Understanding My Gifted Child
This year’s Great Homeschool Convention was fun and informative. The most helpful session for me by far was “Uncaging the Cheetah: Homeschooling your Gifted Child” with Shelagh Gallagher. When I first started homeschooling my daughter, I thought one of the benefits of homeschooling only one child would be that we could really take our time with subjects to ensure understanding. We would read and discuss the material and take our time. I was always surprised when C didn’t remember something we had discussed at length. Not only that, but she wasn’t very fond of school days despite being very bright, inquisitive, and eager to learn.
The “Uncaging the Cheetah” session at the homeschool convention opened my eyes to how gifted children learn. Shelagh Gallagher told us that gifted children learn best when they are taught more at a faster pace. This is exactly the opposite of what I was doing with C–no wonder she wasn’t enjoying school. So how do I go about teaching her more at a faster pace? For starters, I plan to focus on utilizing rich, engaging curriculum like Apologia and fun, quick review. For math and grammar I will keep the lesson short and sweet, give her an opportunity to show me understanding (with a small set of problems), and let that be it for the day.
Photo Credit: Melene Thyssen/wikimediacommons.org
Shelagh taught us that not only do gifted children tend to learn better when taught more at a faster pace, but they actually tend to remember things incorrectly with repeated review. This is very different than the average learner who does well with multiple exposures to the same material. From now on, once C has shown me that she remembers what she has learned, I will let it be for awhile. I would like to find opportunities to teach what she has learned to someone else. That way I can verify that she still remembers the material without boring her with review.
So far C is responding well to this approach. As homeschoolers we are constantly learning, studying our children, and adjusting our plans to meet their needs. Flexibility is the homeschool mother’s greatest asset. While I am sure there are many children that would thrive with the slow and thorough approach, my daughter is not one of them. Have you had to totally change your approach to better meet your child’s needs? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!