A Stranger in a Strange Land: My Weekend at NAGC

AURORA, COLO. — I went to the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) conference earlier this month in three roles: as a private math teacher, president of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum (GHF), and a doctoral student studying cognitive diversity.

As a math teacher for gifted homeschooled learners, the parents are part of my team, as they are the primary educators for their children. My job is to remove obstacles for 2e learners. As the GHF board president, my job is to find resources for my community and to offer our resources to others. Finally, as a graduate student, I came here to develop a broader picture of the institution of gifted education. How do I work alongside NAGC, and is there a place for me in connecting any of my three roles?

That role might just be as an advocate on behalf of parents.

NAGC is the backbone of the infrastructure that supports state and local supervisors and educators of gifted children. NAGC’s own magazine for gifted education is the preeminent research publication within the community. Researchers focus on supporting the classroom experience, identifying gifted children, and testing such things as pedagogical approaches.

But it is a trying time for gifted education. There is a growing number of gifted children who leave schools for homeschooling and other resources, and there is debate and activism around whether gifted programs are useful or even appropriate, with some equating giftedness with whiteness (Mansfield, 2016).

As president of GHF, I see our ranks swelling as the interest in homeschooling gifted children rises. I hear too many stories of children not fitting into the system, regardless of the hard work and dedication of professionals. These children need...


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About Barry Gelston

Barry Gelston, M.Ed. is the board president of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, whose mission is to empower every gifted family to make strategic, proactive, and intentional educational choices. Gelston currently is a doctoral student at Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education. He holds a masters degree in Education from Cambridge College and has also completed graduate level coursework in research, measurement, and quantitative analysis in behavioral and educational sciences at Southern Connecticut State University. Professionally, Gelston is a private math teacher who works with Gifted & 2e homeschool students who struggle with learning math in traditional settings.