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#1 of 14 Old 08-27-2006, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
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I am trying to explore educational possibilities for dd (4). I'm not sure that I will be sending her to K next year - our area is moving to full day K - I can't imagine her being away from home so long, especially since I think most of the curriculum (letters, words, numbers, etc.) is already easily understood by her.
So I am going to 1)call the school about the gifted program, 2)look into private programs (although from what I have hear, they generally don't have "gifted" programs), and 3)am considering homeschooling (not necessarily in that order ).
If anyone is homeschooling, I would love to know what resources/curriculum you use: I know many unschool, and I might eventually, but I would love a place to start - how do you know what level, etc. to choose? I am sure dd is at various "grades" in different subjects. Any websites, books? (I already have Wonder Homeschool on my favorites page )
Should I look into IQ testing - would that identify areas of strengths/weakness? Or is this not reliable until kids are older?
I'm looking for some guidance about what I need to do/consider in the next year. Thanks!
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#2 of 14 Old 08-27-2006, 12:59 PM
 
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Some good resources we've found:

Creative Homeschooling: A Resource Guide for Smart Families by Lisa Rivero. Focuses mostly on gifted kids.

Hoagies has an extensive homeschooling section.

TAGMAX is a fairy busy mailing list for parents homeschooling gifted kids.

I'd also recommend reading Genius Denied and A Nation Deceived. These will help you better evaluate your school district wrt opportunities for accomodation.

We're doing Well Trained Mind, but started out doing Charlotte Mason inspired reading (still do, really). DD1 is young, so we don't do more than an hour a day and jettison anything she has no interest in; we'll start in earnest in another year or so.
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#3 of 14 Old 08-27-2006, 01:14 PM
 
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We've always homeschooled. I would assure you that if you decide to homeschool you'll find there are tons of materials out there and you will find stuff that is a good fit. The bigger questions I think are will homeschooling fit in with your lifestyle and is it something you really want to do. Those are the questions I'd consider first.

In addition to the good suggestions from No Hidden Fees I'll add taking a look at Linda (no relation to the evil James) Dobson's book on the first year of homeschooling. It provides a good overview of different styles.

As far as testing if she seems to be learning fine I wouldn't worry about it for now because she is on the young side and it sounds like you will have no trouble meeting her needs if you decide to homeschool.

For our family homeschooling has been the perfect way to meet the needs of an asychronous, gifted child. It has been great to have the time to learn together. Homeschooling has allowed for the radical accelleration he needed but never would have gotten in school. Most of all it has helped our kid continue to love to learn and to feel good about himself and I feel very glad we made the choice.
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#4 of 14 Old 08-27-2006, 03:13 PM
 
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We homeschool. This is our first "official" year. I love being able to give my kids exactly what they need and want, regardless of "grade". My oldest is also in multiple "grades" and he is radically accelerated in at least one. We have had some minor obstacles, when homeschool classes have been available, but I think we're working it out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar
The bigger questions I think are will homeschooling fit in with your lifestyle and is it something you really want to do. Those are the questions I'd consider first.
I agree with this. We are out and about a lot more than I would have anticipated in the past. Of course, I've heard school parents complain about all the chauffeuring they do as well. I mean, I really like the lifestyle. But sometimes, I feel tired. There are park playdates, trips to the zoo, trips to various museums, trips to the library, homeschool group activities, etc. It's fun, but it's work too. I'm always checking out day trip possibilities, classes, activities and supplies. I have to be very proactive in finding things. We're frequently not at home. But it really is fun. Still, I can see how it would not be the right fit for some families.

In terms of curriculum, I think your child's personality and interests have a greater impact than her level of advancement. That's how we ended up with unschooling instead of classical. My oldest son was extremely resistant to direction and he was always working on some project. So, I just let him go his way for everyone's sanity and we just follow his interests. That actually led us to a lot of interesting topics.

We recently broke with unschooling and bought a chemistry curriculum. He was always talking about molecules and he was obsessed with electricity (therefore electrons) so we decided to take a chance with the curriculum. He really *loves* it. BUT, I think that if I had that curric when I was his age, I would have really hated it. My husband would have loved it. It's just down to personal interests.

