August 5, 2020 – Teaching Gifted Learners

Most schools have a program for Gifted and Talented children. Those students have an educational evaluation which says they are “ahead of the average”. Then the school comes up with an IEP or Individualized Education Plan to challenge the student.

Both of my boys spent a short stent in public school in the elementary years. They were both in the Gifted program and my middle was also in the Talented Arts Program.

I spent many hours volunteering at their schools. I adored their gifted teacher. She teaches out-of-the-box and focuses on student led learning, higher thinking games, and unit studies.

The problem? They only went to gifted one hour a few days each week. The rest of the time they were usually bored in the regular classroom.

The other problem? Once they leave the elementary school, they really lose any true gifted programming. They are placed in higher level classes, but with traditional structure and no opportunity for extra or different learning.

I quickly realized that I could provide a much more individualized learning experience than the school system could.

As homeschoolers, they can do unit studies. They can choose any area of focus. They can play music. They can research any topic. They can wrote their own books. They can study any language. They can take classes from professionals.

My eldest took several live, online classes. He took history from a Lt Colonel in the Air Force. He also took History of Aviation from the same man. He took Government from a lawyer, and German from a native speaker.

He actually explored several languages. He took Latin, Spanish, and Italian before he settled on German. Then he took 3 years of German and went to Germany on a mission trip.

He took an online debate class and that solidified his desire to become a lawyer, which is what he is pursuing in college now.

As for my middle son, he’s always been the artist, hands-on learner. Nothing I used for his brother worked for him. He was miserable in traditional school.

As a homeschooler, he has been able to pursue his own passions. He plays both banjo and guitar. He has learned how to forge (blacksmith), how to weld, how to work wood, how to train horses, how to work with leather, and much more.

He mastered fractions using music notes. He understands geometry because he builds things. He knows more animal science than many college graduates because he has lived it and loved it his whole life.

He is attending college this year as a dual enrollment student high school student. His brother did the same.

They are both voracious readers and are eager to learn.

As for my youngest, she has never attended any formal schooling. She’s always been unable to sit for any length of time. If I sent her to school, she would need to be medicated to sit all day. I choose to work with her energy rather than squash it.

She loves to learn. She has discovered that she can learn anything she chooses. She has self-taught so many things. She is entering 8th grade and is quite the entrepreneur.

She puts on slime parties for birthdays. She sells fresh eggs. She dog sits. She baby sits. She sews, crochets, and just about anything else her heart desires.

She loves marine life. She is currently reading Ocean Anatomy and pairing it with National Geographic documentaries.

She has won poetry contests (actually all of my children have).

She is currently planning to become either an orthodontist or a veterinarian. Or a veterinary orthodontist.

She has zero inhibitions about learning new things or exploring any topic that interests her.

That is the ultimate individualized education plan. You can make a better IEP than any regulated government school.

All of my children have won state titles with 4-H and the livestock programs. They all have amazing self-esteem and excellent people skills. They have been to the Grand Canyon, to Plymouth Rock, and to the Alamo. We make our homeschooling a family affair.

Please don’t hesitate to homeschool your gifted learners. They will flourish if you simply give them the opportunity.

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