Archive for the ‘gifted’ Category

The Way They Think

April 30, 2010

Kiddo has a phonics workbook (Explode the Code) that asks her to read silly sentences and answer yes or no.  The point is to see if they can read the sentences, but I really have no idea how a classroom teacher could grade these.  I mean, there was one that said, “Can a deaf person hear you scream?”  Kiddo marked yes of course because we have a friend who is deaf and has cochlear implants and can definitely hear the kids scream.

The one she did yesterday said this: “If your full glass is bottomless will you ever get thirsty?”  Kiddo marked yes so I asked her why.  She said, “If I am not close to the glass I will get thirsty.”  Later that day I asked Dearie the same question and she said, “Yes, if it is bottomless then all the water would run out.”  When I asked Honey the question she said, “No, I would just slurp up the water from the table.”    Sometimes I feel like I should tell them not to think so hard!


Oh No! She doesn’t want to do a DVD math program.

April 3, 2010

I had math for Dearie all mapped out.  She would finish Singapore through 6B and then go into Video Text Math.  Seemed like a solid plan and it is what I have been planning for the last year.  Dearie has other ideas.

She told me yesterday that she really would rather have a workbook/textbook combo like she has now.  She doesn’t want to have to watch a DVD.  So now what do I do?

I have known for a while that she wasn’t thrilled with the idea of doing Video Text, but I thought it was just the unknown (and maybe it is).  We had a good discussion about it yesterday and it seems more that she just doesn’t want to change what is working.  So now I am back to looking at Algebra Programs.  I am looking, but I know which one I will go with.  She will stay with Singapore.

The problem that I have with Singapore is that it is really challenging stuff and the teacher’s guides are not that great.  Everyone says that you have to be a math person in order to be able to teach it.  I am a math person, but I am finding that I learned HOW to do a lot of stuff without learning the WHY behind it.  I got stuck when teaching a lesson on percents last week.  Now this was at the end of the percent unit and it is a difficult concept, but if I am messing up now how will I be able to teach the harder stuff?  I talked to Dearie about it.  She didn’t like that I messed up the lesson, but we did work together and I did figure out my mistake and now we both understand the concept better than we would have otherwise.  I told her that if we stick with the workbook/textbook combo that we would have more times like this.  She said that she didn’t like that.  On the other hand, it is good for us to be able to make mistakes and learn how to learn from them. 

The up side to staying with Singapore Math?  I think that it will motivate Dearie a bit more.  It seems to me that she has been “stalling” a bit at math.  It’s like she doesn’t want to finish her book.  If she has been dreading moving into Video Text, that would make sense.  By staying with Singapore, she might go back to her regular pace.  Oh, and one other thing: Singapore Math cost about $200 a year less than Video Text Math per year.  I’m sure that we can find a better way to spend $200. 🙂

Go Wide

April 10, 2009

One of the recommendations for gifted children is to “go wide and go deep.”  This means that instead of just going faster through material, to learn more about a topic (go deep) and to learn more about related topics (go wide).  This takes a lot of work for the teacher because most available curricula are not designed for children who can and want to do more.  Some topics are easier to find supplemental work for than others.  Math is one of the harder topics to supplement. 

It hit me last week just how early Dearie could finish the traditional high school curriculum.  She could be done with Calculus 1 by high school, then what?  I think that one of the things that really scared me about this was that I really did not like Calculus.  There are a lot of upper math classes that I really did enjoy, but not Calculus.  I don’t know how Dearie will feel about Calculus, but it seems a shame that it would be her only option. 

Yesterday, I found this article:  called “The Calculus Trap.”   Wow, someone put into words what I was feeling, and they had a solution!  The article explains how advanced children often have no option other than to go ahead to Calculus. This works for regular students because they really don’t have a lot of time to do anything else. But kids who finish algebra and geometry early, have time to study Discreet Mathematics. (I remember this as a fun class in college. They offer several Discrete Mathematics texts that can be used for home-school students. This is a perfect example of going wide. I am feeling a lot better about upper level mathematics for Dearie.

Dearie Dethroned!

