The Gifted Child, the Perfectionist and Art Class

Madison enjoys her extra-curricular activities, especially her art class!

Here is Madison at art class:

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Here’s the breakdown of the gifted child and perfectionism: Madison loves art. Gifted children can be a challenge when it comes to perfectionism. Madison is a perfectionist and she has come a LONG way from having meltdowns during art class. On this particular day she waited until we got into the car. “I hate it”, she said and then went into full blown meltdown. Fortunately her art teacher gave me a heads up in a way that wasn’t obvious at all to Madison. It was because she has now moved up to the older age group and has to learn how to draw so that she fixes things herself versus having the teacher do it or show her how to do it. So I was ready for this by the time we hit the car. I asked her calmly why she ‘hated it.’ She expressed that the eyes on her giraffe weren’t even and that it was ugly. I proceeded to tell her that I thought it was the most beautiful picture she has brought home yet. She looked very surprised and asked me why. I explained it was because it was her artwork that she is learning techniques by creating it and to me her art work that shows those techniques that she is learning which is the most beautiful pieces of all. She said she didn’t want to talk about it anymore and we went on with our day, but I knew it was a successful talk because the meltdown stopped. I gave my husband a heads up prior to him coming home from work. When he arrived home he asked her to see her drawing. She didn’t want to show him, but when I did and she saw it she said, “Oh, wow! It’s a lot better than I thought it was!” “It’s actually pretty good!” 🙂

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Then her dad asked her if she knew what a perfectionist was? She replied with, “Someone who does everything perfectly.” He said, “No, it’s someone who wants to do everything perfectly, but in reality there is no such thing.” It was a great life lesson and hope she will continue to grow and learn. I hope to help her through her perfectionism and I am SO blessed she has the most wonderful art teacher that has already helped her so much in so many ways! I am grateful that Madison is challenged in an environment where she feels safe and that she can learn how to handle being challenged in a positive manner and views it as a good thing. It may never happen 100%, but I am hoping that each time she is challenged and something doesn’t come easily, it will end up having a huge positive impact on her.


The Fun Stuff – Homeschooling Activities

So by now I realize by my posts that it seems as all we do is formal learning and not a whole lot of fun stuff since I haven’t written about it. 🙂 So here’s the post with some of the fun learning we do.

Madison started a homeschool creative dramatics class last week. She absolutely loves it. It is taught by a certified teacher and is a great opportunity for her to express her creativity and to have exposure to working in a team setting with other children.

Madison also takes a gymnastics class once a week and a basketball skills class. Basketball is new and exciting for her and she actually made a basket into a lowered hoop on her second class.

Here she is dribbling during her first class:

And making the basket in the second class:

She goes swimming once a week, has art class and religion class. She also enjoys the local library programs. I didn’t get pictures, because I forgot my phone, but this month at the library readers club they had a pirate theme where they read three books, played games and made a pirate hat, a hook and an eye patch. She had a blast! Madison also attends parent night outs and open gym at her gymnastics gym where she plays fun games, gets a ton of exercise and has fun hanging out with other children. Madison is an extrovert. She loves to socialize. All. The. Time. So it is important to her to be able to do a lot of activities with other kids.

Here’s Madison shooting a basketball into the hoop during swimming. She also likes climbing the rock wall as well as swim.


We do many activities at home as well. Madison found a geode making kit at Target. So she had a blast making geodes.

First she painted glue on the inner part of the shells and then sprinkled the crystal substance onto them so they would be covered.

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Then she carefully placed them inside food coloring for the evening.

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In the morning they looked like this:

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And after they dried:

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Madison really enjoyed making them.

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We made a compass with a cork and by rubbing a needle in one direction for 30 seconds and taping it on and placing it in a bowl of water. Madison also liked taking the magnet and running it around the outside of the bowl and watching the compass ‘swim’ to wherever the magnet was. LOL.

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When she found a caterpillar outside she ran and grabbed her magnifying glass to get a closer look.

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And when her and her father were out in the backyard they found several of these on the tomato plants:


Which she chose to put into their own habitats and journal about.


And she discovered two of these spiders which are still intact in their environment in the backyard and she visits them daily:


Madison enjoyed learning about different temperatures by looking at a thermometer in almost freezing water and boiling water.


She also got a kick out of watching raisins ‘dance’.


We make a point to play lots of games and chess is one of her favorites.


We have been working on Music.


And she loves puzzles. When she put these together in record time I realized it was time to order more puzzles.


Unfortunately when she was almost finished with this one the cat decided to roll around and break it apart. From now on puzzles will be built on the table only…

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Madison also loves to play with her American Girl dolls, Legos and has many educational games and toys that she plays with during free time. I will have to get better at taking pictures when she is having free play time.

We are also beginning Little Passports. We are doing both the World and US Editions. I will write a post on those in the upcoming months!

For more blogs on giftedness please check out the Brian Blog!

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Week Two and Three of Gifted Homeschooling 2014

I’m exhausted. My house looks like it was hit by a tornado. But, Madison is speeding along with her schoolwork happily. The things I have learned from week two and three of homeschooling are:

1. There’s absolutely no point in making her do multiple things to master a concept unless she actually needs it and it’s rare that she does. And when we do multiple things, they are always different. If she grasps a concept and has to do anymore with it, she feels as though she’s missing out on focusing her time on something worthwhile, whether that is playing, reading, or learning something new.

2. As an extension of number 1, there are hands on learning activities for each lesson we do. I have started letting Madison choose if it’s something ‘extra’ she wants to do for fun or if it isn’t, we skip it and move on so she can spend time doing fun activities of her choice.

