Validation of Choosing to Homeschool a Gifted Child

I know when I started homeschooling there was a significant amount of doubt from everyone around me.

When I was trying to figure out if I should pull Madison from public school to homeschool her, her AP said, “I wouldn’t recommend that.” My mom totally freaked out. It is clear the stance anyone we know has on my decision.

I am grateful for the support I received from my dad,  my husband, my grandmother and my true friends, but I know there was always a cloud of worry and rightfully so. I don’t have an official college degree, yet I am educating my own child? And it seemed crazy that a 7 year old could know what was best for her life and what would make her happy. To trust that was hard for all of us.

Well, here’s the thing…I have a lot of college credits, just not all specifically that obtain a certain degree and most importantly I have this thing called determination. That means I will be extremely successful at whatever I set my mind to and that I want to accomplish. I have proven this many times throughout my life. Madison was confident that she could learn whatever I presented, we just had to work together to figure out how to do it.

I would never take on something so important if I didn’t think I could succeed, especially something that is so crucial to my daughter’s life and future.

So to appease and prove that we were fine I had Madison take the IBST and the CogAT test.

We received her results a couple of days ago. I won’t go into details of what her results were, but I will say if there was any shade of doubt from those who supported me, it’s gone. The doubt I had in myself is gone and pulling her from public school was definitely the best choice Madison had ever made because there is absolutely NO WAY she would be where she is at now if I hadn’t.

We were all blown away.

Moral of this post? Trust your child, intuition, God and don’t listen, care or be influenced by those that don’t understand.

They may never understand or approve, but that doesn’t matter. Your child’s happiness and future is all that matters. Always trust yourself and God and never let society or others influence doing what you think is best for your child. In the end, they don’t have to pay for the consequences.

This upcoming year is going to be so much fun and I am excited and looking forward to it. We have great friends and a wonderful homeschool community that I am so grateful to be a part of. I will not always have all the answers, but I will try my hardest to find them and provide Madison with what she needs to learn and succeed and that strategy seems to be working out very, very well so far. 🙂

Our Week of Gifted Homeschooling – The Second and Third Week of July 2015

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy here.

After much thought and prayer, we made the decision to withdraw Madison from the Makarios Learning Community. Even though it will be a great environment and community for others, we just felt it wouldn’t be a good fit for Madison.

This actually opens up 2 days a week and takes a lot of pressure off of me to try to squeeze all of our curriculum into 3 days per week and we won’t have to give up any activities.

Madison very excited to join American Heritage Girls this fall. There is also a similar program for boys called Trail Life USA. I love that there are so many opportunities for homeschoolers.

The past couple of weeks we have been keeping busy and enjoying time with friends at the pool. We are very blessed to have such great friends.

Madison had fun participating in a mosaic build with the Legoland Creative Crew at the Gaylord Texan!

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Pictures 012Pictures 009We had so much fun that we went back to the Gaylord Texan for Summerfest the very next day. You can read all about it in my Summerfest 2015 at the Gaylord Texan featuring The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Post.

Madison finished up her Iowa Basic Skills and CoGAT tests this week and we mailed them to be scored. We probably won’t find out the results until the end of July. We ordered our tests through BJU press. I wanted to give a link to the information in case anyone else was interested. You can either find an approved tester in your area or apply to become approved. You can get the info HERE.

We finished up the 7-9 year Moving Beyond the Page curriculum with Iggy’s House and Communities and Cultures and we have moved on to the 8-10 year curriculum, Little House in the Big Woods and Dirt and Plants. These are both really fun units. We are also using Skrafty Minecraft Little House and Plants lessons in conjunction with Moving Beyond the Page and it is working out very well!

In Little House and the Big Woods, Madison is completing a daily chart to compare life in the Big Woods to life today. We reviewed historical fiction and setting, learned new vocabulary words, reviewed capitalization rules.

