My Favorite Blogs

I wanted to share my top three favorite blogs from people who provide a wealth of great information and share from their hearts.

My favorite blog regarding giftedness is The Common Mom

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My favorite blog for homeschooling is The Homeschool Mom Blog

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My favorite blog that includes giftedness and homeschooling is My Little Poppies

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All three blogs share genuine information that I enjoy reading and I believe many others would as well. Cheers!

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Why is Advocating for my Gifted Child Important?

I wanted to re-share the reason I started this blog. To bring awareness that gifted children are different than just bright or smart children.

Incredible Journey of Giftedness

I remember seeing a tweet on Twitter from a gifted adult and she said, ‘I wish my parents hadn’t asked me why I couldn’t just be normal’ repeatedly as I grew up. This tweet hit home, because Madison wasn’t even 4 years old yet, and I had already said that more times than I could count. From that day forward I never said it again. I will however catch myself once and awhile asking her why she’s so frustrating, which is basically the same thing, so I need to watch that!

When most people find out their child is gifted they are so happy! Their child is smart and it is ‘cool’ to be gifted. When you look up  the definition of being gifted, here’s what you usually see:

Giftedness Defined by NSGT

That sounds cool! Yay!

But giftedness isn’t just those things. All gifted children are unique. Gifted traits…

View original post 1,083 more words

Raising a Gifted Child and the Perception of Hothousing

Madison loves learning. Madison learns things very quickly that she is interested in. Madison loves seeing her progress and is very competitive.

This does not equal me hothousing her. It equals me providing opportunities for her to learn, how she wants to learn.

I am her mother and now her teacher and I will do anything to meet her her needs. I will ensure she’s on track if she chooses to go back to public school. I will ensure she can dig deeper into whatever subjects she’s interested in. I will protect her innocence and only expose her to what I feel is age appropriate.

This does not in any way equate to hothousing. I do not push her. I make her learn certain aspects of Math and complete assignments she isn’t particularly interested in. And she gets it. She understands ‘everything’ isn’t going to interest her in the same way and some things you just have to learn to move on. And it may be at a higher level. That is completely in her control. I make sure she does an appropriate amount of time and she grasps it quickly and moves forward at her own pace. That is her, not me. And I am willing to try new things to see if that helps her love of learning even if I am hesitant of the curriculum.

Just because a child learns things very quickly, doesn’t mean there is a parent pushing them to learn behind it. Parents of exceptionally and profoundly gifted children don’t have to hothouse their children to learn. They are too busy trying to keep up to even have the time. They are too busy trying to figure out what information they can provide to fulfill the hunger of learning in a satisfying way for their child.

And trust me when you have a child that does, you downplay it to most people and feel absolutely horrible for it at the end of the day. Like you betrayed your child and I will admit there isn’t a worse feeling in the world than that.

And if you are lucky enough to know people that understand, you surround yourself around them because you know you won’t be judged.

And then you wake up and do it all over again the next day. And hopefully day after day you begin to not care what others think and stop downplaying. And in return, stop feeling guilty. And learn to focus on the moments you can share without being judged or feel guilty for and you increase those moments you can share with others that understand and decrease the others. Because you finally understand that no matter what you say, it it won’t change the understanding. What truly matters are those who ‘get it’ even if it is in a different way. Because what works for one doesn’t work for another. But you can share what works and someone gets it, then that is the best feeling in the world. To be able to share without being judged. And those are the moments to be cherished.

The Love of Learning With Homeschooling

Jeff just finished reading The Story of the World Volume One to Madison this evening. Volume One is Ancient Times. Next, they will move on to Volume Two, which is the Middle Ages.

I try my best to keep up with the Homeschool Facebook pages because they have such great suggestions on homeschool curriculum. I saw The Story of the World mentioned several times, so I went out and bought it. We already have a Social Studies curriculum through Moving Beyond the Page, so I thought this would be an added bonus as a supplement. Jeff started reading it to Madison as a bedtime story and she LOVED it. She chose it over any other choice of books every evening.

So I got excited and went out and bought the activity guide and test companion books. And as soon as I tried to start using them, Madison didn’t want to hear The Story of the World any more. Go figure, so I immediately put the companion books away. She gets so excited about what she has learned with Story of The World as a bedtime story, she can’t wait to tell me all about it the next day…… And so I have learned the joy of learning is driven by her and doesn’t include activities and testing and it doesn’t have to because she shares what she has learned every morning. She wants to learn because she enjoys it and it interests her. And that is such a beautiful thing. A concept I am fully learning to embrace for her.