3. I do have her do some worksheets that require writing. Madison hates printing. And I don’t use the word hate very lightly. She is on her way to mastering cursive and typing and when she does so she can do either instead of printing, but for right now, I do think she needs the fine motor skills and it is important. So she gets very creative with her worksheets and adds her own creativity to each one. It takes longer to complete them because of this, but it is who she is and I applaud her for making them entertaining in her own way.

4. Madison is very driven when learning new information. As long as it isn’t something she already knows, she loves to learn. For hours. It’s very hard to keep up with her. She asks questions about everything throughout the day and relates what she learns to daily life. Thank God for Google. I have no idea what I’d do with it.

5. She requested grade skipping today and described what is actually subject acceleration. She misses being in a school environment very much. I had to explain her school wasn’t receptive to that idea, but that yes, would have been the best scenario. Am I bitter about it? You bet. But at the same time I don’t agree with the methods being taught in the public school right now or the choice of technology tools. But her and I both know she would be miserable in any of the second grade classrooms right now, so she is grateful she’s not bored, but was hurt that it was discouraged and not really made an option for her. She point blank said today that she knows school would have been great if she was able to be in 3rd or 4th grade.

6. I realized Madison learns even faster than I thought she did. Which honestly scares me to death. I knew she could grasp information above her grade level quickly, but what she is learning and retaining and the pace she is doing it in is amazing and blows my mind. It makes me rethink her being in a school setting completely. That is until college. We’ll see, I plan on having her take the SCAT through John Hopkins CTY Talent Search and if she qualifies we will consider having her take courses online through their CTY Online course offerings. If she was in K or 1st she would have qualified with her prior testing, but they require the SCAT for grades 2-6, but at least I know she has a good chance at qualifying since she would have prior with no problem. So if she does qualify and enjoys it maybe it was meant to be.

Here is what she has learned and mastered in the past two weeks:

Money Unit:
Identify Money: Identify pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and half-dollars and their values. Count pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters up to 50¢, Count Mixed Coins: Count mixed collection of coins, Model Money Amounts: Model the same amount in more than one way. Model an amount using the fewest coins, Add and Subtract Money: Solve addition and subtraction problems involving money, with and without regrouping, 100% mastery on each section quiz and 100% mastery on the Unit Test on Money.

Pattern Unit:
Sort Objects: Sort objects by attributes of shape, size, or color. Recognize and explain how patterns are made (e.g. repetition, transformation, or other changes to attribute), Venn Diagrams: Sort objects using Venn diagram with one intersection, Pattern Rules: Describe a given pattern and explain the pattern rule, Build Patterns: Predict, extend, and create patterns that are pictorial or symbolic. Transfer patterns from one medium to another (e.g., change red, red, blue, green, red to 1,1,2,3,1), Compare Patterns: Compare repeating and growing patterns and analyze how they are generated, Real World Patterns: Identify patterns in the real world such as repeating, tessellating, and patchwork, Patterns on a Hundreds Chart: Identify number patterns on a hundred chart, Number Patterns: Predict and extend a linear pattern and 100 % mastery on the Unit Test on Patterns.

Position Words: Identify, locate, and move objects according to positional words such as to the left, above, and behind, Directional Words: Identify the location of objects according to two directions such as upper-right, upper-left, lower-right, and lower-left, Using a Map: Locate objects on the first quadrant of a coordinate grid, Plot Numbers on Number Line: Locate, plot, and identify known and unknown numbers on a number line from 0 to 50 by twos and from 1 to 100 by fives, and 100% mastery on the Unit Test on Positions.

We have started a new program for our Math facts. I had tried flashcards and worksheets and nothing seemed to be working. So when I heard such wonderful things about Times Attack, I went and purchased the download for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Madison has already mastered her addition facts and is now working on mastering her subtraction facts. She loves the game and begs to play it. It has a free demo download that you can find HERE.

Here is the certificate we printed out:


And then we went to Chuck E Cheese to celebrate!


She’s getting better at subtraction. There are 13 levels for subtraction versus 7 for addition.

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And she has started multiplication and LOVES it! The game is a bit different and much more exciting. It won’t be long and she will have mastered subtraction and multiplication (without ever using flashcards) and move on to division.

• Plurals s, es; Summarizing: Plurals s and es; high frequency words; fluency with commas; vocabulary; reading a leveled text; summarizing; and writing.
• Double Consonants; Authors Purpose: The double consonants tt, pp, and ll; high frequency words; fluency focusing on reading with a sense of anticipation; vocabulary; reading a leveled text; Author’s Purpose; and writing.
• Vowel exception le; Root Words; Context Clues; Inferences: The vowel exception le; the root word “graph”; high frequency words; fluency focusing on phrasing; vocabulary and context clues; reading a leveled text; making inferences; and writing.
• Silent Consonants kn, wr; Authors Viewpoint: Silent consonants kn and wr; high frequency words; fluency with rhythm of poetry; vocabulary; reading a leveled text; author’s point of view; and writing.

Language Arts Extensions: Directions, Maps and Globes and Symbols and Keys

• Background/Story: Madison learned thematic content through discovery and achieve comprehension by reading literature with emphasis on vocabulary. Stories use controlled vocabulary to enhance phonemic awareness.
• Sounds, Letters & Words: Through a series of learning activities focused on discovery, recognition, and application, she practiced phonetic skills focusing on re-, un-, -eat, aw, au, dr and gh. She experienced words in a variety of modes, including rhyme and story.

We also watched educational videos on maps and globes as well as how to make a map and Madison is planning on drawing her map tomorrow.

Scientific Investigation:
Use of Instruments: Identify various instruments used to collect and analyze data.

