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Should Gifted Children Be Unschooled?

Homeschooling Expert Advice from Isabel Shaw

Q: Do you support unschooling for gifted children? If so, are there some studies or successes to back up your view?

A: I know of families who have successfully unschooled gifted children. Several of these children were homeschooled because the schools were unable to meet their needs. Others learned at home all of their lives. I really couldn't imagine any other course of learning for these children. One little boy was doing pre-college math when he was eight (for fun!), but didn't learn to read until he was almost ten. Within a year he was out of the children's reading area and into the Young Adult section. Can you imagine using a traditional curriculum with a child like that? Fortunately, his parents encouraged independent learning, read to him every day, and patiently allowed him to work at his own pace.

I don't know of any studies supporting unschooling — how could one quantify this type of information? There are just too many variables. For an in-depth discussion of unschooling gifted children, I suggest you read Gifted Education Comes Home: A Case for Self-Directed Homeschooling by Lisa Rivero. Rivero shares success stories and outlines a plan to help gifted children achieve academic success.

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Isabel Shaw is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom of 15 years. She and her husband Ray homeschool their two daughters, Jessica and Amanda. Besides being a contributor to FamilyEducation.com, Shaw has written for Home Education Magazine, The Link, Homeschooling Horizons Magazine, The Homeschool Gazette, and other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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