Gifted Children and Homeschooling: An Annotated Bibliography
by Kathi Kearney
Compiled by: Kathi Kearney, Instructor, Talented &
N-103 Lagomarcino Hall, Department of Curriculum &
Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011
This bibliography and resource list represents much of the written
record in this century about gifted children and homeschooling. The
authors come from a very wide variety of educational, religious, and
Alexander, E. (1992). Learning to fly: A homeschooling retrospective.
Understanding Our Gifted, 5(1), 1, 11 -14.
Elye Alexander reflects on his six years of homeschooling from the
vantage point of a Harvard senior.
Anonymous. (1923). A mother's letters to a schoolmaster. New
York: Alfred A. Knopf.
The mother of a child above 180 IQ explains to the principal why
her son has been removed from school, and outlines in detail his
curriculum and creative activities at home.
Berle, A. A. (1914/1973). The school in the home.
New York: Harper & Row. (Also see his 1916 book, Teaching in the
Berle's two books are the first real "homeschooling manuals" for
the general public in this century. In the first book, he outlines a
Christian philosophy of home education. The second book reviews
curriculum materials. Berle raised four extremely gifted children,
considered prodigies in their day, who entered college early. One son
became deputy Secretary of State under FDR.
Baum, R. (1986). The home schooling of Andrew Wyeth: A conversation
with the artist. Gifted Children Monthly, 7(5), 1 - 3, 13.
This interview with Andrew Wyeth gives insight into his
homeschooling as an artist in his father's studio, beginning at the age
Colfax, D., & Colfax, M. (1988). Homeschooling for excellence.
New York: Warner Books.
The Colfaxes sent three homeschooled sons to Harvard. Contains
Feldman, D. H., & Goldsmith, L. T. (1986). Nature's gambit.
New York: Basic Books.
Two of the six prodigies featured in this study were homeschooled.
Some detailed information about the choices and the process is included.
Kantrowitz, B., with Rosenberg, D. (January 10, 1994). In a class of
their own: For exceptionally gifted children, the best school can be the
one at home. Newsweek,
This national news story reported on the growing number of
exceptionally gifted children being taught at home, and explores some of
the reasons why.
Kearney, K. (May/June1984). At home in Maine: Gifted children and
homeschooling. G/C/T, pp.15 - 19.
This article features interviews with two families homeschooling
extremely gifted children. The article explores the families' reasons
for making this choice, and how it is carried out day by day.
Kearney, K. (1989). Homeschooling gifted children. Understanding
Our Gifted, 1(3), 1, 12 - 13, 15 - 16, 20.
Using one family with highly gifted children as a case study, this
article explores the reasons why families of the gifted choose to
homeschool, and how they do it.
Kearney, K. (September/October,1992). Homeschooling highly gifted
children. Understanding Our Gifted,
This short article discusses why homeschooling often fits the
unique educational needs of the highly gifted.
Kearney, K. (in press). Gifted children and homeschooling: Historical
and Contemporary Perspectives. In K. Hegeman & S. Cline (Eds.),
Gifted Education in the 21st Century: Issues and Concerns. New York:
This chapter reviews the history of the homeschooling movement
among families with gifted children, explores some of the reasons
families of gifted children choose homeschooling as an educational
alternative, reviews the way giftedness can unexpectedly impact legal
issues, curriculum development, and socialization in the homeschool, and
looks ahead at the future of homeschooling gifted children.
Linehan, P. (1992). Homeschooling for gifted primary students.
Understanding Our Gifted, 5(1), 1, 8 -10.
Linehan explains the place of homeschooling in the elementary
McCurdy, H. G., with Follett, H. (1966). Barbara: The unconscious
autobiography of a child genius.
Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Barbara was a writing prodigy, the daughter of two authors, who
was always homeschooled. This book chronicles her literary development
as a child and adolescent, and her mysterious disappearance in young
Schnaiberg, L. (1996, June 12). Staying home from School.
Education Week. (archived on the web at:
This article features an indepth look at four homeschooling
families, including one family who are homeschooling profoundly gifted
Sheffer, S. (1995). A Sense of Self: Listening to homeschooled
adolescent girls. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook.
Sheffer's book looks at the lack of a "crisis of confidence" in
homeschooled adolescent girls, compared with other girls in more
traditional school settings. Several of the girls interviewed for this
study are intellectually or artistically gifted.
Stoner, W. S. (1914). Natural Education.
Indianapolis: Bobbs Merrill.
Stoner's early book describes in minute detail the homeschooling
program of her daughter, Winifred, from babyhood through middle
childhood. Stoner's book features the "progressive thinking" of the day,
including chapters on discipline, eugenics, world peace, and Esperanto.
Stoner's philosophy was very different from Berle's, though their books
appeared the same year.
Tolan, S. (1985, November/December). Stuck in another dimension: The
exceptionally gifted child in school. G/C/T,
In Tolan's critique of contemporary schools and classrooms and
their difficulties in meeting the needs of gifted students, she outlines
many solid reasons a family might give for choosing homeschooling
Tolan, S. (1985). A time to fly free. New York: Scribner's.
Tolan's novel for young people features a homeschooled boy. This
book is a favorite among unschoolers at Holt Associates (Growing Without
Voetberg, J. (1995). I am a homeschooler.
Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman & Company.
A beautiful picture book for younger children about homeschooling.
Wallace, N. (1983). Better than school.
Burdett, NY: Larson Publications.
Wallace never acknowledges that her children are gifted, but those
familiar with the field will immediately recognize Ishmael and Vita as
highly gifted children. Wallace removes her son from school after a
disastrous early experience. Using an unschooling approach, the children
learn at home. Both children are also accomplished musicians. The book
chronicles one year in the life of a homeschooling program for two
profoundly gifted children.
Stoner, W. S. (1916). The Manual of Natural Education.
Indianapolis: Bobbs Merrill.Times
This book accompanies Natural Education, and is a guide to
the teaching strategies, methods, and materials required for the Natural
Education approach. By 1916, Stoner had organized Parent-Teacher Natural
Education Study Circles to promote her methodology.
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