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Meeting the Asynchronous Needs of Your Gifted Child

I remember her online comment like it was yesterday.

Her seven-year-old was reading at an eleventh grade level, had just completed sixth grade math, was exceptionally emotional, and had trouble holding a pencil.

the aysnchronous needs of your gifted child

She was struggling to meet all of her daughter’s needs as a new homeschooling mom and was reaching out for help.

Other readers chimed in, some offering great advice, but others criticized her for “pushing her child” and said that “all kids are gifted;” they just show their gifts at different times.

And I felt for her.

Her child was asynchronous and she felt all alone, tired, and defeated. She felt like homeschooling her gifted child had been a mistake.

I remember her post because it was like she was typing out my own thoughts. 

How do you meet the asynchronous needs of gifted children?

The term “gifted” holds, for so many people, negative or even threatening connotations. But, like not all children have special needs, not all kids are gifted.

As defined by Webster’s, gifted means having exceptional talent or natural ability.

The National Association for Gifted Children goes further:

Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally.

Unfortunately people often confuse the term giftedness with gift.

Children are a gift. They’re a blessing. They are all important and have special talents, abilities, and struggles.

Meeting the Asynchronous Needs of Your Gifted Child

 

What does a gifted child look like?

While gifted kids are as different from one another as anybody is from another person, there are some traits and characteristics that bear watching for if you think your child is gifted. Keep in mind that not all gifted kids exhibit all of these traits.

Gifted kids:
  • process information faster and more effectively than same age peers.
  • may exhibit a highly developed vocabulary earlier than most children.
  • speak in complex, grammatically correct sentences early on.
  • are continually asking increasingly complex questions that show insight and advanced understanding.
  • spontaneously begin reading at very early ages.
  • pick up on the nuances of language and can precociously converse with adults at early ages.
  • perseverate on topics of interest (focus intensely for long periods of time), and seek out their own exposure to these topics.
  • have depths of background knowledge about the world around them that surprises even their parents.
  • remember things with little to no repetition.
  • are critical and creative problem solvers, often finding connections between seemingly disconnected things.

 

How do you keep gifted kids challenged?

Knowing beyond a doubt that your child is truly gifted (through ability, achievement, and IQ testing) isn’t nearly as important as creating a nurturing and challenging environment in your home. Being the kind of parent that recognizes ability and interests, and then capitalizes on those to help their child learn is the best thing you can do for a gifted child.

So how do you do it?

  • Follow your child’s interests. Gifted children who aren’t challenged can often become undermotivated and turned off of learning altogether. An underachieving child can spend more time arguing with parents about homeschool than actually learning. By tapping into your child’s interests and focusing their learning in that direction, you can stimulate their motivation to learn.
  • Find mentors for your child. Is your child interested in programming, but you don’t know your way in and around technology? Find someone they can learn from. A computer-engineer friend might be willing to meet with your daughter on the weekends to talk and play around with computers.
  • Fill up the house with resources. Books, computers, DVDs, streaming video subscriptions, toys that inspire creativity, etc. all provide outlets for learning and thinking. It’s important to bring your gifted child up in a resource-rich environment and encourage him to become a lifelong learner.

Meeting the Asynchronous Needs of Your Gifted Child

By tapping into your gifted child’s interests and strengths, you’ll motivate him or her to keep moving forward, and you can work on weaknesses within the framework of strengths.

Like the mother reaching out for help in meeting the asynchronous needs of her seven-year-old daughter, you may struggle from time to time keeping up with your gifted child. We all do!

Remember that you’re not alone and that gifted kids have special parenting and academic needs. Your child can and will learn, and you will be able to nurture his or her unique abilities.

Are You Homeschooling A Gifted Child?

The Learner's Lab

The Learner’s Lab is the community created just for your quirky family.  It’s full of creative lessons, problem solving activities, critical and divergent thinking games, and the social-emotional support differently-wired children and teens need most.

All from the comfort of your own home. 

This community was created to support children who are gifted and twice exceptional. We address topics just like this all year long, in a way that is educational and fun for children. They learn skills to help them cope and you learn how to help them along the way. 

