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Developing Your Gifted Kids’ Talents

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Welcome to week 2 of a 10-day series sponsored by Prufrock Press and iHomeschool Network. 40 bloggers, more than 350 posts, and some great giveaways {including my newest book!} in the “Pin to Win” contest, all over the course of two weeks.

Thanks for coming back and reading Day 8 of this series. If you’re just joining in, we’ve talked about giftedness, kids with twice exceptionalities, why I think you should homeschool your gifted, unique, and asynchronous learners while following their interests and being really flexible when parenting and teaching gifted kiddos. 

Today, let’s address your special, unique kids’ talents. This is hard sometimes when you’re dealing with gifted kids in general, but especially challenging when you’re facing a twice-exceptional kid who struggles in social situations and can’t just join a class that capitalizes on his or her interests because it causes too much stimulation. And too much stimulation for that kiddo is never good…

On top of that, gifted kids tend to perseverate on seemingly insignificant things for periods of time, then shift gears so rapidly and passionately that you’re left wondering what exactly your child is good at, and how you could possibly develop it?

Whether academic or extra-curricular, it’s well-worth the effort it takes to discover and tap into your gifted child’s talents. Often, gifted kids feel different than those around them because they don’t seem to fit in well with typical kids—and many adults don’t get them either! By taking note of what they’re good at, even if they don’t yet realize their own ability, and talking it up and offering additional opportunities to work on it, you’ll help your child develop an identity that they can latch onto during times of isolation or struggle.

Let’s talk a few examples from my life…

Molly’s young. She just turned five and is growing into her own likes and dislikes, but she’s very creative. She wants to be a writer and an illustrator. Her artwork, while oftentimes rushed and frenetic, can be extremely thought-out and detailed too. To help her develop this burgeoning talent, I sign her up for any art classes I can find that fit her age and ability. I buy her supplies—both for drawing and crafting—anytime I see them on sale, and make them available to her at all times.

Since her fine-motor skills are still developing, I give her opportunities to write. She has a pen pal {thanks, Dianna!} and lots of blank books in which to write stories. A year ago, she spent hours with a blank book and a pencil, painstakingly scribing the words, “Once upon a time there was a ghost.” That story has been finished, and many others have been scribbled, written, and dictated by her. I give her the supplies she needs to draw and write, and she happily works on developing her talents and skills.

Trevor, older and more vocal about what he finds enjoyable, is very physical. He overwhelms easily and any team sport we’ve tried has been a disaster. But, he’s a talented climber. Very talented. He can easily scale walls, trees, stairwells, and anything else that stands still. But, what do you do with a talent like that?

We’ve recently enrolled him in a gymnastics class, where a very understanding instructor allows him many opportunities to climb a rope, swing on rings, and practice the high bar. He’s developing quite a skill – one that is outgrowing the multi-age homeschool class he’s a part of, and his instructor, who understands his anxiety about failing in front of large groups of people {the anxiety that is keeping him in this too-easy class}, is coaching him up to accept that his next step is the all-boys gymnastics class that meets on Saturdays for double the timeframe.

We’ll get to the point where he’s ready for that, but in the meantime, we’re enjoying his successes and excitement in and about his current class. We’re also looking into sword-fighting and rock-climbing classes.

Not very conventional talents, but ones I can help him develop to build his confidence in all situations.

When I taught gifted kids in the public school system, I always talked with parents about this because it is so important for these kids to have something to hang onto in the midst of the everyday turmoil and struggles they face. Eventually, something will be hard for them. Algebra, cooking, essay-writing, public-speaking… By helping them embrace and develop their talents, you can prepare them for these trials. They’ll have something you can use to remind them that, while they may not be perfect in all things, they are fantastic in some and can use those talents for good.

What talents, conventional or unconventional do your gifted kids posses? Are they academic? Physical? Creative? How do you help them develop those talents?

Share your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comment section.

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Also check out the 39 other fabulous bloggers who are participating in this 10-day Hopscotch sponsored by the iHomeschool Network and Prufrock Press.


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Enjoy your day,
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Colleen