If you ask us if laissez-faire parenting works, I would say yes. Or maybe it is just my husband’s gene that works. If you ask me how to raise gifted children, I would say to just let nature take the course. If your children are truly gifted, you really don't have to worry about their study or push them any harder. They will do fine by themselves. I have seen parents enrolling kids in Kumon (a little bit like Taiwan’s cram school) to accelerate the study of their “non-gifted” children to train them to be considered as gifted. The problem with that is that things will eventually catch up. These kids will have trouble catching up eventually and will have to drop out of the program no matter how much they are being crammed, as intelligence is not something that can be crammed.
What about our laissez-faire parenting? When I go shopping, I would sometimes visit the toy department to fish out toys that are on sale. This way, I will have toys at hand to reward my kids as an encouragement for their good behaviors. Our parenting attitude leans toward laissez faire parenting style which empowers children to make their own decisions and enables them to experience consequences of their choices. We rarely push our kids to study. We try to motivate them with rewards (Rewards could be money besides toys to teach them how to use money. I let my kids pick which method they prefer) and encouragement. We try to make learning fun for them.
Today, my son came back home with excitement in his eyes. He can't wait to show me the result from the NWEA test. The NWEA test is conducted twice a year, at the beginning of the school year in fall and then roughly 2 months before the end of the school year in spring. The purpose of the test is to assess the students’ learning progress. My son has consistently scored at the 95th percentile in Math since 2nd grade. He is now a 3rd grader and will be in the accelerated Math program (數學資優班, learning math concepts equivalent to the level from 4th grade up to 6th grade). I gave him 2 beyblades today as the reward.
We believe that if he is able to digests what he learns from school during school hours, he should be given the choice to decide how he wants to spend his time after school. Right now, he is only enrolled in the violin afterschool program for his love of violin. However, we do insist that he goes to the afterschool Chinese class to learn to speak Mandarin Chinese. That’s pretty much the only thing that is non-negotiable. However, we did cut it down to twice a week rather than three times a week because he hates going to the class, mostly because of the teaching style of the Chinese teacher from China being too strict, which dampens his interest. I disagree a lot at the teaching philosophy of teachers from Asia. Luckily or unluckily, it only impacts his learning of the Chinese language. My daughter, however, loves going to the Chinese class. She has a different Chinese teacher from her brother's. Her teacher has a different teaching approach to younger kids by combining play with learning. Anyway, that's all the activities that my son is involved. His schoolwork is a mere 20-minute reading of storybook each day, coupled with 5-minute math homework possibly twice a week. It might sound extremely light to people who live in Taiwan. Students in Taiwan might envy our kids’ elementary school lives. My son is in school for roughly 5 ½ hours a day. Playing constitutes the majority of his time in school. By the way, my daughter is in Kindergarten right now and will be in the high potential and gifted program (語言,數理資優班) because of her high scores in the NWEA test.