And from the recommendation of other homeschoolers, I checked out Liberty’s Kids videos from the library. It is a fun cartoon about American History. And Madison loves them. She begs to watch them over anything else. No quizzes, no additional activities, just the enjoyment of learning without any strings attached. And the best part? The kid is a total history buff and not because of anything I’ve taught her, but because she is interested and is learning in her own way that is fun for her. She leads and I provide the tools for her to learn. That’s how it works. And amazingly enough, it is working!!!! I may still be somewhat ‘stuck’ in the brick and mortar ‘school mode’ of thought and caught up on exceeding objectives by a couple of grade levels, but I have come to realize that Madison will on her own terms in her own way and then some, if it interests her and she enjoys it. So my new goal is to be a whole lot less concerned with ‘objectives’ and more focused on how to help Madison learn in her own way. One that truly intrigues her. Because I have realized what she retains long term is from what she has enjoyed learning. From Science to Social Studies, English and Math. That is the one common denominator of retention for her, by loving and enjoying learning. And I am up to the challenge to find a way for her to enjoy each and every moment of it so she retains it for life. And btw, that is a lot of trial and error and it is challenging sometimes, but well worth it! 🙂

Misdiagnosing Gifted Children With ADHD

I have heard of many teachers who suggest parents of gifted children should have their child tested for ADHD. I challenge every teacher to watch this video and make sure they are very well informed before suggesting a gifted child be tested. It could save the future of a child.

Gifted children are misdiagnosed and the results of this can be devastating for them. If a gifted child is truly ADHD, then they should be diagnosed by a psychologist that specializes in giftedness. Hoagies gifted is a great place to search for a qualified Psychologist .

If you are in the DFW area, I highly recommend Dr. Lusby at Cornerstone Assessment and Guidance Center. She has the knowledge to help all gifted and 2e children.

For a gifted or 2e child, it really does matter to have a proper diagnoses from someone who has your child’s best interest at heart. Not what makes it easiest for a classroom setting.

The Perks of Homeschooling and the Stereotype of Socialization Issues

I know many people think that homeschooling is a radical approach. Honestly, I didn’t, but I never considered it. My daughter always craved learning and so I ‘homeschooled’ her until she went to Kindergarten. There is a huge difference between homeschooling and hothousing. Hothousing is forcing a child to learn. Homeschooling is helping a child learn. I just fulfilled her love of learning until she went to school. And things changed when she felt her needs were not met in school and begged me to homeschool her. It wasn’t an instant decision. She begged for 9 months and I did thorough research before committing.

Since I have begun homeschooling I think it’s funny how many people have a stereo type view of exactly what that is. One of the stereo types is that homeschool children are not socialized. I can’t speak for everyone, but when it comes to my child I have to actually laugh out loud at that stereotype.

Now that my child is homeschooled she is not grouped with a partner that she is teaching information she already knows. (If you have a gifted child, track it by asking who they are partnered with, it will surprise you.) The purpose of ‘smart kids’ are to teach the others and help the teacher and the district out. Now my daughter is grouped with children that love learning.

Madison now has the benefit of learning for a purpose that makes sense to her and to socialize without all of the ‘rules.’ And with this approach she is learning why things are not ok for the right reasons and not because it is a ‘rule.’

She has much more socialization now then she did when she was in school. She has much more of an opportunity to collaborate with more than just an assigned partner, but with a group of students in classes like drama, lego robotics and especially in homeschool PE class (the way the Bowmen Sports coaches encourage them to work together and strategize is amazing) and when she meets with our local homeschool group for play dates at the park.

And here’s the best part…. by interacting with other homeschoolers within a specific homeschooling group, she is now interacting with children that have the same morals and values our family does. And I understand she will have to learn how to interact with others when she goes out into the real world on her own, but I also understand that the biggest impressions are made during childhood. In public school I do not have any control over who is in her class or the morals or values of the children she interacts with. And this is SO important to me. I have noticed a major difference in the way Madison interacts with others and behaves in a positive way.

And on a side note, I am also thrilled she gets to do things she never would have been able to do otherwise. Such as play capture the flag. Or play tag at the park and actually be able to tag someone. In school they cannot touch each other. Madison is getting more of the childhood I grew up with and I am grateful for it. She is able to experience so many more opportunities that involve other children and to collaborate in a safe environment that is realistic and allows her to be a true kid. I couldn’t ask for more and I have seen the positive impact it has had on her.

Here she is playing capture the flag in her homeschool PE class. It includes all ages and it is so awesome for her to relate to other kids that are younger and older.

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I know I’m probably not explaining it very well, but the difference I have noticed in Madison has been amazing. Not only is she actually learning and enjoying it, she has grown in so many ways and I truly believe it is from the interaction she has been exposed to and I am truly grateful. She is not ‘locked up’ in the house as many perceive. She has the same normal interactions, the same draw and bond to other kids and it is in such a way that I am grateful for the opportunity we have been given to expose her to other kids that are like her and different from her. And that she has learned the correct way to socialize with respect of others as human beings and not because she has been threatened with consequences, but because she truly cares about others and doing the right thing. It has made a major difference in her relation to everyone she interacts with.