In Dirt and Plants we are using two different books. The first, is Jump into Science: Dirtby Steve Tomecek. The second, is Experiments with Plants (True Books: Science Experiments)by Salvatore Tocci. We learned about the different layers and components of soil and the difference between a woody plant and a herbaceous plant. We also conducted several experiments. Madison conducted an experiment on which type of soil would hold the most water, which type of soil plants would grow best in, how much water plants absorb and Madison made a soil ecosystem.   Pictures 084Pictures 086

Pictures 087Madison did complete Medieval Times in Skrafty, but I haven’t had time to take a video of it. 🙂

She is at the unit conclusion of Extend Multiplication Concepts in Redbird Math this week and she is still ‘On Fire.’ She had a great time with the challenge problem this week.

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EPGY Language Arts goes a little slower, but it is worth it. She is really mastering her skills in English.

You can save 10% all of the courses offered by giftedandtalented.com by using the promo code PGEK2FP at checkout. They offer Science and Computer Programing as well as English and Math for grades 9th-12th. You can see all the courses they offer HERE.

Madison is also working on subtraction on xtramath.org and her multiplication on Timez Attack.

Madison has completed two fun assignments in art in the past couple of weeks. She did a daisy liquid watercolor which taught her watercolor techniques. The first picture is a sketch she drew and the second is her watercolor picture.

Pictures 089Her second assignment was a graphite drawing of a stuffed animal. With this project she learned about working from a still life and creating the look of texture in the graphite. Her homework for this week in preparation for next week is to draw a peacock feather in colored pencil.


She is really loving every aspect of her piano lessons and practices everyday. I am so glad we found the wonderful teacher we did for her. We are currently using a keyboard, but plan on purchasing a piano for her soon. Here is a picture of her new theory book: We finished up lesson 14 in our Wordly Wise 3000 book 3 this week. There are 15 lessons total including two review tests for all 15.

Madison is still working on lesson 2 in Visual Latin. We had an entire page of translating sentences and Madison isn’t happy about writing, so we took it slow. She’ll finish up lesson 2 next week and then we’ll begin lesson 3.

Madison did the cursive book from Handwriting without Tears, but after she completed it she still wouldn’t write in cursive so we are doing it again. 🙂

We also had fun with the new Google Camp that came out. We tried watching the sea dive live, but the servers were overloaded and it didn’t work. We did go back and watch the video and Madison loved it. We also did the activities. It is a really cool learning experience with a new topic every week. You can check it out HERE.

I am also going to have Madison try the different areas in the Wonderopolis Camp next week. We also heard about another cool camp called makercamp.com. It has an online option or you can look up and see if there’s a camp in your area. I haven’t really had time to check it out yet, but it looks really cool.

I heard about the maker camp from a Facebook group I have recently joined called Raising Poppies. It is for parents of gifted and 2e children and it has been the most wonderful place for support. I am grateful Colleen from Raising Lifelong Learners and Cait from My Little Poppies created this group for a safe place for parents of gifted and 2e parents to give each other support and advice without being judged.

Madison loves free play time and aside from playing Legos and putting together puzzles she likes to play some games that I found that she can play by herself. Her favorites are all from Thinkfun. They include The Shell Game, Rush Hour and Chess Solitaire. She also likes to read the Ranger Rick and National Geographic Kids magazines.  IMG_9734

We are taking school over the summer nice and slow and I am in the process of planning activities for the Fall as they are going to start to become available to sign up for at the end of July/beginning of August. So far we have soccer booked. 🙂

I hope everyone is having a great summer! Does anyone else do school over the summer? Are you getting excited for the activities coming up in the Fall? If so, which ones does your child participate in?

Summerfest 2015 at the Gaylord Texan featuring The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Last weekend we decided to take a little adventure to see the Summerfest featuring The Wonderful Wizard of Oz at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas. There were so many fun things to do and most of them were free!

  
The first thing we did was go to the concierge and picked up a map for the OOHS & Oz Self-Guided Art Tour, The Self-Guided Horticulture Tour, and The Lost Treasures of Oz Scavenger Hunt. 

With her map in hand, we were off to find all the original artwork from local Texas artists.

Pictures 027Here were some of Madison’s favorites:

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We also ran into other fun Wizard of Oz decorations along the way!