Nature of Matter:
Physical Properties: Determine the physical properties of matter using customary and metric measurements that incorporate tools such as rulers, thermometers, and balances, Physical Changes: Identify matter as liquids, solids, and gases. Identify and describe examples of physical changes in the states of matter produced by heating and cooling, Weight: Investigate and realize that the weight of an object is equal to the sum of the weights of its parts, Observation: Use hand lenses to observe and document minute physical properties of objects, 100% mastery on lesson quizzes and 100% mastery on the Unit Test on Nature of Matter.

We also had fun doing several experiments!

Social Studies:
The World in Spatial Terms:
Geographic tools: Use geographic tools, such as maps, globes, and atlases, to gather data about the Earth’s surface. Locate and name your community, state, country, and continent. Identify the major oceans: Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic and Antarctic. Identify the seven continents: Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, and Australia. Identify the hemispheres: Northern, Southern, Western, and Eastern. She also learned about the Equator, Prime Meridian, Longitude and Latitude. She passed the lesson quiz with 100%.

I have the 2nd grade word list from that includes 375 words. So I have her spell the words as I read them off from the sheet. So far we have averaged 40-50 words before I can find 10 she gets wrong. I’m chalking it up to handwriting practice. 😉 Then I will have her write each word three times at the beginning of the week. She can play a game online with the spelling list words. Then she takes the test. Here are the words in her wordbank that she has been tested on and knows for a 3 week period:


So I am going to move up to a harder spelling list and at the same time keep track of which words she misspells while she is writing and those will be our spelling words.

Madison also LOVES to read. We took a little break from the harder books and she’s had fun reading easy books she can get through in an hour. In the past two weeks, she’s read the Magic Tree House High Times for Heroes, Perfect Time for Pandas and Stallion by Starlight. She also read Freckle Juice, The Twits and Geronimo Stilton: The Mysterious Cheese Thief and Surf’s Up, Geronimo!

She has been reading Ramona and Beezus out loud to me every day and my husband Jeff has been reading Wind in the Willows to her each evening.
My next post will include pictures from extra activities from the past couple of weeks that we had fun doing. Hopefully I’ll be able to figure out how to strike a balance between homeschooling and the life I used to know where I had time to clean and fix dinner. LOL. I am sure each upcoming week will be a learning experience for both of us. 🙂

A Different Approach to Learning for Highly Gifted Homeschoolers

After the first week of homeschooling I fully realized why I decided to listen to my daughter and grant her request to learn at home versus a public school classroom setting. It was because she learns differently. Completely differently. I have learned that is my job to help her learn. The first week I had a schedule of learning activities and was going ‘by the book’. By Friday I realized that I can’t go by the book. I have to go by Madison. It’s a very different approach that requires faith, trust and outside the box thinking. I can provide her with knowledge, but she lets me know exactly what how and the amount she needs. And when I tried to go by the book, I was putting her in the same position she would have been if I sent her to public school and it completely defeated the purpose. Highly gifted children learn differently and need a different approach to learning.

I went into this thinking I have to make her do everything I think she should do to ensure she is learning, comprehending and retaining. And I was dead wrong. She knows what Science instruments are and what they are used for and therefore does not need to draw them or write a sentence describing how a scientist uses them. We read about it and she aced the test without in her mind, ‘wasting her time’. So I learned to put 100% trust in her. She wants to learn, she craves it and loves it. She isn’t trying to ‘get out’ of having to do anything that hinders her learning any new information, she just knows what she needs to do to learn and I have to follow that.

Once I did and gave her a choice on what activities she would like to do to expand her learning on the subjects and concepts she needed to learn she flourished and at light speed. I can’t keep up. It’s honestly exhausting, but totally worth it. Today she was so excited to put the thermometer in the refrigerator and then the freezer and record the temps in both Fahrenheit and Celsius in her Science journal. She’s determined to master anything she can learn, but not at the expense of wasting her time when she already knows she understands it or if it’s not relevant in her mind or serves a valuable purpose. She loved coloring the Continents and Oceans on her map worksheet today and writing them out. She loved making her own compass with a piece of cork, a needle she rubbed with a magnet and placed in a bowl of water. She is a natural driven learner.

So now our homeschooling adventure is a team effort with me providing her with an enriching and valuable education and with her communicating to me how to teach her in a manner that benefits her the most.

I realized after week one, that I am so lucky to have a child that knows what she needs and can communicate that to me. So now I will learn to teach her in a ‘outside of the box’ manner and promised her I will not make her do repetitive work for the sake of doing it. I will not hold her back. From now on she will take tests first and learn what she doesn’t know. This road has not been an easy one, because it goes against the ‘normal’ way of educating and thinking. As a parent and the sole educator for your child, this is a very hard concept to come to terms with. But I see the results in the tests she takes and the difference in her motivation to learn and so I have to go with my gut. So far, it has always been right.

I will never, ever forget the smile on her face and the light in her eyes when I explained this to her. Her spirit for learning will not be crushed. We are a team. Team Madison. Team Madison who for now, is still learning on her terms, meeting all the objectives that she is required to learn, and most importantly with more free time for her to enjoy learning what she is interested in and on her own by expressing her own creativity.

Soon I will be replacing the cover photo for my blog. She is no longer fighting Darth Vader. She is a really good place and as soon as I find the picture that I feel represents that, it will be changed. 🙂

Adventures at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

I am a bit behind on my posts. 🙂 I am currently trying to figure out how to have time to homeschool, clean the house, fix dinner and blog. I will post, but they just might be a little backdated.

We had a wonderful time exploring hands on activities at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden on August 31st. The garden offers awesome daily hands on activities available for the kids at the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden! We will plan on visiting again very soon, especially when it isn’t 100 degrees out. We chose to only visit a few of the galleries and will visit different ones on each trip.

