Gifted and talented students typically love to celebrate their giftedness through competitions. For many of them, competitions provide the opportunity to help them become the best possible person they can be. How does a parent guide their gifted and talented student in competitions without going overboard? Frances Karnes and Tracy Riley have the perfect answer in their book “Competitions for Talented Kids” (Prufrock Press), a book that is a must have in your home library.
The book is well organized and makes it an easy read. It begins with an in-depth introduction on what you should know about competitions as well as the many benefits of entering competitions.
Competitions are a way for gifted students to learn about themselves, their special talents and abilities in addition to developing their academic talent. Competitions are a great way for your gifted child to grow and develop specific skills; whether it be creative, critical thinking, group dynamics or communication skills. Competitions also provide vehicles for self-directed learning which is helpful in building research and study skills that are crucial skills in adulthood. Gifted students can enhance their interests and attain new ones through competitions. Finally, a major benefit of competition for gifted students’ is the tangible rewards such as scholarships, awards and prizes they receive.
One great thing about the book is the different categories and examples of competitions that are detailed in the book. No matter what your child’s specialty is, there is a competition to stir their interest. From academic quiz bowl, to academic recognition, business competitions, classical literature/mythology, creativity/problem solving, culinary Art, to engineering, foreign language, journalism, language arts, leadership, mathematics, performing arts, philosophy, science, service learning, social studies, technology and visual arts, your gifted child will find his or her niche.
Some of the competitions are for members only, which means membership in the sponsoring organization in order to participate in the competitions offered. A great example is the Boys Scouts of America and the Girls Scouts of America.
As you prepare for the upcoming school year, remember to include competitions as part of your gifted student’s schedule from the perspective of developing their unique talents either as a parent or teacher. Be selective in your choices of competitions and avoid over committing to too many competitions. The goal should be quality and not quantity as you strive to develop those unique talents and gifts of your child or student. At the end of it all, you want your gifted child or student to enjoy the experience and not endure the experience. Include your gifted child or student in the decision process of selection looking at all the factors that are necessary in making the final decision. Be wise in your choices and your have fun with it all.
“Do your work with your whole heart, and you will succeed – there’s so little competition- Elbert Hubbard