So again, I laugh at the homeschooling and socialization issues that I see arise, because for my child, it has helped her interact socially with many different types of kids in such a positive way in so many different settings. She relates to others well because she cares about them, not because she fears the consequences. She is no longer in a pressure cooker setting where she is competing. She is in an environment where everyone has the same purpose…to love learning and to enjoy life. And that makes a huge difference for her.

Our Week of Gifted Homeschooling 1/12/15 – 1/17/15

This week was a really great week! Madison loves her Art class at the ArtHouse and completed a painting she titled ‘Tornado.’ I’ll be honest, it freaked me out a little with the smiley face. But, she did a fantastic job and I am proud of her. Art classArtShe had a lot of fun at a robotics workshop put on by North Texas Mensa Youth. She named her robot Hip Hop Bot. 🙂 Robotics WorkshoprobotAnd here is a video of it in action! Madison also had a blast creating with gears in her Lego Robotics class. lego robotics Madison loves going on nature hikes. She loves the outdoors and would be outside all day, every day if she could! nature1 nature3  nature2Madison is close to mastering her multiplication. She is now currently working on her 12’s. We will see if she can master them and retain them all long term. I was given some great information on visual-spacial learners and I am looking in to how to teach that type of learner as Madison has quite a few similarities regarding the things she struggles with, such as phonics, spelling and remembering Math facts. I came across some very helpful links on the Hoagies Gifted page.

Madison was very excited this week to do her EPGY Math. This is what makes homeschooling worth it. Hearing her say, ‘This is so awesome!’ She HATED Math in First Grade with the new curriculum and was very frustrated, so it makes my heart very happy to see her love Math. I love the fact there is a chart that shows me her progress and grade level for each subset of Math and as a whole. It also shows me her average percentage and the concepts she has learned with the scores. I don’t however know what she is going to learn. I am a bit of a control freak, so it has taken me awhile to come to terms with that being ok. Whatever system they use is working, so I guess I’ll go with it. She can’t get past the ‘EPGY’ guy. There’s no way she can ‘beat’ the system. She has to enter her answers and it will stay on the same section and explain it in further detail if she misses any. I really like that. They are coming out with a new version very soon. I will have the choice to stay with the version we have now if I choose. I am going to preview the new version in a webinar on January 21st. I am looking forward to it because I would like to see what it entails. I hate to change something if it is so successful. Yes, who moved my cheese…but when it comes to my daughter’s learning and Math especially, I am very cautious. My other hesitation is because she thinks the current version is ‘awesome and amazing’ and I am happy she is so excited to learn without extra frills. I am grateful they are allowing me the option to choose. I about had a meltdown until I found this out. 🙂 Now as she gets older this could change and I am also happy there is another option to help her stay excited about Math. 🙂

Here is a video of the new version that is coming soon! http://vimeo.com/111015615. They offer this to all schools. It would have been amazing if Madison could have learned Math this way. It doesn’t require any help from the teacher (trust me, I know) and they can soar to whatever heights they can. And it documents and tracks everything they do. It is a win/win and I personally think the schools that do not offer it to their Gifted students are missing out on a huge opportunity to raise the bar in their district. Here are some examples of what Madison is currently learning: fractions division dataMathmatical SentencesGiftedandtalented.com also has articles, events, resources and research at the bottom of the page that are worth checking out. And free games in their Challenge Zone.

Madison was very excited to move from narrative paragraphs to informational paragraphs in EPGY English. She continues to work on sentence structure, sentence composition and parts of speech. We continued cursive and keyboarding with Handwriting Without Tears. Her Wordly Wise vocabulary words this week were cocoon, suitable, spanned, average, border, timber, moisture and fluttered.

Madison enjoyed reading the following books this week:

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
Amazing Grace by mary Hoffman
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
Morning Girl by Michael Dorris
Morning Girl by Michael Dorris
Madeline's Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans
Madeline’s Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans
Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman
Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman
Chester Racoon and the Acorn Full of Memories by Audrey Pen
Chester Racoon and the Acorn Full of Memories by Audrey Pen
An Angel For Solomon Singer by Cynthia Rylant
An Angel For Solomon Singer by Cynthia Rylant

As you can see they are all not at her reading level. She enjoys books at her grade level too, so I make sure I include them. Just because she can read at a much higher level doesn’t mean she should all the time. She is still a 7 year old. 🙂

And we finished up:

Who Was Helen Keller by Gare Thompson
Who Was Helen Keller by Gare Thompson

I am continuing to read The One and Only Ivan to Madison:

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Helen KellerThis week we completed our Who is Helen Keller? unit from Moving Beyond the Page. As Madison read the chapters in the book she continued putting events on the timeline of Helen’s life and answered questions orally. She also learned about before and after adjectives (choice of words and grammar), Braille, learned that commas separate words in a list (grammar), made a timeline of her own life, mapped out Helen’s life journey on the East coast section of a map worksheet, wrote bio poems of Helen and herself, learned about author’s voice, practiced writing with voice, and created a biography scrapbook of Helen for her final project. Madison really liked ‘making Braille’ and seeing if we could figure out the words and creating her final scrapbook project. This curriculum really allows her to be creative and keeps her fully engaged. I am so glad we are using it, because Madison enjoys it so much.