March 31, 2009

Yesterday, Kiddo was asking a lot of math questions.  (We even did math yesterday, but she is really into asking addition and multiplication questions.)  She really does understand multiplication, so I thought, “Why not teach her some of the hard facts, then it won’t be so hard when she is older and doesn’t want to drill.”  So I asked her 7 X 8, and when she didn’t know I told her.  Then I told her to go ask Dearie, and when Dearie didn’t know I told Kiddo to tell her.  Oh my, Dearie was so mad!  She spent about an hour in her room calming down.  She later told me that she was the smart one and Kiddo was not allowed to know more than she did.  We had a long talk about that, and how she doesn’t like it when people get mad at her for knowing stuff she isn’t supposed to.  She has calmed down, but she still doesn’t like it when I ask Kiddo the “hard” multiplication facts.  On the other hand, Dearie now knows (and will forever know) 7 X 8 ;).

Problem solving. (Monday update)

March 29, 2009

We started a unit on problem solving today.  (Yes on a Sunday, don’t tell the kids that it was school though, they thought it was a game.)  I have several problems lined up for them to solve, but I am still looking for more.  If you have any ideas, please leave a comment.

Cold and Hot jars:  This one was way to easy for Dearie, but it was fun for everyone.  I put two jars on the table, one full of hot water and the other was full of cold water.  Without touching either jar the girls had to figure out which was which. 

—They did this one very quickly.  They saw steam rising from the hot jar and knew that it was hot.  When I demanded proof they put a thermometer in each one and proved it.  Then I dropped a few drops of  food coloring in each one and we watched as the hot water turned pink much quicker than the cold water did.


Take the animals across the bridge:  I will ask the girls to bring me a stuffed rabbit, a stuffed dog, and a stuffed horse.  Then I will grab two boxes and we will go across the creek.  I will put a box on each side of the creek and tell the girls that they have to move all three animals across the creek.  The rules are that only one girl can move animals, and she can carry only one animal at a time.  The rabbit cannot be left with the dog (dogs eat rabbits) or with the horse (rabbits scare horses).  This is an old puzzle, I originally heard it as a man in a boat and the animals were different, but the logic is still the same.  It will be interesting to see how they solve this one.

The girls liked Sunday’s activity so much that they were begging for more. (I don’t think that these activities will last us two weeks!)  I refused to give them another activity, but I did tell them about today’s activity so that they could think about it.  This morning we had to leave early, and in the car the girls were talking about how to get the animals across the bridge.  Dearie was using stickers to act it out (they were in their car seats), and everyone was trying to figure it out.  I gave a hint, “If you are standing there with the animals they can be together.”   All of a sudden Honey says, “I got it!”   And she did have it.  When we got home, we went into the backyard and acted it out.  Kiddo carried her rabbit across and left it in the box, then she went back and got the dog, carried it across and put it in the box and got out the rabbit.  She carried the rabbit back and traded it for the horse and then carried the horse across.  Then she went back and got the rabbit.  Each girl had a turn acting it out and then I gave them some variations. 

I gave the girls a “pass” and said that the pass will get any combination of three girls or animals across the bridge.   They could never have more animal than people, or more people than animals, but only people or only animals would be ok.  They applied this rule to both sides, but not to the bridge.  It did not take them long to figure that one out.  So then I told them that the rule applies to the bridge as well.  They needed the hint that the animals could walk on their own (they are stuffed and the girls had been carrying them), but they quickly got this one too.  They can’t wait for tomorrow’s puzzle!

Get the paper towel wet:  I will put a paper towel down on the ground and on it I will place a salad dressing jar that is 3/4 full of water.  I will tell the girls that they need to get the paper towel wet and that they are not allowed to touch the jar or the paper towel.  The jar is also not allowed to be tipped over.  I expect that this one will take them a while to figure out, but I’m sure that they will.  I have read them the Aesop fable about the crow how drops rocks in the water to raise the water level, but I’m not sure that they will remember it.



Get the paper towel wet 2:  If they use rocks the first time, I will put the jar on the driveway and draw a big square around it.  (I will also make sure that  there just happens to be a stick in the square.  There are a lot of sticks around here so that shouldn’t be a problem.)  They will have the same instructions as before, but this time they are only allowed to use what is in the square.   —– If they use the stick the first time, I will still draw a square, but I will make sure that the square has rocks in it.  ——  If they come up with some other method, then I will just let them go at it again, with instructions to do it a different way.


Counting by 1s, 2s, and 3s:  For this challenge, I will give the girls felt squares with the numbers 1-12 written on them.   Then I will tell them to line the numbers up so that while holding hands, and each girl moving only one square at a time, they can each move as follows: Dearie by 3s, Honey by 2s, and Kiddo by 1s.  This one will be as much about cooperation as it is about logic.


