Homeschooling a Gifted/2e Child

Compiled by Hanlie Wentzel and updated on 26 March 2023.

We have been homeschooling our two 2e children for around 11 years and it has been a wonderful, challenging, mind-boggling and rewarding experience in every way. I never planned to homeschool and I tried to avoid it at first, but I soon realized that it would be in the best interest of my children and that I basically did not have other options… so I had to throw myself into the void… and start this adventure called homeschooling! Homeschooling has given me the freedom to adapt and fit our 2e children’s education to match their ability, learning styles, temperaments, gifting, career aptitudes, special interests and neurodivergency support needs.

Homeschooling can be a gift and a safe haven from the sea of storms and sensory disruption that mainstream schooling often proofs to be. Where you are not restricted to the glass ceiling of grade levels and where asynchronous, accelerated and self-paced learning is really possible.

I have found that both our children are knowledge seeking – although in different ways and with different aptitudes and special interests. They have an amazing thirst and capacity for learning, with that hyper focus and internal locus of control that are typical of 2e kids. When you can cultivate that innate love of learning and see it for the precious gift that it is, then it is truly a wonder to behold. It has not been easy and there are challenges along the way, mountains to climb and valleys to brave, and I am grateful for the lessons and the support along the way.

I am definitely not an expert, nor do I claim to be. I just had to learn so much along the way – and I continue learning every day. My hope is that in sharing some of the info and resources it may also proof to be helpful to you on your own journey.

I compiled the following information and I share it freely, I try to give credit to my sources, but please keep in mind it is meant for psycho-education only.

How do I know if my child is gifted?

Source credit:

Each gifted student presents differently. Gifted students often have characteristics that may include:

  • Advanced vocabulary
  • Appear cognitively ridged when anxiety inhibits them from trying new things
  • Attention and organization issues in non-preferred tasks
  • Avid readers
  • Awareness of national and world problems
  • Comprehension of advanced concepts and meanings
  • Creative production of novel ideas or products.
  • Disliking and rushing through drill and repetition work, thus making mistakes
  • Dropping out of school (20% of high school dropouts are gifted)
  • Experience greater degrees of alienation and stress than do their peers as a result of their cognitive capacities.
  • Grade level or above proficiency in basic skills and classroom work
  • Higher levels of self-actualization and need for intellectual stimulation
  • Intellectually curious preferring complex ideas and asking higher-order questions
  • Lacking appropriate interpersonal relationship and friendship skills
  • Late assignments due to their negative perception of the quality of their final work
  • Learn rapidly
  • More at-risk for adjustment problems than their non-gifted peers and at greater risk for emotional and social problems during adolescence and adulthood.
  • Perfectionism
  • Recognize inferred relationships and think abstractly
  • Retain and use the information without the need for drills
  • Sensitive to interpersonal conflicts
  • Setting unrealistic goals and expectations for themselves
  • Sustained attention spans in their areas of interest

For me a formal diagnosis is functional and it has many benefits to your child. I can highly recommend The Neurodiversity Center

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift
and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society that honors the servant
and has forgotten the gift.

– Albert Einstein

What is a 2e child

According to Wikipedia (2020) the term twice exceptional, often abbreviated as 2e, entered educators’ lexicons in mid 1990s and refers to gifted students who have some form of disability. 

These students are considered exceptional both because of their giftedness (e.g., intellectual, creative, perceptual, motor etc.) and because of their special needs (e.g., specific learning disabilityneurodevelopmental disability etc.).

A 2e child is one who, along with being considered gifted in comparison to same-age peers, is formally diagnosed with one or more disabilities. Although 2e can refer to any general disability, it is often used to refer to students with learning disabilities, although research is not limited to these areas, and a more holistic view of 2e can help move the field forward.

The disabilities are varied: dyslexia, visual or auditory processing disorderobsessive–compulsive disordersensory processing disorderautism spectrum disorderTourette syndrome, or any other disability interfering with the student’s ability to learn effectively in a traditional environment.

According to Cindy Perras, (M.Ed., OCT Educational Consultant, LDAO ) students who are gifted, and who have learning disabilities, may be “exceptionally” difficult to identify: their learning disabilities may “hide” their giftedness and their giftedness may “hide” their learning disabilities. This means that their needs in both areas may not be addressed appropriately.

