Thursday, August 27, 2009

Learning New Things Daily....

Well, these last few weeks have definitely been a learning experience for me! With a gifted child, it seems like the parents do more hard-earned learning than they do!

Sid the Science Kid, if you don't already know him, is an exceptionally intelligent child. At 18 months he knew all his phonics and was reading at the age of three. Not just simple books like Bob books, but was reading our Christmas cards that winter at 3.5! And this with no formal instruction, trust me! He just picks up things easily, and now at 6, teaches himself about many topics he's interested in. His favorite topics to discuss and read about are the solar system, geography, nature and the human body. He can tell you how many moons Jupiter has and what type of gravity is on it's surface. He can tell you where most countries are that I would have to take time to find myself. He enjoys living creatures and cries when Mr. Prince trims the bushes or we have to let our pet grasshopper go. And lately he enjoys telling everyone the path their food takes as it comes and goes from our bodies and how our new baby is growing inside my tummy, or uterus. He is extremely intelligent and I often wonder what God will do with him someday.

So, there are many perks to having a self-motivated, intelligent child. He taught his younger sister her phonics and counting, he helps teach his baby brother sign language, and he can read chapter books himself. I love reading to my kids, but would be couch-bound all of my days if I read to the girls AND him all they wanted me to read! He creates elaborate drawings of the US and makes books about the digestive system.

I've been wondering this past year if I even need to start "real" homeschooling with him. He is enjoying learning and isn't "behind" by any means. But, I decided more structure could be useful within the home, he probably needed to start writing with lowercase letters at some point, and though he could calculate multiplication problems in his head, he needed to know what addition and subtraction looked like on paper and not just in his head.

So, I bought a few curricula to follow and off we went.

But, it hasn't been easy!

I really thought he would just eat up school, but it doesn't seem to be that way all the time. He likes reading and discussing the books. He likes having access to the books whenever he wants to read them again, too. He also has liked the hands-on projects and map activities we've done. But, give him copywork to do and it's "too tiring," or I give him a math page to do and "it hurts his head."

He's written longer books than all of the copywork he's done for me combined in the last 3 weeks, so what's up with that?

He loves math, so why doesn't he like his math work?

Well, I'm learning. Slowly, but I'm still learning.

He is 6, so he still needs some instruction in forming his letters properly. He improves greatly every month. I am taking 3 letters a day currently and going over the proper way to make them and trying to watch him whenever he writes on his own to see if he's following the rules or not. He's a boy, so I don't expect too much, just that he does them in the correct order and doesn't pick up his pencil when not necessary. He does well when he tries hard. And getting him to write with lowercase letters instead of all caps is less of a struggle than a few weeks ago.

But, copywork has been a real struggle the last week. His first two assignments of summarizing a character we've learned about or a story we've read he did really well and copied them without complaint. But, the last two have been tearful events. He says it's too much and then pretends he doesn't remember the story. I wasn't really sure how much a child his age with his capabilities should be copying, so I posted on a My Father's World Yahoo Group and ask some others teaching the same curriculum. The consensus was that it was too much to have him copy three sentences. It seems like so little to me, but I guess not. And I don't quite get why he can do it in play but can't do it for school. I assume it takes a lot more concentration to copy than to create your own work. I was eliminating all other copy work besides the stories to keep it to a minimum, but maybe I need to do the short copywork (from First Language Lessons and such) and just dictate the long summaries. Today the tears ended when I sat down and wrote the story out myself. He insisted he write the last word. =)

Math has also been a battle the last week, but I think I've figured it out, too. Horizons does a good job of shifting around the topics of study, which Kyler needs, and the lessons are very short and to the point. We only do two pages a day and then try to do some flash cards or a computer game to speed up his addition table. Well, this week I've given him an "independent work list" to check off that included math, copywork, reading and some additional activities like flash cards, file folders and math games.

This is the first week I've tried this.

It is simply not working.

I thought I could leave him to himself to check off the boxes. The only thing he completed with a smile was the reading. Everything else, it took me the whole week to figure this out, he wants me to do WITH him. He started his checklist on Thursday and immediately started grouching. I sat down and ask him why he didn't like school anymore. He said he didn't like writing so much. But, when we started doing his math page, he didn't care about the writing.

He just wanted to talk to me while he did it. He didn't want to be alone.

When I gave him the option of skipping certain problems, he didn't care to do so. I asked him if he just wanted me to do math with him and he said YES!

So, there we go.

Problem solved.

I did tell him that I wouldn't be able to sit down with him for his whole math lesson every day and we agreed that some days he would work on them alone, but most days I would sit through much of it with him. At the end of the lesson I told him to do that last two problems himself and he did fine with that.

So, everything in moderation I guess.

Sid the Science Kid has been an interesting one to figure out. I have a feeling this won't change any time soon....


G.L.H. said...

Grandma Darl said that even in sixth grade, Bethy needed her to sit beside her while she did her homework. Even if only their arms were touching, Bethy could concentrate. If she didn't have any bodily contact with her Mom, she just couldn't settle to work. I wonder if Sid needs body contact?

Jolanthe said...

Our kids do the same thing when it comes to math and writing. Go figure they can write an entire book, but ask them to copy a sentence or two and you would think you'd asked them to write a 1,000 page novel. :)

The spelling program we're using is All About Spelling. If you are interested in learning more I can email you the link to a review I did about it, but otherwise, here is a link to their site.

Hope that helps you out!


Anonymous said...

Do you think he might have some of the same characteristics as his Uncle I (Mr. Prince's oldest brother)? Early extreme intelligence matches, though body contact does not. On the other hand, body contact is important to many people who have Uncle I's difference; have you considered having him tested?

Uncle I

Janna said...

If it makes you feel any better Marissa (almost 8) still doesn't enjoy the copywork. We are working a year ahead in MFW so I don't push it. She likes to write on her own, or practice a whole line of A's for instance, but HATES when I give her something to copy. And I've heard the same thing from a few others with writing. Sometimes I think it has something to do with how their brains are wired, the act of taking something, remembering it, and then writing it down seems to be so much. I end up finding more mistakes--easy mistakes--then if I just had her write something out herself. If he's writing stories himself, I wouldn't worry too much about it--you already know he enjoys writing. I doubt we'll do any long term damage if we can't make copywork lovers out of them. ;o)