I had decided to blog by unit versus week and of course as soon as decide that, I realize this unit is really long and with all of the activities we have in the month of February it would be a really, really, really long post. So here is another week post.
When I began homeschooling it was with the intention of it only being temporary. We had found a private school we fell in love with and Madison was on the waiting list. Madison loved this school when she went to visit last year, but by October she expressed that she wanted to continue homeschooling even if a spot opened up. I received a call last week letting me know a spot had become available for the next school year. So we prayed and talked to Madison about it and decided the homeschool setting was the best fit for her. She is very happy and does not want to change a thing. So now we are in this journey for the long haul. That also changes my perspective on how we will do things going forward and after sharing this with Madison, she is delighted. (More on that later.)
We have started our Moving Beyond the Page Communities and Cultures Language Arts Unit. The books we are using for this unit are Adventures in Ancient Egypt and Adventures in the Middle Ages.
This week we discussed historical time periods and reviewed proper nouns, collective nouns and had a proper noun scavenger hunt. Madison colored and cut out paper dolls with clothing and accessories from Ancient Egypt and The Middle Ages. She drew homes from each time period and cut them out. We reviewed the settings in each book and Madison drew a setting for each time period. Then she glued the houses on and placed the paper dolls on each paper. She didn’t actually glue the house onto the setting for The Middle Ages because it wouldn’t fit. I am learning to let things like that go. 🙂 She grasped the concepts. We are good.
She read to page 31 in Adventures in Ancient Egypt and answered comprehension questions as well as recorded new facts. She is really fascinated with Egypt and has learned quite a bit over the past couple of years, but she was surprised to learn that the bread had sand in it due to the process of making the wheat into a grain and that the beer had clumps.
We discussed fact or fantasy regarding the book and learned a lot about the life in Egypt and the differences culturally as well as historically including basic needs and resources.
We also started our Moving Beyond the Page Communities Change Over Time Social Studies Unit. We discussed what a community is and identified the different needs and jobs of Native American Communities, a Roman and Greek Empire, and a Modern City. We compared similarities and differences from a community from a different time and place and our community. Then we learned how our community is always changing.
Madison really loves both of these units so we are taking our time with them. This is the beauty of homeschooling. We are not doing a LA unit and a Social Studies unit everyday, but just one a day and alternating between the two. This is working out very well.
Madison received her parts for the play she is learning in her homeschool acting class and has been practicing her lines everyday. She continues to practice piano and I think she enjoys doing the theory book more than actually playing the piano which is humorous to me. Madison was ecstatic to learn how to play kickball in her Homeschool PE class this week. She looks forward to being able to play it with the other kids at the park now that she knows how to play. Madison has made such wonderful friendships along this new journey. It is such a blessing. She also played in ‘teams’ during her Basketball Skills class and had a blast. While she was waiting for her team’s turn to play she and a close friend played rock, paper, scissors. They were smiling and laughing. Watching those childhood moments melts my heart.
In Lego Robotics class this week they had free build day. Madison’s Lego Robotics teacher, Mr. Michael is amazing. He is so positive, upbeat and patient. Mr. Michael always encourages the class to use their creativity while learning how to build with the different aspects of Lego Robotics. Madison always enjoys going to this class and looks forward to going to more at our local community center as well.
Here is Madison with her awesome teacher:
And here is the cool motorized car she built for free build day:
Madison finished reading The Indian in the Cupboard and several other books (we are working our way through the Newbery Award list.) She also watched the Boxcar Children on Netflicks and highly recommends it. She thought it was a great movie.
Madison continues to practice keyboarding and cursive. She knows all of the upper and lowercase letters so she is practicing writing sentences and I am encouraging her to write only in cursive. For some reason cursive is not as much fun now and she is not as excited about it….. 🙂
Groundhog Day was a huge hit. Madison loved learning about groundhogs and the history of Groundhog Day through books and a videos. She is not happy about the 6 weeks of winter, but she was somewhat relived when she learned that statistically Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions are not very accurate. 🙂
I did some assessment testing on Madison this week with mobymax.com to see if there were any gaps since she does do a lot of learning online. I am very pleased with the results. I told myself when she is two grade levels above her chronological grade we would do things very differently. And now that we are homeschooling long term we have the flexibility to do just that. We will continue Moving Beyond the Page, Wordly Wise, Handwriting Without Tears Cursive and Keyboarding, and reading up a storm. We are in the current process of evaluating our Math curriculum and will continue reading The Life of Fred. Jeff will also continue to read The Story of the World each evening. I am grateful for all of the choices in homeschooling curriculum that are created specifically for gifted children. It makes learning so much fun for Madison and by being able to use these specific curriculums she LOVES learning.
