Homeschool and Teamwork 

I think there is a stigma regarding homeschoolers when it comes to ‘group work’ or ‘team work’ so I wanted to give a couple of recent, real life, awesome examples of how homeschoolers work in groups without being forced to. 

In the picture above, there are a group of homeschoolers playing a game at a rock climbing gym. The object of the game is to swing on the rope from station to station. 

Some had a harder time than others, Madison being one of them. The others helped the ones that couldn’t get from a box to the mat. They tried pushing them or catching and pulling them. All unassisted by any adult. Then they proceeded to help the ones that couldn’t do it by verbally telling them how to jump to be able to do it. No one directed them to do this, they just did it all on their own. And they enjoyed it. They were all extremely happy. No arguing, no one was dominating another to the point of taking over so no one else had a say. They truly all worked together as a team for the success of everyone. And they cheered each other on. Every single time. 

Another example of group work was when we went to the science museum for a homeschool day. 


Here they are all analyzing handwriting and discussing it. They don’t know each other, but they automatically worked together and enjoyed it. They all happened to be at that station and chose to work with each other. 

I just wanted to share examples of how homeschoolers work in groups and as teams everyday without it having to be an organized event. 

The bottom line is homeschoolers do not miss out on group work and show teamwork instinctively and in more of a ‘real world’ kind of way that is preparing them for the future all the time.  They are not a product of forced socialization. 

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September 2016 Gifted Homeschooling Update

September was a busy month for us and it felt like it flew by before I could get a hold of it.

Madison started out the month by attending an orientation for the Junior Master Naturalist program at the Perot. Both her and Jeff are very excited for the upcoming field trips. It also happened to be Late Night at the museum on that Thursday so she got to see R2D2 in the lobby! (He actually turned around and posed for this picture.) ❤️

We are getting back into the swing of things with activities starting back up like Homeschool PE, Speech and Debate, and American Heritage Girls. Madison is an Explorer this year!

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Madison is continuing and enjoying piano lessons and her acting class.

We also went on several field trips this month too.

The Dallas Arboretum had a great homeschool day with workshops. You were able to make your own terrarium by picking up all the components at different stations. In this workshop they are learning about Texas Native Wetlands.

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We had a fun time with our homeschool co-op at Zone Action park!

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The Perot Museum had a homeschool day and set up the stations to collect clues to solve a mystery. It was really cool!

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The DMA had a homeschool class on murals. Madison loved it and learned a lot! This homeschool class is one of her all time favorites.

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I was also excited that their mural outside was uncovered from the construction they were doing. It is the header of my blog. I wanted to get a new picture every year and I couldn’t last year, but I was able to get a new one this year!

Here is the one from two years ago:


And here is the one from this month:


At the end of September Madison went on a field trip to Summit Climbing Gym in Grapevine. The coach from the gym  that helped our group was amazing. I wish I would have gotten his name. He set up games for them and let them climb ladders in addition to climbing the walls. Madison and her friends had a blast!


Aside from Madison writing her speeches, Math, cursive, vocabulary, Latin and Spanish, we haven’t been able to do much of anything else school wise for most of the month. Madison read The SeaQuel: My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish (twice) 🙄 and The Secret Gardenand has started The Ballad of Lucy Whippleand the Moving Beyond the Page unit that goes with it.

She has both speeches complete now, so we can pick back up on the rest of her subjects while she memorizes them. Both speeches are between 8-10 minutes. Trying to teach her how to write/cut and rewrite and re-cut (several times) her own speeches at a high school level was not an easy task and was very time consuming. Without Dragon Speak and printing the speeches and editing with highlighters and using Dragon Speak to make changes, this task would probably have been impossible. Hopefully it will be worth it in the end. We’ll see. She may have bit off more than she can chew with her topics.

She decided to cut a chapter book into a 10 minute speech this year and she was dead set on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass (Bantam Classics). She didn’t realize that book was not the easiest book to cut for your first time nor did she care. Her mind was set. 😳

No matter what this is a great learning experience and she will walk a way with learning an enormous amount. I do not see how other kids do it and go to school at the same time!

