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    #8821 - 02/13/08 05:59 PM Homeschooling GT kids
    Mommy2myEm Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/12/07
    Posts: 304
    After this year, our family is considering homeschooling our DD9. It seems that our school system is not right for DD. She has only one school friend that is not in her class. Yesterday she came home bruised because someone deliberately kicked her. This is a top-rated public school in the country, but they feel that DD is appropriately placed learning math material that she mastered 2 years ago and got 100% on all her pretests. We may advocate a grade skip after her Explore tests come in, but are also considering homeschooling.

    Anyway I looked into the K12 material (www.k12.com), as we could do that as a virtual charter school and it would be free. It seems that she could progress as fast as she wants in each subject and they are very encouraging to GT kids. Any opinions on this material? What other materials would be good for a GT child? What have you tried or heard of that wouldn't work well? I am a bit scared to attempt homeschooling, but excited at the same time. Thanks for any suggestions you may have for us. She will start 5th grade, possibly 6th grade math.

    Jen

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    #8822 - 02/13/08 06:15 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Mommy2myEm]
    acs Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/05/07
    Posts: 797
    We did K12 for DS's math--he was dual-enrolled in his bricks and mortar school and just took math through the virtual charter. He was in 4th when this started--he tested out of 4th grade math and finished 5th and pre-Algebra A while in 4th grade. In 5th he did pre-Algebra B. Now he is taking Algebra at his middle school.

    The curriculum did what it needed to for us, which was get him out of Saxon math for those two years and prepare him to take Algebra this year. And, most important, give the school written proof that he had completed these courses so he could move right into Algebra. We were able to pre-test him out of the stuff he already knew and avoid endless repititions. All good stuff.

    But there were problems. 5th grade math book was really good. Pre-A-A and B were pretty dry and dull, cook-book kinds of math. We found other more interesting books to supplement the Pre-A-B or else he would have gone nuts.

    Quite honestly if I were full-time homeschooling, I probably would not use them. What I see as the joy of homeschooling, especially a gifted kid, is the ability to follow the child's lead and explore things of interest rather than to get locked into someone else's curriculum. You have to log into the computer and keep track of how many hours you teach on each subject and keep track of which lesson she's on and the teachers really do check on you. There is a lot of flexibility, but you are still working with their plan, not yours or your child's.

    I know it sounds scary to just go out on your own, but there are plenty here and elsewhere who could help you.

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    #8823 - 02/13/08 06:25 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: acs]
    LMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/14/07
    Posts: 902
    Originally Posted By: acs

    What I see as the joy of homeschooling, especially a gifted kid, is the ability to follow the child's lead and explore things of interest rather than to get locked into someone else's curriculum.


    That's how I feel too. It looks like we will go the hs route next year with some fun outside classes in one of the private schools. DS5 is not in a bad school situation, but it's far from perfect and I just cannot see him going from half a day school to full day. I want him to have enough time to pursue his interests whatever they are. He learns this way the best and at his age there is no need to be in school full day. Some days I feel that it's a really great option other days I cannot believe that I am even considering something like that. One year at a time.

    I am interested in any hs suggestions.
    _________________________
    LMom

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    #8824 - 02/13/08 06:31 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: acs]
    Mommy2myEm Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/12/07
    Posts: 304
    Originally Posted By: acs
    We did K12 for DS's math--he was dual-enrolled in his bricks and mortar school and just took math through the virtual charter. He was in 4th when this started--he tested out of 4th grade math and finished 5th and pre-Algebra A while in 4th grade. In 5th he did pre-Algebra B. Now he is taking Algebra at his middle school.

    The curriculum did what it needed to for us, which was get him out of Saxon math for those two years and prepare him to take Algebra this year. And, most important, give the school written proof that he had completed these courses so he could move right into Algebra. We were able to pre-test him out of the stuff he already knew and avoid endless repititions. All good stuff.

    But there were problems. 5th grade math book was really good. Pre-A-A and B were pretty dry and dull, cook-book kinds of math. We found other more interesting books to supplement the Pre-A-B or else he would have gone nuts.

    Quite honestly if I were full-time homeschooling, I probably would not use them. What I see as the joy of homeschooling, especially a gifted kid, is the ability to follow the child's lead and explore things of interest rather than to get locked into someone else's curriculum. You have to log into the computer and keep track of how many hours you teach on each subject and keep track of which lesson she's on and the teachers really do check on you. There is a lot of flexibility, but you are still working with their plan, not yours or your child's.

    I know it sounds scary to just go out on your own, but there are plenty here and elsewhere who could help you.


    Thanks for sharing your experience. I know the virtual charter is less flexible than homeschooling on my own, but I also thought it may be the bridge from school to homeschool for us. We also know 2 other families that do k12 through our state and although their kids are not GT, it would allow DD to get together for field trips and science fairs.

    I am very open to other suggestions as well, if other curriculum would be better. I think DD would do well with computer based programs that also have a hands on component. This year she has done Challenge Math and has progressed nicely through pre-Algebra type problems.

    Jen

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    #8826 - 02/13/08 06:43 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Mommy2myEm]
    incogneato Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/25/07
    Posts: 2231
    Loc: up in my head.......
    Hi Jen,

    Maybe you could go to the school and talk to them about the bullying. That is absolutely unacceptable.

    I've been considering homeschooling for about 6 months. I was very nervous about it too. It's crazy how many resources are available and if you have a child who learns easily, you're golden.

    Sometimes I think I'm crazy for not doing it yet.

    If you are willing to take some time and review old posts, I'll bet you find at least 20 links here that would help you find resources. I'd be willing to copy and paste everything I've bookmarked if you want to PM me.

    Incog

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    #8827 - 02/13/08 07:03 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: incogneato]
    Mommy2myEm Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/12/07
    Posts: 304
    Originally Posted By: incogneato
    Hi Jen,

    Maybe you could go to the school and talk to them about the bullying. That is absolutely unacceptable.

    I've been considering homeschooling for about 6 months. I was very nervous about it too. It's crazy how many resources are available and if you have a child who learns easily, you're golden.

    Sometimes I think I'm crazy for not doing it yet.

    If you are willing to take some time and review old posts, I'll bet you find at least 20 links here that would help you find resources. I'd be willing to copy and paste everything I've bookmarked if you want to PM me.

    Incog


    I tried to do a search on homeschooling, but only very recent threads came up. Not sure what I did wrong.

    As far as the bullying, I have been in close contact with her school. It usually happens during recess and DD has asked for a library pass almost every day to avoid these incidents. It isn't ideal, but she actually likes library so it isn't a punishment.

    Jen

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    #8828 - 02/13/08 07:04 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: acs]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    I am HSing, and I don't know anyone who is HSing full-time and using K12. (That includes both GT and ND kids.)

    That's not to say it can't be done or that you shouldn't do it. It's just that it's not something you *need* to do, even/especially with an HG+ child.

    Originally Posted By: acs
    What I see as the joy of homeschooling, especially a gifted kid, is the ability to follow the child's lead and explore things of interest rather than to get locked into someone else's curriculum. You have to log into the computer and keep track of how many hours you teach on each subject and keep track of which lesson she's on and the teachers really do check on you. There is a lot of flexibility, but you are still working with their plan, not yours or your child's.

    I know it sounds scary to just go out on your own, but there are plenty here and elsewhere who could help you.


    I agree completely with acs! Don't get locked into thinking that you must do school at home in order to teach your child. You don't. I promise you, HSing is a lot easier than you think it's going to be. The curriculum has been by far the easiest part of HSing for me, to tell you the truth. You just follow your child's interests, visit the library a lot, and get in with a good HSing group. That's all easy (and not expensive!). The hardest part for me has been getting enough time to myself, but then I'm a deeply introverted person and I have a 6.5yo and a 3.5yo, so your situation may be significantly different than mine there. But planning the curriculum? No big deal!

    If you have specific fears, questions, etc., I'll be happy to share what I've learned. I'm sure Lorel would help, too--she helped me when I was where you are. But there's lots of stuff that works and that doesn't require that you to spend X amount of time on any subject.

    Singapore Math, Aleks, and Saxon Math are all reasonably priced math programs that tend to be popular with HSers. EPGY is more expensive, but is well-liked, too. Though I'm not using any other packaged curriculum but math, there are also programs that come highly recommended by friends (both virtual and IRL) for other subjects.

    If I may, I have two suggestions for you--the best pieces of advice I got before I began HSing:

    1) Start with why you're HSing, what you want your child to learn in the broadest sense, how your child learns, how your personalities will fit, etc.--the basics! Don't start with decisions about specific curricula. You're putting the cart before the horse, and it's hard to judge a curriculum if you don't know what you want your child to know by the end of the year and why you value those things. Also, make sure you know the law for your state. What's required of you in terms of testing, reporting, etc. may affect your choices. Spend 5 minutes learning the basics of the various schools of thought of HSing: unschooling, eclectic (that's me!), Charlotte Mason, classical, school at home, etc. You'll figure out pretty fast what suits your family's style and needs and what seems totally wrong for you.

    2) When it comes to purchasing/signing on to a certain curriculum, *LESS IS MORE*! You can easily commit to too much packaged curriculum and then find that it doesn't work for you and you're stuck with it. OTOH, it's pretty much impossible to have too little packaged curriculum at first, because if you find that you're lacking, you can buy/commit then.

    Keep in mind that all your child really has to do is learn a year's worth of material for a year's worth of work. For these HG+ kids, that would probably happen if we locked them in a room alone with a pile of books for a year! I know you're used to having to fight for every scrap of learning your DD gets, but HSing is a totally different animal. My DS6 and I spend maybe 3 hours a day, total, on school (and that includes dawdling time and tidying up time). The rest of the day, he plays. He's finished two years of math in less than 5 months, and I've been trying to go deeper, not faster with him, so I've been slowing him down. He's reading about 3 grades higher than he was at the end of last year, and we have no packaged reading curriculum. He's using the scientific method and conducting experiments, and his public school classroom is just now reading a thermometer!

    I'm telling you, it's soooooooo much easier than you think it is!

    Stepping off soapbox now... wink

    Please let me know if I can help you in any way.
    _________________________
    Kriston
    Mom to DS13 and DS10

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    #8835 - 02/13/08 08:02 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Kriston]
    acs Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/05/07
    Posts: 797
    Originally Posted By: Kriston


    I agree completely with acs!


    Wow! blush Here I am giving competent Homeschool advice and I'm not even a homeschool mom. I must have been hanging out here too much wink

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    #8850 - 02/14/08 04:38 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: acs]
    incogneato Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/25/07
    Posts: 2231
    Loc: up in my head.......
    Sorry Jen, you probably won't find anything on a simple search because the links are peppered around people's posts in a seemingly non sensical manner. That's just the way the conversations flow here sometimes.
    I've gotta run and get the girls going for school. But I'll look through my bookmarked links and try to post anything interesting later.

    Incog

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    #8852 - 02/14/08 04:40 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: acs]
    Lorel Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/22/07
    Posts: 970
    Loc: New England
    Wow, you have some wonderful responses here. I don't have much to add, except to say that the lure of the comprehensive "canned" curriculum is how easy it will be, yet for HG plus kids, a program like this often needs MAJOR tweaking. The majority of gifted homeschoolers I know use an eclectic approach that is open to change.

    BTW, if anyone is looking for a resource for ancient history, my kids have enjoyed online courses at the Lukeion Project. These are primarily about ancient Greece and Rome, and there are 4 week mini courses as well as semester courses. The instructors are a husband and wife with backgrounds in archeology, and they are decidedly Christian, so that influence does come through somewhat. We've only done the minis so far. Dd7 took The Archeology of Destroyed Cities last summer and ds took The Greeks Before the Greeks: The Mycenaeans at age 10.


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    #8853 - 02/14/08 04:41 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: acs]
    kimck Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/20/07
    Posts: 1134
    For what it's worth, I spoke to a parent at the NAGC conference this fall who was using K12 curriculum for homeschooling with a PG child. They were HS on the fly (crisis public school pull out), and sounded very happy with it as far as support and flexibility.

    We are seriously looking at HS for next year, and looked into it, but it just seemed too rigid for us. It is free, right? So if you were nervous about curriculum, you could try it for a couple months and see where that leads you? I'm thinking we are going to try Kriston's approach and see where that leads us after a few months. I shouldn't talk so confidently about HS. DH still wants to go tour/talk to some schools, but I don't see anything that is going to work well without a lot of jumping through hoops. And we have the ability to try HS without a lot of risk right now - I'm home anyway and DS could sit on his hands for a year or 2 and still be ahead.

    Kriston - DS just came home with a paper thermometer yesterday! crazy And then after school we had a deep discussion on the difference between 2D, 3D, 4D, and nD objects.

    Thanks for all those links!

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    #8858 - 02/14/08 08:12 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: kimck]
    LMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/14/07
    Posts: 902
    Originally Posted By: kimck
    And we have the ability to try HS without a lot of risk right now - I'm home anyway and DS could sit on his hands for a year or 2 and still be ahead.


    Same here smile It kind of takes the pressure of. Not to mention that they will learn new things no matter what smile They may not be really part of school curriculum, but they will learn. 4D and nD sounds really interesting!

