Many parents with a gifted child choose to homeschool. Deciding to homeschool is a big decision that requires a lot of thought and commitment. Often, parents decide to homeschool their gifted kids when they realize their needs aren’t being met in a traditional school setting or can be met better with more customized learning. And here you will find tips and information for Homeschooling a Gifted Child.
Homeschooling a Gifted Child
The good news is that gifted children usually respond well to homeschooling. They tend to thrive on flexibility and personal attention. Also, since gifted kids often work more quickly than their peers, they can use the extra time to dive deep and enjoy learning more about the things they’re passionate about in a homeschool setting.
Because choosing to homeschool is a big decision, parents often have lots of questions, concerns, and things to consider when they decide to homeschool gifted children.
Keep reading to learn what to consider before you decide, explore some different methods for teaching gifted kids, and get the answers to questions you’re probably asking about homeschooling a gifted child.
Things to Consider When Homeschooling Gifted Kids
What does it mean to be gifted?
Children are labeled “gifted” when they test two standard deviations above average. However, there are other factors involved in determining whether or not a child is gifted.
Gifted children are neurologically different from their peers. It’s difficult to accurately measure gifted children because tests often measure achievement. High achievement is not necessarily equal to giftedness. Sometimes high achievers are gifted, but more often than not gifted children are very different from typical high achievers.
Gifted children are almost always asynchronous. What does that mean? Well, basically it means that while your gifted child might be greatly advanced in one area, oftentimes he is developmentally behind in another area. The higher your child’s IQ, the more asynchronous she is likely to be. For example, she might be reading way above grade level but writing like a much younger child. He might be able to discuss biology with college professors and be on a fifth grade level in math.
Twice Exceptional Kids
Sometimes asynchrony leads to learning difficulties for gifted children. These kids are called “twice-exceptional” or “2E kids” for short.
Challenges and Opportunities for Gifted Kids
Before deciding to homeschool your gifted kids, you will also want to consider the unique challenges and opportunities you may face as the homeschooling parent of a gifted child. There are academic and social considerations to think about. Keep reading to learn more about academic considerations for gifted kids.
Homeschooling gifted kids can make it easier to ensure they are academically challenged. Also, the flexibility homeschooling allows helps make it easier to address asynchrony and twice-exceptional concerns. For example, if your child is several years ahead in math, yet struggling with reading, homeschooling can make it easier to work on each individual subject at their own level.
Some gifted kids excel in all subjects. These kids often need new challenges to keep them motivated. In a traditional school setting, these children often sit idly waiting for classmates to get finished. Homeschooling can provide these children with curriculum they find challenging and engaging. Projects, hands-on activities, and critical thinking/ problem solving can help these kids. As homeschoolers, you can develop lots of different ways to pursue their unique interests without constraints.
Socialization in Homeschooling
Parents often worry about teaching their children socialization skills when they consider homeschooling. For parents with gifted children, asynchronous development can sometimes lead to struggles with social skills. While fears about socialization are a legitimate concern, it’s important to remember that not all socialization happens in the classroom.
Homeschool children are often enrolled in a variety of community programs that allow them to spend ample time with other children. Athletic programs, church groups, and classes like dance and karate are all great ways for homeschool kids to socialize with peers.
It’s also important to remember that homeschool children often spend more time out in the community interacting with adults and children of all ages. In some ways, this gives them more opportunities to socialize with a wide variety of people and learn important social skills in lots of different situations.
There is no single “best method” of homeschooling for gifted children or any child for that matter. I recommend learning about a variety of different methods and carefully considering which methods might be best for your child as well as good for you as a teacher.
When you begin homeschooling, remember that what makes a method successful has a lot to do with your child’s learning style and your own ability to adapt and experiment. In the beginning, many parents feel more comfortable purchasing a structured curriculum that doesn’t require much planning. Moving forward, many homeschool parents begin to develop their own eclectic blend of curriculum based on their experiences, interests, and needs.
Check out some of the most successful methods for homeschooling gifted kids:
The classical approach to homeschooling is rigorous and academically-focused. The program is based on classical literature, languages, and logic. This method can be a good fit for parents beginning the homeschool journey who would prefer a structured curriculum.
Named after Charlotte Mason, a famous British educator, this method focuses on teaching the whole child. Charlotte Mason believed that education involved discipline, habits, and a learning atmosphere. She advocated for exposing children to great art, music, and literature. She included nature study and time outdoors in her lessons every day. Her method also focuses on several short lessons each day.
The project-based method uses meaningful projects chosen cooperatively to help kids take an active role in their own learning. It’s a self-directed (sometimes called delight-directed) method that involves letting the child’s own interests dictate learning.
The project-based or delight-directed method is perfect for gifted kids who like to dive deeply into subjects they are passionate about.
The unschooling approach focuses on activities and lessons that aren’t prescribed or compulsory. With unschooling, children often learn through life experiences.
Like the delight-directed approach, unschooling is led by your gifted child. This method focuses on providing your child with resources and opportunities like books, programs, and experiences that facilitate learning without prescribed lessons or testing.
Unit studies integrate all subjects (math, reading, science, history, etc.) into themed studies that last for a certain amount of time. Many unit studies last for young children last for a week or month. Unit studies involve multisensory learning activities organized by a theme.
Support for Parents with Gifted Kids
Sometimes, the hardest thing about homeschooling gifted children is finding support. There are many different resources for homeschoolers and excellent support groups for parents of gifted kids, but sometimes it can be challenging to find groups specifically for gifted kids.
This can leave parents of gifted kids feeling overwhelmed. Finding a local homeschooling support group can be helpful. Parents can also contact high schools and colleges for experienced tutors. Sometimes, a gifted high school student can help with subjects a parent doesn’t feel confident teaching. Likewise, universities may have graduate and undergraduate students willing to provide tutoring for gifted homeschool children too.
Tips for Homeschooling Gifted Children
Homeschool Ideas and Tips
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