Here is the timeline Madison created of events in Helen Keller’s life. Madison wouldn’t have had to use extra paper if she had put the events on the top and the bottom, but she will know for next time. 🙂 Helen Keller Timeline Here is the cover from Madison’s final project: Helen Keller scrapbook The skills in this week’s unit were:

*Use text for a variety of functions including informational.

*Recall main, idea, facts, and details from a text.

*Describe concepts and information in own words.

*Write structured informative presentations and narratives when given help with organization.

*Read aloud with fluency and expression any text.

*Make predictions about text.

*Plan and make judgements about what to include in written and oral products.

*Use media and technology to enhance presentation.

*Increase oral and written vocabulary by listening, discussing, and composing texts when responding to literature that is read and heard.

*Discuss similarities and differences in events, characters, and concepts within and across texts.

*Connect and compare information within and across selections (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama) to experience and knowledge.

*Discuss the effect of an author’s choices for nouns, verbs, modifiers, and specific vocabulary which help the reader comprehend a narrative or expository text.

*Attend to spelling, mechanics, and format for final products in one’s own writing. *Use capitalization, punctuation, and paragraphs in own writing.

*Create a readable document.

*Use legible handwriting.

*Compose first drafts.

*Reread drafts for meaning and revise.

soundWe also wrapped up our Moving Beyond the Page Sound unit. Madison did a sound demonstration, made a phone out of cups and string, learned about animals and sound waves, learned about high pitch and low pitch with musical bottles, a stereo spoon and other household objects, she learned about wind, percussion, and string instruments and made a homemade version of each, she learned about music, and her final project was designing her own instrument. That was her favorite part of this unit.

Here is Madison with her Instrument she designed and created: Musical Instrument Design It’s hard to see, but she cut off the bottom of the milk carton and covered it with Glad Wrap so it would vibrate and amplify the sound.

The skills for this week were:

*Show how frequency can be changed by altering the rate of the vibration.

*Show how the human ear detects sound with a membrane that vibrates when sound reaches it.

*Demonstrate how sound is produced by vibrating objects and vibrating columns of air. *Show how the size and shape of a variety of instruments can change frequency.

*Observe and describe how sounds are made by using a variety of instruments and other sound-makers, including human vocal cords.

Morning GirlNext week we will begin Morning Girl from Moving Beyond the Page for our Language Arts Unit. The standards we will cover in this unit are:

  • Analyze characters, including their traits, relationships, and changes. (Language Arts)
  • Answer relevant questions about text in writing and discussion. (Language Arts)
  • Connect and compare information within and across selections (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama) to experience and gain knowledge. (Language Arts)
  • Connect experiences and ideas with those of others through speaking and listening (Language Arts)
  • Develop drafts. (Language Arts)
  • Discuss similarities and differences in events, characters, and concepts within and across texts. (Language Arts)
  • Discuss the effect of an author’s choices for nouns, verbs, modifiers, and specific vocabulary that help the reader comprehend a narrative or expository text. (Language Arts)
  • Distinguish between fact and fiction. (Language Arts)
  • Draw and discuss visual images based on text descriptions. (Language Arts)
  • Edit for appropriate grammar, spelling, punctuation, and features of polished writing. (Language Arts)
  • Edit writing toward standard grammar and usage, including subject-verb agreement, pronoun agreement, and appropriate verb tenses. (Language Arts)
  • Generate ideas for writing by using prewriting techniques such as drawing and listing key thoughts. (Language Arts)
  • Identify the importance of the setting to a story’s meaning. (Language Arts)
  • Locate and discuss author’s specific word choice. (Language Arts)
  • Make inferences and draw conclusions. (Language Arts)
  • Participate in rhymes and songs. (Language Arts)
  • Present dramatic interpretations of experiences, stories, poems, or plays. (Language Arts)
  • Read and comprehend text by recognizing its structure. (Language Arts)
  • Read expository materials for answers to specific questions. (Language Arts)
  • Read orally with fluency. (Language Arts)
  • Respond to stories and poems in ways that reflect understanding and interpretation through writing, movement, music, art, poetry, and drama. (Language Arts)
  • Retell a spoken message by summarizing or clarifying. (Language Arts)
  • Revise selected drafts to achieve a sense of audience, precise word choices, and vivid images. (Language Arts)
  • Use text for a variety of functions. (Language Arts)
  • Write structured, informative presentations and narratives when given help with organization. (Language Arts)
  • Write to record ideas and reflections. (Language Arts)
  • Analyze environmental issues, past and present, and determine their impact on different cultures. (Social Studies)
  • Analyze the effects of change in communities and predict future changes. (Social Studies)
  • Compare similarities and differences among cultures in various communities. (Social Studies)
  • Compare similarities and differences between self and others. (Social Studies)
  • Define geography. (Social Studies)
  • Describe similarities and differences among families in different communities. (Social Studies)
  • Use geographic terms to describe landforms, bodies of water, weather, and climate. (Social Studies)

