Is homeschooling good for gifted kids?
Thanks so much for sending your question. I am a huge advocate for public education, so I want to establish my bias early on in my answer.
After teaching thousands of students in classrooms over a span of almost two decades, I feel like students benefit from being around each other; and the loss of any one student is not only a loss to the student (who misses out on discussions and experiences with other gifted peers), but it is a loss to everyone who would have benefited from what the student who left had to offer.
That said, obviously, students learn best where they feel safe, and if your child is not in a safe or challenging environment, then you need to change environments.
Homeschooling is a Viable Option for Gifted Kids
Homeschooling is certainly a viable option for gifted kids, and the New York Times Best Seller lists reflect the successes of homeschooling.
- Christopher Paolini, author of the Eragon series, is a powerful example of how people can thrive in a homeschool environment.
- Alex and Brett Harris, authors of Do Hard Things and founders of the Rebelution.com have magnificent resumes that started with their homeschool accomplishments.
Homeschooling can offer ideal circumstances to build specific gifts, especially if parents network with other homeschooling families. Hoagies’ Gifted is an excellent resource for gifted parents, and it has a section dedicated to homeschooling gifted kids.
Options are Specific by State
Many states have flexible education options – students may even be allowed to attend public school part-time and be homeschooled part-time. A partial day can allow you and your child can stay connected with public schools, because your child may decide to re-enter public schools in high school. You can then enroll your homeschooled child in 11th or 12th grade so that he can get a traditional high school diploma. There is more information available from your state’s Department of Education.
Most states require you to cover English language arts, math, science (biological and physical), social studies, fine arts, and physical education as part of your homeschooling; check your local regulations to find out what applies to you.
Mini-Charter Schools and Homeschool Networks
There are some parents who are ready to create mini-charter schools or who are formally trained as teachers. There are also parents who are already part of a homeschool network, and engaged in learning co-ops and other group-learning environments. Then there are parents who are none of the above. They just want their children to get solid educations, but the local public school is not working out. All parents have a variety of options, when it comes to leaving the mainstream school system.
Many parents have recommended the Connections Academy to me; parents use online academies for their children when families temporarily leave the area on sabbaticals from the university in my town.
There’s also an online public school called K12online, which receives state funding. I don’t personally know any students who have attended K12 and then returned to public school, but I do know teachers who left the traditional public school to teach at K12 online.
Since it’s a public school, you’d just transfer your child from his current district and enroll him in the K12 Online Public School through their website. Then you will receive textbooks and materials from K12 online, and you will park your child in front of the computer every day and make sure he attends class virtually just like he was in a brick-and-mortar school.
There are online discussions, assignments your child will turn in for grading, and optional meet-ups in nearby cities. You can have parent conferences with teachers and be involved in a way that is familiar to you through the public schools.
Advocate For Kids
I want parents to feel comfortable contacting teachers, administrators, and school boards and advocate for their children and gifted education; so when a student leaves the system, I urge the parents to explain why they are choosing to remove their student. Do not go gently into that good night! Let the school know what happened, so they can work on improving for the benefit of other kids in the system.
Gifted Kids can Flourish in Various Environments
Public school seems to not be working out for your child, and that makes me sad. Gifted kids can flourish in multiple environments, however; and you have several options available to you as you move forward. I wish you and your son the best of luck in your education adventures.© Copyright 2014 Alex Sharp, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Parenting