Our Week of Gifted Homeschooling, the Third and Fourth Week of June 2015

Madison had a wonderful time at her LLELA Nature Camp. Here are a couple of pictures courtesy of LLELA’s Facebook Page. They have lots of family friendly activities. Click HERE to view their event calendar.LLELA SUMMER CAMP LLELA Summer Camp 2 Madison is moving right along in Redbird Advanced Math from Giftedandtalented.com. She is now on Extend Multiplication Concepts in Fourth Grade. Camps slow us down of course, but she still spends a little time on it everyday. I think this is very important because kids can experience ‘brain drain’ over the summer and loose a lot of what they have learned during the year. This is why we homeschool year round. You can find the coursework listing of what each grade covers HERE. If you are interested in trying any of the courses on GiftedandTalented.com and would like to save 10%, you can use code PGEK2FP when checking out.

We are also continuing EPGY Language Arts from GiftedandTalented.com. Madison has advanced to Fourth Grade. She was super excited about that! You can find the coursework listing of what each grade covers HERE. I think having a solid foundation in English is critical for success in all subjects, so I feel much better knowing that she is building that foundation with EPGY. And she doesn’t have to physically write a bunch of sentences to do it. That is the beauty of it being online. She would be so much farther behind if she had to write everything out.

In our Moving Beyond the Page curriculum, Madison finished Economic Cycles. We are waiting to complete the final project when she can actually apply it to real life learning by selling a product she creates in the Fall. She’s really looking forward to doing testing, marketing and to see the success of her sale.

We began The Whipping Boy and Government and the People units in Moving Beyond the Page this week. In the Language Arts unit, The Whipping Boy, she learned about a democracy, a monarchy, more about historical fiction and  new vocabulary words. Madison also learned about idioms, similes, hyperboles, main characters and supporting characters and the feudal system. She is currently doing the Medieval lesson in Skrafty Minecraft Homeschool as well. You can see a video tour of her Egypt lesson HERE. We will post a video tour of the Medieval lesson when it is complete.

In the Social Studies unit, Government and the People, Madison learned about Authority, Roles of Government, Citizens, Politicians, Voting, Our System of Government and Local, State and National Government.

We had a HUGE accomplishment on June 22nd. Madison passed XtraMath Addition. She was super excited and has now moved on to mastering her subtraction facts in 3 seconds each.

Madison has been creating great pieces of artwork. She sculpted a super cool dragonfly, painted flowers in a vase for me for Mother’s Day, painted a bluebonnet, created a sunset in a frame for Jeff for Father’s Day and painted a canvas of abstract art. She loves Miss Mary at the ArtHouse! Click HERE to see the post with pictures of her artwork projects.

Madison attended a summer camp and a homeschool workshop at the Dallas Museum of Art this week. Read all about it and see the pieces of art she created HERE.

For Madison’s birthday she received the Cinderella’s carriage Lego set. She was so excited to build it and after it was complete she asked for Cinderella’s Castle. So she’s been on a Lego Building frenzy. Here is her final creation of both. Front and back: Lego back Legos frontMadison’s garden has taken off with all of the rain we have had and she was able to pick two tomatoes this week. She was beyond excited! Madison's GardenNext week Madison will take her Iowa Basic Skills Test and CogAt test. We will submit them for scoring and should receive the results within 10 days.


Summer Fun at the Dallas Museum of Art

This week Madison attended a week long summer camp and a homeschool class at the Dallas Museum of Art. She had the best time and we will definitely be doing these again! The Dallas Museum of Art has wonderful family activities all summer long and admission is free! Click HERE for more information!

At the end of the week, Madison’s summer camp class was able to individually present their artwork to all of the parents. She was so proud!

Dallas Museum of Art CampShe made great friends!

Dallas Museum of Art Summer CampThe camp she took was called The Artist in You. Here is the description from the website: Become an art expert and learn how to spot the differences between a Monet and a Mondrian! We’ll explore the -isms and -scapes of art: impressionism, cubism, cityscapes, seascapes, and more as we create personal pieces inspired by the masters. Investigate van Gogh’s expressive landscapes, Monet’s soft color palette, and Picasso’s fractured cubist still life. Play with color, perspective, dots, and lines to make your own treasures and discover the artist in you!

Her teacher was amazing and she learned a lot!!! She enjoyed making all the different pieces of art.

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Madison also had a great time at the Homeschool Class Workshop. First they discussed pieces of art regarding landscapes.

