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Rethinking plans for accelerated student


ondreeuh
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My 2nd grader isn't radically accelerated or profoundly gifted like most of the kids on the AL forum, but I'm having to rethink my plans for him. I had planned on reusing the materials I enjoyed using for his older brother, which is all geared for typical grade levels. This year he's been doing Calvert 3 and most of it is really easy (I am using Calvert 4 history, and adding more literature). He's taking the MAP test and so far has scored off the charts in reading when scored as a 3rd grader. He did well enough that his adviser said she'd never seen a 2nd grader score as high. He finds school really easy in general and I expect him to score similarly in LA and math.

 

He learns very quickly and I just don't think accelerating through standard curriculum will serve him as well as using more challenging materials. For example, we used grades 1-3 of Math in Focus and he finished MIF 3 this winter. I started him on Beast Academy, and I love how deep it goes into topics - however he needs a lot of hand holding (although a huge part of that is his difficulty focusing). I was initially going to use MIF 4 and then BA 4, but I'm not sure if MIF is too easy or if it's important to mix in the easier/independent MIF work with the hard puzzles of BA????

 

Next year I had planned to use Growing with Grammar 4 (he does like diagramming), but I'm wondering if he is a kid who would really benefit from MCT. And then if we do MCT, should I start him at Island or Town? He's doing fine with Calvert 3's grammar and I don't want to invest in something too easy or too hard. And then there's part of me that isn't excited about figuring out a whole new style of teaching grammar, so maybe I should stick with GWG - but I don't want to sell him short.

 

I was planning on using Singapore's MPH Science but I think we've already covered everything in the 3/4 level in our science this year. I have a couple of the Science in a Nutshell cluster kits that are for grades 4-6, but I think he could handle them fine. I am someone who does so much better with textbook based stuff that is divided into sequential lessons and I'm worried I won't get it done.

 

One thing I am secure about: I'm going to stick with Moving Beyond the Page 8-10 for his LA next year - such great books and the writing is advanced. He'll do Battle of the Books again next year - he competed on the 3/4 team this year (the other kids were 4th graders and he did great!), but part of me would like him to try the 5/6 team next year as I like the book list better.

 

He can do chess team again next year and I might be able to get him in the spelling bee although it's supposed to start in 4th grade. Instead of using a spelling workbook that he has almost no trouble with, I'm thinking of signing him up for the Scripps Word Club.

 

I feel like the 7 years I've spent teaching my older son have not prepared me for teaching my younger one. It's a little nerve-wracking to leave behind the safe, graded stuff that I know how to teach and leave it more open-ended. How do you adjust to teaching a gifted learner when you don't want to hold them back? Should I indeed be looking these other materials or is it OK to compact and accelerate through regular graded stuff?

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It's crazy how we can get one child figured out and then the other decides to be completely difficult.

 

Which Beast Academy did you try?  3A has a notoriously difficult start.

 

We started with 3A. He did fine with the pentominoes and triangles, but there's no way he could have done the weights part on his own. We're at the end of the book and he is doing OK figuring out the area of the irregular shapes. Maybe I'm just not used to spending a whole "math period" on one page but it feels like progress is very slow. He did find a mistake on his 4th grade Math Minutes yesterday - they had a triangle with sides 2, 3, and 5 and he immediately recognized that those were impossible measurements.

 

Maybe my real question is: how do you know whether to accelerate with regular materials or go wider with specialized materials like Beast? I guess MCT LA would also be in that category. I am comfortable with regular materials and a "do the next thing" schedule works SOOOO much better for us. It's reassuring to know you've covered everything you're "supposed" to - but I don't want to miss out on the chance to have more inspiring lessons either.

 

Next year we'll be studying world cultures, and I'm going to piece together readings, meaningful activities, and research projects. I'm excited for it, but then nervous that we'll leave a gap if we don't cover grade-level material.

 

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I remember back when DS1 started Beast.  He hated the first book for Beast Academy third grade, so we switched to the second book which was multiplication among other stuff and he loved it. 

 

I think what you're going through emphasizes what is so great about homeschooling (and frustrating).  The ability to customize for a particular student's learning style, strengths, etc.  This is what is nearly impossible to offer in a public school setting designed for education of the masses.

