I am very saddened this evening. I have officially heard from too many parents that either they have had a teacher suggest that their gifted child has ADD or ADHD or that their Pediatrician has referred a child to a Psychiatrist that does not have training on the characteristic traits of a gifted child and has diagnosed them. At first I began to think there were just a couple of ignorant, uneducated people out there suggesting that students who didn’t fit into the ‘high achiever’ box get tested and that the parents whom I know well knew better and blew it off. But, now that I realize it is more common locally and that trusting parents may not be able to blow it off as easily and I am worried. I realize the reason for SENG and that we very well may be medicating our most brilliant youth because unknowing parents trust any professional opinion. I am thankful that I have not yet come across a parent that has chosen to medicate a gifted student and I am not saying that a gifted student is exempt from being ADD or ADHD, because I know the two can go hand in hand. What scares me is when Pediatricians refer parents to a Psychiatrist that is not knowledgeable in gifted traits or one that even acknowledges giftedness at all and a child is misdiagnosed. I didn’t realize until this evening how common of a practice this is. So if you are a teacher, I beg you to educate yourself on all gifted traits and how to differentiate a classroom. If you are a Pediatrician, please educate yourself on gifted children. And most importantly, if you are a parent, please research gifted traits and characteristics of gifted children before accepting a diagnoses from any doctor. Better yet, only have your child seen by someone who is educated on giftedlness. Hoagies is a great place to start. Here is a link with a list and you can search their site for other professionals as well. And I understand seeking out a professional that specializes in giftedness isn’t intuitive. It wasn’t for me either. But to save a lot of time, money and your child’s sanity please try. And please, watch this video to understand why it is so important:
Madison’s favorite place to visit (aside from Disney World) is our local Science Museum, the Perot. Each month they feature Discovery Days on the second Saturday of the month where families discover the fun of science together. You can try out real experiments, design and build new creations, and check out dynamic performances each month with guest scientists, educators and artists.
Each month has a new theme and the theme for February was Engineers. Madison had a blast participating in all of the science projects! Lockheed Martin went above and beyond by creating a booklet to go with the science activities they presented. Not only did Madison gain a better understanding of the projects while she did them, it also included instructions on how she could do them all at home! This was a super awesome bonus for everyone that participated in Discovery Days in February.
Here are some of the fun experiments that were provided by Lockheed Martin:
Madison had a blast building and creating a blueprint:
And experimenting with all different kinds of circuits!http://youtu.be/f3d0G0hHjIg
Here’s an example of how gifted children think differently. When Madison arrived at this table, the cups were aligned in a row. She wanted to play a chord, so she rearranged them together so she could play more than one note at a time with one hand. The volunteers at the booths throughout the museum got a kick out of Madison when she tried the different experiments. And that’s how I feel about homeschooling her. It’s a joy to watch her and see how she thinks, creates and does things. And I am SO glad I have learned to give her the freedom to do just that. There is not aways a “RIGHT” way to do things at our house or only “ONE” way. We are open to new ideas and new ways. That is the motto to foster creativity. I am a very lucky mom to have Madison as a daughter and I appreciate all of the fun that comes with it.
And last, but not least, Madison had a really fun time experimenting with a 3D Printing Pen.
I love our Science Museum, because it provides so many different hands on learning experiences for Madison. She loves learning and my job is to open up as many hands on learning experiences for her as I can. They have a new Sherlock Holmes exhibit and we cannot wait to go see it!
I am proud to announce that this week we found out that Madison’s Lego creation of dogs won and she is now an official member (out of 10) of the Lego Creative Crew Team for Legoland Discovery Center DFW. With becoming a member of the Legoland Creative Crew Member Madison receives:
*Invitations to exclusive meetings and building opportunities with Master Model Builder, Ian Paige
*VIP/Preview access to special LEGOLAND Discovery Center DFW events
*Family Annual Pass to LEGOLAND Discovery Center DFW
*Participation in ribbon cutting ceremonies during the launch of new attractions
*Creative Crew T-Shirt and prize pack
Madison is BEYOND excited for this experience!
