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What did you do when your kid was 5?


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#1 nwahomeschoolmom

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 09:28 AM

I've noticed with my son that every three to four months we have to revamp our homeschool and switch things up.  We are at that time right now.  We still haven't had him evaluated, but I've posted here before, and am pretty sure he is gifted with ADHD/OCD.  He can hyperfocus incredibly well when he wants to and other times he is so fidgety, distractible and impulsive its unbelievable.  Even though he could read books like Stuart Little by E.B White before he turned 5, he also begs me to let him check out board books from the library sometimes...he is quirky. 

 

A big part of our homeschool is teaching him discipline/self-control/character (i.e. you will sit down and finish this!) but I'm starting to wonder if I'm not challenging him enough and some of his recent worse behavior is because of that.  Like we need a balance of training him to be disciplined and finding ways to inspire and challenge him.   He is very good at math conceptually but still uses his fingers when doing easy math problems...not sure if its a routine or if he really needs to do it.  I'm realizing the majority of our phonics pages have become busywork to him even though its for second grade.  He gets patterns really well even if he doesn't memorize the "rule" etc.

 

Anyway...I've been feeling kind of alone lately with him since I don't really have many friends who are homeschooling a challenging gifted child like him or homeschooling at all.  And I get so many comments like "boys are boys..."  if I try to talk about challenges.  And many with 5 years olds don't even really bother to homeschool much and are just working on reading.

 

And curriculum ideas?....fun workbooks?...anyone could recommend?  For example, we just started using the Mind Benders series and he loved it.  But he finished it really fast (with some help from dad.)  I'm  a bit limited in the time I can put it since I have a new baby as well.  

 

He really wants to learn Spanish or other foreign language so I think we need to focus more on electives while his maturity catches up rather than push him too much in math/language arts...

 

Looking for feedback!



#2 SparklyUnicorn

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 09:58 AM

Well, I have two boys.  I approached things differently with each because each was very different.  At five one of mine could sit still FOREVER.  The other kid..nope. 

 

For math ideas you might like Kitchen Table Math.

 

It's funny because they are now 12 and nearly 16 and I cannot for the life of me remember what either was doing at 5! 

 

 



#3 fralala

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 10:15 AM


A big part of our homeschool is teaching him discipline/self-control/character (i.e. you will sit down and finish this!) but I'm starting to wonder if I'm not challenging him enough and some of his recent worse behavior is because of that.  Like we need a balance of training him to be disciplined and finding ways to inspire and challenge him.  

 

Absolutely, yes, trust your gut on this. I don't think it would be exaggerating to say that my early attempts to impose discipline on my child who is advanced and picks up concepts intuitively were traumatic to her. It hurt my relationship with her, made me feel like a bully, and made her less enthusiastic about learning. I've found it fruitful to approach discipline as me finding ways to observe and help reinforce the natural flow she gets in when something challenges and fascinates her vs. making her attend to things that bore her (and cause rebellion and shutting down).

 

My true answer, therefore, would be that when that kid was 5, what I did was the wrong thing. I worried too much about spending the same amount of time on the same subjects that the people around us (and the schools) were doing, which was really a waste of my child's time and mind. At 5, with a kid whose abilities are great, you follow them. Let him get the board books. Let him be as immature as he needs to be in a world where it can be a little frightening sometimes to realize that you understand more than the adults around you! Enjoy your little guy! He sounds like fun.


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#4 Heigh Ho

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 10:17 AM

At five, I was a facilitator.  I did not teach, they figured out as they explored the world around them.  Museums, zoos, nature, trikes, junk box, legos, stories, music, making movies, growing plants, watching birds, exploring water, baking etc.   The board books -- some of them have fantastic art work, some have above grade level vocab, and some are just right to read to little sib. Also, highly recommend getting him sufficient physical activity - trike, obstacle course, beginning basketball or skating, etc and some heavy lifting - deep muscle work like making forts, digging to the other side of the world, and moving boards for obstacle courses are really satisfying to the muscles.  

 

I would skip workbooks and invest in Lego, pattern blocks, chess, blockus, and Mille Bornes as well as play the usual card games like war, go fish, old maid, and gin rummy. 


Edited by Heigh Ho, 21 November 2017 - 10:19 AM.

