Joan Freeman, Gifted Children Growing Up, Heinemann, 1991, 15-6
The educational home environments which were seen as giving the greatest lift to a child’s IQ score and success at school did not come only from the parents’ attitudes to education, nor even from their high expectations. There were two outstandingly important home influences:
— The material provision the children had to learn with — books, space, musical instruments, paper, and so on. This tied up with an earlier study, in which children who were outstandingly talented in music or fine art had been compared with their non-talented classmates. That had showed clearly that most of the impetus for the practice and development of those arts had come from the parents. Though the schools did sometimes initiate interest, they were not usually successful in bringing standards of work up to an outstandingly high level without the parent’s cooperation and provision. The roots of children’s proficiency in almost every respect normally begin long before they start school.
— Parental involvement with their children. This includes the way parents behaved, the example they set, and the cultural milieu they provided. Where the environment was rich and varied in opportunities to learn, then each child could respond according to his or her abilities. In simple terms, it was not a very effective move for a parent to say to a child, “Here is a book about flowers; go out and identify some!” What was effective was when a parent said, “Let’s use this book to find out the names of the flowers — together.”