Homeschooling Highly Gifted Children
Karen was driving down the road on her way to the grocery store when her 12-year-old
son, Jonathan, called out from the back seat, "Mom! What 1 really need to learn about this
year is fluid mechanics." Karen winced. Fluid mechanics was definitely not part of any
seventh grade curriculum. She had a feeling it was about to become part of Jonathan's,
though - and realized that before the year was over, she her self would know more about
fluid mechanics than she had ever dreamed she wanted to learn.
Karen and her husband are home-schooling Jonathan and his two younger brothers.
Jonathan is an extremely mathematically gifted child whose other interests involve
inventions, engineering, and boat building. (A 12-foot boat with a unique hull design rests
unfinished in the family garage; Karen says this is one time she's going to insist on "task
commitment" before the snow arrives!) Homeschooling provides Jonathan with an
opportunity to pursue his considerable engineering talent in a way that would be impossible
for most students his age even in a gifted education program. Karen sometimes notes wryly,
"Now I know how Thomas Edison's mother must have felt." But when this unusual
"enrichment" of Jonathan's science curriculum seemed imminent, Karen and her husband
were genuinely puzzled. How could they, as a homeschooling family, provide instruction in
something so specialized?
One of the charges often leveled against homeschooling is that parents will not have
expertise in all the academic subjects. Karen and her husband, like any good educators of
gifted children, were well aware that they could not possibly have expertise in every area in
which their children demonstrated an interest. However, they were determined to be
excellent educational facilitators. In this case, Jonathan helped to solve part of the problem
temporarily - he decided that he needed to know more mathematics in order to learn about
fluid mechanics, and proceeded to accelerate his progress through pre-calculus mathematics.
This bought some time for his parents to access resources at a local university.
Homeschooling in the United States has shown steady growth over the past decade. We
do not know precisely how much of this growth involves highly gifted children. Meadows,
Abel, & Kames, in their survey of the families of 40 homeschooled children in rural
Mississippi, found that 20% of these families listed "to meet the needs of a highly
intelligent child" as their highest priority for choosing homeschooling. In an unpublished
study of 46 children in the 148-200+ IQ range, I found that 22% of the children were
currently homeschooling. Surprisingly, almost half the group-43%- had been homeschooled
at some point during grades kindergarten through 12.
Homeschooling for highly gifted children is sometimes an option when nothing else
works out -when the school cuts the gifted program, eliminates any ability grouping, refuses
to allow acceleration, or is genuinely rigid in its stance. However, just as often,
homeschooling allows the ideal educational program for a highly gifted child to unfold, by
providing maximum flexibility in the spirit of the best traditions and the strongest research
bases we have in the field of gifted education. This includes the use of acceleration, intense
and focused enrichment, flexible pacing, mentorships, internships, early college, and
Homeschooling is right for some highly gifted children and their families at some
stages of individual and family development. It is not right for everyone. It takes
commitment, time, and in two-parent families, a strong and supportive marriage. There will
be discouraging days and boring days and grumpy days in the homeschool, as well as
exhilarating ones. The rewards, however, are great: opportunities for a child like Jonathan
to explore his talents unfettered by age-grade locksteps, opportunities for parents to spend
much more time with their children than is common in contemporary society, and
opportunities for professionals to observe the unfolding of extraordinary talent within the
(1) What subject does 12-year-old Jonathan show interest in?
[A] Celestial mechanics
[B] Fluid mechanics
[C] Quantum mechanics
[D] Gas mechanics
(2) Which of the following falls out of Jonathan’s interests?
[C] Car building
[D] Boat building
(3) What is one of the charges against home schooling mentioned in this text?
[A] Parents do not have good expertise in all academic areas.
[B] Children lose the opportunity to socialize normally.
[C] Children become dependent upon their parents.
[D] Children are often short-tempered.
(4) Why do some parents choose to home school their children?
[A] Schools reduce programs for gifted children.
[B] Schools are rigid in their stance towards cultivating gifted children.
[C] Schools lack the expertise to educate the gifted children.
[D] Both [A] and [B]
(5) What does the underlined word grumpy mean?
2. Translate the italicized sentences.
(1) She had a feeling it was about to become part of Jonathan's, though - and realized that
before the year was over, she her self would know more about fluid mechanics than she had
ever dreamed she wanted to learn.
(2) Karen says this is one time she's going to insist on "task commitment" before the snow
(3) However, just as often, homeschooling allows the ideal educational program for a highly
gifted child to unfold, by providing maximum flexibility in the spirit of the best traditions
and the strongest research bases we have in the field of gifted education.
(4) This includes the use of acceleration, intense and focused enrichment, flexible pacing,
mentorships, internships, early college, and summer programs.
(5) The rewards, however, are great: opportunities for a child like Jonathan to explore his
talents unfettered by age-grade locksteps, opportunities for parents to spend much more
time with their children than is common in contemporary society, and opportunities for
professionals to observe the unfolding of extraordinary talent within the family crucible.
2. Translate the italicized sentences.
Home Schooling — Positives and Negatives
David A. Gershaw, Ph.D.
Dissatisfied with our public schools, some parents want to teach their children at home.
According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, in the 1960s, only a handful of
families did this. In the 1980s, it was made an official alternative by states. In 1990, about
300,000 children in the United States were taught at home. Currently, this has jumped to
about 900,000 children.
The association indicates that parents who home-school have typically attended or
graduated from college. Their average income ranges from $25,000-$50,000. Many are
Christians and Mormons, but there are also significant numbers of atheists, libertarians and
In approving home schooling, most states mandated 180 four-to-five-hour days of
instruction per year. The topics must include reading, writing, math, history and science.
