Challenging a Gifted Child

Posted by Lloyd on March 13, 2012

How should I approach my son’s third-grade teacher to try to enlist her help in making math a more challenging subject for him?

Most gifted children figure out what we call the “basic skills” with very little effort. They often require only a limited amount of drill and practice, whereas many other children require more classroom time to review the basics before new concepts are introduced.

Gifted children can be given more difficult problems to work on independently during class. Or try these suggestions for keeping your child challenged at home:

Have your child conduct some research in an area that interests him or her and incorporate math skills. For example, he or she can make a graph of numbers from an Internet article or do a survey on a topic (such as favorite music groups or sports stars) and compile the information in a pie chart.

Make a brainteaser book to challenge his or her friends. Your child can try to write his or her own brainteasers or compile favorites ones from other sources.

Develop a rap to help classmates remember the multiplication tables. Make a tape recording of the rap for children to listen to with headphones.

Turn numerical problems into word problems by using information from another subject. For example, take the subtraction problem of 493 minus 128 and write it out using data taken from a social-studies unit on maps.

Parents of gifted children often feel that if their child is not challenged, the child may lose his or her ability. Most of us have special areas where we excel. The challenge for parents and teachers is to help children enjoy their gift by providing them with interesting challenges.

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