Gifted Children & Homeschooling:
An Annotated Bibliography

Compiled by: Kathi Kearney, Gifted Education Consultant
Founder, The Hollingworth Center for Highly Gifted Children

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 philosophical perspectives.

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 home.)

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 of 7.

Colfax, D., & Colfax, M. (1988). Homeschooling for excellence. New York: Warner Books.

The Colfaxes sent three homeschooled sons to Harvard. Contains curriculum suggestions.

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, p. 58.

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, p. 16.

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: Winslow Press.

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 years.

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 adulthood.

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 which homeschools profoundly gifted children.

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.

Stoner, W. S. (1916). The manual of natural education. Indianapolis: Bobbs Merrill.

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.

Tolan, S. (1985, November/December). Stuck in another dimension: The exceptionally gifted child in school. G/C/T, p. 22-26.

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 instead.

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 Schooling).

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.

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