A Different Approach to Learning for Highly Gifted Homeschoolers

After the first week of homeschooling I fully realized why I decided to listen to my daughter and grant her request to learn at home versus a public school classroom setting. It was because she learns differently. Completely differently. I have learned that is my job to help her learn. The first week I had a schedule of learning activities and was going ‘by the book’. By Friday I realized that I can’t go by the book. I have to go by Madison. It’s a very different approach that requires faith, trust and outside the box thinking. I can provide her with knowledge, but she lets me know exactly what how and the amount she needs. And when I tried to go by the book, I was putting her in the same position she would have been if I sent her to public school and it completely defeated the purpose. Highly gifted children learn differently and need a different approach to learning.

I went into this thinking I have to make her do everything I think she should do to ensure she is learning, comprehending and retaining. And I was dead wrong. She knows what Science instruments are and what they are used for and therefore does not need to draw them or write a sentence describing how a scientist uses them. We read about it and she aced the test without in her mind, ‘wasting her time’. So I learned to put 100% trust in her. She wants to learn, she craves it and loves it. She isn’t trying to ‘get out’ of having to do anything that hinders her learning any new information, she just knows what she needs to do to learn and I have to follow that.

Once I did and gave her a choice on what activities she would like to do to expand her learning on the subjects and concepts she needed to learn she flourished and at light speed. I can’t keep up. It’s honestly exhausting, but totally worth it. Today she was so excited to put the thermometer in the refrigerator and then the freezer and record the temps in both Fahrenheit and Celsius in her Science journal. She’s determined to master anything she can learn, but not at the expense of wasting her time when she already knows she understands it or if it’s not relevant in her mind or serves a valuable purpose. She loved coloring the Continents and Oceans on her map worksheet today and writing them out. She loved making her own compass with a piece of cork, a needle she rubbed with a magnet and placed in a bowl of water. She is a natural driven learner.

So now our homeschooling adventure is a team effort with me providing her with an enriching and valuable education and with her communicating to me how to teach her in a manner that benefits her the most.

I realized after week one, that I am so lucky to have a child that knows what she needs and can communicate that to me. So now I will learn to teach her in a ‘outside of the box’ manner and promised her I will not make her do repetitive work for the sake of doing it. I will not hold her back. From now on she will take tests first and learn what she doesn’t know. This road has not been an easy one, because it goes against the ‘normal’ way of educating and thinking. As a parent and the sole educator for your child, this is a very hard concept to come to terms with. But I see the results in the tests she takes and the difference in her motivation to learn and so I have to go with my gut. So far, it has always been right.

I will never, ever forget the smile on her face and the light in her eyes when I explained this to her. Her spirit for learning will not be crushed. We are a team. Team Madison. Team Madison who for now, is still learning on her terms, meeting all the objectives that she is required to learn, and most importantly with more free time for her to enjoy learning what she is interested in and on her own by expressing her own creativity.

Soon I will be replacing the cover photo for my blog. She is no longer fighting Darth Vader. She is a really good place and as soon as I find the picture that I feel represents that, it will be changed. 🙂

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