Parenting a gifted child can be a scary and overwhelming thing! I homeschooled two gifted children, and I know how hard it can be. If you have been blessed with this situation too, I want to encourage you with my experience. When my first son was born and my midwife handed him to me, she gave me the best advice that I ever got, the only advice that I needed for being a parent. She told me to know my child and trust myself, and that everything would flow from there.
If you’re the parent of a gifted child, you also have what it takes to parent and teach them, because you are the love-giver and not just a care-giver; you’re the person that has actually been chosen and created for this job, in the same way that your child was chosen and created to be placed in your family. As long as you make sure that you know your child, trust yourself, and do what is right at that moment for your child, these strategies are going to work not only for your gifted child, but also for every child in your family.
Although all children are gifted in some way or another, the term ‘gifted’ generally reflects children who learn more, learn faster, and learn at an earlier age. These children remember more, they understand abstract concepts and understand them earlier, they have passion in interests, and they can do multiple things at once and do them well. Of course, expert definitions of gifted vary widely. One expert said that you need to have an I.Q. of 130 or more. I’ve tried to locate I.Q. tests and that’s not easy to do, so it’s not really helpful! Another expert said that the top 2.5% on standardized tests are gifted. Others say that gifted children perform two grade levels above their age group. Of course, there are some kids who are gifted but don’t test well or are not compliant, so that evaluation is not without flaws.
As you think about the definition of ‘gifted,’ it’s not always helpful to determine what it is through comparisons. Even if your child is highly gifted, there’s always somebody else who’s smarter. There are kids out there who are going to be smarter, if not across the board, then at least in one thing. Maybe your child is really gifted at the piano, but you’ll find somebody else who plays the cello or dances better.
Definitions are not going to change your child, or who they become. Whether you use the label or not, it becomes your job to decide whether that label is important for your child and their goals, and whether it will be helpful to you as you parent and homeschool them. Know your child, trust yourself.