Identifying and Educating Gifted Children
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GiftedEdPress

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R. E. Myers

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Homeschooling gifted students has been one of the basic ideas in this county and others for hundreds of years.  Often you read of an outstanding person who was tutored at home.  It has been only in the past half-century in this country that a great many parents have taken advantage of the opportunity to ensure a child's having all of the many intellectual experiences that are available to her or him by providing schooling at home. 

There can be no doubt that homeschooling can solve the problem of how to provide the best education for a gifted youngster.  The dilemma about whether or not to include the gifted with non-gifted peers is solved when the student is homeschooled.

Instruction can certainly be individualized at home,  something a public school teacher has tremendous difficulty in realizing. In spite of recurrent bursts of enthusiasm on the part of educational theorists regarding individualizing instruction in the classroom, it can't be done on a very broad basis-- for practical reasons.

Curricula have been developed for homeschoolers, but I don't recommend parents sticking to a curriculum and ignoring all of the materials and experiences that can be utilized for their children.  Just as a classroom teacher can capitalize on events and technological developments, so too should a homeschoolng parent.

My Homeschooling Gifted Students is only one of countless materials that can be used.  It doesn't pretend to take the place of a curriculum,  but it does have the basic ingredients of the standard curriculum, plus an injection of humor and an attempt at fostering creative thinking.  Whatever I to do in my books, the main thrust is always to provoke thinking. 

MotheroftheGifted

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I believe the ever-changing and struggling economic situation within our schools will force many of us who are able, to bring our gifted children home to school them.  Field trips cost too much (70% of our gifted learners need external stimulation outside of school to expand their gifts), Fine Arts classes are being cut because of funding, music is offered only to fulfill the requirement, and teachers are teaching to a test to make sure 100% of their students are up to speed so they have a job.  Some would ask, Why is that such a problem?  It leaves our gifted guys and gals in the lurch, merely functioning to get through their school day.  Their zest for learning is lost, and many of these gifted kids end up barely graduating from high school because they have lost their way in life. If discipline and commitment are your priority in schooling your child, it would be the most beautiful and fulfilling experience you have ever had, the same for your student.  There are many, many fantastic curricula to choose from out there...Don't limit yourself to merely one...Look around and test the waters to see what works for you and your student(s)!!    
Robotlady

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Hi,

I agree.  Our education system is broken and it will not be fixed soon and could possibly stay broken forever.  Parents must fill the gap.  Homeschooling is an option for some, but not all.  What else can be done?

Last night I went to a presentation by Anne Grall Reichel.  She is an author who wrote a book called "Expect More: Children Can Do Remarkable Things".   Her talk was very enlightening.  She pointed out some of the same things you mentioned and talked about how parents and educators may instill critical thinking in children.

Anne's book is available in paperback or as ebook.  Here is a link to the ebook: http://books.google.com/books?id=rRT3YPhliaIC&printsec=frontcover&dq=anne+grall+reichel+expect+more+children+can+do+remarkable+things&source=bl&ots=CEZNK0AyC4&sig=D5HJh_Tsww7IMfLm_io5dvoKR1w&hl=en&ei=Zcd3TaSxAoPirAHB4pmNCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBQQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

Parents are the biggest influence on the future of children.  It starts in the early childhood phase.  Parents influence the toys kids play with.  Cars or blocks?  Baby dolls, Barbies or Duplos?  What about robots?  Well, until now, a 3 year old playing with fascinating robot toys was inconceivable.  Thanks to a new robotics toy company, 3-11 year olds may play with exciting miniature robot bugs. 

Home schoolers may also take advantage of simple, snap together solar and battery operated educational robot kits.  The hope is to instill an interest in building things that move.   Later in Jr High or High School home schooling parents can influence kids to form a robotics team.  Building robots is a great way to teach science, technology, engineering and math.

You can learn more about robot toys and educational kits at this site:  

http://ParadiseRobotics.com

BTW - I am the President of Paradise Robotics.  I also have two gifted children, ages 8 and 11.  I started promoting the toys and kits to my kids a few years ago.  Now my 8 year old is interested in building a robot.  Worked for me!
Maltabound

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My question is where and when does homeschooling fail to provide the necessary "life lessons"?  Despite the obvious merits and multitude of benefits derived from homeschooling (which I have done for the past year), the input that a regimented classroom with extra-parental authority offers will be far more important, I believe, for my child in the long-run.  My rationale is this (and please do not hesitate to respond):  As an intellectually gifted individual equipped with a love for learning, questioning, and exploring, he will have no issues challenging himself academically if the school cannot offer this.  The key to school, and to the life a gifted child or adult, is to be able to relate and communicate themselves to the outside world (note Richard Feynman's various writings).  They learn this through basic daily interactions, both good and bad, both interesting and boring, starting at an early age.  My husband has been tested with an IQ over 200 (he is also a big fan of robots!) and the one thing that makes him functional, productive, and happy is his ability to communicate with people who are not as smart as he is (i.e. most everyone around him).  Our son is a carbon copy of him, and although I would LOVE to homeschool him throughout school, I have to acknowledge that there are lessons far more important that he needs to learn outside the home that will allow him to grow in ways that I cannot provide and that will not come from extracurricular entertainment courses.  The goal of education is to prepare a child for a successful and fulfilling life in the 'real world' and in doing so, I feel compelled to allow him to learn how to handle discouragement, hurt, and sometimes less-than-amusing lessons.  This, I believe, stands true for all children, gifted or average.  Thanks for letting me participate!
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