How I Arrived
at Our “Gifted” Homeschool Method
There are several styles or methodologies homeschooling families
embrace: School-at-Home, Unschooling, Eclectic, Montessori,
Waldorf, Charlotte Mason. You rarely hear of a “gifted
homeschool” method, so you’ll need to invent your
own. Here is how we invented ours.
I found that there are four elements in getting your student
interested and invested in his own personal academic outcome.
These elements add up to your "method". It's not really
all that complicated, but these four items are important:
1. Recognize how your student learns
2. Recognize how you learn
3. Determine the best style to present opportunities for your
student to learn.
4. Take on the role of mentor and let your gifted student be
the student and the teacher.
I am mostly a verbal-sequential learner(auditory-sequential).
My student’s dominant learning style leans towards a global,
visual style. It wasn’t until my student was age 11, that
we were actually aware of a label for his learning style, Visual
A verbal-sequential learner and a visual-spatial learner are
at opposite ends of the spectrum. Linda Kreger Silverman describes
this beautifully in her book Upside-Down
Brilliance: The Visual Spatial Learner" :
appear to be two major ways of learning:auditory-sequential
(more left hemisphere) and visual-spatial (more right
hemisphere). Auditory-sequential learners are good listeners,
learn well in a step-by-step process, tend to be rapid
processors of information and are generally able to express
themselves verbally. They are often able to compartmentalize
their reasoning from their emotions.
In contrast, visual-spatial learners are excellent observers,
comprehend holistically -may have sudden “Aha!”
understanding that leaps over steps - appear to think
in images, may need translation time to put their ideas
into words and sometimes have word retrieval problems.
Their thinking and emotions are very intertwined.
My student is also more of an introvert. So he’s a visual-spatial-introverted
learner. I am mostly a verbal-sequential-extraverted learner.
This combination made for an interesting couple of years in
Early on in our homeschool journey, I recognized that a couple
of “gifted” traits or tendencies in my student worked
well as themes for our homeschool.
student... has an evolved sense of humor & takes
pleasure in thinking divergently.
It was recognizing these themes that helped me through those
early years before I realized the importance of recognizing
learning style and personality. With the ever changing environment
you have with a gifted student, you just may hit some frustrating
dead ends. So recognizing these themes and utilizing strategies
that follow those ideas can help. In our homeschool, these themes
have dominated most of our strides forward and have helped transform
dead end paths to forks in the road again and again.
So to total it all up, we use a mix of eclectic-unschooling-school-at-home.
Here’s a magic formula:
Method = [(student’s dominant learning
style) + (teacher dominant learning style)] + [(student’s
personality) + (teacher personality)] / (theme(s))
Here's how we plug in what we know about ourselves to get our
= [(global, visual style) + (verbal-sequential)] + [(introvert)
+ (extravert)] / (humor+divergent-thinking)
The import ant idea to get from this discussion is that your
homeschooling method will be more successful, and you will expirieince
less frustration, if you take a little time to understand your
own personality type and learning style and your student’s.
We Have Used
are times when I go through my closets and clear out all those
items I thought would make learning a joy for my student. Some
were hits, some were real bombs for us. This lists the books,
materials and other resources we have used that were "hits"
in our homeschool.
a free and open educational resource (OER) for educators, students,
and self-learners around the world.
a publication of MIT course materials
not require any registration
not a degree-granting or certificate-granting activity
not provide access to MIT faculty
Boy do we use video! Our laptop plays DVDs so we take videos
everywhere. I list these resources because they offer more academic
type video, like History Channel, Discovery movies and even
courses on video.
Here are some great resources that will keep your supply fresh.
Teaching Company brings engaging professors into
your home through courses on DVD, audio CD, and other formats.
Since 1990, great teachers from the Ivy League, Stanford, Georgetown,
and other leading colleges and universities have crafted over
200 courses for lifelong learners like you. It's the adventure
of learning without the homework or exams. [Courses I have for
Great Math & Science
My student is very into Math and Science, with more of a slant
towards robotics, physics, general engineering.
for a curriculum for a gifted student?
Here's what we did.
Techniques that we have used and that work....
Notes in Picture Form: A Powerful Strategy for Visual-Spatial
Students by Alexandra "Allie" Golon
Who are “visual-spatial learners?” Visual-spatial
learners, or VSLs, are those among us with powerful gifts of the
right hemisphere. They are our artists, inventors, builders, creators,
musicians, computer gurus, visionaries and healers. They are empathic
and often very spiritually aware, even when they are very young.
They think and learn in multi-dimensional images. However, most
schools, most teachers and most curricula are a haven for left-hemispheric
thinking, or auditory-sequential learners; children who think
and learn in words, rather than images, and in a step-by-step
Skills for Visual-Spatial Learners by Alexandra "Allie"
Most, if not all, visual-spatial learners (VSLs) are accused of
being hopelessly unorganized. However, it has been my experience
that these right-hemispheric learners (think “absent-minded
professors”) truly can find a needle in a haystack. My son,
Matt, for example, whose room on any given day may look as though
multiple tornadoes have hit, never ceases to amaze me in his ability
to locate just the perfect LEGO TM piece he was searching for.
The visual (spatial) learning style (from www.learning-styles-online.com)
If you use the visual style, you prefer using images, pictures,
colors, and maps to organize information and communicate with
others. You can easily visualize objects, plans and outcomes in
your mind’s eye. You also have a good spatial sense, which
gives you a good sense of direction. You can easily find your
way around using maps, and you rarely get lost. When you walk
out of an elevator, you instinctively know which way to turn.
The whiteboard is a best friend (or would be if you had access
to one). You love drawing, scribbling and doodling, especially
with colors. You typically have a good dress sense and color balance
(although not always!).
Mathematics to Non-sequential Learners by Linda Kreger
...children who show superior grasp of mathematical relations,
but inferior abilities in mathematical computation. These children
consistently see themselves as poor in mathematics and most hate
math. This situation is terribly unfortunate, since their visual-spatial
abilities and talent in mathematical analysis would indicate that
they are “born mathematicians.”
Brilliance: The Visual Spatial Learner" by Linda
(Gifted & Creative Services Australia)
Many gifted children struggle in school because their intelligence
is not recognised and neither is their unique learning style.
These children are gifted visual spatial learners who have great
ability in abstract random thinking coupled with marked weaknesses
in auditory sequential information processing.
your child remember what is seen
but forget what is heard?
Does your child have a vivid imagination?
Can your child visualize objects from
Does your child enjoy solving puzzles and mazes?
These are children who would reather spend the day with a new
box of LEGOs than do nearly anything else in the world. Kids
who can get so absorbed in creative play, they lose all sense
of time. Often labeled unorganized, unfocused, poor spellers
or worse, visual-spatial learners can be equal parts pleasure
and frustration to parent. We're here to help!