We started out in the Exploration Center and Plaza.

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There are several displays that are also hands on. Madison enjoyed looking at the plants, feeling the textures of different types of dirt and using a mobile camera to see the bugs up close!

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She also learned about pollination at an instructor led biology lab activity.

The Exploration Center and Plaza has so much more! These were the activities we chose for the day, but it also includes:

Interactive technology and special programs inside the Exploration Center, including teacher-led chemistry and biology labs. This innovative indoor space features a plant lab, smart tables, soil specimen workstations, CSI-style mysteries, and the signature OmniGlobe.

Located in the Globe Theatre, the five-foot-tall OmniGlobe is one of five in Texas and is the largest in the state. A touch-screen transforms the sphere into a high-tech model of the planets. View everything from weather events to population density on this striking machine.

Next we moved on to the T. Boone Pickens Pure Energy gallery. This is Madison’s favorite. The Arboretum’s site sums up this gallery quite nicely:

Here you will witness the transformation of water, solar and wind energy into electricity. Use interactive wind models and a variety of turbines to determine which machines are the most effective. Test wind speed using fun anemometers and step inside our wind machine to feel its power. Archimedes’ screw and other machines will teach about harnessing the power of water.

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iphone pics and videos up to 7-17-2013 086There’s even a machine you can feel what it’s like to be in a tornado!

The next stop was for a hands on learning activity at the Texas Native Wetlands gallery.

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Madison was able to see a lot of native Texas insects and wildlife up close! She was able to scoop out baby fish and look at them through a magnifying glass as well as plants and insects taken right out of the wetlands gallery area! She saw frogs and dragonflies. She learned a lot from the volunteers and had a ton of fun!

As the temperature rose, we opted to head home, but not before passing through the the Amazing Secret Garden gallery.


iphone pics and videos up to 7-17-2013 104We cannot wait to go back again and this was a perfect weekend activity before starting our second week of homeschool!

The Week of August 25th: The First Official Week of Homeschool

Madison’s desk was all set for her first day of school:

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Madison was excited for her first week and it went very well until Friday. The beauty of homeschooling is that it is flexible. The one thing I have learned from other homeschoolers is to be flexible and adjust what isn’t working. I have also read a lot and learned a lot about gifted learners. They do need things to be different and that is one of the reasons I decided to homeschool. The important thing is we made it through the week. I learned what worked and what didn’t for both of us and changed accordingly for the next week. I will explain more in next week’s post and hopefully some of my new tactics worked. 🙂 As for the first week of school, here is what we worked on:

In Math we finished up our Operations Unit with:
• Multiplication: Identify multiplication as repeated addition. Multiply two one-digit numbers by 2, 3, and 5 using an array.
• Division: Explain division as equal parts of a set. Divide a number up to 30 by 2, 3, or 5 using pictorial representations.
• Estimate Sums & Differences: Estimate reasonable answers to addition and subtraction problems with sums to 100.
• And a test over the entire Operations Unit.

We also completed Lessons 38 – 42 in Saxon Math. And took a variety of one minute timed addition tests everyday with 25 problems each.

In Language, we learned the following:

• ow, ou, oi, oy; Context Clues: Demonstrated knowledge in the following areas: vowel diphthongs ow, ou, oi, and oy; high frequency words; fluency reviewing question marks and quotation marks; vocabulary; reading a leveled text; context clues; and writing.
• str, spr; Sequence Events: Demonstrated knowledge in the following areas: the consonant clusters str and spr; high frequency words; fluency focusing on inflection; vocabulary; reading a leveled text; sequencing events in a narrative; and writing.
• R-Controlled –ear Irregular Plural Nouns; Story Structure: Demonstrated knowledge in the following areas; r-controlled vowels spelled –ear; irregular plural nouns; and story structure.
• Inflectional Endings ing, ed; Story Elements: Demonstrate knowledge in the following areas: the inflectional endings ing and ed; high frequency words; fluency focusing on phrasing; vocabulary; reading a leveled text; story elements identifying characters, setting, and plot; and writing.

We read a fictional story and learned about the elements of fiction by relating, discussing, using a story map and a web.

We also completed our Language Arts Extension Unit on Hygiene. In that unit Madison learned:
• Background/Story: Thematic content through discovery and achieve comprehension by reading literature with emphasis on vocabulary. Stories use controlled vocabulary to enhance phonemic awareness.
• Sounds, Letters & Words: Through a series of learning activities focused on discovery, recognition, and application, she practiced phonetic skills. She experienced words in a variety of modes, including rhyme and story. –Keywords: hygiene, phonics, consonant blends nd & sl, word families, blending, segmenting, phonological awareness, decodable reader, pre-writing, authentic writing, story.

Madison also worked on brainstorming, writing a rough draft and a final draft of her letter to her penpal. This was a super fun project for her this week.

On the days she didn’t work on her letter, she did a page in her Second Grade Handwriting Without Tears book.

As for reading, Madison read to self for 30 minutes everyday. She finished The Sorcerer’s Stone which she read one page and my husband read 2 pages throughout the book.

We started Lesson 6 in Wordly Wise Vocabulary and did an Analogies worksheet page.

We learned more about the Vikings and Instruments used in Science.

This week the only activity she had was gymnastics class, so we sent her to a gymnastics open gym session that her friends were attending and she had a BLAST! Next week she will have art, basketball, kidfit, and gymnastics.

Hands on Learning – The Science Museum

One of Madison’s favorite places is the local Science Museum. We make several visits throughout the year. The weekend before our school started we visited to make sure we were able to catch the traveling Dinosaur exhibit before it moved on.

