America is one of the most diverse nations in the world. Travel to a major city and you can experience different cultures from around the world in different areas of the city. The experience can leave a person in awe at the creativeness of human nature. The same basic ingredients for a soup in one culture becomes a main course in another culture. Cultural diversity is exciting. Unfortunately, there are some obstacles to diversity, especially in the field of education. Research and new educational practices are leading educators to find new ways to overcome the language and cultural barriers in the classroom. The barriers also affect gifted students who are culturally diverse.
English Language Learners
In an article by Dr. Joan Smutny (2012), parents of gifted English Language Learners (ELLs) of gifted language learners are encouraged to provide an environment at home that promotes the student’s abilities. The suggestions provided are to encourage creativity, be accepting of the differences, provide supplements to curriculum and new learning experiences, and encourage participation in creative learning experiences (Smutny, 2012). A lack of research of gifted English Language Learners limits the understanding of the cultural needs and expectation of these students. These suggestions provide a foundation for a homeschooling experience of gifted English Language Learners.
Another population that lacks adequate research is Native American gifted students (Gentry, Fugate, Wu, & Castellano, 2014). One reason for the lack of understanding is the extensive tribes within the population. Each tribe holds different values, word meanings, and expectations of tribal members. The needs of gifted students within the Native American culture should be based upon the cultural values held by each tribe; however, more research is needed (Gentry et al., 2014). Gifted students within this population that are not having their needs met would benefit from homeschooling. Homeschooling is customizable (Ray, 2002), which allows parents to provide a learning experience that meets cultural preferences and matches student interests.
“Black parents, like many White parents, are increasingly not seeing homeschooling as a burden, but choosing excellence and taking education into their own hands” (Grantham & Collins, 2013, P.5).”
Homeschooling has become the solution that one population uses to meet the unique needs of their children. In the article Upstander Parents Choosing to Homeschool Gifted Black Students, Dr. Tarek Grantham and Krista Collins (2013) explore African American parents choice to withdraw students from public education to homeschool. The authors define upstander parents as those who take action for their children’s education; bystander teachers are those who “watch, wait, and do nothing” (Grantham & Collins, 2013, p. 4). Parents have become frustrated by the lack of action in the public school systems in meeting the needs of highly gifted children. African American parents can provide a culturally responsive, high quality, and customized education that the schools are not able to provide (Grantham & Collins, 2013).