You realize your child is gifted and you are desperate for help. Fear of failure looms over you. Even within the homeschooling circle, you are unsure of where to turn. Homeschooling a gifted child is an obstacle that is sometimes hard to talk about and can feel overwhelming. But take heart, there is help!
Obstacle #3 – Homeschooling a Gifted Child
For Those Who Are Already Homeschooling a Gifted Child
If you have a gifted child or a child who is quite advanced in one or more subjects, you may be feeling a little reluctant to continue to homeschool him/her. Do you wonder if you have what it takes to educate and challenge your gifted child? Perhaps you are toying with the idea of giving up. Know that many of us have toyed with that same idea for a variety of reasons. But, you may even feel embarrassed to bring up your struggles and concerns with fellow homeschool moms. You may fear that you will be seen as bragging or lacking compassion for those who have children with learning disabilities.
If you find that you don’t know where to turn, don’t abandon ship just yet! Keep reading…and praying. All children are gifts from God. Each one has been knitted in the womb with special characteristics that make that child unique. They are given to us with purpose from God who loves his children and is always working for His glory and our good.
But it’s true that gifted children can often leave parents feeling desperate for help. A deep sense of failure can wash over you in an instant when you struggle to challenge your son or daughter enough. Your mind may be clouded with questions. “Am I short-changing my child’s gifting by homeschooling?” “Would my child be better taught by a trained teacher in a public or private school setting?”
A Personal Story
A friend of mine has a gifted son. He decided in 5th grade to work his way through calculus – and did so before the end of 6th grade. When he did, his parents were mystified and didn’t know how to help him. Afterall, his mom is an English and language arts expert, not a math whiz. So, she and her husband contacted local math programs, colleges, and professors for help. But, their local community college would not allow a twelve-year-old to enroll in classes. And when she found online math programs, most didn’t have answer keys she could refer to. Other resources that were available would cost them an enormous amount of money. What were they to do? Well, the following ideas are some of what she and her husband found helpful for their son.
For Those Who Are Considering Homeschooling a Gifted Child
Maybe you’re one of those who has recently realized that your child in the public school is not getting his/her needs met. You are frustrated, and feel the tug to homeschool. And yet you are not quite sure where to start. You do not know how to accomplish what has been until now just an idea you’ve heard talked about. Take heart. Be encouraged. With the help of a few resources and most likely a lot of prayer, you can accomplish the task. And I’m going to guess that you’re going to love learning alongside your child!
Here are 4 time-tested tips for homeschooling a gifted child:
Khan Academy is an online educational organization dedicated to helping educate kids of all ages – for FREE! They offer courses, lessons, and practice in almost every discipline. From math, computer programming, science, and engineering, to humanities, finance, standardized test prep, and more. These lessons span all grade levels and abilities. Teachers are able to make assignments and track learning progress, as well as discover any learning gaps to help every student succeed. Khan Academy was a great resource my friend used. It allowed her son to really get the education he needed all the while being able to remain at home.
Moreover, online college classes are available to high schoolers starting at age 15. Students can obtain both college level credit as well as high school credit through online dual-enrollment courses. Many community colleges, as well as private colleges, allow high school students to earn college credit through online courses. These courses are usually offered at a reduced rate for high school students. The benefit is that high schoolers can end up graduating with a number of college credits (similar to AP classes), lessening the amount of time and finances spent in college. And, college professors teach your gifted students without them having to be on a college campus at a young age. Your student gains advanced learning while they are still under your influence and love.
Remember that education is not limited only to academics. Consider giving opportunities for your gifted students to be challenged in a variety of areas. Expose them to foreign languages, music composition, and physical challenges.
DuoLingo is a free online language program in which students can learn a foreign language. Challenge them with a new sport, instrument, or art form. Provide your gifted student with new ways to deepen or broaden their horizon. In doing so, you may find that your student’s creativity and learning soar as they absorb a variety of disciplines and are challenged in new ways.
Think about how you can expand your students’ world. Allow them to work in a field of interest, or do an internship with someone you know. Offer ways they can serve their community, gain leadership experience, or volunteer at home or abroad. When your children gain experience in these areas, they set themselves up to be more well-rounded adults when they leave the home.
Success Story and Additional Resources
My friend, whose son was highly gifted in math? Well, he took higher education classes in high school through Khan Academy, began tutoring others in Latin and math, started playing volleyball, and began composing music. In essence, he discovered a world of opportunities he hadn’t thought of before, all while still remaining at home being homeschooled. He went on to graduate high school at age 16. As he begins college now, his parents are eager to see how God is going to use Him in the near future.
I realize in some ways I just touched on the topic. For more information on homeschooling a gifted child, here are a few wonderful resources available for you that you can have at your fingertips:
I hope this post together with the above resources helps you in your quest to homeschool a gifted child. Remember, God has handpicked your child(ren) specifically for you. He will equip you where He calls you. I’m praying for you!