We will begin focusing more on interest led learning and project based learning. In other words Madison is going to let me know what she is interested in learning or doing and we will do it. We will still do the other subjects, but at a much slower pace. She will continue with all of her activities, extra classes and field trips. Another goal will be to incorporate more time for games, puzzles and building of Legos, K’NEX, etc.
Madison is really excited about this and has asked if we could start with Pompeii. We have a Kids Discover magazine on it, but I will begin researching fun ways for her to learn more and I am sure she will come up with her own project ideas. She was already trying to create one with her sweet potato with marshmallows on top when we ate out tonight for dinner. There is never a dull moment with her and her creative mind. I wish I had taken a video of it. That’s my next goal..take videos.
I am excited as our journey evolves and changes to fit Madison’s needs. That is the best part of homeschooling. I am fully embracing the needs and wants of my gifted child as I learn from others. This is what my child needs and I believe she needs to have more time to do them.
I am looking forward to the fun trip to the zoo we have planned this weekend, more learning fun and field trips and activities that are on the schedule for next week!
I am so grateful for the support I have from the local homeschooling group we are a part of. I am on a new journey of homeschooling and the suggestions and advice I receive each week may seem like small bits from those who give it, but they are like nuggets of gold to me. I value everyone’s input because they have experience and knowledge and for them to share it with me is priceless and helps me immensely. Every family is different and every child is different as well, but to hear ideas and various perspectives helps to guide me and adds a greater value to our homeschooling journey.
I love reading other’s perspectives in blogs and posts. I am also grateful for those that post how they are homeschooling. It allows them to share ideas with others. It is a great wealth of knowledge that expand my ideas and horizons.
I am grateful for the resources that are available to homeschoolers such as curriculum with teaching guides, co-ops, specialized classes, online curriculum or the knowledge and support that is shared in person or online from other homeschoolers. I am not saying everyone can or should homeschool. I am saying if someone wants to and is motivated, dedicated and utilizes the numerous resources and the knowledge available to them that they can successfully provide a quality education for their child.
Until those that doubt and question actually understand what homeschoolers do and how they do it, they will continue to have the stigma that children cannot ‘really learn’ unless they are in an actual school building. So while a degree in Education is necessary to teach a classroom full of students with different learning needs, I don’t think it is necessary for a homeschool parent to successfully teach their own children. My foremost concern is not with ‘those people’ who don’t or won’t take the time to understand, but rather with my child and her education and those who support it. I have every bit of confidence that Madison will learn much more than she would in a full school classroom that is taught to the test. Homeschooling also allows her to learn at her own pace and to be much happier because she is able to experience so many more hands on learning opportunities that are meaningful to her.
So do I think I am qualified to homeschool my own child? Despite what others may think, all that matters is that I know I am. Madison is living proof of that.
I was going to do a weekly update just to record what we are doing and as a way to look back to see what worked best and what didn’t, but it seems a little cumbersome. So I thought I’d do it by unit and hit the highlights.
Our last Moving Beyond the Page unit was a little rough. It had never occurred to me that Madison wouldn’t like the book that went with it. Well she really didn’t like it and so it was pretty hard to get through this one. It is to be expected that she won’t like every book, but it wasn’t something I had anticipated and it threw me for a loop. Fortunately, we made it through. 😉
Our unit covered the book Morning Girl and the Changing Environment. Madison had fun learning about plates and faults and tectonics. She recreated an earthquake to see what happens.
As I kept my camera close to try to get pictures of Madison doing her free time activities, I realized why I haven’t taken pictures. She’s always in her PJ’s. Yes, go ahead and judge, but that’s usually how we roll until its time to go somewhere. I’ve made a concentrated effort to have her change earlier each day. Sometimes. Sometimes it is our perk of homeschooling to be comfy. I usually go with what works best for us. 🙂
Madison enjoyed drawing with chalk, playing her Thinkfun Mind Games, and building with Legos.
One of Madison’s final projects was researching an endangered species. She already knows how to search for articles on the Internet, so I thought it would be fun to teach her how to find books at the library. She was really excited and loved it. She thought it was like a scavenger hunt. 🙂
First she looked up the call numbers on the computer. Then she went to find the two books she chose. And finally she found a table to sit down at to read and write her report.