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Madison also enjoyed learning about crystals and building her own electronic bird.

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Racing a T Rex is always fun!

And a Tylosaures with your dad!


Watching yourself kick a soccer ball in slow motion.



Experiencing what an extreme Earthquake would feel like.



And flying like a bird.



We love all the amazing opportunities for hands on learning at our local Science Museum and all it has to offer. We will be posting more visits in the future as we have more fun learning and discovering!

Homeschooling Update – The End of Summer and Begining of Our New Adventure!

We have begun our first week of home schooling and it is awesome! I love seeing Madison so happy. I wanted to share what we have worked on and mastered up to this point so that I can continue with updates from this point on. We did home school over the summer to work out the ‘quirks’.

Madison enjoyed several fun summer activities. We went to Disney World and Kansas City. She really enjoyed spending time with my parents. Madison spent a week at Camp Inventions, enjoyed a variety of camps, art class, music class, and gymnastics. She also really enjoyed going to the pool. As far as homeschooling goes, here is what we have mastered so far by subject for Second Grade:


Number Sense:
• Hundreds, Tens, & Ones: Count and group objects into hundreds, tens, and ones. Identify a given number in expanded form. Identify the value of a given digit within a number up to the hundreds place.
• Write Numbers: Read and write number words up to ninety-nine and match them to numerals.
• Compare Numbers: Compare and order numbers using symbols such as <, =, and >. When given any number up to 1,000, identify one more than, one less than, 10 more than, 10 less than, 100 more than, and 100 less than.
• Ordinal Numbers: Read and understand ordinal numbers 1st – 100th. Identify ordinal number words first – tenth by name.
• Equivalent Forms of Numbers: Using diagrams, pictorial representations, and numerical expressions, represent equivalent forms of various numbers up to 1000.
• Skip Counting: Count up to 1000 by fives, tens, twenty-fives, fifties, and hundreds using mental math and pictorial representations.
• Zero as a Placeholder: Use zero as a placeholder and identify 10 tens as 100, 10 hundreds as 1000.
• Number Line and Rounding: Locate numbers up to 1000 on a number line. Use a number line to round numbers to the nearest 10.
• Odd and Even Numbers: Identify odd and even numbers.
• Sums and Differences: Even or Odd?: Determine if a sum or difference is odd or even.

• Fact Families: Solve addition and subtraction facts up to 18 by using inverse operations. Describe the related facts that make up a fact family.
• Grouping Property: Use the Associative Property of Addition to solve addition problems involving three addends.
• Two-digit Addition: Solve addition problems involving two-digit numbers with regrouping.
• Adding Whole Numbers: Add single- and two-digit whole numbers.
• Two-digit Subtraction: Solve subtraction problems involving two-digit numbers with regrouping.
• Subtracting Whole Numbers: Subtract single-digit numbers from single- and two-digit numbers and two-digit numbers from two-digit numbers.

We are also using the Saxon Math Curriculum and have mastered up to lesson 37. Saxon Math 2 I love that it comes with manipulatives.

Saxon Math Manipulative

Language Arts

Here is what we have mastered so far in our year round home schooling that we began in July using that incorporates online learning and worksheets.

• Long vowels with silent e; Story Elements: long vowels ending with silent e; high frequency words; fluency with modeled reading; vocabulary; reading a leveled text; story elements identifying main characters; and writing.
• Long a with ai, ay; Sequence Events: the vowel digraphs ai and ay with the long a sound; high frequency words; fluency with reading rate; vocabulary; reading a leveled text; sequencing; and writing.
• Long e with ea, ee, y; Story Elements: the vowel digraphs ea and ee with the long e sound, the vowel y with the long e sound; high frequency words; fluency focusing on periods; vocabulary; reading a leveled text; story elements identifying setting; and writing.
• Long i with igh, y, ie; Prefixes; Details: the long vowel i as spelled with the letters igh, y, and ie; the prefix pre-; high frequency words; fluency focusing on question marks; vocabulary; reading a leveled text; details; and writing.
• Long o with oa, ow; Shades of Meaning; Main Idea: he vowel digraphs oa and ow with the long o sound; high frequency words; fluency focusing on speed and accuracy; vocabulary words and nuances in meaning; reading a leveled text; main idea; and writing.
• er, ir, ur; Prefixes & Root Words; Supporting Details: r-controlled vowels er, ir, and ur; the prefixes un-, re-, and the root word “tele”; high frequency words; fluency with quotation marks; vocabulary; reading a leveled text; supporting details; and writing.
• ar, or, ore; Story Elements: the r-controlled vowels ar, or, and ore; high frequency words; fluency focusing on exclamation marks; vocabulary; reading a leveled text; story elements identifying conflict; and writing.
• R-Controlled -ear Irregular Plural Nouns Story Structure: r-controlled vowels spelled -ear; irregular plural nouns; and story structure.
• sh, ch, th, wh; Predict Outcomes: the consonant digraphs sh, ch, th, wh; high frequency words; fluency reviewing periods and exclamation marks; vocabulary; reading a leveled text; predicting outcomes; and writing.
• Use of Periods: Review and correctly use a period in simple and compound sentences.

Madison is also doing Wordly Wise 3000 Vocabulary and just finished Lesson 5. We are doing spelling words as well. Madison loves to read and the books she read in August include Stuart Little, Trumpet of the Swan and she is currently reading Wind in the Willows. She reads a minimum of 30 minutes every day.