    I joined a local hs mailing list to see what our options are. I highly recommend it. It made me feel better to see a list of activities we may want to join in. I also checked the state requirements, saw a few sample documents and exchanged a few e-mails with somebody from the same school district. Even though I don't live in hs friendly state, it looks like the elementary years requirements are very easy to follow.
    _________________________
    LMom

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    #8862 - 02/14/08 09:02 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: LMom]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Yes, especially with a natural-born learner! Keeping up with a kid in the upper elementary levels could be harder, I suppose. My DS is only 6.5, not 9. But there are plenty of classes out there, both online and at HSing co-ops. Find a willing math major at your local college and you've got a private tutor. We're trying that with foreign language if I can ever get my act together to make the arrangements.

    You don't have to teach it all, you just have to provide the opportunities for learning! However those opportunities come about.
    _________________________
    Kriston
    Mom to DS13 and DS10

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    #8867 - 02/14/08 09:51 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Mommy2myEm]
    Cece Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 02/14/08
    Posts: 7
    Hi there,
    I'm brand new, too, and I feel like I've struck gold finding this forum. My son is 5, and is having a horrible time in K, where his teacher issues him daily "yellow cards" for talking too loud and not staying on task. In his math lab he was playing computer games that took him through subtraction, then into multiplication. She reprimanded us both, and told us he is no longer allowed to "sneak ahead". I am desperate to get him in the right environment before he ends up resenting school and feeling bad about himself. The teacher already scheduled an SST because of his "hyperactivity". I am so sure he is bored, but so afraid to branch out on my own and do the HS. He is an intense little boy who can be verrry frustrating.

    I'm going to check out all the links you listed. Thank you for the support and words of wisdom. It's lessened my anxiety already.

    C

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    #8870 - 02/14/08 10:12 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Cece]
    LMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/14/07
    Posts: 902
    Hi Cece, I am glad you found us. This is a wonderful and very supporting forum. I too have 5 year old in K.

    Originally Posted By: Cece
    Hi there,
    In his math lab he was playing computer games that took him through subtraction, then into multiplication. She reprimanded us both, and told us he is no longer allowed to "sneak ahead".


    Oh my. Imagine that he could learn something new frown Why don't some teachers understand that kids are supposed to learn in school. Is his K half day or full day?

    Originally Posted By: Cece
    I am so sure he is bored, but so afraid to branch out on my own and do the HS. He is an intense little boy who can be verrry frustrating.


    I think the idea takes a while to get used to. Some days I am really scared and some days I think it will be great. It will be just fine, we will have good days and bad days and if it doesn't work then he can always go back to school.

    Good luck with your decision and welcome here

    _________________________
    LMom

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    #8872 - 02/14/08 10:27 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Cece]
    kimck Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/20/07
    Posts: 1134
    Welcome C! We've had the exact same experience with my son's time in the computer lab at school. You'd think this would be a place where teachers could easily allow kids to move at their own speed.

    If anyone would have told me a year ago that we would seriously be considering homeschooling, I would have laughed at them! If you have the ability to do it, it's worth researching. I feel much less overwhelmed with the thought now that I've found some resources and even done a little "after schooling" with DS.

    If you are interested in advocating for your son at school, there are also people on this board who've accomplished amazing things in their school systems. Good luck!

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    #8880 - 02/14/08 12:13 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: kimck]
    Lorel Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/22/07
    Posts: 970
    Loc: New England
    Kimck-

    I would have laughed too, if you asked me ten years ago! It wasn't until we felt cornered into it that we considered home education. We did a trial run over the summer when ds 2 was 4, and we still enrolled him in private kindy while we mulled things over. Three months into kindy, we knew it wasn't going to work out, even in the short term, and our homeschooling adventure began.

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    #8882 - 02/14/08 12:36 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Kriston]
    Mommy2myEm Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/12/07
    Posts: 304
    Originally Posted By: Kriston
    Here are the links I found from the forum. Please forgive me if they're all the same ones you found...




    I hope it helps. There's some good stuff here!


    Thanks for all these threads. I figured out that the search feature on the left limits the search to recent threads. I was able to retrieve more through the advanced search. There is a wealth of information here, I just wasn't working the search right, I think smile

    Jen

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    #8883 - 02/14/08 12:56 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Mommy2myEm]
    Mommy2myEm Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/12/07
    Posts: 304
    Thanks everyone for the wonderful advice and encouragement. Yes, the K12 curriculum would be free for us through a state charter school. According to them and other parents I have asked the curriculum is very flexible and a child can work at their pace. They also do a placement assessment, and they were open to look at our Explore test results if anything shows up there. So those are the pros of this curriculum.

    The one aspect of homeschooling I am nervous about is making sure I provide a well rounded education for DD. Since I didn't get my education in United States, I'm not sure if I would miss topics that kids here should know before college. That is why an eclectic approach would worry me. Our friend's child does about 3-4 hrs of school work every day and if this is the case with DD, she would have plenty of time pursuing her interests. Maybe as I read and learn more, I would have a better grasp on the larger picture of homeschooling and a comprehensive curriculum.

    Jen

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    #8890 - 02/14/08 02:15 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Mommy2myEm]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Whatever works for you works. There's no wrong answer. If K12 is what's best for you, then more power to you.

    But if it's just coverage you're worried about, then I'd recommend that you check out the "What Your ___th Grader Needs to Know" before you make any decisions. It details the basics that all kids that grade need to know. I just went through a good chunk of the 1st grade one with my DS6 today, and I found that it was virtually all stuff he knew when he was 3! I'll cover Native Americans with him at some point because that's the norm for 1st grade and we've done none of that material yet. But almost all the other stuff he's supposed to "learn" this year, he's known for literally half his life already!

    I highly recommend that you check the book/s out. It will almost certainly put your mind at ease about coverage! That way you don't just have to take our word for it. laugh
    _________________________
    Kriston
    Mom to DS13 and DS10

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    #8896 - 02/14/08 03:29 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Kriston]
    Lorel Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/22/07
    Posts: 970
    Loc: New England
    You can also go to www.worldbook.com and look at grade level standards. Of course in the US, there isn't any national standard, but this list reflects topics covered in the "average" classroom.

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    #8899 - 02/14/08 04:01 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Kriston]
    kimck Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/20/07
    Posts: 1134
    grin Don't go too crazy Kriston! Our first grade native american coverage so far has consisted of one handout/story on Squanto at Thanksgiving. I'm sure you'll be ahead by checking one book on Native Americans out of the library.

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    #8905 - 02/14/08 07:53 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: kimck]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Ugh! Good to know, kimck. Thanks! I'll dip a toe in instead of diving in whole hog.

    I don't think DS6 has any interest whatsoever in Native Americans. Early humans, yes. But European settlement of the Americas is too late for his taste, I'm afraid! <shrug>

    I tend to hate the Eurocentric view on that period of time anyway. And all the attention paid quite wrongly to Columbus is another annoyance to me! The Norse were here 500 years earlier! Hello!

    See you all after my oral surgery! Wish me little bleeding and no swelling, will you? frown
    _________________________
    Kriston
    Mom to DS13 and DS10

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    #8907 - 02/14/08 08:51 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Kriston]
    LMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/14/07
    Posts: 902
    Originally Posted By: Kriston

    See you all after my oral surgery! Wish me little bleeding and no swelling, will you? frown


    Ouch, good luck. I hope it goes well. I had 3 wisdom teeth pulled at the same time and it went really well. No pain to talk about. The oral surgeon even gave me a special note for a tooth fairy (aka Dh). Apparently wisdom teeth are worth quite a lot. LOL.

    Don't forget to milk it a little bit and take it easy over the weekend wink You know no cooking, no cleaning, no dishes, ...
    _________________________
    LMom

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    #8908 - 02/14/08 09:07 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: LMom]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Yes, thanks LMom. I plan to do zilch all weekend! laugh DH is in charge of kids completely, and I'm planning to catch up on lots of bad TV...if I even get out of bed to watch it! I may do nothing but sleep.

    And BTW Grinity: I'm not allowed to exercise for a week. After that, I'm hoping to get back to the gym on a regular routine! smile

    Bed...See you all in two or three days!
    _________________________
    Kriston
    Mom to DS13 and DS10

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    #9191 - 02/19/08 06:05 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Kriston]
    Mommy2myEm Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/12/07
    Posts: 304
    Kriston- I hope you are recovering well. Tell us some of the "highlights" of your weekend when you get back here

    It looks like for us, that next year will be our first of homeschooling. DD is now asking for it more and she keeps referring to it with more conversations. She is currently doing an extra credit project on Ammonites and she told me how she would love to study fossils to this depth every day, but her school doesn't allow it. I was concerned about the socialization (although I know it's not usually an issue) but as DD tells me how she doesn't have a friend in her classroom and there are some bullies, I'm not sure what the damage is for this type of "socialization". DD has some many wonderful friends outside the school ad that wouldn't change. She is also soooo bored in math, and is excited to do Challenge Math at home. I don't remember asking to do math growing up, but she is, LOL.

    Anyway, welcome back Kriston when you get here!!!

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    #9192 - 02/19/08 07:40 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Mommy2myEm]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Thanks! It's nice to be missed. smile

    How are you feeling about next year? You have plenty of time to prepare, so you "should" be feeling confident...as if there's any "should" when it comes to feelings! But what I mean is that making the decision now will probably make for a fairly smooth transition.

    It's great that your DD is so excited about HSing! Have you started making lists of the topics she wants to study? We did that on our first day of HS, and though we have deviated from it quite a bit as DS6's interests have changed, we've covered a surprising number of his areas of interest. It's good to write it down so you remember where she wants to take you.

    Do you have any questions, concerns, fears, things you're looking forward to, etc. that you'd like to discuss?

    Always happy to chat! smile
    _________________________
    Kriston
    Mom to DS13 and DS10

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    #9460 - 02/23/08 10:14 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: LMom]
    Cece Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 02/14/08
    Posts: 7
    It's actually rather normalizing to read about other people feeling as nervous about HSing as I do. I think it's one of those situations in life that you just have to go through to have any true understanding of it. We are looking at Waldorf right now - still weighing options, but HS is in the lead. For now, too, we're doing Kumon, and my son really likes it...and it lowers my anxiety about his potentially falling behind.

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    #9859 - 02/27/08 05:27 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Cece]
    questions Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/24/07
    Posts: 864
    OK, now I'm researching this, too. There is a four and a half hour introduction to homeschooling/unschooling at the library this weekend given by Patrick Farenga. Ever heard of him? It conflicts with the gifted conference and I can't decide which to go to.

    Also, for you HS'ers, I was wondering what a typical day would be schedule-wise. Don't waste your time responding if you've done so in the past. I do plan to go back and read those old threads. Just wondering if you try to keep a school-like schedule to keep your children ready to return to school someday.

    And I also wonder about the transition back to regular school for those of you who have done it.

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    #9866 - 02/27/08 07:28 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: questions]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    I don't know that speaker, but I Googled him. He looks to be one of John Holt's disciples, so he's probably going to be all about unschooling.

    If it helps, I'm doubting that you'll be an unschooler, just given what I know about you and your DS...It's the least structured form of HSing and basically says that all children are natural learners, so if you just spread opportunities before them, they'll learn on their own. No teaching unless the kids ask to take the class. No taking the kids on field trips unless they first express an interest in the subject. Etc.

    It's a valid method, and a lot of people love it, but it's too hands-off for me (and perhaps for you? I could be wrong, but...). Oh, and if you're unschooling, you'd have to restrict media time pretty much completely so that TV and computer are not all the child does!

    Mostly I just don't want you to think that unschooling is the only way to go. His form of HSing may look nothing like what I do!

    I've responded before about how we do our HSing thing, so I won't bore you. If you can't find my description of our LOOSE daily plan, let me know and I'll repost. We definitely leave room in our schedule for field trips and playdates.

    The biggest thing I would warn against is the other extreme from unschooling: thinking that you have to do "school at home" in order to HS. (Not that you would do that, but just in case...) We don't try to keep to a typical school schedule at all. Not even a little. In fact we take one day off a week for skiing--that's his phys ed! Not typical!

    So much of a typical school day is wasted time (waiting in line, waiting for everyone to catch up, waiting, waiting, waiting...) that if you have just one child to focus on, a whole school day's worth of material can be managed in just a couple of hours, including dawdling time. Less is more I've found, since you're probably going to FLY through curriculum even faster than you think you will. Without pushing by me, DS6's reading has improved about 2-3 grade levels in 5 months. He's done 2 years of math in that same time. Etc. in short, there's no need to spend a lot of time on traditional school. Cover the basics and give him plenty of time to play/work on his own projects.

    I guess what I'm saying is that unless your DS *prefers* a typical school schedule at home, or unless your state requires that sort of time commitment, there's absolutely no need to go that route. It will wear both of you out for no good reason.

    Oh, and schedule clean-up time in that day somewhere. The mess expands the more time you're home! Clean-up has to be part of your DS's day...or else!

    I don't anticipate trouble returning to a regular school schedule. DS6's biggest worry for next year is that he'll be bored. I think the GT school he's going to part-time next year will prevent boredom, so I'm not worried about that. I do think he'll have to readjust, but I don't think it will be a big problem. It's not like they have no idea what school is all about, you know? I think the transition back in is less of a big deal than the transition out.