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Madison and Jeff had fun playing checkers and cornhole.

Pictures 030Pictures 036Then we stopped to have lunch at the Riverwalk Catina. We had a table right next to the water so Madison could watch the koi fish while we ate.

Pictures 069After lunch we did the scavenger hunt, which I will say is a little challenging, but lots of fun. It costs $5 and all the net profits support the Children’s Miracle Network.

We ran into some fun things to see along the way, like a very tall fountain and the Gaylord made of out Legos from Legoland!

Pictures 025Pictures 029When Madison’s completed the Scavenger Hunt she went to the concierge’s desk and received her prize. She was very very proud!

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And it wouldn’t be a trip to see the Summerfest featuring The Wonderful Wizard of Oz without a picture with the scarecrow and the tin man in front of the yellow brick road. 🙂

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Disclosure Policy

It dawned on me that a lot of other bloggers have a disclosure policy and since I give my opinions on products we use, I should too. So here it goes…

Disclosure Policy:

All opinions on this blog are completely my own. I share what works for us and that is not a guarantee it will work the same way for anyone else. I have not been compensated for any reviews or recommendations I have posted up to the date of 7/16/2015. I do earn scholarships that I give away, for every five families that sign up for giftedandtalented.com courses with my promo code. I give honest reviews of what works for us and what doesn’t solely based on our experiences and they are always subject to change.

Ok, with that said, from this date forward, I may include affiliate links to Amazon Associates. If someone clicks on an affiliate link I post, it doesn’t cost them anything and I earn an extremely small percentage. I am going to try it out and see how it works.

So, hopefully that covers it. 😉 The main purpose of my blog is for gifted advocacy and to share our homeschooling journey. The only time I will post an affiliate link is when I was going to post a regular link anyway as I share what we do.

Thanks so much for following my blog!

Why Did I Choose to Homeschool Instead of Sending My Daughter to an Elite Private School?

This is one of the most common questions Jeff and I receive when friends hear that we declined sending out daughter to a private school. 

It really baffles people that we would chose to homeschool over sending Madison to a private school. It’s a concept many have a hard time understanding, so I wanted to explain. 

Initially homeschooling was going to be temporary for us while we were on a waiting list for a private school. A private school that Madison was screened to be accepted to. 

There are several reasons we decided not to put Madison in the private school. The main one is because it wasn’t a school for gifted children. It was a school for smart kids. There’s a very big difference between the two.

Before we applied, we took an extensive tour. I noticed that a couple of the kids had laptops and I inquired about why they were using them when the other students weren’t. I was told it was because some students were 2e and some needed them, but the school wasn’t really for 2e kids. At that time I didn’t really realize what that meant.

After Madison spent the day visiting and was observed she was accepted with flying colors. I believe it was mainly due to her test scores. Her test scores reflect that she should have high academic success. She knew the visit was a test and she knew how to pass with flying colors.

We began homeschooling and both of us enjoyed it. Ok, honestly probably she enjoyed it more than I did, but that’s just me being honest and it’s a reality because it was quite an adjustment for me. Anyway, low and behold a spot opened up and she was officially excepted to the private school.

But we declined. Why? First and foremost because Madison enjoys homeschooling and didn’t want to sit in a classroom environment. Even one she would be challenged in. She realized learning with real, hands on learning experiences was much more fun.

Also because I used their curriculum and it wasn’t for her. The amount of repetition would kill the love of learning in any gifted child. 

But we also declined because Madison doesn’t like to write. It is very hard for her. She is the child that would require a laptop, despite what her scores say. And she would be looked down upon for it. I have the opportunity to adjust her learning and customize it to fit her and how she learns best.

She loves the friends she has met through homeschooling and she loves the way she is learning. 

Madison is happy, well adjusted and is learning how she learns best at her own pace and is enjoying it. I couldn’t ask for more. 

A school for smart kids or high achievers is not always the best choice for gifted children. They are considered a special need for a reason. That reason is usually The need for invidualized instruction and with homeschooling we can achieve this. Madison isn’t academically rigorous, she grasps concepts that she is genuinely interested in at an extremely high rate. She’s in Mensa. And this is because she’s learned what she wants to how she wants to. Not by being forced to learn out of a textbook or a way society thinks she should learn. 

