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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mama, Three Things About Me?

You can see his arms around me here while we homeschool (reading together). 

I love homeschooling my son. There is no other "work" I would rather do and I am grateful I am able to do it. Homeschooling is not all perfect though. Sometimes, my week is a collection of imperfect days when I feel like a total failure as a mother. These imperfect days make me feel like I'm trying too hard to be "teacher" and forget that I'm really his "mama".

So this year, I decided to mother more deliberately. I started 2015 with a wonderfully positive habit. At bedtime, I hug my son, we say our good nights, and I share THREE things he did during the day that I witnessed, loved, and admired about him. I make sure these are things that feed his spirit and soul. More often than not, I refer to events that required his effort, charity, and thoughtfulness.

My son LOVES every minute of this new ritual. He now starts bedtime with a "Mama, three things about me?!" More significantly, he has started to share THREE things he witnessed, loved, and admired about me too. Bedtime has become an even more sacred time we share together as mother and child to communicate affectionately and to love one another. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Homeschooling a Young Boy with Imaginational Overexcitabilities: What Does It Look Like?

At 2 years old, this meant a lot of read alouds: 90 books at least a week!

He would "dress up" everyday. Here he is as Merlin (with glasses).

He would talk to statues and make a trip to a museum come alive.

He was always role playing and constantly making up stories. 

Here he is playing outside and creating his October Skeleton Man just in time for Halloween. 

At 3 and 4 years old, his stories grew more elaborate which included character puppets and props.

Most of his day consisted of acting in character. 

Here he is as Beethoven composing by candlelight. 

When he was 5, he wrote his very own fantasy novel.

He wore more elaborate costumes.

Here he is as the Mad Hatter and Edward Scissorhands.

He finally joined the Theatre landing his first role as an Oompa Loompa.
His love of acting never abated.

He also studied actors he loved watching: Johnny Depp and Christopher Reeve. 

A year later, he researched Bruce Lee, Roy Rogers, and Matt Smith.

When he turned 6, this meant using his interests in our homeschool.

Copywork was Star Wars copywork and, yes, doodling allowed.

He asked to "dress up" for school. 

Here is Superman at the keyboard and Zorro doing Math.

He also homeschooled with his various "classmates" and

we used curriculum that allowed creativity and imagination.

Moving Beyond the Page Literature Units have always been a hit at our house.

At 7 years old, his love for theatre only deepened. 

He played Michael Darling in Peter Pan in our community production.

In an Advanced Acting Workshop, his teacher chose him for Macbeth's Banquo and the Doctor. 

He LOVED the process, as seen here in his script.

His love for fantasy and humor also increased.

He wrote a book entitled Pull My Finger by Toot N. Kamen and

continued his elaborate role playing.

He is now 8 and his sense of invention, imagination, and fantasy has not decreased in the least.

For his recent homeschool independent project, he created his own alien creature. 

I can't wait to see what else he comes up with!

More of his YouTube videos here.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Math Again Tomorrow?

The Independent Kid doing Math while dressed up as Doctor Who.

Hello Math! We start off our homeschool everyday with you because you require the utmost focus and attention. I love you, but unfortunately, my son with imaginational OE just doesn't like you much. Some days, he dresses up like Spider-Man or Batman or Superman or Doctor Who just so he can get through his "missions" easily enough. Some days, I make up crazy word problems about zombies and vampires and various gruesome tales just so he is motivated to solve you. Some days, we play lots of games. 

Today, Math is Teaching Textbooks on the computer. He is in his PJs (school uniform) and is full of distractions (jokes, singing, talking, and some sort of dramatic scene is playing out with the keyboard, pencil and textbook). It's only our first hour of school and I'm already rolling my eyes.  I am a Monster Mama shouting "Stop doing that! STOP! JUST FOCUS!" Gah! Why won't he focus?!? It seems like the first hour of our homeschool is always dedicated to fixing his "poorly formed study habits". Although in my defense, I do seriously attempt to bury my head in my knitting and frantically veer myself away from his computer screen into relaxation mode instead. I tell myself: it's just an hour and we can move on to the other subjects he has no trouble concentrating in. 

When his assignment is finally completed, I am tired. How can someone so loud, distracted, and unfocused get a 96%? He would be sent to the Principal's office if he were at a real school! Can I do this again tomorrow? 

Found this in his journal.

The Independent Kid looks at me and proclaims, "Mama, you do know that one day I might end up a Math teacher! Just like Andrew Pudewa ended up a Writing teacher!" (Apparently, Mr. Pudewa hated writing when he was younger.)

"You just might!" 

