Have you talked to other parents of gifted kids? Or read books or websites that talk about giftedness? Being gifted does often (not always, but often enough to be noted) come along with some emotional and social issues. The perfection issue you noted (and the fear of failure) is pretty common. It helps to know that it happens with a lot of gifted kids and you might gets some ideas on how to deal with it. Thankfully a LOT of gifted "issues" just aren't relevent when homeschooling but there are still things that matter.
|I guess I just feel like most kids learn things at certain ages because they are ready to know them then. They have the maturity and life experience to assimilate what they learn. That clearly isn't the case with him. He knows more than he can reasonably reconcile with his 5 years of life experience. It has led to many additional challenges for him (anxiety problems for one).|
This is common too unfortunately. I don't think that re-learning things is the answer though. Can you give an example of what you mean? Usually this is about big issues like life and death and anxiety about growing up.
|I also think it is one thing to know all about evergreen trees and tornadoes, but to really use all your senses to experience trees and weather is quite another thing.|
Here is where you really lose me
I don't see how a curriculum would help with this. How about just taking him for a walk in the woods? Or a walk around the block to look at the clouds, or explore the backyard with a magnifying glass or climb a tree, or dig a hole or explore a stream. Or do you mean that things like that don't occur to you but it's in the Oak Meadow curriculum so your memory would be jogged to do it? I'm not overly familiar with OM, sorry. A friend used it but I thought it was just a sit down curriculum.
|My other thought is that he spends hours (literally HOURS) each day reading books. I think maybe an educational approach that focuses on imagination and creativity might provide balance.|
A lot of imagination and creativity stems from reading
My dd also reads hours every day but I have no problem with this (well, except that lately she stays up so late reading that she doesn't get up til noon and that puts a cramp in the day - ok, THAT I have a problem with
). But hours out of a homeschooled child's day still leaves plenty of hours to do other things. My dd has a need for movement so we have no problem with that. She also has a great imagination and uses it a lot. Reading hours every day doesn't get in the way of any of that, it's in *addition* to it. I think that being able to sit and read for hours is a definite benefit of homeschooling. It's certainly something I wish I had the freedom to do when I was a kid instead of wasting all that time on school and homework
But what I'm getting is that you need ideas maybe? It sounds like you need inspiration to help you think of things to suggest to your son and that's what you are looking at a curriculum for (correct me if I'm wrong!).
Have you looked at Lillian's site yet? http://besthomeschooling.org/
Here's the preschool/K page http://besthomeschooling.org/article..._ps_kdgtn.html
You could take the ideas on there and just assign one to each day, make your own curriculum and see if it helps.
Or how about the magical childhood site/e-list http://www.magicalchildhood.com/
I've gotten some great, imaginative ideas from there (like the time we hung a sheet on the line in the backyard and let the kids paint it - definitely sensory exploration since it of course ended up with full body painted kids throwing themselves at the sheet
Or if you do want to go with Oak Meadow you could use it for just the fun, imaginative ideas and skip all the things he already knows. That might not be worth it financially though. I think OM has sample pages by the way. You might want to try printing some out and seeing if you two like it before buying.
|His life is much richer and happier now that we have pulled all the way back from learning and really focused on imagination, silliness, sensory exploration, etc. Yet he still taught himself to read, math problems, etc.|
And I'm really not trying to nit pick, but what do you mean by "pulled all the way back from learning" ? It's impossible not to learn
Do you mean sitting down at a table with workbooks? Does he *want* to do that? Because if so, I wouldn't suggest denying him. You can easily make time for things like that *and* imaginative, creative, silly things. It doesn't have to be one or the other. Or do you mean that it's what you said about getting into the trap of pushing and you were the one initiating?