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I need some guidance in guiding my gifted son

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I got my sons iq results back and somewhat to my surprise he really is gifted. That's great! Now what? Lol. I have a meeting set up with the school to get him on a giep. But, beyond that I am lost. I feel like I should be taking some steps to support him to reach his full potential, but, when I google I just get lost. We are not wealthy and I cannot afford to buy all the books and give him all the amazing opportunities ($8000 summer camps) that I wish I could. He is in fifth grade, I see most families started identifying giftedness a long time ago. Like most Nieves I thought my very " un-nerdy", popular, athletic child, was just extremely smart and creative....gifted children were not like this....HA. Now I wish I would have looked closer long ago. I feel like I have let him down by not nurturing what nature gave him. So, after that long vent, my question is...what opportunities can I give him outside of school to help him grow?
post #2 of 15

This is probably the most boring answer ever: take him to the public library. Not only will this give him a chance to take out books about whatever he likes, but you'll probably also learn about whatever free or cheap opportunities there are to foster his interests. Maybe you're already doing this. I am a big believer in the library. (That way you don't have to buy all the books!) 


Also, if you live near a university, look into what summer and after school programs they offer. Sometimes there are free and cheap things from the departments that fall into your child's sphere of interest because they're trying to give back to the local community. 




It sounds great to me that your child isn't having all the problems that sometimes go with giftedness. (I want to make some kind of pun about not looking a gifted horse in the mouth...not looking a...all right. Maybe not.) He sounds like he's heading for good things.  





post #3 of 15

Look at it this way: You have a creative, smart, athletic, happy, popular kid. Just exactly what's wrong with that that needs to be changed or improved? So what if he has the "potential" to do something like win a 6th grade state math contest or compose a symphony by age 13? What matters is whether he's happy, balanced, thriving, learning, growing. It's sounds like you've done very well raising him with the opportunities he needs to thrive. I don't think a diagnosis of giftedness needs to change your expectations of yourself or of him. In fact I think that can lead to problems of pressure, guilt and unhappiness. I would just carry on. The only thing I would suggest doing is making an effort to be very open-minded when it comes to wondering whether he's ready for something or not. Let go of age-based expectations if he seems to want more than what they suggest is right for him.



post #4 of 15

Does your school district offer any sort of summer enrichment programs?  That might be worth looking into.  I'd also check out what the libraries around you have to offer--lego clubs, chess clubs, summer reading programs, etc.  If you find a camp you're interested in, you could look into whether or not there are scholarship opportunities-although I would do this quickly as camps fill pretty fast.


Frankly, it sounds like your son is doing really well-happy, athletic, socially adjusted....not much to complain about there.  You could also ask his teacher or principal, guidance person, etc. to recc. some summer enrichment....sometimes local collages and universities have programs on their campuses over the summer.

post #5 of 15

Well, you haven't done anything special to nurture his giftedness ,and he's still gifted right? What this means is that you're probably doing the right things by nurturing him as a whole person.


 My kids aren't profoundly gifted, meaning that the school system is pretty good at meeting my kids' needs. Dd has a little more trouble than ds in getting her needs met, but it has been done so far. We don't have $8000 to send a single child to camp either, and if we did, I'm not sure I'd spend that kind of money for a summer camp unless my child was a lot older than 5th grade.


Here's what dd (who's working 2 grade levels ahead in math, and 4 or more ahead in reading/writing) is going to do this summer:

Go to the library weekly (or maybe even 2x a week) and get as many books as she likes to read. Cost: Free (except for those pesky overdue fines we tend to rack up)

Go to the local arts day camp for a week. It's run by a non-profit and has amazing opportunities to explore music, drama, weaving, clay, etc. Cost: $195.

Go to Music Drama camp at our church. it's run by volunteers. The kids learn and produce a 30 minutes musical in a week. It's great fun and a good learning experience. Cost: $45.

Go camping with the family in the John Day fossil beds. Cost ~$30 a night for the whole family to stay in a yurt, plus gas.


The rest of the time, she's going to play outside. She's going to sit and read. I suspect she'll spend a fair amount of time at the computer writing, as she's currently working on her autobiography and several fiction stories (she never gets past the introductions, so if she produces more, I'll be astonished!). She's going to talk to me and her dad. She's going to play with and bicker with her brother. She's going to ride her bike and rollerblade. She's going to go swimming.