He has a strong aptitude for math, but he is not currently interested in doing math. So, we don't. I do have a Miquon Math curriculum that I keep meaning to look through again. Miquon Math would be the most suitable approach for him, because it's presented as math exploration. Someone on the homeschool board once described it as "the Ms. Frizzle of math". Lots of people love Singapore, but there's no way that my son would sit and do that, even though he could if he wanted to. With Miquon, we can create lots of math games and just play with it. So, that's another example of personality having a huge impact. I could never marry myself to one method, because I think the child's personality determines the fit. It could be the difference between loving something and tolerating it. And this could vary from subject to subject.

For the science curric, we are using Noeo Science. They describe themselves as a cross between classical and Charlotte Mason. Noeo's Chemistry I is marketed as "ages 5 to 8", but the intro book in the curric is presented as "Grades 4-6" in Cuisinaire's catalog. So, if you look into classical, you might find that the materials are more rigorous which could help address the age/grade discrepancy. But classical across the board may not be the best fit for your child. You know her best.

I second the recommendation for "Creative Homeschooling", because it provides a comprehensive overview of homeschooling methods, but it's slanted toward the parent of the gifted child.
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#5 of 14 Old 08-27-2006, 10:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the ideas so far - all of these things are so new to me! The recommended books sound great and I will start there.

It is funny, when dd was born, a friend was planning to homeschool and I thought "I couldn't do that!" - I just didn't feel confident in my teaching skills. Since then, I have been reading more about homeschooling and some Holt and thinking, "Yes! It is natural and possible!" But now, really coming to terms w/the fact that dd will need more/different than a regular K curric., and will only advance from there, I am back to feeling nervous about my ability to meet her needs (especially in the long term).
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#6 of 14 Old 08-27-2006, 11:53 PM
 
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Shiller MAth is great for kids who like to explore math! See my comments on the math sticky in the homeschooling forum. (No, they're not paying me, although I keep on about it!)
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#7 of 14 Old 08-28-2006, 09:03 AM
 
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My nieces are cyberschooling this year; technically, they're public school students but they're at home and using individually differentiated and self-paced materials. It's sort of an in-between thing, for people who are not happy with what their child would get in public school but aren't so confident that they can homeschool without major support(or who want a particular curriculum-in-a-box and can't afford it; there are four or five cyber charter schools in PA, and at least that many curriculum choices). There are lots of advantages and relatively few disadvantages. We've only been doing it for a few days so far, but I think that the girls will really enjoy it.

As for us, I think I'll let BeanBean choose what he wants to do when he's eight and a half (the year that I'd first have to register as a homeschooler in PA). If he wants to cyberschool, that's fine, but I'd like to keep him out of the system for as long as possible.

How do you decide what levels to use? I just pick up books and figure it out. I know what BeanBean is capable of, and what he's not capable of; what will be a challenge and what will just be frustrating. I know my kid, I've spent nearly four years with him. For the most part, I stick to the elementary sections, but there are some areas in which he is more advanced (like geography) where I can look at materials for k-3 and know that he won't find them satisfying or interesting. I tend to look at what's in the books, rather than the grade level listed on the cover, because those grade levels are inconsistant and quite frankly, so is Bean.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#8 of 14 Old 08-30-2006, 04:24 AM
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I am now homeschooling (sort of - I do all the work, but since it is through an alternative school that has teacher review the work done the government calls it distance ed - but it's not).

This will be my second year doing so. J will be doing 2 grades ahead for everything officially and tackle many subjects at several grades higher than that (without real credit for the grade level). Em will be officially at the K level because of her age. but we sill let her learn many things at higher levels too.

J tried Kindergarten with disastrous results (long story but boredom was the biggest thing).