In the literature, several definitions provide some insight into what is a paradoxical combination of strengths and needs:

Intellectually gifted individuals with specific learning disabilities are the most misjudged, misunderstood, and neglected segment of the student population and the community. Teachers, school counsellors, and others often overlook the signs of intellectual giftedness and focus attention on such deficits as poor spelling, reading, and writing (Whitmore & Maker, 1985).

A child who is Gifted/LD is “simply one who exhibits great talent or strength in certain areas and disabling weaknesses in others” (Baum, 1989, as cited in Bees, 2009).

Gifted/LD students are students of superior intellectual ability who exhibit a significant discrepancy between this potential and their level of performance in a particular academic area such as reading, mathematics, spelling, or written expression. Their academic performance is substantially below what would be expected based on their general intellectual ability. As with other children exhibiting learning disabilities, this discrepancy is not due to the lack of educational opportunity in that academic area or other health impairment“. (Brody & Mills 1997, as cited in Bees, 2009)

Characteristics of 2e Kids

According to Bees (2009), it is very important to know where to look for students who may be 2e; early identification may prevent some of the emotional distress associated with the student’s early school experiences. In Bees’ experience, a negative emotional response in students who are 2e is almost certain once school starts, and may result in depression, anxiety, withdrawal, aggression, or disruptive behavior.

However, the very combination of superior and weak abilities tends to create challenges with the identification of 2e students. It may be that students’ strengths keep them from receiving appropriate remedial programming for their weaknesses or, more commonly, weaknesses are focused on to the exclusion of programming for superior abilities.

The College of William & Mary, School of Education (Williamsburg, Virginia) has developed a number of print resources (in PDF) which provide an overview of current topics and best practices for supporting students with mild/moderate disabilities. These print resources, referred to as “considerations packets” or “information packets” include an excellent resource entitled, “Twice Exceptional: Gifted Students with Learning Disabilities”. The Twice Exceptional packet focuses on providing educators with basic information for recognizing and understanding gifted students with learning disabilities (LDs). The following three tables, Cognitive Strengths, Cognitive Challenges and Markers of the Combination of Giftedness and LD, from the Twice Exceptional packet, identify some of the possible characteristics of this student population (note: the lists are not exhaustive and not every student will exhibit all characteristics).

Cognitive Strengths of 2e Students

  • Superior vocabulary
  • Uninhibited expression of opinions
  • Uncanny sense of humor (e.g., sophisticated use of metaphor)
  • Highly imaginative
  • Extreme creativity
  • Extreme sensitivity and intensity
  • Penetrating insights
  • High levels of problem solving and reasoning
  • Interest in the “big” picture
  • Specific talent in a consuming interest area for which students have exceptional memory and knowledge
  • Wide range of interests that are not related to school learning

Cognitive Challenges of 2e Students

  • Deficient or extremely uneven academic skills
  • Discrepant verbal and non-verbal performance abilities
  • Auditory, perceptual, or visual perception problems
  • Problems with long- and/or short-term memory
  • Perceptual-motor difficulties evidenced by clumsiness, poor handwriting, or problems completing fine-motor tasks
  • Slow responses; students may appear to work slowly and think slowly
  • Lack of organizational and study skills; often messy
  • Difficulty following directions; nonlinear thinking
  • Easily frustrated: students give up quickly on tasks; will not risk being wrong or making mistakes
  • Lack of academic initiative; appear academically unmotivated; avoid school tasks; frequently fail to complete assignments
  • Difficulty expressing ideas and getting to the point; difficulty expressing feelings
  • Blaming others for their problems
  • Distractibility; difficulty maintaining attention for long periods of time
  • Difficulty controlling impulses
  • Poor social skills: students may demonstrate antisocial behaviors
  • Over-sensitivity to criticism

Markers of a 2e Student

  • Poor memory for isolated facts, but excellent comprehension
  • Preference for complex and challenging materials; easily distracted
  • Lacking self-regulation and goal-setting strategies
  • Boredom with rote or memorization tasks, but often disorganized
  • Difficulty reading, writing or spelling, but excellent oral language skills
  • Skill in manipulating people and situations, but poor interpersonal skills
  • Poor performance on simple facts such as addition and subtraction, but capable of complex, conceptual manipulations such as algebraic concepts
  • Strong sense of humor, but inability to judge appropriate times to display it
  • Penetrating insights, but inability to determine cause and effect related to own actions
  • Ability to concentrate for unusually long periods of time when the topic is of interest, but inability to control his or her actions and attention when the topic is not of interest

Mental Health & Gifted/ 2e Children


Giftedness has an emotional as well as intellectual component. Intellectual complexity goes hand in hand with emotional depth. Just as gifted children’s thinking is more complex and has more depth than other children’s, so too are their emotions more complex and more intense.