We are also doing Language Arts Extensions. Each topic incorporates a background/story where Madison learns thematic content through discovery and achieve comprehension by reading literature with emphasis on vocabulary. Stories use controlled vocabulary to enhance phonemic awareness and sounds, letters & words through a series of learning activities, focused on discovery, recognition, and application, and Madison practices phonetic skills. She experiences words in a variety of modes, including rhyme and story.

We have covered the topics of Spiders, Bees and Worms.

We will master the following topics this year:

Rain Forests
Maps and Globes
Symbols and Keys
Conflict Resolution
Following the Law
Goods and Services
Consumers and Producers


Patterns in Nature:
• Steps in Life Cycle: Identify a cycle as a process with no beginning or end. Briefly explain the steps in the life cycle: birth, growth, reproduction, and death.
• Food Chain: Identify and describe a food chain. Label a chart that illustrates a simple food chain.
• Basic Needs of Animals: Identify the basic needs of animals, including shelter and living space.
• Pond Habitat: Identify plants and animals found in a pond habitat. Describe the food chain of a pond.
• Wetland Habitat: Identify characteristics of a wetland habitat, plants and animals found in a wetland habitat, and examples of adaptations.
• Ocean Habitat: Identify characteristics of an ocean habitat, plants and animals found in an ocean habitat, and examples of adaptations.

Force and Motion:
• Magnetism: Describe magnetism as a force you cannot see that acts upon objects. Know that most magnets contain iron. Describe the law of magnetic attraction, and know that like poles repel and unlike poles attract. Know that magnets can be used to push and pull objects.

Earth and Space:
• Moon and Earth: Know that the Moon moves around the Earth, the Earth moves around the Sun, and the Moon is only visible when it reflects the Sun’s light. Describe the relationship of the Earth’s rotation to a 24-hour day.
• Objects in the Sky: Identify objects seen in the sky, including clouds, the Sun, stars, the Moon, etc. Know that stars and planets are always in the sky, even in the daytime.

This year we will master:
Scientific Investigation
Nature of Matter
Energy, Force and Motion
Effects on the Shape of Earth
Life/Environment Interact
Light & Sound
Eras on Earth

I am also incorporating many Science Experiments and Madison is signed up for Science classes at the local Science Museum and Nature Center.

We are also using Time4Learning  for Social Studies as long as supplementing books and videos and Little Passports to expand our learning.

Wants & Needs:
• Human Needs: Identify basic human needs.
• How Basic Needs Are Met: Explain how basic needs of food, clothing and shelter can be met.

Compare/Contrast Locations
• Map Skills: Use maps to locate states, the United States, continents and oceans.
• Maps & Globes: Recognize that maps are utilized to provide directions as well as location.
• Recognizing Map Symbols: The learner will recognize symbols on a simple map.
• Cardinal Directions: Locate places using cardinal and intermediate directions.

Our National Identity
• Historic Places: Identifies selected important buildings, statues and monuments associated with national history, for example, Capitol building, White House, Statue of Liberty, the United States flag and the Liberty Bell.
• National Holidays: The learner will explain the purpose of , and the people and events honored in commemorative, patriotic holidays such as President’s Day, Veteran’s Day, Independence Day, Columbus”” Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Thanksgiving.
• Cultural Holidays: The learner will explain the purpose of various holidays celebrated by different cultures within the United States, such as, Cinco de Mayo and Kwanza.
• Patriotic Expressions: The learner will know the Pledge of Allegiance and songs that express American ideas (e.g., My Country ””Tis of Thee and The Star Spangled Banner.

Work In Society
• Types of Jobs: Identify jobs in the home, school and community, describe the requirements of various jobs and cite examples of characteristics of doing a job well performed.

I am very excited for the upcoming curriculum as we continue. We will be learning about the following this year:
• Vikings: The characteristics, culture, and influences of the Vikings.
• Alaskan Inuits: Understanding of the way of life of the Alaskan Inuits.
• The World in Spatial Terms: An overview of the world in spatial terms by describing geographical patterns, location, and interrelationships of the major physical features of Earths surface.
• Exploration of the Americas: Examine the history of the United States during the early years of exploration and discovery.
• North American Colonization: Examine the history of the United States during the early years of colonization.
• Rural, Suburban, Urban Region: Describe the people, events, and characteristics of rural, urban, and suburban regions in the United States.
• Economics: Understand the concepts and characteristics of economics.
• Citizenship & Government: Understand the characteristics of citizenship and the role of government at the local and state levels.
• Chronology: Understand the concept of time and chronology by reading and constructing timelines.

She also is working on Rosetta Home School Spanish and French. As well as handwriting and typing. We have a lot of different types of things we will be working on week by week. Madison also has a good amount of time to be creative and work on projects. 🙂 I can’t wait to share our upcoming fun, week by week! And it will be much easier to remember what we did week by week verses over the past couple of months! 🙂

Wading Through the Tide – Advice Needed

Madison has been ‘off’ this week. All of her quirks and sensitivities are in full throttle mode. I have been wracking my brain to figure out why. Life is much harder for everyone when she is like this, so figuring out the triggers is important to me. Not enough sleep? Lack of exercise? And then it hit me…control. Madison has to feel like she has some choices in her day. She has to feel empowered. See most gifted kids are introverts. Mine is a 100% extrovert who wants to be in control of her own destiny. She is in a camp this week from 9am-3:30. A cool camp. But apparently one that she doesn’t have the opportunity to make choices in. We had the same problem when she was in school. The same behaviors. Everything is heightened. Even down to the sensitivity to her socks. Socks are a HUGE issue for her. I am hoping by targeting her issues I can help her. I’m just not sure how. Does anyone have any advice? I need to figure out how to help her when she is in controlled environments where she doesn’t have choices and feels powerless. It is a huge problem for her. One I don’t think she’ll overcome with a ‘talk.’ 

