A new school year can be an exciting or nerve-wracking endeavor for any child. Gifted children often have extra sensitivities or overexcitabilities that can intensify these feelings. Parents of gifted children can also have some apprehension about how best to help their child have a positive and productive learning experience at school. To help ease the transition from summer to school, we have compiled some tips for parents sending their gifted kids back to the classroom.
Watch out for signs of any concerns about transitioning back to school, like perfectionism, bullying, or boredom. Help your child understand any particular issues they deal with and make a plan for dealing with these throughout this year. Involve the school or other professionals if needed.
Communicate with the teacher(s) early to discuss your child’s unique strengths and weaknesses. Politely let them know what has worked well in grades past (and what hasn’t). If you have any relevant results from testing, assessments, or doctors, consider sharing these with the teacher, so that they can differentiate (or, adjust their plan based on what each child needs) more effectively. If you are pursing an IEP or 504 plan, be sure to get organized and stay on top of those processes.
Don’t be afraid to advocate for what your child needs. Even more importantly, teach your child ways to advocate for their education, as well.
Check the deadlines for any science fairs, art competitions, scholarships, or other enrichment opportunities. It’s also never too early to be planning for out-of-school days, including spring break and, yes, next summer! Work with your child to make a list of camps, classes, or extracurricular activities they are interested in, and note the timelines for those applications processes, as well. Write these on your calendar, and have your child write them down in any calendars or planners they keep. (And be sure to check out our programs for talented students!)
Attend the school’s back-to-school or curriculum nights, and keep an eye out for any potential pain points (or solutions) for your child.
Meet the TAG teacher and offer to support their programming with your available expertise and/or resources. Are you in business? Offer to make a class visit to discuss entrepreneurship. Do you have an interesting hobby, like photography, bug collecting, or stand-up comedy? Offer to put on a workshop and let the students give it a try! Do you have contacts at a local college or major employer? See if you can arrange a behind-the-scenes tour. Do you have some available time? Ask if classroom volunteers or extracurricular sponsors are needed.
Supplement classroom learning with books that match the level at which your child is capable of reading, trips to museums, documentaries, extracurricular activities, and the like.
Reassess your student’s study space at home, and discuss time management skills. Make sure your child has everything they need to work in the way that is best for them. Evaluate whether the amount of study time that your family has built into its schedule is still appropriate.
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Above all else, keep in mind that no one parent can do all of the things in this post at all times, and that is okay! The most important things you can do are to listen to your children, support them, and make sure they know you are here for them.
What other tips do you have? Share with us here or on social media (Facebook, Twitter).
Here’s to a year of learning new things, exploring interests, and growing through challenge!