Our Week of Gifted Homeschooling – The Last Week in March 2015

I want to start this post out by saying how much I love the Redbird Advanced Mathematics course that Madison is doing. The reason I love it so much, is because she loves it so much. And maybe a little bit of it is also due to the fact I don’t have to try to teach her Math or force her to do worksheets. She does it without assistance from me and for a core subject that is so important, I am grateful that she actually enjoys doing it. We have tried many other programs and this is the only one that she likes. You can use the promo code EFPJMR for 10% off any of the courses giftedandtalented.com offers. Here are some pictures from her Time and Mass third grade unit. As you can see, it doesn’t include any ‘fuzzy math’. 🙂
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We began our Poppy and Lifecycle units from Moving Beyond the Page. In our Poppy Language Arts unit Madison learned about the Fantasy Genre, protagonists, antagonists, settings, conjunctions, owl pellets, paragraphs, quotation marks, synonyms, antonyms, alliteration, and summaries. She is keeping a setting map and she wrote a diamante poem. She is on chapter 15 and is really enjoying the book Poppy by Avi.
In our Lifecycles Science unit Madison learned about the characteristics of living things, how plants and animals progress through stages in their life cycles, life cycles of animals and insects, photosynthesis, decomposers, parts of a flowering plant and the carbon/oxygen cycle, as well as the human life cycle and nutrient cycle. She also explored energy and food chains and learned about producers and consumers, carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores.  The books we are using for this unit are What is a Lifecycle by Bobbie Kalman and Who Eats What? by Patricia Lauber. We watched Brain Pop videos and the Bill Nye the Science Guy Lifecycles video.

We had a lot of fun activities this week! Theater class came to end with the final performance of their play. Madison really enjoyed performing!

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We attended the Fort Worth Zoo Homeschool Day. Madison loved seeing the animals and learning many new facts.
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Madison loves her Homeschool PE class so much! They played an awesome game of Human Hungry Hippos. It was hilarious! Here’s the link to watch:
Madison’s Homeschool PE class is through Bowmen Sports. They have several Homeschool classes across North DFW as well as various sports classes and camps. I highly recommend them.
Madison attended a homeschool workshop at the Nasher Sculpture Museum called Space Invaders and learned about positive and negative space. She loved it!
 Nasher Sculpture Center Homeschool Workshop
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The sun has been out and we have had beautiful weather. Jeff built Madison a raised garden bed, but we realized last year that the location it was in had too much shade, so he emptied it and moved moved it to a sunnier area in the backyard. I’ll post pictures of her garden in the next update. She definitely inherited her green thumb from both of her great grandmas on my side! It’s fun to watch her.

Raising a Gifted Child – One Way is the Only Right Way

Honestly, some things scare me when it comes to raising a gifted child. I read as many articles as I can and do my best to educate myself. I read about how to appreciate my child’s gifts and to make her feel good about herself and focus on the positive for her self-esteem. But then I question the fine line between empowering her leadership qualities and teaching her humility, compassion and love. Life is not always about being right or being the one to make sure everyone follows what she thinks are the rules. When Madison grows up I want her to be able to accomplish what she believes in and to do so with all the passion inside of her, but not at the expense of alienating herself from others because she does not care about anyone but herself. She needs to understand that she can go forward with her passion and beliefs while still respecting others’ beliefs as well. My goal for Madison is to support her strong beliefs and at the same time to teach her how to respect that others can have a different opinion. To not act as though she is righteous above others because of her beliefs and to force them upon everyone.

Gifted children/adults’s beliefs can consume them. There has to be some sort of balance because forcing someone to play by only one set of rules is a dictatorship and one that usually is not effective when trying to reach a majority of people. I am dedicated to loving her and supporting her for who she is, but not without teaching her that there is a way of communicating her beliefs that will reach more if she can connect with them. Life is not always black or white. I will always encourage her to stand up for what she believes in and to share it, but not to go out of her way to undermine others if it is not the same thing. We have a lot we can learn from each other. Keeping an open mind is always an important part part of learning. One person never knows it all….even if they think they do. 🙂 

I Am Amazed 

I went back through my prior posts tonight and I am amazed at how I have evolved this past year. I have gone through so many different thought processes. The biggest accomplishment I have made this year for myself, is letting go of the bitterness I had with the public school system. I am realizing so many things can be a blessing in disguise. I never believed in the concept that “things happen for a reason” until now. I think I had to figure out homeschooling and feel confident that I was doing the right thing before I could let go of what I thought Madison was ‘missing.’ Madison was always confident. She has always known. I am blessed that she helped guide me and reassured me that we were doing the right thing. And that she had the confidence that I would figure it all out. I feel guilty that she was in that position and I am glad she isn’t anymore. 

I no longer check to make sure we are on track with our state standards. I don’t have to because I think they are ludicrous now and I know Madison is learning a whole lot more and exceeding them. The difference for her is that she is truly learning and retaining now. And in so many more and different ways. I guess I had to ‘see it to believe it.’ I look back at the beginning of the year and I have to laugh and shake my head, but I also realize it’s part of the process. 