We have been doing a good job on keeping up with the exercise everyday. It’s been very hot out with the heat index over 100 degrees everyday, so I’ve had to get creative. We probably didn’t hit 60 minutes everyday, but at least she’s been much more active. It is helping and I will be writing a post on that later.

Madison also earned service hours with her American Heritage Girls troop by cleaning a church and then with Jeff by attending a family community event sponsored by his company for the Special Olympics. She really enjoyed that! She helped make signs and cheered the teams on from the stands.

October will be less busy so it will feel a little more normal. I hope! 😂

 

Our Summer Book List


*This post may obtain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more details.

Madison really enjoyed the books I found for her summer reading book list. Some were easy and others were harder, but they all had one thing in common…she loved them and couldn’t put them down. So here was our 2016 Summer reading list:

Johnny Tremain

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch

The Secret of the Sealed Room: A Mystery of Young Benjamin Franklin

A Lion to Guard Us

The Cabin Faced West

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Miracles on Maple Hill

Toliver’s Secret

Caddie Woodlawn

Lawn Boy

Lawn Boy Returns

Across Five Aprils

The Perilous Road (Odyssey Classics (Odyssey Classics))

The Great Turkey Walk

By the Great Horn Spoon!

Hero Over Here: A Story of World War I

Shades of Grey: A Novel

Sing Down the Moon

Gone-Away Lake (Gone-Away Lake Books (Paperback))

Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman

Turn Homeward, Hannalee

Story Thieves

The Stolen Chapters (Story Thieves)

My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish

And we read aloud:

Swift Rivers

When Your Child Doesn’t Fit Inside the Box and Why You Shouldn’t Make Them

Is the hype of socialization soley based on the conformity of succeeding in a dictatorship type forum adhearing to Common Core standards? Are life long lessons for emotional and social development really based upon fitting into a box? 

Becoming a robot is not how you promote creativity or learn how to socialize. Meeting standards that were created by people who don’t have a clue regarding child development or education isn’t either. How do so many trust this system with their child’s future? 

Teachers are screaming. Students are screaming. And no one hears. Only a few actually step up. 

Yes, I am grateful to be in a position to be able to homeschool and to let my daughter learn how she does best, but I will say it isn’t without sacrifice. 

We have a house now that is 1/2 the price than we had before. I have a car that is 13 years old. My daughter does not get new clothes. We only get our hair cut once a year and I dye my own at home. We go without a lot of the ‘extras.’ It’s not about being ‘able’ to, it’s about priorities.  We sacrifice a lot of things others take for granted. And that’s ok, because it’s our choice. We also have the support of my parents which is tremendous and I thank God for everyday. 

I saw a post today on Facebook that basically sums it up. 

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10154461514664424&id=267536454423&ref=bookmarks

Money does not buy happiness. Genuine support does. You can force a child through a system that doesn’t support them and give them everything that they want for short term happiness, but at the end of the day it won’t matter. Not to those who do not fit inside the box. 

Everyone prioritizes things differently and that is ok and everyone’s personal choice. And I am very grateful for the opportunity to homeschool. I am sure Madison’s life would be impacted in a very negative way if I did not, but at the same time it doesn’t mean that we don’t have to go without the things others have that seem normal. We just choose to so that it works for us. We don’t get both. And I am grateful to have that option. If not she would be squashed within the system. A system that I do not believe is in her best interest. 

Exercise 

A friend told me today that she read an article that kids should have 3 hours of physical activity a day. I was very intrigued so I googled it. 

Sure enough, we should aim for 120 minutes of physical activity a day…15 minutes for every hour and 60 minutes of it aerobic. 

http://www.m.webmd.com/parenting/raising-fit-kids/move/how-much-exercise

http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/children/

I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to homeschool because I can tailor Madison’s curriculum to fit her needs. At the same time, I should be able to tailor her day to fit in the activity she needs to move. 

I have started making goals and lists of activities. 

What activities should I add to my list? 

I do believe that movement is just as important for child development as learning and should be taken as seriously. 

I found this post very interesting:

New Finding: Different Types of Exercise Affect Different Parts of Your Brain

Madison does take a Homeschool PE class once a week for 90 minutes and is active everyday and does participate in various sports, but I have not had her do 15 minutes of activity per hour and she probably doesn’t get a full 60 minutes of aerobic activity every day. I am going to try this out and implement 120 minutes of activity structured and non-structured throughout each day and journal what we are doing and the impact it has and will write a follow up post. 

