Every parent of a GT child is proud, but Gifted & Talented is more than just a title of achievement. Being GT is separate from AP (advanced placement) because it means your child is more creative than others and more likely to excel in non-standard ways. Your child may be better at problem-solving with outside-the-box thinking or show talent in an art that goes beyond their formal training.
How, as a parent, can you support your child’s gifts, talents, and academic performance from home? This is something every GT parent asks themselves along the way, and we’re here to help. Supporting your gifted child is much easier than you might imagine, and can be a lot of fun. The key is to remember that GT is all about creative thought and expression, as well as the good performance in school that every child needs support to achieve.
Six Ways Gifted & Talented Parents Can Help at Home:
1. Ask About Homework and School Projects
Whether your child is enrolled in a GT program or still just starting to show their gifts, get involved. Help your child’s mind grasp and embrace the challenges of their homework and their school projects. Encourage your child to think creatively to achieve their goals. If they want a higher grade, help them create interactive study methods that suit their gifts. If they want to finish faster, innovate faster ways to complete the tasks together or encourage your child to innovate alone if that is their style.
2. Think Around Problems and Tasks Together
When trouble comes up like a tough math problem or a difficult project, work together. Encourage your child to not just face the problem head-on, but to think around it. Often, the gifts of GT students shine through in creative problem solving, beyond the rote methods taught to help every student get through the subject matter.
Help your child find their own way of tackling problems, thinking outside the box and working together to brainstorm solutions.
3. Keep Track of Their Gifted & Talented Curriculum Subjects at Home
GT classes often focus on specific subjects, like the water cycle or the Rennaisance. Check out your child’s curriculum and keep track of what general subjects their GT classes and projects will focus on. Do a little of your own research and get interested. These subject groups are often chosen to help the children understand how interesting the lessons are in context.
Take that theme home, as well. Watch movies that relate to the subject and talk about how they relate. Learn a few interesting facts from Wikipedia and swap interesting details with your child over dinner. This is a great way to truly get involved in their GT learning and growth.
4. Do STEM Crafts and Projects at Home
Do you and your child to crafts at home or big holiday projects? Start focusing those home activities on STEM learning opportunities. Turn every Saturday and summer afternoon into a brain teaser. Make bridges out of toothpicks and popsicle sticks to learn about architecture. Turn home cooking into chemistry with food dyes and candy or ice molds. Write poems or songs together with fun specific rules about measure and rhyme.
Children love this kind of project and the fun will only evolve as your child gets older and builds fun challenges of their own.
5. Get Your Child’s Friends Involved with Creative Fun
One of the best things you can do for your child is to get their friends involved in GT-inspired thinking. Even if their friends are not GT (or yet-identified as GT), every child is capable of creative thinking and hands-on craft. When you plan activities or host parties for your child, find ways to help their friends think outside the box and get interested in their GT studies as well. This makes the entire experience a fun group game and eliminates any possible feelings of alienation for being on a special track.
6. Get Involved with the GT Program at School
Finally, consider getting involved. Parents with ideas and/or energy to share are always welcome in PTA groups and at parent-teacher conferences to help improve the GT experience for every child in the program. Meet with your child’s GT teachers. Volunteer for the projects to make larger projects and presentations possible. Attend the shows and share any good ideas you have along the way.
Here at the Tenney School, we are dedicated to nurturing the growth of gifted & talented children at home and school, in both their studies and their natural talents. We welcome the involvement of parents with their child’s school experience and at home. For more information about The Tenney School’s unique and supportive approach to GT education, contact us today!