The Priorities in Life

A runner who was out running with her dog came up to our house Sunday morning. She was desperate to find help because 3 dogs were loose and were running back and forth across Garden Ridge. She told me they had collars and that she didn’t have a phone to call their owner. I still feel guilty, because I didn’t immediately feel like jumping to help. This is a first for for me in that kind of situation. But I called for Jeff and he headed out. Madison and I followed shortly and with the runner’s help we were able to head in the direction of the dogs and grab them.

We called the owner and sat and waited for her to come pick them up. The runner was so grateful that we came to help. Madison had grabbed treats and since the dogs we had caught didn’t want any, she gave one to the runner’s dog. As we sat there I felt even guiltier…the dogs were tired and very sweet. They were having a huge adventure, but they were safe. When the owner pulled up and you could see their faces zero in on the car and their eyes light up and tails wag 100 miles an hour.They were so excited to see their mom! She was so grateful and slightly embarrassed they had gotten out.
The impact this had on Madison was huge. At this point I realized that I have been consumed by homeschooling and making sure I was on top of her education. It is exhausting and overwhelming at times and it’s a lot to have on ones’ shoulders. But it’s not as important as helping others in need and doing the right thing. 

God works in wonderful ways to remind us of what is important. It’s not being the star in a sport or having the most fun learning. It’s about being human and helping those around us. We used to foster puppies and dogs all the time and we had to stop due to our cat’s health. I really haven’t implemented other ways to give since then. There are many ways to help animals and humans. I am grateful for the many gentle reminders that tell me this what we need to make a priority in our lives. It matters and it is very important. As parents we have to lead by example. I am committing to doing just that. 

I recently saw a post from a friend on Facebook that hit home. Everyone’s busy, it’s all about priorities. This is so true. 

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The Incredible Journey of Giftedness

It’s been awhile since I have posted. I was very excited to start our school year and then we ran into an issue. I had increased the amount of writing Madison was doing and that didn’t work. 

I also noticed she couldn’t tell time past the hour or half hour. That was the biggest red flag. I did my research and unofficially concluded she probably has stealth dyslexia. The having trouble telling time, having trouble with her math facts, not being able to sound out words and her spelling was way out of wack. 

Here’s the catch though, she can read like a champ and her comprehension is stellar. Actually, her scores are great. We ended up testing her again with the ITBS, but at the fourth grade level so I could find her strengths and weaknesses. She scored a composite of 7.9 (seventh grade, 9th month.) same score for comprehension. She even scored a 6.5 in spelling. She had a score of 5.7 in Math computation. 

That is why I say ‘stealth’ dyslexia. She can compensate and she does. So now that I may or may not have figured it out, what do I do? 

I reached out to my homeschooling friends. One of my friends has a son who is dyslexic and she uses nessy.com. We did a trial for reading and Madison loved it. So I signed up. I decided to start her from the beginning (kindergarten) level. The way it teaches is awesome and she is making great progress learning phonics and spelling in a way that helps her. She can already read, so I’m waiting to see the difference in the spelling piece. 

In the meantime, I signed her up for their Math program. The Math focuses on telling time and multiplication facts. Now I have recently been on a mission to teach Madison to tell time in every way possible. You name it, I’ve done it. The most frustrating piece was a quarter to and a quarter past. She was so excited about the nessy program she spent hours on it and made it through in a week. She can now tell time. She can even tell you a quarter to and a quarter past. 

This means two things. 1. I am forever grateful and indebted to my friend because without her knowledge Madison still wouldn’t know how to tell time. 2. This confirmed to me that Madison is more than likely dyslexic. 

I decided to have Madison work with an OT for her handwriting. She has identified issues with Madison’s grip and pressure. She is amazing. Madison loves doing her OT exercises and going to OT appointments. She is also working with Madison on other sensory issues and I am so glad we are on the right track. 

So I’ve been preoccupied lately with figuring out the best approach for Madison. Needless to say our morning work routine was thrown out the window and that’s ok. She’s not a huge fan of bookwork anyway. (That’s putting it lightly.) 

If things don’t improve with the path we are taking, I have the option of having Madison do a nuero psych evaluation. It will cost us $1800.00, so I am going to see if what we are doing is working before taking the next step. I have a good feeling we are currently moving in the right direction.

With that said, I am feeling more grateful and more blessed that we homeschool. I truly believe there is no way this would have been caught in public school. I have the opportunity to customize what we do so it fits with how Madison learns. 

I know education is moving towards a definitive model of ‘one size fits all.’ Now I see articles that the gifted label should go away. I personally saw my child regress in public school because of this model. I have seen how she has thrived being homeschooled and by having the option to learn what she wants, when she wants and how deep she can go into what interests her.

Am I worried about if she’s on track? Not after testing her. When she’s at minimum of 3 grade levels ahead on some subjects and a maximum of 7 on others, I know we have taken the right path. Not allowing her to do this could have devastating impacts emotionally. I saw how being held back and misunderstood in public school affected her.  

At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what anyone else believes or what articles I see come across. I’ve read Ungiftedness and I thought it was a waste of money. I also understand it may be hard for others to see unless they have a gifted child. All that matters is that my child is happy and is doing what she wants to. She knows at any moment she could go back to school. It’s her choice. I didn’t ever plan to homeschool, but I do it for her, because it’s what she wants and feels she needs. 