Madison is moving right along in her new Redbird Math. She had almost completed 3rd grade in the EPGY program, but I decided to start her back at the beginning of 3rd grade in Redbird, because it is more challenging. It fast tracks her through what she already knows, so she is moving at a good pace. Here is what she has completed so far:
This is what her Math looked like for Decompose a rectangle to find area:
This week was full of hands on learning and fun activities. Madison attended a robotics homeschool class at our local Science museum. It is a part classroom learning environment with hands on activities and learning out in the museum. She always learns a lot and enjoys every minute of it. We also attended a very fun and enriching homeschool day at the Dallas Children’s Aquarium. Madison really enjoyed our local co-op Valentine’s Day Party. She actually went through and read her Valentine’s Day cards. This has been the first year she has shown interest in going through them.
Madison enjoyed learning about tilt sensors in Lego Robotics and personally programmed her creation.
In our Moving Beyond the Page Language Arts Unit, Communities Change Over Time, we learned about the elements of culture. Madison compared our culture to cultures in other countries. We compared elements such as food, clothing, homes, transportation, religion, jobs, holidays and entertainment from America today to America in the past. We also learned that different religions influence different cultures and compared different religions. Then we learned that the elements of culture are a part of a civilization. Madison read the book Weslandia by Paul Fleischman and answered comprehension questions. She identified how the character in the book utilized his natural resources. Madison had a lot of fun creating a way to solve a problem utilizing her own natural resources. She loved this creative problem-solving challenge. Next, Madison created her own civilization by creating and identifying all of the elements and then drawing them on a poster board. This has been her most favorite activity so far. Then we discussed how and why cultures are always changing.
In our Moving Beyond the Page Social Studies Unit, Communities and Culture, Madison read more in her Adventures in Ancient Egypt book and answered comprehension questions and recorded new information that she learned. Madison compared our government to the kings and queens of Egypt and learned their order of hierarchy. She made some very good observations about the differences and similarities between a President and a King. She also learned new vocabulary words such as plaster, pomegranate, linen, noble (noun), craftsmen, temple and chamber.
Madison is continuing to work on ‘Comparing and Academic Vocabulary’ Chapter 7 in Time4Learning Language Arts. She is introduced to scientific vocabulary and high utility academic words. Main idea and details are reviewed before she compares and contrasts these elements in two nonfiction texts about natural disasters. Vocabulary is revisited to create a depth of knowledge.
I realized the project-based learning I wanted to start doing with Madison is more complicated than I thought, so I need to learn more about it before doing it, so that it is an effective way of learning for her. I need to learn how to properly mentor her, so I ordered the Project-Based Homeschooling book. I belong to a Facebook page that was created by the author of the book so that homeschoolers could ask questions and share ideas, but it is necessary to read the book first. In the meantime, I bought a pyramid kit for Madison to work on. It has many hands on activities. It will be easier to implement self directed project-based learning after some off our activities drop off for the season.
A sweet friend of mine sent me information on a LEGOLAND Master Builder Contest. Madison had fun creating her favorite animal and taking a picture of her creation to send in for the contest. I keep reminding her that the focus is not on winning, but having fun creating. However, that is not her focus. 🙂 I am not sure it ever will be. I was happy to see her beginning to spend more time creating lego creations by following the directions provided. I think it may help give her ideas on how to create more detailed creations of her own. She does a great job, but when it comes to ‘create an animal’ she was somewhat lacking the knowledge of how to do what she wanted.
It was very fun to see Madison working on her challenging art homework. The goal was to replicate the picture box by box. She did pretty good in the bottom half, but the top half she didn’t do it box by box, so we’ll be redoing it. This was a sequential task which Madison is not a fan of anything sequential. Never the less, it is an important technique she needs to learn.
This week Madison is practicing a song for piano that she didn’t play perfectly the first time she practiced. I wish I would have recorded a sound clip. It was GREAT. She played it and each time I could hear her make a mistake and get frustrated about it. I explained this is why we practice. To learn how to play it perfectly and that with practice she will. She’s done a great job practicing on her own everyday because it is a challenge this time. She has her own drive to practice until it is perfect. I’m excited to see what the future brings. 🙂 She decided she wants to play the violin as well, but I told her my rule is she must learn piano first and learn how to read music fluently. She’s well on her way.
Madison is continuing to enjoy her homeschool PE class and basketball skills class. Both are great for eye-hand coordination and gross motor skills, but what really matters is that she enjoys them. We also added a kid fit class to the mix this week from our local Yoga Studio. Madison had a great time, so we will be doing more of those in the future.
