A while ago, this article caught my eye: it's about the different experiences of gifted girls and gifted boys. I've seen elsewhere the argument that gifted boys tend to play up through boredom at school, whereas girls will tend to hide their abilities to avoid drawing attention to themselves. In my (limited) experience of gifted children, this seems like a fair generalisation.
There are bigger questions, though, and one of them is why academically inclined kids of both sexes don't seem to fare too well in our culture (with exceptions, of course). My experience of school - and I've no idea whether it's typical or not - was that kids who were very academically able could found themselves marginalised. Bright boys were 'permitted' to do well at school, so long as they made it appear effortless and glib - few dared to admit to an actual love of learning. By and large, girls did less well than boys (particularly in science and maths, which very few girls studied with any seriousness). We were encouraged to be diligent in our work, but not to aspire. I've got a feeling that a girl who revealed her intellect in that environment would have been regarded as a bit of a smart arse, or perhaps even an aberration. I wasn't a gifted child - in fact, I didn't do very well at school at all - but I had latent nerdy interests which I never felt able to pursue. (I've made up for it with a vengeance in adulthood!)
My own daughter has been heartily encouraged by her own teachers to aspire and to love learning, and she's embraced it with joy. But then, she's only seven. A little older, and I suspect she'll become self-conscious, realising that other kids don't share many of her interests. It will interesting to see both how she reacts to this, and how her school supports her. I'm cautiously optimistic. We're a family of committed nerds, and our house is a kind of refuge where there's no shame in spending a quiet night in, watching documentaries from the public library.
What are the experiences of other THMers? And, perhaps more importantly, are your kids' schooling experiences different from your own?