A curriculum for gifted students
Great Books Homeschool is designed with gifted students in mind. What does this mean in practice?
Gifted students are rarely uniformly advanced in every subject. Instead, they tend to be highly accelerated in some areas, and less so in others.
One unique aspect of Great Books Homeschool is that a single membership provides access to our curricula for all grades simultaneously, and our customization features make it easy to combine curriculum components from multiple grades to ensure students are being appropriately challenged in each subject. You also have the ability to move students forward to a new grade at any time and at no extra cost.
Throughout our curriculum, core subjects are taught at a greater depth and degree of challenge than is typical. In language arts, students read a large number of progressively more challenging books in various genres from classics to science fiction. Our default math curriculum option, Beast Academy and Art of Problem Solving, is designed for outstanding math students. History is studied in depth, with four years of world history and three years of American history taught systematically in elementary and middle grades. Science includes study of cutting-edge topics like genetics and cosmology in addition to standard biology, chemistry and physics.
Gifted students need less repetition, testing and review than most other students. In general, our curriculum emphasizes new material rather than testing students on what they have already learned. Unlike many language arts curricula, we do not require students to write book reports or answer comprehension questions about what they have read. This allows students' time to be spent more effectively on learning new material.
One characteristic of giftedness is the development of strong interests. In our curriculum, interests are supported in two ways. First, we facilitate discovery of new interests by providing exposure to a much wider range of academic and creative experiences than most curricula. Students have the opportunity to learn realistic drawing, web design, robotics, sculpture, and explore topics like philosophy, astrophysics and ancient civilizations, to name a few examples.
Second, our curriculum allocates ample time for pursuit of interests. Unlike other academically rigorous curricula, ours is not overly time-consuming because we believe that unstructured time is a crucial aspect of educational development. Starting in fifth grade, we also set aside one hour of "Project Time" each day for students to pursue their own academic and creative interests.
When gifted individuals fail to achieve their potential, it is often due to deficits in general life skills rather than a lack of ability.
Our curriculum is unique in its emphasis on developing skills for an effective and fulfilling life, in addition to academic study. Middle school students read engaging books about topics like initiative taking, pursuit of goals, navigating adolescence and handling stress. Our high school curriculum includes a Skills for Life course that covers topics like nutrition, time management, prioritization, personal finance, leadership and ethics.
Study of great men and women
Our history and literature curricula emphasize the biographies of great thinkers, inventors, advocates for social change and other men and women who have changed the course of human history.
The high school curriculum even includes a course dedicated entirely to biographies, in which students choose ten (out of twenty options) remarkable lives to study from a variety of areas of endeavor, time periods and circumstances.
The purpose is not only to teach history, but also to inspire students to use their talents to create a better world.