A few parents have remarked on this blog that they're investigating homeschooling their gifted kids. It's a popular option. When we were doing research for Genius Denied, the Davidsons told me that about half the families the Davidson Institute for Talent Development works with homeschool their children at some point during the kids' K-12 career. Few parents start off intending to homeschool. They're not religiously or philosophically opposed to public schools. It's just that the regular education programs their local schools offer don't work for their kids. Attempts to make accommodations go awry. So the parents take their kids out of school and attempt to teach them at home.
Of course, with gifted kids, this can be a problem too. As one mom told us, "Homeschooling an extremely gifted child is daunting. What works today is guaranteed not to work in six months. 'Canned' curricula are useless. Every single day is a challenging adventure."
So most parents of gifted kids don't wind up just teaching them at the kitchen table from the various curricular packages. They cobble together "school" from college classes, tutors, distance learning, and even half-day programs or pull-out programs at schools that are OK with that sort of thing. For instance, a kid might take calculus at the high school, music and art electives with her age-peers at the local middle school, study literature through an online provider like Stanford's Educational Program for Gifted Youth, and Spanish with a neighbor who speaks it fluently. That might work for one year. Then you have to find something else that works for the next year. Flexibility is key.
Fortunately, homeschooling parents tend to be wired types who like to help others in the homeschooling community. So there are a lot of homeschooling resources on the internet. I can recommend Hoagies' Gifted Education Pages on homeschooling, available here. While you're there, be sure to read the article in Reason magazine from Daniel Pink, author of Free Agent Nation (available directly here.) He points out that this mish-mash style of education is actually closer to the way a lot of us assemble our careers than the cookie-cutter style too many schools promote. That may be small comfort when you're tearing your hair out because you carved out 6 months to learn multiplication and your kid learned it in 6 hours. But it might inspire a smile.