Gifted Education 101

part 1 in a weekly series

Before Audrey started kindergarten last year, we knew that she would be academically ahead of most of her classmates. She was reading Magic Treehouse books in a 20-minute sitting and could add two-digit numbers in her head. But we didn’t think it would be much of an issue in kindergarten; we pictured children doing a lot of crafts, painting, and singing.

But after a few months when Audrey started coming home every day saying everything was too easy, that she never got to learn anything, we decided to go talk to her teacher. Her teacher told us that she didn’t know what to do with Audrey, that she had never had a student like her before.

That’s when we knew that we would have to figure out what to do about Audrey. I started doing research and learned all I could about gifted education, education law in our state of Pennsylvania, and research about best practices in educating gifted learners.

In hours of research, I found a few helpful resources which will inform this series. First, and in my opinion, most comprehensive, is Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page. On Hoagies’ you will find pretty much everything you would need to know about gifted education. Even better, it is specifically about Pennsylvania, so I know that whatever legal information is discussed on the site is applicable to our situation.

Another site I found helpful was Applied Gifted Ed, which discusses advocating for your gifted child and creating an appropriate education plan. Again, it is structured specifically around Pennsylvania law but has many principles applicable to other states.

If you are at the beginning of the process of having your child identified as gifted, these two sites are a great place to start educating yourself.

Come back next week for “Is my child gifted? Should I care?”

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6 comments to Gifted Education 101

  • Living on the Spit

    Came over from Blogher…

    I have seven kids of which, 4 are identified as gifted academically. I have found that a parent must be a child’s biggest advocate whether gifted or not, but gifted children so much more so because since they achieve at a higher level, they are often overlooked.

    If you ever need suggestions or help, just let me know. I am in VA.

    Oldest daughter is graduating with a honors degree in molecular biology and going to medical school next year.

    Marlene

  • Sullivan's Mom

    I don’t know…I was identified as “Gifted” in Cheltenham Twp., and I never thought it really mattered one way or the other! I suppose the yearly IEP meetings were helpful – the ability to choose honors classes or whatever…but I’m skeptical, I’ll be honest. I know first-hand the challenge of meeting all the needs in my classroom, but also think that a skilled teacher will be able to meet all those diverse needs regardless of labels or the like. And, more importantly, ignore the labels that exist in the classroom in the hopes of teaching my kids that although we all learn in different ways, we are all just as valuable to the life of the classroom.

  • Amy from Occupation: Mommy

    Marlene,
    Thanks for your thoughts. I hope to hear more from you.

    Sullivan’s Mom,
    I agree with most of what you are saying. I think that a skilled teacher would be able to meet all the needs in the classroom, but I don’t think many do. Last year, the extent of Audrey’s teacher’s differentiating was to tell Audrey that she could go to the library corner when she was done her phonics worksheets. I think that once she gets to high school and has options of different classes, this will not be an issue. But in the meantime, she has many years where she can either learn good study habits or learn how to put forth minimum effort and still get good grades. As a parent, I want her to have to work for her grades.

    I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts on this topic.

  • Susan

    Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog – I see you have 3 girls too … how fun!
    I enjoyed this. All 3 of mine are in the “gifted program” and we’re fortunate to have a wonderful, full-day GT program at the school they attend. All 3 are very different too – my oldest (is Audrey your oldest?) was also reading well at age 4, etc. My middle daughter was slower in that respect but great at writing, and my youngest is very bright but incredibly unfocused … gee, it would be nice to get a couple alike, huh?
    Yes, the Hoagie’s site is wonderful. I wish you the best with your search for appropriate education. It can be difficult!

  • Susan

    Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog – I see you have 3 girls too … how fun!
    I enjoyed this. All 3 of mine are in the "gifted program" and we're fortunate to have a wonderful, full-day GT program at the school they attend. All 3 are very different too – my oldest (is Audrey your oldest?) was also reading well at age 4, etc. My middle daughter was slower in that respect but great at writing, and my youngest is very bright but incredibly unfocused … gee, it would be nice to get a couple alike, huh?
    Yes, the Hoagie's site is wonderful. I wish you the best with your search for appropriate education. It can be difficult!

  • Living on the Spit

    Came over from Blogher…

    I have seven kids of which, 4 are identified as gifted academically. I have found that a parent must be a child's biggest advocate whether gifted or not, but gifted children so much more so because since they achieve at a higher level, they are often overlooked.

    If you ever need suggestions or help, just let me know. I am in VA.

    Oldest daughter is graduating with a honors degree in molecular biology and going to medical school next year.

    Marlene

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