Academically advanced students can sometimes fall between the cracks in the classroom, often the result of common, “teaching to the middle,” policies. Such classroom practices often focus on delivering lessons geared to the “average student,” leaving honors students without the challenges which help them to achieve to their academic potential. There are several ways parents can actively challenge their honors student beyond the classroom.
Don’t Rely on School Alone to Challenge Your Honors Student
In an ideal world, students are taught both in the classroom and at home. Parents are the first teachers, though once children enter traditional school, education is often assumed to be the sole responsibility of schools. Honors students benefit most when parents can provide extra challenges at home. Homework assignments can be used as a guide for parents to add additional questions or challenges in each subject. School projects can be worked on together at home and parents can ask their honors students to go a few steps beyond the classroom requirements.
Advanced students can often accomplish more than the expected requirements in school. Sometimes, however, students need to set their own goals. If the requirement at school is to read 10 books each quarter, advanced students can raise the bar and set a goal of 15, or choose advanced reading level books. Other students might benefit from setting a certain grade point average they would like to achieve. Parents can help their honors students by becoming involved with goal setting, encouraging their child to reach beyond what is required or working toward larger academic goals.
Provide Teachable Moments
Everyday life can provide plenty of teachable moments for honors students. Parents can offer their honors student challenges nearly everywhere, from taking a trip to the grocery store and talking about nutrition or how to budget, to visiting museums, state parks, or other local attractions. The key is to make these adventures learning opportunities.
Develop a Working Relationship with Teachers
Parents who are able to develop a working relationship with teachers can work together to provide advanced challenges to their honor student. If your child seems bored with the classroom material, ask your child’s teacher if there are any extra assignments your honors student can work on. Teachers are also a great resource for parents to learn about what topics students will be working on in each subject. Parents can become familiar with each subject and offer topic-based challenges at home.