by Eleen Kamas, PhD
GHF Board Member
Many years ago, some young parents got together so their babies could play, and in their conversations, they talked about the future education of their children: “Which schools are the best in the area, public or private?” or “What about schooling at home (what a strange idea)?” As the children grew the conversations became more specific: “Is this school near my home the best for my child?” or “ Should I try to get into that highly regarded charter school across town?” and “Can any of these schools handle my child’s specific strengths—and needs?” Then came time to register for kindergarten. After touring the neighborhood schools in our district, the school my family chose for our son was a parent-participation charter that seemed to fit his needs well. Unfortunately, there was a lottery for the school, and he ended up on the waiting list. So we decided to homeschool him for kindergarten and re-evaluate as the year went on. Meanwhile, some of our friends were experiencing schools which did not know how to deal with their children’s needs, so they also started homeschooling, searching for the resources that would help their children flourish.
When we began our homeschooling journey, resources were not widely available. Much of the homeschooling community was “underground,” avoiding the truancy officers. As we searched for the resources that would work for our children, we realized traditional schooling would not suit their particular learning styles, and I worried that my quiet son would be overlooked in a busy classroom. We continued to homeschool, but knew we needed support from others in similar situations. So, in 2005, Corin Barsily Goodwin began the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. GHF began small, as an email community centered in California, with the goal of linking families to resources for educating their children at home and bringing families together for mutual support.
I have been a part of GHF since this small beginning, first as a member, then a guest and sometime contributor at the board meetings, becoming a staff volunteer helping with minor editing and computer support, the faith-based/Catholic contact, secretary to the board, and, finally, as a board member. Over the years, I’ve seen GHF grow from its humble beginnings to an internationally known and influential non-profit in the education of gifted children. GHF has become a voice for parents, providing resources for them to educate their children, themselves, and the professionals around them.
GHF continues to be a part of my homeschooling journey with my children. From the stress of finding a path for the education of my firstborn, to the continuing education of the six children who are now part of my exclusive private school (“that you have to be born into!” as my son quips when asked), GHF has provided directions to search for materials that would work with each child’s learning styles, as well as support from others who are on the same path. As a Catholic Christian, I also find support for our educational journey in my extended and church families. In addition, I have used support and information from GHF to enhance the religious education of my children, finding ways to adapt the church materials to better suit my children’s learning needs.
Gifted Homeschoolers Forum is an active and growing community and resource that can be helpful to any parent seeking to educate their gifted child, whether they are beginning this homeschooling journey or are nearing the end. With interactive forums, such as the email list and Facebook page, as well as resource lists on the GHF website, books from GHF Press, and classes offered through GHF Online, GHF has something to offer everyone!