Monday, January 23, 2012

What to do with gifted kids at home...

As a mom of many gifted children, we have struggled to keep everybody busy and happy!  My kids have lots of different interests, so we have tried to build on those.

Here is a quick list of some of our activities:
Piano lessons, voice lessons, violin lessons, roping lessons, horseback riding lessons, swimming lessons, trumpet lessons, and gymnastics lessons, and weight lifting.
Soccer, football, baseball, volleyball, wrestling, cheerleading, dance and swimming teams.
We have conducted research on: braiding cowboy gear, Australian cattle dogs, Egyptian mummies, dogs, dog training, Indians, Pioneers, stars, birds, rabbits, saddles, bridles, cows,  and famous people.
The kids have experimented with drawing, painting, cartooning, making cartoon movies, computer games that require kids to think (Spy Fox, Pajama Sam, Freddie the Fish for little kids), computer games that allow kids to create things, digital photography, scrapbooking, card making, legos, playmobil and other building sets.
We read to our kids, let them see us reading, read with our kids, and had them read alone.  We tried to make books available that peaked their interests.  Some of my children were gifted in math and science NOT in language arts, so I even paid them a dollar a book to read in the summer! 
We have also made crafts, sewing projects, wood projects, leather projects, cooking projects, games, movies on movie maker, and gifts for friends and family.
We have bred angora rabbits, bred dogs, broke ponies and horses, trained dogs, trained birds, had a saltwater and freshwater fish tank and more than our share of guniea pigs, hamsters and gerbils.

We have done lots of work together: painting the house and rooms, building things both in and out of the house, household repairs, working on cars, doing basic car repairs, yard work, gardening, harvesting, canning and drying food, remodeling bedrooms, daily animal chores, household chores etc.
We have gone to movies, zoos, museums, visited historical sites, hiked the trails around our home, taken multi-day family lightweight horse packing trips, talked about the mountains and other land marks near our home, took car trips and did anything else we could think of to stimulate our children to think.We also made sure that they had plenty of time to play, imagine, and build.
 So...where do YOU start?

There are tons of websites on the internet that parents can access--just google what you are looking for and you will be amazed at what is available.

There are also many people in most communities that are willing to share their knowledge. We have contacted people that we knew, or friends of friends, that had the same interests as our kids. They have been more than willing to share and the friendships developed through this contact has been a true blessing to our children.

We have made countless trips to the library, looking for information on projects and interests. When our small library was not helpful, a quick search of usually allowed us to buy the needed books very inexpensively.

We have utilized classes and programs offered very through the community: sports teams, scouts, classes from the local university, job shadowing opportunities, clinics, one-day seminars, etc.

We have never had a lot of disposable income, but nearly every resource we used was free or charged a nominal fee.  I believe that the most important part of challenging gifted children is being aware of who they are and what they are interested in.  Their forays into well loved interests can make all the difference in how they view themselves and how they view learning.

Here are a few professional websites for you to check out:

Prufrock Press has a list of books that address the interests of talented students. They include books on encouraging math, science, and writing talent.
Scholastic also gives some ideas for encouraging gifted children at home.
Fun and Challenging Activities for Gifted Children, is a website that addresses where to find stimulating
This is a great pdf for parents about activities and gifted children.

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