I don’t blame her. She went from a year of this everyday after school: 

  
To this everyday, all day:

  
I’ll make any sacrifice I need to for her and do what it takes, because I’m her mom. 

Our Plan for Gifted Homeschooling 2015 – 2016 – English/Language Arts, Reading and Spelling

This post has affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

I am working hard this year to be prepared and have a plan on everything I would like to cover in September, October, November and December. I am going to break down what I plan on covering by subject. This post will focus on English/Language Arts, Reading and Spelling. We will start our day with our new morning routine which also includes Grammar and Comprehension.

We will continue with our Moving Beyond the Page Language Arts Curriculum. It will include reading:

Little HouseLittle House in the Big Woods

The Sign of the BeaverThe Sign of the Beaver

Native American Animal StoriesNative American Animal Stories

Ben and MeBen and Me

The Lion, the Witch, and the WardrobeThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The BFGThe BFG

Madison will also continue EPGY from GiftedandTalented.com. Between EPGY and Moving Beyond the Page we are covered for English/Language Arts, Reading and Spelling. As of right now, Madison is at 4.75 in Fourth Grade EPGY Language Arts, so next year Madison is planning on getting through at least Fifth Grade. The Student Course Details outlines what is specifically covered in each grade. You can save 10% off of any course giftedandtalented.com offers by using my personal advocate code PGEK2FP when checking out.

I really like Wordly Wise 3000, so we will be continuing on to book 4 this year. I think vocabulary is extremely important. Moving Beyond the Page has quite a bit of vocab, so using Wordly Wise 3000 is overkill, but we are doing it anyway. 🙂 We use the Student book, Answer Book and Test booklet.

Our Plan for Gifted Homeschooling 2015 – 2016 – Our New Morning Routine

This post has affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

Pictures 041Last year, our first year of homeschooling I thought I had a plan, but with hindsight being 20/20, I really didn’t.

This year I feel much better about what will work for us and what won’t. I am going to try to integrate a lot more into our curriculum this year because I bought a lot of things and I would like to use them. I am an out of sight – out of mind kind of person, so I am creating a plan to keep myself on track. There is a lot so I am going to break it down by subject. Before I do that, I am going to lay out our new morning routine.

I am going to attempt to have Madison doing morning work independently. My plan is to have her do the following every morning on her own:

*Grade 2 Comprehension and Critical Thinking. This is a Grade 2 level, but I had bought it awhile ago and we never used it, so I thought it would be good as a morning warm up to get her brain jump started and to practice handwriting at the same time.

*Level 2 Nonfiction Comprehension Test Practice. This is a Level 2, but for the same reasons as above I believe it will be perfect for morning warm ups.

*Grammar Minutes Grade 3. A great review of basic grammar in a quick and easy way so Madison doesn’t forget.

*Daily Journal Prompts for Grades 1-3. Madison is not fond of writing, so this gives her a choice between two daily prompts and she picks one and writes a paragraph. It is a good, quick, fun warm-up.

*Geography Regions of the U.S.A. Madison scored ‘at grade level’ for her Map Skills, so we are going to work on those with this workbook each morning.

I plan on starting out by having a list for her each morning that she can check off on her own for her morning routine. I am trying to establish a morning routine that enables Madison to complete her morning work without me having to tell her what to do step by step and that she can complete it in a timely manner.

I will let you know how that works out for me. 😉

Our Week of Gifted Homeschooling – The Rest of July 2015

Madison had a great time attending Vacation Bible School this week. I also had scheduled Speech and Debate Camp before I realized it would be the same week as VBS. So she did VBS Monday, Thursday and Friday and Speech Camp Tuesday and Wednesday. Madison was one of the 6 chosen to receive a certificate out of 27 in the Speech and Debate competition. Jeff and I were thrilled. Madison was upset she didn’t get First Place. She’s a perfectionist and always wants to be the best. We had a very good discussion about how that takes effort and time and how to be a good sport.

Madison loves VBS. She had a great time and looks forward to her religion class starting back up in the Fall.

   We don’t do school during the weeks she is in a camp during the summer. I was excited to use this time to myself to plan and get ready for next year’s curriculum. I bought a bunch of extra stuff and I’m trying to figure out how to fit it all in so that we actually use it. I’m still working on it, but that post will be coming soon.

In the meantime, Madison has had fun doing things around the house, like making a clay pot with her new pottery wheel. I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer and staying cool!

Gifted Student Advocacy 

Since I have chosen to homeschool, I will admit I have given up on public schools accommodating  gifted learners. To an extent. But when I see an article like this one, it gives me hope.  If only those who made the decisions on children’s education would listen.  It’s not just one person or one section of Education. It’s all. Educators, Administration, School Boards and Policy Makers…..

http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/04/25/what-do-we-risk-losing-by-not-challenging-gifted-kids/

Do not let down a life of child. It is heartbreaking. Research and provide assistance for gifted and 2e children. Test scores will rise. It is a win/win situation that all are missing out on.  Most importantly the students.

Validation of Choosing to Homeschool a Gifted Child

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We were all blown away.

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

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

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

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