Here’s the kicker. I realize those that homeschool sometimes worry that they are behind. The one thing I learned from Madison being in public school, Alyssa going through public high school and from volunteering is that the public school doesn’t read every page in every textbook or complete every page. Homeschoolers do or they think they are behind, but in reality their children are 10 times ahead because they do read/complete every page in their curriculum. You can’t with a full class. It isn’t possible. Or they teach how their individual children learn best. That in itself ends up having the child retain the information at a much higher level. 

Homeschoolers also incorporate a lot of hands on learning where kids are learning all the time. Now that I realize this, I have become much more laid back and confident. It’s the same concept of worrying when your child will stop taking a bottle or ends up being potty trained. They don’t end up drinking milk out of a bottle in college and are just fine, but many parents worry that if they don’t do things exactly how society expects them to then they are ‘not on target.’

I honestly believe that what works for one doesn’t work for all. I would love to say that I made it through the public school system and I am fine, but the reality is I realize I didn’t retain everything I was taught and I have realized that now more then ever. But there are kids that thrive in public and private school and are very successful adults. And that is great! I am not saying public school is bad, but I am glad that because it didn’t work for us, that homeschooling has. I am forever grateful that I was introduced to a community that was crucial to our success. Every situation is different and I am just very happy our situation is not only working out, but is better than I could have ever imagined. 

Connecting on Pinterest and Twitter – Homeschool Resources

I absolutely love Pinterest and have several boards dedicated to homeschool resources for Math, Science, Social , Social Studies, Book Lists and more! You can find all of these resources here: https://www.pinterest.com/teresamilligan

I am also on Twitter where I tweet many articles regarding giftedness and homeschooling. You can follow me here: https://mobile.twitter.com/teresamilligan

Our Week/Month of Gifted Homeschooling – March 2015

Over the past couple of weeks we have been fighting an awful cold. Here’s what we have been up to the past couple of weeks….

Madison completed the Understand Division and Use Mixed Operations to Solve Problems Units and has almost completed The Measurement: Time, Volume and Mass unit in her Redbird Advanced Math. I only took one picture, because I am taking advantage of having time to get other things done while she learns math independently. 🙂 She is still loving it and I am grateful she can do it all on her own. I also like that I can go back and review a replay of each lesson she has done if I have any questions. I am grateful that even though it is ‘associated’ with Common Core standards that it doesn’t incorporate anything abnormal. That was one of the issues I had with Pearson in her public school. Madison was beyond frustrated with doing extra steps that didn’t make logical sense to her.  I will admit I was very concerned about that to begin with because I have many issues with Common Core, but after seeing the videos and how it works, we gave it a try anyway. I wanted to do what is best for Madison to advance at the pace that she needs and  she has loved every minute of it. Thank goodness!!! We have tried other online Math programs that were aligned with Common Core and Madison wouldn’t continue once she ran into the typical Common Core Math problems. She would state that they were ridiculous and I agreed with her. Madison says that Redbird Advanced Math “thinks like she does.” That is why we are so happy with it. After Madison completes Mass in this Redbird Advanced Math unit, she will move on to Fraction Concepts which will wrap up 3rd grade. If you would like to save 10% on this amazing online Math curriculum that specifically personalizes to your child, please use promo code EFPJMRRedbird Advanced Math Review

We finished our Moving Beyond the Page Communities and Culture and Communities Change Over Time units as well as our American Heroes and People Change the World Units.

In Communities and Cultures Madison compared the two adventures and cultures between Adventures in Egypt and Adventures in the Middle Ages. She also practiced making nouns plural by adding ‘s’, ‘es’ or changing the word to a new one. Madison created a book cover of Ancient Rome and included herself in the setting of the story. Next, she wrote a story to go with her book cover including fiction and fantasy. She really enjoyed this lesson. We finished up this unit with a final project on the elements of change.

In our Communities Change Over Time unit, Madison learned what a historian is and why they are important and then we reflected on what America has learned from past events. She had fun learning about how transportation and technology has changed over the years and designed her own new form of transportation. For her final project she created a time capsule.

The American Hero and People Change the World units were awesome! Madison learned about 24 American Heroes that included Early Americans, Heroes of Freedom, Presidents, Recent and Current Heroes, African-American Heroes, Female Heroes, and Heroes of Science and Invention using the book 50 American heroes Every Kids Should Meet. She also created a book with facts about the 24 Heroes she learned about. One of the assignments was to write about her favorite hero. I teared up and my heart melted when I read what she wrote. I shared it on the Moving Beyond the Page Facebook Page and you can view it HERE.  She also reviewed contractions, adjectives and adverbs. Madison learned very important character training qualities in the People Change the World unit. She learned about the characteristics of a leader and a good citizen and much more using the books Miss Rumphius and Starry Messenger. We have recently begun our Poppy and Lifecycles units. Madison is really enjoying them!

Moving Beyond the Page is currently having a Spring Fling sale that ends April 6th. You can save an extra 10% on packages. Click HERE for details.