Jeff continues to read Story of the World (Middle Ages) to Madison and she loves to tell me the history she is learning. She also continues to learn about American History by watching Liberty Kids. The weather here has been beautiful so Madison has had the opportunity to go on several nature walks. This week we also played a very long, ongoing game of Monopoly. She loves Monopoly and doesn’t realize the amount of Math she is practicing while playing it. 🙂
Madison is attending her religion classes to learn and deepen her faith while we work on preparing her for her First Communion at home in conjunction with classes and workshops at church.
Can’t wait for another fun and exciting week ahead!
Dallas Children’s Aquarium Homeschool Day.
On Tuesday we visited the Dallas Children’s Aquarium for Homeschool Day. It was perfect for Madison and she loved it! They handed out curriculum packets, had tables set up with activities and brought in live animals from the Dallas Zoo for the kids to learn about while seeing them up close! It was awesome!
We started out viewing the penguin and the 5 year old American alligator. The penguin was adorable and had such a cute personality. It was very hard to not pet her. You just wanted to give her a huge hug! Madison learned a lot about penguins and alligators. I was impressed.
They offered nature journaling tours so we made sure we were there for the first one. Luckily, we ended up being the only ones since everyone arrived a bit later, so Madison got a one on one learning experience. That was AWESOME! The nature expert was amazing and Madison learned so much and loved every minute of it. They were like two peas in a pod.
Madison also enjoyed touching a sea urchin and other sea life.
The really cool part of the Dallas Children’s Aquarium is Sting Ray Bay where you can feed and pet the sting rays, which Madison did for about an hour!
This was a very worthwhile homeschool day enrichment that we will be partaking in again in the future!
Lions and tigers and bears! Oh My!
It would have been pretty cool if I could have said we went to Oz, but we didn’t. 🙂 This past weekend we enjoyed a mildly chilly day at the Dallas Zoo. In the month of February, admission is $5 so we decided to take advantage of the great price and venture out even if it was cold and I am glad we did because Madison loved it!
We love seeing the animal encounters and happened upon one staring the lions. Their keepers have trained them to do certain movements so they can have a physical and be checked without having to put them under to do it. It was really neat to watch.
Here is a video of the lion encounter:
Next, we saw the gorillas. This one was very playful and banged on the glass at Madison as if he wanted to play tag and then ran away and then came back and did it again. Madison got a huge kick out of that.
Madison’s smile shows how much she loved feeding the birds. This was her second most favorite part of the zoo. She learned which birds ate birdseed and which ones ate meal worms and she was able to feed them using both.
Madison’s absolute favorite part of the zoo was the nature trading center. We had never been in this section and her eyes lit up the minute we walked in. It is covered with every item from nature you can think of and kids can bring items in for points and trade for other items. She met a fossil expert and they talked about fossils for at least 30 minutes. Madison cannot wait to explore and find rare nature items to bring in to trade. She also cannot wait to go back and look at everything all over again. Madison’s two main interests that she has had since she was very little are Egypt and Rocks/Fossils. She could devour information on those for hours.
I had decided to blog by unit versus week and of course as soon as decide that, I realize this unit is really long and with all of the activities we have in the month of February it would be a really, really, really long post. So here is another week post.
When I began homeschooling it was with the intention of it only being temporary. We had found a private school we fell in love with and Madison was on the waiting list. Madison loved this school when she went to visit last year, but by October she expressed that she wanted to continue homeschooling even if a spot opened up. I received a call last week letting me know a spot had become available for the next school year. So we prayed and talked to Madison about it and decided the homeschool setting was the best fit for her. She is very happy and does not want to change a thing. So now we are in this journey for the long haul. That also changes my perspective on how we will do things going forward and after sharing this with Madison, she is delighted. (More on that later.)
We have started our Moving Beyond the Page Communities and Cultures Language Arts Unit. The books we are using for this unit are Adventures in Ancient Egypt and Adventures in the Middle Ages.
