School House Wonk

"Genius without education is like silver in the mine." Benjamin Franklin

Partial Homeschooling For Gifted Students

In my school district, Lake Washington School District (LWSD), there is a waitlist for students who have qualified for our gifted education program (known as “Quest-Highly Capable”). Qualifying for gifted education involves earning high scores on standardized tests, including day-long testing on Saturdays, as well as strong teacher recommendations and consistently high grades on report cards. Yet the reward for some students who make it through that arduous process isn’t a spot in a gifted classroom, but a number on a waitlist. Even worse, students may only stay on the waitlist for only one year; after that the student must re-test and re-qualify all over again. LWSD states that while it does the best it can to offer gifted education to every student who qualifies, it does not have the resources, particularly the classroom space, to offer gifted education to all qualifying students.

Nancy Mann Jackson of writes that some school districts and parents are tackling this problem through partial homeschooling. With partial homeschooling, parents and districts work together by allowing students to attend their traditional public school for part of the day, then take advanced classes or work on projects on their own time. It is a highly individualized approach that allows talented students to pursue their passions.

According to Kathi Kearney of the Gifted Development Center, gifted children are the fastest-growing group to leave traditional institutions for homeschooling because of the shortage of gifted education options. With partial homeschooling, students can take classes at their traditional school, and then pursue gifted education in alternative settings (online, at home, at a community college, with a tutor, etc.). A partial home school student can still access school activities such as sports or clubs. This flexible approach can provide the best of both worlds for gifted students; students are engaged with academic work that challenges them, while they also maintain important social bonds with their school community.

Beth T. Sigall

February 14, 2013

Note: Lake Washington School District is located in Redmond, Kirkland and Sammamish, Washington

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4 thoughts on “Partial Homeschooling For Gifted Students

  1. Liv Finne on said:


    This is perfect. Just the right length. You identify a problem and offer a solution.

    I hope you are sending your posts to all legislators on the Senate and House ed committees.


  2. That is an excellent idea. It is sad that parents have to do this though.

  3. yes, Katie, I agree – on the one hand, giving parents more choices and more flexibility is great. On the other hand, seems like it also kinda ends up giving districts a free pass on their obligations.
    thx 4 your comment

  4. Bobbie Carson on said:

    This is a really great solution. One of the activities for gifted students that has gotten great results is early college. My daughter, who is gifted, has done really well with this. Bard College at Simon’s Rock has made a big difference in her life.

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