We invite you to join us. Get all the details HERE.

Meeting the Asynchronous Needs of Your Gifted Child

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Awesome Books for Kids Who Love Nature

Getting outside in nature makes you smarter. Really! Look it up! Grab a copy of my new book, 100 Backyard Activities That Are the Dirtiest, Coolest, Creepy-Crawliest Ever! and learn to love getting out and soaking up nature.

There are so many things to do outdoors. This book is filled to the max with activities, tips, and it all requires very little help from mom and dad. Turn your backyard into a museum where kids can learn and explore.

Awesome Books for Kids Who Love Nature

After you get done adventuring outside, make your way indoors to devour these awesome books for kids who love nature! From stories of forest critters to deciphing animal tracks there are sure to be some new favorites to discover in this list. Enjoy!

Awesome Books for Kids Who Love Nature

Compost Stew: Kids can learn how to make their own compost pile in their backyard. They will learn exactly what can be added and what needs to stay out.

Yucky Worms: Worms are yucky…. or are they? Once kids discover how worms live, they might have second thoughts about this slippery friend.

The Tree Lady: An inspiring story about Katherine Olivia Sessions who planted trees all around San Diego.

Life in the Ocean: This book is about the story of an oceanographer by the name of Sylvia Earle who fell in love with the sea when she was young.

Over in the Forest: Learn how to move like the forest creatures and make sure to stay clear of the skunk! Kids will have fun counting and rhyming their way through the forest in this book.

      

Whose Tracks are These?: Everything you need to know about the tracks that animals leave behind can be found in this book. It is also full of some great illustrations.

The Garden of Happiness: Even if you live in the city, nature can still be found in your backyard. This storybook is about an empty lot in the city that is transformed by a little girl.

Girls Who Looked Under Rocks: This chapter book is geared towards older girls. It is about women who made their careers out of the wonders of nature and how they overcame hurdles.

Nature’s Day: Travel to the farm and beyond and discover how the seasons change at every location. From the frozen pond to the fruitful fields, nothing ever does stay the same.

Wonderful Nature, Wonderful You: The author of this story brings nature and inspiration together to create a beautiful story that will soon become a family favorite.

The Great Kapok Tree: Kids will learn just how valuable nature is…. even when it is just a tree.

The Lorax: A Dr. Suess favorite! Although we may not have any Truffula trees, this story is a great way to get kids how to understand the importance of taking care of nature.

       

Do you have any awesome books for kids who love nature to add to the list? Share them with me in the comments! Happy exploring and reading to you and your family and don’t forget to grab a copy of my new book!

100 Backyard Activities That Are the Dirtiest, Coolest, Creepy-Crawliest Ever a

More Themed Book Lists You’ll Love:

        

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Strewing in Your Homeschool to Spark Curiosity

I walked into the kitchen to find my youngest two kiddos (9 and 6) deep in concentration at the table. Glancing at the pile of tiny clay food, it was clear that they’d been up awhile. These two are early risers.

I’m not.

For my own sanity, and to keep them out of trouble (bright and creative minds are uniquely dangerous when it comes to too much unsupervised time), I started strewing things for them to discover a few years ago.

Strewing in Your Homeschool to Spark Curiosity

Put simply, strewing is leaving something out for the kids to discover, piquing their interest. Putting things in the path of your kids — spreading a feast, so to speak, and letting the kids take from it what they will.

Strewing is popular with unschoolers, and I think it’s one of those things that anyone can adopt and pull into their homeschooling — or life. It’s a great way to incorporate more self-directed learning, giving kiddos ownership of their time and education. But, there are a few things to remember when it comes to strewing…

Strewing in Your Homeschool to Spark Curiosity

No Expectations

The first, and most important thing to consider when it comes to strewing, is that parents should have no expectations for how — or if — the materials will be used.

Really.

Strewing is all about sparking curiosity and letting kids run with it. You’ll set yourself up for disappointment as a parent if you’re putting something out as the start of a new unit study or because you think your kids need a bit more practice in an area.