    Finally, I would advise you to talk to your DS about HSing beforehand to a) be sure he's on board and understands the commitment you're BOTH making to the state, since this will make it easier on those days when he doesn't feel like working, and b) let him know that you're going to have to learn together how to do this, so he's going to have to communicate well with you about what's working and what isn't and why and be understanding if something doesn't go well. You're new to this, too, so you're going to make some mistakes. But the two of you are a team, and together you can figure it all out.

    Having that conversation before we took DS6 out of school was the best thing I could have done! There are still some hard days, but he gets why we're doing this and he is definitely a member of the "educate DS6" team.

    If I can help, you know where to find me...
    _________________________
    Kriston
    Mom to DS13 and DS10

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    #9867 - 02/27/08 07:39 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Kriston]
    questions Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/24/07
    Posts: 864
    Kriston, thank you! It did say that he had been a partner with John Holt, so now I know that I should go to the gifted conference that day. We are not unschoolers. And we're too far gone to restrict computer and tv. (well, we restrict both to educational uses for the most part, but obviously, we spend a lot of time on both)

    If we seriously consider that route, I will be contacting you directly!

    Here's the info on the seminar:

    Teach Your Own
    An unschooling seminar for beginners and elementary-school-age home-schoolers
    Patrick Farenga, who has addressed audiences around the world about home-schooling and the work of his colleague, the late John Holt, will present a 4 ½ session on home-schooling. Among the topics he will explore are unschooling theory and practice, learning all the time, living with your children during school hours, working with different learning styles and multiple intelligences and how to use private schools, public and private business and more in support of home-schooling. Local home-schooling representatives will also be present.





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    #9869 - 02/27/08 07:48 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Kriston]
    LMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/14/07
    Posts: 902
    Thanks Kriston. Whatever you said makes perfect sense to me. I am thinking along the same lines, but my thoughts are all over my head. It's nice to see it all written down.

    I really need to go through the hs posts.
    _________________________
    LMom

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    #9874 - 02/27/08 08:12 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: LMom]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    I'm sure there would be good stuff at his presentation. I mean, with GT kids, we all are pretty much following the "learning all the time" model, whether we want to or not. LOL!

    But if you're hoping to get daily scheduling type info or curriculum suggestions, that probably wouldn't be the HSing speaker I'd recommend.

    The stuff on learning styles and multiple intelligences might be useful, though I have yet to find anyone who turns that into really applicable info. It always winds up too generic for me to apply to my own kids. But maybe that's just me...

    I guess what I'm saying is that if you didn't have something else to do that day, I'd say go! But if there's stuff at the GT conference that looks more useful, I think I'd do that instead.
    _________________________
    Kriston
    Mom to DS13 and DS10

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    #9904 - 02/27/08 12:46 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Kriston]
    Lorel Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/22/07
    Posts: 970
    Loc: New England
    Tough decision! Farenga is a popular speaker and I'm sure he has a lot to say. He coauthored a book on home education; I think it was "Teach Your Own". I'd probably go to see him, unless I had a specific reason to attend the conference. The state level stuff can be a bit elementary and "plain vanilla" in tone, though there may be a session or two that caters to parents and teachers of HG plus. Big conferences may give you some perspective though, on how "out there" your own gifties are, and maybe give you a chance to connect with other parents and kids.

    Looks like you'll have a good day either way! Have fun!

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    #9910 - 02/27/08 01:28 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Lorel]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Yes, I suspect it's hard to go wrong either way!
    _________________________
    Kriston
    Mom to DS13 and DS10

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    #9913 - 02/27/08 02:03 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Kriston]
    questions Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/24/07
    Posts: 864
    Ok, ok. Maybe we'll divide and conquer. If I go Friday, DH can take DS on Saturday and I'll go the seminar. If anyone recommends specific books or resources, let me know so that I can take a look at them there if they have them for display.

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    #9915 - 02/27/08 02:35 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Lorel]
    Texas Summer Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/01/06
    Posts: 216
    Loc: Texas
    Originally Posted By: Lorel
    The state level stuff can be a bit elementary and "plain vanilla" in tone, though there may be a session or two that caters to parents and teachers of HG plus. Big conferences may give you some perspective though, on how "out there" your own gifties are, and maybe give you a chance to connect with other parents and kids.


    I went to our state conference and learned about some interesting resources. I mostly went to the sessions geared toward teachers. Those were the sessions of interest to me. I was extremely disappointed that there was not a single session about HG/PG children. Our conference is one of the biggest in the country and not a single session or mention of HG/PG students that I could see. It was almost as if they did not exit.

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    #9928 - 02/27/08 07:28 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: questions]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    Originally Posted By: questions
    OK, now I'm researching this, too. There is a four and a half hour introduction to homeschooling/unschooling at the library this weekend given by Patrick Farenga. Ever heard of him? It conflicts with the gifted conference and I can't decide which to go to.

    Hi Questions,
    I vote for the HSing lecture (although both is good too) if only to network with the other HSing families. Lots of Holt's stuff makes complete sense to me, and is at least different from the usual way of considering things.

    Either way, sounds like a fun weekend!
    Grinity
    _________________________
    Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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    #9931 - 02/28/08 04:13 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Grinity]
    Lorel Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/22/07
    Posts: 970
    Loc: New England
    Texas Summer-

    It's a shame that a large conference couldn't feature one session on highly to profoundly gifted. Sigh... maybe it is because the big conferences are driven by teacher attendance and those teachers might not think much about levels of giftedness? Maybe you could offer to run a session next year? I saw you mention that you do Zome workshops, so I am guessing that a parent seminar wouldn't be too tough for you to do.

    I'm a Zome fan too, BTW, and have done workshops for them as well. Do you know Paul Hildebrandt? He is the President and head Zomer, and he has been very helpful in offering me training on how to do a challenge workshop with younger children.


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    #9937 - 02/28/08 05:39 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Lorel]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    I was thinking that, too, Lorel. I'd at least put in a request with the conference organizers for a session for next year. If I were really energetic, I'd offer to help plan it.
    _________________________
    Kriston
    Mom to DS13 and DS10

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    #9938 - 02/28/08 06:28 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Lorel]
    Texas Summer Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/01/06
    Posts: 216
    Loc: Texas
    Originally Posted By: Lorel
    Texas Summer-

    Maybe you could offer to run a session next year?


    Our local PG group is planning more involvement in the state level gifted association. We did a parent panel at the last parent conference. Prior to the presentation we joked that we would probably only have a couple of people show up for our session and the room was packed with people standing in the back. We are also planning to do a panel at the next leadership conference.

    Originally Posted By: Lorel

    Do you know Paul Hildebrandt? ... he has been very helpful in offering me training on how to do a challenge workshop with younger children.


    No, I have never met Paul Hildebrandt? What age group are you referring to when you say "younger children." In our co-op we split the children into 2 groups: ages 5-7 and ages 8-15. I teach the older group. The parent that teaches the younger group has a Masters in Early Childhood Ed. I use the Zome lessons as the backbone of most of my lessons but modify them to work for our kids.

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    #9947 - 02/28/08 08:01 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Texas Summer]
    Lorel Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/22/07
    Posts: 970
    Loc: New England
    Paul is a great guy. he does workshops for PG kids at various conferences. He's taught me his workshop methods, and I have used them to present to kids aged 6-10. He has these little Zome challenge cards that are helpful in asking the kids to design things and figure things out, such as the shape of the different rod ends and sphere openings. His focus is on letting the kids make discoveries for themselves, and to gently guide them as they go along.

    I find that kids younger than six may have trouble connecting the pieces, and they tend to damage them by breaking the ends.


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    #9950 - 02/28/08 08:43 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Texas Summer]
    OHGrandma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/05/08
    Posts: 830
    I never heard of 'Zome' until this post. I googled them, they look great!

    Homeschooling is not an option for us right now, but 'afterschooling' or 'enrichment' is; Zome will be added soon.

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    #9967 - 02/28/08 10:09 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Lorel]
    Texas Summer Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/01/06
    Posts: 216
    Loc: Texas
    Originally Posted By: Lorel
    He has these little Zome challenge cards that are helpful in asking the kids to design things and figure things out, such as the shape of the different rod ends and sphere openings. His focus is on letting the kids make discoveries for themselves, and to gently guide them as they go along.


    The other teacher brought me a set of the Zome challenge cards at our last meeting, but I haven't used them yet. "Letting kids make discoveries for themselves" is harder than it sounds. This is my second semester to teach Zome. This semester I made some significant changes to the way I teach so that the kids have more open-ended objectives. It is working much better.

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    #10081 - 02/29/08 05:18 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Texas Summer]
    Lorel Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/22/07
    Posts: 970
    Loc: New England
    If you are doing ongoing classes for older kids, your approach would have to be different than what I do for a single session 1-2 hour workshop. The kids I work with are mostly Zome newbies who are delighted to figure out things like the the color coding of the struts and their unique end points.

    Grandma- Zome is really, really fun. I have seen kids build towers taller than me, huge spheres, bridges... They are often used in math and science classes to build molecular models, polygons, etc.


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    #10142 - 02/29/08 02:36 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Lorel]
    Texas Summer Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/01/06
    Posts: 216
    Loc: Texas
    I showed the Zome to my dd's teacher since they were starting a section on Geometry this week. She loved it and wants to use it extensively in her geometry lessons. I talked her into letting me do Zome bubbles with the kids next week after their state reading assessment. That is always so much fun.

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    #11531 - 03/14/08 06:58 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Mommy2myEm]
    PhysicistDave
    Unregistered


    Jen, Cece, kimck, questions, et al.,

    I’m a stay-at-home dad homeschooling our two grade-school girls. I’m not quite sure if I should call our kids “gifted,” since I’m not sure I know the full meaning(s) of the term, but our kids do score years beyond grade level on standardized tests. I can’t see what they would do in traditional schools (public or private) except waste their time; they’ve been homeschooled from the get-go, and it is working well for us.

    I’ve seen some comments here that starting homeschooling is kinda scary, which is unquestionably true. However, when you actually start doing it, you find that you just plug ahead day by day, and then you eventually realize that your kids are learning a huge amount and that it is actually fun being a homeschooling parent.

    Jen specifically wrote:
    >Since I didn't get my education in United States, I'm not sure if I would miss topics that kids here should know before college.

    Well, I have some good news: since most kids in the American public schools learn almost nothing, you don’t need to worry about keeping up with them! I’m only kidding a little. More seriously, some of the states have detailed state standards that you can check out to make sure you are not missing out on some topic (e.g., counting money). My own experience has been that almost anything that you might forget comes up anyway in the course of covering other topics.

    You do need to be proactive along the lines of thinking that, hey, we haven’t talked about geology or Roman history or geography or whatever recently, and maybe we should look for some books on those subjects. But that’s actually fun, digging through libraries, surfing the Net, etc. looking for good books and material.

    I think it is best not to rely on a canned curriculum, simply because you can always find better books through the public library, amazon, etc. than the particular choices made in any particular curriculum.

    Almost everyone I know does choose a series for math – we have been using Singapore Math and are now transitioning into Stanley Schmidt’s “Life of Fred” math series. Incidentally, the Fred series may look frivolous because Stan tried to make it fun. However, I’ve talked with Stan at some length and looked over the books fairly carefully, and they seem actually to be a good deal more rigorous (as well as a lot more fun) than all of the public-school math texts I have looked at. (I have a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Stanford, so I have very high standards in judging math books.)

    There are a lot of great books out there in science, history, etc.: to name a couple we have used recently, try looking at Mahlon Hoagland’s “The Way Life Works” and Marc Aronson’s “John Winthrop, Oliver Cromwell, and the Land of Promise.” Generally stay away from books designed to be used in the American public schools as textbooks – they are generally written by committee and aim to serve the lowest common denominator. There are a very few exceptions – the BSCS biology “blue book” for example, is very good. Check out the Textbook League (www.textbookleague.org/ ) for textbooks to avoid (i.e., almost all of them).

    I, and I’m sure many other homeschoolers here and around the Web, will be happy to share information on the books and approaches we have used.

    “questions” specifically asked:
    >Also, for you HS'ers, I was wondering what a typical day would be schedule-wise.

    If I can elaborate on Kriston’s comments, we too have a “LOOSE daily plan.” A few things (e.g., piano practice) we try to do almost every day, and some things (e.g., dance lessons) are scheduled for us. Otherwise, each day, I try to think over the subjects we have done the last couple days and aim to fill in today on the stuff we have been negligent on the last few days. We almost never get everything done I have planned; however, the kids seem to keep learning stuff and getting further and further ahead of their official grade level.

    Humans are, after all, designed to learn. Human kids are good at it – at least until the desire to learn is squeezed out of them by a dysfunctional educational system.

    While the question of whether to homeschool or not to homeschool is obviously a choice each family must make for themselves, my own experience makes me feel that it is clearly a good choice, especially for families with children who perform far beyond the average.

    Dave M. in Sacramento

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    #11548 - 03/14/08 08:46 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: ]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    Originally Posted By: PhysicistDave
    Jen specifically wrote:
    >Since I didn't get my education in United States, I'm not sure if I would miss topics that kids here should know before college.