This week we discussed historical time periods and reviewed proper nouns, collective nouns and had a proper noun scavenger hunt. Madison colored and cut out paper dolls with clothing and accessories from Ancient Egypt and The Middle Ages. She drew homes from each time period and cut them out. We reviewed the settings in each book and Madison drew a setting for each time period. Then she glued the houses on and placed the paper dolls on each paper. She didn’t actually glue the house onto the setting for The Middle Ages because it wouldn’t fit. I am learning to let things like that go. 🙂 She grasped the concepts. We are good.
She read to page 31 in Adventures in Ancient Egypt and answered comprehension questions as well as recorded new facts. She is really fascinated with Egypt and has learned quite a bit over the past couple of years, but she was surprised to learn that the bread had sand in it due to the process of making the wheat into a grain and that the beer had clumps.
We discussed fact or fantasy regarding the book and learned a lot about the life in Egypt and the differences culturally as well as historically including basic needs and resources.
We also started our Moving Beyond the Page Communities Change Over Time Social Studies Unit. We discussed what a community is and identified the different needs and jobs of Native American Communities, a Roman and Greek Empire, and a Modern City. We compared similarities and differences from a community from a different time and place and our community. Then we learned how our community is always changing.
Madison really loves both of these units so we are taking our time with them. This is the beauty of homeschooling. We are not doing a LA unit and a Social Studies unit everyday, but just one a day and alternating between the two. This is working out very well.
Madison received her parts for the play she is learning in her homeschool acting class and has been practicing her lines everyday. She continues to practice piano and I think she enjoys doing the theory book more than actually playing the piano which is humorous to me. Madison was ecstatic to learn how to play kickball in her Homeschool PE class this week. She looks forward to being able to play it with the other kids at the park now that she knows how to play. Madison has made such wonderful friendships along this new journey. It is such a blessing. She also played in ‘teams’ during her Basketball Skills class and had a blast. While she was waiting for her team’s turn to play she and a close friend played rock, paper, scissors. They were smiling and laughing. Watching those childhood moments melts my heart.
In Lego Robotics class this week they had free build day. Madison’s Lego Robotics teacher, Mr. Michael is amazing. He is so positive, upbeat and patient. Mr. Michael always encourages the class to use their creativity while learning how to build with the different aspects of Lego Robotics. Madison always enjoys going to this class and looks forward to going to more at our local community center as well.
Here is Madison with her awesome teacher:
And here is the cool motorized car she built for free build day:
Madison finished reading The Indian in the Cupboard and several other books (we are working our way through the Newbery Award list.) She also watched the Boxcar Children on Netflicks and highly recommends it. She thought it was a great movie.
Madison continues to practice keyboarding and cursive. She knows all of the upper and lowercase letters so she is practicing writing sentences and I am encouraging her to write only in cursive. For some reason cursive is not as much fun now and she is not as excited about it….. 🙂
Groundhog Day was a huge hit. Madison loved learning about groundhogs and the history of Groundhog Day through books and a videos. She is not happy about the 6 weeks of winter, but she was somewhat relived when she learned that statistically Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions are not very accurate. 🙂
I did some assessment testing on Madison this week with mobymax.com to see if there were any gaps since she does do a lot of learning online. I am very pleased with the results. I told myself when she is two grade levels above her chronological grade we would do things very differently. And now that we are homeschooling long term we have the flexibility to do just that. We will continue Moving Beyond the Page, Wordly Wise, Handwriting Without Tears Cursive and Keyboarding, and reading up a storm. We are in the current process of evaluating our Math curriculum and will continue reading The Life of Fred. Jeff will also continue to read The Story of the World each evening. I am grateful for all of the choices in homeschooling curriculum that are created specifically for gifted children. It makes learning so much fun for Madison and by being able to use these specific curriculums she LOVES learning.
We will begin focusing more on interest led learning and project based learning. In other words Madison is going to let me know what she is interested in learning or doing and we will do it. We will still do the other subjects, but at a much slower pace. She will continue with all of her activities, extra classes and field trips. Another goal will be to incorporate more time for games, puzzles and building of Legos, K’NEX, etc.
Madison is really excited about this and has asked if we could start with Pompeii. We have a Kids Discover magazine on it, but I will begin researching fun ways for her to learn more and I am sure she will come up with her own project ideas. She was already trying to create one with her sweet potato with marshmallows on top when we ate out tonight for dinner. There is never a dull moment with her and her creative mind. I wish I had taken a video of it. That’s my next goal..take videos.
