By Corin Barsily Goodwin
Your child is gifted, and you are considering homeschooling. What are the benefits?
When you choose to homeschool your gifted child, you are giving your child the opportunity to have an education that is tailored to their needs without the repetition of a modern curriculum, or the focus on minimum standards that may overlook the potential of each individual child. While there are in-school options such as pull-out classes and acceleration, those still may not meet your child's needs. Linda Silverman of the Gifted Development Center writes of asynchrony that...
“...gifted children develop in an uneven manner, that they are more complex and intense than their agemates, that they feel out-of-sync with age peers and 'age appropriate curriculum,' that the internal and external discrepancies increase with IQ, and that these differences make them extremely vulnerable. Their greatest need is each other in an environment in which it is safe to be different. IQ tests may not predict who will become famous, but they do give at least a minimal estimate of the degree of the child’s asynchrony, and, therefore, vulnerability.”
Maybe your child is simply too asynchronous to fit comfortably into a one-size-fits-all academic environment (as are many gifted children), or you are just tired of using all of your energy advocating within the system and want to put it toward something you feel will be more effective.
One of the great joys of homeschooling is the flexibility inherent in running your own show. If you try a particular curriculum and it doesn't work, you can throw out parts of it, jump around among sections, or just put it aside and try something else. If your child is intensely interested in volcanoes of the Pacific, you can let them focus on that exclusively rather than stopping them after 20 minutes to study Latin. You can do unit studies, or you can simply run as hard as you can to follow your child's interests! You'll be able to let your kids move ahead in each subject at the pace at which they are comfortable, and expand on those subjects or take breaks from them as you believe appropriate. The possibilities are endless and the doors open to you and your child are many — read on for suggestions as to how you can homeschool your gifted child!
And be sure to take a look at Making the Choice: When Typical School Doesn't Fit Your Atypical Child by Corin Barsily Goodwin and Mike Gustavson, MFT.
This article was orginally written for a collection of information about starting the homeschool journey, "From Chaos to Confidence," on the HomeSchool Association of California (HSC) Web site. It is used here with HSC's permission.