Jumping Through Hoops

Madison loves to create. Especially when it comes to nature. She builds things with mud and leaves and sticks. Someday I am sure I’ll understand why she has done this since she could walk. But for now I don’t try to make sense of it, I just enjoy that she’s happy.

She is on a journey that she has chosen. One that I have stressed out about since the day we made the decision to homeschool. And one that I still do not understand, but have leaned it’s not my choice to. It just is what it is and she is who she is. 🙂

As our path has gone faster than the goals she had initially set for herself, there have been many hoops that we have had to jump through. And despite all of the hoops things are falling into place.

As part of this new journey, Madison is required to get a State ID card. Loaded with paperwork and documents we set off to our local DPS office. Upon arrival and after standing in a line to get into the DPS office I was told I was missing one piece of a supporting document. At this point I was frazzled since it was already over an hour wait. The sweetest lady checking us in suggested Madison take the number in line and to go wait if she was comfortable doing so while I ran home to get her immunization record. ❤️💕 I wish I would have gotten her name and I might go back later just to see what her name was because she was SO kind to everyone there and that was amazing beyond words in itself and she should be recognized for that. Anyone who goes above and beyond should.

So I ran home to grab the immunization record I had just gotten a couple of days prior when Madison received her meningitis vaccine and flu mist. I am always questioning if what we are doing is the right thing. I know in my heart it is, but sometimes the logic gets in the way and self doubt seeps in. As I was driving back to the DPS office and self doubting, the song ‘The Wall’ by Pink Floyd came on the radio. And with that a smile came across my face along with a sense of peace. The self-doubt vanished.

When I returned to the DPS office Madison was sitting quietly reading her book. We waited for another couple of hours and then we were up.

I had the State ID form filled out, her birth certificate, social security card, immunization record, and an affidavit for proof of residency with my two required documents. We needed an affidavit because Madison couldn’t prove residency on her own with the documents needed. The paperwork was turned in, Madison’s thumb prints were taken and her picture and viola….she is now the proud 11 year old child of a Texas State ID.

She sailed through the second hoop of her recent journey. The rest of the hoops and the back story is yet to come….. Two down and seven more to go…

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Finding Your Child’s Tribe

Having a child that isn’t like other children her age is challenging. Not only it is challenging for them intellectually, it is challenging emotionally and socially. And thus, it’s challenging for a parent to meet all of those needs. Especially at one time.

Madison found her “tribe” through the resources offered for Davidson Young Scholars and was so happy. She loves the online classes and her classmates from the online classes offered by Davidson Academy and Athena’s Advanced Academy. She has found her tribe online for the most part, but it’s also important to find it locally as well. Sometimes that can seem daunting and impossible. It can take many tries to find it by trying new things that you wouldn’t think would be a fit. It also may be a matter of waiting until the right age.

Over the years, Madison has found her tribe in different places. And when one door closed or stopped being the same you have to look for a new door to open.

Helping them find their tribe is very, very important. For a PG kid I feel it’s more important than academics. And listening to them on what works and what doesn’t is important as well. And of course actions speak louder than words, so you must have your eyes wide open.

It takes work as a parent of a gifted child to provide them with opportunities that allow them to choose their interests and what they like. And to be ok with them changing their mind. It can’t be based on what’s easiest or is in a parent’s best interest.

And that my friends is why parents of gifted kids are exhausted. LOL. But to see the happiness and the smiles is worth it all. Not just that, but the sense of fitting in. The sense of belonging to something that is bigger than just yourself and making a difference. Seeing that in your child is worth all of the ups and downs and changes.

Madison leads and we follow and support her, but we also provide different opportunities and make her move outside her comfort zone to try different things. You can’t grow if you are always comfortable.

She has to make sure she has had a change of heart before dropping something. It isn’t an instantaneous thing. It’s a process that takes awhile. And so is finding new interests.

Madison is always evolving. She always has and always will. I like structure and constants. I’ve had to move out of my comfort zone and have had to adapt to her choice of changing and growing. I had to make sacrifices financially for myself to make opportunities available for her (since she is not old enough to work.) I have had to continuously research different opportunities and activities for her. I have had to put myself in her shoes to think of good fits to pursue. And so far it’s been a great ride and continues to be. They are only young once and we only get one shot.

A child may be good at something, like really good, but that doesn’t mean they will enjoy it for the long run and that is ok. ❤️💕 It’s actually more than ok. Keep seeking new opportunities to try all the time. Some will click and a tribe might be found in the process. Many times over with the different seasons of life.

