Editor's Note: Lissy Wood, a local mom and North Carolina public school teacher with 14 years of experience, plans to open a private school for gifted students in about a year. Wake Gifted Academy will provide high quality instruction designed to meet the unique needs of gifted students in a positive, low anxiety environment. The school will open with kindergarten, first and possibly second grade. Today, Wood, who most recently was an academically intellectually gifted teacher, shares some tips for summer fun.
As a resource teacher for gifted children, I am asked regularly by parents, “What can we do at home for our child?”
Just like with any form of parenting, there is no guide book! But, I have tried to put together just a few suggestions. Parenting gifted children can mimic parenting in general, so these tips and ideas can be applied for all children. I don't have personal experience with the camps that I've suggested, so I can't endorse them. But use them as a springboard to get you started and find what is appropriate for your child.
1. Gifted children LOVE learning! Going to a science or math camp might not seem “fun” to everyone, but gifted children love applying their learning. Science camps offer hands-on experiences with learning that gifted children crave. Just a few to check out are at the Museum of Life and Science, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, STEM for Kids and Science Fun for Everyone. NC State has two different engineering camps that I have heard really good feedback about from students: The Engineering Place and Camp SMILE.
2. Technology camps offer gifted children a chance to meet others with a love and interest of tech knowledge. There are several in the area. N.C. State offers a technology camp (iD Tech Camp) and WHIZard Academy offers Robotics classes at two different locations.
3. Theater, art and music camps are a great source for the artistic gifted child. Most children only receive art education once or twice a week during the school year, but crave more. A few opportunities in the area: Wild at Art Kids and the N.C. Museum of Art (where many camps are full). North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre is offering summer camps for the drama enthusiast.
4. Not all my tips require money! Gifted children are still children. They love to spend time with parents asking questions, reading books together, or visiting museums. Of course, the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, the N.C. Museum of History and the N.C. Museum of Art are all free. Nature walks through some of the amazing parks we have in the Raleigh area or even taking a bike ride would be some fun ideas. Doing simple things with your child are often the ones that are the most valuable (for parents too!).
5. This recommendation might seem a little contradictory from the others, but ... don’t over schedule your child this summer! Yes, I think gifted children love to be exposed to new opportunities, love to expand on the knowledge they have, and enjoying having new learning experiences. However, I recently read a great article about raising gifted children. One of the suggestions really stuck out: Give your children some down time and help them learn how to be bored! Yes, I said it. Often children do not know how to structure their time if parents do not schedule something for them. They cannot relax and just fill it up on their own. They don’t learn to just pick up a book and read or go outside and create their own game.
Dr. James Webb, clinical psychologist and senior author of Guiding the Gifted Child, offers some other great suggestions for activities.
Lissy Wood is a Triangle mom of two and founder of Wake Gifted Academy, which is schedule to open in June 2015 with summer camps.