    Well, I have some good news: since most kids in the American public schools learn almost nothing, you don’t need to worry about keeping up with them! I’m only kidding a little.

    Hi Dave,
    Welcome! I like how you think. I guess that it's hard to know what is 'gifted' because there is no one accepted definition. The definition I like to push is 'children who have special educational needs due to having a higher readiness level than their availible school provides on a regular basis. From the perspective of placing your girls in traditional school it does sound like they would have special education needs to me. You can always have them take the SATs around the ages 10 to 12 through a talent search, or pay for professional 'educational assesment' but the question you have to ask yourself is, beyond the label, what could be gained?

    Actually one thing that I find positive about the lable is that we can start forgiving public school for not meeting our own needs, and start appreciating what they do do well. Ok, I did laugh when I read your joke, but still, the world can be quite confusing if one is different, but not sure in what way.


    Here's another possible benifit of getting to know and love the label. In families, sometimes one kid is thought of as 'the gifted one' and the other one thinks of themselves as 'not as smart.' This may in fact be true - although often it isn't, it only looks that way - but it's sort of a shame to in fact, be gifted, but to only judge yourself in comparison to a sibling who, in fact is 'more gifted.'

    I listened to an anthropologist discribing great ape behavior. From her perspective, being an active, self-directed learner is a fairly common trait amoung young mammals. Having the ability to be a thoughful teacher is much rarer. A teacher must hold a mental model of the student in their mind and test their model, remembering or taking notes about the past to plan the future. A teacher has to be in touch with their own feelings and experiences and open to the idea that this other individual maybe quite differnt, internally. A learner just has to enjoy themselves.

    Smiles,
    Grinity
    _________________________
    Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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    #11552 - 03/14/08 10:45 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Grinity]
    PhysicistDave
    Unregistered


    Grinity,

    You wrote:
    > In families, sometimes one kid is thought of as 'the gifted one' and the other one thinks of themselves as 'not as smart.'

    Yeah, in our family, I was the “smart one,” one of my brothers was the “talented one,” and the other brother was the “nice guy.”

    In fact, I know my brothers well enough to know that we are all of roughly equal intelligence; I just happened to care a bit more about getting top grades and happened to have a strong interest in some traditionally “tough” academic subjects (math and science). I suppose I was “gifted” in math, but I suspect that was largely the result of being intensely interested in math starting in late grade school.

    I suppose I am a little wary of the term “gifted” because it may freeze children in or out of a particular mold. There are of course real innate differences in IQ, but even the most fervent believers in IQ only claim that it explains part of one’s actual accomplishments.

    I agree with your point about meeting educational needs. The only modification I would make is that I strongly suspect that we underestimate the potential of even “normal” kids. For example, a couple years ago, we invited some of our kids’ friends over to make Mobius strips and do other “math stuff.” One of the kids happened to be a girl who was known to be a little “slow” in school. I happened, for some reason, to casually mention the word “infinite,” and this kid was off and running telling us all what her thoughts were about infinity. She clearly had thought about it, and her thoughts were fairly perceptive for a child her age. I don’t know her well enough to know exactly what is going on, but, somehow, something is wrong if she is considered “slow” in school but is thinking seriously about the idea of infinity.

    Most kids, even most gifted kids, cannot be Einstein or Beethoven or Pasteur. But our society goes to a lot of trouble to see to it that kids have a real chance to develop, for example, whatever athletic ability they may possess, whether that innate ability is awesome or merely run-of-the-mill. We do not do the same for intellectual ability. That seems to me a horrible shame.

    Dave

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    #11565 - 03/15/08 07:48 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: ]
    Lorel Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/22/07
    Posts: 970
    Loc: New England
    Dave-

    Welcome to the forum. I loved your thoughts on homeschooling!

    It's nice to know that a "math guy" likes the Life of Fred books. I have talked a bit with Stan also, and we have several of his books in our home library. He is an amazing man! I am not such a math person though, and it is good to have my positive impression confirmed. Two things I'd like to say about the books though-
    1. the stories are so enticing that my kids tend to read ahead and do not always do the math along with them. My seven year old, for instance, has no interest in trig, yet she has read the entire Fred story in that edition.
    2. the books have relatively few problems and I wonder if that is "enough" to cover a subject.

    take care-


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    #11570 - 03/15/08 08:56 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: ]
    questions Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/24/07
    Posts: 864
    Wow, Dave, this is so helpful. I haven't been reading the posts in the last few days, except for here and there. I have to go back and reread this entire thread.

    It's funny, but I've been thinking that what I won't know how to do is the silly fun stuff. For example, this weekend, DS's assignment is to make a leprachaun trap and to bring it into school on Monday. It's all he can think about and talk about. If we go forward with the HS, I have to remember things like that. Or maybe that's what I have a babysitter do?

    I'm also curious to check out the Life of Fred books. We just got the Penrose the math cat book and DS is begging to start it. He also likes the math trek, Sir Cumference and G is for Googol books. I said to the psychologist last year that he learns best when he doesn't know he's learning at all.

    I also was interested in your comment about textbooks. I pulled a chemistry off the shelf in the library yesterday out of curiosity and thought to myself, this looks boring, DS is not ready for this. It certainly would be nice to avoid them for as long as possible if they're truly not necessary.

    Thanks again for your input. Later this weekend, I'll read through all these posts. I have to say that when I first stumbled on this site, I thought HS was out there. No more. And frankly, I think it sounds like fun.

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    #11571 - 03/15/08 09:29 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: questions]
    kimck Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/20/07
    Posts: 1134
    Thanks for your thoughts and advice Dave! Lovely post. I also have a level of discomfort using the word "gifted", but unfortunately that's the only way to get any kind of services at all is to be tagged with this label. In our 1st grade classroom this year, I am seeing all kinds of kids at all ends of the spectrum not being served well, and it is sad. I also think all children have great potential if nurtured properly. "IQ" is only one piece of the puzzle.

    Your children sound incredibly lucky to have you as a homeschooling parent! Hope you continue to jump in and offer your thoughts when you can.


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    #11589 - 03/15/08 12:50 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Lorel]
    PhysicistDave
    Unregistered


    Lorel,

    You wrote of the “Life of Fred” math books:
    >the stories are so enticing that my kids tend to read ahead and do not always do the math along with them.

    Yeah, that certainly happens! I don’t really think it is a problem unless the kids simply refuse to ever do the problems when they reach the level at which they really can handle them.

    Of course, it is not possible to really learn math without doing a lot of problems (or, at higher levels, proving a lot of theorems). But math is not fundamentally about doing problems – it is ultimately about understanding concepts. Simply reading through the silly stories in the “Fred” books will help the kids get the concepts, so that, when they are ready to do the problems, they will be better prepared.

    Again, I am not offering any excuses for simply avoiding problems – you have to do problems, and, ultimately, you’ve got to learn how to get the right answer and be secure knowing that you can get the right answer and why it is the right answer. But reading serious books about math (and the “Fred” books are serious despite the silliness) can be as important as actually doing problems: the two things are not mutually exclusive.

    There is a wonderful book long out of print but still available through abebooks.com etc.(and nowadays through public-library interlibrary loan services – though I recommend buying a copy) that illustrates my point, Irving Adler’s “Giant Golden Book of Mathematics.” It has no problems at all, but does a fantastic job of getting kids to think about math up through calculus, infinite series, etc. It’s at a middle-school reading level and only requires knowledge of grade-school arithmetic (i.e., no knowledge of algebra required at all). A friend of our family gave me a copy when I was nine or so and I devored it – it was quite easy for me to read. And yet, I only fully understood all the implications of the book after I got my Ph.D. – for example, Adler remarks on an interesting formula for pi, which you can easily check by hand or with a calculator, but I finally learned where that formula comes from only as an adult.

    So, the Adler book has an “open-endedness” to it that allows a kid to get the basic ideas but keep coming back and thinking more about things, wondering if he has really seen the whole picture. That’s what real math (and real science and, for that matter, real history, literautre, music, etc.) is all about, but it is something that most textbooks simply ignore.

    Let me emphasize again that I am not excusing the sort of “fuzzy math” that makes excuses for kids’ never learning to get the right answer. The mantra should be “right answers through conceptual understanding”: neither right answers without understanding nor understanding without right answers is acceptable.

    (Liping Ma has a wonderful book making just this point, “Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics,” that every parent interested in their child’s education ought to read.)

    Lorel also asked:
    >the books have relatively few problems and I wonder if that is "enough" to cover a subject.

    Probably not, though I think it depends on the child. I myself needed a lot of drill on the arithmetic tables and arithmetic algorithms (this is at a lower level than the Fred books of course), but, starting with upper-grade school math, I grasped the algorithms with a very small amount of pracitce.

    Stan has a system with the regular problems versus his “bridges” (test problems) that I would generally advise following. We’re now in his “Fractions” book, and, since the kids have already done that level in “Singapore Math,” I’m letting them skimp a bit on the “Fred” problems. Once we get to the “Fred” algebra books, I expect to follow Stan’s recommended system.

    The nice thing about homeschooling is that, since I interact closely with the kids, I’lll know if they are really getting the stuff. I expect that I may have to pick up some other algebra books for some extra problems, but we’ll see. Of course, they will be doing arithmetic and algebra anyway in physics, chemistry, etc. and that too will provide some additional practice.

    Sorry for writing a treatise in response to your brief questions, but I’m rather passionate about kids’ learning math the right way! Math is quite fascinating once you understand that solving problems is only the tip of the iceberg (a very important tip, to be sure), but most children (and adults) never have the opprotunity to learn what math is really about at all.

    All the best,

    Dave

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    #11599 - 03/15/08 01:44 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: ]
    PhysicistDave
    Unregistered


    questions wrote of her son:

    >I said to the psychologist last year that he learns best when he doesn't know he's learning at all.

    Yeah, don’t we all?

    Most adults I know have some hobby – cooking, gardening, etc – that they know a huge amount about but not as a result of taking formal classes for a grade. Humans are designed to learn – we can’t run fast like a cheetah, fly like an eagle, etc. – but, boy, can we learn.

    Let me make clear that I am not making excuses for not ultimately achieving adequate mastery in important subjects. But no one can achieve complete mastery of a significant subject in just a year. The idea that someone “knows” calculus or physics or US history because he “had” the subject in school is simply foolish: what he “had” was a very brief overview of a very deep subject. Specifically, I have never met a human being who really “got” calculus on the first exposure – and I have known some people who were among the most gifted in my generation in math (for example, I went to college with a kid who started graduate school in math in his mid-teens).

    So, people who think that diligently working through one textbook gives mastery of a subject (especially given how horrible most American public-school textbooks are) are just fooling themselves. Better, for example, to casually read a half-dozen good, serious books about biology and slowly start to pick up and master the concepts than to diligently try to memorize one single mediocre biology textbook.

    After all, no great cook simply memorized one cooking textbook! She perused and borrowed from a variety of cookbooks, and then, of course, started doing her own thing.

    You also wrote:
    >It's funny, but I've been thinking that what I won't know how to do is the silly fun stuff. For example, this weekend, DS's assignment is to make a leprachaun trap and to bring it into school on Monday. It's all he can think about and talk about. If we go forward with the HS, I have to remember things like that. Or maybe that's what I have a babysitter do?

    Well, I suppose “arts and crafts” is my own weakest spot. By and large, I didn’t much like them as a kid (except for perspective drawing – but then that’s really math). I was sort of nervous about that when we started homeschooling. But my experience has been that it more or less takes care of itself. Let kids have access to crayons, pencils, paper, scissors, and tape and they make stuff (we seem to end up buying a lot of tape for some reason!). One of my daughters seems to have some real talent for drawing, which I certainly did not teach her (although we have made books available that explain how to draw).

    Also, this is the sort of thing that your local public library has weekly sessions for and that most homeschooling moms are very good at, so it’s not too hard to seek out group activities for arts and crafts. We did that initially, but now I pretty much just let the kids do it on their own. Of course, I can’t teach the kids, for example, how to do wall frescoes, but unless someone is serious about pursuing art as a career, I doubt that is really central to one’s education.

    Remember, too, that almost all homeschoolers do rely on outside sources for some subjects. I’m a marginally competent swimmer, so we paid for the kids to take swimming lessons. Obviously, I cannot teach ballet, and, though my wife plays piano, she did not feel competent to teach it. So, our girls take dance and piano lessons outside the home. That sort of thing also provides some of the all-important “socialization.” We were worried about “socialization,” too, but we’ve found out what we should have known all along: humans are naturally social beings, and kids will make friends with other kids easily and rapidly. They do not need to be with other kids thirty-forty hours a week to make friends.

    I hope I’m not sounding as if I’m pooh-poohing anyone’s concerns and nervousness about homeschooling. I’m still nervous about it after four years of doing it, to tell the truth – I’m always trying to think about what we’re missing. However, it does seem in the end to take care of itself, if the parent is diligent about supervising the kids’ learning and, most importantly, about making learning resources available to the kids – above all, books, which thanks to public libraries and modern Internet interlibrary loans, simply requires a parent to seek out good books via the Net and through information from other parents and kids.

