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Online Homeschooling for Gifted Students

Gifted Resources

Pivoting to Online Homeschooling

Each year as summer comes to an end, we hear from families about their back-to-school plans, many of which continue to evolve even as the school year gets underway. Some families live in places where school takes place face-to-face in the classroom. Others live in places where school is remote or where they have hybrid options. However, regardless of what local schools and districts are doing, the conversations Family Consultants at the Davidson Institute have with families make it clear that some parents are unsure that face-to-face learning is best for their children or are unsure how long their school will be able to provide this option. At the same time, these families are also unsure about how to pivot to homeschooling again. Our Family Consultants provide a free service offered through the Young Scholars program for families across the country and U.S. families stationed abroad, and they are equipped to help.

Transitioning from In-Person Gifted Education

Making the switch from traditional in-person gifted education to online homeschooling can be a pivotal moment for both parents and students. This transition involves not just a change of medium, but also a shift in how learning is approached, structured, and personalized to meet the unique needs of gifted students.

Here are three things to help make the transition as smooth as possible:

  1. Embrace flexibility and individualization
  2. Prepare for a different social landscape
  3. Foster self-advocacy

For more detailed information on how to prepare for online education, check out these guides:

Online Gifted Testing

There are plenty of testing opportunities to identify gifted students and to test their abilities when applying to specific academic institutions.

Davidson Institute collaborated with Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development (CTD) to create two assessments for eligibility—both of which are completely online. These tests, an official practice SAT and an above-grade-level Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), cater to gifted students who are interested in or already engaged in online homeschooling. They are conducted remotely on specific dates, ensuring alignment with Davidson program eligibility requirements, such as those of Davidson Academy Online. Families seeking homeschooling options for gifted students can explore these assessments to start their journey.

You can learn more about the Official Practice SAT and register here.

Applying for Gifted Online Homeschooling

It can be a challenge to find a program suitable for your gifted student. This requires testing, research, understanding the entry requirements of various institutions, organizing requirements, interviewing, planning, and preparation.

If you are interested in Davidson Academy Online, the best place to start understanding what it takes to apply is by reviewing our step-by-step overview.

Time Management & Organization

The Family Consultant team has seen an increase in the variety of homeschooling schedules as families share how they are going to get things done. There are many ways to organize your homeschool life, as different styles work better for different families. And, for some families, the way they’re homeschooling may be largely dictated by their school; they may be hosting virtual classes or sending home specific curricular materials.

For those families who have been left to their own devices, we want to share a big homeschooling secret:

Homeschooling takes a lot less time than brick-and-mortar schooling. In fact, many families in our community spend only 2-4 hours on academics a day (and some spend even less!).

When you think about it, there’s a lot of time spent in schools making transitions, repeating directions, making announcements, and waiting for everyone to finish assignments. So, if you realize that your child is only spending a fraction of their time on schoolwork, that’s okay!

We’re living in extraordinary times, and we hope you don’t put too much pressure on yourself as parents to make sure your child is doing schoolwork for 7.5 hours a day.

Five Ways to Organize Your Online Gifted Homeschooling

  1. Create a daily rhythm
  2. Reflect on how you start the day
  3. Use mealtimes as anchors
  4. Make working from home work for you
  5. Brainstorm with your gifted child

Create a Daily Rhythm

No one enjoys a school or work day spent watching the clock. That’s why a daily rhythm can help you build a schedule around what matters to your family, shifting the mood and energy throughout the day. You might notice that there are certain times of day when everyone is cranky. Could that be time for a snack, taking the dog for a walk, or for everyone to quietly read in their rooms? What if family movie time was at 2:00 pm? Consider trying some reset rituals throughout the day to keep everyone refreshed.

Reflect on How You Start the Day

Think about how each day begins for your family. Are you starting with something easy and enjoyable? For example, maybe everyone brings their books to the breakfast table and then shares what they’re reading during a post-breakfast neighborhood walk. Homeschooling mother, Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley, explains how this changed everything for her family in her article, “Coffee and Books.” Her idea can even be used with older children.

Use Mealtimes as Anchors

One thing you’ll be doing every day is eating. How can you use this time effectively? Can other activities be built around that? For instance, perhaps everyone does chores for 30 minutes after lunch or dinner is a time for conversing about the “Wonder of the Day” from Wonderopolis. Mealtimes are opportunities to start a special family tradition during homeschooling.

Make Working From Home Work for You

If you’re also changing how you work, you might glean some tips from “How These Parents Work and Homeschool, Too.” These parents have a key insight: There are 168 hours in a week. Think about all that time. Which do you, as a parent, have to work? When can that time overlap with homeschooling activities—and when can it not? If you have a partner at home, how can the load be shared?

Brainstorm With Your Gifted Child

You have an amazing child who may have additional ideas on how to make homeschooling work. Work together! In fact, including your children in brainstorming may result in creative ideas and instill more buy-in from them. This collaboration can help your children be more invested in following the new family rhythm and helping you make this work. Dr. Dan Peters talks about the benefits of including gifted children in this sort of discussion in his article, “Family Rule Setting and the Gifted Child.”

Additional Resources

We know that, no matter how many hours you homeschool a day, you need to find something to fill that time with. Below are a few to get you started:

  • Educational resources – These resources include lists of online courses, books, magazines, podcasts, educational videos, and further inspiration for your family.
  • A Short Guide for Building an Independent Study Course (with an example included!) – This is a useful resource if you decide to homeschool without a program or if your child just wants to do a deep dive into their passion subject(s) as part of homeschooling.
  • Tips for Organizing Your Homeschool Space – This resource will help you figure out ways to organize your home to support your child’s homeschooling classes while balancing the rest of your family’s needs and activities.
  • Tips for Taking Care of Yourself – This will help parents integrate practical, functional self-care practices into their lives.

As the school year progresses, things are going to evolve. Your family dynamics and priorities may shift, along with your school’s requirements and procedures. These changes may come at once or be spread out throughout the year. Whatever happens, know that Davidson Academy Online is here for you.

See also:

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