I have now read too many books on giftedness. Most of these books say the same stuff without any research backing up. A lot of them make up little anecdotes to illustrate their points. Many of them outline the problems we might face without offering any solutions, or if they do offer solutions, you have no idea of knowing what they’re basing those solutions on. (Ignoring a bully will make him go away? Reeeeally? Have you ever succeeded with that strategy?) I do not want to read any more books on giftedness. I’m done, thanks.
A few of them do stand out. I’ve already quoted extensively from this book: Gifted Children: A Guide for Parents and Professionals ed. Kate Distin (2006).
This one is nice because it is like reading the distilled wisdom from a really really good forum that just happens to have some experts as members who are able to explain the research to the other members. (Much better than the davidsonsgifted forums, which seem to be a mix of things that aren’t as helpful as I would have hoped, though searching the archives has found some useful things, like what a 3 year old reading at third grade level might be interested in.) This one does a great job of addressing the emotional concerns that we as parents have. Like I said before, this book made me feel “normal”… given the right population of comparison.
Another one I found helpful is: Being Smart about Gifted Education: A Guidebook for Parents and Educators by Dona J. Matthews and Joanne F. Foster (2009).
This one isn’t perfect and is perhaps a little idealistic, but it is trying to sell a way that I wish giftedness were sold. Far too many of these books completely ignore the nurture part of the giftedness equation. This one actually integrates the Dweck and other research on mindsets, growing dendrites, etc. This one talks about educational matches. It supports a “mastery” model rather than a “mystery” model… which is difficult to explain but has something to do with focusing on the pragmatic needs and outcomes of gifted learners (indeed, all learners) rather than saying all gifted kids are alike and mystical. It is anti-labeling for the reasons I’m anti-labeling (… or was anti-labeling… now I’m not sure, some of the other books have pretty convincing arguments about the benefits of labels). It seems to have a healthy skepticism of test-scores, and only suggests using them as a diagnostic when we suspect underachievement. I like it because it says things are true that I hope are true but don’t actually believe are true deep down. But I’m an idealist that way… and, as we know (since 3/4 of the books mention it), idealism is correlated with giftedness.
A final one that isn’t actually helpful to us, but I wish were required reading for all K-8 teachers is this one: Teaching Gifted Kids in the Regular Classroom by Susan Winebrenner (2001… though I read an earlier edition).
It talks about some excellent strategies for how to deal with gifted kids in the regular classroom. It may not be as ideal as segregating all the gifted kids in their own schools (or classes or clusters), but most of us don’t have that option. Reading through it I realize all my best teachers, the ones whose classrooms I actually *remember* because I spent all year *learning* things instead of being bored out of my skull, used some or many of these strategies.
I really hope the private school wasn’t lying about single-subject acceleration as needed. We could probably cobble together a great education with single-subject acceleration until they run out and then the community college or university for the rest.
Oh, and in case you weren’t aware of the strong case for acceleration… check out the A Nation Deceived. Even more confirmatory research on this topic has come out since it was published and there’s some good stuff on how best to facilitate acceleration so that positive rather than negative outcomes occur. But most of that stuff is covered in the regular gifted books anyhow.
DH has been reading a lot of the books on activities to do, questions to ask, and so on, but he says they’re all things we’ve been doing *anyway*. I had the same experience with the ones I read as well. We must be naturally good parents or something. Laziness wins!