While nearly all parents may believe their children are gifted -- clinging to early completion of developmental milestones as an indication of future business savvy or a promising career -- those whose children are truly beyond their peers may be just as likely to dread as to relish the thought of raising a gifted child. How can you manage your child's education to ensure that he or she is academically and socially challenged? Read on to learn more about some educational methods that have proven successful for gifted children and teens.
What are some risks when it comes to educating the gifted child?
The primary concern when it comes to educating any gifted child is boredom. If your child catches on to new concepts much more quickly than others, he or she may become frustrated at being "held back" by classmates who are still trying to process the material, or may even be tapped as a classroom tutor or teacher's helper to assist his or her classmates. While this can sometimes serve as a self-esteem boost, it's often not the best use of your child's educational time.
Children who routinely go through an entire school day without being intellectually challenged can begin to dread school, sometimes even dropping out of high school or forgoing college as apathy sets in. As a result, it's important to seek out specialized schools and programs that can provide gifted children with daily challenges and foster a love of learning.
What are the educational programs that have shown the most success for gifted children?
Some of the more challenging programs for gifted children include the Classical Method and the Montessori method. While these teaching philosophies differ in many respects -- with Classical's emphasis on memorization, repetition, and logic and Montessori's focus on child-led learning -- both can offer a number of benefits.
Under the Classical Method, students spend time in one of three "stages" -- grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Children will begin at the grammar stage, memorizing multiplication tables and historical dates to help boost their memories and abilities to recall detailed information. Once this foundation has been laid, the child will move on to the logic stage and focus on the "who, what, when, how, and why?" of a variety of phenomena. During the high school years, the rhetoric stage will focus on persuasive writing and speaking, as well as the application of more complex reasoning to math, science, and history questions.
Most Montessori schools focus on learning through play and experimentation. Children may bake a cake to learn about the science of yeast and baking soda interaction, or could create a sundial in conjunction with a lesson about solar and lunar patterns. This method often uses general age and skill classroom groupings rather than assigning each child to a specific grade number based on his or her birthday. This can allow your child to regularly work with older, more advanced children and face the intellectual and social challenges that come along with this collaboration.
Ultimately, the best program for your child will depend on his or her specific interests and skills. Montessori education is often ideal for visual or active learners while those who prefer to curl up with a book may enjoy the routine of a Classical education.