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#5 HomeAgain

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 10:48 AM

I kept an entire year photo album of what I did with my 5yo.  Looking through, we worked a LOT on foundation skills.  Things like, fine and gross motor skill work (legos, blocks, art, hiking, park days, music).  We did a lot of playing with literature with Wee Folk Art.  We got into a routine of short bursts of sit down work and daily to-do out of the house (Monday-park. Tuesday-library. Wednesday-mom group. Thursday-museum, Friday-field trip).  We did a lot of science.  That was the year we did Mystery Science and I would pick an activity, make sure we had a week lined up of things to do that expanded that activity, and spend as much time as he wanted on it.  I set the foundation with geography and cultural tales so that he could easily move into world history in 1st.  He played with math blocks, moving into MEP and did logic games (like from ThinkFun). He did art and music study.  We got a few of the cds from Maestro Classics and art cards from Usborne.  We often mixed those subjects with everything else, like studying the painting Son Of Man when he learned about apples/grafting/cross-pollination/fruit growth in science and having an apple themed book for literature, or listening to pieces of The Planets while learning to read star maps and doing marble painting.

He started cooking that year, using techniques I picked up in Molly Katzen cookbooks.

 

What's missing....oh, yes.  I didn't teach reading.  He was past that.  He started, toward the middle of the year, learning to write a single letter at a time (no worksheets, just small expectations in his writing skills).

 

In short, it looked a lot like Kindergarten 40 years ago, if K was tailored to a single child and their interests. He wasn't ready to sit for "school" so we just didn't.


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#6 La Condessa

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 12:18 PM

Homeschooling my current five-year-old looks rather different than it did with my first two. He is a very active, wild little boy who’s attention span can also swing between very short at some times and intensely focused for long periods on things that he is self-motivated to learn. He is also super strong-willed. Contrary to my personal inclinations for teaching style, I decided to experiment this year with having his schoolwork be 100% child-motivated, because that’s how I do preschool and he had flourished with that approach.

The results have been awesome. His focus and drive are intense when the subject matter is something he has asked for, so he will sometimes do a few phonics lessons per day for several days or a couple weeks in a row, and then when his brain needs a break or to process or something, his focus will shift and he will be begging for more and more math, or pulling out his cello for extra practice time several times a day. It’s not exclusive, he still asks for a smattering of lessons in other areas, but he always has one thing that he is focusing that intensity on and making leaps and bounds forward in. This week, he decided he wants to learn the piano, too. So every day he has been asking his sister for a lesson, doing a lesson on Hoffmann Academy, and also sitting down to practice the Hoffmann lesson several more times per day.

Handwriting is his area of greatest difficulty, and I do occasionally make him do a page if he hasn’t been getting practice in another way that week—because he decided he needed to write his own answers down in math, or was given a music-reading worksheet by his cello teacher that asks him to write down the letter names of the notes. (He is doing the pre-k level book from handwriting without tears).

We do memory work, history, science, art, and art and music history together with his siblings, and he nearly always chooses to participate.
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#7 sweet2ndchance

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 01:17 PM

Let him be as immature as he needs to be in a world where it can be a little frightening sometimes to realize that you understand more than the adults around you! Enjoy your little guy! He sounds like fun.

 

THIS!!!! Gifted or not, he's still just 5 years old.

 

He has 13 years of school ahead of him plus however long he ends up in college. And those 13 years will go by in the blink of an eye but there will be plenty of time in there to learn all he needs to know to be a successful and productive member of society AND follow those hyperfocused rabbit trails he enjoys so much as a gifted child.

 

Two of my 6 kids were/are gifted academically. My youngest, who is just shy of 5 right now, also seems to be leaning toward academic giftedness especially in the areas of analytical thinking and scientific thinking. I learned a long time ago when my oldest kids (now young adults) were little that very often it isn't them who cannot pay attention to the lesson, it's me who has the unrealistic expectations for them. When I would come back at the same lesson in a different way, a way that appealed to them and their strengths and mitigated any of the weaknesses, school always when so much smoother and learning happened effortlessly. My job was then to help them figure out how they learn best, not force them to learn how I wanted to teach.

 

Another problem I faced just starting out homeschooling was my idea of what school at home "should" look like versus what it actually looked like to homeschool. I had the preconceived notion that they could be trained to sit at the dining room table, listen, more or less attentively to what I had to say, and we would all enjoy having an ongoing conversation about the day's lesson. The days I tried to make that happen were miserable. The days where I was less rigid about how the lesson should be done and let their interest level tell me how the lesson was going and when it should be done were the days that the kids made their own connections, came up with thoughtful questions and conversations throughout the day and would voluntarily do more research on their own.

