Identifying the Gifted and Talented Student
"We Love Math & Science" houses a variety of resources for those students who have special abilities in the Maths and Sciences.
"Opportunities" lists plenty of places where homeschoolers can and do excel!
"Identify" gives basic information on a variety of topics including: Identifying the Gifted Student, Gifted Assessment, Is Intelligence Quotient Important?, Academic Assessment, Learning Styles, and being Gifted with Disabilities (Twice Exceptional)
gifted homeschool "how-to" - How do I homeschool my gifted student?

Many people prefer not to "label" their student as "gifted". But it is important to recognize the very specialized and specific needs of these students. You'll hear all kinds of "code words" however: "talented", "able", "TAG", "very able". I use them at this website. They all mean to identify a person with specialized and specific educational needs...


(Read a brilliant article on Unschooling and labeling by Lisa Rivero!)



I am not an expert on "giftedness", but through my own experiences, I have managed to develop some of my own ideas on these topics:


I also have some great books and articles on gifted topics.

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Intelligence Quotient (IQ)

OK. So what about IQ? Is that important when identifying my gifted student? How about being gifted with learning disabilities (twice exeptional)? What about academic testing? What is gifted assessment?


Learning Styles & The Gifted Student

The Gifted Student...
possesses an advanced capacity to achieve at higher than average levels
possesses multiple, specialized, unique interests
has an advanced ability to conceptualize, and a high interest in applying the concepts
has intense, long-range concentration on topics of interest, and task commitment
demonstrates high creativity
has an evolved sense of humor
takes pleasure in thinking divergently
takes pleasure in learning
possesses curiosity and interest in the unusual
is an independent learner
has a higher sense of self awareness and of social issues
has an intense sense of fairness
demonstrates idealism

Truly gifted children have specific educational needs that are not generally addressed, or adequately addressed, in mainstream schools. Although there are many listings of the characteristics of gifted students, most authorities tend to agree that truly gifted students often exhibit these characteristics.

Because of such characteristics, the learning needs of these students can present difficulties in the traditional classroom. Boredom and a lack of appropriate challenge can “turn off” these students. Behavior and attention span problems can arise and society loses these talented students.

Experience has shown me that knowing the dominant learning style and personality type of your gifted student is one of the most important elements to your homeschooling “method”. The next important element is knowing your own dominant learning style and personality type. They may not match your student’s and that can come into play when you are the mentor for your gifted homeschooler.

OK, you’re not sure what learning styles are. The key word back there was “dominant”, your gifted student will slide into many of these styles and personalities on a daily basis. It’s the dominant style and personality that you’ll need to learn to deal with. I think that psychologists will tell you that there are ways to test, or determine the dominant learning style and personality of your student, we had the tests done and they didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know about my student. The tests just gave me the “labels” I needed to research further. If you are comfortable with testing and can afford it, do it. If you are willing to go with what you already know about your student, you’re probably going to be accurate in your own assessment. Either way, find out what your student’s learning style is!

[Read our pages about learning styles ]

True Experts
(Networks and Associations)

Theorists in the field of gifted education have argued that the ideal curriculum for gifted students should be presented in a way which includes:


emphasis on higher level thinking skills and problem solving
abstractness and complexity
originality, novelty, unpredictability
freedom of choice and ability to individualize learning
self-directed discovery and experimentation as focal points of learning
open-endedness and non-judgmental response to student explorations
inter-disciplinary learning, making connections across traditional boundaries
an opportunity to explore topics in a multiplicity of ways
opportunities for self-evaluation and metacognitive assessment
process, product and content co-existent
enrichment and acceleration combined

If these needs are not met in the traditional classroom, other avenues must be explored. Often gifted students feel isolated and often feel like outsiders in a traditional school setting. “Pull-out” programs and other “gifted” and “accelerated learning” programs offer the gifted student the opportunity to be around other students with similar abilities, but often don’t satisfy all of the abstract needs described here. These kinds of programs often do not address the unique learning style of these exceptional students.

[Our pages about learning styles, and our links to gifted networks and associations]

The Public School System

The public schools in the United States can barely address the needs of the general population let alone the gifted student; if you elect to use the public schools, you will need to become an advocate for your gifted child. There are a few schools in the United States dedicated solely to educating the "gifted student", but they are hard to find and expensive. In reality, you will find that you are on your own to address the needs of your gifted student in the school system in the United States. We pulled our student out of the school system and therefore choose not to address that topic at this website, but there are 2 books that we have encountered that may help you if your student stays in the Public School system:

Helping Gifted Children Soar: A Practical Guide for Parents and Teachers by Carol Ann Strip

The Survival Guide for Parents of Gifted Kids: How to Understand, Live With, and Stick Up for Your Gifted Child by Sally Yahnke Walker, Susan K. Perry


The Parents
So, your child is gifted and you find yourself like a deer in the headlights of an oncoming truck. You consult with experts, you read about giftedness, you meet with teachers, you look at each other and say "Now what?"

Find other parents to talk to. Do research on your particular situation. (There is plenty of information about giftedness available these days.) Make decisions about your lifestyle and school choices. Realize that the road ahead will be an adventure. Remember that humor is important!

We hope the information you find here will help you homeschool your gifted student. We are always willing to accept suggestions and questions. We may have encountered your situation, or know someone who has. We are not experts on the subject of giftedness, but we can get you started down a practical path towards information to help with your questions.

Jump to our pages about

The Homeschool

Experts in the subject of giftedness have written many articles on how to identify a gifted student. There is plenty of information written on what it means to be gifted and talented student. There are a lot of papers written about why the gifted and talented student should be homeschooled. These are all generalized and what you'll find is that just like each child is different, each gift that you find in your student will not quite exactly "fit" what the "experts" have to say. It will be more like "sort-of" like this and a "little-bit" like that, so you'll quickly become the expert on your student(s).

OK - this is all great, but what about getting down to the actual process of guiding the gifted and talented student through elementary and high school lessons at home? Materials barely exist for the parent who is going to homeschool the gifted and talented student, so get ready to turn on your imagination. If you are considering homeschooling a gifted student check out how we are doing it and our "how to homeschool your gifted student" to help you "get right to it".

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