Fulfilling Our Civic Duty

I love this post and I think it is such an important reminder that we set an example to our children to fulfill our civic duty and pass the importance of they on to them. ❤️💕 Please take a moment to read this post. It is worth the while!

A Homeschool Mom

fulfilling_our_civic_duty

“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government…” Mid-terms are upon us and it’s time to turn our attention to the voting booth. As citizens of this constitutional republic, wherein we are blessed to participate in this experiment of self-governance, we have a civic duty to be proactive in electing representatives and voting on legislation.
~ U.S. Constitution – Article 4 Section 4

As parents, not just “homeschoolers”, it’s our duty to teach our children about fulfilling their civic duties. While our children’s textbooks taught them government and civics, we thought it was time to start putting what they learned into practice. So this year I decided to include the whole family in the voting process; a practice we intend to continue, hopefully, for the rest of our lives.

Begin the Voting Process With Prayer

During the Constitutional Convention, Ben Franklin declared:

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The Straw That Broke the Camel’s Back

When Madison went to public school I saved all of her papers. Every single one. It’s a good thing she only attended Kinder and First Grade. 😉

I went though all of these papers recently to throw away the ones that I didn’t want to keep. As I did this many thoughts and emotions emerged. I had no idea something so simple would illicit such feelings, but it did.

It was fun to see her creativity in her drawings. I kept all of those. As I looked at each of the worksheets I felt awful. They were dull, boring and redundant. The memories of her coming home crying because school was so boring and awful all came flooding back. I feel horrible that I made her go through that and I wish I could take it back. At least I can be grateful she didn’t have to endure any more than she did. The learning at public school versus homeschooling was a night and day difference. That is why I feel so guilty now.

Here is the stack I recycled:

And here is the stack that I kept:

Worksheets just cannot replace hands on learning. It’s not the same. Especially in First Grade. 😢 But, this wasn’t what made me feel the worst.

As I went through her papers I found the one that broke the camel’s back. The one that solidified my decision to homeschool after much advocating. The squirrel math sheet.

If only I had known it was going to be so much more than me being mad about this one worksheet that was worth 5 or 6 objectives on the grade card…..

As you can see…Madison had to represent the equation by drawing pictures. She got this one wrong because even though In her mind the squirrel at the bottom of the tree is ‘running up’ because his feet are on the tree, but she was counted wrong because the squirrel’s rear is on the ground.

What did that mean? It means Madison did not know what 12-4 was. 🙄 Along with 5 other objectives on the grade card. All based on this worksheet. I found that to be insane.

Little did I know…because she was required to draw pictures, write words, make tallies, AND draw either a number line or the circle chart as you see above, as well as write the equation, this would prove to become a huge issue. When she started homeschooling she didn’t think she could solve a problem WITHOUT doing these. 😳😳😳😳

There were major tears for a long time. And apparently she wasn’t the only one. I heard it was the same for a couple of other kids that were pulled to homeschool at the same age.

As I was sorting through her papers, I looked back on this time in her life and felt guilty. I tried to advocate for her best interest and failed, and had a lot of bitterness and resentment towards those who chose not to help. When I started homeschooling I felt Madison was missing out on those special activites her former classmates got to participate in. But now…..I realize this was all a blessing in disguise.

Madison didn’t miss out at all and I am grateful my advocating failed. If it hadn’t, she would have missed out on SO much more. She is a happy kid. She definitely was miserable in school and I know it would have gotten worse. I got my kid back before I lost her forever. Her creativity, outside the box thinking, everything that makes her, her is still there. She was not molded to fit inside the box. She has the freedom to do what she wants, when she wants and how she wants. Don’t get me wrong, she still has teachers, assignments and due dates, but now she loves her teachers and her assignments. She loves her online classes as well as working in groups with classmates from across the country.  She’s even had opportunities to meet many of the teachers and classmates in person.

Madison has always known what is best for her and what she wants to do. I couldn’t be more proud of her.

From that day forward she chose the destiny of the squirrels. 😉

Gifted Homeschool Curriculum Update October 2018

This year we are keeping things pretty straight forward as far as classes go. Madison is taking  Prealebra 2, and then Intro to Algebra A, Critical Reading and Writing, Biology, World Geography, and Philosophy. She is also continuing Wordly Wise Book 8.

So far this year has been busy, but great. She is currently getting A’s in all of her classes.