Environments ChangeWe will also begin Environments Change from Moving Beyond the Page for our Social Studies Unit. The standards we will cover in this unit are:

  • Ask and answer questions about an organism. (Science)
  • Cite ways that living organisms depend on one another in their environments. (Science)
  • Communicate findings about simple investigations. (Science)
  • Describe properties of rocks. (Science)
  • Explain a problem and identify a task and solution related to the problem. (Science)
  • Identify characteristics of living organisms. (Science)
  • Identify that heat causes change, such as ice melting or the sun warming the air, and compare objects according to temperature (Science)
  • Identify, predict, replicate, and create patterns using charts, graphs, and numbers. (Science)
  • Observe and describe properties of rocks, soil, and water. (Science)
  • Observe and record changes. (Science)
  • Observe and record functions of animal parts. (Science)
  • Observe, describe, and record changes in size, mass, color, position, quantity, time, temperature, sound, and movement. (Science)
  • Observe, measure, and record changes in weather, the night sky, and seasons. (Science)
  • Plan and conduct simple descriptive investigations. (Science)
  • Recognize what animals need to live and grow. (Science)
  • Analyze environmental issues, past and present, and determine their impact on different cultures. (Social Studies)
  • Analyze the effects of change in communities and predict future changes. (Social Studies)
  • Compare information from different sources about places and regions. (Social Studies)
  • Describe how weather patterns, natural resources, seasonal patterns, and natural hazards affect activities and settlement patterns. (Social Studies)
  • Describe human movement in the settlement patterns of rural, urban, and suburban areas. (Social Studies)
  • Identify and describe the people, vegetation, and animal life specific to certain regions and describe their interdependence. (Social Studies)

I am very excited about the new units. As we go, each unit seems to contain more and more exciting information! In next week’s post I am hoping to capture and record all of the hands on activities Madison does at home. Sometimes it takes a concentrated effort on my part to remember to grab the camera. I am going to try really hard because she does so many other things too like building her own creations with Legos or creating one by following the instructions (once and awhile, lol), snap circuits, fun games for one, drawing, imaginary play, etc… Here’s to another exciting week! Cheers!

The Gifted Child: Being Taught By Others

I have to admit one of the hardest aspects of parenting a gifted child is finding teachers and coaches that understand my child and lift her up versus squashing her. I have found they are rare and few between. For awhile I felt like I was the only one who understood Madison and was the only one who could teach her anything. The only one she would listen to….until her art teacher came along. Some days, like today, I am still speechless when I pick her up and honestly I am fighting back tears because I am so happy, blessed and grateful that someone else not only ‘gets’ my child, but sees the same things I do in her…and more. And most importantly, gives Madison the opportunity to be herself and makes her feel good about it. Here is the picture Madison created today in art:

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The example for the class was a colorful watercolor picture. Madison went with her tornado vision. She added a creepy smiley face at the end and her teacher laughed, as did I. That’s Madison and being asynchronous and 7 years old. I don’t know what we would do without Ms. Mary at the ArtHouse and I don’t even want to think about it, so I won’t. 🙂 I am just going to count my blessings and enjoy every moment. Madison thrives on being able to do her ‘own thing’ while still embracing the technique being taught and we are grateful Ms. Mary understands that and allows her to do this. She has had prior experiences where she was forced to create an exact replicas of examples and she grew to not like art because of this, and from being reprimanded for being different and ended up wanting to quit. Without the right teacher a love and a skill cannot flourish. That’s why it is so important to have a teacher who understands! It ‘makes’ or ‘breaks’ a gifted child.

