And Then It Was May


Life has been a whirlwind the past couple of months. Not just for me, but many others as well. 

At the end of March, Madison was accepted into the Davidson Young Scholar Program. Along with her testing it has opened many doors and is worth the time it takes to apply. The amount of resources and connections have been amazing and it has only been a couple of months…

I truly do believe we do not meet people by accident and that there is a higher power that leads us when we need it the most. I thank God for that every day. 

Madison’s testing solidified that she learns best visually. So, we switched things up a bit again. She is now using the program from Acellus. It has its pros and cons, but it is working. I’ll post more on the pros and cons and how we are getting around them in a separate post, but I am extremely grateful for this program and how well she’s doing with it. 

I had her look through the curriulum for the 11-13 age from Moving Beyond the Page and she chose which units she wanted to do. It has fun projects and presents itself well so we are digging deeper with it in the topics she is interested in. 

For the Fall, Madison has chosen to take an online Intro to Composition course, Speech and Debate, continuing piano, homeschool band, homeschool PE, and chess tournaments. 



I wanted to keep her schedule to just those things so that we are not ‘go, go, go’ all of the time and so she has downtime to collect all of her thoughts and work on projects, to play games and to have the freedom to be creative in an unstructured environment. 

I have not kept track of the books she has read which kills me, however I have a summer book list and so it will be easier going forward. She is re-reading a lot of her favorites that she enjoyed. 

Speech and Debate and Chess will take up a lot of her time. We are not used to that, but she loves them both so she is adjusting quite well. 

We are continuing school until Madison starts summer camps. 

I will get into more detail when I post about acellus, but Madison has blown me away with her progress. It actually freaks me out and is hard to digest sometimes. 

Chronologically, she would be at the end of Fourth Grade. 

Currently she is in 7th grade Math, 7th Grade Science, 7th grade Social Studies (Geography), she is finishing up 8th grade Language Arts and is in 9th grade US History I and US Governement. 

She is digging deeper into Greece and Rome and Greek Myths with Moving Beyond the Page. 

Her electives include computer science, keyboarding, piano, clarinet, Spanish, French, Italian, Chess and Speech and Debate. 

All of this is driven by her with the exception of Math. She is not fond of the Math she is doing now and we will have to figure out why, but so far she is getting A’s in all of her subjects and loves them. 

Then add in exercise. 

And I am tired. I’m not even teaching, but trying to make sure she is fulfilled is exhausting. And she’s verbally gifted, so even though I am not teaching, I am learning every detail she is. Trying to figure out tools to help her achieve her dreams is daunting at times.

I love her for who she is and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, but it isn’t a walk in the park. Not when you couple the thirst of knowledge and drive with how she learns best and the lack of executive functioning skills. We are working on those. One day at a time. Along with the rest of life’s duties. 

I fully get why gifted children are considered Special Needs. The time required to ensure their needs are met qualifies them 100%. 

And there are many positives and I try not to miss them and count my blessings. 

That’s another post for another day. 

Right now I’m just taking it one day at a time. 🙂 

February 2017 Gifted Homeschooling Update

This month was a lighter month as far as activities go. Madison decided she wanted to join Homeschool Band and play the clarinet so we added one more weekly activity to the list. She enjoys practicing and does it on her own, so it’s been good so far. This month she learned about aquatic science in her Junior Master Naturalist program at the Perot and went on a field trip to the Trinity River Audubon Center. She lost me when she came home and started taking about leaches and eggs. 🤢

Madison is continuing her piano lessons and catechism classes as well as homeschool PE. 

We decided to spend a day at the zoo and Madison loves to take her treasures into the Nature Trading Center. She is collecting points and saving them up for something that has a high value. Madison also brought some additional items to get help identifying them. She loves to talk to the experts! 


Here she is feeding the giraffe. 


And she enjoyed hanging out with the birds.

It was Engineer Week and the American Society of Civil Engineers had a booth at the Perot Museum. They had a contest to see who could build the tallest building that could stand on its own by only using 2 sheets of paper, 10 inches of tape and 5 paper clips. 

