Homeschooling has caught the attention of researchers because it has developed students who are surpassing traditionally schooled students in academic achievement (Bannier, 2007). Bannier (2007) found three factors for the success of homeschooling:
- Focus upon mastery of content: If students do not meet the learning objectives, parents will not continue to the next lesson until mastery is achieved. This allows students to set the pace for academics based upon their ability.
- Periodic review: Parents will review past content to ensure that students have retained the information. If students have forgotten portions of information, parents will schedule time for a review lesson to develop better rention.
- Learning style accommodation: Parents use a wide variety of instructional methods and resources to match the learning style of each student.
Many gifted, talented, and twice exceptional students do well in traditional schools; however, sometimes it does not provide a productive learning environment for some students (Goodwin and Gustavson, 2012). There are a variety of reasons that schools cannot meet the learning needs of some gifted and talented students. Some schools do not have the ability to meet the high needs of gifted and twice-exceptional students. These school have tried grade skipping and differentiation with little success (Kearney, 1984; Wessling, 2013). Some students may have unusual or advanced interests that cannot be satisfied in a traditional classroom; some students may learn at a rapid pace; and some students may not make friends because of the way their unique minds operate (Wessling, 2013). Gifted children follow asynchronous development which may negatively affect their classroom experience.
Homeschooling a gifted child may be one family’s first educational choice. However, for some families homeschooling may be a last resort (Winstanley, 2009).
Special Considerations to Homeschooling
There are some special considerations to homeschooling, especially for gifted children. While some gifted children feel isolation in traditional schools, some will develop a stronger sense of isolation when homeschooled (Jolly et al., 2012). The isolation will be felt by parents as well, if parents do not seek out a support system. There seems to be a stigma about talking to others about a gifted child. Some consider the conversation to be bragging and are not aware of the unique challenges that gifted children may present. Local districts may have support or advocacy groups for parents of gifted children (Duquette, Orders, Fullarton, Robertson-Grewal, & Ottawa, 2011; Stanley & Weber, 2010). These groups may or may not be open to homeschooling parents, depending upon the guidelines of such groups.
Transitioning from a traditional school to homeschooling also presents challenges (Jolly et al., 2012). Reseach suggests taking the following into consideration (Jolly et al., 2012):
- Slowly ease into a routine
- Develop a relationship with your child
- Set clear guidelines as a family
- Consider the changes to family roles
- Evaluate the loss of income
Research has shown that while fathers do carry some of the burden of homeschooling, the majority of the schooling responsibility falls to the mother (Jolly et al., 2012). Families need to take into account the added roles. When one parent leaves the work force to become a homeschooling parent, families will face a loss of income (Butler, 2000). Parents will need to ensure they can live on a restricted income.
Research has shown that despite the challenges, parents of gifted students will choose to homeschool because of the benefits it provides their children (Jolly et al., 2012).