Acceleration Through Homeschool: The Challenges and Rewards of Gifted Learners

 

What are some of the biggest challenges for homeschoolers?

Homeschooling parents may have to deal with challenges unique to gifted children.   Finding quality curriculum materials for their children, managing schedules and maintaining discipline are just a few of those challenges. Homeschooling parents may also need to spend money to buy books, pay tuition fees, maintain supplies, hire tutors and find childcare.

Does homeschool help accelerated learners?

Homeschooling is great for students who need extra help with gifted or talented learning. This is not just limited to those who score above average, but also those whose cognition excels at special talents.  Homeschoolers have the opportunity to learn differently than students in traditional schools.  Some parents take the time to teach according to their scholar’s learning style, which is an adaptive approach.

When a student goes to a traditional school, there is a prescriptive approach.  For example, traditional school scholars are given a schedule of classes and are expected to follow a specific method endorsed by their professor.  The ‘prescription’ leaves little room for exploring alternative ways to connect.

In contrast, homeschooling parents coach their children to discover new possibilities for themselves and blend academics more frequently.  The adaptive learning style can take many paths and allow for a deeper connection to the skill being mastered. The student learns what works best for them, rather than trying to fit in with everyone else. In many cases, gifted students drastically shorten the time needed to learn a new skill because of adaptive learning methods.

What are some of the biggest rewards that homeschoolers enjoy?

Homeschooling can be extremely rewarding.  Parent-led learning often promotes the freedom to learn how they want, when they want, and from what materials they choose. Students also develop skills that will help them throughout life. These include problem-solving, communication, creativity, critical thinking, and patience.

Other rewards include the opportunity to;

  • Learn about and practice moral values
  • Gain socialization skills
  • Build a strong support system
  • Save money! 10 -20 cents per private school dollar invested provides comparable outcomes
  • Control the pace of their child’s education
  • Spend extra time on challenging subjects
  • Tailor the curriculum to their needs
  • Deeply engage in enrichment activities like art, music, and sports
  • Enjoy community involvement and develop positive citizenship
  • Take advantage of unrestricted travel dates and field trips

Should gifted children be allowed to accelerate to higher grades, or should they remain in the same age-banded grade as their peers?

Gifted children have special abilities and challenges. When given extra support, they often excel. Patterns show that students who start high school classes ahead of their peers do better academically.  Rapid advancement scholars are also able to handle research-based classes more effectively.  When a child shows intellectual aptitude or acceleration in a specific talent, it is best to continue their pace with progressive challenges.  Holding them back due to their age can actually result in learning loss due to burnout or loss of interest.  This is both a challenge and a reward that depends on the rate of acceleration, the resources available to the gifted child, and the parent’s ability to support them.

How does acceleration play a role in talent identification?

Acceleration plays a major role in talent identification and development due to a few key factors. Academic Acceleration can be defined as a rapid development of a skill or the ability to move ahead of most peers in a subject or skill.  When applied to the gifted homeschooler, it provides a unique opportunity to participate in talent identification programs.

Acceleration is a key determinant of long-term success.  It is directly related to both self-efficacy and efficient production. In other words, the gifted child understands that their contributions help their community, they are likely to make improvements without guidance.   However, acceleration without executive functioning or independent thought development may also be an indication of forced competitiveness. Thus, balance a gifted scholar’s acceleration with meaningful activities when trying to support academic potential.

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