One of the many benefits of homeschooling is that it allows parents to structure the curriculum according to their child’s specific needs. This is just as much the case when teaching gifted students, who come with their own set of unique learning needs. Here are some of those common needs and how you can adjust the pace and depth of learning when homeschooling your gifted students.
Common Learning Traits of Gifted Children
If your child is profoundly gifted, learning in a traditional environment might not be the best fit for them. Some of the situations they might experience include:
- Having boundless energy (which could be misdiagnosed as ADHD)
- Learning basic skills quickly with little practice
- Handling and constructing abstractions with ease
- Needing to know the “whys” and “hows” of everything
- Being intensely focused on their interests
- Observing deeply
- Learning faster and with greater depth than their peers
These experiences, while demonstrate a great propensity for learning, may result in challenges for learning alongside others who learn differently in a public or private school classroom.
Adjusting the Pace and Depth When Homeschooling Gifted Students
Every child should have the right to an education that meets them where they are emotionally and intellectually. Fortunately, homeschooling offers the parents of gifted children the opportunity to adjust the pace and depth of their programs in several ways.
1. Let them Go Through the Lessons at Their Own Pace.
This strategy allows your child to learn at the pace that’s most natural for them. With this approach, your gifted child may get ahead and be able to get through the requirements of each grade level at a faster pace than normal. Also, make sure that they stay in a habit of retaining what they are learning rather than fixate on trying to get through the content as quickly as possible.
2. Emphasize More Depth in Learning.
More breadth and depth in learning is an excellent strategy for exercising your child’s curious mind. It involves creating more activities and lessons around the subject matter, such as assigning books, field trips, experiments, or documentaries. You can even have your child do a project of their choice related to each subject being taught.
3. Use Expert Teachers
You may run into an instance where your child needs more experience on a subject than you yourself are able to provide. Consider contacting experts of certain fields that are of high interest to your child. Experts can provide your homeschooler with more extensive information that may even help discover the future career path your child wants to follow. For example, if your child is interested in large animal biology, you could reach out to a large animal veterinarian in your area and shadow them for a day as they care for their patients.
4. Be OK With Inconsistencies
Some gifted children might excel in some areas, like math, and struggle in others, like reading or the arts. Be honest with your child about their strengths and help them create strategies to work on those other areas. Make sure your child understands that this is normal and not something they should feel inadequate about. Having to work harder in certain areas can be beneficial in helping gifted children form effective study habits that they would otherwise not have the opportunity to learn.
5. Get Help When You Need It
Sometimes, it takes more than a typical public school classroom to satisfy your gifted child’s desire for learning. Having a support system when homeschooling can transform your child’s learning experiences and preserve their love for learning. Be sure you surround yourself with a reliable community and consider expert advice to help your child adjust to the best pace and depth of learning for them.
Get Assistance When Homeschooling Gifted Students
While homeschooling your gifted child might pose some unique adjustments, they’re not anything you’ll have to face on your own. There’s plenty of help available. Homeschool associations like the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools (SCAIHS) offer services to help you and your gifted homeschooler achieve a desired learning journey.
With membership in SCAIHS, you’ll gain access to a wealth of resources, such as educational counseling, curriculum materials, reporting assistance, and bookstore discounts, just to name a few. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of membership and how we can help in your homeschooling journey.