The resources for parents homeschooling gifted children can be divided into these areas:
What do your gifted children need?
Gifted and talented children have a heightened ability to interact; that interaction may be with academic material, with other people, with the arts, or with other topics of interest. In most cases, that heightened ability to interact begins early and at home with parents and caregivers. So if your child is gifted, you are probably a major contributor to that interaction. How best to provide the resources your children need? The resources for parents homeschooling gifted children can be divided into these areas:
- Academic. Homeschool parents need curriculum and supplemental books to foster and develop their gifted children’s ability, particularly in the core subjects of English language arts, history, math, and science. Parents of gifted children also need more subjects and materials to cater for heightened abilities and wider interests: philosophy for fostering enquiring minds even at a very young age, Latin and Spanish at all levels, social studies, and futures studies for the older students. Gifted children need rigor, challenge, and materials that will encourage and develop their innate desire to learn and understand. Young learners need to be engaged and encouraged with special materials in their exploration of the world. Once children have passed from learning to read to the point where they are reading to learn, it is important to give them books and other reading materials to allow them to expand their horizons.
- Life Skills. Developing life skills is a crucial part of what you are offering at home to the gifted child. Whether in structured activities or in fiction, the qualities of leadership and teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking, logic, creativity, character building, personal interaction, time management, persistence, resilience, and personal organization can all be explored. Problem-based learning brings together all the skills of communication, analysis, and synthesis presented with real-world scenarios that you can engage in as a family or with a wider community of homeschoolers.
- Social and emotional needs. Parents frequently need help to meet the social and emotional needs of gifted and talented children. How do they fit into the wider family? Can they fulfill their potential in a world that demands conformity? Girls may need special attention and encouragement to achieve. Gifted children’s abilities are “out of sync”—asynchronous—with their chronological age, and there may be difficulty in coping with the world outside, with frustrations, or with relating to others who may have less ability to interact, or there may be a physical disability alongside giftedness. The twice-exceptional can have a disability that masks their giftedness or talents; a high-ability learner and thinker may be dyslexic; another gifted child may suffer mood-swings or be over-sensitive. All these problems present huge challenges for the parents of gifted children. This is where the advice of experts in the field of gifted education and the experiences of other parents can be invaluable.
- The arts. Books that help gifted and talented children to foster, explore, and extend their interest and skills in the arts are invaluable to parents. There are work pads and instructional materials that all children can enjoy. Have you tried screen printing or making collages?
A primary purpose at Royal Fireworks Press is to help and support the parents and teachers of gifted children. Experts in the field of giftedness, Michael Clay Thompson, Dr. Thomas M. Kemnitz, Dr. Shelagh A. Gallagher, Jennifer Seron, Dr. Sharon Kaye, and Dr. Frances Spielhagen, are always pleased to help.
- “Gifted children are those who require a differentiated educational program if their exceptional needs are to be met. Their ability is not just a socially undesirable characteristic, an unfair advantage that they have over other children; it is often a disadvantage; it often creates serious problems. Gifted children won’t ‘get everything on their own'; they need us to understand them, support them and provide differentiated instruction for them, just as other children with exceptional learning characteristics need our specific understanding and support.
- Differentiation is the critical fact; gifted children are at risk; they need us to provide them with an education that is appropriate in rigorous, accelerated content and advanced thinking processes…
- …They need instruction that responds to their extra curiosity, to their urgency for meaning, to their advanced vocabularies, to their interest in complexity, to their fast comprehensions, to their vast memories. Gifted children need choice– individualized and self-regulating experiences that are appropriate to their self-motivated independence. They need higher-order thinking activities that give their abstract minds a workout. They need Socratic, the energies of their inherent, constant questioning. They need advanced levels of subject matter because they can learn them and short instructions because they will understand them immediately and quick paces through difficult material because they don’t need many things repeated.”