Dallas Museum of Art Homeschool Class 3 Dallas Museum of Art Homeschool ClassThen we went outside and the kids drew their own landscape pictures with watercolor colored pencils. They brushed them with paintbrushes dipped in water for a watercolor picture effect. Madison enjoyed the kids and loved the class!

Dallas Museum of Art Homeschool Class 2Madison loves spending time at the Dallas Museum of Art. We are grateful for the Dallas Arts District!

Dallas Museum of Art

Skrafty Homeschool Minecraft – Madison’s Egypt Video Tour

Madison loves Minecraft and it can becoming addicting for her. I was having a hard time balancing it for her until we came upon Skrafty Homeschool Minecraft.

The lessons in Skcrafty compliment a lot of the lessons we have done or are planning on doing. It is a perfect supplement to our curriculum and Madison has the opportunity to enjoy Minecraft while she is learning.

Here is a video tour of her recently completed Egypt Class. She had a lot of fun learning and creating!

Madison is currently working on a Medieval Times lesson and we will publish a video tour when it s complete.

You can check out all the classes on Skrafty HERE.

The Difference a Gifted and Talented Teacher Can Make

I realized after writing my last post that there was one person who really had a positive impact on my daughter’s life  in public school and was a highlight for her days there. The one person that truly believed in her. 

Admist the misery she experienced in public school, there were times that were fabulous. Those times were made by her Gifted and Talented teacher. 

A gifted program in a public school is very important for a gifted child. They need it. Unfortunately, our district lost funding and so the program was cut back. The pull outs for First grade turned into whole class lessons. 

Madison’s gifted and talented teacher saw the need for all the gifted children in her grade and took it upon herself to volunteer her time after school to provide them with the gifted pull out time that was taken away from the district. 

I can’t even begin to explain what that meant to Madison. What she learned and experienced during those times was amazing. And she also was with students that were like her. 

My only regret of homeschooling is that Madison doesn’t get to experience Mrs. Rountree’s classes. I truly believe that is a detriment to her.  

Last Christmas Madison heard a contest on the radio to vote for your favorite teacher that made a difference in your life and she begged for us to call and nominate Mrs. Rountree.

I am grateful that Madison’s public school has a gifted program and I pray that they service the needs of the gifted children within the district. It does make a difference in a child’s life and leaves an imprint forever. 

They deserve it just as much as the children that need help passing the state tests. They can become one in the same without it. 

Guilty Feelings

Since Madison was a baby she was always driven to learn. Constantly and in her own way. I noticed early on that when her mind was ‘worked’ her behavior greatly improved so I let her lead and provided as many learning experiences as possible.

I sent her to a part time preschool. She didn’t learn anything new, but enjoyed the kids and I felt she needed to learn how to follow directions from others.

Then came kindergarten. The entire time she was there I felt very guilty. It wasn’t easy for her to sit in her chair all day. 

First Grade was a living hell. She begged me to homeschool her. She came home crying almost everyday. 

Homeschooling was the best choice Madison has ever made. She is thriving and is so happy. She is experiencing so much more. 

I feel very guilty for going against my gut feelings and sending her to kindergarten and first grade at the public school. 

I can only hope that someday she will forget what it was like. 

If I had only known…I wouldn’t have robbed her of those two years and I wouldn’t have put her through the misery. 

I am very grateful that she knew what she needed and that I listened. I am blessed to be able to give her the life of learning she deserves. One that is not sitting at a desk for hours or being taught to the test. And I am am even more blessed that I have the full support of my husband and my parents.

If you have a gifted child that wants to learn at home and is miserable in school, please listen to them. Research, test them, do what you need to. In the end, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. Your child’s life and future is precious. 

Life is too short to be unhappy. Especially if you are a child. 

Our Week of Gifted Homeschooling – April – June 2015

The last week in April to the first week in June have been a blur. 🙂 We went to Disney World and had an awesome vacation. Madison also turned 8.

Madison has finished 3rd grade Math in Redbird Advanced Mathematics and is continuing on to 4th grade. She is almost to 4th grade in the EPGY Language Arts Program. It will go a little slower for the summer because of the weeks she is at summer camp, but we will continue over the summer to prevent any brain drain that usually occurs. Here are some pictures from the first section of Fourth grade:

This is the challenge problem at the end:

Redbird Advanced Mathematics

Here are pictures of the final project:

Redbird Advanced Mathematics Redbird Advanced Mathematics

During the past couple of months we completed the Moving Beyond the Page Charlotte’s Web and Water Cycle Units, Rainforest units, The Family Under the Bridge and we are still working on Economics.

