Many parents wonder if homeschooling is right for their gifted child. Here are some frequently asked questions about homeschooling your gifted student.
Do my children need to be formally identified as gifted before I can accelerate our homeschool curriculum?
No, your children do not need to be identified as gifted by your county, the state of Maryland, or by way of any type of testing to accelerate your homeschool curricula. You are free to teach your children at their academic level, whether that is below or above their actual grade level or age for each subject area. As long as you are providing “regular and thorough instruction,” the level of your children’s instruction will not impact whether or not you are marked as compliant during the homeschool review process.
How do I know if my children are gifted and will that information impact what I teach?
Often parents have a sense of when their children are more advanced than their same-aged peers, meeting academic or cognitive milestones early. A formal IQ test administered by a psychologist may also provide useful information regarding ability. Additionally, as parents begin to homeschool, they may notice how quickly or deeply their children learn as they become intimately aware of their children’s strengths and challenges. Any indication of giftedness is useful in creating a plan for homeschooling, but none are necessary in order to proceed with providing an appropriate challenging and engaging education for your children.
If my children are gifted, is homeschooling an appropriate school model for my children?
Homeschooling is a fantastic schooling option for gifted students. Most gifted students are very curious and driven to learn by nature, and homeschooling can give them the opportunity to explore their deep interests at their own pace (or the pace you as the parent set for them). Maryland law states that your children must receive “regular and thorough instruction” in the eight subject areas that are taught in public schools. Homeschooling allows these creative minds to explore within and beyond these core subjects and into their passions and interests. Each family’s situation is unique, so parents need to decide what educational environment works best for their entire family.
What does homeschooling my gifted children look like?
Homeschooling parents of gifted children have the freedom to choose learning opportunities that fit their children’s level as well as cater to their interests. Yet, it does take commitment and effort on the part of the parent to find the right curricula and the best learning and social opportunities for their gifted children. There are many, many ways to homeschool (from “road-schooling,” to unschooling, to teaching from an all-in-one boxed curriculum, to full- or part-time online schooling, to weekend schooling), so parents can tailor their homeschool to their family’s needs.
Can my children be both gifted and have a learning difference?
Yes, many gifted children also have learning differences (such as dyslexia, ADHD, slow processing speed, autism, or anxiety), referred to as “twice exceptional,” or for short, “2e.” Homeschooling can be a great option for twice exceptional learners as there is a lot of freedom for parents to tailor their children’s education to meet their unique needs. The pressure to conform to social and academic norms and the pace of learning is greatly lessened from a traditional school environment. Also, in homeschooling, there is generally more time to focus on both the children’s strengths and to receive individualized instruction in challenge area.