What can be gained through homeschooling

Linda Silverman's picture

 

The month of June found our merry band (Kim Boham from Omaha, Linda Leviton from Southern California, Anne Beneventi from Northern California, and me from Denver) embarking on a journey to uncharted territory. Families in Northern California had been waiting a year for the Gifted Development Center (GDC) to come back to the Bay Area to test children. But there was no place to test them and the hotel rates were outrageous. Yet, the stars must have been aligned. Something new was born there. We decided to pilot a new service.
 

Dr. Annemarie Roeper had developed the Annemarie Roeper (AMR) Method of Qualitative Assessment. After spending a completely unstructured hour with a child, Annemarie could tell if the child was gifted and to what extent. I often tested children who had been assessed by Annemarie. She was right on the money. It was uncanny. The only times the scores did not match Annemarie’s estimates were when children were twice exceptional (2e) and could not perform well on the standardized tests. In these cases, I trusted Annemarie’s judgments more than the test scores. She could see giftedness that the tests missed.
 

Before our beloved Annemarie passed, she chose Anne Beneventi (a member of the GHF Board of Directors) as her successor to direct the AMR Method of Qualitative Assessment. Anne had been Annemarie’s protégé for 25 years. From years of working closely with Annemarie, Anne gleaned expertise in this nuanced process we lovingly call “QA.” Children invited her into their inner worlds in the same manner they invited Annemarie. Anne went to the children’s homes, where they are most comfortable. Anne became the Director of Admissions at Helios New School and used QA to identify all applicants. The method proved robust for the selection of students for a school for the gifted. In addition to determining if the child was gifted, Anne used QA to learn about the child’s learning style, personality, and interests that could be used to design the child’s program.

 

Linda Leviton, MFT, directs Gifted Development Center’s West Coast office in Southern California. I have been her mentor for nearly 50 years. She was also trained by Annemarie in QA. She began working with Anne in the Bay Area early this summer, helping Anne conduct QA with Helios New School applicants. It was a match made in heaven. Both Linda and Anne are affiliated with the Gifted Development Center (GDC) and use the GDC forms in conjunction with QA. They conferred on their QA evaluations and found that they were perfectly in sync. So, when we came to the Bay Area this year, we decided to try a combination of Qualitative and Quantitative Assessment (QQA). Pure magic!
 

Linda brought a new dimension to the process: she captured QA in writing, which brought the child to life in the reports. We added an assessment of visual-spatial learning style and offered parents a 20-minute free consult within three months of receiving their report. Kim Boham, our Communications Coordinator, showed amazing fortitude, and tested 10 children in 10 days. While the schedule was grueling (and I ended up in the hospital with food poisoning), the experience was incredibly gratifying.


Most of our families were homeschoolers who had heard of us through a gifted homeschool group in the Bay Area. I learned so much from them about the phenomenal resources available for homeschoolers in the Bay Area. One night I couldn’t sleep. I had heard that when you wake up in the middle of the night, you should write. That is when you are most open to the Muse. At 2:00 in the morning I stared at my computer wondering what on earth I should write. I found myself comparing the grade equivalents of a child we had tested four years earlier with current grade equivalents and I was shocked. The parents originally sought our services while contemplating homeschooling and our report cemented their decision.


I made a chart of the two sets of grade equivalents and a column entitled Academic Gain. Instead of the four years of growth that would have been predicted in four years of school, remarkable gains had been made through homeschooling. The greatest growth was in Writing Samples (16 grade levels)! Applied Problems (math reasoning) demonstrated a 10.8 grade level gain. The only areas where the growth was less than four years were in Math Fluency and Reading Comprehension, both indicators of visual processing weaknesses.
 

Reading Grade Equivalent
8/30/2010
Grade Equivalent
6/17/2014
Academic Gain
Letter-Word Identification 2.3 8.4 6.1 grade levels
Reading Fluency 2.3 8.3 6 grade levels
Passage Comprehension 1.6 5.4 3.8 grade levels
BRIEF READING 2.0 7.3 5.3 grade levels
BROAD READING 2.1 7.6 5.5 grade levels

Math

Grade Equivalent Grade Equivalent Academic Gain
Calculation 2.3 11.0 8.7 grade levels
Math Fluency 1.9 3.8 1.9 grade levels
Applied Problems 1.7 12.5 10.8 grade levels
BRIEF MATH 2.0 12.1 10.1 grade levels
BROAD MATH 2.0 8.9 6.9 grade levels

Written Language

Grade Equivalent Grade Equivalent Academic Gain
Spelling 1.1 7.9 6.8 grade levels
Writing Samples 1.5 >18.0 16.5 grade levels
BRIEF WRITING 1.4 11.6 10.2 grade levels

Cluster

Grade Equivalent Grade Equivalent Academic Gain
ACADEMIC SKILLS 1.9 8.7 6.8 grade levels
ACADEMIC APPLICATIONS 1.6 11.0 9.4 grade levels
BRIEF ACHIEVEMENT 1.5 9.3 7.8 grade levels

 

The chart clearly demonstrated the success of homeschooling and provided a basis for education planning for the child. Upon receiving her report, the child's mother wrote:
All I can say is "Wow." Thank you for such a thorough, encouraging, and thoughtful report. I cannot tell how much I appreciate it. The recommendations are so complete. I hope we can institute many of them. Thank you so much, and thank you to GDC. Thank you for truly "seeing" our child and providing seasoned, expert recommendations.


Every year GDC offers a homeschoolers discount for families who come to Denver for the assessment. (Our travel expenses prevent our being able to offer the discount elsewhere.) In the past, we have set aside September to honor homeschoolers. This year we moved the discount to October because September 7 is Grandparents’ Day, and we wanted to honor gifted grandparents in September (2012). We are offering a $200 discount in September (2012) for grandparents to learn about their own giftedness or to sponsor the assessment of their grandchildren.

This year, we have a very special treat for homeschoolers. Bobbie Gilman, Associate Director of GDC, and I presented on 2e children to STAR Center staff in Denver, the premier treatment center for sensory processing disorder and other developmental disorders. We send many families to STAR Center. Dr. Lucy Miller, STAR Center’s founder and clinical director, teaches therapists and parents how to deepen and enrich their relationships with children. When Lucy took us to lunch, Bobbie mentioned our $200 homeschoolers discount for the month of October (2012). Lucy gleefully said, “We’ll do it too! We love homeschoolers!” Lucy has designed an amazing 13,000 sq. ft. sensory playground that STAR Center makes available to homeschoolers every Thursday from noon to 3:00 p.m., in the spring and fall.
 

For the first time (hopefully, not the last) GDC and STAR Center are collaborating on discounted services for homeschooling families. Homeschoolers will receive a $200 discount on comprehensive assessment at the GDC through the month of October (2012) and $200 off of any evaluation at STAR Center through November 30. We hope you will come and experience both of our child-centered agencies.
 

Gifted Development Center
8120 Sheridan Blvd., Suite C-111
Westminster, CO 80003
www.gifteddevelopment.com
(303) 837-8378

 

STAR Center
5420 S. Quebec St. #103
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
www.spdstar.org
(303) 221-7827