January 2017 Gifted Homeschooling Update

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It snowed in Texas!!! Not a lot, but enough! 🙂

It’s funny, I wonder why I am always tired and have bags under my eyes and then I write a monthly update post and see what we’ve done in a month and then I remember why. At the same time I know it’s not forever and will last Madison a lifetime and that is what makes it all worth it.
This month Madison went to the Perot Museum quite a bit. She learned about Ornithology in her Junior Master Naturalist class and went on a field trip to the John Bunker Sands Wetlands.

The Perot had a special event called Journey to Mars that was presented by Lockheed Martin. They had a school bus set up and the windows inside were screens that showed a simulation as though you were driving on Mars. Madison enjoyed building her own stomp rocket and launched it and made her own badge.


Madison’s favorite part of this event was talking to Dr Z. She went to speak to him on three different occasions while she was there. He amazed her and she loved hearing everything he had to say. They had some great conversations.

The Perot also hosted a homeschool day early in the month. The focus was on Nano meters. Madison had never heard of nano meters before so she learned quite a bit. She even got to see nano gold and learn how it is being studied in the medical field.

Unfortunately, we have had a bad season of allergies this month. Madison had a lot of sinus headaches and lost her voice. I started her on Zertec and she improved immensely. While she wasn’t feeling well she watched the series American Genius on Netflix. She really enjoyed this series.

Madison has continued Thinkwell 7th grade Math and we are on track to start Algebra I in early February. She also plays Prodigy for fun which allows her to practice and solidify basic skills at the same time she advances in higher math.

We are currently working on The Secret of the Andes unit from Moving Beyond the Page. In this unit in conjunction with the language arts unit, we are also working on the Incas, Aztecs and Mayans unit from Moving Beyond the Page. We dug deeper into this unit by reading the Mountains Discover Kids magazine and coordinating lesson plans as well as reading the Peru book from Top Secret.

In Secret of the Andes, we covered present, past and future verbs, verbals, a gerund, an infinitive, a participle, a verbal phrase, and how to write sentences with different beginnings. We will wrap up this unit with her writing a narrative essay in the beginning of February.

In Incas, Aztecs, and Mayans, Madison learned Mayan and Aztec History and Geography, Daily Life of the Maya’s and Aztecs, Mesoamerocan Warefare, Mesoamerican Knowledge, Mesoamerican Religion mans Celebration, History and Government of the Ican Impire, Daily Life of the Incas, The Art and Beliefs of the Incas, Incan Knowledge and Warefare, and Legacies of the Mayas, Aztecs, and Incas. The Perot has a traveling exhibit coming in February on the Mayans that we look forward to seeing. Madison read about Peru in Geography of the World and then colored Peru in on her wall map of the world.

The Thinkwell AP American Government course Madison is taking has been going very well without any issues. She has covered The Foundations of Government, Political Culture, and The History of the Constitution. Each of these have 4 – 5 subsections. She answers questions after each subsection. She will take a practice test and test after each chapter. Hopefully she does just as well on those.

With the recent Presidential inauguration, we took the opportunity to learn about the history of inauguration, the current cabinet positions and nominations as well as our President’s 100 day plan. We are tracking the 100 plan as well. Before the inauguration Madison also listened to the book Lives of the Presidents: Fame, Shame (and What the Neighbors Thought) (Lives of . . .).

For science Madison completed the Astronomy Unit study from Intellego and read and did lesson plans from the Discover Kids Space magazine. She also received her first Tinker Crate which was about polymers. It was a hit. She loved making mars mud, bouncy balls, slime and putty all by herself and reading and reviewing polymers at the same time.

As far as Art and Music go, Madison is continuing her piano lessons and loving them. She read the booklet and listened to the Maestro Classics ‘Carnival of the Animals.’

Madison completed a couple of projects from the DVD from Home Art Studio. We are still on third grade. She loves these art projects. The video shows her what to do and all I have to do is buy the supplies.

She also started a kit to learn how to draw and paint with water color pencils.General Pencil Learn to Draw and Paint with Watercolor Pencils

We attended the DMA homeschool class where Madison learned about patterns and wax resist. We enjoyed hanging out with friends and we also met some new friends!

Madison is continuing Rosetta Stone Homeschool Spanish (Latin America) Level 1-5 Set including Audio Companion, Visual Latin, and Wordly Wise 3000 Level 6 online. She reads her Daily Devotions and attends her weekly Religious Formation class. Madison also attends Homeschool PE weekly as well as American Heritage Girls. This month they had an awards ceremony and she received her badges in Photography, Living in the U.S.A., Fishing, Geology, and Aviation.

She loves playing chess kids and chess with others whenever she can. We attended a chess strategy session at the Library featuring Alexey Root and then Madison had a blast playing chess with her friend.

We love board games and I love the classics, but Madison has recently learned how to play Ticket To Ride, SET: The Family Game of Visual Perception,and Castle Panic. Next on her list of games to learn is Catan 5th Edition. Check out the Gameschooling Challenge from My Little Poppies. It is so much fun to see all the games people are playing, what is out there and which are the most fun.

January also included fishing and a Top Golf outing for Madison and Jeff.