 

Basically, when I stopped trying to micromanage and let learning happen instead of trying to make learning happen, that's when everyone, including me, enjoyed homeschooling. This doesn't mean drop everything and go unschool all the way. But maybe it is time to take a step back, take a look at what gets him excited to learn and start approaching the parts of school he doesn't enjoy or can't seem to sit still for and approach them in a similar way to what he does enjoy.


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#8 nwahomeschoolmom

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 02:10 PM

Thanks for all the feedback...its been helpful to read!   He was an only child for 5 years so that has made our homeschooling path a bit different and our reasons for doing so different.  Still with a baby sibling it doesn't change much...I can't set him loose in the backyard to jump and explore, etc. or play with legos for hours because I would if I could!  He really likes to play character games which are exhausting.  I'm great with games like restaurant, family, doctors office, etc. but he will just be like "Okay, I'm big bird and your Phoebe from Furchester Hotel" and he will want us to improvise as these characters forever.  It is beyond exhausting...we have to cut him off and set times where we will not be characters.  Like, "no I'm just going to eat dinner as mommy right now please."   We live in a smaller town without a lot of children's activities available we could put him or he'd be in a theater class.  He currently does piano and Little Gym.  Because of his immaturity and small stature (0- 1% height) we haven't started him on any team sports  but plan to next year.  He was in Classical Conversations but wanted to quit because there was not much control over the class... even though he is probably ADHD he has the intention of wanting to learn and participate.

 

He thrives off of schedules, lists, structure.  He will write lists often for himself. So we definitely need a homeschooling routine...but perhaps I could build into the routine like "You have to play with your legos for thirty minutes after lunch on Friday" for example. Or today for school you need to build a fort.  That could help him for sure.  He has tons of free time, but he will usually use it playing a character game.  Anyway...thanks all, this gives me a lot to think about !!



#9 4kookiekids

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 02:11 PM

Absolutely, yes, trust your gut on this. I don't think it would be exaggerating to say that my early attempts to impose discipline on my child who is advanced and picks up concepts intuitively were traumatic to her. It hurt my relationship with her, made me feel like a bully, and made her less enthusiastic about learning. I've found it fruitful to approach discipline as me finding ways to observe and help reinforce the natural flow she gets in when something challenges and fascinates her vs. making her attend to things that bore her (and cause rebellion and shutting down).

 

My true answer, therefore, would be that when that kid was 5, what I did was the wrong thing. I worried too much about spending the same amount of time on the same subjects that the people around us (and the schools) were doing, which was really a waste of my child's time and mind. At 5, with a kid whose abilities are great, you follow them. Let him get the board books. Let him be as immature as he needs to be in a world where it can be a little frightening sometimes to realize that you understand more than the adults around you! Enjoy your little guy! He sounds like fun.

 

I agree with this 100%. Even when I feel like my kids are acting out because they need more challenge, the answer (for us) has usually been a non-academic challenge. E.g., One of my kids went crazy on piano for six months, playing it for hours every day. Or Ballet for 2-3 hours/day for 8 months straight. Or swimming, which was very difficult for one of my kids who lacks lots of body coordination, but was extra beneficial for exactly that reason. Yes, absolutely, we try to challenge them with academics! But it's still a whole lot less than what's considered "normal" for most K'ers, I think - my current 6 yo does a grand total of 5-10 min math, 5 min writing, and 5-10 min reading with me a day, 3-5 times a week.

 

Also, you just never know what they're learning while they play. I remember my oldest playing legos alll the time (All. The. Time.) and then at one point, around age 7, I was just floored when he brought me a working lego fan (it didn't just spin, but he'd actually figured out how to tilt the blades to create real air movement with his battery pack - complete with a reading light for those hot summer nights, lol) and a working lego pistol (it only shot lego darts, of course, but he'd actually created the mechanism to shoot in response to someone pulling a trigger.)


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#10 4kookiekids

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 02:20 PM

And those 13 years will go by in the blink of an eye but there will be plenty of time in there to learn all he needs to know to be a successful and productive member of society AND follow those hyperfocused rabbit trails he enjoys so much as a gifted child.

 

..... I learned a long time ago when my oldest kids (now young adults) were little that very often it isn't them who cannot pay attention to the lesson, it's me who has the unrealistic expectations for them. 

