Today was a very special day in the life of my little 9 year old Leigha Colby. She is my middle daughter, sometimes feels left out, yet like all of my children has a special talent or gift. Where my oldest son Conner is gifted in deep love for others and my oldest daughter Kaylee has a love for the outdoors and for animals as much as…probably…well…Gandalf and my youngest daughter Meagan is like a ball of thunder wrapped up in fearless fire, Leigha is my overachieving, ducks-in-a-row miniature scientist.
She has big dreams. At the age of 6 she told us that one day she would be president of the United States and that her campaign would be a landslide. For about a year she began sentences with “When I’m president…” She also did a few of her uncle’s Algebra problems last year without help while he was doing his homework. Needless to say, it is indeed difficult to keep up with her sometimes…or to stay ahead of her.
Leigha has a plan for a flying car, which she says will work on a principle of magnetism, where negative poles in a new road material she plans to invent will repel other negative poles in the pads that will replace car wheels, again, that she will invent. She says that it can be powered by solar energy panels along the highway and that if the cars get too close to one another that the section of the highway that the cars are driving on can shut down and stop the cars to prevent accidents. I’m not making this up. She really thought of it. She is bound and determined to make flying cars.
The problem with education as it stands in the United States today is that not enough enrichment is available for these types of kids. Most of the Title One money is thrown at kids with special needs, kids like my son Conner who struggles in math and gives everything he has to manage a middle grade in those classes.
Today I went with her as a chaperone on her yearly Gifted and Talented field trip where we went to the Norman Police Department to learn about all that the police do, visited the forensics department (no it is nothing like CSI) and then toured the dispatch room. I then took her to lunch at a Greek restaurant where we had kabob and gyros and then it was back to the University of Oklahoma campus where we toured the Fred Jones Museum of Art, gazed at paintings by Picasso, Rembrandt, Degas and O’Keefe while the tour guide explained to them about the elements of art. Afterward we toured the campus, visiting the library where we saw billions of books and then to the football stadium where our students asked all types of questions that most elementary students should not have the mental capacity to ask…but they did. Good questions. Probing questions.
All in all it was a great day, but I couldn’t help but feel a little sad that so much attention is focused on the students who struggle yet not enough is given to our students who are naturally able to far exceed the learning in the classes they are in. If we move them up a grade, then they become average, but if we leave them where they are they become an anomaly or a “smart kid” who is best to sit beside because one can cheat off of them. The important thing for parents of G&T children to remember is that it is not up to the school alone to enrich the child’s educational experience. Kids like this really dig museums and educational trips, and when you take your other kids who are not as interested in this kind of enrichment, then a little of it does rub off on them. Try it. It is indeed well worth the time and effort, and your G&T kids will appreciate the attention.
Two more pics below say it all. These kids are also normal kids at heart. They need that affection and most of them will make straight “A’s” without being asked to do so. Cultivate their minds early on so that they will achieve greatness later. You won’t be sorry you did.