Options — what they are and how to choose

                               Option choices:       within current school       change to gifted school       change to individualized plan

If your child is happy in the current school but still shows a gift as discovered through testing, there are supplementary after-school or summer options offered by schools or companies in your community, with many choices available through the Talent Searches. Two simple options would be just to find a family friend or relative to act as a mentor in the subject of interest or to encourage your child to join a special-interest club at school or in the community.

The options listed on this page are school-year options, and grouped by educational philosophy. If your child is happy in the current school but is unhappy with the pace of education in a single subject, it is recommended that parents examine the options under the first set "Choices within the current school." These options can be considered semi-traditional, as they are acceleration within a traditional environment, and they may be all that is needed to keep your child happily engaged and challenged.

For children who are miserable in several of their classes, or even all their classes, parents should consider more drastic options such as whole-grade acceleration or switching to a different gifted school or to an individual homeschool plan.

A major concern is to avoid underachievement. As Miraca Gross wrote in "Exceptionally Gifted Children" — "Underachievement may be imposed on the exceptionally gifted child through the constraints of an inappropriate and undemanding educational program or, as often happens, the child may deliberately underachieve in an attempt to seek peer-group acceptance."

The emotional and social needs of your child are important too — you should consider how to provide an adequate social environment especially in the individual plans that have no physical peer groups. Whole grade acceleration is somewhat harder to place, depending on whether your child would stay in the same school so could still interact with the current friends. When whole grade acceleration would result in jumping to a new school, then the grade acceleration option actually fits into none of the three sets of options, as it is accelerated education and accelerated socialization. The detailed pages on each set of options addresses the social needs as well as academic ones. (For more on social and emotional needs of the gifted, it is suggested parents visit the SENG website.)

Options within the current school
• GATE program of enrichment
• AP classes (Advanced Placement college classes) and IB (International Baccalaureate)
• acceleration of a single subject (e.g., your child is in 9th grade but is pulled out to take 11th grade math)
• grade acceleration/grade skipping (e.g., after 6th grade your child enters 8th grade, skipping 7th)
• dual enrollment (e.g., your middle school child takes some classes in the traditional school but also some in another school, such as math in high school or college)
More on these current school options, including links to personal stories

Change to a gifted school that has accelerated education, but not accelerated socialization
• Gifted/Highly gifted public magnet school
• Gifted/Highly gifted private school
• Early College program
More on these gifted school options, including links to personal stories

Change to an individualized plan that has accelerated education, but no physical peer group
• Home school
• Internet school
• Early College non-program
More on these individualized options, including links to personal stories