Chemistry Madison’s Way

This year I have introduced the Periodic Table to Madison. In our curriculum it has pages she can color and cut and paste and make a book of elements. This is one of those things I thought we could ‘whip through quickly.’ 

Nope. This was a rabbit hole. And that’s ok, because it’s fun to see Madison’s creativity. She took the concept of an element book to a whole new level. lol. They each have a story and relatives and friends…. So much so, that I had to share…






With that said, we are still continuing on our ‘Diary of an Element’ journey. 🙂 

And yes, her spelling is awful. Someday I am sure we will get her diagnosed with stealth dyslexia but until then we just keep working on it. 🙂 I am grateful for spellcheck. She can memorize word lists, knows all the spelling rules and passes tests with flying colors, but still can’t spell when writing and drops words when she reads aloud. 

Reading Our Way Through United States History

*This post may obtain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more details.

In my last update on United States history we ended at the Colonial Era. That was back in April and I wanted to share a list of books Madison has read since.

What Were the Salem Witch Trials? (What Was…?)

The next book was one of Madison’s all time favorites. I am sure she will read it again in the future.


King George: What Was His Problem? The Whole Hilarious Story of the American Revolution

George Washington: 25 Great Projects You Can Build Yourself (Build It Yourself)

George vs. George: The American Revolution As Seen from Both Sides

Amazing BEN FRANKLIN Inventions: You Can Build Yourself (Build It Yourself)

She also watched Liberty Kids.

Liberty’s Kids – The Complete Series

If You Lived At The Time Of The American Revolution

Who Was Paul Revere?

What Was the Boston Tea Party?

Who Was Thomas Jefferson?

. . . If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution

We spent a long time reading about the Constitution. Madison ended up getting burned out when we got to the Amendments, so we will go back and cover those in a little bit. The book Our Constitution Rocks is awesome! It is on the conservative side. It lays out each clause by explaining what it means, the bottom line, what does it mean to me..etc, so kids can easily understand what each clause of the Constitution means. It is one of the best books we have ever read and extremely important in my opinion. The Amazon link gives more explanation, but I would rate this book a 15 on a scale of 1-10. 🙂



Our Constitution Rocks

Going West!: Journey on a Wagon Train to Settle a Frontier Town (Kaleidoscope Kids Books (Williamson Publishing))

Who Was Sacagawea?

The Lewis & Clark Expedition: Join the Corps of Discovery to Explore Uncharted Territory (Kaleidoscope Kids Book)

What Was the Alamo?

Where Is the White House?

Who Was Ulysses S. Grant?

If You Grew Up With Abraham Lincoln

Who Was Abraham Lincoln?

Lincoln: A Photobiography (Houghton Mifflin social studies)

What Was the Underground Railroad?

I realized that I was probably leaving out gaps of important information and since we had a summer reading book list as well. Reading through United States history was taking longer than I anticipated it to, so I decided to have her listen to the following book on audio to make sure we were covered. I will do the same with this series going forward for each time period.

A History of US: The New Nation: 1789-1850 A History of US Book Four
 

Our Journey


I started this blog to help advocate for gifted children and I still do and plan to continue, but along the way I realized how much Madison has evolved and changed. This blog helps me realize how far we have come as well as connect with others and for that I am truly blessed. 

I knew Madison was gifted at a very young age, because I knew she was different. I googled how she was different in her behavior, her emotions and intellect and they all pointed back to being gifted. 

When she was in Kindergarten her anxiety was off the charts and it was noticed. By the time First Grade came she had much less anxiety, but was miserable. At that point I requested she be tested. I actually requested it within the first week, but it was better to wait for a couple of weeks for her to adjust to being back at school. 

I thought by having her tested it would help her. It would provide the resources she needed. Even though she topped out of her CogAT test, it did not matter. She qualified for Mensa at the age of 6, so she joined and I thought I would find support there. I did, but not the kind that would help in her in school.