For the summer Madison will continue to homeschool as well as take art classes and piano lessons. She’s looking forward to playdates, meeting friends at the pool, roller skating, going to the movies and summer camps. Madison just finished a camp at LLELA where she spent the week hiking, ‘swimming’ in the trails, catching frogs and making frog habitats, keeping a nature journal and kayaking. She had a blast!

We decided to enroll Madison part-time in a interest-led democratic community learning environment that starts in the Fall. I know that is how she learns best, but I am still hesitant to commit that type of learning 100%, so I am committing to part-time. She is very excited about it. It will give her the time to collaborate with many other students on anything that interests her. I think she’ll thrive in this environment.  http://www.makarioslearningcommunity.org/

Madison has also discovered Skrafty Homeschool Minecraft. She LOVES it and I feel better about letting her play because she is learning. It is really awesome! Lots of classes that are self-paced and fun!

My posts going forward will be more detailed, but I wanted to do a quick update for the time being. 🙂

What Do I Want For My Children’s Future? 

As a parent you envision what you want for your children. If you had one goal for your child in life and only one goal, what would it be? 

My goal is for my children to be happy. Regardless of what that means. It doesn’t matter, as long as they are truly happy, I am truly happy. 

The ultimate goal for me as a parent is to help them find out what that is, support them and then be proud of them when they do. Nothing else matters. Life is too short to not be happy in a positive and healthy way. 

Redbird Advanced Learning Courses and my Take on Common Core

Recently another online Math program was circulated for free summer practice for the kids in public schools. I tried it to see how Madison would do with the Common Core problems and Madison passed second grade level with flying colors which made me feel better since they were totally crazy common core questions. I did it as a ‘test’ to see if she could do them. Part of me was worried that the ‘crazy and frustrating’ part of common core won’t go away by the time I needed it to and she would ‘bomb’ tests and quizzes to get into college because she refuses to do ‘typical’ common core Math. What I found out was without giftedantalented.com she would have failed this ‘test.’

By using giftedantalented.com for our Homeschool Math curriculum, Madison has learned math in such an in depth way that she can ace these crazy problems by applying the critical and logical thinking skills she is using in Redbird’s Advanced Math Learning program which isn’t ‘crazy and frustrating’ for her to do. It does dig deeper so that she has a deeper level of understanding, but not in the ridiculous and confusing way as others that are free and popular do. The free programs are not intuitive and are very frustrating. Not to mention a complete waste of time. For a gifted kid, especially one that is PG in Math, that says a lot. I am extremely confident that she is learning Math in a way that she understands, loves and that prepares her for the future, regardless of what form the testing is in. I did this to do a ‘double check’ for myself and her and of course I am still forever grateful for Redbird Advanced Math’s programs. We are going strong on fourth grade! 

I now know not to make her ‘try’ a true Common Core Math program test that is free to ‘see’ if she can do it, because it almost killed her love of Math for my ‘just checking to see’ moment. Lesson learned. 🙂 I am grateful Redbird Advanced Math is ‘associated’ but is normal so Madison can learn and be challenged, but not will not refuse to do it because she thinks it’s ridiculous. Common Core isn’t a curriculum, it’s a set of standards and how those standards are taught is the true definition of success for a student. Kudos to Redbird Math for doing it the right way. The way that engages students and takes their love of learning Math to a whole new level. A level that is the same Math I did, but is presented in a different way and that will prepare her for the ACT and SAT. 

Below is a link with a promo code to save if you would like to try an excellent and fun Math program over the summer. I think it’s important to keep kids’ minds engaged so they don’t regress. It only makes it harder for the next school year. We use the independent version which is only $18 a month after the discount, but the code is good for any class they offer. We also do the independent EPGY Language Arts and it is an excellent program as well. 

Here is the link to save 10% and review videos and the coursework outline:


We will have her take the Iowa Basic Skills Test. Twice. Once for Second grade and then one for 3rd – 5th. We ordered the prep for 2nd and after reviewing it I realized she needs to take both. I will post how she does in both for Math and other subjects once we receive the scoring result detail, but I am confident she is prepared to be successful in both because Redbird Advanced Math’s program prepares her for anything. Common Core or not, she’s good. And that is awesome! 

I know I haven’t written an update on our homeschooling progress in awhile. First we were packing and prepping for our Disney World vacation, then we went and had a fabulous time and came home and have been ‘recovering’ from it since. 😉 I have been taking pictures and will be posting an update next week. Madison is at a summer camp for the week, so I will finally have the time. 🙂