The other question we get often is what about college? That will be my next post. 🙂 

On Fire

Madison is ‘On Fire’ with her Redbird Mathematics lessons. She has kept the fire status bar for two and half lessons and counting! She not only hasn’t lost it, but her lessons have gone by faster when she has gotten all the answers correct on her first attempt.

I thought Madison was excited about Math before, but this brings it to a whole new level!!! She keeps saying, ‘Mom, I am on fire!!!’ After she finished she was SO proud of herself!

Here are some pictures from her recent lessons:

Use Area Diagram to Multiply by 1-Digit Number
Use Area Diagram to Multiply by 1-Digit Number
Use Distributive Property to Multiply by 1 – Digit Number
Use Distributive Property to Multiply by 1 – Digit Number
You can see as she advances, the fire goes farther along the status bar at the top.

Use Distributive Property to Multiply by 1 – Digit Number
Use Distributive Property to Multiply by 1 – Digit Number
This little guy is animated and when Madison completed her lesson this pops up and he jumps over hurdles. She thinks this is pretty cool!

When Madison completed her lesson she went in to the play the games.

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She chose a game called ‘Blocks.’ It is like playing with pentominoes. She loves it! The blocks have eyes that blink and move side to side. She couldn’t stop talking about how cool that is!

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Use Area Diagram to Multiply by 2-Digit Number
Then she went on to the next lesson.

Use Area Diagram to Multiply by 2-Digit Number
And mastered it!

And she’s still on fire for the next lesson!  If she ever has a question on how to complete a problem, she just clicks on the question mark in the upper right hand corner and it gives a complete explanation!

Use Distributive Property to Multiply by 2-Digit Number
It is so much fun watching Madison have so much fun and enjoy Math. This is the way it should be!

Our Week of Gifted Homeschooling – The First Week of July 2015

Madison was super excited to finish up her first theory book this week in piano and to begin a new book. She is really enjoying her piano lessons.

In art Madison created a picture using different mediums.


She attended a one day camp with her friends where she went go-karting and played mini golf. She really enjoyed spending the day with her friends and having fun.

We also enjoyed spending time at the pool with friends. Since it’s really hot out we meet at the pool for pool day versus park day. Unfortunately, I forgot to reapply sunscreen and before I knew it we had been there for 4 hours and Madison ended up as red as a lobster. 😦 I am hoping she doesn’t peel.

Madison completed Estimated Products in Redbird Math and has begun the next section, Use Area Diagram to Multiply by 1-Digit Number. In the Estimated Products section she was ‘on fire’ again, with the status bar. 🙂 She ended up loosing it by getting some problems wrong and it went back to green. She was curious if she got more right if it would come back and it didn’t. However, she realizes that if she tries and applies herself that she can get the ‘on fire’ bar. This is an AWESOME motivator! I love it!

This week we finished up The Whipping Boy and Government and the People units in our Moving Beyond the Page curriculum. In The Whipping Boy, Madison learned about ballads, how the characters in the book changed from the beginning of the story to the end, and wrote and acted out a monologue for her final project. In Government and the People, Madison learned about Patriotism and completed a final project where she pretended to run for mayor.

We began the last units in the 7-9 curriculum from Moving Beyond the Page. In Iggy’s House,  Madison learned new vocabulary and about racial relationships, and the difference between fact and opinion. She is keeping an ongoing ‘reaction chart’ where she will write the characters’ reactions to events throughout the book.

In our Communities and Cultures unit, we are mixing it up a bit and doing things in a different order. We started with Mexican Culture. Madison recorded what she already knows about Mexico and after she researched the geography, culture and traditions of Mexico she recorded the facts. She learned vocabulary, numbers and greetings in Spanish and made a Mexican meal. We also took the opportunity to do our Mexico activities from Little Passport. I am not very impressed with the world packages, but we have them, so we will do them. 🙂 The USA packages are better in my opinion.

