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Success - A Gifted Definition

How does one define success? Do we measure success solely by a student going from failing to passing, or do we measure it by a student achieving their greatest potential? Both definitions are true. However, in the case of my son, Thomas, success is experiencing a metamorphosis.

Through WyzAnt, I found a teacher to provide home-based instruction for my 4 year-old son. I wanted a certified teacher to assist me with my “gifted” child that was already being home-schooled. Thomas was already reading as well as completing basic math problems. This was an intriguing case, as Joseph S. hadn’t worked with many children so young from the “gifted” population, nor had he worked with a student who wasn’t primarily struggling in school.

Some may ask, “How is this success story?” The child already is advanced. Thomas is a 4 year-old who could read independently and do basic addition and subtraction. However, 7 months later in March 2012 Thomas can now do multiplication and division as well as complete 5th grade math concepts, Algebra, and even Geometry. Because of Thomas’ passion and success with Math, he has been accepted into The Math Circle program at Harvard University in September 2012.

This is a unique case. Joseph and I work as a team. I provide the curriculum framework, and Joseph teaches Thomas during the weekly sessions. There are times when we “team teach” and other days Joseph works with Thomas alone. The sessions are always fun, and we encourage Thomas to create his own Math equations. We believe that providing a supportive learning environment where Thomas is allowed to have some choice over his academics has been a primary factor in his success.

Weekly, we experience personal triumphs in working with Thomas. Watching his pure unbridled enthusiasm as he literally jumps up and down in delight while learning is true academic bliss. Furthermore, translating above grade level information to a 4 year-old “knowledge-thirsty” child has been challenging, yet rewarding. Also, finding the appropriate resources for a childlike Thomas has been trying but attainable. In this case tutoring has a new meaning, maintaining enthusiasm and passion to achieve one’s fullest. This is why Thomas’s story is so unique.

The magic recipe of parent-teacher teamwork breeds success. There are no public services for gifted children in Massachusetts. According to the National Association of Gifted Children, http://www.nagc.org, “there is $0 in the budget for Massachusetts” for gifted students. Hence, companies like WyzAnt can provide tutors for families like ours. As quoted by former President John F. Kennedy, “"Children are the world's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future… We can say with some assurance that, although children may be the victims of fate, they will not be the victims of our neglect." Let’s invest in this natural resource, and proudly return the gift of success to our children.

* This was written in support of WyzAnt teacher, mentor and parent Mr. Joseph S. *