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I don't think most of the kids whose parents post on the AL board are radically accelerated or profoundly gifted; they're just the loudest ones :)  

 

My son is 7 and is working slowly through BA3.  He has found the first book slow going as well but it's not a hugely painful slow going, and he really likes it when he finally "gets" something, which we never really experienced in more standard curricula, as they were direct enough for him to never not get it, if that makes sense.  I handhold through parts of Beast and he works through parts on his own.  He is not PG or even likely HG, but he is accelerated :)

 

I would try out a lesson from MCT with him before you invest in it if you can.  I tried it with DD10 when she was 8 and we Did Not Like It At All.  

 

For Language Arts you might try something more open-ended instead of something distinctly accelerated; we really really like Bravewriter, especially since we can pick and choose the books we study based on interest.  But ymmv

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I know you said you feel more comfortable with textbooks and do the next thing, but they could honestly be adding to your distress. Other than math, it has never mattered what grade my kids are in or whether they are behind, on grade level, or accelerated, bc nothing is in a textbook and everything simply revolves around what they are capable of doing.

 

Books, books, and more books are great that way bc they don't confine the student into a textbook's pre-digested, predetermined, "what the publisher thinks is important" restricted content.. The world of interesting information and ideas is wide open. My current 4th grader is currently reading a book on worms and is loving it. I'm pretty sure that no where in the history of pre-fab education do elementary kids learn anywhere near the level of info she has been studying about worms. ;) is she missing out on what those textbooks do teach? Probably some of it, but there is nothing in a canned curriculum that she won't see when she hits high school level,science and everything she reads and loves now will stay with her long term bc she is so delighted with the info.

 

In terms of math, I wouldn't stress so much about the decision. Use what you think you both like. They are both great programs. Really strong math kids are going to thrive with any solid program. You can always use a more straightforward program like MiF and supplement with MOEMS problems or HOE, etc. It will not doom him to math mediocrity. Seriously. My math and physics geek only used Horizons for elementary math and thrived in AoPS and is a 4.0 math and physics double major. (And he never used a science textbook until high school science. Same with his chemical engineering brother.:) They read and read books on science topics.)

 

For writing and grammar, being knowledgeable yourself makes the entire process so much easier. Then you can take what you like from textbooks and use those portions and adapt them to your needs. I have never seen a textbook where the writing assignments meshed well with what we were studying, but we can take what is being taught and work toward integrating it into their writing. Approached this way, nothing has to fit the child perfectly bc you adapt what is there to what your child needs.

 

It might seem overwhelming and scary, but really, it is pretty hard to mess up 2nd grade. :)

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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I know you said you feel more comfortable with textbooks and do the next thing, but they could honestly be adding to your distress. Other than math, it has never mattered what grade my kids are in or whether they are behind, on grade level, or accelerated, bc nothing is in a textbook and everything simply revolves around what they are capable of doing.

 

For writing and grammar, being knowledgeable yourself makes the entire process so much easier. Then you can take what you like from textbooks and use those portions and adapt them to your needs. I have never seen a textbook where the writing assignments meshed well with what we were studying, but we can take what is being taught and work toward integrating it into their writing. Approached this way, nothing has to fit the child perfectly bc you adapt what is there to what your child needs.

 

 

The reason that I prefer textbooks is that they get DONE. I have two very lovely unit studies that took me a lot of time to put together (on composers and artists) and they sit on the shelf. I bought Song School Spanish to use last year and it STILL hasn't been done. This is really all about me and my difficulty following vague/loose directions. I have no problem working solidly through a textbook-based program though. At the very least I need a strong spine to follow - last year we did Adventures in America and after doing very little the first semester we got our butts in gear and finished it up 2nd semester with lots of extra books and extensions. So I know I *can* do it if I organize it properly.

 

I have a very difficult time coming up with writing assignments. The thing I like best about Calvert is the strong writing component with clear scaffolding. My 2nd grader has a whole binder full of writing from this year alone. I don't want to lose ground next year. I need to print off a bunch of graphic organizers and just assign writing assignments based what we are studying.

 

8, I just bought your Homeschooling at the Helm ebook and hope that will inspire me to take the lead.

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We started with 3A. He did fine with the pentominoes and triangles, but there's no way he could have done the weights part on his own. We're at the end of the book and he is doing OK figuring out the area of the irregular shapes. Maybe I'm just not used to spending a whole "math period" on one page but it feels like progress is very slow. He did find a mistake on his 4th grade Math Minutes yesterday - they had a triangle with sides 2, 3, and 5 and he immediately recognized that those were impossible measurements.

 

Maybe my real question is: how do you know whether to accelerate with regular materials or go wider with specialized materials like Beast? I guess MCT LA would also be in that category. I am comfortable with regular materials and a "do the next thing" schedule works SOOOO much better for us. It's reassuring to know you've covered everything you're "supposed" to - but I don't want to miss out on the chance to have more inspiring lessons either.