I am excited as our journey evolves and changes to fit Madison’s needs. That is the best part of homeschooling. I am fully embracing the needs and wants of my gifted child as I learn from others. This is what my child needs and I believe she needs to have more time to do them.
I am looking forward to the fun trip to the zoo we have planned this weekend, more learning fun and field trips and activities that are on the schedule for next week!
I am so grateful for the support I have from the local homeschooling group we are a part of. I am on a new journey of homeschooling and the suggestions and advice I receive each week may seem like small bits from those who give it, but they are like nuggets of gold to me. I value everyone’s input because they have experience and knowledge and for them to share it with me is priceless and helps me immensely. Every family is different and every child is different as well, but to hear ideas and various perspectives helps to guide me and adds a greater value to our homeschooling journey.
I love reading other’s perspectives in blogs and posts. I am also grateful for those that post how they are homeschooling. It allows them to share ideas with others. It is a great wealth of knowledge that expand my ideas and horizons.
I am grateful for the resources that are available to homeschoolers such as curriculum with teaching guides, co-ops, specialized classes, online curriculum or the knowledge and support that is shared in person or online from other homeschoolers. I am not saying everyone can or should homeschool. I am saying if someone wants to and is motivated, dedicated and utilizes the numerous resources and the knowledge available to them that they can successfully provide a quality education for their child.
Until those that doubt and question actually understand what homeschoolers do and how they do it, they will continue to have the stigma that children cannot ‘really learn’ unless they are in an actual school building. So while a degree in Education is necessary to teach a classroom full of students with different learning needs, I don’t think it is necessary for a homeschool parent to successfully teach their own children. My foremost concern is not with ‘those people’ who don’t or won’t take the time to understand, but rather with my child and her education and those who support it. I have every bit of confidence that Madison will learn much more than she would in a full school classroom that is taught to the test. Homeschooling also allows her to learn at her own pace and to be much happier because she is able to experience so many more hands on learning opportunities that are meaningful to her.
So do I think I am qualified to homeschool my own child? Despite what others may think, all that matters is that I know I am. Madison is living proof of that.
I was going to do a weekly update just to record what we are doing and as a way to look back to see what worked best and what didn’t, but it seems a little cumbersome. So I thought I’d do it by unit and hit the highlights.
Our last Moving Beyond the Page unit was a little rough. It had never occurred to me that Madison wouldn’t like the book that went with it. Well she really didn’t like it and so it was pretty hard to get through this one. It is to be expected that she won’t like every book, but it wasn’t something I had anticipated and it threw me for a loop. Fortunately, we made it through. 😉
Our unit covered the book Morning Girl and the Changing Environment. Madison had fun learning about plates and faults and tectonics. She recreated an earthquake to see what happens.
As I kept my camera close to try to get pictures of Madison doing her free time activities, I realized why I haven’t taken pictures. She’s always in her PJ’s. Yes, go ahead and judge, but that’s usually how we roll until its time to go somewhere. I’ve made a concentrated effort to have her change earlier each day. Sometimes. Sometimes it is our perk of homeschooling to be comfy. I usually go with what works best for us. 🙂
Madison enjoyed drawing with chalk, playing her Thinkfun Mind Games, and building with Legos.
One of Madison’s final projects was researching an endangered species. She already knows how to search for articles on the Internet, so I thought it would be fun to teach her how to find books at the library. She was really excited and loved it. She thought it was like a scavenger hunt. 🙂
First she looked up the call numbers on the computer. Then she went to find the two books she chose. And finally she found a table to sit down at to read and write her report.
I may be ‘Old School’, but I think it is still very important for kids to understand the Dewy Decimal System and to be able to find books at the library.
Madison continues to create wonderful pieces of art in her art class. She did a beautiful beach scene and always loves to do her art homework. This week it was of penguins.
Madison also started piano lessons and loves them. I hope the enjoyment of practicing and completing music theory doesn’t fade.
February is a very busy month for us full of lots of activities, classes and field trips. We are starting our new units Communities and Culture and Communities Change Over Time. We are also trying the new version of EPGY Math and Madison is very excited about it. I’ll be doing a separate post on that. I am very blessed that I have the opportunity to customize a rich and fulfilling education for Madison.