Homeschooling My Gifted Child: Here’s Why It Was the Best Choice ~
Written by Colleen Kessler of Raising Lifelong Learners
Eleven years ago I began homeschooling my profoundly gifted son, and admit that I was a very reluctant homeschooler. But the longer I have homeschooled, the more firmly I have come to believe that homeschooling twice-exceptional and gifted children is the best educational choice we can make as parents.
I am not saying that homeschooling is the only way to meet the needs of your gifted kids. I have friends who have gifted children and send them to school, where they do quite well. I also have friends who teach gifted children in school settings, and I don’t want to discredit their passion. In fact, for over a decade and a half I taught gifted children in a public school system.
I believe, though, that homeschooling is the best way to meet a gifted or twice-exceptional child’s needs. I’d also like to note that, throughout my coursework in gifted studies, I came to the conclusion that the basic underlying tenet of gifted education – meet children where they are, wherever that is, and move them forward towards their potential – is best-practice for ALL children.
Homeschooling My Gifted Child: Why it Was the Best Choice
Why has homeschooling my gifted child been the best choice for me (and for YOU, in my opinion)?
Gifted kids tend to:
- learn basic skills quickly and with little practice.
- construct and handle abstractions easily.
- pick up nonverbal cues & draw inferences that are tough for children their age to see.
- take little for granted, preferring to know the “hows” and “whys.”
- be wildly eclectic and intensely focused in their interests.
- have boundless energy (causing many to be misdiagnosed as ADHD).
- relate well to adults, preferring to spend their time conversing with older children and grownups.
- be highly inquisitive.
- be interested in the unusual.
- want to explore their world persistently.
- observe deeply.
- be single-minded.
- ask “what if” all.the.time.
- to learn faster & with greater depth than age-peers.
Any of these characteristics can be a challenge, but a kid with many of them is set up for failure in a traditional classroom setting. There is simply no way a teacher can meet these needs while remediating for those who struggle, and teaching the typical students well.
Gifted students often get pushed aside because they “already know the material” and “will be just fine.”
But they won’t be fine.
All kids have the right to be met where they are, intellectually, and to learn something new every day.
You can ask your homeschooled kiddo about what he wants to learn.
You can choose to skip whole chapters in the math book if you see that your child has already mastered those concepts.
If your child struggles with his thoughts coming faster than he can physically write, you can be his scribe for awhile. Or you can hand over a laptop or tablet.
You can easily incorporate movement into the day for your child who seems like he is in constant motion — a mini trampoline is a lifesaver!
Lessons can be condensed to include just the most difficult examples of a concept. If those are answered correctly, why bother having your daughter do the rest of them? She clearly knows the material.
You can find online communities like The Learner’s Lab designed specifically FOR quirky homeschooling kiddos and their families.
Is your child intensely interested in science?
You can see that he visits the local science center, writes to a professor at a local university, joins a science class or club, finds books in the library that match both his interest-level and reading ability, and that he pulls all his knowledge together to share it with someone and solidify his learning.
During his first half-year of homeschooling, right after we pulled him out of first grade mid-year, Trevor did just that. He immersed himself — at seven — in the world of advanced astronomy. While he couldn’t read all of the books we found at his intellectual and interest level, I was able to incorporate them as read alouds. He pulled everything together into a lapbook so thick it has to be rubber banded closed, and shared it with anyone who stopped by.
Homeschooling works for gifted kids because their needs can be met in ways that are as unique as they are.
The hardest part of homeschooling your gifted kids, for you, will be getting out of the way and letting them explore freely and learn rapidly. Once you do, be prepared to watch them soar!
What’s Your Homeschool Mom Personality? Take Jamie’s quiz now and receive a free personality report to help you organize your homeschool based on what your personality type needs most!