Creating Community for Your Gifted Child
Will your gifted child ever fit in?
How do I know? you ask.
I know my gifted children will fit in where they belong. And the search for finding where they belong is unlimited because we're unschoolers.
By design, the main feature of our homeschool is getting into the community and meeting people. This is how we do it...
My twice exceptional son is my bunny. When he learns, he goes down rabbit holes. His interests are passions. My daughter is the butterfly and is able to flutter around nearly anywhere. She packs her imagination wherever she goes. So I keep this in mind when I plan our excursions.
Creating Our Own Events
The first thing I did to find community for my son was creating "Minecraft Monday" at the local library. First I checked with the librarians that we could use a part of the children's library to meet. Then I created a Facebook event in our local group and invited people to bring their kids to play Minecraft together. Lastly, I kept the commitment. Every single Monday we go to the library.
We are half way through our third year! Through this interest-based event, my children have made friends and acquaintances, as have I. Additionally, my children know the librarians and they know us.
That worked for us. One weekly commitment for which we were responsible.
Now my son has added boardgames (specifically Magic: the Gathering) to his "interests." Using the same principle, I found a local board game store (one that specializes in Magic: the Gathering) and got their permission to host homeschool events in their store. I created a Facebook event in our local group and invited people to bring their kids to play board games together. Lastly, I kept the commitment. Every single Wednesday we go to the store and play games.
This is a whole new group of families...separate from the Minecraft Monday crowd. So my kids have made new friends and acquaintances. Plus, just as my children regularly talk with librarians at the library, they also hang out with the owner of the store and his employees.
Imaginations on Fire
My daughter is passionate about role playing. So we created an event for people to show up to role play. We picked a place and time, invited people, and go every single Friday to role play.
Now we host three weekly events! It might seem like a lot to you but it doesn't feel like a lot to us. These events work because:
1. They're easy to get to. I chose days and times that I knew I could manage. Plus, since everyone wants to go getting packed up and out the door is trivial. Everyone helps.
2. They're easy for me to organize. There's no prep. I'm not teaching a class or doing much besides saying, "we're going ___. Who wants to meet us?"
3. They're free and easy to attend. People can just show up whenever they want and the locations are inviting.
4. We are reliable. We go every week. We are easy to find. My kids can count on connecting with people and pursuing their passions.
Accepting Invitations to Other Excursions
I don't do it all by myself. In addition to the events I organize and host, we also participate in community activities offered by others.
My son plays Dungeons & Dragons; they both do karate; my daughter attends an arts-based enrichment program; my son takes online classes; she goes to Ninja Zone; he does parkour.
We go to the planetarium, museums, and zoos. We visit National and State Parks. We meet artists at Open Studio tours.
My kids are meeting a HUGE variety of people. Not only families who attend the events but also the other people who frequent the library, game store, and playground. Some relationships are sustained, others fleeting. So they are finding where they fit in. And even better than that is we're finding where they shine, where they are celebrated, and that's we're leaning in.
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