"...I don't really have anyone I'm comfortable talking with about this. I always feel guilty if I mention that my 14-year-old-son is taking a college math class, because other parents just can't relate."
Skinner can relate and parents like Beth will be able to relate right back as they read about Skinner's experiences raising her two gifted children and advocating at school to get them an appropriate education.
Great Potential Press, Inc. 2007
Hardcover ISBN: 0-910707-81-2
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-910707-81-7
Guide Review - Book Review: Infintiy and Zebra Stripes
Parents of gifted children will recognize the rapid development of her son Ben and her realization that not all two-year-old children can be disciplined by providing a reasoned explanation of appropriate behavior. And like most parents of young gifted children, Skinner didn't recognize her son was different: "I really didn't get it...that Ben was an exception to the rule of most two-year-olds."
When Ben was in first grade, Skinner learned just how different her son was. While exploring the possibility of special grouping for math in school, Skinner learned from the teacher that ability grouping was not an option: there simply were no other first graders who came close to Ben's abilities.
Like many parents of gifted kids, though, the difference still wasn't registering, not emotionally. It wasn't until Skinner discussed the results of IQ testing with the psychologist who did the testing. Children like Ben turn up only once in one hundred thousand children. Skinner responded to the news: "My eyes and breath were caught and frozen by his statement. It was as if I had a sudden shock."
Advocating for an Appropriate Education
Although the book starts with a discussion of Ben and focuses quite a bit on him, the Skinners have two children and younger daughter Jillian is also gifted, but with a different temperament than Ben's. Between the descriptions of the two children, readers are sure to recognize traits they see in their own gifted kids. The attempt to get an appropriate education for Jillian is just as important it is for Ben.
The Skinners also had willing teachers and a school system sympathetic to gifted education. As Skinner says, "...our hopes for our children would not have become a reality if we had not had an exceptional public school system and citywide community." This downside to the book, however, is also a plus. Skinner's story clearly demonstrates the importance of a working partnership between the school and the parents to get appropriate educational experiences. In this way, Skinner provides a lesson not just to parents, but to teachers and schools as well. When they work together for the benefit of a child, parents and the school can develop an approach that is "proactive planning rather than reactive efforts."