I'm interested in hearing other's stories, philosophies, or even a blog link if you tend to follow an unschooly bent with your "gifted" child(ren). I understand that the concept of "giftedness" is questionable in the unschooling community, but I'd like to make a distinction here by acknowledging their unique talents, inclinations, or interests. I have a 5 year old, I've had home this whole time. I am finding myself being drawn more and more towards this path and I'm also finding that this is what seems to work best for her. She learns so much when left to her own devices, with my scaffolding if you will. I've been logging her "learning" just to see what's been going on around here and I'm pretty amazed. She has several interests/obsessions right now so mostly her learning is in those things, but she "covers" everything on her own it seems.
- topicGifted Childtagged by System, 3/22/12
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Unschooling the Gifted Child
I've unschooled all my kids. So far they've all chosen to enter school around age 13/14/15. They're probably all gifted, although only the first two have been tested (at the point of school entry).
We've had some occasional struggles with unschooling during the pre-teen years, but it was an outrageous success up until about age 10, and on balance I think the best choice even during the pre-teen years. My youngest is 9 and still entirely unschooled, although by her choice unschooling now includes a fair number of structured academic resources (used somewhat capriciously at times).
My seven (almost eight) year old has been unschooled other than a year of half-day kindergarten. . Unschooling means he can explore his interests at his own pace. It seems to work well because he is motivated to follow his own interests.
Miranda, that's interesting that yours have all chosen to go to high school. Was that more for social reasons, or because they wanted access to labs and teaching, or because they anticipated needing the diploma, or something else entirely? I'd be open to my son choosing this but it is hard to imagine how it would work unless the school was very flexible. Just curious... It's all a long, long way off for us.
Edited by Cassidy68 - 4/24/12 at 2:54pm
More "something else entirely," though with kid#3 there was an element of the social involved.
I think there were a number of factors involved. They had run into difficulty self-motivating and self-structuring the increasingly sophisticated and time-consuming learning they wanted to do. They wanted structure and accountability to keep themselves on task and to avoid procrastination and the discouragement that tended to come with that. They wanted a chance to measure themselves and their learning abilities against external benchmarks. It's all fine and good to hear people, including your parents, talk about how clever you are. But what if they're not objective, or are just trying to be nurturing and encouraging, and what if you were playing by the same rules as other teens? How would you stack up? There was an element of needing affirmation from a more objective source.
They also wanted a place other than home to fill their days with. Not really socially. Kid#1 really didn't want much to do with the other high schoolers, or with the teachers. Kid#2 could take it or leave it, although I think he derives a sense of satisfaction from his social standing at school. What they wanted was a place apart from home where they were able to dedicate themselves to learning. Home was overly familiar, and filled with distractions and habits and roles that they wanted to step outside of. They wanted a place that was new and fresh and separate from home.
We live on a rural acreage outside a village of 600 in a remote area far from cities and far from homeschooled kids with similar academic interests and abilities. If we'd lived near a larger centre it's possible some of the needs my kids had that school has filled had could have been met through other means. But we have almost no resources here, and the public school is innovative, open-minded and flexible to the extreme and has been more than willing to meet them halfway in the unschooling-to-school thing. So school was a good option and has been a positive change for them.
It is much less flexible prior to 8th grade, so my youngest remains exclusively unschooled.
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