Advanced Students

Gifted students have long posed a problem for school authorities and parents alike. Government schools have three responses to gifted students, none of which is optimal:
  • Put the student in the most advanced class. But in smaller schools, this mainstreaming results in a student that is still bored for much of the day, since the two gifted students can finish their work in 15 minutes while the rest of the class takes 30 to 40 minutes.
  • An alternative is to put the gifted student in a grade that is a year ahead of him. But this creates other problems as the physically smaller child is bullied by those who are older — but not smarter — than he is. The gifted student also misses some key instruction by skipping a grade, which can result in academic problems years later. And if the student is truly ready to skip a grade, the root problem hasn’t been fixed — he still learns quicker than the students that he is now mixed with.  His differences become even more pronounced to the other children and himself. He often learns to hide his intelligence — rather than pushing to learn more and faster.
  • The third alternative, only available in some systems, is to bus the student miles to a Magnet school where he will be placed with other similarly gifted students. This is a variation on the “most advanced class” technique that simply increases the number of truly gifted kids in the most advanced class.
Many students who start as gifted in elementary school leave high school as merely above average, since their peers and threatened teachers have taught them that intelligence is not a good trait to show. Everything in the traditional school system encourages gifted students to slow down. Nowhere is there instruction that teaches these students how to learn even faster.

Homeschooling can be wonderful for gifted students if the parents can either keep up or have access to a good advisor. The gifted student can push on as fast as possible, which has resulted in the press reports of 11 and 12 year olds entering college.  The biggest challenge for Mom and Dad is to keep feeding the textbooks to Junior.

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