This was an excellent challenge for Madison because she didn’t realize how hard it would be and it took her out of her comfort zone. She was very focused and was irritated when I tried talking to her while she was building it because she didn’t want me to give her any hints. She wanted to figure it out herself and it wasn’t coming easily for her. This ended up being a great thing, because she was happy to build it tall enough to get her name on the board and then when we got home she decided she needed to learn more so that she could understand structures and engineering better. It lit a fire. 🙂 I have a knex bridge education set I’ll pull out and I’ve been researching more STEM ideas on Pinterest. 


Bless the Engineers who were working the booth that day. When Madison is determined and focused she can be quite a bear. That’s a work in progress. She wanted to go back and try again before we left, but I figured we had enough for one day. 

I think it will be easier for her to grasp the concept once she has high school physics and higher math. But it is so awesome to have activities like this to drive her to want to learn more and we’ll practice with other ideas in the meantime. 

It was also neat to hear from friends on Facebook who went on Monday and Friday and shared the different heights that were in the lead and to see pictures of their kids building their structures. 

We ended the month with an art class at the DMA. The theme this month was ‘Fantastic Beasts’ and the class learned about real and mythical creatures in a special exhibition called Art and Nature in the Middle Ages. Madison really enjoyed this class and learned a lot. 


Then they went to the studio and created their own mythical creature and wrote with calligraphy pens.


Madison also decided it was time to cut her hair. She is now 7 inches lighter. Thank goodness! It will be so much easier to maintain now.



Madison finished up Secret of the Andes and Incas, Aztecs and Mayans this month with a final project that consisted of writing a 5 paragraph narrative essay. We are trucking along through the rest and I am in the process of exploring more tools to help her socially and with her education. More to come on that next month. 🙂 

January 2017 Book List


*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my complete disclosure policy for more details.

We didn’t really make it through too many books on the bookshelf this month. The majority were either checked out from the library or Madison re-read. But that’s ok, sometimes it works out that way. Also, NuMinds recommended a book to me that is AMAZING! It is called Some of My Best Friends Are Books: Guiding Gifted Readers (3rd Edition). (A huge thank you to NuMinds and if you would like to follow them, click HERE for their Facebook page.) This book not only has book lists and questions to discuss for ages preschool-high school, it also entails how parents and educators can guide gifted children through the books they read. It covers every aspect of the social, emotional, and intellectual needs of gifted children and the books that are listed have characters and text they can identify with. The questions listed for each book really helps tie the characters and the book together with a thoughtful and encouraging process that helps gifted children learn how to address big feelings and thoughts they encounter in a positive way. I cannot express how much I love this book. And with that said, Madison has read a couple from the list and will be reading many more in the future!

This month Madison read:

Out of My Mind (Thank you Jen for the wonderful recommendation! This was a great book for Madison to read!)

Zeb! the Cow’s on the Roof Again: And Other Tales of Early Texas Dwellings

Ida B: . . . and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World

The Silent Stranger: A Kaya Mystery (American Girl Beforever Mysteries)

Anastasia Krupnik

Emily Windsnap and the Siren’s Secret

Emily Windsnap and the Land of the Midnight Sun

Millicent Min, Girl Genius

The third book was released from the Story Thieves Series and so when it was delivered Madison decided she wanted to read the first two again before reading the third. She hasn’t started the third one yet.

Story Thieves

The Stolen Chapters (Story Thieves)

And Madison decided to re-read the Percy Jackson series before moving on to the next series by Rick Riordan. She’s a little obsessed so I’ve had to hold the rest of the series hostage so she will do other things like school work, eat, sleep….

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1)

The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 2)

December 2016 Book List Update

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Madison is continuing to work her way through the bookshelf. I have chosen the easier books first, so she is reading a lot for now, but as they get harder there will be fewer. Her all time favorite was the Emily Windsnap series. We will be checking out the rest of the series to read in January.  Here are a list of the books Madison read in December: 

 This post contains affiliate links. Please see my complete disclosure policy for more details.

