I love sharing stories of other parents parenting and homeschooling gifted kids. This is Heather’s…
Billy is gifted. He is 5 and knows how to add, subtract and is really learning how to read and write well (when he feels like it). He loves technology (he could work the iPhone at age 2) and likes video games. He is very self-motivated and loves to be busy working on something; if he is laying on the couch, he is sick. He likes to ask and answer trivia questions. He loves figuring out new things.
I’ve never officially had him tested for giftedness; and I probably never will. We’ll just take it a day at a time. I’m not trying to ignore his giftedness or deprive him by any means. In fact I intend to do just the opposite.
This is why we became delight directed homeschoolers. My goal for Billy’s education, first and foremost, is to train him up with a love for and trust in God; building for him a strong spiritual foundation on the Rock.
Second, I want to see him develop a desire to learn for the rest of his life.
I believe that God has given all of us our own special gifts. When we can learn to recognize those gifts in our children and encourage them to develop mastery in the subjects which they find delight in – not just momentary fun, but a true lasting delight – I believe God can use them in amazing ways.
The delight directed learning method is an excellent way for us as parents and teachers to discover our children’s talents and passions, and work at a pace that works for them.
Children are naturally curious. The delight directed learning method is the perfect way to encourage that curiosity. In addition, this method can offer the gifted child the opportunity to – instead of simply working on increasingly difficult material – actually create part or all of their own learning.
Each time our student desires to know about a topic, we have the opportunity as teachers and learning facilitators to show them how to learn and how to make connections with other areas of life. As your child grows this learning can become more student-driven. In this way we train them to become independent lifelong learners.
Another cool thing? There is no “right” way to be a delight directed homeschooler! You can use a box curriculum as a starting point and adapt it to suit your child’s interests or you could gather resources from the internet and the library to truly individualize all aspects of your curriculum; or anything in between!
If your child is gifted in math, work ahead, no problem! I am a fan of unit studies in our delight directed homeschool. The idea of taking one topic and looking at it from various subject areas makes a lot of sense to me. Lately I’ve been using holidays and celebrations as the starting point for our lessons. Here is an idea of what that looks like for us: Let’s say your student is getting excited about the 4th of July, for example. At an elementary level you could:
- Research and discuss the history of America or the history of the holiday itself (social studies)
- Sing patriotic songs or play them on an instrument (music)
- Make holiday-inspired crafts (art)
- Read books that take place during that time period (English/literature)
- Study the history and construction of fireworks (science)
- Go on a field trip to a historical site
And this is just the beginning! You and your child’s imaginations are your only limitations! You could create your own unit study like I have above or, if you prefer, you can purchase a pre-made unit study from any number of retailers.
A “gifted” label isn’t what matters. “The more important question is what are you doing to challenge the child,” says Arlene DeVries, co-author of A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children. (Source: Scholastic.com)
I hope that you consider the delight-directed learning approach and see how it can make teaching your gifted child even more memorable and fun!