Strewing fails when we get caught up in a desired outcome. If I strew space stuff — a book, games, maybe queue a video on curiosity stream, and put out some space tous, but the kids fiind a book on Ancient Egypt on the shelf and dive into that instead, it might feel like I’ve failed. And I did, if I set out to start a unit study on space with them.

But, when I keep in mind that strewing is about sparking curiosity, and not product placement, I realize that the Ancient Egypt play and conversation the kids are now involved in is a huge win. They’re owning their learning, and it’s a natural part of their lifestyle.

RELATED: Interest-Led Homeschooling And Your Gifted Children

strewing in your homeschool

 

It Can Be Anything

“What do I strew?” is probably the most common question I get when it comes to strewing. Most people who hear me talk about it get the whole leaving things out for the kids to find thing. They struggle with the what to leave out and the how to keep it from costing a fortune part of strewing. If you do too, I want you to relax.

Strewing can be just about anything:

  • books
  • queued videos
  • DVDs
  • games
  • toys
  • puzzles
  • building blocks
  • science kits
  • historic toys
  • art supplies
  • crafts
  • recyclables

Whatever you dream up — you can probably strew it.

To help you get started, I created a printable for you to download, print, and hang up in your school room or put into your planner to give you a bit of inspiration whenever you need it. Simply drop your name and email in the form below and check your email for your printable!

 

You can also learn more about our #StrewtoLearn email series and join in here! What cool things have you strewed out for your kiddos? Let me know in the comments.

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Great Books to Read with Your Kids in March

Just as the daffodils are starting to break through the dirt and everyone is adventuring more and more outside, we cannot forget to take advantage of all these amazing books! Between outdoor adventures, St. Patrick’s Day, and Dr. Seuss’ birthday, there are many titles to choose from this month.

Check out these great books to read with your kids in March…

great children's books for march

What are you waiting for? Let’s dive right in.

Great Books to Read with Your Child in March

100 Backyard Activities That Are the Dirtiest, Coolest, Creepy-Crawliest Ever!: First up on the list is written by yours truly. Since the weather starts to get warmer in March, this book is the perfect way to get outdoors and explore everything from bugs to animals. It is time to turn the great outdoors into a living museum for your kids!

Planting a Rainbow: This book teaches kids how to plant seeds and bulbs. It also gives them direction on how to care for those growing seeds. Big bonus! The illustrations in this book are amazing!

In Like a Lion Out Like a Lamb: An adorable book with rhyming text and an excellent description of March in the form of a lion and a lamb.

Puddles: What type of joy can a rainstorm bring? Puddles of course! Grab your rain boots and get ready to explore puddles of every shape and size.

    

More Books To Read With Your Kids In March

The Wind Blew: Huge gusts of winds carry away everything out to sea. Before it is out of sight, the wind decides to bring it all back.

Kite Day: Take advantage of those high winds and get outside to fly a kite. In this story, Bear and Mole have to build their very own kite.

The Tiny Seed: Follow the life cycle of a seed along with the bright illustrations that can only come from an Eric Carle book.

The Curious Garden: A young boys finds a neglected garden and decides to take care of it. As soon as he the garden starts to grow it changes everything around him.

    

Great Books to Read to Your Kids for St. Paddy’s Day

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover: The old lady is back and hungry as ever in this classic with a St. Paddy’s day twist.

How to Catch a Leprechaun: This is a great book to read as you build a Leprechaun trap. Kids of all ages love to try and attempt to catch the magical Leprechaun who is impossible to capture!

The Night Before St. Patrick’s Day: There is so much anticipation the night before St. Patrick’s day. The Leprechaun trap is set… but will these kiddos be able to catch one?

   

Great Dr. Seuss Books to Read with Your Kids Anytime!

Dr. Seuss’ birthday is on March 2nd! Celebrate this incredible author by reading his silly yet wise stories. Here are some of our favorites.

Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!: Take a trip down thinking lane with this clever book that will get kids to explore their thoughts and all of the ideas that can come with it.