 

Next year we'll be studying world cultures, and I'm going to piece together readings, meaningful activities, and research projects. I'm excited for it, but then nervous that we'll leave a gap if we don't cover grade-level material.

 

 

 

I started my kid on BA in 2nd, and yes, 3A went really slow. A page a day sounds about right. It's okay if it's slow. We took breaks, moved, he went to school a while, and now he's finishing up 3D super-speedy. So it's all come together fine. And, honestly, the pace to finish a grade level a year is about 2 working pages a day anyways.

 

Someone once made a "schedule" for MCT island, putting the page numbers of the various books in a list. When I was trying MCT that was helpful, I printed it out and each day did the next "set" of pages on the list and then crossed it off. I don't have that file anymore and don't remember where I got it, but you could make up your own version and do that until you get a feel for it.

 

As for grade-level material - I've come to the conclusion to just focus on skills. LCC was helpful for me to clarify this. I expose him to a broad range of content along the way (as much as I can!) but the priority is skills, skill in math, skill in language(s), skill in communication, skill in comprehension, skill in logical thinking. Skills, skills, skills. My kid is also not a prodigy or amazing genius or something, he doesn't just divine things out of thin air. But if he has the foundation of good skills, he can figure out a great number of things....usually correctly (lol).

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Mountain of salt with this because I've never had seriously accelerated kids here.  I would be tempted to stay the course with tried and true materials - things you are comfortable teaching from - for skill subjects.  I would try to keep these efficient so that your child still has time to explore other interests.  I would go beyond the normal with content, seeking out really interesting, well written books that let him stretch his thinking, his ideas. 

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I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone feeling a little... not unwelcome, but out of place on the AL board.  My kids are probably mildly/moderately gifted and are accelerated in most subjects, but I really feel like We have almost nothing in common with the posts on that AL board.  Sometimes I post questions because I think their answers will be closer to what I need than the everyone-board, but I always feel awkward doing so.  It's the same with curriculum, online guidance, parenting books, etc.  It's like we ride the line between typical and gifted and neither seems to fit or be very helpful.

 

Except for BA, we are using regular curricula.  I compact, accelerate, and supplement to go deeper and wider as I see fit and the kids show (or don't show) interest.  I also do much better with text books and things that are planned out without much flexibility built in.  I'm the one teaching -- we have to do some things MY way, or it won't get done!  So far it's worked out just fine.  I'm open to change in the future if that's ever not the case, but for now it's working.

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The reason that I prefer textbooks is that they get DONE. I have two very lovely unit studies that took me a lot of time to put together (on composers and artists) and they sit on the shelf. I bought Song School Spanish to use last year and it STILL hasn't been done. This is really all about me and my difficulty following vague/loose directions. I have no problem working solidly through a textbook-based program though. At the very least I need a strong spine to follow - last year we did Adventures in America and after doing very little the first semester we got our butts in gear and finished it up 2nd semester with lots of extra books and extensions. So I know I *can* do it if I organize it properly.

 

I have a very difficult time coming up with writing assignments. The thing I like best about Calvert is the strong writing component with clear scaffolding. My 2nd grader has a whole binder full of writing from this year alone. I don't want to lose ground next year. I need to print off a bunch of graphic organizers and just assign writing assignments based what we are studying.

 

8, I just bought your Homeschooling at the Helm ebook and hope that will inspire me to take the lead.

 

I hope you find it helpful.  Just remember that for 2nd grade the process is far less structured and far more interest driven.  For example, for a 7 yr old little boy, I might do a study  focused on knights, the chivalric code, castles, weaponry/knight-training, King Arthur, Robin Hood, and then maybe some of the scientific processes that they used in the MA.....forging metal, astronomy, architecture of castles, etc.  Have fun building castles with legos or  with those brick building kits (lots of science and math discussions available there! ;) )   

 

 

I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone feeling a little... not unwelcome, but out of place on the AL board.  My kids are probably mildly/moderately gifted and are accelerated in most subjects, but I really feel like We have almost nothing in common with the posts on that AL board.  Sometimes I post questions because I think their answers will be closer to what I need than the everyone-board, but I always feel awkward doing so.  It's the same with curriculum, online guidance, parenting books, etc.  It's like we ride the line between typical and gifted and neither seems to fit or be very helpful.