Baby

The Castle in the Attic

A Thief in the Theater: A Kit Mystery (American Girl Mysteries (Quality))

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

Bright Shadow

The Case of the Ruby Slippers by Martha Freeman. (Holiday House,2012) [Hardcover]

The Tail of Emily Windsnap

Emily Windsnap and the Monster from the Deep

Emily Windsnap and the Castle in the Mist

Snow Treasure

Grace (American Girl Today)

26 Fairmount Avenue (Newbery Honor Book, 2000)

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

The Long Winter (Little House)

Hoot

I decided to include reviews of content for Flush and Scat. They were on the bookshelf and so Madison read them after she finished Hoot. Madison tells me about each book she reads in detail on her own, so after hearing about these two, I decided it would be better to include the review so parents can decide if they feel they are age appropriate or not. She didn’t have nightmares, so all was good for us. 🙂

Flush

Common Sense Media Review of Flush

Scat

Common Sense Media Review of Scat

Sistine Chapel Exhibition 


We are fortunate that the Sistine Chapel Exhibition is currently in Dallas through January 8th, so we decided to visit it today. I was able to secure a Groupon so it made it a little more budget friendly.

It was a very intriguing exhibit to say the least. Each painting is a replica of the original size.

You can purchase an audio companion for  an additional $2. I definitely think it’s worth it. The audio takes about an hour and half to listen to. They do have signs that briefly describe each painting as well, but not as in depth as the audio does.
The display starts out with painting above you so there’s a lot of looking up while listening.



The signs show you where each picture is placed on the ceiling. They are all numbered, but aren’t all in order so there is some searching required to find the next one.


The paintings are amazing and this is the next best thing to seeing the originals.

I totally would have brought a Clorox wipe for the audio companion if I had known it was going to be so close to her face for hours. 🙂 But that’s me…

 

They have a video that explains everything Michelangelo had to do to paint these and it’s kind of hidden to the right, but is a must to see and preferably before viewing the paintings.


I think this exhibition was amazing and I’m glad we went. It’s not the same viewing pictures of the paintings from a book or on the computer. And the wealth of knowledge Madison gained was worth the price of the admission. It is during the Renaissance period, so there is a lack of clothing (none) on people in the majority of the paintings. I thought I had better mention that so there are no surprises. 🙂 I had to watch how I phrased that so I wouldn’t come up in searches that I didn’t want to come up in. 🙂

It is in Dallas until January 8th and it’s a gem!

Visiting the Texas State Capitol

The second day we were in Austin, TX we decided to visit the Texas State Capitol.

Way up at the top of the dome is Lady Liberty. Madison is posing as lady liberty in front of the Capitol. The original Lady Liberty is on display at the Bullock Museum.

We started off with a tour of the Texas State Capitol. The tours are free and very comprehensive. Our tour guide, Elizabeth, was wonderful!

Here is a picture of the dome from the inside. If you stand on a star on the floor directly below it and clap or talk you can hear an echo that no one else around you can hear. That was pretty cool.

The hinges on the doors are really neat. They had a problem with people stealing them, so now they can be purchased in the gift shop. Madison was wanting to purchase one until she saw that they were $215.00.

We visited the Senate first and she learned all about what the Senate does and when. The desks are from 1890.



Then we visited the House of Representatives. Madison learned all about the House and what they do and when.



Madison located our Representative.



Then we toured the extension. The Texas State Capitol is the largest State Capitol in the United States. When we looked up we could see the Lady Liberty through the windows.



There are several QR codes placed inside the Capitol that you can scan to learn more about each area. We plan on doing that the next time we visit. They also have an interactive learning space to learn about each of the Texas War Heroes.

After the tour, we ventured outside to do a scavenger hunt of the grounds. They have one for the North side and one for the South. I printed them off prior to our visit. They do not have them available on site. Madison was tired after we completed the North side and suggested we save the South side so we would have something to do when we went back to visit again. She’s a hoot.


Here is a list of all of the memorials on both grounds. Here are explanations and pictures of each memorial.

This was the Korean War Veterans Memorial. It wasn’t on the scavenger hunt, but she visited all of them regardless.


Pioneer Woman


Texas Children. It represents all of the Texas children in public school. Madison is in full support of the public schools as long as she doesn’t have to attend. 🙂


And…she chose to do a mannequin pose as well.

We were delighted and grateful that our State Capitol has the 10 Commandments on its grounds.


That pretty much sums up our visit to the Texas State Capitol. It was our first, but will not be our last.

Madison is interested in taking a leadership class here in upcoming years though Teenpact.

They offer camps and classes in many states for ages 8 & up.

We are so grateful for the opportunities to be able to teach Madison through hands on and engaging experiences by homeschooling.

Learning Texas History at the Bullock Museum  

Madison loves US history and World history, and even though Texas history is still US history, she has not really been interested in learning all of it in depth.