The Lorax: This book is a great way to introduce environmental awareness to kids. It shows the cause and effect of your actions when using up natural resources around us.

Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?: What a wise man Dr. Seuss was. Share that wisdom with your kids and teach them how to be grateful for everything they have.

What Was I Scared Of?: Give your kids a reason to not be scared of the dark with this cute story of a pair of pants… Scaredy-pants to be exact.

    

With all of these wonderful books to read will there still be time to tend the garden, celebrate the great outdoors as well as the silliest authors of all time? Of course! We are always looking for fun and educational ways to keep those kids busy and these books are the answer!

Feel free to share with me in the comments. What favorite books do your kids love to read in March?

 

More Fabulous Booklists For Your Kids!

    

Great Books to Read With Your Kids in March

100 Backyard Activities That Are the Dirtiest, Coolest, Creepy-Crawliest Ever a

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If He’s REALLY So Smart… When Gifted Kids Struggle

“Boy is he an EXTREME thinker! If he actually took the time to sit and focus on his work, he could accomplish anything…”

when gifted children struggle

As helpful and positive as his preschool teacher thought she was being, words like this can set some of our most intelligent kiddos up for a lifetime of failure. So, why do some gifted children struggle so much?

If they’re really as smart as we say they are, why can’t some of them just do their work? Or behave better? Or act nicer? Or…?

I remember watching my son spin in circles in the back of his preschool classroom while the others sat raptly taking in their teacher’s read aloud. And cringing. Why couldn’t he just sit still? All the other kids were managing it.

Never mind that he understood everything that was going on in the story, and could recount whole passages, identify individual characters and speak to their motivation, inferring cause and effect at a much higher lever than any of his intently listening classmates. He couldn’t do it in a way that didn’t disrupt the others – or distract the teacher.

Related: A Kid with an Issue Can’t Be Gifted, Right?

Twice Exceptional Gifted Children

 

What do Twice Exceptional Children Look Like?

Twice exceptional children are gifted kiddos who struggle with other neurological, learning, or physical issues. Twice exceptional children can look perfectly ordinary in a classroom setting. Their abilities mask their disabilities, and their disabilities mask their abilities, making them seem perfectly average.

Sometimes, though, a child’s giftedness might shine through more than his disability, making it seem like he’s not living up to his potential. He seems like he should be achieving so much ore than he is, but is choosing not to. The reality is that his difficulties make it impossible to live up to his potential. He just can’t overcome them without intervention.

I remember the fall parent-teacher conference we went to when our son was in first grade. We were invited to look inside his desk to see what his teacher “had to put up with.” Our kiddo, who meticulously organized his action figures, cars, and LEGO each night before he went to bed, had a desk full to the brim with crumpled papers, broken pencils, dried out markers, and ripped folders. There was also a thick stack of unfinished worksheets in a folder.

Those were the ones he’d never turned in because they’d gotten lost somewhere in his desk or classroom. The teacher had recopied them and placed them in a new folder for our bright, hyperactive, wiggly, and sensory kiddo to work on instead of going out to recess with his friends.

Does this sound familiar?

Many twice exceptional children struggle with executive functioning issues, and can’t organize their thinking enough to turn things in, keep things organized (when they’re not interested), or follow multiple step directions. It doesn’t matter how smart they are, they just can’t do it. Their lack of organizational skills results in a messy desk, overflowing backpack, and problems keeping track of books and papers. Difficulties with prioritizing and planning make it impossible for them to complete assignments in a timely manner. They are easily distracted and struggle to focus and sustain attention.

Related: Homeschooling Twice Exceptional Kids

Twice Exceptional Gifted Children

 

Why Do Twice Exceptional Children Struggle?

The extreme frustration these kiddos feel when they can’t meet their own and others’ expectations, combined with the frustration of adults who don’t understand why a bright child does not achieve, can lead to conflict, misunderstandings, and failure.