Madison was excited to get her Invisalign and has been doing a great job wearing her trays.

Yesterday I felt as though a big weight had been lifted off of my shoulders regarding Madison’s future education. I will write a post on why when we have details solidified. 🙂

Homeschooling a Radically Accelerated Profoundly Gifted Child

Raising Madison has been a trip. She’s a trip. There’s no other way to explain it really.

In a nutshell, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I agreed to homeschool her. I had no idea what she could accomplish was even possible and I second guessed myself a lot along the way. I stayed up at night worrying and even woke up in sweats from fear of making the wrong choice.

Faith. Having faith is what got us to where we are today. Faith in Madison and in myself. It was actually easier to have faith in her than it was to have it in myself.

I chose the picture of her on her first day of Second grade. This was our first year of homeschooling. She hated public school. I will always regret making her go. She went for two years and begged and cried all through First grade begging me to homeschool her. We had her tested and advocated to no avail, so I agreed. She joined Mensa at the age of 6 in hopes of finding connections and for me to find support. I did a lot of research and found really good groups online to help.

I started this blog to document our journey and I am SO glad I did. When we started out I told her that she could go as slow as she wanted and could have a ton of free time or as fast as she wanted. She chose fast. She hasn’t deviated from that at all.

I learned very quickly that Madison only has to learn something once and she’s got it. She doesn’t need to review. Unless it’s Math. That’s a different story. That was a hard concept for me to grasp. That it was possible for someone to be able to do that.

I was questioned pretty hard by my family when we made this choice, so at the end of Second grade, I tested her with the Iowa Basic Skills Test for Second grade. That was a joke, she maxed the entire thing out. So, at the beginning of Third grade I gave her the Fourth grade Iowa. Again, maxed it out. I waited until the end of Fourth grade and gave her the Seventh grade Iowa. She didn’t max it out, but she passed with flying colors. At that point I decided we were good and I didn’t need to test her again and I haven’t. Family was appeased. I was freaked out.

We utilized advance curriculum for awhile and did all the hands on homeschooling events we could. The science museum, orchestra, art museum, etc. She had a blast, but they got repetitive after awhile. During this time, I really had to learn to trust her. I would have to ask her what she already knew, because she didn’t want to waste time relearning it. It was a very scary time for me. I just had to pray I was doing the right thing. During this time I also let her choose what she wanted to learn.

Our paths connected with a group of people who who had PG children (profundity gifted.) They spoke of the Davidson Young Scholar Program and how much support it provided. I had just had Madison retested through our psychologist for a neurological evaluation and she qualified for this program, but I was intimidated for applying for some reason. I was already overwhelmed and it seemed like extra work, but with encouragement, I did. Thank God I did.

When Madison was accepted, the doors started opening. It was like the clouds parted for the sun to shine through.

I knew that there would be a point when I could no longer teach Madison. Ha! That statement isn’t really true, let me rephrase that. I knew there would come a time when Madison wouldn’t be able to solely teach herself. 😉 I was waiting to sign her up for online courses until that time, because they were expensive.

That time came sooner than we expected just because she needed the social interaction of like peers. The Davidson Academy has accredited online classes. We signed her up and she LOVED it. We also signed her up for courses through Athena’s Advanced Academy. She loved those too. She did online chess lessons with the same peers and suddenly everything came full circle. She was having friends she knew from different areas of learning that were part of other areas. She became super excited. And this summer she got to meet them in person. ❤️💕

It works so much better for us when she has a teacher and a classroom, even if it’s online. I’m not a teacher, I never was, and I never will be. LOL. I’m ok with that. I am a facilitator for Madison’s education. That’s always been my role and will continue to be.

She wants to go to college when she’s 12. That’s been her goal from day one. We have her enrolled in the Duke Tip 7th grade talent program and she’s scheduled to take the ACT next year. We did a practice test without prep and she did very well.

Her goal is to start dual credit classes online through the community college. That’s her goal. So, if she can pass the ACT so I have some scores to take to them that either they’ll accept or will convince them to let her take the TSI then I think we have a path laid out. She’s a pro at online classes already. She sets the goals and I do the advocating and try to figure out how to make them work. The age requirement for dual credit classes is 14. Thus, the need to advocate.

I can’t think about it too much or it blows my mind and I stress out and worry. She’s always been the one telling me that it’s ok.

