Home Schooling Your Gifted Child
- Vicki Caruana Educational Consultant, Author, and Speaker
- 2002 2 Feb
Ask any teen who has been identified as gifted what kind of education fits the way his mind works, and he will give you incredible insight into the needs of gifted children at large. Here are some of the common responses gifted teens give when asked what is important to them in the educational process.
They want to:
learn at their own speed, not someone elses;
skip over material they already know and understand;
study things of interest beyond basic schoolwork;
work with abstract concepts (creative, reflective, analytical ideas) that require more than simple thinking.
(These responses were taken from The Gifted Kids Survival Guide by Judy Galbraith.)
How many of our childrens classrooms take the time necessary to meet these stated needs?
These needs dont magically appear in the teenage years. They begin right from the start. Teens are just better at articulating them. Not all gifted childrens needs will be met in the regular classroom. When the statistics show that 20% of high school dropouts are students with higher than average I.Q.s, that means that 1 out of 5 gifted students are not being challenged in Americas classrooms. If your child is one of them, what can you do?
Home schooling is an option whose time has come. Its in a revival of sortsespecially when you consider that at one point in our countrys history, everyone was home schooled. This is not a new trend, just an option whose wisdom is being revisited. Is home schooling right for your child? A number of indicators may point you in that direction.
Have you noticed that your child is becoming more and more complacent in his or her studies?
Does your son habitually wait to do his reports until the night before they are due? Is your daughter starting to shy away from going above and beyond and just doing the bare minimum required? This can happen as late as fifth grade, but as early as first grade. Its called learned complacency, and it jeopardizes our childrens futures. Our children have learned, quickly as usual, that they can easily squeak by and still get an A. Since our schools are product oriented, the almighty A is a treasured commodity, one that most gifted students can attain with little to no effort.
One teacher proudly boasted how her advanced reading group always got As on their vocabulary tests. After considering the situation more seriously, she conducted an experiment. Without warning, she tested her advanced class on their new vocabulary words the day she assigned them. Again they all obtained As. She wasnt teaching them anything. They werent learning anything. She was testing them on things they already knew! So the kids figure out right away that they dont need to study in order to achieve.
How is home schooling an advantage?
As a parent-educator, you have the opportunity to realistically assess what your child does and doesnt already know. Very little time is wasted. Teaching can be targeted to the actual skill needed. Your child has the chance to learn how to work hard for what he values. If it is an A that he values, then when he obtains that A with you, both you and your child will know that it means that he has mastered the material presented.
This is Part 1 in a three-part series.
Copyright 1998 by Vicki Caruana. First time and reprint.