So when we decided to go to Austin, TX for a couple of days I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to learn Texas history at the Bullock Museum. Madison loves museums, so I figured we’d give it a shot and it was a homeschool win!

I LOVED that museum was arranged in chronological order by floor.

We started out on the first floor with an exhibit on La Belle, the ship that changed history.

La Belle is the oldest and most comprehensive shipwreck in United States history and it was recovered off of the Texas coast.

 

Click the link below for more details on this amazing discovery.

La Belle Information

Before we arrived I downloaded the student activity guides that go with the museum’s exhibits so that Madison could fill them in as we went along.

Madison enjoyed looking at the artifacts from the ship that were on display, labeling them and deciding if they were brought on the ship to use or to trade.

On the second floor we explored the history of Texas’ relationship with Spain, Mexico, and the United States. As well as how the economy grew through immigration, the legacy of slavery, the fight for justice and civil rights.

Here is Madison with a statue of Sam Houston.

Madison learned about how Texas became its own Republic and then became a state.

Madison had read about this prior to our visit, so she was excited she recognized the Come and Take it flag. She was surprised at how small the cannon really was. Here is the story behind the Come and Take it flag and the cannon. In this section, Madison learned about the Texas Revolution.

Behind this display of the Alamo they had a great short video explaining the history through the words of the only Texan to survive.

 

Madison learned how cotton was like white gold in Texas and its importance to the state’s economy.

The Bullock Museum has interactive learning as well. Here Madison is learning about 6 historical figures and placed them on a timeline by historical events.

Madison watched a video where she realized the 1936 Centennial Celebrations was at Fair Park. It was really neat to see it during that time period.

On the third floor Madison discovered how ranching, agriculture, oil, war and technology shaped Texas in the 20th century. We also watched a film on how the Hollywood cowboy legend developed.

Madison also learned all about oil and its importance to Texas.

The mosaic on the floor in the entrance of the museum shows many people, plants and animals that are important to Texas history. Madison identified the Conquistadors, Vaqueros, Buffalo Soldiers, Women Air Force Service Pilots, Frontier Folk, American Indians, African Americans, Texas Rangers, Missionaries, and Cattle Folk.

Also on the third floor there are many flags from different decades on display. They were really neat to look at. They even had the flag from Bull Run.

If you are even in the Austin area, I highly recommend visiting the Bullock Museum. And make sure you allow enough time to enjoy it all. We were there for 3 hours and closed the museum down. We could have spent another couple hours there easily. Madison wasn’t ready to leave yet, but when they close you have no other choice. 🙂

November 2016 Gifted Homeschooling Update

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Thankfully November was slower than September and October. Not entirely by choice though, Jeff and I came down with awful colds at the end of the month and life kind of got put on hold for a while.

Madison had a good time making Christmas ornaments to sell at the local kids homeschool craft fair.

She also went on a field trip to the Coppell Nature Park with the Perot Junior Naturalist Program. She was able to find animal tracks including an armadillo.


I had the feedback session for her testing with Madison’s psychologist and then I decided Let’s Get Crackin’.

We made a family Advent Wreath during Madison’s religion class. It was a lot of fun and we are enjoying it each Sunday as we pray and light the candles. Jeff is reading Stories of the Child Jesus from Many Lands to Madison during Advent.

Madison turned in her Operation Christmas boxes during one of her American Heritage Girls meetings. She spent a lot of time gathering items and putting a lot of thought and her own money into these. It will be neat to see where they end up going. Jeff and I also enjoyed teaching the Living in the US badge to her troop.

We enjoyed painting Christmas ornaments during a homeschool field trip to Color Me Mine. This is Madison’s ‘happy place’ and there will be several pictures of her painting there this upcoming year.


Madison and Jeff attended a local Mineral and Gem show. It was the first one Madison has ever been to and she loved it! She brought all the money she had saved up and it was a shopping treat for her! She loved browsing all of the wonderful items they had for sale.


She panned for gold and bought a dish and a bag to pan her own at home.

And bought a geode that they cracked open for her.


She cannot wait to go to another mineral and gem show again soon!

Madison has been practicing for months for the piano for her Christmas recital in December. God bless her teacher, she taught Madison to play Heart and Soul with both hands without music. Her piano teacher is so amazing and we are very grateful for her!!!