Squared X:  I will draw a square on the driveway and then draw an X inside it.  I will tell the girls to walk on all lines, but to only walk on each line once.  This is not possible, and it will be interesting to see how they react to it.


Moving marbles:  For this one, I will put 15 marbles on the deck and 10 rocks on the ground.  The girls will be given a bucket and told these rules.  1) The bucket has to have 3 rocks or marbles in it to go up.  2) It has to have 5 rocks or marbles in it to go down.  3) The bucket can not go up or down if it is empty.  4) Move all of the rocks to the deck, and all of the marbles to the ground.  — This is one that I think that I will have them work it out with paper dots before they start.  It could take a really long time otherwise.


I will add to this post as we do the activities.  You will find how the kids did in red.

Negative Numbers

March 28, 2009

I’m a math geek.  Its true and I am turning my children into math geeks too! 

Ever since Dearie announced that her favorite number was -18, there has been a lot of talk around here about negative numbers.  I got to thinking about negative numbers and Chutes and Ladders.  I thought, “Why do we always have to put the bigger number first when we are subtracting.  Wouldn’t be fun to sometimes get a negative number and have to go backwards?”  So we did!  First I asked Honey what 3-5 was.  She thought a while and said -2.  So since she “got” it, we played the game.  I used a 20 sided die (1-20) and a 10 sided die (0-9) so that we would get positive numbers more often than negative numbers (didn’t want the game to last forever).  Even Kiddo got in on the fun (and had no trouble with the negative numbers part).  The best move in the game was when someone got a -3 and landed on the big ladder.  That never happens in ‘regular’ Chutes and Ladders.

Consumer Math

March 20, 2009

The other day the Alpha Omega catalog came, and I was leafing through it.  We do use a couple of AO products, but none that I am thrilled with.  As I looked through it I was teasing Dearie asking her if she wanted to do more Life Pacs, or this or that…   Then the Consumer Math caught my eye.  I plan to have her do it in a few years as it covers a lot of practical stuff.  So I told her that some day she was going to do Consumer Math and she replied that she was not a consumer!  (She was teasing.)  I told her that she bought things so she was a consumer.  She then gets this big grin on her face and says, “I’m a consumer!”  I looked at her and she says, “I’m an omnivore!”  She laughed and laughed, it was rather funny.  (Her science book has just covered consumers (animals) and producers (plants) and omnivores and herbivores.)

Dearie took the AO catalog to bed with her last night.  I can’t imagine why, its not like it is interesting or anything.  Now when the Sonlight Catalog gets here, that is some good reading.

I wonder what they think.

March 18, 2009

Last night was home group night.  The people who usually host the group are re-doing their bathroom, so the group has been moving around a lot.  We were at a new house last night.  The couple has a son who is about 12 or 13 and he brought out his Rubik’s cube to show off.  It was a solved cube, so I picked it up and quickly produced a pattern.  He was a little miffed, I stole his trick!  He also had a 4 X 4 cube, and I started to work it, but I stopped when he asked me how I was doing it.  I showed him the first couple of steps.  (I can’t solve this one all the way, but I can get really close.)  He was trying, but I don’t think he really got what I was trying to show him.  Then I showed him another trick on the regular cube.  I’m not sure if he got that one or not. 

Late last night as I went to bed I was wondering what the other ladies must have thought.  They have no interest in things like Rubik’s cubes, and they must think I’m a little weird (the ones who have known me a long time already have this figured out I’m sure).  Then I wondered what they would think if they knew that after we came home and put the kids to bed, we sat down to watch a video.  The entertainment for the night?  A lecture series on Calculus. 

No wonder our kids are a little weird.

Introducing double negatives.

March 12, 2009

Yesterday’s math lesson with Dearie turned out to be rather interesting.  We were going over a review page and the question was to find the side of a square if given the perimeter.  She made the mistake of thinking that the perimeter was the area and came up with the wrong answer.  It was not an understanding mistake (she just mixed up the perimeter and area), so I just gave her a few more to help her remember the difference.  She realized that I was making them up and called me on it.  I said yes, and that I was sorry that I couldn’t use her favorite number (-18) in any of the problems.  After all, the side of a square cannot be -18.  But then, being the math geek that I am, I did give her some problems with her favorite number. 

