Children identified as gifted often struggle as they develop. The challenge arises as some skills emerge as significant strengths while others progress at a much more average pace. Additionally, the discrepancy between a child’s mental age and chronological age expands as gifted children grow up. This poses a challenge for homeschooling parents to support their children socially, emotionally, and academically. This is something I’ve had to deal with first hand. I have two sons identified as gifted when they were in the public schools. One of them also has significant anxiety issues classifying him as 2e (gifted plus a disability). There are several things we do on a regular basis to support our children.
Focus on the child’s strengths. My younger son is an avid and very high level reader. He wants to be a vet when he grows up. I routinely find and give him books about animals and zoology to read. This encourages his reading level at a developmentally appropriate level while supporting his academic interests.
Talk to your child about being gifted. My children used to be in public schools, so they know the concept of being in gifted classes. If your child has never been in public schools, this may not be an issue. If appropriate, explain to your child that being gifted does not mean that they should excel at everything or that you expect that. It means that they have a skill and are able to learn new material easily. That is a gift. All people have gifts. Some people will have gifts like theirs. Others may be great speakers, great artists, or excel in other areas that are a greater challenge for your child.
Find multiple peer groups. Your child will likely need several groups of friends with which they can express different qualities freely. For example, my fourth grade son participates in advanced robotics and computer programming classes and also participates in cub scouts and a local sports league. The classes meet his need to be with other children with similar academic interests while cub scouts and sports allow him to socialize and be with friends who share similar extracurricular interests.
Connect with other parents. There are numerous Facebook groups and websites focusing on homeschooling gifted children. These are places where you can be free to share your experiences with other parents who understand the challenges and joys of parenting gifted children.
Parenting and teaching a child who is gifted may also present academic challenges for homeschooling parents. Please contact Homeschool Hotlinks if you’d like more information about addressing the academic needs of gifted children in your homeschool.