    My own education is in physics, not teaching, after all. But we under-rate ourselves if we think we do not know how to help our own kids learn. Human parents have been teaching their own children for tens of thousands of years. Our ability to do this is tied in to the basic and extraordinary human ability to learn. It ends up being easier, and more fun, than it might seem.

    One caveat: it does require a parent who is willing to continue learning on his or her own. I’m currently teaching my kids Chinese; however, I don’t know Chinese – my wife is fluent in speaking Mandarin (she’s the daughter of Chinese immigrants), but I only knew a few dozen words before starting to teach the kids. So, I’m “teaching” by learning along with them (actually, they’re a bit ahead of me and I’m frantically trying to move fast enough that I can continue to supervise their work). I’m having fun with this, but I suppose there are people who would hate this situation and could not tolerate their kids’ being ahead of them.

    I don’t think this is a problem for anyone on this forum, but I suppose that people who really hate the idea of learning themselves probably should not be homeschooling parents. I’m pretty sure you yourself would have fun homeschooling (but, yeah, there will be some nervousness and anxiety, now and then!).

    All the best,

    Dave

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    #11604 - 03/15/08 02:32 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: ]
    questions Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/24/07
    Posts: 864
    Did you see this article? Not sure if I found this here, or one of the local HS groups: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/14/educat...BHC8pq9RGkyQXrQ

    It's about math education in the US.

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    #11605 - 03/15/08 02:38 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: kimck]
    PhysicistDave
    Unregistered


    kimck,

    Yeah, I can see how one has to use the label “gifted” in dealing with the public-school bureaucracy. We ourselves are homeschooling through a public charter school which sends a teacher out once a month to check on us, so I do see a tiny bit of that bureaucracy myself. Thankfully, our charter school is known for being very un-bureaucratic, and our teacher was actually homeschooled herself, so we do not have to deal with very much bureaucratic nonsense.

    Incidentally, I’m not trying to make any sort of “politically correct” objection to the term “gifted”: obviously, some human beings do have greater innate talents in some areas than others. For example, I took a couple of years of trumpet as a kid, and I have absolutely no doubt that Wynton Marsalis in innately more gifted at the trumpet than I am!

    And, I certainly do not see any reason why anyone whose kids are way above average intellectually should hide that fact anymore than parents whose kids are “gifted” athletically or musically should hide the fact.

    I do think, though, that the unfortunate anti-intellectual bias in our country is a problem not only for parents of intellectually “gifted” children but for all parents who care about their kids developing to their potential. Even “normal” six-year-olds, as far as I can see, would rather learn about knights and castles or Egyptian mummies than learn the fireman-is-my-friend pabulum that passes for “social studies” in so many public schools. No doubt “gifted” kids are indeed much smarter than most people realize. But I think that even intellectually mediocre kids are much smarter than most people realize. As the cliché, says, a mind is indeed a terrible think to waste, and I fear we are wasting many millions of young minds, and not just the “gifted” ones.

    All the best,

    Dave

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    #11634 - 03/16/08 02:23 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: questions]
    PhysicistDave
    Unregistered


    questions,

    Thanks for the link – I had not seen the article.

    I generally agree with the points mentioned in the Times’ article. In fact, many of the quotes from the panel’s report sound as if they could almost have been lifted from the book I mentioned above, Liping Ma's “Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics." Specifically, Dr. Ma mentioned the point about fractions, and she has some very concrete and very useful suggestions for how to teach division of fractions, which is the sticking point for so many children (and teachers).

    My one reservation is that I fear that the panel’s recommendations, as quoted in the Times, solid as they are, will be twisted and misused by the time they work their way into the nation’s elementary classrooms.

    For example, the Times says:
    > The report tries to put to rest the long, heated debate over math teaching methods. Parents and teachers have fought passionately in school districts around the country over the relative merits of traditional, or teacher-directed, instruction, in which students are told how to do problems and then drilled on them, versus reform or child-centered instruction, emphasizing student exploration and conceptual understanding. It said both methods had a role.

    Indeed. The problem, though, is that some of the “child-centered” (AKA “constructivist”) programs out there have avoided making sure that students master the traditional algorithms in favor of letting the kids develop their own algorithms.

    That is not a good idea.

    The traditional algorithms have been worked out over centuries by some very bright people. Those algorithms always work, and they are fairly easy to understand and very efficient for paper-and-pencil calculation.

    I’m good enough at math that, when I am doing math in my head, I often invent a new algorithm on the fly. But I already know the traditional algorithms. To encourage kids who do not already know the traditional algorithms to do this is unwise. Also, the traditional algorithms transfer nicely into more advanced math: for example, “synthetic division” of polynomials is basically a generalization of the traditional long-division algorithm learned in grade-school arithmetic. If you do not understand the traditional long-division algorithm, you are going to have trouble understanding synthetic division.

    I’m also concerned about the point that:
    > The report, adopted unanimously by the panel on Thursday and presented to Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, said that prekindergarten-to-eighth-grade math curriculums should be streamlined and put focused attention on skills like the handling of whole numbers and fractions and certain aspects of geometry and measurement.

    There has indeed been a lot of silly topics in the “fuzzy math” curricula that should just be abandoned, and, yes, the first priority in grade-school math has to be mastery of whole numbers and fractions (the latter including decimals and percents).

    But, especially for bright kids, there can also be exposure to real ideas in math that give a sense of what real math is about beyond grade-school arithmetic – everything from prime numbers to a peek at what has been done with infinity. Infinity, incidentally, was central to twentieth-century mathematics: as a physicist, I routinely work in infinite-dimensional spaces (so-called “Hilbert space”), but I doubt that very many adults, aside from mathematicians or physicists, even know that infinity is not a vague philosophical idea but an integral part of modern mathematics.

    So, I’m a bit afraid that, if the panel’s recommendations are followed, the best we can hope for is a return to the way our parents were taught math. That would be a real improvement on what now prevails in many grade schools. But it’s not optimal, especially for the brighter children.

    On the other hand, the report’s points about committing elementary facts to long-term memory so that you can focus on higher-level activities, about intellectual achievement being based on extensive knowledge of facts, and about mastering math being a result not simply of talent but primarily of hard work are, in my experience, quite true, and, as the Times suggests, are now backed up by a good deal of research in cognitive science (and, of course, common sense).

    All the best,

    Dave

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    #11656 - 03/16/08 09:06 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: ]
    LMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/14/07
    Posts: 902
    Welcome to the board, Dave.

    Thank you so much for all the insight. I will have to go back and check some of the books you have mentioned.

    I too like Fred's books. They are funny, easy to read and very engaging. It's a new and different way of teaching math. My son really liked it, but we haven't touched in a while. I am not sure the books provide enough exercises though. DS5 picks up new concepts very quickly, but I don't think I would use it as the only source. Dh and I are both math geeks and we are getting to the point when we really want the right person to teach DS math. Definitely a big reason to hs.
    _________________________
    LMom

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    #11670 - 03/16/08 02:03 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: LMom]
    PhysicistDave
    Unregistered


    LMom,

    You say you and your spouse are math geeks. Can you define “math geeks”?

    Okay, putting it that way probably proves that I am a math geek! But, seriously, are you both folks who really like math, are you both in technical fields, were you both math majors or what?

    I’m curious because I’m always trying to figure out how to teach math better to our kids, who are middle-grade school by age, upper-grade school by math grade level (tests show them as five years beyond grade level, though from my own experience I think they are not quite that far ahead – I’d peg them as three years beyond grade level).

    I learned a lot of math, not thoroughly but at a beginning level, years before I was “supposed” to, largely by random sampling. For example, I learned the basic ideas of Galois field theory (not all the theorems, but enough to do some calculations) from some book (I’ve forgotten which) in high school just for fun. This turned out to be a good thing, because, after I finished my Ph.D. and was out in the real world, I serendipitously was talking with a co-worker and found that he was working on a project using Galois field theory for satellite communication systems. I ended up being co-patentholder on several patents using GFT for satellite and computer hard-disk applications.

    So, I’m trying to replicate my experience with our kids. As I’ve said above, while mastering the standard algorithms is of course an absolute must, I’m really keen on trying to convey the idea that math is more than that – it’s basically a set of beautiful concepts and a way of thinking about the world.

    That’s hard to convey.

    The nice thing about the Fred books, of course, is that they have a “young” feel to them but that they do real math, so that a child whose math ability is well beyond his chronological age but who is not quite ready for the formality of higher-level books can learn a lot from them.

    I assume your son is very accelerated in reading if he can read the Fred books. As you know, the beginning one starts with fractions. Is your son accelerated enough in math that he can handle that mathematically? My kids are several years older than yours and are finding some of the problems somewhat challenging.

    On the issue of supplementing “Fred” with additional problems, I’m philosophically opposed in general to relying on one book to teach a subject and then just relaxing. I think the parent always needs to ask himself or herself if the kid really “gets” it or if using other books would help for different perspectives, additional problems, etc. Usually, I think, the answer is “Yes – other books would help.” We’re doing that even for Chinese – instead of just going through one introductory curriculum until we have it memorized, we’re jumping from one to another (this turns out to be a good thing, among other reasons, because all of the introductory series have some real lacunae in their vocabulary).

    Anyway, I’m curious to know where you and your spouse are coming from math-wise and if you have any thoughts on how to replicate my own personal experience with learning some “advanced” math before one is “supposed to.” I’m hoping to do it in a little less random way than happened to me personally, but without simply trying to push kids to plow through college-level math books. Math can be so beautiful, but it is usually taught in such an ugly way!

    All the best,

    Dave

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    #11674 - 03/16/08 02:13 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: LMom]
    kimck Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/20/07
    Posts: 1134
    I totally agree LMom. DH and I are both math-y too. We are a bit disturbed at the basic Everyday Math curriculum and the fact that at least our 1st grade teacher seems to hate and avoid math. I'm sure that is a common theme among elementary education teachers. But I do think it's important, especially for math-y kids (and better yet, all kids) to get exposed to math from someone who actually "gets" math and enjoys it. My son and I are having a lot of fun playing with Singapore math just 15 minutes or so a day. I can imagine how we'll fly once we're actually homeschooling and have an hour or more to commit to it.

    We will have to check those books out! Thanks for the recommendation.

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    #11756 - 03/16/08 07:00 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: kimck]
    LMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/14/07
    Posts: 902
    Dave, We only did the Fred Fraction. We read the book together and we did help him with some of the calculations. For example he could figure out how to calculate the number of reasons for a new bike in a year, but he couldn't do the calculation himself. He could tell me what to multiply, but it was me doing the multiplication (he can do it on his own now but not back in fall).

    I know that according to the author the long division is a requirement for this book and DS5 couldn't do it then (he just learned it with 1 digit divisor last week), but I cared about the concept. He eventually lost the interest and we didn't finish reading the book. Do I think he is ready for the book? Yes, I do.

    He is in Montessori right now and even though they were usually a few steps behind what he could do home, he got a good practice there. I must admit that he got lots of good practice there. We are all for explaining new concepts and bringing new ideas, but not that good when it comes to practicing. I guess new things and new problems is where the fun and excitement is. We will homeschool next year and we will have to change our attitude a little bit smile

    As for math geeks. In my books anybody with PhD in theoretical physics must be one smile As for us think gifted math & science schools, a prestigious math university (neither one of us did BS or MS in US, DH got PhD in US), advanced degrees in math related fields. You know people who think that evening spent trying to solve a problem from IMO is a well spent evening smile PM for you with more info.

    I don't know how to make them love math. I hope they will and I hope they will find it fascinating. I am not really sure how one gets there. We kind of hope that it will sort of happen. Judging by my DH's family, it is possible. You are years ahead of us and you have much more insight. Have you tried any of the logic puzzle books by Raymond Smullyan? I use to love them back in middle school. I think they show the beauty of math and logic.

    We usually talk about math during dinner time and not much beyond that. We do bring up new thinks and even sort of out of the order (probably not a good idea), sometimes he can do it, sometimes it's just too much. It's fun to test what he is ready for. I am all for learning math on their own level. Forget the age, they can and should learn whatever they are ready for.

    I hear you on more than one resource. How does one manage that? I fully understand where you are coming from, but I can see myself overdoing it and trying to do way too much, like reading about the same things from more books and perhaps creating double the work just because each book is slightly different.

    Kimck, exactly. I would like a teacher which cares about math. A teacher who makes him figure it out instead of giving him the solution. Somebody who understands why the algorithm works not only that it works.


    Edited by LMom (03/16/08 07:05 PM)
    _________________________
    LMom

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    #11764 - 03/17/08 02:14 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: LMom]
    PhysicistDave
    Unregistered


    LMom,

    It sounds as if you and your spouse may have me at least tied as math geeks – and I do in fact mean that as a compliment.

    You wrote:
    >You are years ahead of us and you have much more insight.