I am also grateful for the coaches in her life. Madison takes a Homeschool PE class and a Basketball Skills class from Bowmen Sports at our local Rec Center. The coaches are amazing. They are so positive, fair, fun and encouraging that Madison is all smiles the entire time. Now mind you, we have tried several different sports. Swimming, Gymnastics, Dance, etc. and Madison ‘clicks’ with this one. They encourage her in such a positive way that she always has fun. I enjoy sitting and watching her smile! It is SUCH a good feeling! She’s never complained about anything while there. That to me that = success! And of course it’s not just her, all the kids have a blast there. The coaches’ positive vibe and enthusiasm radiates to all of the kids. It’s awesome!

Here is Madison taking a shot:

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And here is her group cheering when she made the shot!

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It takes a lot of trying many different things and personalities of teachers to find a ‘good fit’ for Madison, but when I do, I am grateful and blessed! And so is she!

Gifted children need a certain amount of support for their ‘quirks’ and they are all different. It takes a very talented teacher/coach to recognize this and to reach each child. I have the highest respect for those that can achieve this successfully, because I know it takes a very special kind of person to be able to do so.

Our Week of Gifted Homeschooling 1/5/15-1/10/15

I was hoping after the trying week we had last week that this week would be better. And thankfully it was. We began our activities and I think that helped a lot. This week was fun for both of us. Madison enjoyed learning and I enjoyed homeschooling. I know we’ll have our good days and our bad days, but I’m glad for the most part that this week went well.

I changed up the schedule this semester so that instead of having an activity everyday, we have 2 days of activities and 3 days of school.

One day a week is ‘specials’ day. We have Theater (1hr), Homeschool P.E. (1 1/2hrs), Art (1hr) and Basketball skills (45min). It is a full day and I was worried about over scheduling since I had booked these in advance, but Madison really enjoyed it. If I see it is becoming too much then we will drop something going forward.

Another day during the week is Lego Robotics class and when it’s warmer Park play date. She was ecstatic about her Lego Robotics class. She cannot wait to go again next week!

We started arcademic skill builders this week. Madison is able to practice Math and spelling as a morning warm up. She is really liking it so far.

I use several different curriculums for all of our subjects. Madison is doing great in Math, but I noticed we couldn’t move forward in Time4Learning until she mastered her multiplication and division facts. She was still working on a better mastery of her subtraction facts and because of this it was taking twice as long as it should for her to do her EPGY Math. So we stopped Time4Learning Math and focused on facts. I knew she could do it if she tried, but I also know Madison and she didn’t see the point. That’s her Giftedness – not wanting to do anything she finds boring. So I explained the big picture and that we were at a standstill until she stepped it up. Sure enough this week she mastered subtraction, gained mastery in many multiplication facts using Timez Attack and EPGY Math is going at the rate it should. The fact she is motivated is a huge feat in itself. She is doing practice work on her own without being asked. Yay! Madison loves EPGY Math because “It understands the way that I think and learn.” I am so blessed to have a math curriculum that is designed to teach her so that she learns quickly and doesn’t get frustrated.

Timez Attack: Grey hasn't been introduced, green is mastered, blue is semi-mastered and yellow is currently learning.
Timez Attack: Grey hasn’t been introduced, green is mastered, blue is semi-mastered and yellow is currently learning.

We started our Who Was Helen Keller? unit from Moving Beyond the Page. Madison loves, loves, loves these. They were designed for gifted students. The standards we will cover in the Who Was Helen Keller unit are:

  • Attend to spelling, mechanics, and format for final products in one’s own writing. (Language Arts)
  • Compare language and oral traditions that reflect different people and customs. (Language Arts)
  • Compose first drafts. (Language Arts)
  • Connect and compare information within and across selections (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama) to experience and knowledge. (Language Arts)
  • Create a readable document. (Language Arts)
  • Describe concepts and information in own words. (Language Arts)
  • Develop and use new vocabulary. (Language Arts)
  • Discuss similarities and differences in events, characters, and concepts within and across texts. (Language Arts)
  • Discuss the effect of an author’s choices for nouns, verbs, modifiers, and specific vocabulary, which help the reader comprehend a narrative or expository text. (Language Arts)
  • Distinguish fiction from nonfiction. (Language Arts)
  • Generate ideas for writing by listing key thoughts. (Language Arts)
  • Increase oral and written vocabulary by listening, discussing, and composing texts when responding to literature that is read and heard. (Language Arts)
  • Interpret information from diagrams, charts, and maps. (Language Arts)
  • Locate and use important areas of the library. (Language Arts)
  • Make predictions about text. (Language Arts)
  • Plan and make judgments about what to include in written and oral products. (Language Arts)
  • Pose possible how, why, and what if questions to understand and interpret text. (Language Arts)
  • Read aloud with fluency and expression any text appropriate for early independent readers. (Language Arts)
  • Read and comprehend text by locating information for specific purposes. (Language Arts)
  • Read classic and contemporary work. (Language Arts)
  • Read expository materials for answers to specific questions. (Language Arts)
  • Recall main ideas, facts, and details from a text. (Language Arts)
  • Reread drafts for meaning and revise. (Language Arts)
  • Respond to stories in ways that reflect understanding through writing, music, drama, and art. (Language Arts)
  • Use capitalization, punctuation, and paragraphs in own writing. (Language Arts)
  • Use editing to check for complete sentences and word order. (Language Arts)
  • Use legible handwriting. (Language Arts)
  • Use media and technology to enhance the presentation of information to an audience for a specific purpose. (Language Arts)
  • Use text for a variety of functions including informational. (Language Arts)
  • Use verbal and nonverbal communication. (Language Arts)
  • Write structured, informative presentations and narratives when given help with organization. (Language Arts)
  • Write to communicate with a variety of audiences. (Language Arts)

