I started this blog in response to finding quite a few parents of gifted children turning to home schooling to meet their child’s needs.
Now, I want to expand this blog to discuss all types of educational experiences for gifted students.
Last week I attended a wonderful lecture at Rockefeller University about increasing a child’s intelligence. Although the audience was a mostly affluent group and their questions were all geared to the private school world, the speaker was mostly concerned with lower income students not getting the same opportunities and hence scoring lower on intelligence tests. One of the factors that impedes students success is stress. This made me think about why I hate classrooms where teachers are mean. Many teachers yell. Many teachers threaten. I was recently a guest in a first grade gifted classroom where one little boy sat without a snack. When I questioned where his snack was, he told me he was too afraid to ask the teacher if he could get it out of his backpack. He had forgotten during the morning ritual of unpacking. Think of how much brighter his day would be if he was not AFRAID of his teacher??
I think structure and routine are necessary for young children. As parents we all know a regular bedtime and routine makes for an easier transition (and a child with better sleep patterns), but I also think gifted students need flexibility to become better problem solvers. It is too easy to create highly neurotic, rigid students. When there is a change in schedule, both parents and teachers should offer rational explanations.
This week is the start of the state wide standardized tests in New York. To my great disappointment, all gifted programs I had access to had weeks and weeks of test prep take over their regular curriculum. I think test prep is torture for a gifted student. I think schools should administer diagnostic tests, and design student specific tutoring for areas identified as challenging.
Lastly, there was a nightline story last Friday about all the tutoring that goes on for the OLSAT exam to obtain admissions into a gifted kindergarten program. All of this proves the test is not valid. The original intent of intelligence tests was to create a test you could not study for. The DOE seems unwilling to admit how unfair and biased this test has become.