Who Cares About Your Kid’s Lego Robot? I Do!

Over the weekend I had the good fortune to talk with another parent of a gifted child who’s new to navigating all the challenges. Remember how scary it was when you realized your child’s educational was going to be a bit tougher than usual?

Who cares about your Lego robot?

Photo by Eirik Refsdal

My Kid Doesn’t Play Soccer

According to Facebook, they now have one billion active monthly users and I bet a good deal of those users are parents sharing photos of kids playing soccer, t-ball, or at dance recitals. My research is based on what I see on my own Facebook wall. And I love those pictures, truly I do!

But what if your child’s passion is in creating Lego robots? Or mapping the genealogy of the Greek gods? Or learning about calculus? You know, just for fun. Chances are if you share these stories on social media, family gatherings or among friends –  you’ll get the look.

And parents of gifted kids know exactly the look I’m talking about.

The uninitiated assume that you must be pushing your child to read those boring books, your too protective to let her play team sports, or that you created that robot. Ha!

Nope, some kids are much more excited by robotic kits than balls. Believe it or not, they choose robots over soccer.

Be a Cheerleader for ALL Kids

Many parents of gifted kids don’t talk about their kids accomplishments because they are accused of bragging or of being elitist. It’s not bragging if it’s true and I’m not sure how telling the truth is elitist but these are common excuses.

The parent I recently talked with didn’t feel she could talk about her daughter’s accomplishments. I grabbed her hand and told her she could talk to me ANYTIME about her child’s accomplishments. I’m here to ooh and ahhh over origami, Lego creations, creative writing, and math problems beyond my comprehension. I’ve made that offer to all parents that I meet in similar situations.

No parent should feel as though they can’t say “Look what my kid did!”

All kids gifted or not, need to know that at the very least their own parents support them and are proud of the work they do. Unfortunately, they’ll run into plenty of people who will be dismissive because their interests aren’t the norm. Support them and just as importantly, support their parents as they take pride in their child’s achievements.

 What About You?

Do you feel you can freely share your child’s successes? Tell me your story in comments.

3rd Grade Parent-Teacher Conference


I wasn’t looking forward to this year’s first parent-teacher conference. I’m not sure why. I worked on preparing and organizing my thoughts but still felt nervous. Most likely because we had never discussed with the teacher her views on gifted education.

I don’t know why we hadn’t had the talk because this teacher is an amazing woman whose love of learning is evident. She’s kind, funny, and creative and has a classroom decorated like Hogwarts. What’s not to love?

Our daughter is the only child in class who attends the gifted program. This is a pull-out program one day a week. She’s had some challenges catching up on work that’s covered when she’s out. She’s not penalized for assignments she misses but learning does occur while she’s gone and, well, she freaks out about it. Those perfectionist tendencies rise to the surface.


So, we were concerned if her attending the gifted program was in any way hampering her learning in the regular classroom. Thankfully, the answer was no. Straight A’s across the board on her report card. The standardized tests her reading/language arts skills are 7 grades higher and math is 3 grades higher. More startling when I remember that she grade accelerated last year. Wow!

While the scores and grades were both impressive and reassuring, the teacher did point out areas where our daughter needs work. Specifically, writing. I was so grateful for her keeping us grounded on our daughter’s abilities. Usually we find people are either blown away by her abilities or are simply dismissive. Her teacher is neither. She looks at her as a whole person; one with many abilities and one with room for improvement.


After the meeting, we left with a list of writing prompts to work with at home, two books outside my daughter’s preferred reading genre, and an immense sense of relief that our daughter is in wise and capable hands for third grade. Whew.

Parent-Teacher Conferences: Advocating for Your Gifted Child

Four Steps for Success


Knowledge is power so make sure you know your facts before your meeting. Know what your district provides for gifted education. Is there a policy on grade acceleration or single-subject acceleration?

Have your child’s test scores readily available. Not necessarily an IQ score but the latest achievement test scores. These are useful to demonstrate what your child already knows and can be used as a baseline for moving forward with a learning plan.

Plan the Conversation

Parent-teacher conferences usually only last about 20 minutes and that’s not much time to have a meaningful conversation about how your child’s education if you don’t have a plan.

Some topics you may want to cover are:

  • What differentiation is occurring in the classroom?
  • Is pre-testing occurring?
  • Are there any social issues you need to be aware of?

Whatever you do, don’t apologize for your child. Too often parents of gifted kids start off conversations with “I’m sorry to bother you…” I know I’ve done it. Don’t apologize for being an advocate for your child and trying to ensure they get the education they deserve and yearn for.

Be a Resource

The reality of today’s classroom is that a teacher may be responsible for upwards of thirty students. That’s a lot of students to ensure are getting a quality education every day! Typically, teachers don’t receive training in gifted education and how to meet the needs of gifted students. This is an opportunity for you to present yourself as a valuable resource to your child’s teacher.

The Davidson Institute for Talent Development has an extensive library of articles that are appropriate to share with teachers. They also have one of the best forums on the web focused on all things gifted education. Check them both out.


Send a follow up note or email to thank them for their time and also to document the issues discussed. File this away and then – follow up again. Keep the lines of communication and collaboration open.

Be a partner! Advocacy doesn’t mean being an adversary. Remember, it’s important for your child that you develop and maintain a good working relationship with his or her teachers.