Emotional intensity can be expressed in many different ways:

  • as intensity of feeling – positive feelings, negative feelings, both positive and negative feelings together, extremes of emotion, complex emotion that seemingly move from one feeling to another over a short time period, identification with the feelings of other people, laughing and crying together
  • in the body – the body mirrors the emotions and feelings are often expressed as bodily symptoms such as tense stomach, sinking heart, blushing, headache, nausea
  • inhibition – timidity and shyness
  • strong affective memory – emotionally intense children can remember the feelings that accompanied an incident and will often relive and ‘re-feel’ them long afterward
  • fears and anxieties, feelings of guilt, feelings of being out of control
  • concerns with death, depressive moods
  • emotional ties and attachments to others, empathy and concern for others, sensitivity in relationships, attachment to animals, difficulty in adjusting to new environments, loneliness, conflicts with others over the depth of relationships
  • critical self-evaluation and self-judgment, feelings of inadequacy and inferiority

Many people seem unaware that intense emotions are part of giftedness and little attention is paid to emotional intensity. Historically the expression of intense feelings has been seen a sign of emotional instability rather than as evidence of a rich inner life. The traditional Western view is of emotions and intellect as separate and contradictory entities, there is however, an inextricable link between emotions and intellect and, combined, they have a profound effect on gifted people. It is emotional intensity that fuels joy in life, passion for learning, the drive for expression of a talent area, the motivation for achievement.

Feeling everything more deeply than others do can both be painful and frightening. Emotionally intense gifted people often feel abnormal. “There must be something wrong with me… maybe I’m crazy… nobody else seems to feel like this.” Emotionally intense gifted people often experience intense inner conflict, self-criticism, anxiety and feelings of inferiority. The medical community tends to see these conflicts as symptoms and labels gifted people neurotic. They are however an intrinsic part of being gifted and provide the drive that gifted people have for personal growth and achievement.

It is vitally important that gifted children are taught to see their heightened sensitivity to things that happen in the world as a normal response for them. If this is not made clear to them they may see their own intense experiences as evidence that something is wrong with them. Other children may ridicule a gifted child for reacting strongly to an apparently trivial incident, thereby increasing the child’s feeling of being odd. Also sensitivity to society’s injustice and hypocrisy can lead many emotionally intense gifted children to feel despair and cynicism at very young ages.

The most important thing we can do to nurture emotionally intense gifted children is to accept their emotions: they need to feel understood and supported. Explain that intense feelings are normal for gifted children. Help them to use their intellect to develop self-awareness and self-acceptance.

The Davidson Institute has more great articles and resources:

Enter my world as a 2e child…

I am . . .intense.

Intensity defines me. The further along the IQ spectrum I am, the more intense I am likely to be. Children who are highly, exceptionally, or profoundly gifted have different intellectual, social, and emotional needs than those who are mildly or moderately gifted.

My intensity has a huge impact on my educational needs. I am internally driven to learn more deeply and rapidly than my age-mates. My thirst for knowledge and understanding is all-consuming. My analysis is sophisticated, and my knowledge of many topics may be advanced. I am very likely to be perfectionistic in my quest for truth and mastery, causing me intense anxiety when I don’t get something the first time. I may follow logic to extreme conclusions, and be intensely upset when others behave in ways I think are irrational or unjust.

My reactions in the classroom may be fueled by how I interpret what you or fellow students say and do. I may perceive personal feelings and thoughts that you think are hidden to me, but my empathy isn’t the same as immaturity, and I may react differently than you may expect. This includes questioning parts of society most people take for granted: it is likely that I fiercely believe children should be treated with the same equality and dignity adults enjoy—yet I also intensely need adult guidance and reassurance as I struggle to understand life’s injustices and challenges as we learn about them in school.

I am likely to be extraordinarily sensitive, so that typical school sounds, smells, lights, and physical contact may be excruciating and even panic-inducing. At the same time, I may also be sensory-seeking, reacting to noise with noise, and touch with collision. I may need to move constantly while I learn. 

What you can do: Feed my intense need for knowledge and deep analysis. Cultivate a culture of calm, logic, respect, and justice in your classroom, and expect that I may have deep perception and empathy.

