For parents, the task of ensuring that exceptionally bright children get the educational nourishment they need is unchartered territory. The path can be frustrating for the kids, and worry-inducing for the parents. But the ongoing boom in online learning opportunities has been a great benefit for many gifted youth because the offerings can cater to a student’s ability rather than age.
Intellectually talented kids “don’t get the attention of policymakers,” said psychology professor David Lubinski of Vanderbilt University. “But if you’re trying to solve problems in the world like climate change and terrorism and STEM innovation, and transportation and managing our healthcare, you want intellectually precocious youth who have had their intellectual needs met.”
How “giftedness” plays out in the classroom for the roughly 3 million students who qualify can be hard to characterize. Some gifted and talented programs emphasize critical thinking and problem solving, others focus on creativity, and still others take what’s going on in standard classrooms and go into greater depth and complexity.