Tips to Homeschooling Gifted Children

by Kimberley McGee
How to homeschool gifted children.

Homeschooling gifted children doesn’t mean you have to work harder and dole out dollars for expensive courses to get them all they need. It may take more research, but it shouldn’t take a lot more effort when you know what is available for your gifted kids.  As a parent of a gifted child, you may feel pressured to mimic school or provide them with expensive, lengthy and detailed courses. However, there is a vast network of online and local educational resources.

More parents have chosen homeschool for gifted kids, specifically to meet their advanced requirements. The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) notes that more families are choosing to homeschool gifted children. The gifted children’s definition is roughly kids who are above grade as well as those who are twice-exceptional.

Twice-exceptional kids often thrive in a homeschool environment. As new and clueless homeschoolers, we were relieved to discover that homeschooling created more prospects for gifted learners. If we couldn’t find the information online, we called an expert in our city.

We were so excited when we learned the twins were going to the GATE program for 3rd grade. They were already complaining about being bored in 2nd grade, so we thought the gifted classes would cure their itch to learn. When we pulled them out of their MAGNET school in 3rd grade to homeschool, I worried we wouldn’t be able to give them all the STEAM activities that GATE could offer. Ahem. Was I in for a surprise!

If anything, homeschooling allowed my gifted kids to blossom. There are more opportunities, it doesn’t have to cost a lot, and kids don’t have to spend hours hunched over books to hone those gifts. The main thing is to offer them as much opportunity to explore their interests and dive deep into subjects. Some parents have gifted children assessed annually. Giving gifted children a test can help you to keep track of their burgeoning abilities, but it truly isn’t necessary and definitely not needed in Nevada.

Amazon is having a sale on books, textbooks, flashcards and test prep for gifted children. I love a good deal and only share what we have tried or has come highly recommended by vetted sources. I may get a few cents back on your purchase, but it doesn’t affect your price. 

Supplementing a Gifted Curriculum

You’ve chosen a curriculum, or pieced together what you plan to study. Now is when you really plug in the good stuff. We do a little unschooling throughout the year, which is our favorite hands down. This doesn’t mean they log on and tune out all day (although, we’ve had those days, too!).

I have a few subscriptions  boxes to their favorite subjects, physics and science.This is about $15-$25 a month. That’s about as much as I gave per kid for fundraising each month to the MAGNET school they attended. Totally worth it. The best ones, such as Tinkercrate (no affiliate), have magazines and websites for kids to further explore the lesson. We’ve built helicopters, perpetual machines, lightboxes and much more.

Mom tip – I look for deals and sign up for the month or two that the deal is good for. I then unsubscribe (unless it is just too good to let go), and move on. More than likely I’ll get a good deal to return in my inbox after a few months. Stick to the budget, don’t feel obligated, and definitely share your experience with the subscription box on social media or in your groups. You’ll get more ideas from other parents and their experience with different brands!

Using Local Resources

There are many ways to supplement a gifted child’s thirst for knowledge around the Las Vegas valley. The Springs Preserve, Children’s Discovery Museum and Future Makers in Downtown Fergusons. The Writer’s Block had a writing program that was highly recommended. More businesses were just beginning to see the benefit of reaching out to the homeschool community to take advantage of their thirst for learning.

As a parent, I found my job is basically to be the coordinator of information and learning opportunities. When my kids spend more time than expected on a subject, I will find ways to help them stay interested and get more info. I check in with them often and switch up our curriculum as needed.

We gathered students of differing ages with the same interests to take field trips to the planetarium, a glass factory, a veterinarian clinic and had planned on creating a robotics class. We’ve done archery and explored speed and weight with balance and force. The twins took hours exploring sound at a museum because they wanted to and they could. There are no time limits, other than your own. No schedules, other than what you decide.

The best advice I received from an instructor at a class designed for homeschoolers at the Springs Preserve is to put opportunities in front of your kiddos and provide them the tools, and the time, to thrive. Don’t pressure them, or yourself, with over-reaching goals and hours of curriculum.

Mom Tip – If your kid is interested in a subject you can’t get a lot of info on, or really want to talk to a professional, pick up the phone and call an expert! I have found rangers, astronomers, weather balloon specialists and others are more than happy to give more info to a child interested in their specialized field. And if you’re shy, PM me, and I’ll find someone. We love finding out new things and local resources to share!

Take it Online

Since the pandemic, many of these local resources are restricted. That’s okay, there are online options we’ve found that are worthy of you and your child’s time and energy. My kids can be all-in on online, or want nothing to do with it for months. However, these sites have something new that pulls them in each time we visit. It can be overwhelming once you plugin “homeschooling gifted children,” so gather a few tried-and-true sites that your kids love and let them explore. Many of these come with teacher guides, worksheets and quizzes. Have fun in your homeschool!

A to Z Home’s Cool Homeschooling – Truly a great find for any homeschooler. This also works well if you have kids with different learning abilities. We’ve checked out the free Latin resources and food science experiments and thoroughly enjoyed both. They also have free reading level assessment tools and scripts for kids.

The Kid Should See This – This will be a favorite site for you and your kids. I’ll admit I’m guilty of putting them on a site such as this if I have a deadline or need to get a work call in without being disturbed. However, don’t get sucked in, too! It’s that entertaining. You’ll be sharing this with friends.

Atlas Obscura – Discover the curious places that dot the world and even pop up in your backyard.

Annenberg Learner – There is a lot to explore, from world languages to math, arts and STEM.

Everyday Mysteries – Fun science facts from the Library of Congress that engage kids.

Virtual Summer Camps  – Varsity Tutors offer free, week-long half-day summer camps with enrichment-based classes. Kids can focus on foreign languages, chess, theater, coding, Minecraft, how to be a detective, photography and more. They also have Adaptive Diagnostic Assessments if you want to give your gifted children a test to see where they are. Varsity Tutors also offers enrollment for full online curriculum an option for 1:1 live instruction.

Each Wednesday I post the latest curriculum finds for gifted kids that are discounted or simply worth every penny.

  • This week, Genius Hour is 33% off and came recommended to us by another mom who is also a teacher. We haven’t tried it yet, but if you have, please let us know what you liked, or didn’t! 

Gifted kids really don’t need to prepare for the COGAT. However, if you want to do some practice questions, then this series of test-prep book for gifted children is actually a lot of fun for kids and parents. Riddles, critical thinking puzzles and more in the 200 practice questions get kids talking. The whole series is on sale for 20% OFFGifted and Talented COGAT Test Prep Grade 2: Gifted Test Prep Book for the COGAT Level 8; Workbook for Children in Grade 2

  • The Gifted Cards by Testing Mom come in all grades. They go on sale from time to time so put a bookmark on this and wait for it to be about $12. We have used these since Kinder and the twins are now 10. My husband and I enjoy them, too. They have puzzles and word problems that we play in the car. Yah. Nerds.

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