Several states include standardized tests to see if the children are learning enough.
Some research indicates that home-educated children do as well academically as those
in public schools. On the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, they score well above the national
average – the 77th percentile. However, home schooling may not be the only reason for this
high score. It may be caused by the interest of the parents in the educational process, merely
being offspring of college-educated parents, or some combination of these factors.
Parents see several benefits to home schooling.
Controlled socialization – Parents believe that home schooling improves children’s
relations with adults. It also helps them avoid a peer culture with excessive
premarital sex, drugs and alcohol.
One-on-one teaching – Home-schooling parents view public schools as teaching to
the slowest children in the classes. This means their children cannot learn as quickly.
They believe their training can help their children learn faster. For example, one
child was well ahead of her kindergarten class. By first grade, she was bored and
hated school. According to her mother, "Because her needs weren’t being met, she
went from self-assured to withdrawn. I felt that I could do better." The girl and her
brother, 11 and 13, have been schooled at home. Both score at the top percentile on
standardized tests. The son is working at a level that is two grades above his peers.
Family support – Home-schooled children get to know their parents and siblings
better, because they spend more "quality time" together. Close family relations give
children a greater capacity to confront the world and find a satisfying vocation.
However, psychologists have some reservations about home schooling. They
acknowledge that home schooling shields children from base attitudes, substance abuse and
violence. However, children will eventually come into contact with these problems.
In 1986, psychologist Mona Delahooke did a study on home-schooled children.
The home-schooled children scored as well on standardized tests. Even so, she and
other psychologists are concerned about some potential problems.
Lack of exposure to diversity – Home schoolers are less likely to meet children of
other cultures and ethnic backgrounds. Instead of exposure to varied philosophies in
school, home-schooled children only hear their parents’ philosophies. If ignorant of
contrary views, children are more likely to be influenced by them, when they are
finally encountered. Gradually encountering a variety of philosophies can
"inoculate" the children, especially if parents help their children understand how
these philosophies compare to their own. Then children are more capable of forming
their own views.
Lack of participation in the greater society – Keeping children at home may
hinder their ability to get along with others in our pluralistic society. Public
schooling teaches socialization skills like self-control and accountability. They are
more likely to learn to respect others (even if the others are different), wait their turn,
and share their resources.
Potential difficulty entering mainstream life – At some level, the children need to
re-enter the educational system. Arguments about the placement of the children are
likely to arise between parents and administrators. Even with standardized tests and
college entrance exams, acceptance of home-schooled children into college varies
on a case-by-case basis. Applications are difficult to judge without set standards.
To promote positive changes in our educational system,
parents need to become more involved with the schools.
There is a third option available to parents who are dissatisfied with their children’s
public education – become actively involved in your child’s education. Children – whose
parents are engaged in their educational process – are more confident and succeed better at
school. If parents are too busy to get involved with their children’s schooling, their children
are more likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol. Recently, Laurence Steinberg
(Temple University) studied 20,000 high school students. He discovered – if parents
isolated themselves from the educational process – their children had lower grades.
Especially with single parents and dual-career families, it is difficult to find time to
become involved with your child’s schooling. However, there is strong evidence that
schools cannot do an effective job without parental support. Parents can help by
encouraging their children to do their homework. If parents have the skills, they can actively
participate with their children in completing assignments. Parents can attend parent-teacher
conferences regarding their children’s progress in school. If time and energy allow, parents
can become active in parent-teacher associations at their children’s schools.
This middle ground has two advantages. First, it does not require the time and effort of
home schooling. Second, by working together with your schools, not only are you helping
your children – you may be helping other children as well.
(1) In the 1900’s how many students were home schooled?
(2) Which of the following is wrong in terms of homeschooler’s parents’ religious
(3) According to the text, which are the benefits of home schooling except for ?
[A] Controlled Socialization
[B] One-on-One Teaching
[C] Self-control and accountability
[D] Family Support
(4) What does the underlined word inoculate mean?
(5) What does the underlined expression middle ground refer to?
[A] Schools encourage home schooling.
[B] Parents get involved with schools.
[C] Schools discourage home schooling.
[D] Gifted children study alone.
2. Fill in the blanks of the following ten sentences with the words in the table.
Alternative mandate standardize academically offspring socialize excessive
Vocation diversity ignorant contrary pluralistic accountable potential isolate
(1) I am entirely surprised at your computer skills, for it is really hard for me to believe that
a young man like you is rather of this modern invention.
(2) The decision maker does not seem to see himself as being to the great loss in this
battle, but with his blatant excuse ordinary people begin to question his ability and honesty.
(3) I believe that we need a education system to cultivate most children. As for
those gifted ones, specially designed programs may work.
(4) Despite the fact that there is an increase in the publication of papers in international
journals by Chinese scholars, creditable papers are very few.
(5) Over protection from the parents may cause the child to lose the ability to in actual
life and eventually lead to problems of normal social life.
(6) The local government just a new policy to curb the influx of new immigrants and
presumably this will affect the entire population structure.
(7) A world is not so awful as many people may believe, but it is not without
problems and drawbacks.
(8) Gifted children seem to do every thing with ease, while their average counterparts are
encouraged to work hardest to bring the into full play.
(9) John likes drinking and smoking. However he doesn’t realize that both can make
his days numbered.
(10) The difference between child and is that the latter is hardly used on informal
2. Fill in the blanks of the following ten sentences with the words in the table.