I may be ‘Old School’, but I think it is still very important for kids to understand the Dewy Decimal System and to be able to find books at the library.
Madison continues to create wonderful pieces of art in her art class. She did a beautiful beach scene and always loves to do her art homework. This week it was of penguins.
Madison also started piano lessons and loves them. I hope the enjoyment of practicing and completing music theory doesn’t fade.
February is a very busy month for us full of lots of activities, classes and field trips. We are starting our new units Communities and Culture and Communities Change Over Time. We are also trying the new version of EPGY Math and Madison is very excited about it. I’ll be doing a separate post on that. I am very blessed that I have the opportunity to customize a rich and fulfilling education for Madison.
I wanted to share my top three favorite blogs from people who provide a wealth of great information and share from their hearts.
My favorite blog regarding giftedness is The Common Mom
My favorite blog for homeschooling is The Homeschool Mom Blog
My favorite blog that includes giftedness and homeschooling is My Little Poppies
All three blogs share genuine information that I enjoy reading and I believe many others would as well. Cheers!
I wanted to re-share the reason I started this blog. To bring awareness that gifted children are different than just bright or smart children.
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:
That sounds cool! Yay!
But giftedness isn’t just those things. All gifted children are unique. Gifted traits…
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Madison loves learning. Madison learns things very quickly that she is interested in. Madison loves seeing her progress and is very competitive.
This does not equal me hothousing her. It equals me providing opportunities for her to learn, how she wants to learn.
I am her mother and now her teacher and I will do anything to meet her her needs. I will ensure she’s on track if she chooses to go back to public school. I will ensure she can dig deeper into whatever subjects she’s interested in. I will protect her innocence and only expose her to what I feel is age appropriate.
This does not in any way equate to hothousing. I do not push her. I make her learn certain aspects of Math and complete assignments she isn’t particularly interested in. And she gets it. She understands ‘everything’ isn’t going to interest her in the same way and some things you just have to learn to move on. And it may be at a higher level. That is completely in her control. I make sure she does an appropriate amount of time and she grasps it quickly and moves forward at her own pace. That is her, not me. And I am willing to try new things to see if that helps her love of learning even if I am hesitant of the curriculum.
Just because a child learns things very quickly, doesn’t mean there is a parent pushing them to learn behind it. Parents of exceptionally and profoundly gifted children don’t have to hothouse their children to learn. They are too busy trying to keep up to even have the time. They are too busy trying to figure out what information they can provide to fulfill the hunger of learning in a satisfying way for their child.
And trust me when you have a child that does, you downplay it to most people and feel absolutely horrible for it at the end of the day. Like you betrayed your child and I will admit there isn’t a worse feeling in the world than that.
And if you are lucky enough to know people that understand, you surround yourself around them because you know you won’t be judged.
And then you wake up and do it all over again the next day. And hopefully day after day you begin to not care what others think and stop downplaying. And in return, stop feeling guilty. And learn to focus on the moments you can share without being judged or feel guilty for and you increase those moments you can share with others that understand and decrease the others. Because you finally understand that no matter what you say, it it won’t change the understanding. What truly matters are those who ‘get it’ even if it is in a different way. Because what works for one doesn’t work for another. But you can share what works and someone gets it, then that is the best feeling in the world. To be able to share without being judged. And those are the moments to be cherished.
Jeff just finished reading The Story of the World Volume One to Madison this evening. Volume One is Ancient Times. Next, they will move on to Volume Two, which is the Middle Ages.
I try my best to keep up with the Homeschool Facebook pages because they have such great suggestions on homeschool curriculum. I saw The Story of the World mentioned several times, so I went out and bought it. We already have a Social Studies curriculum through Moving Beyond the Page, so I thought this would be an added bonus as a supplement. Jeff started reading it to Madison as a bedtime story and she LOVED it. She chose it over any other choice of books every evening.
So I got excited and went out and bought the activity guide and test companion books. And as soon as I tried to start using them, Madison didn’t want to hear The Story of the World any more. Go figure, so I immediately put the companion books away. She gets so excited about what she has learned with Story of The World as a bedtime story, she can’t wait to tell me all about it the next day…… And so I have learned the joy of learning is driven by her and doesn’t include activities and testing and it doesn’t have to because she shares what she has learned every morning. She wants to learn because she enjoys it and it interests her. And that is such a beautiful thing. A concept I am fully learning to embrace for her.
