Gifted children can flourish in a homeschool environment. While these kids may be bored or unchallenged in a traditional classroom setting, homeschool parents can craft a learning experience to fit their unique challenges and abilities. Read on to learn about homeschooling a gifted child.
Homeschooling a Gifted Child
Is it best to homeschool a gifted child? You may feel intimidated at the thought of properly challenging your gifted kids. But a homeschool setting is one of the best places to help them excel, not only their academic pursuits, but also a place to meet their emotional needs.
Gifted children have the ability to perform at higher levels than other children their same age or grade. Some school systems have gifted programs but some do not. And even if the public school system offers additional resources to your gifted child, you still may find that your child’s educational needs and unique abilities are not being met.
This is why many families choose to homeschool children and allow them to learn at their own pace. Homeschooling allows them to excel with different ways of learning.
Benefits of Homeschooling a Gifted Student
The main benefit of homeschooling a gifted student is being able to customize an education to perfectly fit their learning styles. Homeschool curriculum is easily tailored to encourage a love of learning that is sometimes missing from traditional schools.
Many gifted students are asynchronous learners. This means that while they may be advanced in some areas, like math, they may be average or even below average in other areas, like writing. Homeschool children have the benefit of being able to learn at different rates than a traditional classroom would allow.
Your kids can whiz through math, for example, and be appropriately challenged while also slowing down in English and writing instruction so as not to frustrate them there.
Gifted students enjoy learning broadly and deeply. And so your normal curriculum is just a jumping off point for them. You can add in additional studies and electives to saturate their curiosity and hunger for knowledge! These bonus studies will keep them challenged and encouraged to keep learning at their level.
Let’s face it – many children and especially gifted children – have a deep need for movement while they’re learning. You can encourage this movement in your gifted kids.
How to Homeschool a Gifted Child
The interesting point is that you will homeschool a gifted child the same way you would homeschool a child without gifted abilities. That is, you meet them where they are and craft a customized education plan that appropriate challenges them to progress to their full potential.
You could say this is the basic underlying tenet of gifted education. But it’s also the basic underlying tenet of homeschooling!
The best reasons to homeschool a gifted child are also the best reasons to homeschool any child – create a unique education plan to fit their strengths and weaknesses. We’ve already mentioned that gifted children are not always advanced in every area.
This means that in some subjects they will actually be learning “below grade level.” But it doesn’t matter! They will be progressing at the right speed for them and their asynchronous development.
Gifted children may also have interesting needs based on their level of social skills. If a young child is very advanced in academics for his age, you might expect his maturity level to also be high. But it isn’t necessarily so!
This is why some gifted children don’t have good experiences in a public school program. They may need to stability and encouragement of a home environment to grow in those social skills and awareness. This is one of the many benefits of homeschooling.
Challenging a Gifted Child at Home
How do you challenge a gifted child at home? Exceptional children need what all children need in their education: to be properly challenged at their level and encouraged to reach their full potential. So when you’re homeschooling a gifted child, you may need to seek out additional resources or tutors.
Encourage that type of critical thinking and exploration. One final idea to add to your plan of challenging a gifted child at home is to include many electives or bonuses for your child to study. These kids love the extra challenge.
Characteristics of Gifted Child
How do I know if my child is gifted or just smart? It can be hard to tell if you’re just a proud parent of a smart kid or if your child is in the gifted category. The best way to objectively figure this out is for formal testing between the ages of six and nine years old.
Gifted children tend to have advanced vocabulary for their age and show an intense curiosity about nearly everything. They are able to immerse themselves into whatever interests them at the moment. Many gifted children also develop motor skills at an early age compared to their peers.
Another characteristic of gifted children to be aware of is the fact that nearly one-third of gifted children are also diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder. They are easily overwhelmed by intense stimulation in their environment.
So as a homeschool parent, you’re able to control that environment to a greater degree than would be possible if they were in a traditional school classroom.
What are the characteristics of gifted child?
You will be able to spot a gifted child because they are able to understand topics and material several grades above their peer level. These kids also show intense curiosity and interest in the world around them. Gifted children have a large and growing vocabulary, even at a young age. They also have an excellent memory.
Gifted children might also be your active and spunky kids! Many gifted children need to move and are intensely bored with low-level educational tasks. Gifted children are able to move quickly through material and need less repetition to learn content than their peers.
When Gifted Students Struggle
Why do gifted students fail? In a traditional school setting, the naturally impulsive behaviors of many gifted kids turns into behavior problems. Sometimes the emotional intensity of a gifted child is not properly understood. A typical classroom at a public school may not be able to teach to the whole child like a homeschool setting is able to do.
So much of the struggle is due to an undue burden that is placed on gifted kids to be perfect. This can lead to burnout.
When you’re able to instead focus on the process of diving deep into learning and to nurture that love of learning in your gifted child, you will be able to avoid a lot of the struggle that is inherent in the traditional school setting. Instead, your kids will be able to love learning at their advanced level and with their unending curiosity.
How Literature-Based Learning Works Great for Gifted Learners
Since many gifted learners may not be on grade level with any subject, literature-based learning works best for them! With literature-based homeschool programs, your asynchronous gifted learner can be challenged appropriately without grade level constraints that come with many curriculum programs.
Another way to think about literature-based learning is that it allows your children to thrive at their ability-level rather than putting them into a grade-level box. This is the beauty of homeschooling!
Tailoring a Learning Experience
Your gifted kids are unique individuals and you can tailor an enjoyable learning experience for them. Your child’s interest level can push the learning forward rather than what’s expected according to a homeschool curriculum.
Literature-based programs are a great fit for multiple ages together too, so your gifted students can use the same program as your “average” kids since grade levels are thrown out the window.
Encourage Oral Disucussion
Literature-based learning gives gifted learners the opportunity to talk about what they’re learning. Instead of filling out low-level worksheets in a classroom, a homeschool that uses a literature-based program encourages oral discussion.
This type of learning is where your gifted learners really shine! Many gifted learners have advanced vocabulary and the ability to discuss complex topics for their age.
Without being tied down to a specific grade-level curriculum, literature-based schooling gives gifted kids the material they need for a deep dive in history, science, Bible, and anything they read!
This is why classic literature and living books are a great addition to a gifted learner’s homeschooling diet.
Some Kids Need Movement
While your gifted learners might be advanced academically, they’re still kids and many of them just need to move. If they were in a traditional classroom, this need for movement might be frowned upon. But when you’re using a literature-based program, you can encourage those wiggly kids to move as much as they need to during read alouds.
They’re still listening and able to have a huge benefit by addressing their mental, emotional, and physical needs.
Go at Your Own Pace
Finally, a literature-based program allows you to go at the perfect speed for your gifted learner.
Do you want to slow down and take a deep dive? That’s great! Need to speed up because they’re not appropriately challenged? You can do that too! You really can’t go wrong with a literature-based program when you’re looking for a customizable yet challenging plan for your gifted child.
Final Thoughts on Homeschooling a Gifted Child
Homeschooling a gifted child can be one of the best things you can do for them! They do have different abilities than their peers and their different can be best addressed in a home environment with a caring parent.
Don’t underestimate your ability as a parent to give your gifted children a high quality education. You are able to meet children just where they are and the hardest part will be keeping up with their love of learning!
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