There are grave dangers in pushing a child to specialize too soon. If a child is driven to really pick up something, then by all means facilitate that. But if your son is a happy kid with friends and a range of interests, that is great! Talk to him about his interests. Take him to the library. Find all the free events you can go to. Save up your money to go to the local science museum. And then let him play and be a kid.

post #6 of 15


Agree with pp who think it sounds like you've done a good job and he's doing well. Has he said that he wants to go to an $8000 summer camp, LOL? There are a lot of groups, like Boy Scouts, that offer a camp experience without that kind of cost. Most camp activities like hiking, nature lore, wildcraft, and canoe or kayaking are easily replicated by visiting nature centres or joining outdoor groups and clubs if you don't already have those skills. 


As others suggested, the library is a wonderful resource. We have a fairly healthy book budget, but honestly, I prefer to use the library because we move fairly often and we often live in smaller houses without space for bookshelves. Packing and unpacking cases of books is back-breaking labour.  


What are his interests and what kind of activities does he enjoy now? 

post #7 of 15

Just agreeing with previous posters in that he sounds like he's doing well and you shouldn't feel badly about that at all. We all aspire to balanced, happy, satisfied children. For some gifted kids that means a lot of intervention but for others, it really just means giving them space to develop how they choose. The goal is for giftedness to be a non-issue and if you guys have found that, fantastic!


We can't do 8000 dollar camps either. We save all year for summer activities for the two kids and it's nowhere near that sort of budget! Personally, we've found that quality doesn't mean insane tuition. For example, our science museum offers camps for 80 dollars a week and are of much higher quality than the 300 dollar touring "mad science" style camps that pop-up through private organizations in the summer. The "mad science" ones are splashy but the depth of information can't compare with the museum program. Just do your research. See what is free or in your budget. Let him know the options and see what he picks. If he's totally satisfied with what he's doing now, great! If he finds something new to try, great!

post #8 of 15

Just a comment on the summer camp issue, since it is generating so many comments. I was a highly gifted kid in an ordinary school district with no gifted program. I did not attend any summer enrichment camps of any sort, yet my summers were amazing learning times. I lived in a small city and was simply given freedom, fallow time, a library card, a bicycle, a pair of binoculars, a neighbourhood of kids to play with, a small backpack, trees to climb, overgrown areas to explore, a sketchbook, my parents' ears in the evenings to talk and ask questions. My summers looked (and occasionally felt) unstimulating and unenriched, but out of that fallow time I learned how to drive my own learning, to create things, to ask questions and push myself into new areas of challenge.


We often look to outside programs or experts to stimulate kids' learning. It doesn't need to be that complicated. Fallow time is powerful. 



post #9 of 15
We've gone to great lengths to find gifted summer camps. My DD really struggles socially, and a large part of that (but certainly not all!!!) is the poor fit between her and her classroom peers. Last summer was an eye opening experience for both her and us, in which we could see her fit with her peers.

That camp has been canceled this summer, much to my disappointment and to DD's tears.

So I've sought substitutes. She could go to SIG camps while staying with my parents, but they seem very academic in focus. The kid gets 9 months of sitting in a classroom, we're looking for something else.

We've instead found places where we suspect engaged, intelligent kids signing up:
2 weeks at the local historical society for a week on archeology and another week on life during the civil war ($150 each week)
1 week at a science camp run by a museum center in the state, with a focus of environmental preservation ($200)
1 week tagging along with me at a conference in the mountains. My mom will come along as well, and they'll hang out on the lake and hike. She will also gain an understanding of what scientific confereences look like and what my scientific peers look like (my community is almost 25% women, people will be coming from all over the world, scientific discussion involves lots of laughing) ($$$$ plane tix + cost of adding my kids and my mom to the hotel bill)
1 week family vacation, probably camping
1week half-day soccer camp ($150, adressing the athletic part of DD, not intellectual;). )
The rest of the summer will be spent at the pool, reading, and going to tutoring to address newly-discovered learning disabilities.

In all of this, I've never encountered an $8000 camp, unless it includes paying college tuition for a kids-on-campus program with room and board that grants academic credit.

However, my motivation in all this is to address social struggles. The OP's son isn't experiencing this.
post #10 of 15
Originally Posted by Snoopy281 View Post

. He is in fifth grade, I see most families started identifying giftedness a long time ago.