Know that I may not be able to control my reactions from over sensitivities and physical over stimuli. Ask me before entering my “space,” even to offer a high five or make eye contact. Accommodate my need to move while learning.

I am . . .asynchronous.

I am many ages at once: 8 years old chronologically, but 15 when I read or do math; 10 socially, but only 6 when I write. My asynchrony may work in my favor in one situation, but not in another. This is particularly true if I am gifted but have a learning disability like Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, or neuro differences like ADHD, Autism/ Asperger’s Syndrome, Sensory Integration Disorder or others (this is called being “twice exceptional”).

No matter how advanced my intellectual understanding is, it is likely to outstrip my emotional coping skills because of my limited life experience.

I may learn to do math or read early, but I may also develop fine motor skills late.

Even at surprisingly young ages, I am acutely aware of how different I am from my age-mates. I can see that others treat me as if there is something “wrong” with me. But asynchrony isn’t an indicator of a problem in itself; it is part of who I am.

What you can do: Provide educational content matched to my intellectual age, not my chronological age. Challenge me by using vocabulary you would use with an older child, or even an adult. I will ask if I don’t understand you.

Understand that uneven development across domains, even if I am achieving above grade-age level, may indicate that I am compensating for a learning disability.

Help support my weaknesses and any learning disabilities, while challenging my intellect, so that I can learn to work hard, persist, and take intellectual risks. This is crucial to my well-being.

Discuss my asynchrony matter-of-factly with me; it is part of who I am. But honor my dignity, particularly in areas where I lag behind or suffer from a disability.

My family needs your support as much as you need theirs; I wear them out as much as I wear you out! It is okay to offer my parents ideas to help meet my intellectual needs at home. At the same time, they probably have effective ideas to help make your job with me easier.

I am . . .misunderstood.

I have astounding educational, social, and emotional needs stemming from my intensity and asynchrony.

The higher my IQ, the less likely I am to perform well in school. I crave high-level challenge and vast quantities of information. My need to learn drives me, every waking moment. I am happiest when I am learning new things. Unlike typical kids, I do not thrive on repetition and can be easily frustrated by it.

If I appear to “level out” with typical children in third grade, it is more likely despondence or even depression in reaction to the extreme educational mismatch. I may hide who I am, especially if I am a girl.

But giftedness is not temporary; it is a neurological condition. It is part of my original equipment and will stay with me my entire life.

I may act out because my needs are not being met; this is the case even if I am extremely young. Sometimes I will “shut down” altogether. I may not show teachers what I am capable of, especially if my abilities have drawn unwelcome attention in the past. I may be slow to answer as I mull over many possible answers you may not have anticipated. I may refuse to endure practicing rote materials I’ve known for years. I almost certainly will question authority and reject what I perceive to be illogical or unjust rules.

I will not socialize with children with whom I have nothing in common, just because we have the same birth year. It is likely that I get along better with much older children, or even adults.

But in the correct educational setting, matched to my intellectual age and pace, with true intellectual peers, nearly all of my challenging behaviors vanish. Contrary to what you may have been told, I will benefit intellectually, socially, and emotionally from acceleration, especially if the older class is prepared for my arrival.

If my parents are advocating for me, it is very unlikely they are pushing me to achieve. Instead, they are trying to find ways to meet my needs. My giftedness, even if profound, is not the result of my working hard (but my family and educators can and should help me learn to do so).

What you can do: Educate yourself about the top myths about giftedness and gifted education. Know that one of my greatest challenges in childhood will be coping with my understanding of how different I am from my age-mates, and even from other gifted children. Finding ways for me to interact daily with true intellectual peers is the surest way to help me.

Understand that my giftedness does not imply that I work hard; nor does it imply that my parents are pushing or “hothousing” me. It is who I am, and I am dragging my parents along for the ride.

If you seek to measure my abilities, understand the ramifications of the ceiling effect for gifted children, especially those who are highly, exceptionally, or profoundly gifted. Take my parents’ account of my giftedness seriously; research shows that parents are the most accurate predictors of the level of their children’s giftedness, particularly for highly, exceptionally, and profoundly gifted children.

I am . . .incredibly unique.

Not all gifted children are the same. My abilities may differ from other gifted kids. I may be lousy at math, but years ahead in reading. Or, I may be incredibly talented in math, but after years of not being challenged in school, I may have poor work habits and may have lost my innate love of learning. My advanced potential may lie in non-academic areas, or areas that schools don’t always measure well, like pattern-spotting, social and leadership skills, emotional precociousness, or the arts.