    Well… my kids are a bit older than yours, and we’ve been homeschooling longer, so I’ve had more time to make mistakes! As to how much insight I’ve gained from those mistakes…

    You wrote:
    >I hear you on more than one resource. How does one manage that? I fully understand where you are coming from, but I can see myself overdoing it and trying to do way too much…

    Well, the short answer is that I think the approach you are taking so far with the “Fred” books is basically the right approach. My attitude is that I am entitled to ruthlessly “strip-mine” workbooks and textbooks: i.e., use whatever I think serves my kids’ best interests whenever and however we think is appropriate and ignore anything that we find does not serve our purposes.

    I think the central principle is to have your kid do as much work as he needs to do in order to master something… and no more. The goal is understanding and mastery, not work for the sake of work.

    The workbooks/textbooks exist for us – we are not servants of the books.

    Parents, especially when we’re homeschooling, should be able to figure out what the kid knows – if he needs more problems from another book in order to master the stuff, have him do them. If not, don’t.

    I’m having our kids do almost all the problems in Singapore Math because SP is not known for busywork problems and the kids seem to find them challenging. Since Fred Fractions repeats much of what we did in SP, I’m more lax there; we’ll probably be more thorough on Fred Algebra.

    Reading through Fred Fractions with your kid as you did and working with him on problems makes good sense even if it is not exactly the procedure the author had in mind.

    My kids are just getting to the age when I myself was reading good kids’ books about math (such as Adler’s “Giant Golden Book of Mathematics” that I mentioned earlier), and I have not quite figured out how to get them to read them as I did – should I assign reading, just make the books available or what?

    I do think one of the most important things is to try to talk with the kids about math, including stuff that you know may be over their heads, and see what happens. I talked with them while they were still learning simple arithmetic about the sum of the angles of a triangle being 180 and how this only occurred in flat space and was connected to the existence of a unique parallel. We looked at triangles on a sphere and they could easily see that it does not work on a sphere. I’m doubtful that they really grasped the connection to the existence of a unique parallel (although I certainly understand it better now after trying to explain it to them!).

    When we learned the commutative laws for arithmetic in first grade, I pointed out how rotations did not always commute so that commutative laws don’t hold for everything. This is very easy to show with a couple of identical cracker boxes: rotate one 90 degrees around the vertical axis and then 90 degrees around a horizontal axis. Do the same operations in reverse with the second box. The non-commutativity is obvious. The kids still remember this from a couple years ago.

    I’ve talked with them about simple ideas having to do with vectors, which they do seem to get. I’ve also had them do simple calculations with a rotation matrix: this is easy to do once you know the basics of fractions. It gave them some practice with fractions and with graph paper, though of course they still do not really understand matrices.

    Similarly, we’ve talked about infinity – they understand some of it, but not all of it. Kids do seem interested in the idea of infinity, though.

    You know of E. D. Hirsch’s espousal of developmentally *inappropriate* teaching? Hirsch argues that instead of spoon-feeding them each tiny next logical step, kids deserve to hear about the stuff that is actually interesting. Black holes and supernovae are more interesting than pulleys and levers (we’ve read and talked about all of those) and infinity is more interesting than dividing fractions (we’ve worked more seriously on fractions, but we have discussed infinity).

    It would of course be unfair to test even profoundly gifted grade-school kids on the mathematical theory of black holes or on Cantor’s theory of transfinite numbers, whereas, it’s fair to expect them to prove some knowledge about levers and about dividing fractions. But that does not mean you can’t talk about stuff that you expect they will be interested in, even though you know they will not fully grasp it.

    After all, as adults, we would be really irritated if the news media only told us about things that we were expected to internalize so fully that we could later pass a test on it!

    Anyway, it sounds as if you are taking a similar approach to what I am advocating and trying to do myself. I think the important point is to not be afraid of trying out stuff even though it may turn out to be beyond your kid’s understanding (or your ability to explain). Try it out and see what happens. That, after all, is what we adults do with each other. If the child ends up not understanding, well, he will have a shot again when he is a little older.

    I hope it’s clear that I’m not advocating in any way skimping on the core material that really must be mastered in grade school – the four arithmetic operations for whole numbers and for the various sorts of fractions and some basic ideas of measurement. But the nice thing about dealing with bright kids is that you can cover that more rapidly than the public schools do, and still have some fun exploring other things.

    Sorry for having written a treatise rather than a reply again, but I hope this clarifies what I’ve been trying to do with our kids in math.

    All the best,

    Dave

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    #11831 - 03/17/08 02:46 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: ]
    LMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/14/07
    Posts: 902
    Originally Posted By: PhysicistDave

    My attitude is that I am entitled to ruthlessly “strip-mine” workbooks and textbooks: i.e., use whatever I think serves my kids’ best interests whenever and however we think is appropriate and ignore anything that we find does not serve our purposes.

    I think the central principle is to have your kid do as much work as he needs to do in order to master something… and no more. The goal is understanding and mastery, not work for the sake of work.

    The workbooks/textbooks exist for us – we are not servants of the books.

    Parents, especially when we’re homeschooling, should be able to figure out what the kid knows – if he needs more problems from another book in order to master the stuff, have him do them. If not, don’t.


    I like your attitude. That's a very good advice. I hope I can follow it. I'll at least try. I can see myself making him do more than needed in subjects which are not my favorite. I think I could manage to do it with math, but LA could be a very different story.

    Originally Posted By: PhysicistDave

    My kids are just getting to the age when I myself was reading good kids’ books about math (such as Adler’s “Giant Golden Book of Mathematics” that I mentioned earlier), and I have not quite figured out how to get them to read them as I did – should I assign reading, just make the books available or what?


    I would just make the book available and see if they like it. Or make it an option "Today you can work from Fred's book or this one." or find corresponding chapters for whatever you are doing.

    Funny thing, since you mentioned the book for the 2nd time, I decided that I really have to check it out. As a matter of fact we have one of Adler's books at home! It belongs to a friend of us who thought it may be a good reading for our son. I briefly checked and decided that it would be too much for DS. DH looked quite excited when he saw the book. He had exactly the same one when he was a kid and loved it. The book we have is translated, the English original is called Learning with Colour Mathematics. I am not sure how it compares to the one you mentioned. I need to have a better look at it.

    Originally Posted By: PhysicistDave

    You know of E. D. Hirsch’s espousal of developmentally *inappropriate* teaching? Hirsch argues that instead of spoon-feeding them each tiny next logical step, kids deserve to hear about the stuff that is actually interesting. Black holes and supernovae are more interesting than pulleys and levers (we’ve read and talked about all of those) and infinity is more interesting than dividing fractions (we’ve worked more seriously on fractions, but we have discussed infinity).


    This is really interesting. It makes sense they should get the feel for all the exciting things not only those they can really understand. The bigger picture is always more interesting.


    Originally Posted By: PhysicistDave

    I think the important point is to not be afraid of trying out stuff even though it may turn out to be beyond your kid’s understanding (or your ability to explain). Try it out and see what happens. That, after all, is what we adults do with each other. If the child ends up not understanding, well, he will have a shot again when he is a little older.

    I hope it’s clear that I’m not advocating in any way skimping on the core material that really must be mastered in grade school – the four arithmetic operations for whole numbers and for the various sorts of fractions and some basic ideas of measurement. But the nice thing about dealing with bright kids is that you can cover that more rapidly than the public schools do, and still have some fun exploring other things.


    It's quite clear and it makes complete sense. It's quite eye opening to have it explained like this.

    Thanks

    _________________________
    LMom

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    #11838 - 03/17/08 03:52 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: LMom]
    Cathy A Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/26/07
    Posts: 1783
    Loc: West coast, USA
    Quote:
    You know of E. D. Hirsch’s espousal of developmentally *inappropriate* teaching? Hirsch argues that instead of spoon-feeding them each tiny next logical step, kids deserve to hear about the stuff that is actually interesting. Black holes and supernovae are more interesting than pulleys and levers (we’ve read and talked about all of those) and infinity is more interesting than dividing fractions (we’ve worked more seriously on fractions, but we have discussed infinity).


    I wholeheartedly agree with this! This is what I try to do in the weekly mathlabs I do in my kids' classes at school. It really gets them fired up about math. I have a bunch of first and third graders following me around the playground, begging me to come do a mathlab smile

    Here's an analogy I like to use when I'm selling my ideas to the teacher: Yes, kids need to learn arithmetic but just teaching them arithmetic without showing them anything else would be like only teaching kids spelling and never reading them a story.

    Cathy

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    #11841 - 03/17/08 07:24 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: LMom]
    PhysicistDave
    Unregistered


    LMom,

    You wrote:
    >I can see myself making him do more than needed in subjects which are not my favorite. I think I could manage to do it with math, but LA could be a very different story.

    Language Arts is not my strongest subject either (I was a good student in school in it, but it’s not the area I really am master of). Our kids score well above grade level in language arts, but not as high as they do in reading or math – I’m not sure if that is a sign of their relative innate abilities or a sign that I am doing a better job teaching reading and math.

    My own theory is that the core of Language Arts is being successful at communication, both sending and receiving, and, that, the best way to do that is to practice – i.e., to read a lot and write a lot (I guess, to speak a lot too, but humans naturally do that!). We normally go to the public library once every week or two and the kids have been writing little stories from early on. We read our science and history books out loud together, with one of the kids reading and my helping with meaning or pronunciation of difficult words, with complicated concepts, etc.

    We avoided LA workbooks completely for several years. (We did have handwriting workbooks, since my handwriting has always been horrible and it seemed best for the kids not to imitate me.) We have recently started on the “Editor-in-Chief” series of workbooks which has the kids finding errors in various written passages – the kids like these a lot and the workbooks seem less mindlessly repetitive than the LA workbooks I had in school. We’ve also just started on the McCall-Crabbs 3-minute reading comprehension exercises, which, I hope, will help advance their reading comprehension (although they do already score very high on that).

    The kids have also been doing some work in a series “Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek!” designed to teach elementary-age kids some real classical Greek. I have not made that a very high priority, but I hope it will help with vocabulary roots. W may try some similar Latin stuff (there’s a Latin series from the same people), since Latin roots seem to be everywhere.

    We have not really done any formal spelling at all, but the kids seem to be pretty good spellers. I have taught them the parts of speech, and we will eventually do some sentence diagramming, which I and my friends liked as kids.

    Anyway, we’re taking a somewhat laissez-faire attitude to LA, but it seems to be working okay.

    You also wrote:
    >I would just make the book available and see if they like it. Or make it an option "Today you can work from Fred's book or this one." or find corresponding chapters for whatever you are doing.

    Thanks for the suggestion – I think I’ll do that.

    My brother, whose kids are older than ours, actually told me some years ago to always give kids choices rather than commands: just frame the choices so it works out fine either way -- kind of sneaky, but it does seem to work. And, in fact, I do usually try to take the tack of “Would you like to practice piano or do math now?” if I can (of course, they often both want to practice piano at the same time, which is not possible), and the kids have some input into the books we choose to study for science and history.

    I think you may actually have a translation of the math book I am talking about – I’ll PM you with details so we can find out.

    Incidentally, I probably sound a lot more sure of myself on all this than I really am. We just discovered the Fred books last summer and decided to move into them. And, I’ve gotten some writing/composition workbooks through the charter school that I have not yet quite figured out how to use. So, I’m definitely learning by doing! But the kids do seem to be moving forward rapidly and seem to be reasonably happy. The one thing I am pretty sure of is that kids should not be denied learning about interesting stuff just because it’s not “normal” for kids their age or “developmentally appropriate” to learn it.

    All the best,

    Dave

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    #12010 - 03/19/08 08:39 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: ]
    Ania Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/07/06
    Posts: 802
    Loc: Home :)
    Originally Posted By: PhysicistDave
    But our society goes to a lot of trouble to see to it that kids have a real chance to develop, for example, whatever athletic ability they may possess, whether that innate ability is awesome or merely run-of-the-mill. We do not do the same for intellectual ability. That seems to me a horrible shame.


    I love that! I so believe this to be true!
    But whenever I say anthing like that I am being fumed over!

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    #12011 - 03/19/08 08:42 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Ania]
    questions Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/24/07
    Posts: 864
    I happened to hear Frank Deford this am on NPR, saying much the same thing at the end of his piece: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88519364


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    #12130 - 03/20/08 03:09 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Ania]
    PhysicistDave
    Unregistered


    [SPAM], or Tiger, or Michelle since they make it look so easy? Of course, we obviously can’t, but since we can at least (sort of) understand what they are doing, perhaps they are not a threat to that all-American egalitarian belief that we are really all the same.

    Since most people cannot even understand what Ed Witten or Andrew Wiles or Stephen Hawking has achieved (I have trouble understanding Witten’s work myself – and he and I are in the same field!), is this kind of top-level intellectual achievement a threat to most people because it reminds us that we really are nothing like equal to those guys?

    Are even the achievements of gifted children a threat to most adults because they could not have matched those achievements as kids themselves?

    What I think is especially insidious about all this is that, as beautiful as her skating undoubtedly is, Michelle Kwan will not find a cure for cancer or find a long-term sustainable source of energy. Those things, which we really need, will be found by someone who excels intellectually. Furthermore, Michelle will not be weaving her magic or advancing the art of skating when she is in her sixites (although she will no doubt continue to contribute behind the scenes). Yet, Steve Hawking is well into his ‘60s and still contributing, despite his debilitating disease (I had a chance to meet Hawking when I was a student back in the ‘70s – at the time, we were assured he’d be dead in a decade from his ALS).

