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#1 of 20 Old 05-23-2012, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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how many of you homeschool?  My DD (and Ds1, I believe, too, but he's younger) have been going to a tiny montessori school up to this point but it's not a great fit and costs a LOT (and will cost more next year because they'll both be full time), so we're planning to homeschool next year.  DD's teacher says she's pretty on target for kindergarten for emotional/social stuff (she's 6), but at about 3rd grade intellectually and in terms of her ability to focus.  So... I guess my question is mostly about trying to pick a curriculum.  Do I just go with a third grade curriculum?  Do I find some kind of thing geared toward gifted children or make it more difficult in some other way?  What do you do if you're homeschooling a gifted child?


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#2 of 20 Old 05-23-2012, 01:31 PM
 
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Our son was tested gifted in elementary school.  His emotional maturity and intellectual maturity difference wasn't an issue in the early years but, by the time he was in 5th grade, it was very apparent and was impacting his over all behavior at school and at home.  So, starting with 6th grade, we chose to home school him instead of inflicting middle school on him.  We went with a language arts curriculum that is not grade-specific, Saxon for math, high school textbooks for science and history.

 

If we had decided to home school from the beginning, I would have used a non-grade specific unit studies curriculum like Konos.
 


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#3 of 20 Old 05-23-2012, 05:10 PM
 
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My kids have all homeschooled until at least age 12.5. My older two started school at almost-15, my middle dd at 12.5. My 9-year-old continues to homeschool.

 

We didn't really do any curriculum until about a 2nd/3rd grade level, and then it was minimal. We started with a bit of math at that point and added in a bit of science a year or two later. Those were the only systematic curriculum they did until the 6th or 7th grade level. When we started stuff we'd usually look at on-line samples or placement tests to find the right level. Writing has not come easily for some of my kids, so I didn't want to overwhelm them with lots of bookwork. We tended to use curriculum mostly to fill gaps, not challenge. Challenge came from hobbies, passions and other sorts of unschooled learning. My kids, like many gifted kids, don't learn through systematic stepwise teaching, which is how curriculum tends to be organized. Instead they learn in great intuitive leaps, followed by periods of integration. Any time I felt a need to administer curriculum systematically I'd meet resistance and frustration from my kid, eventually I'd back off, and then a month or three or six later I'd suddenly realize they'd magically absorbed a year or more's worth of skills and knowledge with no systematic curricular work at all. 

 

Just checked back to what my youngest was doing in her first-grade year. We used Singapore Math 4th grade. We read historical fiction aloud together. She read tons of other fiction and non-fiction independently. She didn't write much, but her handwriting and spelling improved anyway. We did visits to historical sites, went on lots of hikes, she was involved in aikido, violin and piano. Science learning was a big area that year, but we used no curriculum: it was just independent reading, gardening, looking after animals, watching documentaries, asking lots of questions, cooking and baking, exploring lots of stuff outdoors and asking millions of questions.

 

In general I think grade-levelled curriculum-in-a-box is tends to be a poor fit for most gifted kids. Eclectic or unschooling seems more likely to have the flexibility to accommodate their precocity, asynchronous development and scant need for systematic teaching or review. Singapore Math has a good reputation for being appropriate for gifted kids in the Primary years. Art of Problem Solving also seems very strong for middle and high school kids.

 

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#4 of 20 Old 05-23-2012, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I had expected to go eclectic/relaxed and unschool-y, but I've just thought it might be helpful to have a curriculum to follow if we somehow end up off track or something.


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#5 of 20 Old 05-23-2012, 06:05 PM
 
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I have a 6.5 year old who is gifted and we homeschool.  I agree that any "boxed" full curriculum will probably be both expensive and a bad fit.  One thing we do that works really well is buy individual resources (not necessarily "curricula") to help explore different areas.  Even though we do a Waldorf-inspired homeschooling with circle time and handwork, we also are very keen to have dd explore our interests and do enriching things together as a family (like hiking, museums, gardening, baking/cooking from scratch, painting, drawing, etc.).  I buy various resources from A Critical Thinking Company, Amazon (I just look up whatever I'm interested in us exploring--like Native American crafts, or books on science experiments), and I do use some traditional curricula sites like Oak Meadow or places that sell pieces individually and you don't have to buy an entire package deal.  Rainbow Resource has a good catalogue for perusing many resources that are out there.  We also love logic games and puzzles from ThinkFun (you can get these on Amazon), and lots and lots of free play time with enriching materials (which for dd is music and art supplies, usually).  Next year for grade 1 we are using a math workbook and grammar book from A Critical Thinking Company, Fairy Tales from Oak Meadow grade 1, Nature books from Yesterday's Classics, Noble Knights of Knowledge, a variety of ThinkFun logic puzzles, Set, All About Spelling (because dd wants to spell more words) ... so a whole smattering of resources.  This doesn't include seasonal songs and stories, fingerplays, and artistic handwork that we do in addition.  I think you need to just get a feel for what you'd like to do together and just play around on the internet to see what resources are out there.