Madison has started Visual Latin from Compass Classrooms. She really likes the teacher in the videos and how they are taught. After watching the videos she completes some worksheets that come with the program. The reason I decided to start her on Latin is because it will help her with grammar and other foreign languages down the road.

We started vocabulary back up with Wordly Wise 3000 book 3 and Madison completed lesson 12 this week.

Madison had fun writing a letter to her new pen pal and is very excited to meet a new friend that is like her!

She is also continuing to work on her Medieval Lessons in Skrafty Minecraft.

We decided to purchase a year subscription to Discovery Education Streaming Plus from Homeschool Buyers Co-Op. Right now they have a free trial through August 31st. The $99 for the year deal has expired, but they run them periodically so I am sure they will have it again soon. It allows me to access over 400,000 videos by grade level. So when our Moving Beyond the Page curriculum says ‘research ____’ I can pull up a video quickly. This is easier than going to the library All.The. Time. Or trying to sift through the Internet.

Madison completed a week of testing with the Iowa Basic Skills Test. Next week she will take the CoGat test. I should have started with Third Grade, but I didn’t, so it is what it is. She wants to take the ACT and SAT when she is 12. So I want to find out what grade she’s really in to try to prep for ongoing years and get a realistic idea. So after 2nd grade is scored, we’ll order 3rd grade and keep going from there. Fortunately, she loves taking standardized tests and thinks they are fun. If she didn’t, I’m not sure I would put her though more than one a year.

We had a great 4th of July celebrating our freedom. Madison was curious about how fireworks work and how they are different colors so we had a great Chemistry lesson from her curiosity.

We hope everyone has a great week!

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree

I absolutely love this post: 

Gifted Adults and Relationships 

I think that while parents of gifted children struggle to be the best parents they can be for their gifted children, they also struggle with their own challenges at the same time.

This article identifies challenges in relationships and offers resources to help understand them.

I look forward to the next post from Gail to learn more. 

Self Taught: Gifted Children

I was talking with a friend and she mentioned she knew of a child that was in kindergarten, but was at a fourth grade reading level without anyone teaching her and how it was hard to believe.

It is hard to believe, but more than likely it is true. Gifted children’s brains are wired differently. They are usually self-taught with little assistance. That concept is sometimes inconceivable.

She mentioned it must be good for me that Madison is gifted. That comment took me a minute to process. Ok, maybe more than a minute as it required some analyzing. 🙂

Yes, the fact that Madison is gifted does make it easier for me in a lot of ways and it can be a lot of fun. I realized while analyzing that maybe I should enjoy the positives a whole lot more than I do.

A gifted child can come with some major quirks. Ones that aren’t easy or fun. Maybe I focus a little too much on those.

Like being woken up with Madison’s face one inch away from mine this morning because she had to tell me ‘right now’ about how she is going to ask Santa for a 3-D microscope and why. The non-stop talking, the meltdowns, the only wearing certain clothing and the intensity of her personality. The fact she is ‘on’ 24-7 and there’s no break. Ever. The guilt of not being able to keep up with her. The fact she can’t have artificial dyes. The fact I am exhausted. 

Having a gifted child is a blast, but in a unique way. It’s like having an energizer bunny times 100. It’s all ‘on’ and there isn’t an ‘off’ button. Or a volume button. Or an ’emotions’ in check button. 

So yes, the self driven part is awesome. And I will note it’s only what she’s interested in. Anything else is a no go. It’s not everything, all the time. But it’s still awesome.

But the rest, well it’s draining. 

Madison has mastered how to ‘fit in’ for the most part. But as soon as she has the chance to unload all of her thoughts, it’s game on. And the game is the most complicated and tiring game possible. 

We do not consider ourselves ‘lucky’ that she’s gifted by any means. Until you really know the ‘real’ Madison, it’s hard to understand. 

I love her for who she is, quirks and all.  As her mom I will do whatever it takes to do what is best for her and to learn along the way exactly what that is.

But being gifted isn’t a gift. It’s a different way of life. And we take it one day at a time.