And yes, I think, I can do this all again tomorrow.*

*If you are wondering why I don't go elsewhere while he does Math, it's because he actually asks me questions when he doesn't understand something. Being in the same room quickens the process.

Math and Logic Tips for Kids with Imaginational OE (affiliate links)

Here are some of my son's recent faves:

- Teaching Textbooks: please make sure your student takes the placement exams. These run at least two years ahead of Singapore Maths. (We use SM 4, but TT 6, for example.) I find the problems simplistic, but he enjoys the animation.

- Life of Fred - I'm not a fan, but he loves the stories.

Chocolate Fix - a logic game

Rush Hour - another logic game

Building Thinking Skills - he actually enjoys doing the worksheets

- we have tried Singapore Maths, Right Start Maths, Miquon, Horizons. We still use Singapore Maths to supplement Teaching Textbooks. I suggest reading the Teacher's Guide. It will help with teaching the lessons more coherently. Admittedly, The Independent Kid doesn't like Singapore Maths. I do change the word problems to make them more interesting for him.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum: a Community for Asynchronous Learners

“Am I gifted, Mama? I don’t think I’m gifted.” 

I was editing the 10th anniversary video for Gifted Homeschoolers Forum and didn't realise my son was intently watching me at work. I didn’t know how to respond to this. 

“I don’t know sweetheart. We haven’t tested you for giftedness, but I do know you are an asynchronous learner.” 

His latest standardized test results came back with the largest gap between the lowest and highest subject grade equivalents yet: NINE whole grade levels. Who knew a child’s learning could be so irregular!

Check out other posts for this month's GHF Blog Hop here:

Even when my son was 2 years old, I felt challenged by the way he learned about the world. I struggled to find someone who could help or understand my situation. While one local homeschool support group leader laughed in my face at the preposterous thought that my 4 year old could read Magic Tree House Books on his own and had completed Kindergarten Maths, the GHF community embraced me and helped me understand that I was not alone. 

I love what my colleague at Building Wing Span says, “One of our goals at GHF is to help parents find ways to reach their kids.” If you are a parent interested in homeschooling, educating your children, gifted/2E issues, and/or parenting in general, GHF is a wealth of information and a sensitive, caring community. It is easy to see how we manage to reach up to 300,000 people a week all over the world. 

Thank you Gifted Homeschoolers Forum for all you do. 
Happy 10th Anniversary!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I Finally Learned How to Control My Time on Facebook


“You are on Facebook… AGAIN?!?” my husband and son would complain.

My responses were:

1.     “I need to check Facebook for work and homeschool info. OK? Stop bugging me.”


2.     Not wanting to be caught red handed, I’d quickly click out of Facebook and pretend to be on another app when I heard footsteps coming my way.

I knew Facebook was a growing problem when I’d regularly check my News Feed every couple of minutes while:

-         homeschooling my son,
-         eating dinner with my family,
-         watching a movie with my husband, and
-         trying to go to sleep at night.

It may seem like such a harmless act, but in reality, I was constantly distracted from the people and things I needed to focus most on in my life. I joked that Facebook was my only social life outside my family, therefore I needed it. In reality, Facebook was my time sucker. Instead of being in control of how I used it, I began to feel manipulated by how I needed to use it.

So, it was time to change things around.

1.     I stopped checking my News Feeds and all of my other Feeds.

2.     I started to rely on my Notifications instead. I made sure I got Notifications for important “stuff”: posts from close friends, family, pages and groups I enjoy or count on for information.

3.     Instead of browsing my News Feed, I now sift through my Notifications and click to open posts that may be of interest.

4.     I limited my posts on Facebook to one a day. I enjoyed my recent of posts. It was interesting to me that I became even more careful and deliberate about what I had to say.

5.     Instead of superficially LIKING every post on my News Feed, I started having conversations with people because I made more of an effort to COMMENT and REPLY to posts that meant something to me.

6.     I started to send more PRIVATE MESSAGES to friends and family, which connected me to them more personally. I started to join more Facebook GROUPS for more meaningful messages and posts.

7.     I now choose to interact on Facebook with people who have LIKED or COMMENTED on my personal or group posts/pages.

8.     Outside of Facebook, I found an amazing group of homeschool friends. We meet once a week and that fills a void I never thought was there.

9.     I discovered a new hobby: knitting. I have knitting projects lined up and I want to do them NOW. My hands have recently been too busy to sift through Facebook.

10. I also joined this month. I’m not writing a novel, but I am writing something everyday in hopes I have ideas worthy for my blog.

I am now able to control and manage how I interact on Facebook. Suddenly, it feels like I have a lot more time on my hands. I feel more productive. Even better, I’m truly able to be present in the moment.