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#6 of 20 Old 05-23-2012, 08:30 PM
 
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Another chiming in to say the "big box" curriculum, as we call it, likely won't be a good fit. After researching for a few years, I've come to the conclusion that nothing will be a good fit. There are individual items I'd like to purchase along the way but I've found my money is better spent on experiences like meet ups and museums, etc.

 

We're homeschooling our just turned 6yodd, we also have two teens in public school and a 2.5yo. We've definitely taken firm grasp of a eclectic method but mostly unschool. I follow dc's lead and that's where we go. DD's really focused on violin and reading right now so that's what we're working on with her and 2yo ds is concentrating on letters, phonics and trains so that's what he's been doing.

We do a lot of puzzles, have multiple museum memberships, and belong to a couple of meet ups around our area and participate in a few of their activities as well.

DC have access to a lot of craft materials, there's almost always something going on there. I currently have a partially completed robot model called "The GPS" hanging out on the kitchen table. We're going out to hunt for parts tomorrow after violin lesson.

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#7 of 20 Old 05-23-2012, 10:28 PM
 
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Our newly- five year old might be gifted, not sure, but he is advanced. He is all over the map as far as "grades" go ( 1st -2nd grade math, 4th grade reading' poor handwriting, etc) so we just choose curriculum or books or activities for each subject depending on what his level or interest is. I would love a big box curriculum, but it's so impractical for gifted asynchronous learners I think.

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#8 of 20 Old 05-24-2012, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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yeah, I guess I should mention she's probably around 5th grade for reading, but her writing is no where near that, yet.  we also live in a tiny city that has few museum options, but we are a big documentary family, so there's that...


Jenna ~ mommy to Sophia Elise idea.gif  (1/06), Oliver Matthew  blahblah.gif (7/07) and Avery Michael fly-by-nursing1.gif(3/10)

 

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#9 of 20 Old 05-24-2012, 11:32 AM
 
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I would look into a developmental approach to education for you to do together at home. We are Waldorf homeschoolers and what I absolutely love about this approach is that it is quality-literature based and the stories used for each grade mirror the child developmentally, but can be worked with according to skill level. So, based on my research and years of working with a developmental approach for my children (my older son shows signs of giftedness) I would caution against using any curriculum designed for an older child. The content and context will not support her developmentally.

Another thing to consider is that although she is gifted intellectually, perhaps she could use some rounding out? So, maybe focus on her movement to get her out of her head a bit, instead of focusing on higher academics? These are my first thoughts, not necessarily what would apply to your dd, but I have also learned that children who are advanced in many ways may need strengthening in other areas to be fully balanced, which supports the child greatly.

HTH!
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#10 of 20 Old 05-24-2012, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Briansmama, yes, I do plan to work on getting her (and to a greater extent my son who is a year and a half behind, who is quite brilliant, but not as motivated on reading) out of her head.  She LOVES art, so I am hoping to work on allowing her a lot of art time.  My friend here has raised 5 children (well, the youngest is 5th grade age, but his siblings are all grown) and she homeschooled them with a waldorf base after having gone to school for waldorf training, so she is planning to help me with learning how that all works.  ALSO, I'd love to get them into some activities that are non-academic.  Until this point (and this is one of the reasons we're quitting the private school) we've been shelling out most of our "unallocated" funds toward sending them to school and now we'll have a bit of wiggle room to get them involved in things like ballet, ice skating, musical instrument instruction, etc.  I'd love some suggestions one what to do with them in that direction (just in a basic homeschooling way) beyond the obvious of taking them to the playground and letting them just get a ton of free-play time.  They beg to do pretty much everything we see anyone else doing, and we obviously can't do EVERYTHING... so I just feel a bit indecisive on that angle...


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#11 of 20 Old 05-24-2012, 12:28 PM
 
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This is a great book, well worth purchasing.  Some of the resources may be out of date, but many are not.  It gives a very good overview of the issues and various approaches.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Home-Schooling-Resource-Families/dp/0910707480/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1337887470&sr=1-1

 

You might also like spending some time at the well trained mind forums.  Not all there are classical home schoolers, and it really does have a lot of information.