20+(-18)=  She thought a while and said 2.   Correct

-18 – (-18)= She was puzzled by this one.  She said -36, and I replied, “Nope.”  She thought a while longer and with a smile on her face said 0.  Correct

I was really surprised that I did not have to explain this concept to her.  Double negatives confuse a lot of people, and to figure it out on her own was pretty amazing.  No wonder she is bored with the multiplication and division of decimals that her math book is covering right now.  I am trying to compact it for her, but it is still not fast enough to get to the good stuff.

I’m glad you’re teaching me.

March 11, 2009

The last couple of reading lessons have been rather hard on Honey.  She gets frustrated and wants to quit.  We have moved from the more “game” type of lessons to more traditional lessons.  There is still a lot of hands on, moving letters around, but we are at the edge of her understanding and it is hard for her.  Yesterday, through tears, she told me, “I’m glad you’re teaching me.”   WOW!  Sure its hard, but it is worth doing, and I think that she gets that.

I really think that in the long run, these difficulties are a benefit for Honey.  She is learning how to work hard; how to do hard things.  Things come so easy to the other girls that they have never really had to struggle through the desire to quit.  (Dearie has had some of this with piano, which is why we do piano, but not to the extent that Honey does.)  I think it is a life skill that will help Honey all her life.

Joke from Dearie.

March 10, 2009

Why did the dog want the apple core?

So he could eat the meat off of it!

The voice of reason.

March 8, 2009

I was talking to a friend today about Dearie’s test results.  Her reply was, “I’m not surprised.”  Even when I pointed out how well she did compared to other gifted kids, her reply was, “I’m not surprised.”  At first I was rather taken aback.  After all, the results surprised me, but my friend has a more objective view.  She has known Dearie all her life, and could probably see more than I could.   It was good to hear a calm, yes she is smart, but you can do this.

Favorite numbers

March 5, 2009

Today I was doing math with Honey while Dearie was in the room.  I was reading numbers to Honey and she was writing them down.  (There are still several numbers that are a challenge to her, especially the teens.)  So I am reading the numbers:




When I hear, “That’s my favorite number.  Well, actually negative eighteen is my favorite.”


So then I did an inventory of everyone’s favorite numbers.

Dearie: -18

Honey: 14

Kiddo: 5

Well, at least Kiddo has an ordinary favorite number.


March 4, 2009

I got the results from Dearie’s Explore test today.  (Remember the Explore test is a standardized test designed to be given to 8th graders.)   Her scores were very high compared to 8th graders.   I was proud.  Then I looked up how she compared to other 3rd graders who took the test.  I started feeling nauseous.  Breathe.  Breathe.  She is still the same kid.  These are just numbers. 

It does explain why the 7th grade science is working so well, and why she is flying through math, and tells me that I really need to get on the ball as far as language arts goes.  The results included a section that showed what she should know (according to her results) and what she should be working on.  Some of the math things it recommended that she work on, I wouldn’t know how to do without looking them up. (And I had a math minor in college.)  This is going to be a challenge to stay ahead of her, or to  just stay even with her. 

Can’t let life get boring!


March 4, 2009

Yesterday, the girls and Dora were playing a new game.  It came with a CD that you have to listen to and do what is says (dance, sing…).  Dearie quickly tired of the game and went to do something else.  She kept coming back and making life miserable for the girls who were still playing.  I finally ran her out of the room, and let the other girls have some peace.  Later, I talked to her about it.  She said that she just liked listening to the CD and playing it, but that the game was no fun.  She said that she liked just listening to the CD 300% more than playing the game.


March 1, 2009

I think that I have finally found the answer to Dearie’s Handwriting.  Her handwriting has been horrible ever since she started to write.  I think that the problem was that she was so little when she learned to read that I pushed her write before she was ready, amistake that I am trying to not repeat with Kiddo.   Her printing still resembles that of a 5yo.  So, this year I thought that we would try cursive.  If she started over with a new way of writing, it just might be that she would learn it right and maybe it would be readable.  Just maybe.