    Since few kids will ever be Tiger or Michelle, surely an emphasis on intellectual achievement will tend to serve them better throughout their entire life.

    questions,

    Interesting article by deFord. He does make me wonder if this “spectator society” (think “reality TV”) has made public adulation (or at least attention) the only thing considered to be of real value. I think that Dick Button, and perhaps even Peggy Fleming, skated primarily out of a love for the intrinsic beauty of the sport. DeFord seems to think this sense has been lost. What a shame. After all, the real point of the sport, both for spectators and participants, was once grace and beauty, not just triple Axels.

    All the best,

    Dave

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    #12198 - 03/20/08 12:05 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: ]
    czechdrum Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/04/08
    Posts: 88
    Homeschooling my PG kid makes it possible for me to frame things so that his prodigious skills are not the essence of who he is. Don't misunderstand me; his intellectual abilities are very important. But they are an interesting footnote when compared to his person, his character.

    The most important thing to me is not that he is ready for calculus by age 10 (although that will probably happen), but that he develops into a person who is curious, kind, and brave.

    In school, he would be defined by his unique academic achievements. That would be the label attached to him. As a homeschooler, he is not known among his friends ONLY as an incredibly smart boy. He is known as compassionate, creative, and a very loyal friend. I am so glad that he is growing up with these identifiers bearing just as much weight as the PG label. I greatly appreciate the freedoms that homeschooling offers us in that context.

    Best,
    Tara

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    #12251 - 03/20/08 04:26 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: czechdrum]
    PhysicistDave
    Unregistered


    Tara,

    That's a very interesting point. I'm curious if you (or anyone else) can elaborate further.

    Incidentally my value priorities for my kids are:
    1. Ethical and decent human beings
    2. Health
    3. Able to function adequately in society
    4. Academic development
    5. Extra-curricular stuff

    I really think point 3 largely takes care of itself in the course of normal life (there is stuff like driver’s ed, of course), and all normal parents attend to point 2, so I do tend to focus more on points 1 and 4. It is funny that most people would actually describe me as someone singularly focused on academics, when that is actually not my top priority.

    I haven’t listed “happiness” as a goal, because I doubt you can really successfully pursue happiness as such. I suspect that you can try to lead a decent and worthwhile life, and, with a little bit of luck, a nice bonus will be happiness.

    I mentioned on one of these threads how one of my kids really annoyed her cousin by telling the cousin that the cousin could not play piano because the cousin was not homeschooled. This of course was not only rude but false -- it was just a matter of which child happened to be taking piano lessons. (Incidentally, I know the cousin very well, and she is in fact extremely bright, quite possibly brighter than my kids. My kid’s not entitled to look down her nose in any way at all towards her cousin.)

    However, the kids of most of the people on this board really will end up being greater achievers academically, in an objective sense, than most of their acquaintances, and all of us as parents, as shown by our participation here, put a pretty high value on academic achievement. The kids are inevitably going to pick up on this.

    So, since we really do think it is good to be high achievers intellectually, how do we get our kids to understand the distinction between better academically and being better as a human being? Indeed, how do we get them to understand that you can and should rank human beings on particular skills (ice-skating, trumpet-playing, etc.), but, except in terms of basic moral behavior, it is generally wrong to rank human beings as human beings?

    I hope my kids learned all of this a bit from the piano-insult incident: we had some long and detailed discussions after that, and my child did choose, without any suggestion from us, to later apologize to her cousin.

    I also agree with you about being labeled as “smart and nothing else.” I really did feel that way as a child. I’ve mentioned somewhere that a classmate towards the end of my senior year casually said to me, “You know, Dave, you’re actually okay.” Clearly, she had heard I was a nerd (well, I was!); fortunately, we had gotten to know each other well enough that she came to see me not just as a nerd but as an ordinary guy.

    By high school, I was mature enough to grin at this sort of thing, but as a younger child it did bother me.

    Can you elaborate on how this works in your local homeschooling group? I know of some kids in ours who are clearly gifted, but the general ethos in the group tends to push them to hide the fact. Again, I’m not sure how to create a situation where everyone can say “Hey, I’m great at basketball, you’re great at calculus, and Emily can really make that trumpet sing!” and everyone can feel that this is wonderful.

    Maybe it is an impossible dream.

    All the best,

    Dave

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    #12254 - 03/20/08 04:43 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: czechdrum]
    PhysicistDave
    Unregistered


    Tara,

    A tangential point – you wrote:
    >The most important thing to me is not that he is ready for calculus by age 10 (although that will probably happen)…

    I feel like I am inviting an angry response if I ever mention that I think bright kids can learn calculus around ages ten to twelve.

    Can I impose on you to fill us in on how you are handling math and how you plan to deal with calculus when your son gets there (if you’ve already posted this, a link please)? Are you acquainted with W. W. Sawyer’s “What Is Calculus About?”? I myself found that very useful to get the basic ideas (I think I read it when I was fourteen), but you cannot really learn calculus from it.

    Even though I’m very good at math and, as a physicist, know a lot of advanced math, I find math one of the most challenging things to teach in terms of engaging the kids.

    All the best,

    Dave

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    #12255 - 03/20/08 04:45 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: ]
    czechdrum Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/04/08
    Posts: 88
    Originally Posted By: PhysicistDave
    Can you elaborate on how this works in your local homeschooling group?


    I'm fortunate enough to have been close friends with a group of homeschooling families for about 5-6 years. In essence, our children have grown up together. I realize that this is unique, but nonetheless, it does help take away some of the "wow" factor when one of the kids is an obvious standout in one particular area.

    One of the kids in our group is exceptionally gifted physically. He rode without training wheels and swam independently (very well) at age 3. Another child in our group plays a very difficult orchestral instrument, is almost on a par with students at Julliard who are 3 times her age. I'm not saying we are a group of prodigies across the board, but these experiences have encouraged a healthy respect for different gifts...and recognition that just because someone is a superstar in one area, that isn't the sum of who that person is.

    We do have newer families coming into our group, and folks don't tend to overemphasize the standout gifts. I have had chats with newer moms or dads who might say something like, "I hear that your son started reading at 2 and is now doing algebra, is that true?!" with a shocked look. When I respond without fluttering excitement, it sets the tone of "all of our children have their strengths, and this isn't ALL that my son is about."

    I don't know if that answers your question. confused

    Best,
    Tara

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    #12256 - 03/20/08 04:59 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: ]
    czechdrum Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/04/08
    Posts: 88
    Originally Posted By: PhysicistDave
    Tara,

    A tangential point – you wrote:
    >The most important thing to me is not that he is ready for calculus by age 10 (although that will probably happen)…

    I feel like I am inviting an angry response if I ever mention that I think bright kids can learn calculus around ages ten to twelve.

    Can I impose on you to fill us in on how you are handling math and how you plan to deal with calculus when your son gets there (if you’ve already posted this, a link please)? Are you acquainted with W. W. Sawyer’s “What Is Calculus About?”? I myself found that very useful to get the basic ideas (I think I read it when I was fourteen), but you cannot really learn calculus from it.

    Even though I’m very good at math and, as a physicist, know a lot of advanced math, I find math one of the most challenging things to teach in terms of engaging the kids.

    All the best,

    Dave


    I'm not what you'd call a math person, but my husband is highly gifted in math and all things analytical. Even though I am the primary homeschooling parent, he tends to do ad hoc math work with our son in the evenings and on the weekends.

    At the moment, DS is using Teaching Textbooks, Life of Fred, Aleks, and a smattering of Zaccaro books to learn algebra. He really loves math and LOF and Zaccaro are what he'd call pleasure reading. He probably spends 1-2 hours working on math each day, by choice.

    I'm not yet sure what we'll use for calc when it's time. It might be a traditional class (AP Calc at the local high school, or maybe at the community college--or maybe one-on-one with a mentor). One of the reasons I was excited to get the DYS acceptance letter is that I hope they can be of help when that time comes.

    Tara

    edited to add: Our son is doing high school work pretty much across the board right now (at 8) so it's not just math that I am dealing with in terms of advanced subject matter. In fact, I find that math is one of the easier subjects to handle when dealing with such extreme asynchrony.


    Edited by czechdrum (03/20/08 05:05 PM)
    Edit Reason: adding more

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    #12261 - 03/20/08 06:04 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: czechdrum]
    PhysicistDave
    Unregistered


    Tara wrote:
    >I don't know if that answers your question.

    Well, it’s one of those questions like “What is the meaning of life” that can never really be answered, but your comments are interesting.

    And, of course, now if anyone claims that my kids are going too fast on math, I’m going to say, “Hey, I talked to this mom on the Web whose kid is way ahead of my kids…” It’s nice talking with people who are happy rather than distressed that their kids are fast learners.

    All the best,

    Dave

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    #12267 - 03/20/08 06:36 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: ]
    czechdrum Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/04/08
    Posts: 88
    Dave, I think it's less about "there are kids who are way ahead of mine" and more about "the parent isn't distressed about this." I have run across kids whose abilities surpass those of my kid - there will always be someone who is doing more/better/faster.

    One of my primary responsibilities as a parent is to find an even keel, a way to integrate this brilliance into our otherwise ordinary lives without giving it too much (or too little) power over us as a family, and our son as an individual.

    Tara

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    #12268 - 03/20/08 06:55 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: czechdrum]
    PhysicistDave
    Unregistered


    Tara,

    Yeah. One thing that does concern me involves a college friend of mine. This was a guy who started grad school in mathematics at age 15 (at Caltech, a serious school). He was the office mate of a good friend of mine, so I knew him pretty well.

    I was the top undergrad physics major in my class, but this guy, three years younger than me, knew things about physics I did not understand. There were write-ups in the newspapers about him as a once-in-a-decade prodigy: he was the Terry Tao of my generation. Incidentally, he was a very nice guy -- never arrogant about his brilliance at all, although he was a bit socially inept, even by the standards of the rest of us geeks.

    Last time I checked, he was working as a tax preparer.

    Now, of course, tax preparer is a perfectly honorable profession, and I bet he does a fantastic job at it. But it was certainly not the career he had been hoping for as a student.

    I don’t know the “backstory”: maybe he is quietly working away on the most significant advance in human history and soon we’ll know of it (like Einstein in the patent office).

    Anyway, do you worry about your son having a similar experience – a child prodigy who sort of “burns himself out”?

    I honestly know nothing about this, except for my college friend, and, as I say, I don’t really know the full story with him either. I’m not trying to insinuate anything one way or the other, and I hope you won’t take this as anything except an honest question.

    I suppose that one could just take the tack of “Let the kid learn as fast as he can, and if he peaks at age 15, that’s life.”

    All the best,

    Dave

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    #12320 - 03/21/08 02:11 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: ]
    czechdrum Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/04/08
    Posts: 88
    Well, that was sort of the point I was making: I don't want his extreme intelligence to be the sum total of who he is, or how he sees himself, because I find that to be (at best) very limiting and (at worst) very dangerous.

    When I make the effort to create an environment for him in which he is perceived in a myriad of ways, not just "the 8yo high school student," then I give him opportunities to be more than that. He is more than that. For us, for now, that means homeschooling.

    I don't really care what he ends up doing with his life, as long as he is reasonably happy and productive. If he wants to be a professional studio drummer, that would be fine (he may very well go in that direction), if that is what blisses him out. I'm all about feeding the bliss. Which would take me off on another tangent about homeschooling and child-directed learning, so I'll stop for the moment.

    Short answer: no, I'm not worried about burnout. We lead a very down-to-earth, balanced life. Sometimes I need to tell him to "put away the books, we're going to the playground." But then again, I don't consider him in the same league as Bobby Fischer and other similar prodigies. [I don't know much about actual prodigies, though, to be honest.]

    Tara

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    #12327 - 03/21/08 02:54 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: czechdrum]
    PhysicistDave
    Unregistered


    Tara,

    Thanks. This again is the sort of question to which there is no final answer, of course.

    Incidentally, it occurred to me after I posted that it might seem as if I were criticizing you or other parents who make advanced materials available to their gifted kids. Thanks for interpreting my remarks charitably and not taking them in the wrong way.

    I’m actually quite “gung-ho” about getting kids access to any resources that interest them academically, even if those resources are beyond their current level – it shouldn’t hurt anyone to puzzle over a book about calculus or black holes, even if, in the end, he or she puts it on the shelf to look at it again in a year or so.

    Puzzling over things is a very good thing.

    So, I’m certainly not trying to intimate that anyone here is allowing his or her child to accelerate too rapidly. In the case of my college friend, both of his parents were mathematics professors, so it is not surprising that he had very strong talent in this area. I did always wonder, though, if they intentionally created a “hothouse” atmosphere that pushed him to develop at a rate even faster than the rapid rate he would have developed on his own.

    This is an issue for me in my own mind because my kids do not seem quite as self-motivated as many of the kids being discussed here in terms of asking for material at the level they are able to handle. Perhaps (I’d like to think!) they are just so used to getting material appropriate to their level of development that they see no need to ask for it. But, I am concerned that I might “push” material on them that they might be able, barely, to handle, but that they do not really enjoy and that does not really foster their long-term development.

