Sunday, October 7, 2007

What Now?

When we began reading information on gifted children things really started to fall into place for us. We had gotten to a point of being tired almost all of the time. It seemed that every waking moment was spent trying to keep our son challenged. After we began reading about gifted kids we understood why we were tired all of the time and why it seemed as though we were the parents of three boys instead of only one.

Virtually all gifted children have extra energy. For some (like me) that energy is focused inward and the thought life becomes very vivid. I remember when I was in school how I was bored to tears, but I’d sit and behave in class because my mind was busy “elsewhere.” Our son’s energy, however, is focused outward. He can and does sit for hours if he is interested and engaged in what he’s doing, but if he’s not, he starts looking like a runaway super bouncy ball. The funny thing is, that even when he gets like that and needs to get his “monkey” energy out, he’s listening to every word you say.

At this point in our son’s education, I was becoming rather nervous. I now realized that we were dealing with a highly gifted child and that he truly required being challenged or he would get bored and we’d all be sorry. So I turned to eBay and ordered a full first grade curriculum. When it arrived I traipsed upstairs with the books and my notebook. I began mapping out our school year. While I was doing this our son came up for a visit.

“What’cha doin’?”

“Your new school books are here and I’m trying to get organized.”

“Oh! Science!”

He grabbed the science book and read it cover to cover three days in a row. So much for my planning! At that time I really had nothing to model our homeschooling on besides my public school experience. During those three days I knew that something was going to have to change. I went into fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants mode.

I began looking on the internet for information about different style of homeschooling and was amazed at what I found. There were many, many different ways to teach at home, and not all of them looked like public school at home. I was starting to feel a little encouraged.

One thing that I knew we needed was a way to teach without spending big bucks on a full year’s curriculum every eight weeks or so. So we decided to give the Charlotte Mason method a try. This worked well for a while. Our local library became our home away from home. Our son and I would curl up with a good book and learn about all sorts of things. But our son isn’t one to sit still for too long day after day. We needed something a little more hands-on and since I wasn’t terribly experienced at the whole homeschooling thing yet, I went back to the internet for help. It was then that we first heard about The Weaver curriculum – a curriculum that is designed for multi-children households, but perfect for a single child who spans several grade levels. We made the switch and were in for some fun!

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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Kindergarten in a Flash

As I said last time, after our son devoured his full year of pre-school a very short amount of time, I purchased a full year’s kindergarten curriculum. There were worksheets for him to use, and I knew that I could find lots of interesting things on the internet that could supplement what we would be studying. When the curriculum arrived we were both rather excited.

Up until this time, everything that I had read about children our son’s age was that their attention spans were about 15 – 20 minutes and that a child shouldn’t be expected to go beyond that point. Unfortunately, our son hadn’t read any of that and was quite unaware that he was supposed to last that length of time. Our first day of kindergarten was quite interesting for both of us. Our son loved the curriculum and wanted to look at all of it right then. I explained that we would take it in order and, disappointed though he was, he acquiesced. We got through the first lesson. I started to wrap things up for the day, but our son had other plans.

“More, Mama! Do more!”

“Honey, we’re done for today.”

“No! Do more!”

Well, what can you say to an eager learner? I rolled up my sleeves and we ploughed on, and on, and on! After three hours I told our son that we needed to stop for the day.

“No, Mama! More!”

“No, no more for today.”

“Mama, please!”

“Mama needs a break, Sweetie.”

At this our son gave me the once over, rolled his eyes in disgust as if to say, “Wimp,” and he toddled out of the room. It was then that I knew that we were in for quite a time. After another six weeks and the completion of the kindergarten curriculum, I was about at my wits end. It was then that I started reading up on gifted children, and my eyes were opened.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Our New Blog Home!

Well, I've finally made the move with our homeschool blog. If you've been a reader of ours you will no doubt have noticed that my consistency in posting has been rather lacking. Well, I'm going to make an effort to post at least once a week to our new blog. I can't make any promises, but that's what I'm shooting for! You can also subscribe to this blog by scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking on "Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)."

With our son's ninth birthday fast approaching, I've been thinking about our homeschool journey lately. Not only has our son learned a lot, but I've learned a lot, too - about our son, about our family, about myself, and about homeschooling. I'd like to take a look back at our beginnings. Well, our formal homeschool beginnings.

Our children's journey of learning really does start at birth. I remember the times we would spend with our son on the floor, playing with brightly colored toys. At nine months of age our son was sitting on my lap at the computer playing a Dr. Seuss game. Even so, when I think of our homeschool beginnings I have to fast forward to when our son was the ripe old age of 2 1/2.

By this time he knew his shapes, his colors, his numbers, and was doing addition in that little head of his. To be honest, part of my motivation for starting his "formal" education so soon was because I was running out of clever ideas for him, so I figured a nice pre-school curriculum would be of great benefit. Well, it was a mixed blessing.

I still remember when the CD-Rom arrived. There was a full year's pre-school curriculum on it and I quickly printed out the first four weeks' worth of lessons. Each day's instruction was to last about fifteen minutes. I bought poster board and made up posters to decorate our school area. I was so excited I could hardly stand it! Then the day finally arrived. We were going to start school!

We sat down at our son's little table, which was a wonderful fit for him. I felt like my knees were up around my ears, but that was fine. We were going to have fifteen minutes of school time, which would hopefully satisfy his insatiable appetite for learning for a bit longer than that so that I could take a bit of a mental break. So we began...

After about fifteen minutes, I told him that we were done for the day. Well, he had other ideas. That first day of school we covered a week's worth of lessons. It really was exciting to see him devour the information, but at the same time I got a little concerned. It only took him about six weeks to get through a full year of pre-school curriculum. It was at this point that I knew something funny was going on. Much praying ensued, along with the purchase of a full year's kindergarten curriculum. Our adventure had officially began!

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