At the beginning of the year, I gave up.  Dearie hated cursive.  I dropped it for a couple of months, but when I re-did the schedule in Jan, I added 15 min. of handwriting.  I just told her to do her book, and I stayed out of it.  It worked!  She came to me a couple of days ago and said that showed me that she had learned all the letters except q, x, and z.  I told her that she could switch over to cursive whenever she wanted to.  She is still  working in her handwriting book, but she is writing in cursive for most of her assignments.  I can now actually read the work she does!  Switching to cursive had another advantage;  she no longer capitalizes stray letters in the middle of words!  I think that cursive is going to be a good thing for her.

Over teaching.

February 26, 2009

This is what it is called when you teach a concept that a child has already learned.  Two years ago, I would have thought that it was a crazy concept.  That it was a total waste of time.  If a child ‘gets’ a subject, why do you have to keep going over it.  I chose curriculumthat covered topics in depth and then went on to the next topic.  Going over and over something only bores the child. 

…And then I started teaching child number two.  Yes there are children who do not need much review.  I have one two.  There are also children who get the concept the first time you present it, but not the details.  I have one of those too.  I suppose that there are also children who need multiple presentations to get the concept and then more to get the details.  I don’t have one of those. 

This revelation has given me a new respect for classroom teachers.  They have all kinds of kids in their classes.  How in the world do they teach them all without boring some and going right over the heads of others?  All of my kids get one on one time, I can’t even imagine how a classroom teacher does it. 

The latest example of this, in our home, is in teaching reading.  I thought that Honey knew the sounds of /ch/ and /sh/ and /th/.  I found that she didn’t, so I taught them to her and made a game to help her review them.  (The game from a couple of posts ago.)  She was doing well, and then we took a break for the weekend and she forgot which letters made which sounds.  She understands that there are three different sounds and that they are represented by three different combinations of letters (the concept), but she can’t remember which is which (the details).  Just today, she seemed to have them down again, but we are taking a three day weekend, and I’m afraid that she will forget by the time we get back to it.  Maybe I will play our game on Saturday so that the break is not so long.  So, I am over teaching this concept.  I will teach it and review it and go over it until she has it down cold.  We did this with math facts and with memory verses and it worked well, it will work this time too.  I just need to learn some patience.

Kiddo is reading!

February 19, 2009

Kiddo is up to the point in reading that she can pick up just about any easy reader and read it.  It is so much fun to watch!   Teaching this kid reading has been so easy, that I can’t really say that I have done anything to teach her.  She has done the Explode the Code books, but I’m sure that she would have gotten it even without doing the workbooks.  I’m guessing that she will be reading chapter books before her next birthday (6).

Time to Learn Python.

February 18, 2009

The time has come for me to learn Python. 

Dh and I decided last year that when Dearie was in the fourth grade, I would teach her a programming language.  I learned one at that age and it is a good introduction to logic.  We went round and round about which one to teach her, and Dh (who is familiar with many currently used languages) decided on Python.  So, now I have to learn it so that I can teach it. 

A couple of days ago, Dh installed Python on my computer and brought me his favorite Python book (The Quick Python Book) and I am on my way to learning Python.  The book seem pretty good, but it is not a book for a child who has never programmed before.  He has several other resources (books, DVDs) that I can use with Dearie, but for now I am trying to get myself up to speed on Python.  It has been over 10 years since I have done any programming.  I had forgotten how much fun it can be.

You may wonder what Dearie thinks about all of this.  I have a couple of stories that will answer that question.  The other day I told her that I was going to have Dh put JAVA (another language that we had considered) on my computer.  She corrected me, “No Mom, you have to learn Python!”  How could she remember which one when I had totally forgotten?  Then the other night, when I was putting her to bed, I told her that Dh was installing Python on my computer.  She jumped up and hugged me.  She asked me why now, when she wouldn’t get to start until next year?  I told her that I needed to learn it first, and if I learned it fast then maybe she could start a little earlier.  She hugged me again.  I think that she is excited about getting started.  It is going to be fun teaching her programming.

Evaluation Weekend

January 26, 2009

This weekend turned out to be evaluation weekend for us.  Honey had her thing at the school on Friday morning, and Dearie took the Explore test on Sat. morning.  So here are my thought on what I have found out so far.

