Skip to main content

Homeschooling Gifted Children

Gifted Resources

Pivoting to Homeschooling

Many Young Scholars have been starting school over the last few weeks. Since the Family Consultant Team, a free service offered through the Young Scholars program, serves families across the country and US families stationed abroad, we have been hearing various back-to-school plans, many of which are continuing to evolve even as the school year gets underway. Some families live in places where school is taking place face-to-face in the classroom. Some families live in places where school is remote. Some families live in places where they have hybrid options. However, regardless of what local schools and districts are doing, the conversations the Family Consultants have been having with families over the last month make it clear that some families are unsure that face-to-face learning is best for their family or are unsure how long their school will be able to provide this option. At the same time, these families are unsure how they can pivot to homeschooling again.

Time & Organization

The Family Consultant team has seen an increase in the variety of homeschooling schedules on the internet as families share how they are going to get things done. There are many, many ways to organize your homeschooling life. They are all valid. Different types of homeschooling work for different families. And, for some families, the way they are homeschooling may be largely dictated by their school who may be having 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 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

Instead of a strict schedule watching the clock, a daily rhythm can help you build your day around what matters to your family and the shifts in mood and energy that occur for your family throughout the day. In particular, you might be noticing 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 perhaps time for everyone to quietly read in their rooms? What if family movie time is at 2:00pm? Do you need to try some reset rituals throughout the day?

Reflect on How You Start the Day

How does each day begin for your family? Are you starting with something easy and enjoyable? Homeschooling mom, Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley, explains how this changed everything for her family in her article, “Coffee and Books.” The Coffee and Books idea can even be used with older children. Maybe everyone brings their own books to the breakfast table and then shares what they’re reading on a post-breakfast neighborhood walk.

Use Mealtimes as Anchors

One thing you’ll be doing every day is eating. How can you use this time effectively in your day? Can other activities be built around that? For example, maybe everyone does chores for 30 minutes after lunch. Or, dinner is a time for conversing about the “Wonder of the Day” from Wonderopolis. Or, maybe you all eat breakfast together as you watch a TED Talk. Consider this an opportunity to start a special family tradition during this extraordinary time.

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 aren’t speaking about the restrictions during COVID-19, but they do have a key insight: There are 168 hours in a week. Think about all those hours. Which do you, as a parent, have to work? When can that time overlap with homeschooling activities; 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 this work. Including your children in this type of brainstorming and planning may elicit creative ideas and work to instill more buy-in from your children. With that buy-in, your Young Scholars may 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:

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

See also Homeschooling: Being the Parent and the Teacher

Related Articles

Gifted Resources

The Power of Face-to-Face Online Programs for Gifted Students

Face-to-face online programs for gifted students offer a curriculum designed specifically for this demographic, plus the flexibility of online learning…

Gifted Resources

What You Need to Know to Prepare for Gifted Online Middle School

Davidson Academy Online offers gifted middle schoolers the opportunity to learn and grow in a supportive environment. This is a…

Gifted Resources

What You Need to Know to Prepare for Gifted Online High School

Davidson Academy Online offers the opportunity for students anywhere in the U.S. and Canada to learn alongside like-minded peers and…

Gifted Resources

Conversations with Teachers on the Benefits and Challenges of Online Learning for Gifted Students

This article provides research involving the role of student-student interaction and the use of multimedia and technological tools in effective…