Good luck with whatever you choose.
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#9 of 14 Old 08-31-2006, 10:46 AM
 
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Unschooling means there is no schooling.The child selects what he or she is interested in naturally every day. You then, by watching, support these interests without conditions. Find out what passions your child has and support these. If your child loves fishing for example, you provide ample opportunities. If the child asks questions you provide answers, books, movies, etc that your child may or may not decide to use to further answer his or her questions.
There are many unschooling egroups to join that could give you suggestions.
I have unschooled my two teenagers for 4 years.
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#10 of 14 Old 08-31-2006, 11:57 AM
 
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I'm homeschooling my kids. With my oldest (3 in November) we're working on kindergarten materials. I have no idea how he'd survive in a traditional school, he's learning to read right now, they just barely start that when kids are in kindergarten. That isn't the only reason that I'm homeschooling but it plays a part. I like the fact that I don't have to worry that I'm "letting him learn too much" and that if I don't hold him back he'll do "badly" in school when he gets there. Whatever he's interested in, I can let him explore to the fullest

As for curriculum, we're using a relaxed version of Well-Trained Mind.

Mama to two boys and a girl.
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#11 of 14 Old 08-31-2006, 01:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crb
Should I look into IQ testing - would that identify areas of strengths/weakness? Or is this not reliable until kids are older?
I'm looking for some guidance about what I need to do/consider in the next year. Thanks!
It is jus my humble opinion, but I really don't recommend testing - let the child define himself, not a test. Strengths and weaknesses can easily be assessed by you as a parent or by a teacher if they go to school.

So often the tests just give you a label and numbers, they don't help with your child's changing interests and they leadto comparisons between kids which I think is kinda unhealthy - each kid is great - follow their gifts and passions as they unfold in front of you.

Just feeling passionate about this today!

Lucie
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#12 of 14 Old 08-31-2006, 01:12 PM
 
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IQ testing for homeschoolers usually isn't an issue. I've considered it only because I'm a bit paranoid and the way I see it, the more I prepare for something the less likely it is to happen. I'll probably think about IQ testing when my kids are of legal school age (for BeanBean, that'll be damn near nine because he has a "late" birthday) for this state, just in case I die and their guardians aren't able to homeschool them.

If you're considering school and the test would make your child eligible for an IEP or special programing, it's worthwhile, but I can think of a lot more reasons not to do it. My nieces are enrolled in a cyberschool, like I said; because BizzyBug's placement exams put her two grades "ahead" in language arts, I got an email about the Accelerated Learner's Program. According to the email, kids get into the program either by a) testing two or more grade levels above their age-grade, b) having been part of a gifted program before or c) based on parent & former teacher recommendations. Even though BizzyBug had received no special services in school, she tested into the "gifted program" in cyberschool by default. So no extra cajoling was necessary on our part (nor was there any extra pleading involved in getting her flagged for an IEP right away; they'd have done it when we asked, and even if we hadn't because she's so asynchronous), and we didn't need to get her IQ tested or anything like that.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#13 of 14 Old 08-31-2006, 01:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wonderactivist
It is jus my humble opinion, but I really don't recommend testing - let the child define himself, not a test. Strengths and weaknesses can easily be assessed by you as a parent or by a teacher if they go to school.

So often the tests just give you a label and numbers, they don't help with your child's changing interests and they leadto comparisons between kids which I think is kinda unhealthy - each kid is great - follow their gifts and passions as they unfold in front of you.

Lucie
I agree if you feel like you'd hear the numbers and then be unable to see your child or be forced to make comparisons then it would be problematic. It is important to have perspective about what test scores mean and don't mean to you personally and how you would handle any information you receive.

I don't see test scores as the be all end all. They can be useful in better understanding a child's asychrony or sorting out learning disabilities. They can help open doors to gifted programs including summer camps and distance learning opportunities or to participation in programs like the Davidson Young Scholar program. Some homeschooling parents also like to expect the best but prepare for the worst knowing many children who start homeschooling do end up going back to school and testing may help make it easier to get an appropriate placement.
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#14 of 14 Old 09-05-2006, 06:56 PM
 
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Haven't read this whole thread yet, but PM me if you want. We're homeschooling ds (5 1/2) and ds#2 (3 1/2) and I'd be glad to discuss our experiences with you.
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