Honey:  The lady at the school said that she was right on target for first grade.  She said that she just needs more practice reading.  To become a good reader, you have to read A LOT.  I think that she took one look at the math scores on Honey’s standardized test from last year (very high score) and decided that I was a pushy parent.  She did admit that the reading score was very low compared to the other scores, but that it was still in the normal range.  She had never heard of twice exceptional children.  Let me say that again; she did not know what the term was.  If Honey is twice exceptional, and you know that I think that she is, how can a professional who does not know what twice exceptional is help a twice exceptional child?  Honey’s score may be in the normal range, but it is NOT normal for her.  Normal for her would be very high.  (Not trying to brag here, just stating the facts.)  If her math and other scores were in the “normal” range, and her reading score was in the failing range, then they would have seen the problem.  Can you see what I’m getting at here?

I did not tell her that Honey has been sounding out words for three years now, I didn’t think of it at the time.  I did not tell her that Honey has had a ton of practice reading and that it is not helping.  Anyway,  I don’t think that we will be getting any help from this angle.  I am researching ways of teaching reading and have switched Honey’s curriculum (again).  I am going with one that is designed for dyslexics.  If she is dyslexic it will help, if she is not, it won’t hurt.  I am sure that this kid can learn to read and I’m not going to give up until she is reading well!

Dearie’s test was Sat. morning.  It went well.  There was a whole classroom full of little third graders taking this eighth grade test.  She said that she guessed on a lot of the questions, but the idea of the test is that she won’t be able to get everything right (unlike other tests).  Now comes the hardest part: waiting 4-6 weeks for the results!

Some things that I am learning about twice exceptional kids.

January 23, 2009

Twice exceptional.  2E.  That’s what kids who are gifted and have a learning disability are called.  I know all about gifted kids.  Dearie is a gifted kid.  It has been a challenge to raise and educate her, but she reminds me a lot of me and that makes it easier.  I am beginning to think that Honey is 2E.  She is very smart, but sometimes she just doesn’t ‘get’ stuff.  Today we were playing a math game.  We were playing with 3 dice that have numbers up to 6 on them, and she had to add up the three numbers to find out how far to move.  Several times she rolled numbers that worked out to 3+4.  After about 3 or 4 of these rolls, she started answering them with out figuring out the answer.  I thought to myself that she was getting this fact down.  Cool!  Then her sisters came over and wanted to play.  That sounded like fun to everyone, so they joined us.  3+4 came up again  and she was clueless.  I suspect it was the chaos that comes from having 3 kids playing a crazy board game.  She seems to need a lot of review to get these things down.

One of the things that I have just read about is how visual kids (Honey will tell you that she thinks in pictures) miss out on language practice because they think in pictures not words.  Kiddo thinks in words.  She often thinks outloud.  It can drive a person crazy!  But Honey doesn’t do this, so maybe she is not getting as much practice at language as a kid who thinks in words.  I do think that it helps that she has sisters to play and talk with.  It is not like she is a quiet child.

Another thing that was an Ahh Ha moment for me has to do with 2E kids.  Gifted kids often learn that everything academic is easy.  So much so that they really don’t learn how to learn.  This is why Dearie is in advanced classes.  I want her to have to work to learn (it isn’t really working though, learning is so easy for her).  2E kids on the other hand learn that if it doesn’t come easily, then they can just forget it. It will be too hard.  Everything is either too easy or too hard.  This describes Honey perfectly.  She has learned that if it doesn’t come easy that it is better to just give up.  Looking back I can see this in several areas.  In fact, I have encouraged it in some ways.  Learning is supposed to be easy.  It is for Dearie and Kiddo.  If it is not easy, then I would just wait awhile hoping that later it would come easily.  But some things, such as reading and memorizing math facts, have never been easy for Honey.  They probably never will be.  She will have to work hard in order to learn them.  She can do this, I am sure, but it won’t be easy.  On the other hand, I think that learning how to work hard to learn things is a life lesson worth learning.  I am trying hard to teach it to Dearie and Kiddo.  Honey will just learn it just from being who she is.

I am so glad that we homeschool.  We started homeschooling because I wanted Dearie to be challenged, not just skate through school.  And once we started, it was clear that homeschooling was a good fit for our family.  Homeschooling has turned out to be very good for Honey.  If she were in school, I but that she would be flying under the wire.  She is so good at making you think that she knows stuff that she doesn’t.  She can read books by looking at the pictures and guessing from the context.  It is really amazing how well she can do.  And yet, if you ask her to read a nonsense word, she has no clue.  If you ask her to read words out of context, forget it, she just can’t.   If she did not have one on one instruction, I’m not sure that her problems would have been caught so early.