 

Except for BA, we are using regular curricula.  I compact, accelerate, and supplement to go deeper and wider as I see fit and the kids show (or don't show) interest.  I also do much better with text books and things that are planned out without much flexibility built in.  I'm the one teaching -- we have to do some things MY way, or it won't get done!  So far it's worked out just fine.  I'm open to change in the future if that's ever not the case, but for now it's working.

 

FWIW, I have never felt like I have much in common with most posters on the AL board, either, and I have adult children who have demonstrated that they are quite accelerated.   ;)  I don't do anything at all academically for pre-school.  (Never have.  My youngest is in K and this is her first yr doing anything for school. :) )   I am very low key for primary grades.  My kids only focus on reading, handwriting, and math for K2.   School is not really about grade levels.  It is focused on learning:  mastering skills, exposure to ideas, and developing critical thinking skills.  

 

We seem to do just fine with a completely different mindset.   :)  Always remember that there are lots of paths forward.  Feel confident in embracing your own path when you see that your kids are thriving and progressing.  

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone feeling a little... not unwelcome, but out of place on the AL board.  My kids are probably mildly/moderately gifted and are accelerated in most subjects, but I really feel like We have almost nothing in common with the posts on that AL board.  Sometimes I post questions because I think their answers will be closer to what I need than the everyone-board, but I always feel awkward doing so.  It's the same with curriculum, online guidance, parenting books, etc.  It's like we ride the line between typical and gifted and neither seems to fit or be very helpful.

 

Except for BA, we are using regular curricula.  I compact, accelerate, and supplement to go deeper and wider as I see fit and the kids show (or don't show) interest.  I also do much better with text books and things that are planned out without much flexibility built in.  I'm the one teaching -- we have to do some things MY way, or it won't get done!  So far it's worked out just fine.  I'm open to change in the future if that's ever not the case, but for now it's working.

 

I'm glad you understand me! I'm going to pop over to the AL board now; maybe if we get some conversations going about the kids who are just moderately accelerated it will encourage others in the same boat to participate more.

 

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I hope you find it helpful.  Just remember that for 2nd grade the process is far less structured and far more interest driven.  For example, for a 7 yr old little boy, I might do a study  focused on knights, the chivalric code, castles, weaponry/knight-training, King Arthur, Robin Hood, and then maybe some of the scientific processes that they used in the MA.....forging metal, astronomy, architecture of castles, etc.  Have fun building castles with legos or  with those brick building kits (lots of science and math discussions available there! ;) )   

 

I am really excited about my plan for next year (officially 3rd grade). We'll be covering world cultures & geography, and instead of following a pre-scheduled plan I will have a loose outline of what to cover with room for plenty of rabbit trails. I have 12 countries that we will highlight and for each one we will learn about the geography & climate as well as the languages, religions, special animals, major holidays or celebrations, traditions, recipes, etc. I've been collecting fiction written from the viewpoint of kids from various cultures too.

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I am really excited about my plan for next year (officially 3rd grade). We'll be covering world cultures & geography, and instead of following a pre-scheduled plan I will have a loose outline of what to cover with room for plenty of rabbit trails. I have 12 countries that we will highlight and for each one we will learn about the geography & climate as well as the languages, religions, special animals, major holidays or celebrations, traditions, recipes, etc. I've been collecting fiction written from the viewpoint of kids from various cultures too.

 

Sounds awesome to me!

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I posted a reply on the AL board for you :D

 

I'm on my 4th and 5th accelerated students, and I can tell you that after freaking out with my first two when they were younger, I was able to relax and enjoy things a bit more.  My children have all moved at different speeds at different times.  There is no set path for learning, and many kids who start out at break neck speeds have quirks or maturity issues that require a bit of slowing down to address properly.  The best thing about homeschooling is that you can adapt your plans every year -- or whenever you need to.

 

I think this bears repeating (from my post on the AL board), appropriate input levels can vary wildly from appropriate output levels.  Many very bright/gifted children can take in an incredible amount of information, but that doesn't necessarily mean they can handle the same level of output.  PokeMan was in a Virtual Academy for 1st grade, he was accelerated 2 years in math.  The math program they had switched to required students to copy down the problems and then figure them out, and then input their answers into the computer.  While this would be tedious for anyone, it was beyond tedious and actually quite inappropriate for my then 7yo.  I wound up copying down all of the problems, then allowing him to work the problems, and then I entered the answers (that was more a factor of technical glitches in the system which caused the program to reload and forced you to begin entering your answers all over again...)