She was being coined by her teacher and documented as inattentive, defiant, immature, etc. so I had her privately tested by a psychologist that understood giftedness. She checked out for one section of the test which was noted, but still did extremely well. I had a written recommendation for her educational needs and it was included in the report that she wasn’t inattentive, difiant, etc.,  in the testing environment, but that didn’t matter. She was already coined a problem child. That was clear. And she may have very well have been all of those things in that specific school environment, but she hasn’t been anywhere else since then. 

Madison begged me for a year to pull her and homeschool, so I did. We planned on sending her to a private school. She passed the entrance screenings and was accepted and placed on a waiting list. When a spot opened up she decided she didn’t end to go and that she wanted to continue homeschooling. 

As I look back on how Madison has evolved in every way, it is amazing. 

Do I wish I could do it all over again and not have put her through the two years of public school that I did? Absolutely, but at the same time, I think she values homeschooling even more because she knows the alternative and she never wants to go back to it. Everything that happened was a blessing in disguise and it has worked out for the best. Thank goodness!

Soon I will update the ‘about me’section of this blog because it doesn’t represent what we have evolved into or how far she has come. Most importantly it doesn’t state how she regained her love for learning which was our ultimate goal.

I did want to take a moment and address the perceived ‘issue’ of socialization. I really haven’t before. Here’s my take on it from seeing both sides of public school and homeschooling. Homeschoolers get a ton of socialization and it’s more realistic. What I mean by that, is that homeschoolers get together all the time in large groups, go on field trips and have co-ops. Homeschool kids also take classes as well. The difference between when homeschoolers get together versus being in a class at public school is that the majority of homeschooled children learn what is acceptable and what isn’t from experiences and values versus having to follow very specific rules. They make decisions based on learning right from wrong, not because they have to due to consequences, but because they want to. They also know to follow rules and how to sit and learn when they need to by taking classes and being part of activities that require them to. They don’t just sit in a house alone all day learning. Homeschoolers get more ‘real world’ and (are you ready for this) ‘workforce ready’ socialization than kids in public school do. Hands down. 

Madison actually followed rules much better and sat and listened much better after we started homeschooling versus when she was in public school. I firmly believe it is because she wasn’t stuck in a classroom all day learning off of an iPad or textbook or being told what to do every second of every day. 

I could have tried different options, but I knew in my heart that she needed this and I am glad that I listened. I am glad that I read everything I could and followed blogs and Facebook pages of those that had the knowledge, experience and insight I needed to make the best decisions for Madison. 

I want to share those blogs so that others can learn on their journey as well.

Crushing Tall Poppies

Supporting Gifted Learners

Gifted Challenges

Gifted Homeschoolers

My Little Poppies

Gifts For Learning

I wanted to thank everyone who follows this blog for being a part of our journey as well.

If you have a blog that is helpful to parents of gifted children, please leave a link to it in the comments. We are all a team learning every step of the way together. 

 

Electives, Projects and Extracurricular Activities for Fall 2016 Homeschool


*This post may obtain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more details.
This year we are trying a new scheduling system. We are going to work on core curriculum Monday – Thursday and on Fridays we are going to leave it open for any make-up work, to use as a make-up day if we take a field trip and/or to use for electives and projects.

Some of her current electives include:

A super easy version of Shakespeare books. I don’t have time to completely take on Shakespeare until Madison finishes writing her speeches so this gives her a basic idea of each of Shakespeare plays. She can read one book in about 30 minutes or less, so they are super easy, but also a quick way to introduce Shakespeare. They are on special right now through Groupon for $19.99 and are listed on Amazon for currently $93.81, so the Groupon Deal is a good one.

Madison took a camp this past summer to learn how to code using Scratch. She loved it and so when a friend showed me a book called Coding Projects in Scratch, I bought it and Madison is excited to use it. This is another one of our electives.

We came across a really fun Math game recently called Prodigy Math. Madison really likes it and wants to play it all the time and it’s free!
Chess is Madison’s favorite game and after taking chess camp this summer, she’s been dedicating time to learning more by taking the lessons on Chess Kids. It is free as well, but you can upgrade to a gold membership through The Homeschool Buyers Co-Op.

