Magazine article Parenting for High Potential

Effective Advocates: Find "Kindred Spirits"

Magazine article Parenting for High Potential

Effective Advocates: Find "Kindred Spirits"

Article excerpt

Make the year 2006 a year for advocacy! In each edition of Parenting for High Potential, a new column, "Effective Advocates," will focus on a specific advocacy issue: Find Kindred Spirits, Craft Messages, Communicate Effectively, and Be Involved for the Long Run. We thank Dr. Julia Link Roberts Chair of the NAGC legislative committee and Tracy Ford Inman, both ofWestem Kentucky University, for preparing this series.

As parents, you may often feel alone in your thinking. Maybe you see your child bringing home all As or 100's, but you never see any studying going on or real effort being put into it. You might even question if this is a concern (It is!) or if anyone else feels the same. Maybe your child complains of boredom in school or of covering the same material as last year. Perhaps he's reading Harry Potter at home but only allowed to read Harry the Horrible in school. You may be confused and rightly concerned. Is your child getting what he needs in school? Is it just your child experiencing this? Is there anything you can do about this?

It's rime to speak out. In order to speak out, to advocate for your child, you must discover others who feel the way you do. Step one in advocacy is to find "kindred spirits." Who else questions easy grades? Who else is interested in advanced math for children who already have mastered the grade-level concepts? Who else in your child's school supports children reading materials that are beyond grade level? Who else shares your concerns or interests? Other parents will undoubtedly share your concerns, but what about educators? Administrators? They, too, may be kindred spirits. They, too, need to find others who share similar beliefs and concerns. Together you are likely to be more effective than you can be alone. Your voice will be much stronger - and better heard.

What happens, though, when the answers to all those questions aren't obvious? What if it's not clear who shares your interests in speaking out to encourage more challenge for children at your child's school or even in the school district? You may discover a fellow advocate at your very own dinner table: your child. Listen when he talks about other children who are reading chapter books when most other children are not ready for reading at that level. …

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