Madison made a cool Lego Goalie with a sensor that moved in her Lego Robotics class through our homeschool association. The computer program kept track of how many goals were made. It was really cool and she had fun making it.

We had a hiccup with art class, but it’s fixed now. 🙂 We had a couple of art camps during Spring Break. Now we are resuming classes at the Southlake location with Madison’s favorite art teacher and she came home and reported it was the BEST art class ever!

Madison had fun visiting the Frontiers of Flight Museum. Here are some pictures from her visit.

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Madison had a great time mastering her Ninja Skills with the Creative Crew at Ninjago Training Camp at Legoland!

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You can also view Madison in the awesome laser maze in a news clip HERE

 We are excited to be feeling better and that the weather is warming up as well. I am in the process of planning a Disney World Trip, next year’s homeschooling and decluttering and painting rooms in our house. Wish me luck! 🙂   

Our Week of Gifted Homeschooling – The Fourth Week in February 2015

DSC03143This week we experienced an ice and snow storm in Texas so Madison’s Homeschool class at the Perot Museum was canceled. It was a huge disappointment for her, but we got a lot of learning done, so it ended up working out.We happened to check out the book Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin from the library and it was perfect timing to read it. Madison really had fun playing in the snow, but after a day or so, she decided that Groundhog Day was a curse this year and she is ready for it to warm up. 🙂

In addition to schoolwork, Madison also built a mechanical robotic arm. She had a lot of fun playing with it after she built it.

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Here is a video of her finished product:

Madison absolutely loved her Redbird Math unit this week. This week Madison completed Patterns in Multiplication which included: Multiply by 2, Multiply by 3 & 5, Introduction to Multiplication Tables, Use Multiplication Tables, Basic Multiplication Facts, Patterns in the Multiplication Table, and Learn Multiplication Facts. She unlocked a cool game during the week that she thought was a lot of fun.

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But the BEST part was the final project and the challenge problem!!! They both included using multiplication and coding and Madison LOVED them.



DSC03139When Madison was completing the Challenge Problem, she smiled and said, “This is really hard!” and then giggled. She really enjoyed the challenge!

If you are interested in Redbird Math you can save 10% by using the promo code  EFPJMR

This week in our Moving Beyond the Page Communities and Culture Language Arts unit, Madison read Adventures in the Middle Ages by Linda Bailey. She answered comprehension questions and learned about artifacts, a Peasant’s life, being poor and social class. she did a lot of comparing of the Middle Ages to Ancient Egypt. Madison compared events that happen in a castle to the events that happen in her community and made her own castle.

She also wrote sentences on her vocabulary words, Peasant, Lice, Poacher, Dungeon, and Chivalry. Madison compared the Binkerton characters between the books Adventures in Ancient Egypt and Adventures in the Middle Ages using a Venn diagram.

In our Moving Beyond the Page Communities Change Over Time Social Studies unit, Madison explored Ancient Civilizations including the Roman Empire, Ancient Greece, the Aztec Empire, Ancient Egypt and the Chinese Empire. She learned about religion and myths and read a story about Pandora’s Box and Narcissus. She chose to research Ancient Rome and created a diorama that included the Coliseum.

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DSC03144Madison identified several jobs during the Medieval times and explained their descriptions. She did a worksheet on before and after sentences describing The Plague and created her own Coat of Arms.

Madison learned about America Yesterday and today by cutting and pasting symbols onto a timeline of America’s history. The events on the timeline included Columbus discovering America, Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock, The Declaration of Independence, The California Gold Rush, The Civil War, the 13th Amendment outlaws slavery, World War I, The Great Depression, World War II, the Civil Rights Act, the Vietnam War, the First man walks in the moon, the personal computer is invented, the World Wide Web is introduced, and 9/11. We also discussed the change that each event had on America.

Madison painted a beautiful picture of a horse on canvas in her art class this week.

Pictures 092This week SeaLife had Homeschool week. Madison loves SeaLife, so we ventured out into the cold to go. Madison enjoyed the stingray feeding the most. Everywhere the SeaLife educator went, Madison was right next to her, asking her questions. 🙂

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And as I walked out the door on our way to SeaLife, I remembered a post I had read from A Homeschool Mom about Raising Motivated Learners: Tools, Not Products and I grabbed Madison’s camera so she could  take pictures while she was at SeaLife and download them onto her laptop when we got home. She really enjoyed taking pictures and videos.

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Madison finished up Lesson 5 in her Worldy Wise Level 3 Vocabulary book. She is continuing to make it through her Handwriting Without Tears Grade 3 cursive book. We are getting to close to finishing it. Drama, piano lessons and Lego Robotics class were canceled due to the weather as well as her Lego Creative Club Welcome Meeting, but she is looking forward to all of her activities next week if the weather doesn’t interfere again.

We have a new rule at our house. If you want to play Minecraft, you have to build something real first. Madison loves Minecraft, but I find it addicting and not as educational as some believe. So here is Madison putting together a quick puzzle prior to playing Minecraft.

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Another favorite for her is Roller Coaster Tycoon. She loves playing that as well.

I hope everyone had a wonderful February and is looking forward to a great March!