 

When LEGOManiac was younger (my great experiment, being the first), I did try to have him complete the assignments as intended for that grade.  I was very disappointed in the result.  When asked to narrate, he created these vivid, well articulated answers.  When asked to write his answers down on paper, much of that was completely lost. But, at that point, I was following a model of acceleration that I didn't realize until later, that was not only unnecessary, but counterproductive.  

 

During the past 11 years, since my great experiment with LEGOManiac began in Pre-K, I have become much more relaxed.  The importance of time to explore freely -- outside of school subjects -- has become much more important to me.  We still accelerate, I still make accommodations as necessary to those accelerations, but I really work to ensure that my children aren't doing more simply because they can.  My expectations work-wise for an 8 year old are based on normal development for an 8 year old (amount of time doing actual work).  There are days a child of mine will wish to do 3 lessons of math, because they are excited and motivated.  The next day, s/he may only wish to do one.  One lesson is the expectation.  My 7yo does zero work in composition beyond simple dictation, verbal narration and copywork.  She may write on her own -- but I don't mandate it.  My third grader does WWE3, and I'm perfectly comfortable with that level of work for her -- the output is acceptable.  Her literature/read alouds and other games enrich her LA and vocabulary -- but I'm not requiring extra output because Blondie is reading the Eragon series instead of Stories of Raggedy Ann and Andy.

 

On paper, my kids don't necessarily look radically accelerated.  But, because I've been giving them more time to dedicate to their areas of interest -- instead of simply accelerating regular subjects -- they stand out in those areas.  For LEGOManiac, it's Robotics and Structural Design/Mechanical Engineering, For PonyGirl, it's math and science (she will technically complete two high school math credits this year (precalculus and Discrete Math 1), along with AP Chem...), for PokeMan, its computer animation and programming.  Blondie and Boo are both still at the imaginative play stage, and Blondie has no real academic passion, but she loves theater, music, and swimming.  I say all of this simply to underscore that by not overloading on academics, and allowing your child to explore areas of interest you will see them blossom and grow in ways you can only imagine right now.  

 

Accelerate where needed, and enrich and enjoy everything else :D

 

 

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LisaK, thank you for that bit of wisdom. It is definitely hard any time a child's input/output don't match with what is intended. My older son is/was very dyslexic and although he reads very well now, it was a long hard road to get there. His writing is still weak and his spelling... ugh. I am used to modifying materials to give him the high input he needs and keeping the appropriate output. You've reminded me that it will be the same thing with my younger son too. I do scribe for him a fair amount, and he does type most of his compositions. At this point his ability to focus is what impairs his output rather than any real skill deficit. Hopefully that will keep improving as he gets older :).

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  • 4 weeks later...

Does your child like chess well enough to compete in tournaments? If he isn't already participating in tournaments, and has an interest, it is a wonderful way to expose him to competition, as well as spark a greater interest in studying the game. The trophies that are given in tournaments for children are a great incentive. Chess study will improve his ADHD, and also will keep his active mind engaged. If you are interested in learning more about opportunities available to children with chess, please PM me.

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I didn't read all of the replies here, so I apologize if what I have to say is a repeat.

 

BA has been a great fit for us. After supplementing and accelerating his regular math program for years, I really enjoy how deep it goes without me adding anything to it. I'm glad to hear that it is working for you as well. I don't really have any advice as to whether you should continue with just BA or combining programs, though. I think it depends on whether you plan to continue with just aops and the discovery approach for pre-algebra onward or if you'd rather switch to something with explicit instruction by that point. ??

 

However, I will say, the portions of MCT that we bought to try out sit, largely unused, on the shelf. Instead, I've found that accelerating the grammar portion of la to a more difficult level was sufficient for grammar, and we sought depth by increasing literature requirements. I went to more difficult novels, but I also now require him to beef up the level of analysis. It took us from flying through the novels at grade level to slowing down to really chew on the meat of what I'm offering now, if that makes sense.

 

We use memoria press lit guides 1-2 grade levels ahead plus random poetry with guides I find online. The biggest change is that I'm also requiring him to identify elements of literature that normally would not be required of him. He is processing on a much deeper level now, in much the same way that BA requires of him, but without the MCT system that just didn't click for us.

 

This is the website I use: https://www.roanestate.edu/owl/elementslit.html. However, please know that I am NOT requiring him to write analytical essays at this point. He does the MP lit guide questions as written work (most of the time) and we simply discuss this portion orally. I will eventually require written analysis, but he's 8 right now and I prefer that he has time to just be 8. ;)

 

We also added Latin for him (he's working through first form now, but started with Latina Christiana). He loves seeing the connections between Latin and English and , while not required by me, books like English from the Roots Up and an idioms dictionary that includes etymology have been a lot of fun for him.