Why is Advocating for my Gifted Child Important?

I remember seeing a tweet on Twitter from a gifted adult and she said, ‘I wish my parents hadn’t asked me why I couldn’t just be normal’ repeatedly as I grew up. This tweet hit home, because Madison wasn’t even 4 years old yet, and I had already said that more times than I could count. From that day forward I never said it again. I will however catch myself once and awhile asking her why she’s so frustrating, which is basically the same thing, so I need to watch that!

When most people find out their child is gifted they are so happy! Their child is smart and it is ‘cool’ to be gifted. When you look up  the definition of being gifted, here’s what you usually see:

Giftedness Defined by NSGT

That sounds cool! Yay!

But giftedness isn’t just those things. All gifted children are unique. Gifted traits tend to intensify as children grow older. Most don’t qualify until 3rd grade, especially boys. Many are missed because of misdiagnosis by the teachers.

The Hoagies Gifted Education Site provides Characteristics that are realistic:

Characteristics of the Gifted Child

When I found out Madison was officially gifted, the first thing I did was rejoice. To me it meant she wasn’t crazy. She wasn’t a horrible problem child and I was not an awful parent. And now I could tell the world. (And her teachers that questioned why she was the way she was). What I didn’t realize, is how many wouldn’t listen, care or understand and would view her in the same way. And that breaks my heart. It was my first reality check that she was going to have a much harder time in life because of who she is.

I also started to realize through research that there are different levels of giftedness. Some are just gifted in one area. And if you are blessed to have a child that is gifted in all areas, then they tend to have more quirks and sensitivities. So that explained why Madison had issues when others didn’t. That’s when I realized how much of an uphill battle we were in for.

So why is it important for me to advocate for my daughter?

Foremost because she thinks differently. I always have to ask her why and allow her the opportunity to explain before jumping to conclusions and assuming what looks like the obvious explanation. For example: When Madison started First Grade she told me they found a lizard inside and her teacher told the students she was pretty sure it was dead. Madison lifted her shoe over the lizard and the teacher screamed ‘No!’ Apparently just like anyone, the teacher assumed Madison was planning on stomping on the lizard. When Madison came home from school and told me this, my first reaction was to ask her why. She proceeded to tell me that she put her foot over it because if it was alive, it would run away. She then said, I think my teacher thought I was trying to kill it because she screamed ‘No!’ and by the way Madison described the situation, she was horrified her teacher could even have that thought. Madison just thinks differently and can explain it, but it’s not always how everyone else sees it and so she does a lot of explaining regarding her thought process. If someone doesn’t realize she’s gifted then from the outside looking in it would appear that she is spoiled and not disciplined.

One advantage I have is that many do not realize she will recount conversations and situations word for word back to me on her own. 😉 Then we have the opportunity to talk through them. I have yet to come across a situation or conversation that she has relayed inaccurately. I am very grateful for this because Madison is too honest to a fault. She knows when she is acting immature or has done something wrong and will still tell me all about it. This gives us the opportunity to discuss how she can handle situations in a positive manner in the future.

It is also important for anyone who teaches her as well to understand her.

Here is an excellent article that explains so much and is necessary to read to understand my upcoming posts. It’s also an excellent article for anyone with gifted children or who teach children in general.

Gifted 101

The section titled Strengths and Problems of Gifted Children nails it. Madison’s strengths are mostly seen as problems and this is where she is very misunderstood. And she is looked down upon for that, but when in reality she’s an awesome little girl with adult level thinking, the tact of a 4 year old, leadership qualities that are taken as being bossy and who is extremely strong willed.This is where it is our job as parents to advocate for her by #1 not making her feel bad for who she is, but embrace and love her for her unique qualities and #2 explain to others so hopefully they understand.

The hardest part is explaining it to her. While she understands logically, she is very sensitive and it is hard to handle when people or other children are purposely mean. A couple of weeks ago she had a teacher who said, ‘Madison, you are the worst rememberer.’ This was after she humiliated her in front of a bunch of people by announcing a mistake Madison had made. Madison waited until she got into the car to cry.

Madison asked me, ‘Mom, why do people try to joke around and be funny by saying mean things to others and putting them down? They do it a lot.’ I didn’t have an answer for my 7 year old who’s eyes were filled with tears.

She has been accused of cheating at games because she ‘won’ too quickly, has been yelled at because when she is criticized without any positive reinforcement she shuts down and will completely ignore whoever is upsetting her to protect herself. Most kids wouldn’t be affected. Most could blow it off. That’s the double edge sword of giftedness that won’t be achieved by telling her to ‘get thicker skin’ or ‘to get over it’. It’s who she is for life and by doing those things I essentially would be telling her that something is very wrong with her for who she is. And she has now learned that you can’t change people. You can only control your own reactions and surround yourself by those who understand and care. A tough lesson for a young child to have to learn. It’s not easy and learning coping strategies has been one of our number one goals this year for both of us. 😉

I love my daughter more than anything because of who she is. Her characteristics and quirks are the core of her being. Once she is able to use them in a positive manner she will soar! I will never ‘squash’ her and try to make her someone she isn’t because her characteristics and traits are wonderful if understood and are what make her Madison. 🙂 So be proud of your Gifted child! Love and embrace their strengths and help them work through their problems with patience and understanding. All types of Gifted children are unique and wonderful!
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Summary of Our Gifted Journey

I’ve always noticed Madison was different, I just didn’t know why. Madison was born within an hour of my water breaking, I didn’t have time for drugs or for the doctor to show up. She had trouble transitioning and was put in the NICU for 10 days where she had Brady Cardiac arrests frequently. When she was born the nurses warned me that she would always be headstrong. I laughed. I was obviously completely clueless. The joke was definitely on me!

