Since I began searching for alternate paths of learning for my twice-exceptional son many years ago, and changed my thinking enough to gather the courage to pull him out of school to pursue homeschooling, I’ve watched the population of homeschoolers with gifted children grow. And grow.

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Gifted Children

And, in the process, I’ve come to believe wholeheartedly that homeschooling is the best possible educational path available for gifted learners. In school systems where funding for gifted programs are either nonexistent, or being cut dramatically, there just aren’t enough resources to meet the needs of our gifted kids.

So, they get left behind as teachers are forced teach to the middle or remediate those that struggle. But all children deserve to learn every day, and, for gifted kids, homeschooling is the answer.

For all of you out there considering homeschooling as the answer for your bright – or twice-exceptional – kids, and for those already on this path alongside me, I’ve pulled together this Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Gifted Kids full of information, resources and support.

 


Read the whole post or click below to go directly to the section you’re looking for.

What is Giftedness?
Why Homeschool Gifted Kids?
How to Homeschool a Gifted Child
Support for Parents of Gifted Kids
Recommended materials
Moving Forward


 

What is Giftedness?

While this post is mostly about resources and support, I’d be remiss not to discuss the term gifted. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know I’ve covered giftedness in several different posts and series, which I’ll link to, but I’ll share again so it’s all in one place.

The Columbus Group defines giftedness as:

[the] asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally.

If you need a more clinical definition of giftedness, a test score of {roughly} two standard deviations above average would generate a diagnosis of giftedness. However, as the definition above describes, there are other factors involved in giftedness.

A gifted child is neurologically wired differently than his average peers. Giftedness is hard to accurately measure because tests and schools are looking for achievement. And a high achiever is not necessarily a gifted learner.

 

WhatisGiftedness_thumb

 

He may be…but, it’s actually more likely that he is not the high-achieving kiddo we think of when we picture a gifted child.

That asynchrony and intensity that goes along with giftedness makes for an extremely complex individual — even more different than other gifted kids as he is from typical age-peers. Throw in some learning difficulties to make your child fit the twice-exceptional definition, and you really have your hands full.

Need some more information to help you in figuring out that awesome {and puzzling} kiddo you have? Try these resources:

 

Gifted Definitions

There are many, many definitions of giftedness, and just as many passionate pleas for understanding. Here are some that I find helpful, researched-based, and well-written:

 

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Twice-Exceptional Learners

A gifted learner is twice-exceptional when he or she has another issue to deal with like ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism, Dyslexia, and myriad other challenges. The kids are uniquely difficult to identify, especially in a school setting {but also in the home} because their abilities mask their disabilities, and vice versa. They often come across as lazy, belligerent, argumentative, unfocused, hyperactive, or like they just don’t care.

2E kids {as they’re called for short} are especially challenging to parent and teach. These links and books are great for arming you with information and strategies to help your 2E child work through his or her difficulties so that their advanced abilities can shine:

 

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Asynchronous Learning

Giftedness and asynchronous abilities go hand-in-hand. And, the higher your child falls on the continuum {IQ or ability}, the more asynchronous he likely is. This means that he may be reading at an adult reading level, writing like a third grader, conversing with college school biology professors about the life cycle of the garter snake, and completing on-grade-level 6th grade math like the rest of the twelve year old in the neighborhood.

 

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Intensity

Gifted children are often described as more. More everything… Their day is the best or worst day ever – there is no in-between. They meltdown, they hyper-focus, they avoid work passionately… You just never know exactly who is going to show up. I recently presented a webinar on managing intensity in children, and have gathered some great resources together already. Below, I’ve linked to some articles I’ve written, that resource page, and some additional resources as well:

 

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Why Homeschool Gifted Kids?

With class sizes rising, teachers are stretched thinner and thinner. They’re evaluated on their students’ test scores, and so their limited time and resources often fall to the struggling students, leaving gifted kids to fend for themselves.