 

I don't know if any of that would be a means of helping your son take it deeper or if there are other suggestions here that will be a better fit for you guys. Either way, I'm glad that you're seeking to differentiate his education in an authentic way instead of just accelerating him through the standard curriculum. :)

Edited by Roseto27
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Do not make a curriculum decision based upon a fear of leaving gaps.  You will leave gaps somewhere.  No school option is perfect.  This is a gifted kid?  I really wouldn't worry about gaps...especially not in 2nd grade.

 

 

In a traditional textbook method, the book is like the timekeeper, keeping you on track.  When you have a different paradigm, you need a different timekeeper.  I find it best to set aside the actual time.  Make a date.  Tues/Thurs at 10am are time for _______. and so on.  Once you have the routine, you can lax on the actual clock.  Do what you can do in the time allotted.  Have clear goals.

 

 

That said, I don't think there is anything wrong with sticking with a graded curriculum and going through it faster. 

 

After teaching math at home with my kids, I'm beginning to think there is some wisdom in accelerating through first, and then stagnating for a year or two right before pre-algebra with those deep and difficult programs.  My plans (after messing up 3 kids... :lol: ) for my youngest are Miquon in K-2nd, CLE 3rd-5th, Singapore 6th-whenever they are ready for algebra.  The grade level of books used may not match up to their grade (age) levels....I'm thinking developmentally, that this pattern fits my kids spurts in growth.  Miquon begins with conceptual understanding so they will have that firm foundation.  CLE is very process driven and reviews like crazy.  What they know will not be forgotten.  Then Singapore stretches what they think they know, applying it in difficult problems.  That is just my rambling...so take it fwiw.
 

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My gifted girl LOVED MCT island level. It is so beautiful and engaging. It really builds a love for language along with giving depth. I know the scheduling can be a bit worrisome, but at least for us, it has been worth it. (That said, I know it is not for everyone, and I am not a really structure loving person.... So it fits my teaching style and my dd's acceleration.)

 

 

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Does your child like chess well enough to compete in tournaments? If he isn't already participating in tournaments, and has an interest, it is a wonderful way to expose him to competition, as well as spark a greater interest in studying the game. The trophies that are given in tournaments for children are a great incentive. Chess study will improve his ADHD, and also will keep his active mind engaged. If you are interested in learning more about opportunities available to children with chess, please PM me.

 

He was too young to do our school district's chess tournament this year, but he can do it next year. It is several hours of back-to-back games, and I'm not sure he could keep a good attitude the whole time. He's not good with timers or losing repeatedly.

 

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I didn't read all of the replies here, so I apologize if what I have to say is a repeat.

 

BA has been a great fit for us. After supplementing and accelerating his regular math program for years, I really enjoy how deep it goes without me adding anything to it. I'm glad to hear that it is working for you as well. I don't really have any advice as to whether you should continue with just BA or combining programs, though. I think it depends on whether you plan to continue with just aops and the discovery approach for pre-algebra onward or if you'd rather switch to something with explicit instruction by that point. ??

 

However, I will say, the portions of MCT that we bought to try out sit, largely unused, on the shelf. Instead, I've found that accelerating the grammar portion of la to a more difficult level was sufficient for grammar, and we sought depth by increasing literature requirements. I went to more difficult novels, but I also now require him to beef up the level of analysis. It took us from flying through the novels at grade level to slowing down to really chew on the meat of what I'm offering now, if that makes sense.

 

We use memoria press lit guides 1-2 grade levels ahead plus random poetry with guides I find online. The biggest change is that I'm also requiring him to identify elements of literature that normally would not be required of him. He is processing on a much deeper level now, in much the same way that BA requires of him, but without the MCT system that just didn't click for us.

 

This is the website I use: https://www.roanestate.edu/owl/elementslit.html. However, please know that I am NOT requiring him to write analytical essays at this point. He does the MP lit guide questions as written work (most of the time) and we simply discuss this portion orally. I will eventually require written analysis, but he's 8 right now and I prefer that he has time to just be 8. ;)

 

We also added Latin for him (he's working through first form now, but started with Latina Christiana). He loves seeing the connections between Latin and English and , while not required by me, books like English from the Roots Up and an idioms dictionary that includes etymology have been a lot of fun for him.