Madison continued to be a very difficult baby. She didn’t sleep for more than 15 – 20 min for daily naps. She screamed constantly. I could not take her out of the house. There would be times I didn’t leave the house for weeks. She was very strong-willed. And exhausting.
I noticed she met all of her milestones very, very early. It became extremely apparent between 12-18 months. I knew she was gifted but the rest of my family didn’t, so I decided to put her in Kindergarten without saying anything and to wait and see what her teachers/school thought. She tried to do her best to fit in, but she didn’t really and was coined as a behavior problem. I was lucky that her teacher was a Love and Logic teacher, so she helped Madison get through Kindergarten with positive reinforcement. She tested well in the Kinder GT test and showed many signs of giftedness so she was put on the ‘list’ to be tested for the GT at program in 1st, which is when they test for the program. And then came First Grade, aka Hell.

Madison and her teacher butted heads right from the start. So I set up a meeting and explained she was gifted and her characteristics and quirks. I immediately requested testing from the Gifted teacher at school. Madison was tested and only missed 3 questions on her COGAT test. I provided the documentation to her teacher to help her modify her teaching style, but it didn’t matter. The class was a dictatorship classroom and the problems got worse. Her GT teacher offered an after school enrichment class on her own time since GT pull out classes had been eliminated by the district. It helped Madison a lot, but not enough to prevent her from begging for me to Home School her. She hated school and dreaded it. I did some MAJOR research. I couldn’t figure out why MY child was having so many issues. Well, come to find out, there’s different types/levels of giftedness. And excitabilities. And all sorts of gifted quirks. Geeze.

So I set up another meeting with her teacher to discuss differentiation for Madison. That meeting absolutely tanked and she said some pretty horrible things about my child. I met with the administration with no avail.  I almost pulled her at that moment. The only reason I didn’t, was because an amazing thing happened…she got a Student Teacher. I’m not kidding, for Madison, it was a gift from God. Someone who made the world of difference in her life and was the reason she finished First Grade in the public school. I cannot even begin to tell you what a difference she made in my daughter’s life. In the meantime, I submitted Madison’s test results and she joined Mensa at the age of 6. I joined so we could find support. One of the best things I ever did!

I found a Psychologist that specialized in Giftedness. Our insurance didn’t cover her, but I didn’t care. I wanted to find out if my daughter was the problem or the public school system, and since she topped out of the COGAT test, I felt had to do more in-depth testing for answers. Dr. Lusby (who is professional and I HIGHLY recommend) did a History Questionnaire and Parent Interview session to discuss what test would be best suited for Madison and to discuss why I wanted her tested. Then she administered the WISC-IV.  She did a complete write-up on the results of the test and her behavioral observations of Madison and met with us to explain them.

I was so relieved because she saw the same child I know. It basically contradicted everything her teacher had said and documented about her. After seeing the results of the test and that there were no underlying behavior issues or disabilities (which can be masked by giftedness) my husband and I decided to seek out private schools. I loved the test Madison was given because it let us know her Verbal Comprehension, Perceptual Reasoning, Working Memory, and Processing Speed. When you score highly in all areas, your success in school should be greater, not poorer.

I searched several schools and found the perfect one. We applied and she was accepted, but is 3rd on the wait list. There is one class per grade with 16 students. We were ecstatic, there was now hope!

And then I became very aware of Education Reform. As I saw why I loved the private school so much, I realized sending her back to the public school would put her further behind and God knows, neither of us could handle another day of her crying when she got home because school was so awful. We had too many of those days. That’s when I decided to Home School until a spot opens up at the private school. I am very excited, as so is she. I have researched Giftedness to death. I know now that I will have to advocate for her for the rest of her life. I know I will have to have special people in her life to teach her extra curricular activities and I am SO grateful for the ones we have now that she is successful with. She is not an easy kid. Jeff and I pull our hair out on a daily basis. She is very unique. There is a specific way to motivate her and specific ways that destroy her soul. And unfortunately, most of the way things are taught are the destroyers to her. But once someone sees how to motivate her without crushing her, then she does amazing things and it is so amazing and rewarding.

She has come so far with learning how to deal with her characteristic traits and not ‘loose it’ and I am so proud of her. This is definitely a journey. I have provided my favorite articles I have read recently below. Also the contact information for Dr. Lusby. She is listed on the Hogies Gifted Site as well, but it took me awhile to find a Psychologist that is truly educated on giftedness. I wish pediatricians were as well. It would have saved me from being told Madison had ‘Princess Syndrome’ and that she needed punishment (ex. physically holding her into a corner of a public place for a time-out).

That is why I am writing this blog. Because being a parent of a Gifted child is tough. It’s exhausting and most of the time a very lonely experience. Trying to deny a Gifted child of their characteristics and telling them they should be a certain way is WRONG! Regretting what one thinks they should have done differently isn’t productive and doing what you feel is right as a parent going forward is what matters. As a parent, you are the one that knows your child best!!!

I dedicated my time to figuring out what was ‘wrong’ with my child and I have learned SO much along the way. I am dedicated to helping others learn about giftedness too, because the amount of time it took to figure out what was going on and to find the best path for me to lead my child down was DAUNTING!

More posts to come! And more that are in-depth. 🙂

Dr. Lusby Contact Information and Website

My Child is Gifted: Do You Think I’m Bragging Now?

Why Parents of Gifted Children are Turning to Homeschooling

There are GREAT resources on Twitter by searching the hashtag #gtchat

I LOVE the following pages on Facebook:

Practical Homeschooling

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

Supporting Gifted Learners

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