So, I’ve decided from my last post that we cannot do it all, but now We’ve decided to try. Ha. Ha. We don’t have a path or a plan. We’re on a week by week basis now. 🙂


December 2016 Homeschooling Update

December was filled with family, friends, blessings, and fun.

We started off the month with Madison’s Speech and Debate Tournament.

It was a 13 hour day and in the end, she placed 3rd in Junior Open Interpretation, 5th in Junior Informative and 6th in Sweepstakes. We were very proud of all the work she put into this. The best part was the knowledge she gained from learning how to write. She formulated a thesis statement, 3 main points, an introduction, and conclusion. She also learned how to cut a chapter book so it tells the story in 8 minutes. She learned so much from this experience.

Here are the videos of her speeches:

We decided it would be a good idea to take a break for the Spring semester so we can get more school in and to enroll again next Fall.

Madison participated in the Annual Great Hope Floats rain gutter regatta race with her American Heritage Girls troops and the Trial Life Troops. By a stroke of luck, her snowball making boat won first place.

Madison’s happy place is Color Me Mine and she enjoyed painting gifts for family and friends throughout the month.

We attended a Christmas party with our local co-op and Madison performed a piano piece for the recital. We also decorated gingerbread houses with friends, had an ornament exchange, and went on a horse drawn sleigh ride around town to enjoy the Christmas lights.

Madison really enjoyed the Dallas Art Museum Homeschool class this month.

They discussed the art while learning about the difference between fact and opinion. The art was very engaging.

Madison attended a very fun camp through NuMinds called Santa Runs on S.T.E.A.M. The camp was very engaging and creative. It was perfect for gifted children. The creative and fun way they were learning really engages gifted learners and brings out their desire to take their learning to the next level and encourages their critical and logical thinking without them even realizing it because they are having so much fun.

If only the public and private schools would embrace this curriculum and way of learning in their gifted programs…

I would encourage everyone to ‘like’ their Facebook page. They are doing some wonderful things for gifted learners.

Madison enjoyed decorating a STAR tree again this year. A STAR tree is a sad tree along the road. 🙂 It’s a little thing we do in our town to spread the Christmas cheer.

My oldest daughter, Alyssa came home from Austin for Christmas and my parents came to visit too.

Jeff turned 50 this year! What a milestone to celebrate!

Madison enjoyed playing chess with my father.

She received Greek Mythology chess pieces from my parents for Christmas this year. She loves them!

Jeff, my dad, Alyssa, and Madison enjoyed spending quality time at Top Golf.

We visited Alyssa in Austin after Christmas and went to the Bullock Museum and the Texas State Capitol.

We also went to a pizza place called Rebel. Madison was excited to get dye free cotton candy.

We managed to squeeze in a visit to the Sistine Chapel Exhbition.

As far as curriculum goes, Madison did school up until the 20th of December minus the days we had activities. She did Daily Devotions, Jesus Our Guide, Wordly Wise book 6, Texas Citizenship, Space, Thinkwell Math 7, finished the History of Us and read the books on the December 2016 book list.

Now that Speech and Debate and the holidays are over, I have a plan that covers more for the new year. We will continue doing what we were doing in December, but will also add more writing and grammar as well as an easy Geography unit and coding and Microsoft Office. I will write a more detailed plan for January in the next post.

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year!  Here’s to rocking 2017! Cheers!

Operation Christmas Boxes

Madison’s American Heritage Girls Troop collects Operation Christmas Boxes each year. She absolutely loves this service project.

This year she chose to make 6 boxes. Three boxes for 10-14 year old girls and three boxes for 10-14 year old boys. That age range receives the least amount of boxes, so that is why she chose them and decided to make up 6 boxes. Madison did a great job of finding things on sale and collecting things throughout the year. She used her own money to purchase all of the items and she put a lot of thought into the items she chose for these boxes.

For the boxes for the boys, she packed a deflated size 5 soccer ball and an air pump, a box of crayons, a glue stick, 2 pink erasers and 2 pencil top erasers, pencils and pens, work gloves, a pencil sharpener, markers, combs, ivory soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a toothbrush holder, deodorant, a calculator that is solar powered, colored pencils, a wooden airplane kit, a tape measure, a variety of screws in different sizes and a screw driver set. She will also include blank paper and a couple of mini notebooks as well. The ball takes up a lot of space, so choosing the most important items to fill the rest of the box with is important.

For the boxes for the girls, she packed hair bands, a tooth brush, toothpaste, a toothbrush holder, deodorant, soap, a hairbrush, Kleenex, a sewing kit, a couple of quarters of material, colored pencils, water color paints, a pencil sharpener, a couple of bracelet making sets, markers, crayons, pencils, pens and erasers, a glue stick, a jump rope, flavored chapsticks, 6 pairs of socks, mini notebooks, and a manicure set. She will add blank paper as well.

Madison also filled out sheets to include in each box.

Here is the front of the sheet:

And the back of the sheet:

The printable sheet can be found HERE.

After we assemble the boxes we print off labels online. This is how we mark if it’s for a boy or girl and the age range as well as pay the donation for shipping that allows us to receive a note that tells us where our boxes ended up! That’s pretty cool!