The skills in this week’s Language Arts unit were:

*Read and comprehend text by locating information for specific purposes.
*Pose possible how, why, and what if questions to understand and interpret text.
*Interpret information from diagrams, charts, and maps.
*Read classic and contemporary work.
*Distinguish fiction from nonfiction.
*Locate and use important areas of the library.
*Make predictions about text.
*Compare language and oral traditions that reflect different people and customs.
*Use verbal and nonverbal communication.
*Develop and use new vocabulary.
*Respond to stories in ways that reflect understanding through writing, music, drama, and art.
*Write to communicate with a variety of audiences.
*Generate ideas for writing by listing key thoughts.
*Plan and make judgements about what to use in a written product.
*Use editing to check for complete sentences and word order.
*Use text for a variety of functions including informational.
*Read expository materials for answers to specific questions.
*Recall main idea, facts and details from a text.

She loves the Who Was Helen Keller? book for this unit and had lots of fun learning. Her favorite activities out of the lessons this week included learning the difference between a biography and an autobiography, decoding a message with sign language, and drawing and writing about a gift for Helen. She is also marking events in Helen’s life on a timeline as she reads each chapter. We learned about Alexander Graham Bell, his inventions and how he helped Helen Keller. Madison also learned about the the inventions from Thomas Edison, Alexander Fleming, The Wright Brothers, and Johannes Gutenburg.

We are speeding right along in Hand Writing Without Tears 3rd grade and Madison learned enough of the alphabet this week to write her name in cursive. She actually squealed high pitch noises in delight. Being able to do this has been a long time goal for her and she was very, very excited to achieve it. Below is her first attempt at the bottom of her handwriting book.

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We completed Lesson 3 in Wordly Wise vocabulary. She didn’t know all of the multiple definitions for the words this time, so that made it fun. Her words this week were: ambition, auction, coast, current, frail, intelligent, novel, resident, starve, and volunteer.

Madison worked on the shades of meaning, point of view, and context clues. She applied these skills when reading authentic nonfiction texts “Homesick” and “Wall of Wonder” in Time4Learning this week.

She worked on sentence structure, sentence composition, narrative paragraphs and parts of speech in EPGY English. It moves at a good pace and she likes that. It really nails down the fundamentals which is very important.

We decided to start keeping a book list this week. (Novel idea huh? ;)) She just finished up a junior novel of Anne of Green Gables and didn’t write it on the list yet and she started How to Train Your Dragon. Our goal is to start reading a lot more.

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I am reading The One and Only Ivan to her and it is a great book. Madison giggles and laughs a lot and we enjoy it. I also read Gloria and Mr. Buckle and One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey. Jeff reads The Story of the World Volume One to Madison every night per her request. Then we place timeline cards on her wall. Our goal is to spend a lot more time reading to her as well.

In Science we started the Moving Beyond the Page Sound unit that coincides with the Who Was Helen Keller? Language Art unit.

The standards will we cover in this unit are:

  • Compare results of investigations with what students know about the world. (Science)
  • Construct reasonable explanations and draw conclusions. (Science)
  • Demonstrate how sound is produced by vibrating objects and vibrating columns of air. (Science)
  • Describe how sounds travel through different materials. (Science)
  • Identify, predict, replicate, and create patterns. (Science)
  • Observe and describe how sounds are made by using a variety of instruments and other sound-makers, including human vocal cords. (Science)
  • Observe and record functions of animal parts. (Science)
  • Plan and conduct simple investigations. (Science)
  • Sequence organisms, objects, and events. (Science)
  • Show how altering the size and shape of a variety of instruments can change frequency. (Science)
  • Show how frequency can be changed by altering the rate of the vibration. (Science)
  • Show how the human ear detects sound with a membrane that vibrates when sound reaches it. (Science)

The skills in the Science unit this week were:
*Demonstrate how sound is produced by vibrating objects and vibrating columns of air.
*Show how frequency can be changed by altering the rate of vibration.
*Observe and describe how sounds are made by using a variety of instruments and other sound-makers, including human vocal cords.
*Show how the human ear detects sound with a membrane that vibrates when sound reaches it.
*Observe and record functions of animal parts.
*Identify, predict, replicate, and create patterns.
*Sequence organisms, objects, and events.
*Describe how sounds travel through different materials.
*Compare results of investigations with what students know about the world.
*Plan and conduct simple investigations.
*Construct reasonable explanations and draw conclusions.