 

I don't know if any of that would be a means of helping your son take it deeper or if there are other suggestions here that will be a better fit for you guys. Either way, I'm glad that you're seeking to differentiate his education in an authentic way instead of just accelerating him through the standard curriculum. :)

 

Since I wrote the original post, I have made some changes and decisions :)

 

I have decided to forego MCT LA. I just don't think we're lacking anything that MCT would fill. He really wanted to learn to diagram, so I pulled out Digging into Diagramming (the book from GWG that covers all the diagramming through grade 8) and we have been working on that. He has picked it up easily and really enjoys it. We've started part 2 of Treasured Conversations (thanks, 8FillTheHeart!) and will keep working on that through the summer. It seems like something he will zip through.

 

I took a break from Beast Academy at the start of 3B, He loves the guides and does OK with the first pages of each lesson, but he gets quickly bogged down in the puzzles. I can lead him through them but I'm not sure he's really learning anything through that. We have been working on memorizing the multiplication facts via games and have started MIF 4A. I think at this point MIF is a much better fit for his temperament. We did the lessons on GCFs and LCMs which should have been review from BA 3A, and it was like he had never seen it before (but really learned it well through MIF). Looking ahead at MIF 4A and 4B, I think it will be the right amount of stretching with just enough practice. I think we can use BA later though.

 

For science next year I am just going to pair a textbook with the stack of Tinker Crates that we have amassed. We visit the school library weekly so we can check out books on each topic as we go. That's kind of what we do now, and it's working well.

 

I have actually backed off of the idea of using Moving Beyond the Page LA (the one thing I was sure of!). We will be studying world cultures next year and I have stocked up on books from the various cultures we'll be studying. I'll use about half of the titles from level 8-10, and save the rest for the following year when we do US history. I find most of their suggested activities are stuff that is not of any interest to him, so I basically use their questions for discussion and the lit analysis.

 

The thing I'm most excited about is world cultures. I have a whole OneNote notebook full of ideas for each country (planning on studying each one for 2-3 weeks). It has websites to visit, topics to research, books to read ... it is open ended enough that we can pursue rabbit trails and create assignments as we go. I have graphic organizers for writing book reports, letters, stories, and various kinds of essays so we will pick one writing assignment for each country.

 

Oh, I've decided to resume teaching him Spanish. He loves it and is doing well remembering vocab with correct spelling. And speaking of spelling, I'm thinking of signing him up for the Scripps Word Club next year. He will technically be a too young to compete in the spelling bee but I'm not sure if the school is picky about that.

 

I feel like we've eliminated a lot of the redundancies and slower-paced things, and we are now working with materials that are appropriately challenging without being too "old" for him if you know what I mean.

 

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  • 3 months later...

When LEGOManiac was younger (my great experiment, being the first), I did try to have him complete the assignments as intended for that grade.  I was very disappointed in the result.  When asked to narrate, he created these vivid, well articulated answers.  When asked to write his answers down on paper, much of that was completely lost. But, at that point, I was following a model of acceleration that I didn't realize until later, that was not only unnecessary, but counterproductive.  

 

 

This sounds like my son (entering 4th grade in the fall).  When did his writing catch up? How did you approach teaching him to how to write?
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Just to respond to your question about choosing more rigorous work versus choosing a higher grade level.

 

I am in the go more rigorous camp. I had this discussion with DH and as I told him: Grade level work is mostly designed to achieve the first 2-3 levels of learning. So even if a child works 2 levels ahead, they are still (usually) in those 2-3 levels of learning. 

 

On the other-hand, rigorous/gifted level work (at grade level) takes the child deeper into the levels of learning and develops skills that most people never achieve; being able to analyze, evaluate, and create from what they learn.

 

For example, a child who is learning to cook learns how to use a recipe and as they develop they learn to use more difficult recipes that require more steps and ingredients. This child is experiencing grade level acceleration. Now take the child and instead of giving him more difficult recipes, have him continue to work on the same recipe. But ask him to figure out what changes they can make to reduce the salt content, reduce the sugar, make it spicier, etc... Ask him to change the recipe so that it qualifies as 2 weight watcher points instead of 4. Ask: How can you change this entree into an appetizer; or, Now, take these same ingredients (maybe add/switch 1 or 2) and make an entirely different entree. This child is achieving a higher level of learning. Yes, the 1st kid will eventually learn to do some or all of those things, but that learning will come at a time when it's within the scope of the first 3 levels of learning. The 2nd kid did it when it was within the scope of the higher levels of learning.