 

I think start out learning about home schooling, resources etc, and be informed by what you know about your child's learning style.   A lot of home school conferences happen around this time of year, maybe see if there's one anywhere in proximity to you so you can look at materials in person.


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#12 of 20 Old 05-24-2012, 12:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by joensally View Post

This is a great book, well worth purchasing.  Some of the resources may be out of date, but many are not.  It gives a very good overview of the issues and various approaches.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Home-Schooling-Resource-Families/dp/0910707480/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1337887470&sr=1-1

 

You might also like spending some time at the well trained mind forums.  Not all there are classical home schoolers, and it really does have a lot of information.

 

I think start out learning about home schooling, resources etc, and be informed by what you know about your child's learning style.   A lot of home school conferences happen around this time of year, maybe see if there's one anywhere in proximity to you so you can look at materials in person.


YES! Great book rec.

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#13 of 20 Old 05-24-2012, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you!  I will have to get a copy of that book.  I've been researching homeschooling options since my kids were young and I have several friends in this area (and more across the country) who are homeschoolers, so I am lucky to have a fair amount of support on this kind of thing, it's just always nice to get more suggestions... you never know what'll come up!  Actually there's a great homeschooling group in this area who get together to do group lessons during the school day (for things like ice skating, horseback riding, bowling), often at reduced rates, too.  I had expected to homeschool, but going into last year I kind of panicked (overwhelmed with the kids being home and not feeling like I had enough "alone" time to get things prepared) and at the last moment caved and sent them to this tiny montessori school for half-days.  I also have a MS in education, so at least the developmental stuff makes sense in light of that.  I was not trained too much in terms of gifted kids or individualized education (which I'd like to do!) specifically, so I just am feeling mildly lost/overwhelmed.  There's so many directions to go, you know?


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#14 of 20 Old 05-24-2012, 03:08 PM
 
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... so I just am feeling mildly lost/overwhelmed.  There's so many directions to go, you know?

 Yep, and you'll end up buying things you don't use, and making various false starts.  And that's ok.


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#15 of 20 Old 05-24-2012, 04:09 PM
 
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I also have a MS in education, so at least the developmental stuff makes sense in light of that.  I was not trained too much in terms of gifted kids or individualized education (which I'd like to do!) specifically, so I just am feeling mildly lost/overwhelmed.  There's so many directions to go, you know?

In terms of lack of training, you needn't worry: as your child's parent you are already an expert in her quirky individuality, her needs, interests, enthusiasms and struggles. You know far more about her particularities than any training in gifted education would have taught you about general gifted issues. Some of the most off-the-mark advice I ever got about home-educating my eldest came from a friend who was a Gifted Program teacher in the school system. Some of my homeschooling friends who were previously schoolteachers have told me that while their classroom experience helped give them confidence at the outset, it was false confidence and actually put them at a disadvantage. They found they had so many assumptions about (school-based) education that didn't apply in a home learning environment. They had to gradually recognize and divest themselves of all that stuff before they could find their way in homeschooling.

So rest assured. Your lack of training and lack of assumptions about gifted education is probably a good thing. It will allow you to create an approach that is built around your child, about whom you are already an expert, a step at a time. If you just find your way step-wise, you're less likely to make big mistakes that cost a lot of time, money and humility to correct.

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#16 of 20 Old 05-24-2012, 07:22 PM
 
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Another thing to consider is that although she is gifted intellectually, perhaps she could use some rounding out? So, maybe focus on her movement to get her out of her head a bit, instead of focusing on higher academics? These are my first thoughts, not necessarily what would apply to your dd, but I have also learned that children who are advanced in many ways may need strengthening in other areas to be fully balanced, which supports the child greatly.
HTH!

This is a great point! My son is all cerebral, and for the longest time we'd have to push and push physical activity. He is not weak, but very cautious and a perfectionist, so if he couldn't get something right away, he wants to give up. So I enrolled him in gymnastics to see if it could get him out of his head some and build confidence physically. It REALLY has! Over the past month or two he's made leaps and bounds in his fear of heights and he has leaned to rode and scooter and a bike without training wheels (huge for him!).