 

I also wanted to add that my kids' hyperfocus masked itself as inability to focus for a long time. The reason now seems painfully obvious, but it took me years (and some professional help!) to actually figure it out: when he's focused on something (even just thinking about something intensely while sitting and doing nothing else), and I pull him away and ask him to do something else, his brain STAYS on his own train of thoughts. So whereas I see inability to focus on what *I* want him to focus on, and that he keeps getting distracted from what *I* want him to be doing, it's actually the exact opposite of ADD - because it was me trying to interrupt his focus to begin with, and he's just not letting me distract him from what's important to him. Now that I am more aware of that, and can try to help him finish up his own thought trains before thinking about something else, life goes a lot more smoothly.


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#11 sweet2ndchance

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 03:09 PM

He really likes to play character games which are exhausting.  I'm great with games like restaurant, family, doctors office, etc. but he will just be like "Okay, I'm big bird and your Phoebe from Furchester Hotel" and he will want us to improvise as these characters forever.  It is beyond exhausting...we have to cut him off and set times where we will not be characters.  Like, "no I'm just going to eat dinner as mommy right now please."


My little guy loves his character games too. Even restaurant, family, etc, are often orchestrated by him. We joke that he's a lot like Sheldon Cooper on Big Bang Theory. "Go ahead, play with him. It's easy, he'll even tell you what to say and how to do it." It's very tongue in cheek because he is basically an only child since all of his siblings are much older than him. He is used to running the show even in play. We work with him on it by, like you said, putting limits on when we will play with him this way and sometimes tell him that if he wants us to play, he has to let us make some decisions too because that's how friends play. It is exhausting and much different than when my older kids, who were no more than 3 years apart, were little because they had each other, he just has us, his parents to play with so my guess is that it's something of an only child thing.
 

We live in a smaller town without a lot of children's activities available we could put him or he'd be in a theater class.


We live in a small town on AR/OK border (> than 5,000 people that live in the city limits, we live just outside the city limits on 7 acres so we don't even have neighbors really other than deer and squirrels lol) there isn't a whole lot for really young kids here either. We do have a children's theater group which we will get him in probably in a few years (I think they have to be 7 or 8 to join). Have you tried looking in the next town over? Or asking the county extension office what they have available through programs like 4-H (it's not just for farm kids who show animals)? While we don't have a lot here in town for little kids, I've found quite a few things within 30 mins to an hour drive. You might not be up to it in this season of life with a little baby, but it is something to think about in the future.
 

He thrives off of schedules, lists, structure.  He will write lists often for himself. So we definitely need a homeschooling routine...

My gifted kids did too. Routine, rather than schedule, was our friend and making it visible to the kids was the key. They could see what was coming up next, they could check off what was already done. They could ask about making small changes like can we do math before lunch instead of after or can I play with legos instead of playing outside today. It really did help a ton when they knew what could be expected. It was less about the clock and more about just an order of things we do each day so they could relax a little instead of being apprehensive, and therefore stubborn and uncooperative, about what was coming up next. 



#12 RoundAbout

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 06:16 AM

Well one thing we did is get LOTS of physical exercise. Every Monday we would do a 14 mile bike ride. Yes at age 5. He needed it! We would ride 7 miles on the bike trail to a local cafe on the beach and then play and have scones and then ride back. It took most of the day. We also went mountain biking at a local park, did swim lessons 3 times a week, and participated in a local nature club with weekly hikes and monthly campouts. 

 

For academics we did Rightstart B,  practiced handwriting and did Writing with Ease 1. We checked out a TON of library books and audio books and would spend a lot of the day reading - mostly non-fiction books about all kinds of things. We also did stuff like the grow butterflies kit. It was so much fun. Some of my best memories of parenting so far are from those years. 



#13 Lace

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Posted 23 November 2017 - 01:47 PM

It sounds like you're already doing a lot right.  Just follow his lead.  He wants foreign languages?  Go for it.  He wants to read board books?  That's fine too.  You could let him loose with Legos if you can find a way to keep them away from the baby.  Maybe they can only be played with in a certain room and have to be cleaned up entirely afterward?  Or you could invest in a large quantity of Duplos.  Those aren't choke-able and he could build all the same basic stuff as with regular Lego bricks, just to a larger scale.  If he likes character games, maybe he'd like to dress up?  One of my boys likes to design and make paper costumes.  Or get him little figurines so he can make them play specific roles? 

