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Pacing and an Introduction

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Hi, long time lurker, first time poster :001_smile:. That is not entirely accurate since I did post a few times long, long ago on the old WTM boards. Moving on though...


I have never had my children tested or anything so I don't know whether they are gifted or not. I am curious to know from those who have gone before me in this homeschooling journey how to pace subjects for my children. I don't want to push them ruthlessly, nor do I want to hold them back. As an example, I use Singapore Primary Math with my 9yo DD. I am scheduling her coursework for next year as we finish up 4B. I have been using the Instructor's Guide as my template for scheduling, but have been second guessing myself. If she is capable of moving through the material faster than it is being presented should I facilitate that? Is it more important that she get a firm foundation in whatever she is doing even if I am going too slow? What does allowing her to work at her own pace look like? I worry about her rushing through material and not mastering it. I also worry about holding her back from her full potential by not letting her go at her own pace. We have never hit a "wall" where she didn't understand the material being presented to her. I worry about moving too fast and hitting a wall. Sigh. I know I am overanalyzing this.


To sum up, I think she may be "gifted". I tested "gifted" as a child/teen and would have LOVED to have been homeschooled to work at my own pace. That would have been academic heaven. I don't want to artificially hold her back or push her too hard. How do you pace your children? TIA :bigear:

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First of all, welcome. I am glad you are here!


Next, if you think your daughter is gifted you are probably right. Parents are the best at identifying giftedness in their own children. And your family history makes it even more likely.


Now, to the real question... You should go at a pace that keeps your daughter engaged and learning, however fast that is. Or however slow that is. Go at a place that you are both comfortable with. But I have bad news, despite all of your efforts you may find gaps. The good news is that the gaps are usually not so bad to deal with, just cover the material, fill in the gap and go on. You also may hit a wall at some point. And then you deal with that by either teaching the material in a different way or taking a break or just trying it again.


Now, what do I do? I muddle through. I try to go at a pace that is hard enough to make them think but not so hard as to be too frustrating. Do I get it right? Sometimes. Do I get it wrong? Yep. Usually by being too easy in the subjects that aren't my favorites because I have a hard time teaching them and too hard in the subjects I like because I enjoy them and get over their heads quickly.


I hope this helps. Mostly I just keep on keeping on. Good luck.

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I don't schedule. I just do what's next.


Don't be afraid to prune * as you go*--I thing that's critical for an accelerated learner. Conversely, for a struggling student, don't be afraid to supplement or expand. :-) There's a reason we did no fewer than 4 phonics programs!


If I planned ahead--as in, actually drew up lesson plans, not as in, expored other paths--I'd be way too inflexible for my DS.


>What does allowing her to work at her own pace look like?


DS would say about five times faster than I allow. *rolls eyes*


Here's my philosophy, and it's led to the weird situation I'm in now:


I believe that kids should work out their own approach to difficult/thoughtful/out-of-level problems first. That's why I like Singapore's IP. They figure out things like one-by-several digit multiplication, some multidigit mult, basic algebra, operations with fractions, etc., first. That way, they really understand what they're doing when you give them the algorithm. I won't give a child an algorithm who doesn't already understand the meaning of the actions.


I also believe that fluency with facts is important, but how you obtain it is not.


Finally, I believe the kid should be challenged enough to have to think, whatever that means for the kid, and happy with the pace.


(The last part of #3 and his perception of the first part of #3 is what led me to make the coupling of NEM 1 with lower level stuff.)

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Well, I don't know if I'm the best to give advice because DD6 told me this week that I am a bad teacher because I give her work that is too easy and work that she hasn't yet mastered. I'm not sure how I am supposed to provide challenging work that she has already mastered :glare:



However, I'll give it a shot:


Once I notice that a topic is easy, I ramp it up. Sometimes when they tell me its boring, they are right. However, sometimes that is necessary because although they understand the concept they need to memorize the content (eg maths facts, vocab, spelling rules).


I try to keep it challenging. I try to have challenging topics, too, so I thought I'd include megawords, Latin and French from an early age. Thanks to Noeo and RS4K, the kids have good science knowledge.


Maths for RS is the only topic I generally do by time, I do roughly 20 - 30 minutes, which often is 3 or 4 of the RS lessons. Everything else I just assign the work and they choose if they get it done quickly or muck around and waste time.

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I guess my anal retentive need to schedule everything could be causing my issues...