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#17 of 20 Old 05-25-2012, 05:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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In terms of lack of training, you needn't worry: as your child's parent you are already an expert in her quirky individuality, her needs, interests, enthusiasms and struggles. You know far more about her particularities than any training in gifted education would have taught you about general gifted issues. Some of the most off-the-mark advice I ever got about home-educating my eldest came from a friend who was a Gifted Program teacher in the school system. Some of my homeschooling friends who were previously schoolteachers have told me that while their classroom experience helped give them confidence at the outset, it was false confidence and actually put them at a disadvantage. They found they had so many assumptions about (school-based) education that didn't apply in a home learning environment. They had to gradually recognize and divest themselves of all that stuff before they could find their way in homeschooling.
So rest assured. Your lack of training and lack of assumptions about gifted education is probably a good thing. It will allow you to create an approach that is built around your child, about whom you are already an expert, a step at a time. If you just find your way step-wise, you're less likely to make big mistakes that cost a lot of time, money and humility to correct.
Miranda


I believe it.  I actually never worked after getting my MS, because I rejected a lot of what I was seeing, though I do have some experience teaching at a preschool level (previous to that) and I would agree that it doesn't necessarily apply at home in terms of education OR behavior.  Kids are so different for teachers than they are for their parents - that was really eye-opening to me (and I believe put me at an advantage in some ways - having seen that long before I had kids)... certainly as a parent of a kid in a school.  

 

Honestly my problem is that I am gifted, too - and for me it comes with all the perfectionism as well as knowing how much I don't know and that there's such a vast array of options and... honestly it does get overwhelming. 


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#18 of 20 Old 05-25-2012, 02:58 PM
 
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Yes, I homeschool.  I recommend you not get a third grade curriculum.  Pick materials individually, and there's no reason to lock onto a particular grade assignment at this point.  Even if she was dead even across her academic subjects when the teacher said that, she's probably wouldn't be for long.  So see if you can borrow some materials to look at and go over with her, so you can decide what materials you want to use for each subject, and what grade levels in those materials.

 

For example, my 7 year old Iwould be finishing first grade) uses 3rd grade JUMP at Home right now not because it's the right level for him mathematically; he can do higher math.  But it's because I want him to get into the habit of reading directions and being independent.  Oh, he's not bored with the work because once he reads the directions it goes very quickly, boom boom, satisfying.  And it's decent review.  But he has to read the directions and look at the examples, which is his challenge area right now.  If he doesn't start doing it right, I may leave it, do pure math for a while, and spiral back to the "read the directions" challenge later.

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#19 of 20 Old 05-28-2012, 06:52 PM
 
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Another voice against boxed curriculum and also a cautionary note about curriculum in general. I have a 5.5 year old gifted daughter whom I homeschool. Last year I wound up tossing out most of our purchased curriculum (not school in the box sort but purchase piece by piece) or heavily altering it as my daughter's intellectual abilities grew leaps and bounds and she surpassed the 1st grade curriculum I had purchased at the beginning of the school year. Needless to say, my family began to take a far more unschooling sort of approach to lessons and my daughter has flourished as a result. Being able to follow her own interests not only supports her cognitive abilities and intellectual growths but also respects the fact that she is a five year old child who may be bright but still has a need for play and issues related to OEs.  


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#20 of 20 Old 05-28-2012, 11:15 PM
 
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Another vote for the Creative Home Schooling book, and against boxed curriculum. 

 

We got, more quickly than I expected, to the point of needing some scaffolding *for me*. I ended up compacting Explode the Code because DS really wanted a rules-based approach to learning how to read, and it was really helpful to have a system to draw from, although we ended up switching the order (did all ways to spell long A, for instance). I wouldn't suggest going out and buying anything now, but to think more in terms of anticipating what you might need to faciliate, rather than what your child might need to learn. If you wanted to have a few things on hand, maybe history encyclopedia/timeline, atlas, math dictionary, book on phonics/grammar (for you).

 

I do agree with the general theme here of not finding grade-specific materials to be useful, but there have been a few areas in which I think more formal work has filled a very specific need for DS that I'll share in case it resonates with you:

 

for handwriting, Handwriting Without Tears (once he wanted to learn cursive, I wanted something systematic and structured)

for writing, Editor in Chief has been fantastic in demystifying conventions without being overwhelming

spelling is another thing that can be helpful to have systematic

 

Balance is individual. And tricky. And shifting. It is tempting to pile on too much, both in terms of number of academic areas and in terms of athletic/creative pursuits. But there is a real richness and peace to having time at home, also. It's not possible to do everything at once, but it is a marathon, not a sprint! (I keep reminding myself.)

 

Heather

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