    Incidentally, I am not mentioning my old friend’s name because I am really just using some vague impressions and speculations about his life as a springboard for raising issues that concern me. All I really know for certain about him is that he was profoundly brilliant and an awfully nice guy (he would of course be labeled “Asperger’s” nowadays, which is paasingly strange, since I knew him to be more sensitive and compassionate about others’ feelings than most “normal” people are). For all I know, he may consider his entire life to be the absolute ultimate of “bliss,” as you put it – I certainly hope so.

    Anyway, thanks for your comments. I know no magic key to definitively answer the questions I’ve raised with you, but it does help to hear your thoughts and experiences.

    All the best,

    Dave

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    #12546 - 03/26/08 12:09 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: ]
    incogneato Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/25/07
    Posts: 2231
    Loc: up in my head.......
    I've considered and am still considering homeschooling. DD8 isn't interested, but DD5 would love to partial homeschool. Our state mandates that you can partial HS and our principal was very supportive of the idea.
    Has anyone done this?
    If so, were the kids readily accepted by the other kids?
    Were other parents open to it?
    I had heard from one person, that the other kids weren't as open to playing with the partial hs'er because they only saw them at gum, music art, etc.

    Neato

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    #12547 - 03/26/08 01:36 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: incogneato]
    Lorel Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/22/07
    Posts: 970
    Loc: New England
    Neato-

    One of my best friends just tried a hybrid experience with her son, age ten, who was watching some show about middle schoolers and became curious. He enrolled in a science class that piqued his interest, and took art class at the school too. I think he was at school 2-3 times a week, and he enjoyed it for a month or two, but grew weary of it by Christmas.

    There were a few reasons that this was not a great solution. One is that the school had a weird rotating schedule, so it was hard for us to tell when B would be free and when he would be in school. So he missed some events with homeschooled friends. The other is that the school kids were not unkind, but he wasn't there enough time for them to truly accept him. He continued to be an oddity. It may be that if he stayed in those two classes all year, things would be different, but in those three months he did not form one friendship, and he is an outgoing kid. His little sister was forced to miss some homeschool stuff too, due to the pickup schedule. The Mom was relieved when B finally told her that he didn't want to go any more.


    Another friend has a daughter who started distance learning high school when she was 12. She joined the high school soccer team and was a solid player. But the older girls were snobby and did not make her feel very welcome. They asked her pointedly why she was younger, why she homeschooled, why she wanted to join their team. I'm sure you can imagine the snotty tone of voice!

    On the other hand, I met a boy several years ago, who was exclusively homeschooled yet was on the high school wrestling team. He was a very eloquent speaker, and he was actually the wrestling team captain! So the hybrid thing CAN work, but those I know personally who have tried it have not had the best experiences.

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    #12549 - 03/26/08 02:26 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Lorel]
    incogneato Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/25/07
    Posts: 2231
    Loc: up in my head.......
    Thanks for the input Lorel. I'm hoping I'll hear about a few more success stories!

    What a great mom B has, willing to let him investigate the school thing, I thing that's so great.

    DD5 is in K right now. She has a religous ed. class and Girl Scouts after school with friends from school. I'm hoping she is young enough and involved in enough that the other kids will just accept her as someone who goes to school with them part of the time.

    We haven't decided to do it for sure, but I am investigating it as an option for her.

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    #12563 - 03/26/08 07:45 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Dottie]
    Mommy2myEm Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/12/07
    Posts: 304
    I wish our schools would consider partial HS. This week has already been rough for DD9. They are in the middle of review for achievement tests, which includes tons of worksheets to drill the same material over and over again. DD got 100% on the pretest, but still has to complete worksheets. Teacher's response: Practice never hurt anyone!!!

    Then today DD came home crying because a girl on her bus slapped her!! I was so furious that no adults intervened, as DD said they were waiting for a bus to come. This girl is assigned to sit next to DD and I can't imagine how she felt on the bus ride home today. DD asked me not to get involved, but I had to explain to her that this is a situation that adults need to handle. I feel so awful tonight as I think about this all.

    Jen

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    #12572 - 03/27/08 05:29 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Dottie]
    incogneato Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/25/07
    Posts: 2231
    Loc: up in my head.......
    Jen that's awful. You are right to feel you should intervene. The bus is the worst. I still rembember riding the bus there is absolutely no adult supervision and the naughty children especially know it.
    Could you drive her back and forth?

    Neato

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    #12584 - 03/27/08 11:27 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: incogneato]
    Mommy2myEm Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/12/07
    Posts: 304
    Thanks for your concern for DD. I don't want to change subject of this thread, but I just needed to vent yesterday. This morning DD also told me that in the bus her hair was pulled and her head was pushed to the seat in front of her by the same child.

    I sent a note to the bus driver and DD sat in front. I also called the school and they filed an incident report. DD will also speak with the school counselor. The bus company called me today and assured me the seat assignments would be changed.

    It's hard to see a child this upset and for her to ask me what she did to deserve this... No child deserves this, but DD internalizes everything. Hopefully we can manage the rest of the school year without further incidents.

    Jen

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    #12585 - 03/27/08 12:01 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Mommy2myEm]
    Lorel Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/22/07
    Posts: 970
    Loc: New England
    Jen-

    I would be STEAMING over such an incident! I hope your dd wasn't overly traumatized by all this.

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    #12586 - 03/27/08 12:11 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Lorel]
    bianc850a Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/02/07
    Posts: 312
    Loc: California
    Jen,

    Have you considered enrolling you dd in a martial arts program? I know it has helped my dd carry herself with confidence. This alone usually helps to keep bullies away. On the other hand, if anyone tried to pull her hair they would end up with a very hurt hand.

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    #12591 - 03/27/08 01:47 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: bianc850a]
    LMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/14/07
    Posts: 902
    Jen, I'm sorry. I cannot believe that a child could be so mean and repeatedly. I hope the new seat assignments will put a stop to it and the child won't target her anymore.
    _________________________
    LMom

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    #12878 - 04/01/08 10:09 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: LMom]
    squirt Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/31/08
    Posts: 323
    Loc: Back in Texas, alas!
    Okay, I have to admit that I only read through page 3 of this thread, so maybe my question has already been answered. If so, please direct me to the right place.

    I have considered homeschooling but my husband is opposed to it because my son (6 1/2) and I tend to butt heads quite a bit and I really do need some time on my own to accomplish my work (you know, housework, paying bills, etc) and also just for myself. Have any of you dealt with this? How do you do it? I just can't see myself with my son 24/7. My husband's work schedule is not at all flexible, so it would all fall on my shoulders. Speaking of which, I have physical problems and have to exercise regularly (water aerobics) and to to physical therapy twice a week. I just don't know how I'd do it all and stay sane.

    If we did it, we would probably start with an "unschooling" approach, just doing things that really interest him, like Roman and Greek Numerals and Acids and Chemistry.

    Any thoughts on staying sane, educating a kiddo, and getting your own work and private time fit into a day?

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    #12883 - 04/02/08 05:56 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: squirt]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Childcare is a necessary component of home schooling for me. I'm an introvert who needs time alone for my sanity, and if I don't get it, I'm a wreck. Once you decide to HS, but before you actually start, find at least one college student or HSing teen--and two or more are better to have available in case one has a difficult schedule one quarter or someone gets sick.

    Also investigate childcare options at places like the YMCA. My YMCA offers 2 hours of free childcare every day, and while you have to stay in the building, you don't necessarily have to be exercising to use it. (Though they do usually offer water aerobics classes, if those work for your condition.) Bring your bills and pay them while he's at the Y. I also like it because there are other kids around then, so it's social time for them while I get some time alone. That helps a lot!

    I'm assuming your son is GT right? If not, what I say next may not apply in your situation. But if so...As for the butting heads, often when a child isn't bored all day in a classroom, behavior improves. So if the difficulties arose since your DS6 started school, HSing could solve those problems.

    However, if the two of you have always had trouble getting along, HSing might be a challenge for you. To be honest, I worry a bit about HSing my second child (who is 3.5yo) because he's not as logical and easygoing as my first child, whose personality is very similar to mine. DS6 is easy for me to communicate with, while DS3 is not so easy. I, too, worry that my teaching DS3 would not be easy on either of us. For now he's in preschool, and he will be next year, too. The following year I'll probably send him to a half-day, nonacademic K class, barring changes to the plan. But what we do for 1st grade is anyone's guess. We're going to take things as they come.

    Oh, and be prepared right now for the house to be less clean than you're used to. You can make cleaning up part of your homeschooling day--schools do, so we do, too! But there's just always a lot of stuff that's out and a lot less time to do housework. If you're really not okay with that, then HSing will be a problem for you, I think. Some people just need a spotless house, and HSing is not conducive to a spotless house.

    Fortunately or not, I'm not one of those people for whom spotlessness is required...You can tell by looking at my not-spotless house! crazy
    _________________________
    Kriston
    Mom to DS13 and DS10

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    #13100 - 04/05/08 12:28 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Kriston]
    squirt Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/31/08
    Posts: 323
    Loc: Back in Texas, alas!
    Thanks, Kriston, he is GT and his behavior has gotten worse with full time first grade. He is not challenged at school, although his teacher and I disagree about that. The childcare is a wonderful idea. I didn't even think about that. My house-cleaning leaves a lot to be desired anyway.

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    #13106 - 04/05/08 01:27 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: squirt]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    LOL! I hear you! smile

    The main reason we're HSing this year is because DS6's behavior was awful in 1st grade, and he had always been the most rule-oriented kid you'd ever want to meet for the entire rest of his life before that. But once 1st grade started, he was angry, frustrated and nasty to be around. Being bored stiff for 7+ straight hours will do that to a kid! It's disrespectful to him, really. Treat someone like they're dumber than they are, and they get annoyed, you know? Even/especially kids!

    The very day we took DS6 out of school, his behavior improved. He has his bad days, of course, but overall, he's back to his sunny happy self, and went back to it surprisingly fast. The longer the child is bored, the longer it takes to get back to good behavior, from what I understand.

    Never underestimate the power of childcare for preserving your sanity! smile
    _________________________
    Kriston
    Mom to DS13 and DS10

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    #13137 - 04/05/08 05:46 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Kriston]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    There is always Flylady.net for the housekeeping woes - YMMV, but I learned a lot about routines, and 'progress not perfection' at that site.

    Amazing what the switch from half-time to full time will reveal! Squirt - I hope the homeschooling goes well - it seems to work great for many, but terrible for a few. I think that making the attempt is the most important thing.

    BTW - I think that the early elementary years are the hardest. Once the child is older, then become better able to handle difficult situation altogether (well I can't speak for puberty, but latency is wonderful!) But I do think that school has the greatest gap for HG and PG young ones in those early el years. I mean, in 4th grade DS's class spent 6 weeks on perimeter - wow! Now in Middle School they expect the children to develop abstract thought. By age 12 there will often be the possibility of Commuinity College classes. So if you can keep him engaged and learning how to learn for a few more years more options may open up.

    Best Wishes,
    Grinity
    _________________________
    Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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    #13144 - 04/05/08 07:55 PM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Grinity]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    Yes, we're hoping to HS until maybe middle school and then get him into the local nationally-ranked middle school or the local GT school.

    Either way, it seems to be elementary school that's the big problem.
    _________________________
    Kriston
    Mom to DS13 and DS10

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    #13162 - 04/06/08 04:44 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Kriston]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    My experience is that around age 11 the hormones kick in and kids are more motivated to have friends at school, and more able to handle that type of interaction. This is a huge generalization totally based on my own experience, but I think that we are somewhat programed to have an early need to explore how the world works up until puberty, and then we are somewhat programed to explore the worlds of other people for the next 10 years, so that if academic challenge isn't part of the regular diet by the tween years, it becomes difficult to introduce at that time. I saw the 'gates' of my son's academic interest start to close around late 9, which prompted me to take drastic action, but I feel he would have been much better off with an early enterance or earlier skip.

    Now he loves the academic challenge, and I can see that spark of learning back in his eyes, but 'in theory' at least, he wishes he was going back to his old school with his old grade to be with his old friends. To some degree I think that this is a 'grass is always greener' problem, but I think that there is more to it than that. He is very outgoing, so if it wasn't for the Gifted Issue, he would be in full swing peer-oriented tweenagerhood, for sure. For some kids the pull of hormones and the call of peers isn't noticible until age 16 or college age, but I think the idea is the same.

    Not that we want to throw out the old ideas of developmental norms only to create new 'half-baked' ones! I'm just speculating! There are probably 27 typical patterns for development for gifted kids - and I'm only talking about one of them. Shall I hit the delete button? Shall I trust you to toss my words if they make you feel bad? Ok, I won't hit delete, but only if you promise to do it yourself if you are seeing one of the other 26 patterns - ok?

    Giggles,
    Grinity
    _________________________
    Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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    #13171 - 04/06/08 06:22 AM Re: Homeschooling GT kids [Re: Grinity]
    Kriston Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    I can't speak for everyone, of course, but I promise! smile

    Glad you didn't hit delete. I always love it when you theorize, Grin!
    _________________________
    Kriston
    Mom to DS13 and DS10

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