The further along the bell curve I am (see chart), the more likely it is that you have never encountered a student like me before.

My IQ isThen I amKids like me occur
145-159 (3-4 S.D. from the mean)Highly Gifted (HG)1:1,000 – 1:10,000
160-179 (5-6 S.D. from the mean)Exceptionally Gifted (EG)1:10,000 – 1:1 million
180+ (6+ S.D. from the mean)Profoundly Gifted (PG)Fewer than 1: 1 million

What you can do: Educate yourself about how unique gifted children are even from one another. Get to know me. I am unique!

Source credit: The above info was sourced from

Gifted children learn differently

Gifted students learn differently and require special education supports in order to grow academically and achieve their potential. This includes:

  • Appropriate identification
  • Academic field exploration with the field and study in-depth learning
  • Accelerated and enriched academically challenging curriculum
  • Instruction tailored to unique abilities and needs, interests and learning styles
  • Opportunities to use and develop their creativity.
  • Persistent and committed engagement in learning
  • Gifted and talented students are not challenged in regular classroom settings
  • They do not thrive in regular education programming
  • They need to be provided with enrichment and accelerated programs to meet their educational needs.

How do I support my gifted/ 2e child?

Meeting the child where they are and supporting growth through engagement and challenge. Every family and every child—including every gifted child—is unique. There is therefore no single formula to follow in order to support gifted-level learning. Instead, what we offer are ideas for considering each child’s and teenager’s emotional, social, intellectual, and physical interests, and their strengths and challenges, with the idea of empowering them to engage more meaningfully with a wide range of learning opportunities.

- Being Smart About Gifted Learning

Sometimes the expectations and the “burden of giftedness” can be too much to bear. Parents need to be sensitive to the emotional needs of their gifted children and allow them to just be themselves, without constant pressure and moving the goalposts time and again, as soon as they achieve or master something. Rather focus on cultivating the love of learning, of nurturing independent and delight-directed learning that is truly child-centered, and self-paced. Gifted kids have “big thoughts” and “big feelings” to such an extent that it often leads to excessive worry, anxiety, depression and burnout, especially in the teenage years. They too need kindness and understanding, to be believed when they feel and see things that others don’t.

The following statistics are from the Australian NAPLAN tests:

  • Between 10 and 50 percent of all gifted school students fail to perform at levels at which they are capable, often leading on to behavioral issues and mental health problems.
  • Between 10 and 40 percent, drop out before completing Year 12.
When kids are struggling in class, teachers have plenty of tools at their disposal. But when the children are doing well, the best tool we have is enrichment, which is essentially pushing the kids sideways.
- Shen-Li

We need more than enrichment programs if we really want to challenge the gifted child.

Acceleration is the most effective program for above average kids, but hardly any schools allow their students to skip a year. But there are other ways to accelerate. My preferred method of acceleration is to take out half of the curriculum, giving kids a sense of mastery over fewer subjects. This is a much better way of accelerating above average kids.
- Shen-Li

If we want to challenge our gifted kids, we really need to accelerate them. A common argument against this is that we need to let children enjoy their childhood instead of rushing them toward adulthood. That does not equate to holding them back from learning more challenging material just because that material is often associated with the work of older kids. Like other children, gifted kids need opportunities to be challenged, to struggle, and to fail. Without these opportunities, we rob them of vital experiences for growth and development that other children naturally receive.

How Can Teachers (& Homeschool Parents) Help?

In addition to understanding the unique profile and needs of students who are 2e, teachers need strategies to engage students in the learning environment and models for special programming. Here are some suggestions from the Twice Exceptional (2014) packet:

Academic Strategies

  • Use active inquiry involving discussion and experimentation
  • Provide open-ended challenges requiring divergent thinking, especially in small-group settings
  • Consider students’ preferred learning styles, interest, and strengths
  • Based on student interests, incorporate opportunities for students to investigate real-world problems for real audiences
  • Provide sufficient time for students to work without interruption
  • Use POW or a similar strategy for writing — students Pick their own ideas, Organize their notes, and Write and then say more by writing again (Margolis & McCabe, 2006)
  • Use acceleration and curriculum compacting in strength areas<
  • Teach whole concepts and then parts rather than part-to-whole
  • Teach creative thinking and dramatics (Starko, 2004)
  • Provide students with the rationale for tasks and lessons
  • Provide students with detailed rubrics, checklists, or performance lists to reduce frustration

