I have a question I'm hoping you all can help with. I've been homeschooling my son since preschool and he's now a kindergartener. We've been doing a more unstructured "unschooling" approach, but lately I'm feeling like he needs something more structured. I'm leaning toward purchasing a curriculum that we can use at our own pace, as opposed to one of the online schools that assigns you a teacher. I do realize there's lots of good stuff out there for free, but frankly I don't have time to sort through it all and put things together given the constraints on my time (I also have twin toddlers at home).
So I'm wondering if anyone has purchased a curriculum they really liked for gifted students? I have looked at the websites so far for K12, Clonlara, and Laurel Springs. My main concern is finding something that will allow him to work at a different pace for different subjects (for example, he's an excellent reader, but has very little exposure to social studies).
He's 5 and loves to play (as it should be at that age), so I want something that will challenge him, be exciting and hands-on, and not be too "schoolish" (I'd like to keep the worksheets, tests, etc. to a minimum).
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Mom to son M (11/06), and twin daughters L & A (6/10).
We didn't start curriculum at that age in any significant way, but the only solution that has ever worked for us is an eclectic, pieced-together curriculum. For instance, my then-6-year-old wanted something to work on grammar and punctuation at a level that challenged her. Because she was age-appropriate for writing skills, but from a literacy standpoint several years ahead, neither a 1st grade nor a 5th grade language arts curriculum would have suited. We ended up using a 1st grade handwriting book and a cool program called "Editor in Chief" intended for 3rd-5th grade to allow her to identify and correct faulty sentence construction without needing to do any much writing. Similarly for math: at 9 she's now at an early high school level, but she's not ready for the density and intensity of most high school math programs.So we're currently doing a combination of on-line exploration of math topics and an enrichment program for gifted middle schoolers. These sorts of specific approaches are not the sort of things that tend to be availabled in a boxed curriculum.
So my suggestion would be to look for specific niche programs or resources to fill specific needs at whatever level he's at, taking into account his specific strengths and weaknesses.
Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up
Honestly, curriculum is generally not designed for gifted students.
For my oldest (identified as gifted, read early & easily, excelled at math (but not to the extent of Miranda's child) we piecemealed it.
What I found funny though is that it is the areas that she doesn't "excel" at that she enjoyed the most. For example, she loves science (esp. if it has experiments) and she loves things that require her mechanical reasoning to be challenged. However, she tests at precisely a 50th percentile on mechanical reasoning. I think she likes it because she gets a challenge without everything needing to be reworked. She also loves hands on. Her "giftedness" is really displayed with language skills but she hates most everything I have ever tried with that. She absorbs the knowledge from somewhere, so we just do things differently.
One thing that I would recommend to you though is the REAL Science Odyssey series. I currently use it with my two younger children (my youngest goes to ps so she participates as desired). It can be adjusted depending on the child. Lots of labs, lots of real books (library), and lots of learning. We take the topics further with my older child and keep it more basic with my younger child. Or, if there is a particular interest we will dive deeper. If they couldn't care less about that topic we skim over it.
I agree that piecemeal is better. Once you assemble the pieces, it's not so hard to hand over the different chunks, and thereThis is the single most helpful book I have read about hs a gifted or asynchronous child:
generally speaking, I like:
Weekly library runs (we are so lucky--we get 50 books out at a time)
history spine (encyclopedia, story of the world, Joy Hakim's Story of Us for USA) plus library books for history
mix of short tasks (five minutes of copywork, a few minutes of editing), hours of reading, and regular but not daily bigger projects
resources we loved in 1-3 (did public for K)
Editor in Chief
Spell of Words
Life of Fred
Historical Connections in Mathematics
fun math puzzles like Code Breakers
Art of Problem Solving
Math the Human Endeavor (in very small chunks)
Math Around the World
Vi Hart videos
David Macauley videos and books
haven't yet tried or not quite right for us, but have friends who have loved:
Michael Clay Thompson
GEMS science guides
math curriculum from living math website
I only have two kids, but I noticed 3.5 was when my younger one got to where she could consistently enjoy working with DS while they both did something--sewing felt land forms (DS) and felt wodge (DD); salt dough Roman empire (DS) and lake (DD); making ink. The planning is still consuming, but it's massively easier to do interesting projects when both kids can be interested.
Also, even if you are not classically inclined, the well-trained mind forums are a useful place to browse for specific curriculum suggestions to meet a particular child's need.
Before my son was Kindergarten age I purchased the Math and LA K12 curriculum just to see how he would do. He flew through it so we kept going. He is now a Sophomore in HS and will graduate early. K12 allows you/your child to move a different speeds for different subjects as long as you are using it consumer direct (not through one of the Virtual Academies, etc.). We did this until the kids got into middle school. I loved having the teacher support as we needed.
We are also doing Singapore math - you can select the level you need. I also purchased the Math Mammoth series up through grade 6, so I can pick and choose what supportive sections I'd like to use.
We have done Sonlight science, he loved that. And we are doing Noeo science chemistry, as that's what he wanted to study. We are also doing visual link spanish which he enjoys. We have done some piano with the Bastien program, but very slowly.
For handwriting he likes the Handwriting Without Tears program, and again you can select the level you need. He also likes the Explode the Code program - he thinks parts of it are silly so that keeps him going.
It's kind of difficult with a kid who is ahead. There is a balance between providing them appropriate level content (which might be advanced) vs. content that is interesting to them (which might be for younger kids). There seems to be very little out there specifically for younger kids who are advanced. There is also the physical readiness/motor skills issue. As in, they may have trouble with a bunch of hand writing of things, yet be able to write, know letters, words, sentences, etc. You kind of have to think outside the box with how to engage them while working around things like slower motor skill development because they are younger. I have found that using manipulatives for math, using a whiteboard, having him interact with me for math problems instead of him writing them down worked best when he was younger. To some extent it still helps today.
There's a lot online: khan academy, starfall.com, mensaforkids.com, and more
We have done plenty of interactive games with him - he liked Scrabble Jr, Math and Time Bingo, card games. We have plenty of (used) books lying around for him to read - not all are readers, some are science books of interest and such.
Don't forget lots of activity and outdoor time We do nature center classes and local exercise programs through our county recreation department.
HTH, and have fun!
Kim mama to DS 12/2005, Pepper kitty , and 10/03, 1/05;
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