And, many gifted kids – especially those that fall into the highly or profoundly gifted range – just can’t do well within a normal classroom structure. They don’t fit into any molds.

 

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Gifted Children via www.RaisingLifelongLearners.com

Homeschooling is the perfect option for these kids because they can learn at their own pace, following their passions and interests. In so many cases, homeschooling is the answer for parents of gifted kids, too. They breathe a sigh of relief once their child is home and the stressors of fighting for accommodations are gone. I know I did.

It’s hard, though, to find others walking this path because giftedness is still not talked about as readily as disabilities, athleticism, or other special needs. So, here are some resources for homeschooling gifted kids, along with a few homeschool blogs that talk giftedness:

 

Resources for Homeschooling Gifted Kids

From nuts and bolts articles to personal stories, the web houses great articles and posts about homeschooling gifted kids. Here are a few of my favorite:

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Gifted Homeschool Blogs

There are some great bloggers out there homeschooling their gifted children. Each comes at homeschooling from a different perspective, so you may want to hop around and read a few to see which writers you identify with. Let me know if I missed any of your favorites.

How to Homeschool a Gifted Child

There are as many ways to homeschool a gifted child as there are gifted children in this world. Methods abound, and one or more may fit your child’s interests and learning style. The asynchronous nature and incredible intensity of gifted kids, though, make it difficult to find a one-size-fits-all curriculum or method. Here’s an overview of some different methods, along with links to resources specific to each style:

Unschooling

Using an unschooling approach to learning means that activities and lessons are not prescribed and made compulsory. Children learn through their life experiences.

 


 

 

 

Project-Based Learning

Project-based homeschooling is a method where meaningful projects are chosen and carried out in a self-directed, learner-motivated way. Kids take an active role in focusing the path of their own learning.

 


 

 

 

Interest-Led {or Delight-Directed} Learning

Piggybacking off of the project-based method, interest-led learning – also called delight-directed – uses a child’s interests to help facilitate his or her learning.

 


 

 

 

Unit Studies

The unit study approach can be similar to the above methods, but tends to integrate all subject areas.

 

 
 

 

 

 

Classical Approach

A classical approach to homeschooling is a rigorous academically-focused program based on classical literature, languages, and logic.

 


 

 

 

Charlotte Mason Style

A British educator, Charlotte Mason believed in teaching the whole child, and that education was an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life. Its focus is on short lessons, exposure to great art and music, nature, and real, rich literature.

 


 

 

 

Other Approaches that May Work for You

The above lists and resources about homeschooling methods are far from exhaustive, and I’ll add to them as I find new resources that I think are valuable. Below is a list of other methods that may work for you. I’ll update this post with additional links and resources to these methods as I find them. If you find methods or resources you think I should add, please let me know.

 

Support for Parents of Gifted Kids

The hardest thing about finding support as you homeschool your gifted child is that you often have to split your focus. There are loads of great resources for homeschoolers and wonderful places to go for support as a parent of a gifted child, but only a few cater to homeschoolers of gifted children.

 

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Gifted Children via www.RaisingLifelongLearners.com

Here, I list resources that support both parents of gifted children and those homeschooling gifted kids – I’ll leave my favorite general homeschooling sites for another list.

Organizations

 

Publishers

Recommended materials

 

Science

Math

Language Arts

Foreign Language

History

Art

Music

Play

Other Creative Resources

Tech / Electronics

Online courses

 

Moving Forward

Parenting and homeschooling gifted kids can be overwhelming. You may feel alone, and if you’re raising a twice-exceptional child, you may doubt his giftedness and your own parenting ability at times.

I know I do.

I hope you’ll consider subscribing to receive new posts from Raising Lifelong Learners in your inbox as they’re posted. I’m working on some exciting subscriber freebies, giveaways, and a weekly newsletter that will include discount codes to materials and original articles not seen on the blog.

 

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