 

As far as curriculum and workbooks, I can tell you what my boys have done.  They've each been different.  Every kid brings their own strengths, weaknesses, and preferences to the table.

 

My DS#3 is 5, turning 6 very soon, and LOVES workbooks.  I started him doing formal curriculum a few months after he turned 4yo because he was really causing a lot of damage and injury in his independent investigations.  I had to direct some of that mental energy and give him things to do when I was busy with his brothers.  This past year as a 5yo, he did Evan-Moor Daily Science 2 and half of 3, E-M Language Fundamentals 2, E-M Daily Geography 2, several Stick Kids and Star Wars workbooks, most of the MEP 2 practice book, and probably some other workbooks I'm forgetting.  For math instruction he did RightStart B through the first 1/2 of level D, along with Beast Acadmey 2A, 3A, and 3B (but BA was done recently, all since August).  For science instruction we did mostly Mystery Science and watched Bill Nye and Magic School Bus episodes.  Reading instruction wasn't needed, so I just asked him to read to me for 5-15 minutes a day until I felt confident that he wouldn't run into much of anything he couldn't read on his own.  For history and lit we did BookShark 2 and started BkSk 3.  The readers are/were very easy for him, but he truly enjoyed and looked forward to them in level 2.  Level 3's readers aren't engaging for him, so we've mostly dropped those.   He just started MCT Island, Spelling You See, and Fix It in August or September.  He wasn't ready or interested in sitting down for those kinds of things at newly 5, but now at almost 6 they're a good fit.  

 

My older two, OTOH, were not the least bit interested in workbooks at that age.  When they were 5 they were much more wiggly and active than my DS#3 is.  One was just beginning to read when he turned 5.  I did Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons with him and then transitioned to buddy reading from library books.  The other was reading well, so I only had him read aloud from interesting books most days.  They both did RS A and B and started C as 5yos.  One of them did handwriting practice from Handwriting Without Tears, the other had fine motor difficulties and spent most of that year doing hand/finger strengthening exercises and tracing.  Neither of them did anything formal for science, history, grammar, etc. until 6-7yo.  They were more interested in other things.



#14 Patty Joanna

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Posted 23 November 2017 - 04:58 PM

THIS!!!! Gifted or not, he's still just 5 years old.

 

He has 13 years of school ahead of him plus however long he ends up in college. And those 13 years will go by in the blink of an eye but there will be plenty of time in there to learn all he needs to know to be a successful and productive member of society AND follow those hyperfocused rabbit trails he enjoys so much as a gifted child.

 

I can't agree with this more.  AGREE.  He has all his life to read All the Books.  But only when he is little will Winnie the Pooh and that sort of book be part of his world. It used to drive me crazy when people would push me to read aloud to my 5yo Lord of the Rings and so on.  Just because he can get the words and use big words and so on doesn't mean he is ready to understand the concepts of a more mature book.  I admit that this is a soapbox of mine...so bear with me.  

 

I did a lot of things wrong but one thing I did RIGHT was that I let my kid be a kid.  

 

In the later years I pushed him too hard on academics (maybe not too hard but too early) so I made my mistakes later.  But when he was little I let him be little and that was and is a great joy to me.  

 

I also agree with being facilitator...and the other thing I did was read aloud to him, for hours a day.  No regrets on that, either.  I read to him while he played with his Thomas the Tank, and when I stopped, he would bring me another book.  He loved it.  But I would not have forced HOURS a day.  :0)(

 

If the kid is so smart, he will catch up quickly on anything he falls behind on.  I was the World's Worst Mother according to the school my kid attended K and 1 because he was the ONLY ONE in the class who didn't come to school reading.  Well, by December, he was the best reader in the class...by a LONG shot.  Best vocabulary always.  Let's just put it this way...when I pulled him in 2nd grade, the class's test scores dropped significantly.  ;0)  

 

The PROBLEM with smart kids is that it is very hard to teach them scholastic diligence...and they will need that character trait at some point.  But I never figured out how to deal with that, even though I could identify the issue.  And now my son is 22 and he is having to figure it out himself.  But he will figure it out.  



#15 Minniewannabe

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 10:40 AM

A gifted ADD kid at age 5:

1. Quit teaching him to sit still and focus. His brain is geared for better things.
2. Change his subject every 15 minutes, even if he is not finished yet.
3. Teach him lots of subjects.
4. Keep him on wheels during school. All kinds will work.
5. Get up and move a little after most subjects.

