A Gifted Child’s Owner’s Manual
We’ve probably all heard this sentiment many times as parents. Despite all the websites, books, magazines and articles available about parenting and raising children, the information offered in any of these resources may not always relate to you, your family or your child because each child truly is unique. Wouldn’t it be nice that at the very moment each of our children is born, the delivery room nurse would hand us a comprehensive, personalized instruction manual entitled, “Sarah Miller’s Owner’s Manual” or “Jonathan Smith’s Owner’s Manual”? Wouldn’t that be immensely helpful!?
I have thirty years of parenting experience plus my classroom teaching experience, and in that time, I somehow managed to raise two smart, wonderful and successful sons without a personalized owner’s manual for either. Utilizing the general advice from parenting books, magazines and articles, and relying on my own parenting instincts, I have to say my two oldest sons turned out very well. Happy and successful. I am grateful and proud because I know this is the goal every parent wants for their child when their child is born.
For son #3, I so wish I could have had that nurse hand me a comprehensive, detailed and personalized owner’s manual before the cord was even cut. A highly-detailed owner’s manual complete with a lengthy, comprehensive section on raising gifted children, and with the crucial bonus of a 24/7 emergency help hot line with a live, knowledgeable person always at the other end ready to speak to you and to keep you from running away from home! Instead, over my son’s 14 years of life, I have gradually cobbled together my own copy of my youngest son’s Gifted Child’s Owner’s Manual.
My youngest son seemed to reach higher and fall lower than the established mean for every emotional, social and physical childhood developmental milestone such as walking, talking, making friends, reading, learning to ride a two-wheel bike, success in school, learning and following rules. My husband and I were always blindsided with each new leap away from the average. It always caught us off guard, but we kept notes and his file grew. And his file naturally grew into what we jokingly called his personal owner’s manual. We unconsciously began to take his owner’s manual with us to every doctor’s appointment, every school conference, and every new school registration. Inside our son’s owner’s manual were test scores, report cards, awards, certificates, professional articles explaining his learning needs, teacher recommendations, documentation of when he reached each childhood developmental milestone, pertinent emails and his IQ scores. It gradually grew, and it gradually outgrew its original manila folder, then it grew out of its tattered accordion file folder and now into its current backpack. If only I had had this backpack full of wisdom when he was born. It would have changed so much.
It would have changed decisions we made about schooling, about extracurricular activities, about where we moved and bought a house and how we supported him. It would have possibly averted the boredom, the heartache and the confusion. Ah, well, that is in the past, but we have gained SO much from our experience raising our youngest son. And our hope is that our son has become a stronger individual, gaining knowledge and wisdom with every experience that I wish we could have averted from his path. A Gifted Child’s Owner’s Manual would have been a life-changing resource though.
Don’t you wish you could have A Gifted Child’s Owner’s Manual? In lieu of that impossibility, I offer to you my own experience raising gifted children, and I encourage you to read about my experiences, and the experiences of others who have raised or are currently raising gifted children. You have at your fingertips, blogs, books, articles, message boards and forums to glean as much information as you can to build your own Gifted Child’s Owner’s Manual ahead of time. To know the personal experiences of others who have gone before you on this often-difficult path of raising a gifted child, and to see firsthand what you might expect on your own journey is indeed powerful and purposeful.
I’ve gathered my own personal arsenal of life-changing resources and listed them below. And please remember, if possible, to share your own experiences with those parents of gifted children traveling behind you. Until giftedness is better understood in education and in society, raising a gifted child will be a rocky road. Let’s all share our experiences and advocate for all gifted children.
1. GIFTED HOMESCHOOLERS FORUM: This website and group has been my primary source of wisdom, help and life-changing information! You do not need to be homeschooling to benefit from the GHF parents’ forum and GHF’s invaluable resources!
GIFTED HOMESCHOOLERS FORUM ONLINE COMMUNITY: This is a wisdom-filled online parent forum. Jump right in and start compiling your A Gifted Child’s Owner’s Manual!
GIFTED HOMESCHOOLERS FORUM BLOGS: These are blogs written by real parents who know what it is like to raise gifted children. Many openly and honestly allow you to get a good, long glimpse into their lives and they happily share their experiences with you.
2. DAVIDSON INSTITUTE FOR TALENT DEVELOPMENT A wealth of information.
DAVIDSON DATABASE – GIFTED ISSUES DISCUSSION FORUM: This is an active and knowledgeable parent forum addressing nearly every gifted issue imaginable.
3. HOAGIES’ GIFTED EDUCATION PAGE: Hoagies’ has links to nearly every available gifted resource you would need.
Also, in lieu of a Gifted Child’s Owner’s Manual, Gifted Homeschoolers Forum is having their latest blog hop and its going on right NOW! It is titled Gifted Parenting and all the posts in the blog hop are about parenting your gifted child! Definitely the next best thing to that Gifted Child’s Owner’s Manual, right?