I decided to challenge Madison with this unit. I gave her a 4D human ear model that was 22 pieces, a picture on the box, the instructions, and asked her to put it together by herself and walked away. To my surprise she put the whole thing together without any assistance in 45 minutes. Usually Madison gets frustrated and quits. She was SO proud of herself and I was so proud of her too. She says she didn’t use the instructions because using the picture on the box was much easier. Go figure. We also made a homemade ear drum, learned how the sound goes through the ear with a homemade activity and she also filled out a diagram of the parts of the ear. We did activities on matter and molecules, traveling sound, sound and surface, a states of matter and sound demonstration, a sound and materials experiment, and learned sound vocabulary. Science is her favorite subject by far!

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Figuring out how to put the Human Ear Model together
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Completed it all by herself!
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Having fun testing her homemade ear drum!
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Filling out her ear diagram.

Madison practiced key boarding with Dance Mat typing at the beginning of the week, but then I purchased the Handwriting Without Tears keyboarding program because the goats in the Dance Mat Typing drive her nuts. She finds the goats extremely annoying. She loved the HWT keyboard program and I am glad I decided to try it. She did a lesson in Spanish with Rosetta Stone homeschool Spanish. We learned about different ‘wonders’ each day on Wonderopolis. Madison willingly takes the quiz at the end. She cracks me up. We had ‘real world’ learning when we went to the mall so she could use her gift card for Bath and Body Works she received in her stocking from Santa. They had a 75% sale so I showed her how to figure out the price of each item and she made sure she didn’t use the entire amount and saved part of it to go back when they have a summer sale on summer scents. 🙂

Madison is a hoot. Either she really, really likes something or she really doesn’t like something at all. Well, for music I had bought a Music Theory book, but it’s still on the list to do, so in the meantime I checked out videos from the series Meet The Musicians. They are an hour long and not really super entertaining in my opinion, but Madison LOVES them. She begs to watch them. She tells me about how the actor that does the series is SO talented. LOL. Whatever works. Now she can tell you anything about 4 different composers. This week was Gershwin. I need to see if the library has Joplin. He’s the only one left in the series that we haven’t seen.

Madison enjoyed creating and playing in her forts this week. She made one for herself and one for the cat/American girl dolls. She also enjoyed playing Minecraft. She had taken a break from it, but this week expressed interest in playing it again. One of her friends from her Lego robotics class plays it, so I think that sparked her interest since they were discussing it before class. 🙂 This weekend Madison’s religion class resumes and we are looking forward to her First Communion this April. She also loves playing board games so we played plenty of those this week!

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Jeff and Madison went to the Perot Science Museum and met Sean Casey! They enjoyed watching his movie Tornado Alley 3D and Madison even got to sit in the TIV. She had a blast doing all the fun hands on experiments they have during their Discovery Day.

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Meeting Sean Casey!
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Sitting in the TIV! So cool!
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Getting ready to watch the premiere of Tornado Alley 3D!
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Making a tornado!
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An experiment on acid rain.
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More Discovery Days fun!
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Robots!!

Trying to figure out what works best for Madison is a challenge and one that is always changing. I am getting much better at listening to her when she expresses what she needs or wants. This week she told me she wanted to go to the mall and she wanted time to daydream while listening to music. I am very happy that she is learning to become in tune with what she wants and needs and can tell me. After this week I truly feel like we are a team and can accomplish anything. I want to give a huge shout out and kudos to those that homeschool with more than one child. I think it is a ton of work and quite an investment financially with one….I couldn’t imagine more than one!

My Real Gift

This is an amazing post that all parents should read!

Master Minds

Technically speaking, I am profoundly gifted. My IQ is several standard deviations, not just above the norm, but beyond the “gifted” cut-off as well. I am also autistic, falling under the category of high-functioning Asperger’s syndrome and including anxiety and sensory sensitivities. Together, these diagnoses make me twice-exceptional – gifted and learning “disabled.” I was completely lacking theory of mind. I turned to violence to express myself. I had an abusive biological father who turned my brother and I against each other and left us with PTSD. These factors all made me a very challenging child.

I was homeschooled from age five onwards. We had a very extensive homeschool “curriculum” consisting of many outside classes and visits to educational locations. But I struggled personally with depression, coming to terms with my biological parents’ separation and my own differences. When I started college, my then-best friend asked me, “why don’t you…

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