Here are some of the subjects we had for DD from the ages of 5 to 8. I cannot remember exactly what was taught when.

1. Bible
2. Reading
3. Social studies/history
4. Spelling
5. Penmanship
6. Piano
7. Art
8. Science
9. Science lab
10. Computer science and keyboarding (Microsoft Word, Photoshop, etc.)
11. PE. (Usually running, swimming, or biking while doing some flash card work, too). Multitask often
12. Photography
13. Dance
14. Acting and Voice (child did community theater toward the later years)
15. Chinese
16. Spanish
17. Math
18. Poetry memorization

We would School all year to keep each individual day shorter.



The goal, in my opinion, should never be teaching an ADD kid to focus, but, rather harness that super fast brain.

HTH

#16 Runningmom80

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Posted 22 December 2017 - 08:32 AM

Bought him Legos.

#17 nwahomeschoolmom

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Posted 22 December 2017 - 11:22 PM

Thanks!  Last year for Christmas we got our son tons of Legos and Playmobils hoping that would be his thing.  Big fail.  Little interest in legos and he is over Duplos.  This year we got him some other building and STEM toys like Tinkertoys, etc. hoping that will be the thing for him!  I hope so..My son likes to hyperfocus on school work..just not when its technically the right time.  Being gifted and ADD he doesn't sleep much for a five year old, so when he is in his room in the late night he will pick out workbooks from my stash and do them for fun. (We recently started an "only 3 workbooks and 3 toys in room at a time" rule because his room was turning into a tornado of chaos daily, too much for me to keep up with, that was negatively affecting his mood.  The rule is working well and he likes it!)  He is growing out of the most of the workbooks I have though or getting tired of them...I'm planning to revamp my supply this month.  I have to hyperfocus on something to relax my brain as well...so maybe thats what he is doing at night.  Some nights he will do art in his room or read.  Whatever it is, he is in hyperfocusing mode.  During the day he just wants to talk...all...day...unless I can get him hooked on a book.  He rarely wants me to read out loud to him anymore...but he will often ask to read to me.  I got him into a homeschool co-op this semester with electives all day Wednesday and am revamping our whole curriculum.  I plan to have two curriculum per subject and switch things up more.  We also got him a keyboard for Christmas and hoping that will keep him busy since he enjoys practicing and improvising.  

 

If I could have my son playing outside and playing with legos most of the time I would.  I often have to drag him outside and that sometimes defeats the purpose of helping his behavior....(and its way too cold here in the winters.)   He's not even allowed screen time Monday thru Friday so its not that keeping him inside...



#18 HomeAgain

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Posted 01 January 2018 - 08:48 AM

I would say don't assume too much yet, NWAHomeschoolmom.  My 7yo didn't do much imaginative play at age 5 - he really liked rules and order at that time and put together everything with instructions or orderly (the fireman toy was always a fireman, for example).  2 years later, his interests have changed completely.  The toys I put away when we moved were brought back out this winter - all the old Imaginext, Star Wars, etc.  He is definitely into these things now and creating his own worlds with them.

 

All kids are different, but watching mine bounce in and out of interests made me realize that they change a lot as they grow more skillful and capable.

 



#19 Heigh Ho

Heigh Ho

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Posted 01 January 2018 - 12:55 PM

try suggesting making movies or puppet shows....that usually allows the intellectual stimulation he is looking for

 

for the legos, 4 is good for challenging him to make x number of things with y bricks, a display for the library, and use the gears,motors,and robotics in his own creations.  Try to find a lego event to go to, its fun to have like minds and even funner to talk to the teens who are doing the judging.

 

Have you looked into 4H?

 

its not a push to place a 5 at his academic level...the push is making him progress faster than he desires.  Feel free to hand him something like singapore math, its workbook and easy to figure out.  

 

I did allow screens, I needed time to do chores and the dc needed a board game opponent when I wasn't available. We discovered at enrichment that a lot this age do play chess, and we learned a lot of tennis ball hallway games.

 

For the verbal stimulation, you might invite someone for tea.  Doesn't matter the age, just the willingness to talk to a little fella. 

 

Some outside ideas: obstacle course, stomp rocket, dig, build forts..but there's a limit to a 5 playing alone, they want social.  When we couldn't find a playmate, we would walk around town or museum or nature center and look at interesting things.  We had a bird feeder in winter and sketched/counted/id'd.