Now, as far as childhood is concerned. I have heard more times than not, just let them be a kid. Well, I have learned along the way that there are different definitions of that. I am doing what makes Madison happy. Her path isn’t robbing her of being a kid. If I made her do what society defines as being a kid, she’d be miserable. We tried not doing much academically. “Taking a break.” It’s just not who she is.

And my definition of what a childhood is is not hers. So when I mourn the ‘loss’ of her not being a kid, I’m just mourning something she doesn’t fit into. That’s not something to mourn. It’s something to embrace and be proud of, because it’s who she is and it’s what makes her happy. And don’t get me wrong, that kid still can’t go outside with getting muddy from head to toe, every.single.time. She’s definitely a kid. But she also enjoys putting together complex LEGO kits while listening to audio books in her free time or writing books. She’s totally self driven and it’s almost impossible to make her do anything she doesn’t want to do.

I don’t have a handbook. There isn’t one for kids like this. All I have is the wisdom of those that have gone down this path before me and the peers that I learn from everyday that are figuring out the same path. I take their experience and keep it close to my heart. We are making it up as we go. And we are finally at the point where her goals that she set from the beginning are in sight.

This article made me feel much better.

https://blogs.tip.duke.edu/giftedtoday/2017/02/10/what-happens-to-students-on-the-college-fast-track/

When you have a child like this you have to trust them. Figure out how to provide what they need to accomplish their goals. Always follow their lead. And don’t think about it too much. Just understand it’s your reality and accept it. Even if it freaks you out. ❤️ Love then for who they are and support them 100%. Listen to them.

When we started Third grade, Madison refused to hold a First Day of School sign that had a grade. 😉 Maybe she will in 2019-2020. LOl.

The Dog Days of Summer

I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer! We are winding ours down and gearing up for the new school year.

Madison kicked her summer off with attending a YMCA camp on the lake. She enjoyed horseback riding, boating/tubing, the B.B. range, field games, and swimming. She came home dirty and tired each day. It was great!

Madison had her Speech Tournament and came in First Place for Junior Persuasive. We were very proud of the effort she put into her speech and competing. She won a $250 scholarship for college by taking first place!

She also enjoyed STARS camp and Summit. It was definitely worth the trip. Madison was able to meet her teachers in person, her classmates, and made new friends. ❤️❤️❤️ I cannot even explain how much of a difference this camp and weekend had on her life.

She met her chess coach in person again. He is a wonderful mentor to her.

She was thrilled to meet her favorite teacher, Dr. Kirsten Stein, in person. Madison takes classes at Athena’s Advanced Academy, and Dr. Kirsten is a phenomenal teacher. Madison is taking Philosophy and World Geography this Fall. Her class is filled, but if they get enough students the second class will be a go.

Madison also got to meet Jim Weiss again this year. He is inspirational and she loves listening to his stories.

During Summit Madison was able to meet her teachers and classmates for her Fall online Davidson Academy classes.

I missed Madison while she was at STARS camp, but she did not miss us at all. She had the best time of her life. She had never been away from us for an evening, let alone a week and I was worried, but I’m glad she went. ❤️

Madison has kept busy this summer with planting plants into pots and taking care of them, playing chess, and continuing school.

She is taking Pre-Algebra 1 through Art of Problem Solving, attending SQUILT live, and completed The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Elijah of Buxton, Microbiology and Cell Theory, and Genetics and DNA.

She is currently working on Human Body Systems and ACT prep. Madison took a practice ACT test at home and did pretty well, so she is going to prep for it and take it this upcoming school year. Her goal was to take it when she was 12, but she’s ahead of schedule so….

My next post will be about raising a radically accelerated academic child.

Madison really enjoyed dissecting an earthworm and then looking at its organs under a microscope.

Madison has been pretty busy, but is always reading. This summer she has read Lad: A Dog, King Arthur: Tales from the Round Table (Dover Children’s Evergreen Classics), and she is currently reading Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Penguin Clothbound Classics).

We had some very sad moments this summer. Suzanne Nasser, the Director and Founder of DFW Speech and Debate passed away suddenly on June 28th. She was Madison’s mentor and was her nominator for Davidson Young Scholar program. We are still in shock and are very saddened. Jeff and Madison attended her memorial service and said it was beautiful. Suzanne was an amazing person who not only homeschooled her own children who her legacy will live on through, but she impacted thousands of other lives. Suzanne, we miss you and we will never forget you.

Last week we had to say goodbye to our 15 year old cat Sebastian. That is never easy, but we know he is happy now and no longer in pain.

We are looking forward to cooler weather and the normal routine of classes and activities to start!

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