My child is gifted but struggles in traditional school. What are my other options?
Is your son a math genius who easily gets bored in his other classes? Does your daughter love to read books well above her age group’s reading level but somehow forgets to turn in any of her homework on time? Maybe your child understands their lessons and performs very well on homework but gets poor grades on exams due to test anxiety.
Having a gifted child is just that, a gift, but finding ways to challenge them can be hard in a brick and mortar school setting unless they have a program specifically for gifted students. Anything Academic can help you find schools near you that offer gifted programs. We can also show you more options. Homeschooling can be an excellent way to educate a gifted child. There are also thousands of curriculums, learning resources, and more that have been created just for gifted students. At Anything Academic, it’s our job to show you what’s out there so you can find the perfect fit for you and your student.
Homeschooling for gifted students
The decision to homeschool can feel like deciding to jump off a cliff. It’s a leap of faith for sure. When you have a gifted child, it can be even more intimidating. Will you be able to stimulate the student’s learning in the right ways? Will they be challenged enough?
You can do this if you decide it’s what’s best. We’re here to help show you how.
As the parent of a gifted kid, you’re probably used to your child stand out in a group—and that is a perfect thing! A public school may feel like a standardization system— common core, homogeneous grouping by age and grade, standardized tests—churning out carbon copy students who perform the same tasks at the same rate. Model students are the ones who best conform to the “box” of public-school education. Where does that leave students who don’t adapt well? What opportunities are there for students to stand out? This is where homeschooling reigns supreme. Schooling at home allows students to thrive—running ahead in learning where their interests and inclinations spur them on and progressing more slowly in areas of weakness or disinterest. I don’t know many who would choose the standard for their gifted child when their unique strengths and talents could be nurtured instead.
Traditional schools are built for the masses—the average kid, not the above-average kid. That’s why some kids skip grade levels. Teachers don’t have the time or resources to focus on cultivating a few gifted students’ knowledge. In fact, studies have shown that struggling or behaviorally disruptive students dominate the time and attention of classroom teachers attention.
Public schools with high percentages of students who have been identified as academically gifted often have a teacher who focuses on students’ gifted demographic; however, the one teacher is usually stretched to accommodate all gifted students’ needs in the school. That means that gifted students will not receive more than a couple of hours of services with the academically gifted teacher each week. Furthermore, students are identified as gifted based on standardized tests. This disqualifies students who do not perform well on tests due to testing anxiety and students whose gifted area is not measurable on math or reading.
But if your child is homeschooled, you have the perfect opportunity to nourish your child’s abilities—regardless of their formal qualification as “gifted.” If there is a specific subject where they really excel, you can spend more than just an hour every day exploring it. Some schools only teach classes like music or art once a week. If your child is gifted in this area, then they don’t have enough time to really flourish if they’re limited to one hour a week. Homeschooling lets you set your own schedule to really focus on the topics you and your child want to.
If my child struggles in a traditional school, won’t they struggle with homeschooling too?
No one knows your child better than you do. As their parent, you know what makes them tick, which makes them happy, irritates them, and calms them down. You know their strengths, weaknesses, and goals. A teacher with thirty other students in their class cannot dedicate their time to understanding each student on such a personal, individual level. But that’s not the case with homeschooling.
If a student struggles in a traditional classroom, their teacher may not even notice. Teachers are busy trying to get a crowd of kids educated, and they may not have the time or energy to dedicate to tutoring one struggling student. On the other hand, a homeschooled student can get all the one-on-one personalized instruction that they need. This can be accomplished using various tools, all of which you can find with a simple search on Anything Academic. From learning games (or game schooling) designed for gifted students to online enrichment classes to a teacher or tutor who can offer lesson plans designed specifically for the student, there are so many ways to challenge your eager learner.
Many gifted students simultaneously struggle with attention because their brains are working so fast and in many directions at once. The homeschool environment can be a perfect fit for students with attention issues because stimuli (a noisy room full of rowdy peers) are reduced, and content can be tailored to their specific interests, leading to greater engagement.
If your child has behavioral issues that make school difficult, consider how much they can really learn in a large classroom. If they get disruptive, the teacher is likely to kick them out of class or send them to the office where they aren’t learning. At home, your child can’t disrupt class because they are the class!
Alternative ways to engage and educate a gifted student
Homeschooling might not be a viable option for your family. That’s ok! Try incorporating some “gameschooling” (we have a blog on that if you need an explainer) to challenge them. Do a quick search for online classes on Anything Academic. We have classes designed specifically for gifted students in a variety of subjects. Spend 5 minutes filling out some information about your student, and with one click, we’ll give you numerous options to supplement the learning for your gifted student. Modern education should be pulled from a variety of the very best resources out there. Unlock our resources, and you’ll unlock the potential of your gifted student.