What is a parent or teacher to do? Read and research! Only by educating ourselves do we learn about others, and learn about things we may not have known or considered before, or learn that our understanding is inaccurate. There is no doubt that each individual on earth is uniquely different. Gifted learners are no exception. To try to implement one way of working with gifted learners is like trying to fit a tractor-trailer in a one-car garage. It doesn’t work.
School is drawing to a close very soon, and summer is quickly approaching. Gifted learners, whatever their age, have an opportunity to be free of the structure of school, if their families will allow them that freedom. Gifted learners rarely need something to do. They tend to have several inquiries and/or projects going at one time, and many find they don’t even have time to eat or sleep.
As parents and teachers of gifted learners you may want to follow their lead…not about lack of eating or sleeping perhaps, but in following your interests. Summer is a good time to let the busy school-year schedule go by the wayside, and enjoy a more flexible day-to-day exploration. Nearly every community has free summer events. Explore those and see what your family can discover about the area in which you live. Look at neighboring communities, or perhaps a new destination in another part of the state or USA. Involving your children in the investigation, planning, and details of the trip (even if the trip is just for a few hours) provides gifted learners with an opportunity to explore their way, without someone telling them step-by-step how a task must be completed. They’ll know how to start, usually with an Internet search.
For the adults time away or at home on the porch or couch to read is priceless. Do you have questions about controversial topics surrounding education? The Common Core Standards appear to be one such topic currently. Do you wonder what the Common Core Standards are? Have you ever actually read the Common Core Standards and their history, or have you simply listened to news reports for your information? Summer may be the time to make a list of these types of issues and begin a quest to learn about them from the source, rather than a newscast or a friend.
Do you feel the need to educate yourself about your own child(ren) who will be moving up to a new period in their development such as from elementary to middle school, middle school to high school, or high school to college? What if your first child is going to school for the first time? Take the summer to find reputable resources to learn about this new adventure for your child and family, or your class.
Do you need to learn more about different ways to teach or parent gifted learners? Explore some of the information about using technology in the classroom and at home, project-based learning, problem-base learning, flipped classroom, MOOCs, or any other learning opportunity you may not be familiar with.
Summer is a time to relax a bit, and regroup. September will be here before we know it and the school cycle will begin all over again. Take the time to enjoy casual learning and relaxation for both you and your family.
Transition Resources for Parents, Teachers, and Administrators
Common Core Standards Initiative
Wisconsin Common Core Standards
Educational Technology and Mobile Learning
Media and Digital Literacy: Resources for Parents
Parenting Gifted Children
Project-Based Learning Benefits Gifted Learners
Problem-Based Learning and the Gifted
Flipping the Classroom
MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course)