Social/Emotional Support Strategies

  • Tap into students’ strengths by using bibliotherapy (the use of books to change behaviour and/or reduce stress), cinematherapy (a form of therapy or self-help that uses movies, particularly videos, as therapeutic tools), biographies and autobiographies, inspirational quotes, and self-help and how-to books (Halsted, 2002)
  • Offer peer or group counselling sessions to address issues of self-concept, self-esteem, fear of failure, negative interactions with teachers, and poor peer relations
  • Encourage individual counselling to address chronic behavioural or familial difficulties
  • Encourage the use of reflective journals employing various modalities to address issues of self-esteem or self-efficacy
    Conduct short- and long-term goal setting sessions

Behavioral Strategies

  • Encourage students to assume responsibility by creating opportunities and letting them carry out responsibilities without interference or enabling
  • Enhance motivation by planning for less desirable tasks to precede a preferred one (e.g., editing a paper before completing a creative group project)
  • Assess present levels of student performance to provide appropriately challenging assignments (Margolis & McCabe, 2006)
  • Limit choices; too many choices may interfere with students’ decision making
  • Use a variety of environmental settings as cues for desired behaviour. When changing activities and expectations, change the setting.
    Provide private space for independent work

Strategies to Compensate for Areas of Need

  • Pair students whose strengths are complementary
  • Use picture books, tapes, and oral instruction for non-readers; word processors or dictation for non-writers
  • Reduce reading by copying and enlarging paragraphs or pages
  • Provide shortened class assignments to support short-term goal-setting strategies
  • Encourage students to choose tasks that rely on students’ strengths rather than amplifying weaknesses (e.g., oral report with costume or props in lieu of a written report for students who do not have strong written language skills)
  • Encourage knowledge and understanding of individual areas of strengths and need
  • Be sensitive to students’ frustrations while supplying strategies for dropping out of activities with integrity (e.g., provide an escape route such as a quiet corner or allowing students hall passes to cope with feelings of frustration by taking a brief walk)
  • Understand students’ need for emotional support to create a connectedness that is very powerful in motivating students to make decisions to work hard (Coleman, 2005)
  • Teach learning strategies that provide students with a logical sequence of steps that make attacking difficult tasks more manageable (Margolis & McCabe, 2006) (e.g., the Strategic Instruction Model, University of Kansas, Center for Research on Learning, 2008, which employs specific strategies for reading, remembering, writing, performing math operations, and demonstrating competence. These explicit approaches are useful to enhance success and confidence in students who are identified as gifted/LD.)
  • Teach self-regulation strategies such as chunking and setting short- and long-term goals (Zimmerman, Bonner, & Kovach, 1996)
    Allow students to use technology such as calculators and speech-recognition software

Click here to visit the William & Mary School of Education website to access the “Twice Exceptional” packet:

In summary, programming for students who are 2e should focus on developing their gifted potential while offering educational interventions and accommodations in areas of academic weakness. With these dual goals in mind, educators can contribute to both the educational and emotional development of these talented students so that they can achieve the success they deserve.

Myths in Gifted Education

Source credit:

Myth 1: Gifted students don’t need help. They’ll do just fine on their own.

Just as you wouldn’t send a star athlete to train for the Olympics without a coach, gifted students also need guidance from well-trained teachers who will challenge and support them in order to fully develop their abilities.

Myth 2: Teachers Challenge All The Students, So Gifted Kids Will Be Fine In The Regular Classroom.

A study revealed that 58% of teachers have received no professional development focused on teaching academically advanced students in the past few years and 73% of teachers agreed that the brightest students are often bored and under-challenged in school. They are not given a sufficient chance to thrive. Not all teachers are able to recognize and support gifted learners.

Myth 3: Gifted Students Make Everyone Else In The Class Smarter By Providing A Role Model Or A Challenge.

For most of the other kids in the class, watching or relying on someone who is expected to succeed doesn’t really help. On the flip side, gifted students benefit from interactions with peers at similar performance levels. In classrooms with average-ability students, they can become bored, frustrated, and unmotivated.

Myth 4: All Children Are Gifted.

Firstly, we should be clear that every child has strengths and positive attributes, but not all children are gifted in the educational sense of the word. “Gifted” means they have an advanced capacity to learn and apply what is learned in one or more subject areas, or in the performing or fine arts. They need modifications to the regular curriculum to be challenged and to learn new material. Gifted is not good or better; it just means that they have different learning needs.

