As the school year progresses, interest in homeschooling rises among parents of gifted children. I receive calls from frantic parents. They don't want to go to school. They're refusing to do their school work. They're bored. They're not learning anything. They're capable of so much more. Their teacher won't differentiate. The spark in our children's eyes begin to fade as they sit in a classroom day after day learning material they already know. It's painful to watch. Often, this is the moment at which a parent decides to give homeschooling a whirl.
It can't be that hard. It can't be worse. They're already ahead. If I don't have an education plan for now, that is okay. We'll start homeschooling in the fall. Let's give them a mental health vacation. There's only a few months left to school anyways. They wouldn't be learning anything there either.
Unfortunately, it really can get worse. Thankfully, there are plenty of families that home school successfully. Here are 5 DO's and DON'Ts to help you start a successful homeschooling journey.
The name of this child has been changed for privacy reasons. A family friend nicknamed him "Q" as a child because he always had a hundred questions. Actually, he had more than 100 questions. We stopped answering them once he reached 100 questions for the day.
There he was. He was barely over four feet tall, greasy unkempt hair and a childish smirk. He was fidgeting, clumsily as if he still hadn’t grown into his own body. He hadn’t. Really, he’d just had a growth spurt(I think). There was a kind of dark glimmer in his eyes. He was filled to the brim with excitement, or perhaps some moderate anxiety. I mean, who wouldn’t be a bit anxious? It was his first day of college. Eleven Years Old. He didn’t want us to stay. It was harder than putting your child on the bus for their first day of school. We wanted to stay. We knew that we couldn’t. So, instead, we peered in the small window in the door. He looked back for a minute. I think that he knew we were there. We ducked. Not fast enough, it seems because he gave us that angry death defying glare he mastered years ago. Okay. We’ll leave.
In theory means it doesn't really work.
At the end of each unit, my students complete independent projects. They present their projects to their classmates and parents. We always ask the students questions at the conclusion of their presentation. One of my questions is always, "What was the most significant thing you learned from this project?" Following an engineering project, a very insightful student responded with, "In theory means it doesn't really work." He got a few chuckles from the audience. It was cute. It was funny. It was also very true.