At-home Learning and the Gifted Student
Susan Jackson from the Daimon Institute for Highly Gifted shared these thoughts:
We are in a LIMINAL time. A time of in-betweenness. A time of tumult. In these times it’s normal to feel dysregulated. To feel unmoored. To experience overwhelmedness. This might show up as feeling out-of-gear. Stuckness. It might feel like panic. Like you can’t move fast enough to keep up. It might feel like a narrowing of perceptions, a tunneling effect. Each person differs.
For many of our gifted students, their fears and anxieties are heightened in liminal time. As a result, parents are at a loss as to what to do to calm them and keep them engaged in purposeful, meaningful activities that draw on their interests and are appropriately challenging for them.
Due to the sudden closing of schools during this pandemic, teachers were left without much time to prepare home based learning. Teachers quickly created online and printed materials to keep students moving along their learning journeys. What a difficult task to do without their normal resources and ability to be with their students face to face. We are all grateful to the teachers who are responding with care and compassion to the needs of Arizona’s students. Gifted students benefit from the wisdom, insight, and comfort that their teachers provide in response to their many questions in these uncertain times. As a result, teachers have been even more appreciated.
It may not be possible for teachers to adjust curriculum and instruction right now to accommodate each student’s individual learning differences. It is important that we all accept the unknowns of our time and learn to adapt to our new circumstances with flexibility and patience moving forward.
Home Learning Help
Here are some ideas from teachers to help with at home learning:
- Create a daily routine that mirrors the school day. This is familiar to the student and feels more “normal.”
- This includes some focused learning time, once in the morning and once again in the afternoon. Add in breaks for physical activity and snacks, time for reading and rest, and time to spend communicating with peers.
- Begin the “school” day going over what is to be accomplished during the learning time.
- End the “school” day with a reflection of what was accomplished and establishing a plan for tomorrow.
- For gifted students, include enrichment opportunities that enhance their learning. If students are quickly and easily finishing the work supplied by the school, ask the teacher for an activity to go deeper with a study.
- With many of the assigned school work focused on math and reading, encourage the student to explore interest-based science, social studies, art, music, and/or movement activities. If you are a member of AAGT, there is a home version of Renzulli Learning available to you for free that offers guided exploration for students.
- AAGT continues to post on our website and our Facebook page, resources and ideas for gifted students. Many are open ended activities in that students will find their own challenge level. Many are activities for students to build on their own interests and learn new knowledge or skills in order to complete a project-based activity.
Flexibility, Creativity, and Support
Above all, we should not dismiss the ability of gifted students to explore, create and learn on their own when given the chance to do so. Flexibility is important. Negotiate with students consumed by an interest-based learning activity. Suggest required learning be done first, then the rest of the day is free for projects and creating.
Share these activities and projects with teachers.
Finally, AAGT will continue to provide support and resources for parents and teachers.
Please let us know what you are doing to enable a successful at home learning experience for your gifted student by submitting a comment below.
Together, we will succeed!