Homeschooling Gifted Children (page 2)

By — Educational Resource Information Center (U.S. Department of Education)
Updated on Dec 8, 2010

Ways to Homeschool

There are many methods of homeschooling; no single method is best. Success often comes through experience, confidence, and willingness to experiment. Many parents prefer the structure and security of a correspondence or purchased curriculum in the first year, switching to their own tailored program once they have developed experience and feel more confident. Some parents prefer to use textbooks and commercial curricula; others prefer to use a variety of resources.

Some parents opt to teach all subject areas to their children; others seek out classes or tutorials for some or all of the subjects, especially for homeschooled high school students. Approaches may vary with individual children and change over time as demands and experiences alter their lives. Reading accounts of other homeschool experiences and getting to know other homeschoolers offers perspective, ideas, and appreciation for the many ways of homeschooling.

What Resources are Available to Develop or Assess the Quality of the Homeschool Curriculum?

Testing and evaluations of subject area competencies can be useful in planning an educational program and assessing its outcomes. A combination of assessments normally provides the most complete picture of a child's progress. Off-grade standardized testing and portfolio evaluations may also be appropriate. Standardized grade-level achievement tests may be available from your local school district or state department of education. These tests can be used to ensure that students are keeping up with local school district grade level competencies. Homeschooling families should plan for objective assessment as part of the curriculum. Not only does objective assessment document achievement, but the results should inform program planning. To investigate the topic of assessment, contact the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation (1-800-GO4-ERIC).

Model content and performance standards are available in many of the subject areas. Content standards define what students should know and be able to do. They describe the knowledge, skills, and understanding that students should have in order to attain high levels of competency in challenging subject matter (U.S. Department of Education, 1994a). Performance standards identify the levels of achievement in the subject matter set out in the content standards and state how well students demonstrate their competency in a subject (U.S. Department of Education, 1994a). By following the basic academic standards set by the states or the national subject area standards, parents have a rich framework from which to develop challenging curriculum. Homeschooling resources and information on obtaining standards is provided in ERICEC Minibibliography EB18, which is part 2 of this digest.

International, national, and regional competitions may be valuable assessments of and incentives for achievement. Further, competitions may provide feedback as to how the student compares with others who are interested in the same area. Regional and national competitions can be found in most fields, including math, science, computer programming, writing, engineering, geography, environmental, art, music, and dance. Specific examples are included in Homeschooling Resources (EB18). A selected list of competitions and activities can be obtained for a fee from the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

How Well do Homeschoolers Perform?

One way to compare homeschooled students with peers who attend public schools is to use standardized achievement test scores. A study of homeschooled student scores on standardized achievement tests shows higher scores than the general population (National Home Education Research Institute, 1997). Galloway (1995) investigated homeschooled graduates' potential for success in college by comparing their performance with students from conventional schools and found insignificant differences, except in the ACT English subtest scores. Homeschooled students earned higher scores in that subtest.

View Full Article
Add your own comment
DIY Worksheets
Make puzzles and printables that are educational, personal, and fun!
Matching Lists
Quickly create fun match-up worksheets using your own words.
Word Searches
Use your own word lists to create and print custom word searches.
Crossword Puzzles
Make custom crossword puzzles using your own words and clues.
See all Worksheet Generators