This is a wonderful service project that Madison looks forward to all year long and we are grateful for the opportunity  to participate.

If you want to participate too and don’t have time to gather items, you can build a box online! It’s the perfect way to kick off the holiday season!

A Flight of a Lifetime

Today Madison had the opportunity to take a Young Eagles flight in a RV-4 airplane owned by Winn Harris.

When we arrived we were invited to tour the control tower at the Denton Enterprise Airport. The air traffic controllers showed her the radar for the planes, told her about what they do, and she got to see and hear them communicate with the planes. They were very nice and it was a wonderful way for Madison to see how all the planes in the sky looked on the radar and the importance of air traffic control.

She also was able to see the flight before her take off from the control tower.

When it was her turn to fly, the pilot, Winn Harris gave her information about the airplane and then explained how the controls work because she had the opportunity to actually fly the plane (with him in control the entire time of course.)

Before taking off down the runway:

After the plane headed down the runway, Jeff and I went to the control tower and watched them take off.

Once they took off we could watch her from the radar in the control tower. (She’s the one in white.) At that point she was at 2,000 feet and was going 120 knots.

I want to give a great big thank you to Bill Rock, the North Texas Mensa Youth Coordinator and the volunteers who made this opportunity possible.

Also I would like to give a super big thank you to Winn Harris for volunteering his time and plane for the EAA Young Eagles flights.

And last, but not least to the Denton County Enterprise Airport air traffic controllers who allowed us to come up and to learn about how aviation works in a control tower.

Another amazing thing we learned today is that the pilot that took Madison on her flight today, Winn Harris, was one of the 49 RV pilots that did the 2013 flyover of the Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City during the National Anthem for the Chiefs Game. Madison was born in a suburb of Kansas City and to know the plane she flew in today was towards the back of this history breaking flyover was very cool.

The cockpit view which is breathtaking:

And another super cool view:

This flight of a lifetime will also help Madison earn her Aviation Badge in American Heritage Girls!

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!

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.


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


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


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.

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! 😂


Summer of 2016

Despite the Texas heat, we have had a great summer so far. Madison has kept busy in camps, hanging out with friends and continuing school. We do school over the summer because we take more breaks in the spring and Fall when it is nice weather outside.

In June, Madison had three weeks of camp, her birthday and a visit from her grandparents.

Madison kicked off the month of June with a birthday party with her close friends at her favorite place, Color Me Mine. It was prefect for her because she loves painting and socializing with her friends and she was able to do both at her party.

Madison started off her summer of camps with Archeological Discoveries and Chess through the Coppell Gifted Association. I highly recommend these camps. Madison not only learned about Archeological Mysteries, she learned the importance of researching facts and how facts can be presented to sway a reader. The lessons she took away from this camp will last her a lifetime. Her Chess camp was lead by Dr. Alexy Root, author of Prepare With Chess Strategy and it was AMAZING! Madison learned so much in such a short time.

The following week Madison took a summer camp through DFW Speech and Debate. She loved every minute of it and she took First place at the competition at the end. The coaches being so much experience to these camps and help kids come out of their shell in ways that are unimaginable. But the greatest take away from these camps are the life skills they learn. They cannot be surpassed with any other camp.

Madison also enjoyed a week of church camp called Totus Tuus. This camp was based on Apologetics for Catholicism and was presented in a manner that was engaging for kids. She leaned many songs that she is still singing everyday.

At the end of June my parents came to visit. Madison enjoyed their company and a trip to Chuck eCheese and Color Me Mine as well as playing games, the piano with my dad and playing Chess.

Madison has enjoyed seeing movies with family and friends, swimming, taking yoga classes at Yogi Kids and earning service hours with her American Heritage Girls troop.

In July Madison took a Survivor Camp at Yogi Kids where she worked in partners and had the opportunity to be super creative. Madison’s sister came to visit and we went to the Gaylord Texan for their SummerFest 2016. Madison really enjoys spending time with her sister and can’t wait to see her again soon.

In the middle of July Madison took the Iowa  Basic Skills test. Last year she took the Second grade test after finishing second grade. That was silly because she topped out of it. So we did the Fourth Grade test a couple of months later. The same thing happened, so this year I gave her the Seventh grade test. The main reason was so that she would have a challenge. When she took the test she said that she knows more than I think she does. 😳 From previewing her answers I think she is right, but I’m sending it off to be calculated, so we’ll have a better idea of her strengths and weakness when the scores come back.

By having her take the ITBS, I have a better idea on what we need to spend more time on next year.

Madison is also enjoying her summer reading list. So far she has read:

Madison plans on enjoying the rest of her summer with friends, more camps, playing on her summer basketball team and volunteering.

Our summer has been fun so far, but I am looking forward to the cooler weather!

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Caring for My Environment

Madison is working on her Caring for My Environment badge today for American Heritage Girls. She took a hike and picked up trash along the way. Many of the items were recyclable so she placed them in our recycle bin when we got home.

Madison would also like to encourage everyone to recycle at home. She made this poster to share her message.


It is important to take care of our environment so that it is a beautiful place to live for generations to come!