Myth 5: Acceleration Placement Options Are Socially Harmful to Gifted Students.

Studies support the fact that many students are happier with older students who share their interest than they are with children the same age.

Myth 6: Gifted Education Programs Are Elitist.

Gifted Students Have ‘Special Needs’, Too – “there’s the widespread belief … that “equity” should be solely about income, minority status, handicapping conditions, and historical disenfranchisement. Most of American society does not seem to believe that giftedness constitutes a “special need” or that inattention to it violates some children’s equal rights.”

Myth 7: Students who Receive Poor Grades Can’t Be Gifted.

Gifted students who are bored or frustrated in an unchallenging classroom lose interest, learn bad study habits, or distrust the school environment. Some students mask their abilities to try to fit in socially with their same-age peers. Others have a learning disability that masks their giftedness. Whatever the cause, we need to break the cycle of underachievement to help these children achieve their full potential.

Myth 8: Gifted Students Are Happy, Popular, And Well Adjusted In School.

While some gifted students do flourish in their community and school environment, there are others who do not. The differences in their emotional and moral intensity, sensitivity to expectations and feelings, perfectionism, and deep concerns about societal problems can affect how well they fit into school. Then there are those that do not share interests with their classmates, resulting in isolation or being labeled unfavorably as a “nerd.” These difficulties can make the school experience one to be endured rather than celebrated.

Myth 9: Children with Disabilities Can’t Be Gifted.

Some gifted students also have learning or other disabilities. They are referred to as “twice-exceptional” and are most at risk because their disability and gifts can mask each other, making them appear “average”. Some are identified as having a learning disability and are not considered for gifted support.

Myth 10: Gifted Education Requires An Abundance Of Resources.

A fully developed gifted education program may often appear overwhelming in its scope and complexity. Starting a program requires little more than:

  • the acknowledgment that gifted students need something different
  • a commitment to provide appropriate curriculum and instruction
  • teacher training in identifying gifted students and in gifted education strategies

Resources for Gifted Education/ Homeschooling

It is very important for you as a parent of a gifted child to educate yourself and to learn about the various factors and issues that defines gifted learning. Here are a few resources, articles and websites that I find helpful and useful:

Prof. Shirley Kokot: Education psychologist in Hermanus, with gifted children as area of speciality. 082 414 4814 of;

The Neurodiversity Center

Homeschool Curricula, Online Schools & Enrichment Classes for gifted kids (available to South Africans)

Homeschooling is a beautiful and gentle way to create a specialized, self-paced, asynchronous, child-centered, delight-directed, rich learning environment that teach your gifted/ 2e children in the way they learn.

You have the flexibility and freedom to custom fit their education around their:

  • Gifted ability/ Neurodivergency
  • ND Support Needs & Accommodations
  • Special Interests
  • Temperament & Personality Profile
  • Intelligence Styles
  • Learning Styles
  • Sensory Profile & Sensory Diet
  • Academic ability / Accelerated learning/ Remedial support
  • School exit of choice (NSC/ IEB / GED / Cambridge/ American High School Diploma)
  • Career Interests & Pathway.
“Homeschooling is all about educating the whole child. The Charlotte Mason method is based on Charlotte’s firm belief that the child is a person and we must educate that whole person, not just his mind. So a Charlotte Mason education is three-pronged: in her words, ‘Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life’.“ 

- quoted from

My personal homeschool philosophy is based on the Charlotte Mason Method and an individualized, delight-directed, faith-based, child-centered approach. This can take the form of whatever your child needs to learn, it may be eclectic homeschooling, living books, online homeschooling, boxed curriculum, blended learning and hybrid learning. What works for someone else may not work for you and your unique child. There is not ONE right way to homeschool – no matter how passionately someone believes their way is the only way. YOU HAVE TO FIND THE RIGHT FIT FOR YOUR CHILD.

For more information on the different matric pathways available to homeschoolers in South Africa see

For more information on “Homeschooling with Autism” see

Any curriculum that is self-paced and allows for asynchronous learning e.g. acceleration or remedial support for neuro-difference and learning differences will work. Enrichment can be basically anything your child is interested in and that sparks joy! Focus on their special interests, some may last for a day, some for a lifetime and may become a Career Pathway.

