Why You Should Homeschool Your Gifted Kids

Disclosure

 

10-Days-of-Homeschooling-Gifted-Kids[2]

Welcome to a new 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.

 

So far, I’ve talked about the definition of giftedness and what twice-exceptional means. I have also touched on some characteristics of gifted kids – mine in particular. Today I’ll share some more of these traits and what I’ve learned about how gifted kids learn best. I’ll also share why, the longer I homeschool my gifted kids, and the more I see and talk to other gifted kids and their parents, the more I believe that homeschooling is the best educational option for our nation’s above-average children.

Just to clarify something, though, before I get started – I am not saying that homeschooling is the only way to meet the needs of your gifted kids. Nor am I saying that other children shouldn’t be homeschooled. I’m writing this based on my own experiences and biases, and my own family’s values and experiences. I have some wonderful friends who have gifted children of their own, who send them to school. I also have former colleagues and friends who teach gifted children in public and private school settings. I need to make sure that I don’t discredit their passion or their choices. Everyone needs to pray and reflect on their own situation and make choices that are right for them.

I stand by my belief, though, that homeschooling is “best-practice education” for gifted kids. 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.

Why, though? Why do I think that you SHOULD homeschool your gifted kids?

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 in isolation is tough to address in a typical classroom, a kid with many of them is completely lost in the masses. There is simply no way a teacher can meet these needs while remediating for those who struggle, and teaching the typical students well. Too often, gifted students get pushed aside because they “already know the material” and “will be just fine.”

But they won’t be fine.

 

All children have the right to be met where they are, intellectually, and given the tools and teaching they need to work towards their potential.

 

At home, you are able to talk to your son about what he wants to learn.

You can choose to skip whole chapters in the math series if you see that your daughter 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 your old netbook or laptop.

You can easily incorporate movement into the day for your child who seems like he is in constant motion. {We’ve had a mini trampoline inside the house since we began homeschooling.}

Lessons can be chopped to the five or ten most difficult problems. If those are answered correctly, why bother having your daughter do the rest of them? She clearly knows the material.

Is your child intensely interested in astronomy? You can see that he visits the local science center, writes to an astronomy professor at a local university, joins a junior astronomical society, 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 {as a 7 year old} 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 {for a r-e-a-l-l-y long time}.

But he KNOWS about advanced astronomy still. He asks great questions when he visits the science center and someone from the NASA-Glenn Space Center is visiting. By tapping into his interests, and running with them, we were able to cover science, reading, writing, and history in a way that was motivating and engaging for him.

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. I don’t mean leaving them to their own designs, though many would argue that unschooling is a good option for gifted kids – I’m too, well, controlling to give up the reigns completely, and I know my kids’ personalities. They don’t do very well when things get too unstructured.

By getting out of the way, I mean not getting tied to one thing. Be flexible and ready to embrace new topics and methods. It might be pirates one month, and astronauts another, with butterflies and lifecycles thrown in their for a week when your child has stumble across a cool fact and wants to explore, but learning will take place.

The rest of this week, I’m going to talk about how gifted kids learn and help you identify the specific learning styles your child may have. These topics will give you a great foundation as you move forward toward finding what works for you and for your kids. Next week, we’ll wrap up the series with ideas, tips, and strategies for meeting those learning styles and needs. We’ll also talk about some gifted-kid-friendly methods for homeschooling.

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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