Gas station without pumps

2011 February 25

Summer Programs for Gifted Kids

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Carol Fertig of Prufrock Press (which bills itself as “The Nation’s Leading Resource for Gifted and Advanced Learners”) has just posted on her blog a list of lists of  Summer Programs for Gifted Kids.  I quote her list of lists:

I’ve posted before on summer programs: Summer Programs: Listed by Topics of Interest, Summer research program for top high-school juniors, Summer Theater Camps, COSMOS talk on assembling genomes, Awesome Math Camp, Do talent searches identify future successful adults?.

We have no plans yet for this summer.  Most likely, my son will do a couple of teen theater camps.  He’s been doing theater every summer for many years, and he is enjoying having moved up to the teen group at West End Studio Theater, where he is currently rehearsing the part of Sherlock Holmes in Hound of the Baskervilles.  We expect that WEST will manage a teen conservatory program again this summer with professionals from Shakespeare Santa Cruz.  He enjoyed that a lot last year.  The timing of that nearly always knocks out most summer math camps.

In the past, he has taken Lego robotics classes (fun, but too low-level), iDTech game programming classes (sort of fun, but too low-level and tools ran only on Windows, so were of no continuing value in this Mac household), and lots and lots of theater.

While I might like for him to take a language camp, a higher-level math camp, or one of the gifted-kids summer schools, I’m quite happy with his interest in theater.  It gives him a much better understanding of working in a group to accomplish a common goal than the artificial “group work” that schools sometimes force kids into.  He has taken on both lead parts and minor roles, enjoying both, and knows the value of the behind-the-scenes tech work (which he has done occasionally).  He’s seen how talent and work can make a superior production, and how even apparently untalented people can make valuable contributions.  He’s seen the difference between productions where everyone put in the work to make things shine and ones where a bunch of slackers ruined the production (that was a school production).  The acting skills themselves (memorizing lines, developing characters, projection, being confident in front of an audience, … ) are also valuable life skills.  I don’t think he has a career as a professional actor (though who knows what may happen in the future), but I think that theater will be a valued hobby for him as an adult, and that he’ll be an asset to amateur theater companies.

I do feel a bit remiss in not sending him to the sort of summer camps I went to as a kid (Boy Scout camps) and not taking him hiking, camping, or bike touring.  Camping was something I enjoyed as a college student, and he has only experienced it once or twice as part of school groups. I keep planning to do a short bike tour or camping in the local state parks with him, but it hasn’t happened in the last 10 years, so I’m not really expecting it to happen this summer.

 

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