Our twice exceptional kids can seem stubborn, opinionated, and argumentative, but they also appear to be overly sensitive to criticism. Many of these kiddos struggle with social skills which leads to feelings of isolation when they have trouble making and keeping friends. In order to avoid failing, 2e kids may try to manipulate the situation or simply refuse to try an assignment.

These kids are literally wired to struggle.

I mean, really, can you imagine how incredibly difficult it must be to have big thoughts swirling around your head, with the cognitive ability to understand things at a much deeper level than kids your age normally can, but have trouble spelling or reading words?

My 6 year old struggles mightily with sensory processing disorder, anxiety, and reading. She solves math problems for fun. Asks for science experiments and documentaries. Can converse at length about an incredibly intricate and imaginative world that lives only in her head. But she can’t read the simplest text. Her thinking is complex, but she lacks the skills to work independently because she has such trouble with words. It is incredibly frustrating for her.

And, since she already battles anxiety, the difficulties she faces with reading make her feel like a failure, and she acts out and argues when it’s time to read.

Yet she adores stories. She’ll look at the pictures in books for hours and listen to audio books and read alouds all day long. She can make the most amazing connections between what’s happening in stories she hears and the world in which she lives.

Related: Parenting and Teaching a Twice Exceptional Child

Twice Exceptional Gifted Children

 

Living a Gifted/Twice Exceptional Life

We’re in a wonderful position because with homeschooling, we can easily nurture her giftedness while remediating for her disabilities in a loving way. It’s often thought that kids need to have their problems solved before working on pushing their strengths further, academically, but research shows the opposite is true. When we focus on a child’s strengths and build them up, they gain the confidence they need to tackle those deficits.

When gifted kids struggle with anxiety, ADHD, learning disabilities, sensory processing disorder, or other struggles they need to be nurtured and built up by the ones they trust most – parents, teachers, and friends. It’s important to work together with the other people in your kiddo’s life to help them understand how best to help your child.

And your twice exceptional child needs to know what a gift he or she is to you. When someone says or implies that, if your child is so smart he should just get it and be able to be successful, you need to be the one to educate – whether it’s a family member, friend, or teacher.

You’re your child’s biggest advocate. And he’s perfect just the way he is.

Extreme thinking and all…

What “If he’s really so smart…” moments have you had lately?

You Don’t Have To Homeschool Your Gifted Child Alone!

The Learner's Lab

The Learner’s Lab is the community created just for your quirky family.  It’s full of creative lessons, problem solving activities, critical and divergent thinking games, and the social-emotional support differently-wired children and teens need most.

All from the comfort of your own home. 

This community was created to support children who are gifted and twice exceptional. We address topics just like this all year long, in a way that is educational and fun for children. They learn skills to help them cope and you learn how to help them along the way. 

We invite you to join us. Get all the details HERE.

 

Latest posts by Colleen Kessler (see all)
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101 Reasons Eclectic Homeschooling Works for Gifted Kids

It started out an easy, relaxed conversation, and then the mom at the library asked me the question I most dread answering… “What curriculum do you use with your kids?”

I always stammer and then feel like a deer caught in the headlights. I mean, how can I possibly even answer that semmingly simple question? You, dear reader, can pop a search into the sidebar and find posts of curriculum past, but I’d have to warn you that those plans almost always changed right after posting them… we just don’t stand still around here, and we loathe ruts.

We’re eclectic.

101 Reasons Eclectic Homeschooling Works for Gifted Kids

We pick and choose from a bunch of different approaches to learning, curriculums, and styles — and we are very often following a child’s lead, diving down rabbit holes, and even leaning into more unschooling than schooling.

It suits us — a family with several gifted and twice-exceptional kiddos. Maybe it would suit you too?

I’ve compiled a bunch of reasons that an eclectic approach to homeschooling is right for gifted kiddos. What would you add?

101 Reasons Eclectic Homeschooling Works for Gifted Kids

  1. Eclectic Homeschooling allows you to incorporate your favorite aspects of other methods.

  2. You can settle into an ease of mind and enjoy homeschooling again once you let go of overly rigid programs and curriculums.

