Friday, August 04, 2006

The High Achieving (Homeschooled) Child

The Davidson Institute for Talent Development just released the names of its 2006 Davidson Fellows. They're a fascinating group of individuals, and you can read about them here.

I hope to profile a few more of them in the upcoming weeks, but one thing stood out for me immediately. Two of the three top winners (the Davidson Fellows Laureates) were homeschooled. For Heather Engebretson of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, homeschooling was a way to devote more time to studying her vocal technique. For Michael Viscardi of San Diego, California, homeschooling didnt necessarily mean "home" all the time -- being free of a normal school schedule gave him time to take all the college math classes he wanted.

I've been working on a piece on prodigies for USA Today that will point out that kids who are very gifted in one area are happiest when they get to spend a lot of time working in that area, playing in that area, immersing themselves in it. (if anyone has recommendations on prodigy "experts" -- people who've studied it, or studies, I'd welcome them!) While homeschooling is not for everyone, it certainly does cut down on the wasted time factor. Only a small percentage of school time is spent on actual instruction. If you compress, or "telescope" these broader lessons into a morning, that leaves the afternoon free to study math or sing. The results certainly show with these two scholarship winners.


Quiltsrwarm said...

Congratulations to those kids! As parents become increasingly frustrated with the state of public and private schools and homeschooling becomes more mainstream, you'll find more and more homeschoolers involved in and winning national competitions. Even where I'm located, homeschoolers consistently place in areas such as Model United Nations, State Fair, and mock trial.

Schedule and topic flexibility are huge reasons we homeschool. My kids thrive on the ability to immerse themselves in a subject, and the flexibility inherent in the homeschool lifestyle has helped to get them interested in learning again.

What an encouraging note -- thanks Laura!

Thomas G. said...

Glad to see these hard-working kids getting some recognition!