I ordered the Lego Architecture White House for Madison and she enjoyed building it. The bags aren’t numbered like they are on the sets for kids. Go figure!

And here it is all finished.


For Homeschooling, Madison continued to practice her speeches for her upcoming tournament, listening to the History of Us book 10 on Audible, reading her daily devotions, finished A Wrinkle in Time language arts unit from Moving Beyond on the Page as well as her Matter unit.

Here she is learning about acids and bases:


And she learned how to separate hydrogen from oxygen by using electricity:

As for Math, we are trying a new approach. Madison is now speeding through. She watches the lectures for each lesson and then does one problem. If she gets it right she moves on, if she doesn’t then she does another problem. She is going through about 3 or 4 lessons a day. I purchased Thinkwell’s Algebra I while it was 45% off at Homeschool Buyers Co-Op and I am thinking she’ll probably be ready to start that shortly after the new year. She really enjoys algebra. Much more than the rest, so instead of skipping  to it, we are speeding our way through it. So far, so good. I wouldn’t have the confidence to do this without the scores we received from her testing. She does not need repetition, so I’m not going to make her do it just for the sake of doing it. It will be much better when she gets to do the math she enjoys doing and thinks is fun. I’m looking forward to that.

Madison also finished up her Fall 2016 book list and her favorite was the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.
We had a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving and are looking forward to Jeff’s birthday and the Christmas season.

Madison’s Book List – Fall 2016


We are continuing to make our way through the bookshelf. 🙂  After Madison finished her Summer book list she dove headfirst into Fall. Here are the books she read in September, October and November:

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

The Ballad of Lucy Whipple

A House of Tailors

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1)

The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 2)

The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 3)

The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 4) She read this one twice!

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 5)

A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet) This was a re-read.

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread

Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin

The Middle Moffat

Ella Enchanted (Trophy Newbery)

What Was Ellis Island?

The Wanderer

The People of Sparks (The City of Ember)

Tuck Everlasting

Number the Stars

Jeff finished reading The Children’s Homer: The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy to Madison as well.

What Does a Typical Day Look Like For Us?


Our days tend to vary depending on what activities we have planned. Each week Madison has piano, American Heritage girls, Homeschool PE, Park Day with friends, Speech and Debate and Religion. We usually have a field trip or two each week as well. And once a month she has a Perot Junior Master Naturalist class and coordinating field trip. 

So, with that said, here’s what a typical day for us looks like:

Monday:

Treadmill for 10 minutes while listening to A History of Us

Daily Devotion

A chapter in Jesus Our Guide

Exercise: Plank for 25 seconds

Math: One lesson in Thinkwell Math. Online lecture and 9 problems online. If 100% correct then she’s done, if not then the coordinating worksheet.

Exercise: Jump Rope for 5 minutes

Moving Beyond the Page Wrinkle in Time:

Read the lesson plan, read a chapter and do Q&A verbally with mom. 

Exercise: Dance Dance Revolution 10 min

Moving Beyond the Page Activity one

Exercise: Just Dance 10 minutes

Moving Beyond the Page Activity Two

Exercise: Ride the scooter board around the house for 10 minutes

Moving Beyond the Page Activity Three

Exercise: Yoga for 10 minutes

Practice Informative Speech 

Exercise: Run up and down the stairs 5 times

Moving Beyond the Page Cells (Science) 

Read lesson 

Activity One

Activity Two

Activity Three

Practice Open Interpretation Speech 

Rosetta Stone Spanish

Piano Lesson

Free play outside 

Free play inside

Dinner

American Heritage Girls

Lunch is thrown in somewhere above when it fits. 🙂 

The days we do not have activities she also does lessons on chess kids, Khan Academy, Prodigy, poetry, crafts, art, legos, drawing, music appreciation, etc.

I don’t specify a free reading time because she’s always reading and I usually have to take a book away from her to have her do something else. 

On the days that have less activities we are able to fit in more exercise and I mix them up each day. She also gets 90 minutes a week in homeschool PE and we try to visit different parks a couple of times a week. 

If we do not have an evening activity, Jeff usually plays a board game or chess each evening with Madison and also reads to her out loud. They are currently reading The Children’s Homer. This gives me an opportunity to have a break from being ‘on’ all day and to prep and plan for the next day. 🙂