December 21, 2008

Yesterday, I heard this conversation:

Honey: You can’t go to college, you’re too little.

Kiddo: I’m going to five year old college!



Today I had this conversation with Dearie:

Me:  After Christmas, I’m going to buy you some gifts from Grandma and Grandpa to open when we go to their house after Christmas.  If you don’t know what you want I’ll just buy you some math books. (I’m going for a groan here.)

Dearie (whose face just lit up): You mean the ones I asked for?

(Guess I’m the one groaning here, LOL.)

Thoughts on math.

December 19, 2008

I have been really impressed with Honey’s math ability lately.  This is the kid who scored 99% on math on her standardized test last year, but can’t add 3+4.  It seems she gets the concepts, but hasn’t memorized any of the facts yet.  (We are working on that and she now seems to have the doubles down.)  I gave her a worksheet yesterday with pictures and numbers on it.  It showed 3 aliens and 4 aliens and asked her to add 3+4.  I asked her to do as many as she could without counting.  She surprised me by saying ,”3+3 is six and 4+4 is eight; six, seven, eight… it must be seven.”  I’ve tried to show her these tricks before, but she would just get frustrated, now that she figured it out herself she likes it.  She figured out a couple more this way, and she figured out 3+5 because she had just counted 3+6 and knew that 3+5 would be one less.  Maybe she will get this math thing after all.


December 18, 2008

Kiddo is reading pretty well now.  It kind of makes me sad that I can’t talk about it very much.  I don’t want to say anything that will make Honey feel bad.  Honey is working hard at it too, but it is more difficult for her.   How can I praise Kiddo without putting Honey down? 

In reality, it is not so bad.  Honey doesn’t seem to mind most of the time.  I keep them apart when they read.   I work with each on her level.  But there are times when I feel bad for Honey.  Way worse than she feels for herself.   I know where she should be, I don’t know why she isn’t there.

Compacting Math

December 11, 2008

Dearie started a new math book at the beginning of Dec.  (Singapore 4A)  A lot of the book is review as she has been doing two different programs (Singapore and Miquion) but she has always just kept with it and done the whole book.  This time I decided to do what is called compact her math.  For us (I’m not sure everyone does it this way, but it made sense to me.) it means letting her do the reviews at the end of each section first.  Then going back and doing whatever topics she need more practice with.  After the first review I found that she did not know how to multiply a two digit number by a two digit number.  I showed her how to do it, and then had her do a few problems.  She did them all wrong.  We talked about why they were wrong and she did a few more and did them all right.  (This kid is so easy to teach!)  If she understands it, then she gets it.  She doesn’t need to do 100 problems to get, she just needs to understand it.  (Not all kids are like this, I know, I have one that isn’t.) 

 Yesterday we moved on.  This time I zoomed through the textbook with her because I thought that there were some new topics in this section.  I didn’t think that she knew how to add fractions that had different denominators. 

1/3 + 1/6

I was wrong.  She did all of the examples perfectly.  She said that she had done them before.  So today we will move on mixed fractions, (1 1/2) but those will be a review too I think.  At this rate, she will be done with the book by the end of the month.  I guess that is better than taking 6 months and hating math because it is all review.   Maybe I should start looking at algebra programs?

I think I know…

December 8, 2008

On the way home from Bible Bowl, Dearie said to me, “Mom, I think I know why Josi acts the way she does.  I think that she is autistic.” I said, “No Dearie, Josi is blind, that is why she acts the way she does.”  After Josi buzzes in, her coach says her name so that she knows that she was the one who buzzed.  (The buzzers light up so that the other kids can tell, but Josi can’t see the light.)   She does have a lot of behaviors in common with the people we know who are autistic:  never making eye contact, talking loudly, moving a lot…   Dearie thought that her coach was keeping her on task by saying her name. 

Its interesting how Dearie reacted to Josi.  She was not rude or mean in any way, just wanted to know why.  Guessing autism  is not too surprising either, she knows and has had a lot of contact with two people who are autistic, and she knows several more who are on the autistic spectrum.  Kinda sad that autism is the first thing her brain jumps to…

I’m Smart!

November 25, 2008

Kiddo came up to me a little while ago and said, “I’m smart!”  I replied with “What makes you think that?”  (In an interested voice, not an accusing voice.)  She said, “I know that this [pile of toys] is Dearie’s, I’m smart!”  I agreed with her that she is smart but my reasons are a little different.  Knowing which toys to leave alone because they belong to your sister is survival, knowing at 5yo that 1/2 X 9 = 4 1/2 is smart.  (And yes, she solved that problem by herself today.)