 

I am not saying that one is better than the other; just showing that there is a real difference. The first kid (in my example) is a really smart, bright kid; that may be gifted. But, in my opinion, the 2nd one is assuredly gifted.

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Just to respond to your question about choosing more rigorous work versus choosing a higher grade level.

 

I am in the go more rigorous camp. I had this discussion with DH and as I told him: Grade level work is mostly designed to achieve the first 2-3 levels of learning. So even if a child works 2 levels ahead, they are still (usually) in those 2-3 levels of learning.

 

On the other-hand, rigorous/gifted level work (at grade level) takes the child deeper into the levels of learning and develops skills that most people never achieve; being able to analyze, evaluate, and create from what they learn.

 

For example, a child who is learning to cook learns how to use a recipe and as they develop they learn to use more difficult recipes that require more steps and ingredients. This child is experiencing grade level acceleration. Now take the child and instead of giving him more difficult recipes, have him continue to work on the same recipe. But ask him to figure out what changes they can make to reduce the salt content, reduce the sugar, make it spicier, etc... Ask him to change the recipe so that it qualifies as 2 weight watcher points instead of 4. Ask: How can you change this entree into an appetizer; or, Now, take these same ingredients (maybe add/switch 1 or 2) and make an entirely different entree. This child is achieving a higher level of learning. Yes, the 1st kid will eventually learn to do some or all of those things, but that learning will come at a time when it's within the scope of the first 3 levels of learning. The 2nd kid did it when it was within the scope of the higher levels of learning.

 

I am not saying that one is better than the other; just showing that there is a real difference. The first kid (in my example) is a really smart, bright kid; that may be gifted. But, in my opinion, the 2nd one is assuredly gifted.

I am a huge fan of Bloom and my entire 2+ decades of homeschooling have been spent encouraging the development of higher order critical thinking skills in my kids, effectively I think.

 

I agree that modern education dwells in the knowledge/understanding realm. However, that is the fault of pedagogy. Encouraging kids to function in the higher levels is not restricted to gifted children. Those critical thinking skills can be developed by encouraging kids through effective teaching to move through the stages, non-gifted kids included.

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The thing I'm most excited about is world cultures. I have a whole OneNote notebook full of ideas for each country (planning on studying each one for 2-3 weeks). It has websites to visit, topics to research, books to read ... it is open ended enough that we can pursue rabbit trails and create assignments as we go. I have graphic organizers for writing book reports, letters, stories, and various kinds of essays so we will pick one writing assignment for each country.

 

Any chance you'd be willing to share?? We are doing the same topic next year! My DS is a bit younger so I'm sure some will be over his head & I have been planning a lot already... but I'd love to take a look at your plans as well!!

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Any chance you'd be willing to share?? We are doing the same topic next year! My DS is a bit younger so I'm sure some will be over his head & I have been planning a lot already... but I'd love to take a look at your plans as well!!

Sure! Let me copy it to something like a google doc and I will share it. I'm on vacation at the moment so it might've a bit.

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This sounds like my son (entering 4th grade in the fall).  When did his writing catch up? How did you approach teaching him to how to write?

 

His writing progressed more along the lines of typical age-based development.  I pulled way back on the amount of assigned writing, allowed him plenty of time to do his own creative writing, and moved toward the WTM.  He is a rising junior, who now writes "above" grade level, and will be doing college-level writing next year.  My remaining children have also all followed WTM guidelines for writing.  Most of them write on their own quite frequently (journals, stories, illustrated stories), except the youngest.  The oldest has written hundreds of pages on his own (fan-fiction), and has a lot of fun doing so.  

 

I used a mixture of WWS, Killgallon, and an on-line writing course to get him here.  We went back to basics, spent some time on style, and I stopped the long, drawn out assignments in favor of shorter, more focused -- and only academic -- writing.  

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Books, books, and more books are great that way bc they don't confine the student into a textbook's pre-digested, predetermined, "what the publisher thinks is important" restricted content.. The world of interesting information and ideas is wide open. My current 4th grader is currently reading a book on worms and is loving it. I'm pretty sure that no where in the history of pre-fab education do elementary kids learn anywhere near the level of info she has been studying about worms. ;) is she missing out on what those textbooks do teach? Probably some of it, but there is nothing in a canned curriculum that she won't see when she hits high school level,science and everything she reads and loves now will stay with her long term bc she is so delighted with the info.

 

 

 

 

Totally off topic, but can't resist.  I read The Earth Moved a few years ago on a whim and loved it.  If your dd hasn't read it yet and is really into worms, it's a great choice!

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