For foreign language, Madison is currently watching the DVDs from School Song Latin. It is too young for her, but while we are writing speeches I am only really focusing on Math and English, so this is a quick way for her to learn some Latin vocabulary and it is presented very well. After we complete both Song School Latin 1 and 2 she will start watching the videos from Visual Latin. Then we will begin Latin for Children. Madison is also learning Spanish using Rosetta Stone Homeschool Spanish (Latin America) Level 1-5 Set including Audio Companion. She looks forward to this every day. Foreign Language is an elective, but one I feel needs to be done everyday to successfully grasp it.

For music and art, Madison will attend two trips to the Orchestra this year, one in the Fall and one in the Spring. Before we go she will play this cool game from The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra and we will also do the coordinating lesson plan provided by the DSO.  We will attend homeschool art classes once a month at the Dallas Museum of Art.  Madison also likes to listen to The Story Of ‘insert composer name here’ CD’s from the library while doing Zentangles from her Zentangle for Kids book. She will also listen to her Maestro Classics CDs. We will continue the Home Art Studio DVDs. We are still on Third Grade because Madison took other art classes last year, but she loves doing these so we are going to do them all. She is also going to do Meet the Masters which combines learning about famous artists and then learning how to create a piece in steps. Madison is currently working on a latch hook rug project where the grid is not color coded, she has a graph sheet she follows to know which color strings go where. And she will be frequenting Color Me Mine, because it is her happy place. She is working on a dog bowl for a contest they are running.

Madison’s next Lego project is building the LEGO Architecture White House (21006) from their Architecture Series.

She is also working on her keyboarding skills by using Nessy Fingers Touch Typing.

In addition to electives and projects, Madison is currently doing the following Extracurricular activities:

DFW Speech and Debate Club

Piano Lessons

American Heritage Girls

Junior Master Naturalist Program at the Perot Museum

Acting class through The Actor’s Conservatory Theater

Homeschool PE Class

Weekly Park Day with Friends

Catechism Class

Field trips/homeschool days at the Dallas Arboretum, Perot Museum, and Summit Climbing Gym.

Basketball through the YMCA is also on the list, but I haven’t committed to it yet. We’ll see if we can fit it into the schedule with everything else going on. I am hoping we can.

I will write more posts going forward about what we are doing as we do them and share pictures, but as of now this is the game plan. 🙂

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Fall 2016: Core Gifted Curriculum for Homeschool

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*This post may obtain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more details.

Madison finished up her summer with a lot of wonderful camps and good books. She attended Catholic Kidz Camp and took Cooking and Scratch through the Coppell Gifted Association. She also took a Survivors Camp, a Cooking Camp and a Sports Camp at YogiKids.

Even though I mentioned in an earlier post that we do not have a ‘plan‘ for 2016. I do have an idea of what I would like to do.

For English, we are going overboard, but that’s ok in my mind. Our main focus is speech writing for Speech and Debate. Writing a speech requires a specific format which mimics the 5 paragraph essay to an extent has been a wonderful opportunity for Madison to learn how to write.  I have found graphic organizers online that have helped her form an outline, a thesis statement and an introduction. I am very happy with the amount of work she has put into this and what she is learning regarding the process of writing a speech.

We are continuing to use Wordly Wise online for vocabulary, Word Roots from the Critical Thinking Company for spelling, Editor in Chief from the Critical Thinking Company for Capitalization, Punctuation, etc and Grammar Town by Micheal Clay Thompson. Aside from speech writing and Grammar Town, the rest are very easy and do not take up much time.

As for Math, we are currently using Teaching Textbooks 7th Grade. As soon as Madison masters percents we will switch to Thinkwell Math Courses.

For Social Studies Madison is still reading her way through US History. We are working on unit studies from Intelligo called Economics: Savings and Profit and World Geography. These units are a lot of fun and can be purchased as a bundle at a 45% discount at the Homeschool Buyers Co-Op.

We are still using R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Chemistry and Physics. These provide a good ground work, but some of it is repeated from lessons Madison has already learned using Moving Beyond the Page so we are skipping anything she already knows. Madison is also enjoying the hands on, fun activities out of Amazing Kitchen Chemistry Projects You Can Build Yourself book.

This pretty much covers the core curriculum we are using. My next post will cover the electives and projects we are doing.

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