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Online Classes for Gifted Homeschoolers

Gifted Resources

Online classes and programs are becoming increasingly popular for highly gifted homeschoolers and for parents considering homeschooling for the first time. As technology continues to surge and we acclimate into an ever-expanding online world, a growing number of parents are beginning to see the benefits of incorporating this learning option, especially for profoundly gifted students. A number of important factors related to homeschooling and online schools and programs are covered below.

How can I tell if my gifted child is ready for online courses?

Excerpt adapted from: Is Your Gifted Child Ready for Online Learning? (Davidson Gifted Blog)

If you are considering online gifted learning, here are a few questions parents of gifted and twice-exceptional students find helpful:

  • Is my family available to give my child the support he or she needs to be successful in an online learning environment?
  • Does my child possess basic computer and internet navigation skills?
  • Does my child have the patience, flexibility, and adaptability necessary to deal with unforeseeable frustrations?
  • Does my child have the ability to communicate frequently and effectively with both the instructor and classmates?
  • Does my child have the ability to work independently?

How do I use online courses for homeschooling?

Excerpt adapted from the Davidson Institute guidebook, Twice-Exceptionality: An In-Depth Resource Guide for Parents (PDF):

Homeschooling can take many forms. It may mean mostly recreating school at home—keeping the same structure overall, but allowing you to select curriculum for your child and allowing him to move at his/her own pace. On the other hand, some forms of homeschooling eschew school structures and opt for more child-led activities. Perhaps one of the more popular forms in the gifted community is “eclectic homeschooling” in which families borrow bits and pieces from different types of schooling. A child might:

  • Take in-person classes through a school, community college, university, homeschooling co-op, or community organization,
  • Participate in online classes and other online learning opportunities,
  • Be instructed by a parent in a couple of areas,
  • Have a mentor or tutor in other areas, and/or
  • Pursue independent study, courses, and projects

Online courses can serve homeschoolers for the entire homeschool curriculum, or they can be used supplementally as stand-alone classes for specific subjects.

Which online courses work well for highly gifted children?

Many families in the gifted and twice-exceptional community have utilized online learning programs. For gifted students, online programs may deliver material at a faster pace, provide information on niche topics not always offered in a traditional K-12 setting, and offer access to like-minded peers.

One of the best online schools for profoundly gifted children is Davidson Academy Online. Davidson Academy Online is a dynamic, flexible option for profoundly gifted students living anywhere in the United States and Canada. Students at Davidson Academy Online are grouped by ability rather than age in their core courses. Davidson Academy Online leverages cutting-edge technology to create a new, highly personalized model of online education. The middle- and high school-level curriculum is matched to students’ abilities, strengths and interests. The unique approach to learning has attracted families from across the country and globe. In addition to the full-time program, Davidson Academy Online also offers English and math courses for single-course enrollments.

See also the Davidson Gifted Blog post, Online Schools for Gifted Children.

Do online courses work well for homeschooled twice-exceptional children?

Excerpt adapted from the Davidson Institute guidebook, Twice-Exceptionality: An In-Depth Resource Guide for Parents (PDF):

The main benefit of homeschooling is flexibility. You can set up a system that works for your twice-exceptional child—her interests, her learning style, her pace, etc. It can also work around any other areas of your child’s life such as therapy and pre-professional study of the arts or athletics. For these reasons, within the Davidson Young Scholars program, about a third of the children are homeschooling at any one time. For some, homeschooling is their long-term educational plan. Others homeschool for a period as they take a break from a school system, transition to another situation, or take some time to focus on a few specific things.

In some cases, online courses might be preferred for twice-exceptional (2e) students who use assistive technology, like text-to-speech, or for 2e students who might want to focus on one big subject at a time without all the transitions traditional school imposes.

Davidson Academy Online accepts qualified students who show a sufficient level of academic readiness based on its curriculum-based admissions assessment. In order to offer a high quality and appropriately challenging education to all students, Davidson Academy Online can provide many classroom accommodations to students with demonstrated need. Students who require specialized services from a licensed professional (e.g. speech therapist, occupational therapist) can receive those from their local public school.

Will my gifted child get enough socialization with online homeschooling?

Excerpt adapted from: Gifted Homeschooling and Socializing – Davidson Institute (Davidson Gifted Blog):

Some of the common fears around pulling a child out of traditional school are that they will feel isolated and miss out on important social skill-building opportunities. However, what every experienced homeschooler will tell you is that it is not about replicating the school structure, it’s about using the unique freedoms of homeschooling to set your child up for success. Some homeschoolers develop their social skills by volunteering, finding a job, or getting involved in a community group, such as a community theater. Friendships for gifted children often bloom out of shared interests, which homeschooling parents can facilitate by signing their children up for youth groups, academic competitions, community classes, and summer programs.

Many families want to look beyond online connections, and many have valid concerns about social media, gaming, and internet usage for their teens. However, there can be ways to leverage technology for positive social connections too, as the article Be social, make friends and play video games describes.

A component of the learning community at Davidson Academy Online is based on exploring, discussing, and supporting the social and emotional needs of students. Throughout the school year, students participate in a variety of activities both online with their classmates and in their local communities. Students have participated in the ongoing guest lecture series, speech and debate tournaments, math and science competitions, writing and art competitions, monthly community meetings, theater, music, and art. Students also participate in many activities in their local communities, including volunteering, competitive sports, music programs, art and theater programs, and more! There is also the opportunity to form student-led clubs.

See also:


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