Are you considering homeschooling your gifted child? Learn more about the pros and cons of gifted homeschooling from a mom who knows!
You could have never convinced me I would be homeschooling. I live in an excellent school district – so good, in fact, that it was the exact same school I attended as a child.
I personally knew members of the school staff, teachers, and the superintendent was one of my former high school instructors.
The stars had aligned, and my son’s public school experience was going to be perfect… until it wasn’t anymore.
I had a kid with a special need that could not be met, and it was up to Mama to step in and fix it.
Gifted From the Start
Let me set the stage for you.
A four-year-old boy enters preschool…
- Reading on a third-grade level
- Using mental math with all four basic operations as a magic trick for anyone who wanted to quiz him.
- For fun, the kid memorizes the digits of Pi.
- He speaks two languages and is trying to teach himself a third.
- He’s musically talented and plays piano by ear.
- The sound of the school’s flushing toilet scares him, and he won’t go potty alone.
- He insists on being the boss of his classroom.
- Unicorns are a trigger. Why? We will probably never know.
- He is the world’s pickiest eater, and school lunch is a disaster daily.
- Drop off and pick up is an anxiety-filled, emotionally draining occasion for both of us.
Something had to give. My normally happy, well-adjusted, and gifted son hated school. They did everything they could to accommodate him, but we simply weren’t a good fit.
Maybe it was too early for formal schooling; maybe he just wasn’t ready.
The school’s Gifted Specialist sent him home with worksheets full of mental puzzles and math riddles. Enough was enough.
If my story is resonating with you and somewhere in the back of your mind, you feel as if you’ve been here before, you may want to consider doing what I did.
Taking the Step to Homeschool
We withdrew from the school system.
And we haven’t looked back.
That four-year-old boy is now eight and thriving at home as a third grader (we did a grade skip this year). As his mother and first and most important teacher (with the help and support of my husband), I have a happy kid that spends his days exploring knowledge.
I’ve spent tons of time learning everything that I could about homeschooling and gifted education, racking up more hours than the average classroom teacher in Professional Development.
For my gifted child, homeschooling was simply better. Here’s why.
I can address his social-emotional learning directly.
By putting him into a public school setting and not addressing his individual needs, he was left to sink or swim.
Parents of gifted learners realize from an early age that these kids refuse to do either, and they question everything.
When my brand-new homeschooler avoided public restrooms, I created a unit study on the toilet and gave him a crash course on the physics involved and the public water works system. We haven’t had a problem with the restroom since.
Individualized Gifted Homeschooling
I can individualize his learning.
My son was all over the place. Back in Kindergarten, he could barely write but was reading everything.
He was also competing in international Math Competitions a full grade ahead of his age. He loved mechanics and coding.
I took the things that he struggled with and slowed him down.
For his age and stage of development, I wouldn’t expect his handwriting to be perfect, so I chose a curriculum that would help him with basic letter formation until he gained hand strength.
As unschoolers, child-led learning is a big focus, so if he wanted to advance in math and science, I let him, but I focused on reading aloud age-appropriate books and emphasized comprehension.
Competition and Leadership
I allow my son to lead and compete.
He will probably never get over his “bossiness,” but I can help him learn about compassion, empathy, teamwork, and sportsmanship.
The biggest misconception is that homeschoolers lack social skills. The same holds true for a lot of misunderstood, gifted children.
In the public school system, the stereotype is that the nerd gets bullied.
In my home, there obviously isn’t any bullying, and he’s encouraged to be himself so that when we are out having playdates, sports, or classes, self-confidence is not a problem.
If I see any bullying (even from him), I can also immediately address the issue and talk about it constructively – no disciplinary action is necessary.
We can bond better as a family.
My picky eater makes a lot of his own meals now. Meal times remained a struggle for a while until I understood that this, too, was part of his bodily autonomy.
Our family forces less and explains more. In turn, my son rewards us with trust. I get to sleep late and cuddle with my kid and talk about how propane tanks are manufactured (a real topic of discussion in my house).
We spend lots of time in nature. I’m teaching him to forage and identify plants, and we are both very happy.
Just thinking about how much I would be missing if he were at school for eight hours a day is unbelievable to me now. I enjoy watching him learn to play golf, or code a robot, or learn more digits of Pi. This life is pretty sweet, and my husband and I think that this kid is pretty cool.
Whatever your reasons for considering homeschooling for your gifted learner, just know nothing is easy. It will take work. But committing to working together with your kid to meet their needs is well worth all the effort.