1. Self-paced Homeschool Curriculum/ Online School

  • IVLA (accredited American online school for grades K -12, they offer an “accelerate program” with self-paced, flexible courseware, traditional coursework can be paired with gifted and talented courses and they offer a variety of learning platforms)
  • Christa McAuliffe Academy School of Arts & Sciences (American grade K to 12 accredited private online school, with asynchronous instruction, live interaction and assistance is available from instructors and educational facilitators)
  • Ambleside Online (self-paced, free homeschool curriculum that uses Charlotte Mason’s classically-based principles; detailed schedules, time-tested methods, and extensive teacher resources allow parents to focus effectively on the unique needs of each child)

There are so many homeschool curricula and service providers to choose from – too many to list here. For a detailed list see my free online Curriculum Directory:

2. Enrichment Courses/ Classes

  • Adventure Academy (for kids 8-13, online lessons in English Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies; 4000+ activities, progress tracking)
  • EZ School Games (free online educational games that cover a wide range of skills in a variety of subjects, such as Math, English, Science, Social Studies, and more. All games and answer sheets are printable)
  • Skillshare (online enrichment classes for creative skills, delight directed learning that is interest based)
  • The Good and the Beautiful Supplementing School (providing good and beautiful learning resources and books for children and families; whether your children attend public or private school, take online courses, or homeschool)
  • Easy Peasy All-In-One Homeschool (free, self-paced American homeschool online curriculum with a Christian Worldview, it can be used as full curriculum or take individual subjects for enrichment)
  • Yale Online (free and open access to a selection of introductory courses from Yale University for enrichment)

3. Challenge & Compete

Olympiad Exams

Olympiad exams are competitive exams that are conducted at national and international level by various organizations every year in which students participate to test skills in various subjects and showcase their talent. Generally, these exams are conducted in online mode. These exams not only help students to take their knowledge to the next level but also help them to improve performance in academics too. Questions put up in the Olympiad exams conducted in South Africa test students on different dimensions like innovative approach, creativity, imagination, understanding of concepts, logical ability, analytical skills, etc. The students of South Africa get exposure to the competitive world that exists by participating in International Olympiad exams that are organized for different grades.

Crest Olympiads:  Asia’s 2nd Biggest Online Olympiad exam – CREST Olympiads. CREST Olympiads is conducted for Prep/KG to classes 1 to 10 in Mathematics, Science, English, Reasoning, Cyber, International Spell Bee (Summer) and International Spell Bee (Winter):

South African Maths Foundation:

SA Mathematics Challenge (grades 4 – 7):

SA Mathematics Olympiad (grades 10 – 12):

South African Mathematics Olympiad (SAMO) for grades 8 – 12:

SA Olympiads offers grade specific Olympiads for Math and English (grades 1 – 9):

BRICS Mathematics International Competition and online learning platform (grades 1 – 12):

Nelson Mandela University Mathematics-Art Competition (grades 8 – 12):

UCT Mathematics Competition (grades 8 – 12):

SAMO Maths Talent Search: The SAMF Maths Olympiad Training Program is a free correspondence problem solving program for Grade 7 to 12 learners.  The program aims to identify talented mathematical minds and develop their talent through a series of assignments. The participants will learn mathematical problems-solving techniques and interesting mathematical concepts, which will also help learners to prepare for the second and third rounds of the South African Mathematics Olympiad:

CREST EduFund Mental Maths (grades 1 – 12)

The Matific Maths Olympiad (Online mathematics competition for primary school students)

Computer Olympiad South Africa & Talent Search:

CREST Cyber Olympiad (grades 1 – 10)

South Africa Science Olympiad (Natural Sciences – Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9; Life Sciences – Grades 10 and 11; Physical Sciences – Grades 10 and 11)

Climate Science Olympiad 2023 (ages 12 – 25)

CREST Reasoning Olympiad (grades 1 – 10)

CREST English Olympiad (grades R – 10)

De Beers English Olympiad (grades 9 – 12)

CREST International Spelling Bee (grades 1 – 8): Summer Round and Winter Round

Owlypia (International online, ages 9 – 18, five subjects: Science and Technology, Literature and Culture, Economics and Business, Art and Design, Social Sciences)

International Philosophy Olympiad (Open to pupils from every country in the world who are enrolled in a high school at the time of the competition. Every student writes an essay on one of the four topics given to them. The time of writing is 4 hours)

4. Gifted (International) Schools

There are online schools that cater specifically for gifted learners and maybe this is something you want to explore.

  • Stanford University Online High School (Stanford OHS serves academically gifted students in grades 7–12. Students are up against tough competition for admission to the program, they accept international students)