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The Need for Flexibility When Teaching Your Gifted Kids

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Welcome to week 2 of a 10-day series sponsored by Prufrock Press and iHomeschool Network. 40 bloggers, more than 350 posts, and some great giveaways {including my newest book!} in the “Pin to Win” contest, all over the course of two weeks.

I’m glad you’re here for Day Seven of this series. If you’re just joining in, we’ve talked about giftedness, kids with twice exceptionalities, why I think you should homeschool your gifted, unique, and asynchronous learners while following their interests.

The term flexibility will mean different things to different homeschoolers, though most will admit that it’s one of the reasons they enjoy homeschooling. Some like the flexibility in choosing curriculums. Others like being able to abandon a program that’s not working well. Still others enjoy the choices they have in scheduling and taking breaks.

 

Flexibility is the key to successfully homeschooling gifted children.

These kids are different and traditional methods of teaching and learning won’t work. I don’t mean that they won’t work ever. Some gifted kids love the predictability of workbooks, textbooks, and lecture. Others seem to have a mind that bounces back and forth like a ping pong ball going from topic to method to new topic to new style and back. In other words, what worked yesterday might not be the same thing that works today—or ever again.

For example, a year ago, Trevor wanted to learn everything there was to know about pirates, and wanted to lapbook his learning. I couldn’t find anything I loved, so I started making my own lapbook printables. I wasn’t very far into the process, but he seemed to be enjoying the learning, when he grew tired of it and asked for a new topic.

He’d read a lot, knew many really interesting facts, but wanted to just do “straight learning” as he called it. And, frankly, pulling out some workbooks was easy for me, so I agreed, saving the pirate stuff we’d begun. He’s recently asked to go back to the pirate lapbook.

If we’d needed to finish it at the time for any reason {i.e. we were doing it for a co-op class, I was reviewing a product or curriculum we’d both agreed to try, he was working cooperatively with a friend, or we had a field trip planned that related to pirates} he would have followed through until it was done. But because it had all been initiated by him in the first place, and the substitution still met his needs, I was able to allow him to make the switch.

Flexibility.

As explained in this article found on the Duke University Talent Identification Program website, “parents who homeschool their gifted children need to flexible and innovative.” It’s also important to remember that your gifted child is likely to be asynchronous so you’ll be adjusting his curriculum in a variety of ways, styles, and levels.

By keeping flexible in your approach, you can allow your kiddo to soar into his area of interest, all while remediating his weaknesses. According to Kathi Kearney, founder of The Hollingworth Center for Highly Gifted Children, “homeschooling allows the ideal educational program for a highly gifted child to unfold, by providing maximum flexibility in the spirit of the best traditions and the strongest research bases we have in the field of gifted education. This includes the use of acceleration, intense and focused enrichment, flexible pacing, mentorships, internships, early college, and summer programs.”

Flexibility.

The ability to move at the pace your child is able to—in all subject areas. Being able to meet him where he is {2nd grade language arts, 5th grade reading, 7th grade math, high school science} and move him forward steadily and with mastery in all subjects.

In other words, staying flexible allows you to tailor-make the exact curriculum your gifted child needs to reach his potential.

How do you stay flexible when working with your gifted kids? Do you find it difficult? A battle? Hard to compromise the way you were taught with the way your child seems to need to be taught? I do. Every day. You’re not alone—this is a difficult mission with which God has charged us. Lean on each other in support. Share some of your stories or questions on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comment section.

If you haven’t already, please take a moment to subscribe so you don’t miss a post: Email or RSS.

Also check out the 39 other fabulous bloggers who are participating in this 10-day Hopscotch sponsored by the iHomeschool Network and Prufrock Press.


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Enjoy your day,
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Colleen