Parenting Your Gifted Middle Schooler

Your gifted tween may have special considerations

Help your gifted tween thrive in middle school.

The middle school years can be challenging years for any student, but if you have a gifted tween you may find these years even more difficult than you expected. Your growing and gifted student may find middle school academics aren't challenging enough, and gifted middle schoolers may also perceive that they're different from their peers right when they're most concerned with fitting in and finding a social circle.

If you're parenting a gifted middle schooler there's a lot you can do to support your child and help him thrive during the middle school years. 

Help Your Gifted Middle Schooler Thrive

Find Out the School's Offerings: Gifted children need challenges that a typical classroom experience may not provide. Before your child enters middle school, research the programs the school offers to gifted students. Are students pulled from class for enhanced learning opportunities and instruction? Are after school programs available to gifted students, and if so, will your child qualify to participate in the programs offered? Do your research ahead of time so that you and your child know what to expect when middle school begins. 

Find Enrichment Opportunities: Your child's school isn't the only place you can find enrichment opportunities. Research possible outside opportunities that your child may be interested in joining.

Local museums, service groups, or clubs may offer interested tweens and teens the chance to learn something new. For example, your tween may be interested in learning a new language or may be interested in participating in a science camp at a local museum after school. Summer enrichment programs may also help enhance your child's learning experience.

Many schools offer summer enrichment opportunities for gifted students, but even if your child's school does not, the school counselor will be able to help you locate offerings where you live. 

Consider High School Courses: Many middle school students are ready and prepared to take certain high school courses. Ask your child's school if your tween can test into high school classes such as Algebra or World History. Your child may have to test into the course, or have taken certain prerequisites to participate. 

Foster Extracurricular Interests: Your child's success in middle school shouldn't be judged entirely on his or her academic success. A successful middle school experience must include experiences outside the classroom. That's why your tween should make time for interests outside of school work. Encourage your child to find a club or pursue a hobby simply for enjoyment. Your tween might also consider playing on a sports team, learning an instrument, or joining the school chorus. Whatever interest your child embraces, be as supportive as you can.

Encourage Learning at Home: Your gifted child can learn just about anywhere, and your home is a good place to encourage your tween to embrace education and learning opportunities. Be sure you foster learning at home by providing easy access to books, magazines, or even by encourage your tween to try science experiments at home. Join your tween on an educational learning experience -- you could learn  a new language together or read books together and then discuss them. Foster your child's interests at home and give your tween the tools he needs for independent research. Let your home be your child's best place to learn, and welcome the challenges and opportunities that come with raising a gifted tween

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