had ever encountered live before. To Ellen's
astonishment, Ali knew their names - flute, cello, trumpet, clarinet... We don't
know from where - we didn't teach her."
In what ways is schooling a gifted child different from schooling a
non-gifted one? Homeschooling itself is not much different. You would always
want your child to learn at his or her own best rate, so you would adjust the
course work to his or her needs. The same is true for a gifted child. The only
difference is the size of the adjustments, the type of adjustments, and the rate
at which he proceeds through the curriculum. These are the things that make a
truly individualized curriculum.
One thing no one told me about before we took our four highly gifted children
out of school was that they would re-bond as a family and revert to the personal
characteristics they each showed before entering school. The strong curiosity,
the patience with siblings, and happy-go-lucky attitudes of the young all came
back. If I had known what would transpire none of them would ever have been in
any other school. Nobody told me, so I'm telling you: expect changes for hte
good when you take them out of school. - Kathleen
Study on homeschoolers' socialization and self-esteem was initiated less than a decade ago. Using self-concept as measured on the Piers-Harris Self-Concept Scale, he (Taylor) found that the self-concept of homeschooled children was significantly higher than that of the norms on the global scale. The median for the home schooled sample was the 91st percentile.
Coming out of a crisis situation? Many gifted children are leaving the regular schools not because of a philosophical predilection for homeschooling but because of a crisis situation at school. Often, the child may have behavioral or psychological problems associated with schooling difficulties. So, relax for a time. Let your child detox from regular school for at least three months (summer vacation does not count). Perhaps the whole family needs some time off.
Have the confidence to be innovative. You can successfully teach your
child at home!
Identification (click here for lots more...)
What's the difference between a bright child, and a gifted child? So many times, parents and educators get caught up in this differentiation, and the only loser is the child. Here are some checklists for identifying the gifted child:
The characteristics of gifted children can sometimes be seen as 'problems', particularly in the school setting. Sometimes these 'problems' make the child appear not to be gifted at all!
Feeding an Elephant
Highly gifted children learn not only faster than others, but also
differently. Standard teaching methods take complex subjects and break them into
small, simple bits presented one at a time. Highly gifted minds can consume
large amounts of information in a single gulp, and they thrive on complexity.
Giving these children simple bits of information is like feeding an elephant one
blade of grass at a time - he will starve before he even realizes that anyone is
trying to feed him. [Excerpt from "Helping
Your Highly Gifted Child" by Stephanie S. Tolan, ERIC EC Digest #E477,
We've gotten so many great contributions to this topic. Click on the title to read the whole amusing, amazing list. Happy New Year!
Distinguishing Myths From Realities: NRC/GT Research
How well do you know the research about our gifted children? Are each of these statements a Myth, or a Reality?
Which of these are myths, and which are based on research? To find the answers, along with a more comprehensive list of myths and realities, plus the list of research citations for each statement, read Distinguishing Myths From Realities: NRC/GT Research by Marcia Gentry and Karen Kettle. You may be surprised, and you should be certain you are familiar with research, and where to find it, for the next time one of these myths is thrown at you...
The first four 'facts' listed above are myths, the second four are realities, and are based on research.
Kids' and Teens' Resources on Hoagies' Gifted Page...
Hoagies' Gifted Education Page is full of resources for the parents and educators of gifted children. But it also holds great collection of resources for our gifted children, of all ages! Starting with for Kids and Teens, you'll find great resources, both on and off the Internet, enjoyable for gifted kids.
-- Carolyn K., director, Hoagies' Gifted Education Page
Teaching Gifted Children in the Regular Classroom
Basis of Practitioners' Objections to Acceleration
Gifted Yet Learning Disabled
Highly Gifted Children
The Right to an Education
Teaching Gifted Children in the Regular Classroom
Early Entrance and Grade Skipping
For the parents of the Twice Exceptional Child
For the parents of the Highly Gifted Child
March 26, 2019