And from the recommendation of other homeschoolers, I checked out Liberty’s Kids videos from the library. It is a fun cartoon about American History. And Madison loves them. She begs to watch them over anything else. No quizzes, no additional activities, just the enjoyment of learning without any strings attached. And the best part? The kid is a total history buff and not because of anything I’ve taught her, but because she is interested and is learning in her own way that is fun for her. She leads and I provide the tools for her to learn. That’s how it works. And amazingly enough, it is working!!!! I may still be somewhat ‘stuck’ in the brick and mortar ‘school mode’ of thought and caught up on exceeding objectives by a couple of grade levels, but I have come to realize that Madison will on her own terms in her own way and then some, if it interests her and she enjoys it. So my new goal is to be a whole lot less concerned with ‘objectives’ and more focused on how to help Madison learn in her own way. One that truly intrigues her. Because I have realized what she retains long term is from what she has enjoyed learning. From Science to Social Studies, English and Math. That is the one common denominator of retention for her, by loving and enjoying learning. And I am up to the challenge to find a way for her to enjoy each and every moment of it so she retains it for life. And btw, that is a lot of trial and error and it is challenging sometimes, but well worth it! 🙂
I have heard of many teachers who suggest parents of gifted children should have their child tested for ADHD. I challenge every teacher to watch this video and make sure they are very well informed before suggesting a gifted child be tested. It could save the future of a child.
Gifted children are misdiagnosed and the results of this can be devastating for them. If a gifted child is truly ADHD, then they should be diagnosed by a psychologist that specializes in giftedness. Hoagies gifted is a great place to search for a qualified Psychologist .
If you are in the DFW area, I highly recommend Dr. Lusby at Cornerstone Assessment and Guidance Center. She has the knowledge to help all gifted and 2e children.
For a gifted or 2e child, it really does matter to have a proper diagnoses from someone who has your child’s best interest at heart. Not what makes it easiest for a classroom setting.
This week was a really great week! Madison loves her Art class at the ArtHouse and completed a painting she titled ‘Tornado.’ I’ll be honest, it freaked me out a little with the smiley face. But, she did a fantastic job and I am proud of her. She had a lot of fun at a robotics workshop put on by North Texas Mensa Youth. She named her robot Hip Hop Bot. 🙂 And here is a video of it in action! Madison also had a blast creating with gears in her Lego Robotics class. Madison loves going on nature hikes. She loves the outdoors and would be outside all day, every day if she could! Madison is close to mastering her multiplication. She is now currently working on her 12’s. We will see if she can master them and retain them all long term. I was given some great information on visual-spacial learners and I am looking in to how to teach that type of learner as Madison has quite a few similarities regarding the things she struggles with, such as phonics, spelling and remembering Math facts. I came across some very helpful links on the Hoagies Gifted page.
Madison was very excited this week to do her EPGY Math. This is what makes homeschooling worth it. Hearing her say, ‘This is so awesome!’ She HATED Math in First Grade with the new curriculum and was very frustrated, so it makes my heart very happy to see her love Math. I love the fact there is a chart that shows me her progress and grade level for each subset of Math and as a whole. It also shows me her average percentage and the concepts she has learned with the scores. I don’t however know what she is going to learn. I am a bit of a control freak, so it has taken me awhile to come to terms with that being ok. Whatever system they use is working, so I guess I’ll go with it. She can’t get past the ‘EPGY’ guy. There’s no way she can ‘beat’ the system. She has to enter her answers and it will stay on the same section and explain it in further detail if she misses any. I really like that. They are coming out with a new version very soon. I will have the choice to stay with the version we have now if I choose. I am going to preview the new version in a webinar on January 21st. I am looking forward to it because I would like to see what it entails. I hate to change something if it is so successful. Yes, who moved my cheese…but when it comes to my daughter’s learning and Math especially, I am very cautious. My other hesitation is because she thinks the current version is ‘awesome and amazing’ and I am happy she is so excited to learn without extra frills. I am grateful they are allowing me the option to choose. I about had a meltdown until I found this out. 🙂 Now as she gets older this could change and I am also happy there is another option to help her stay excited about Math. 🙂
Here is a video of the new version that is coming soon! http://vimeo.com/111015615. They offer this to all schools. It would have been amazing if Madison could have learned Math this way. It doesn’t require any help from the teacher (trust me, I know) and they can soar to whatever heights they can. And it documents and tracks everything they do. It is a win/win and I personally think the schools that do not offer it to their Gifted students are missing out on a huge opportunity to raise the bar in their district. Here are some examples of what Madison is currently learning: Giftedandtalented.com also has articles, events, resources and research at the bottom of the page that are worth checking out. And free games in their Challenge Zone.
