As parents of gifted children, when we face the reality that our kids are not receiving the education they need and we see the resulting emotional distress associated with this failure, we may begin to consider other educational options.
Gifted children are cognitively different from most of their same-age peers. Divergent and creative thinking, learning and mastering new concepts more quickly, and an unquenchable determination to dive deeper into subjects they are passionate about are all common traits of gifted learners. These characteristics can make learning in a regular classroom frustratingly tedious for them.
Meeting the unique educational needs of these learners is necessary for them to thrive and work to their potential. Yet, many school systems are unable to provide the educational accommodations our gifted students need to thrive in a traditional school setting.
Homeschooling has proven to be an exceptional education option for gifted students because it provides a learning environment easily tailored to meet the needs of these learners. Anecdotal evidence has shown that the families of gifted children are the single largest population turning to homeschooling. Moreover, homeschooled gifted learners are not only thriving, but excelling in their educational endeavors.
But, why should you homeschool your gifted child? Here are the some of the most common reasons parents choose to do so in these situations:
Although it has been shown that gifted children require a challenging and differentiated education, many schools and school districts have few or no programs specifically for gifted learners. Providing an appropriate education and implementing differentiation or acceleration for gifted children in a regular classroom is often difficult for teachers who already have too much on their plates. This leaves gifted children sitting in same-age classrooms possibly being taught information they know and skills they have already mastered. Bored and uninterested, gifted children may begin to act out in class, refuse to go to school, or disengage from learning entirely.
Gifted children often develop asynchronously — that is, a gifted child’s intellectual development may be years ahead of her chronological age, while her emotional or social maturity can lag years behind. When gifted children are placed in a same-age classroom, their achievement level can be several grade levels ahead of their classmates, yet their emotional maturity may be that of a child two to three years younger. Asynchronous development in gifted children can pose significant challenges in traditional schools, especially when the trait of giftedness is misunderstood or ignored.
Social struggles are common for many gifted children. Feelings of not fitting in with same-age peers, experiencing more than their share of bullying, and difficulty forming deep friendships are all common among gifted children, and may even be amplified within the traditional school system. Being placed in a same-age classroom with peers who do not share the gifted student’s uncommon intellectual pursuits or interests can make this child stand out negatively. And her asynchronous development often deepens this feeling of not fitting in.
Gifted children are typically aware that their peers find it difficult to understand or connect with them, which may leave them believing they are odd or that something is wrong with them. It is, in fact, not uncommon for gifted children to become the targets of bullying among their classmates. These feelings of not belonging and not having friends can result in a gifted child losing self-esteem, feeling depressed, and not wanting to go to school.
Homeschooling, with its numerous educational approaches and wide variety of educational experiences, offers many ways for a gifted child to be socially fulfilled and to excel academically. Homeschooling allows an easily-tailored education which can provide the necessary challenges at a pace a gifted child needs. Once gifted children are no longer constrained by the same-age organizational structure of traditional school, they find more freedom to socialize and find like-minded friends among older or younger children in the growing world of homeschooling groups, co-ops, and social gatherings.
Follow this link for additional expert-written articles on Noodle about gifted and talented education. Here are additional outside sources that you may find helpful as you make your decision:
Educating Your Gifted Child: How One Public School Teacher Embraced Homeschooling by Celi Trépanier
Homeschooling Gifted Children. (2006, August 18). Retrieved April 3, 2015, from Duke Talent Identification Program.
Rivero, L. (2010, November 1). Why We Homeschooled. Retrieved April 4, 2015, from SENG.