My daughter will work ahead in a subject, look at her assignment sheet the next day and skip that subject for the day since she sees she already completed it. I didn't schedule her assignments when she was little so that is how she ended up 1-3 years ahead in some subjects. Once the number of subjects increased though, I began using HST and giving her assignment sheets. This has effectively slooowed everything down because of the nature of the scheduling beast. Now my husband (who is also "gifted" btw...and he was homeschooled :)) thinks there is no need to continue accelerating her because he wants to know what the end goal would be to letting her complete everything earlier. We don't live near any decent colleges. Thinking ahead: If she were to complete all of her high school coursework by the time she turned 14, where would we go from there? She is too young to send off on her own to college somewhere, and all the local colleges would be....well, she would have a better future if she attended a more prestigious college. Now to complicate matters further, DS 5 is doing school as well and is flying through the material. This is a recurring problem for me. I only began school with my eldest dd because she begged when she was 4. I only began school with my 5yo ds when he turned 4 because he was teaching himself to read by sight and I wanted to get the phonics instruction in before he learned how to read (and I was too late btw, yet we continue with phonics anyway). Now my 3yo dd walks around the house telling me "the T says tuh", and believe me, I didn't teach her that....I don't have time!


I hope that was all coherent. I wrote my original post last night after all the monkeys were in bed...that is not the case now :001_smile:. What do you plan to do when your children complete the necessary high school subjects early? Do you plan to continue with college-level math at home in high school? Send them to community college? If I continue at the same slowed-down pace we are working at now, my daughter will be beginning Algebra in the 6th grade (actually a smidge earlier most likely). She could be doing Calculus in the 10th grade....I was a liberal arts major. I am out of my element beyond Calculus and Statistics. DH could handle it, but he has a full time job to worry about. She's "scheduled" to complete R&S's 6th grade science program by the end of this fall. I had always planned on going to Apologia after R&S. That would put her in Biology in the 6th grade if I remember their sequence correctly. Do colleges let you submit transcripts with middle school work on them?

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I understand the need to schedule everything. I'm a planner too. I used to worry a lot about running out of subjects and graduating early. My approach is to have dd dig deeper into subjects and I try to use curricula that are not grade-specific. We follow our own history plan and read tons of books. I'm using Classical Writing which is quite rigorous and can be adjusted to your child's needs. I was little concerned about what to do when dd finishes CW, but the author suggested doing a senior project. Seriously, dd could do a senior project in all of her subjects and that would look great on a college transcript. There are all sorts of rabbit trails that you could follow in math and science. There are always more languages to learn. :001_smile: The possibilities are endless! My view is that if dd does college work at home, she should be able to test out of some college classes. Anyway, I do have a skeleton plan of where I think we will be through high school. It makes me feel better and gives me something to compare and adjust.


Sorry, this was quite rambling too!

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With regards specifically to math: There is a lot of really fascinating math which isn't covered in the standard high school classes simply because there isn't time. You don't have to go straight to Calculus. Post-Algebra options for accelerated learners could include, but certainly are not limited to:


Number Theory/Counting and Probability/Problem Solving from the Art of Problem Solving people. They offer texts and also offer online classes if you're unsure of your ability to teach them.


Statistics, but make sure that you're choosing an Algebra-based instead of Calculus-based textbook.


Another one I've heard mentioned is Jacobs Mathematics: a Human Endeavor. This would probably have some overlap with the Discrete texts mentioned before, but would be different problems and still be interesting.


An introduction to computer programming would be another possible rabbit trail.


By the time your DD gets past Algebra I, there may be more options available, and there are undoubtedly many I didn't list. :)

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Do you happen to know of a good Statistics text that is Algebra-based? I'm afraid I don't know the difference. I had Statistics as part of my psychology coursework in college and I assume that was Calc based since Calculus was a prerequisite. Also, while I was good at it back in the day, four pregnancies have fried my brain and I don't know how much of it I honestly remember. I saw recently that Life of Fred has a Stats course. My daughter loves the LoF fractions book. She has been reading it for fun. My dh and I have been laughing through it as well :lol:. We were actually talking about doing some programming with the kids in high school also. Unfortunately we are both out of our element there as well. I only ever learned old school BASIC and dh has had a smattering of BASIC, Visual basic, C and Fortran. Do you (or anyone else) have any recommendations?


I guess I am really only concerned about math and science since one can always read more literature, dive deeper into history, study more languages, etc. Math and science get so technical that I begin to fear I will fail her (and her siblings). I could try to learn ahead of them or with them, but I don't have enough spare time to do so.

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I don't have any recommendations for a non-calculus statistics book that I've actually used, unfortunately. However, if you check the sample of LOF Statistics which is available on his website, he does say that the book can easily be done without Calculus if you omit one half-chapter. He lists the prerequisites that you need -- none of them are particularly overwhelming.


For computers, I like the looks of the books from www.motherboardbooks.com, and they have good reviews, but again I haven't used them. However, they're specifically designed for homeschoolers. The Logo Adventures course is labelled for grades 3-7 and the main course for grade 5+. By high school, I would expect that computers will have changed enough that any recommendation now would be outdated by then.

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