Madison was very excited to move from narrative paragraphs to informational paragraphs in EPGY English. She continues to work on sentence structure, sentence composition and parts of speech. We continued cursive and keyboarding with Handwriting Without Tears. Her Wordly Wise vocabulary words this week were cocoon, suitable, spanned, average, border, timber, moisture and fluttered.
Madison enjoyed reading the following books this week:
As you can see they are all not at her reading level. She enjoys books at her grade level too, so I make sure I include them. Just because she can read at a much higher level doesn’t mean she should all the time. She is still a 7 year old. 🙂
And we finished up:
I am continuing to read The One and Only Ivan to Madison:
This week we completed our Who is Helen Keller? unit from Moving Beyond the Page. As Madison read the chapters in the book she continued putting events on the timeline of Helen’s life and answered questions orally. She also learned about before and after adjectives (choice of words and grammar), Braille, learned that commas separate words in a list (grammar), made a timeline of her own life, mapped out Helen’s life journey on the East coast section of a map worksheet, wrote bio poems of Helen and herself, learned about author’s voice, practiced writing with voice, and created a biography scrapbook of Helen for her final project. Madison really liked ‘making Braille’ and seeing if we could figure out the words and creating her final scrapbook project. This curriculum really allows her to be creative and keeps her fully engaged. I am so glad we are using it, because Madison enjoys it so much.
Here is the timeline Madison created of events in Helen Keller’s life. Madison wouldn’t have had to use extra paper if she had put the events on the top and the bottom, but she will know for next time. 🙂 Here is the cover from Madison’s final project: The skills in this week’s unit were:
*Use text for a variety of functions including informational.
*Recall main, idea, facts, and details from a text.
*Describe concepts and information in own words.
*Write structured informative presentations and narratives when given help with organization.
*Read aloud with fluency and expression any text.
*Make predictions about text.
*Plan and make judgements about what to include in written and oral products.
*Use media and technology to enhance presentation.
*Increase oral and written vocabulary by listening, discussing, and composing texts when responding to literature that is read and heard.
*Discuss similarities and differences in events, characters, and concepts within and across texts.
*Connect and compare information within and across selections (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama) to experience and knowledge.
*Discuss the effect of an author’s choices for nouns, verbs, modifiers, and specific vocabulary which help the reader comprehend a narrative or expository text.
*Attend to spelling, mechanics, and format for final products in one’s own writing. *Use capitalization, punctuation, and paragraphs in own writing.
*Create a readable document.
*Use legible handwriting.
*Compose first drafts.
*Reread drafts for meaning and revise.
We also wrapped up our Moving Beyond the Page Sound unit. Madison did a sound demonstration, made a phone out of cups and string, learned about animals and sound waves, learned about high pitch and low pitch with musical bottles, a stereo spoon and other household objects, she learned about wind, percussion, and string instruments and made a homemade version of each, she learned about music, and her final project was designing her own instrument. That was her favorite part of this unit.
The skills for this week were:
*Show how frequency can be changed by altering the rate of the vibration.
*Show how the human ear detects sound with a membrane that vibrates when sound reaches it.
*Demonstrate how sound is produced by vibrating objects and vibrating columns of air. *Show how the size and shape of a variety of instruments can change frequency.
*Observe and describe how sounds are made by using a variety of instruments and other sound-makers, including human vocal cords.
Next week we will begin Morning Girl from Moving Beyond the Page for our Language Arts Unit. The standards we will cover in this unit are:
I am very excited about the new units. As we go, each unit seems to contain more and more exciting information! In next week’s post I am hoping to capture and record all of the hands on activities Madison does at home. Sometimes it takes a concentrated effort on my part to remember to grab the camera. I am going to try really hard because she does so many other things too like building her own creations with Legos or creating one by following the instructions (once and awhile, lol), snap circuits, fun games for one, drawing, imaginary play, etc… Here’s to another exciting week! Cheers!