Another point along the lines of the need or lack of need of special "extras" --- a lot of the people who find their way to boards like this seek out support because there is an issue they're trying to address. Personally, I rolled my eyes at people posting about giftedness for really young children because it wasn't my experience. Yes, in retrospect, I can look back and see those traits in my kids when they were 3, but those traits didn't require help or support. What do you do when your 18 month old discovers he can put together a 30 piece jig saw puzzle? Bring out more puzzles. Duh. I have sought out information and support on this board because we've needed a lot of information on educational advocacy. The schools weren't meeting DD's needs, and I got the support I needed to put the appropriate accelerations in place. Getting the iq and achievement were necessary first steps. We had that information in second grade because that's when we needed the info,

It seems as though you didn't get the info for the same reason you haven't sought out extra camps. You haven't seen the need. Sounds like you don't need to rock the boat!
post #11 of 15

There are pros/cons with being identified as gifted, for your dc and perhaps for yourself.  The gifted label can create expectations, healthy or otherwise.  It will be incumbent on you, at least for a while, to guide your dc to have a very strong sense of self, regardless of his giftedness.


All you need to do is to create a loving environment and don't worry about the rest. 

post #12 of 15

I have profoundly gifted sons.


I want to tell you about my older one. He was very shy so we enrolled him in boy's chorus. It was great for him. He is no longer shy and knows music theory


He loves computers . So, I did send him to a computer camp every summer. not $8 K but $ 1K and I did have to work extra hours to send him. It was totally worth it to allow him to develop his passion. We go to museums all the time.


He worked to earn money for his own laptop and got him other computer thing on free-cycle.


No library for us.  The driving the late fees. Forget it. I got him a Kindle. There tons of free book for Kindle and no driving to the stupid local library .



Hmmm, what else?  I never really limited his computer video game time. He  plays Mindcraft for hours.  I do not limit his Internet usage either. 



Gifted or not, he has job  to earn spending money and he has chores to do around the house.


His grades range form A to F.


He is taking an exams this month that will allows him to leave HS and go to community college.


He, totally on his own joined a Robotics team 2 years before it is normal in our district and computer group at the local university . Last night they had a  hacking competition. A rep  from  some .com company saw his project. Now my son has an internship .


My son did a lot of things, like joining teams and groups on his own. To be honest, I do not understand what he does coding wise at  all.


To me, benign neglect is the best policy for parenting a gifted child. Helicoptering just make them feel like special snowflake. That does not lead to anything good.



Thin kg Steve Jobs. HE did not go to $8K summer camp.

Edited by Alenushka - 3/4/12 at 8:33pm
post #13 of 15
Originally Posted by captain optimism View Post

Also, if you live near a university, look into what summer and after school programs they offer. Sometimes there are free and cheap things from the departments that fall into your child's sphere of interest because they're trying to give back to the local community. 

We live near a university and there is need based aid for the academic camps.  thumb.gif


Personally, I think spending time in nature is up there was access to good reading material.


I also see camps that I cannot afford for my child -- there's a 4K adventure program that she would LOVE but we can't afford.


But there a lot of cool opportunities that do fit our budget. She will be spending a week on a university campus exploring a field she is interested in pursuing in college, and another week at a Y camp riding horses. Both camp are about $400 for the week. But she'll spend most of the summer doing volunteer work.




post #14 of 15

Originally Posted by Alenushka View Post


To me, benigh neglect is the best policy for parenting a gifted child. Helicopteing just make them feel like special snowflake. That does not lead to anything good.

I liked your whole post -- this was my favorite part. 

post #15 of 15

As a kid I was identified gifted young, and frankly I probably would have been better off in some ways if no one had known.  The modifications made to my schooling were sometimes helpful, but more often singled me out and made me even more socially awkward than I already was.  Adults had expectations that I would learn everything and excel with minimal effort, which caused me to put enormous pressure on myself and stop asking questions for fear of showing that I was not genius enough.  When we moved to an area that had a gifted program in High school it was great, both programming-wise and socially, but it also left me feeling like I couldn't measure up.  Ultimately, gifted people will find stuff that challenges and interests them where ever they are at, whether they are identified or not, or in an 'enriched' environment or not.  If being gifted isn't causing problems, I wouldn't worry about it too much.  If your kid is balanced and happy and plays well with others, you're miles ahead of where most gifted kids are.  If you can use the information to get special privileges places, like school or sometimes you can get clubs and stuff to waive entrance ages with gifted kids, then go for it - but otherwise remember he's just a kid and happiness is most important. 

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