This is 100% on point!
Tell someone that your child is gifted and they’ll probably roll their eyes. They might wait until you’re not looking, but eyes will roll.
Tell someone that your child is at risk for not finishing high school, more likely to struggle with depression, at an increased risk of suicide, or even more likely to be incarcerated than the general population, and you’ll probably get more concern than eye rolling.
Of course most parents of gifted children realize that I’m saying the same thing. But many people have no idea.
Many people feel that the label of gifted is unfair – that is somehow implies that children who do not make often arbitrary sounding cut offs on IQ tests or other criteria are not smart, talented or in any other way special. And I would agree, it does imply that, and that has done a huge disservice to everyone, gifted children…
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The Dallas Arts District is an amazing place for children and offers so many kid friendly learning opportunities. The first Saturday of each month, the Nasher Sculpture Center hosts Target First Saturdays. On Target First Saturdays admission to the Nasher Sculpture Center is free and they have super fun activities for pre-school and elementary children all day! Madison really enjoys this event each month.
Here Madison is taking a peek while they are setting up the newest exhibition.
Here is the line up of activities for the Target First Saturday.
Madison started out with the scavenger hunt activity and went around to find the piece of art by looking at a picture hint and wrote the artist and title of each piece. They are different each month.
Here is what the scavenger hunt looks like. When she is all finished she turns it in and receives a prize!
After the Scavenger Hunt we went to do the Children’s Art Activity. This month it was a Time Capsule.
On prior visits we have taken the Family Tour and have done the other activities and they are a lot of fun! This trip we decided to check out other happening in the Arts District. We took a quick walk about a block to Klyde Warren Park. The Perot Museum was hosting a special project there about space. The Perot Museum has free themed family activities the first Saturday of each month at Klyde Warren Park. This month the theme was Space.
Klyde Warren Park has many wonderful features and is a lot of fun for kids!
They have a children’s park and another area with games like miniature golf and Foosball!
After having lots of fun in the 100 degree heat at Klyde Warren Park we headed over to the Dallas Museum of Art. They have a great free program called DMA Friends where you can earn points to use towards rewards! General admission to DMA is free!
Here is Madison signing helping me sign up for the DMA Friends program.
We went just to look around, but they offer many family friendly programs to check out!
Madison had me take her picture next to her favorite pieces of art.
She really enjoyed looking at all the paintings.
There were sections where she was encouraged to touch and feel different textures.
She asked to see the Egyptian art and came across a mummy.
And then realized you could see it’s toes…
We can’t wait to go back and will post more about the different types of art we see. The Dallas Arts District has so much to offer families. It was a great Homeschooling Field Trip!
Madison enjoys her extra-curricular activities, especially her art class!
Here is Madison at art class:
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!” 🙂
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.
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.
Then she carefully placed them inside food coloring for the evening.
In the morning they looked like this:
And after they dried:
Madison really enjoyed making them.
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.
When she found a caterpillar outside she ran and grabbed her magnifying glass to get a closer look.
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…
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 time4learning.com 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. 🙂
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. 🙂
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.
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!
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.
The next stop was for a hands on learning activity at the Texas Native Wetlands gallery.
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.
Madison’s desk was all set for her first day of school:
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.
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.
Madison also enjoyed learning about crystals and building her own electronic bird.
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!