Teaching to the exceptionally bright can be extremely fulfilling, especially as
your child begins to broach his or her potential. But it's also a challenge. You
might find that your child burns quickly through subjects and learning
materials. Such students might have certain passions or interests for which they
feel compelled to delve deeper—whether it's math or English, science or art.
This requires time—and the greatest virtue of all, patience.|
K-12 online curriculum providers,
K12, provide families
with the tools and resources to meet a child's every academic need. Unlike
traditional bricks-and-mortar schools,
K12 encourages each
student to move at his or her own pace. No matter a student's IQ, all learners
grow through doing. Rather than put your child through a battery of tests and
evaluations to determine the level of his or her "giftedness," K12 leaves
it to you—parent and student—to determine together the best educational path.
The key, says Jenny Kendall,
K12, director of
special programs, is to evaluate your child's "strengths and needs on an
"One of the pitfalls, generally, of public education is that kids are kind of
trapped in moving through curriculum at the pace that works the best for the
entire class," adds K12 Senior Director of Academic Services Jennifer Sims. "In
[the K12] model, a student can move as fast and far as they want to move."
Once a student masters a particular subject, the goal, especially for a
gifted student, should be to expand his or her academic horizons.
"We do not need to stay on the same page of the textbook with our 25 other
peers in our bricks-and-mortar classroom," explains Kendall. "Rather, we can
move forward at the pace the student needs to move forward at, ensuring there is
mastery along the way."
is one advantage of the homeschool approach for gifted students. Flexibility is
another. Whether your child excels in one subject or several, the best way to
feed an intellectual appetite is to create new learning opportunities.
Let's say, for example, your child shows a real passion for science and
engineering, particularly aviation. The homeschool approach allows you to carve
out extra time in the school day for extension activities, such as museum visits
or in-depth research projects, devices that will help your child cultivate his
or her passion—and move closer to achieving his or her full academic potential.
"The ability to extend lessons beyond what comes up on the computer screen or
in the daily lesson is huge," says Kendall, adding that students are constrained
only by the limits of their own imaginations.
What's more, homeschool students are not held to the same time constraints as
traditional bricks-and-mortar school students, which means they can spend more
time developing their interests—and finding out what drives them. "If it's a
topic that really interests the student, they can go off in many, many
directions with that particular interest and tie it in to other disciplines,"
says Sims. The fact that homeschool students are not required to take the same
high-stakes tests as their bricks-and-mortar counterparts also is a benefit.
"There is just a lot more flexibility in terms of how students can progress,"
Homeschooling a gifted child is a lot of fun for parents. But it can also be
a challenge. One of the toughest aspects often is finding enough resources to
satisfy students' curiosities.
homeschooling families with a wealth of resources and activities to extend
learning beyond the usual curriculum.
An online speaker series allows homeschool students—and parents, too—to log
on and discuss a range of topics from parenting to math and science to
leadership. There's something for everyone, whatever your interests might be.
Don't see what you or your child is looking for?
K12 is always
open to suggestions.
Relationship building is another challenge for many gifted students,
particularly in the traditional school environment. Because gifted students are
in the minority in most schools, finding friends with whom they can talk and
share similar interests is not always easy. As a homeschool family using the
you have access to several tools to encourage socialization and help
your child develop that "well-roundedness"
that is so important in life. As a national education provider,
K12 casts a wide
net and provides many opportunities, whether in person or online, for gifted
students to meet and interact with others like them.
"You cannot learn in isolation," says Sims. Use the tools at your disposal to
find mentors and friends that can extend your child's growth and help them
explore their many interests.
Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind that "gifted" is a fluid term. Just
because your child demonstrates the potential, or aptitude, to perform in a
particular area does not mean he or she will ace every assignment. Social and
behavioral aspects will affect how your child performs. Motivation and passion
are keys to success. And sometimes interests take time to develop.
"Be a good reader of your child," says Kendall. "Ownership and understanding
of concepts is key."
Don't forget that learning is a two-way street. Involve your child in
discussions about their coursework. Ask them how they are doing, or where they
think they need help. Do they need or want more of particular topic? Don't be
afraid to ask. After all, you're dealing with a pretty smart cookie.
Is my child gifted?
Every parent wants to believe his or her child is gifted. And rightfully so.
But when it comes to academic ability, there are several markers that parents
should look for. Below is a list of general intellectual qualities of gifted
students from the National Association for Gifted Children. A more comprehensive
list and other materials for parents can be found on the organization's Web site
www.nagc.org. If find your child has one or more of
these qualities, you may want to consider looking into gifted education options
General intellectual ability:
is an avid reader
has avid interest in science or literature
provides very alert, rapid answers to questions
has a wide range of interests
is secure emotionally
is venturesome, wanting to do new things
tends to dominate peers or situations
is an entrepreneur—readily makes money on various projects or activities
needs little outside control—applies self-discipline
is resourceful—solving problems by ingenious methods
is creative in new ideas, seeing associations, pursuing innovations
displays a great curiosity about objects, situations or events
has the capacity to look into things and be puzzled
is involved with many exploratory activities
reveals originality in oral and written expression
is perceptually open to his or her environment
displays a willingness to accept complexity
has the capacity to use knowledge and information other than to memorize
shows superior judgment in evaluating things
is a good guesser
makes good grades in most subjects
learns rapidly, easily and efficiently
uses a lot of common sense
retains and uses information which has been heard or read
uses a large number of words easily and accurately
asks many questions of a provocative nature
has powers of abstraction, conceptualization and synthesis
has an interest in cause-effect relations
likes structure, order and consistency
has a power of concentration, an intense attention that excludes all
has a high energy level
is friendly and outgoing