More Math Talk

November 24, 2008

I have been looking around at different math programs again.  I don’t think that we are going to change right now, but it doesn’t hurt to know what is out there.  I found an interesting teaching tool in some of the programs that I looked at.  Right Start Math teaches children to call the numbers by names that they (the math program) made up.  Math-U-See does the same thing.  The numbers that they rename are the teen numbers.  Think about it, 31 and 13 both start with thir…  41 and 14 both start with four.  No wonder some kids mix them up.  They teach kids to call them one-ten three, or onety-three (depending on the program).  The funniest thing about this, two of my kids figured this out for themselves.  Kiddo likes to count the numbers ‘her’ way. (Dearie did the same thing a few years ago.)  Counting by tens she would call them onety, twoty, threety, fourty, fivety, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety, and a hundred.  She always smiles real big when she gets to forty because whoever named the numbers got that one right.  The same for sixty, seventy, eighty, and ninety. 

 I think that I may see if I can get Honey to use these ‘nicknames.’  She does mix up the teens with their opposites (13 and 31), maybe this would help.

We have a great piano teacher.

November 21, 2008

Mrs. D is a great piano teacher for us.  When she first came, I wondered if she would work out because she wore hearing aids and often missed some of what Dearie was trying to say.  They figured it out though.  On the second or third week of piano lessons, Dearie threw a fit.  She got mad because she did something and Mrs. D told her that she was wrong and showed her in the book her mistake.  Dearie was just sure that the book, Mrs. D and I were all wrong and that she was right.   She was so upset that she refused to finish the lesson.  I was not sure what Mrs. D thought about all of it.  I hoped that she would not give up on Dearie.  The biggest problem was that Dearie had not had many opportunities to be wrong (one of the down sides of being a gifted child)  and did not know how to handle it.  I had her write a letter apologizing to Mrs. D, and the next week it took a few minutes to get her started again, but after that Mrs. D and Dearie have had a great relationship.  Dearie now seems to know that Mrs. D is on her side.

A few weeks ago we had another problem with piano.  I think that the real problem was that Dearie had not been practicing very much (once or twice a week for a few min.)  and all of the sudden (or so it seemed) the book was way ahead of where she was.  She had been able to fake it for a while, but now it had caught up with her.   After we got over the discipline issues (she was refusing to practice) Mrs. D helped us figure out what to do.  We switched books (and backed up in difficulty a little) and now things are going along pretty well.  Dearie has not been complaining, but she has said that piano is hard.  (That is why she is in piano, to expierence something that does not come naturally to her.) 

Mrs. D called a couple of days ago and asked to take Dearie out to lunch.  They seemed to have a great time.  When Dearie got back she had a sheet of blank music paper with her.  She has an assignment to write a song.  She has been picking out songs that she knows and writing them down for a while, so I think that this is perfect for her.  It will give her a chance to really show off what she knows. 

Mrs. D has been a great thing for our family.  I’m so glad that God sent her to us.

To Test or Not To Test

November 16, 2008

Dearie is a gifted child, I have no doubt about that.  I do sometimes wonder how gifted she is though.  I have thought about having her tested, but it is very expensive, and I wonder how much info we would really get.  Would it really tell us more than we already know?  Even if we do get more info, how would it change the way we do things?  In reality, probably not much.  It might help me to decide to compact her math or LA a bit more, but we already cater to her abilities A LOT.   Even with all of the negatives, I think that we probably will have her tested.

On the other hand, I have found another option that is a fraction of the cost of regular testing and would give us a lot of the same information.  We could have her take the EXPLORE test.  It is a standardized test designed for 8th graders.  There is a program that allows gifted students to take this test.  They have to meet certain qualifications,  so that the children are not overwhelmed by the test.  The information that I have been reading says that kids who qualify to take the test in 3rd-6th grades actually do better on the test than average 8th graders. 

Another benefit to the program is that she will get on the mailing lists of all of the gifted and talented programs that she qualifies for.  I know that there is a lot more stuff out there than I know about, and this would be an easy way to find out what it is.  (There is even some summer classes for gifted kids at a local college.)   I think that this may be a good thing for Dearie this year.