  3. Your children can explore their own passions freely.

  4. Eclectic homeschooling allows for gifted kiddos to embrace unschooling in their strongest areas.

  5. Delight directed learning is a natural way for kids to learn.

  6. When homeschooling eclectically, you can incorporate any curriculum you want to without worrying if it fits into a specific method.

  7. You can incorporate STEM into just about any lesson easily.

  8. Notebooking is a natural fit for documenting and letting kids take ownership of their own work when using the eclectic method. 

  9. Got voracious readers? It’s easy to “count” that independent learning as school when you let go and let the child lead.

  10. When you’re eclectic in your homeschool, it’s easy to incorporate unit studies and let the kids explore the rabbit trail-y topics they find interesting.

  11. You can easily design lessons to fit the individual needs of each of your kids with eclectic homeschooling.

  12. Learning happens in a more organic, relaxed way when you’re eclectic.

  13. There’s a lot of flexibility so you can adapt when your children have a variety of interests and activities outside the home making for crazy schedules.

  14. It’s a great method to use to teach kids of varying ages, skill levels, and passions.

  15. You can spend as much time as needed to fully research and understand a topic or concept.

  16. With eclectic homeschooling you aren’t held to specific time frames like 36- or 48- week periods so you can school year-round.

  17. It’s a great way to be purposeful and organized about the educational goals you set for your individual kiddos.

  18. Relaxing the choices and adapting to individual needs can make for a more peaceful home. 

  19. Being eclectic means you can pivot easily to meet the specific needs of your gifted or twice-exceptional kiddos. 

  20. Eclectic homeschooling allows for kids to learn through their own unique learning styles.

  21. The eclectic method of homeschooling allows families to create an atmosphere of learning that is all their own.

  22. Being eclectic means you can pick and choose from a bunch of different methods and curriculums to meet your kids where they are in each different subject.

  23. Passion-driven learning is lifelong learning.

  24. Your entire home becomes a learning environment when you homeschool in an interest-driven, eclectic way because you tend to start strewing things for your kids to find.

  25. Eclectic homeschoolers see learning opportunities all around them.

  26. It’s easy to teach kids of different ages and abilities with eclectic homeschooling as you’re already picking from various sources, you can adapt to different levels as well.

  27. You can tweak curriculum as you go to adapt to the ever-changing needs of your gifted kiddo.

  28. Anything can be a learning resource when you think eclectically.

  29. Eclectic homeschooling makes it easy to take time off whenever you need to.

  30. You can effortlessly foster that lifelong love of learning in your kids by encouraging them to explore their interests anytime during the day.

  31. Learning can happen anywhere when you’re an eclectic homeschooler.

  32. Eclectic learning might be right for you if you love to mix and match your curriculum.

  33. Gifted kiddos are asynchronous and don’t fit those boxed curriculums anyway.

  34. It’s a cinch to fill gaps when you find them when you’re not tied to a single curriculum.

  35. Eclectic homeschoolers can fill their days with the beautiful — books and nature

  36. Save money by not buying a boxed curriculum and focus on picking and choosing to suit your kiddos’ needs and interests.

  37. Eclectic homeschooling provides a perfectly custom education for your child. 

  38. Eclectic homeschoolers learn right alonside their kids.

  39. Incorporating lots of experiments is super easy with eclectic homeschooling.

  40. There’s more time for art and music.

  41. Eclectic homeschooling looks different for every family, so there’s no pressure to be anyone but yourself. 

  42. If you find yourself leaning towards several different methods of homeschooling, then you’re already an eclectic homeschooler… Embrace the adventure.

  43. Gifted kids get the freedom to pursue the things they love in an eclectic homeschool. 

  44. It never gets boring in an eclectic homeschooling home — there’s always something new to try.

  45. Gifted kids learn differently than their neurotypical peers, and eclectic homeschooling allows them to be themselves.

  46. Being eclectic means it’s easy to meet each individual kiddo where they are and allow them to learn new things every single day.

  47. Oftentimes families discover that what they thought would work well in the fall, is not a great fit by spring. Eclectic moms know it’s okay to switch things up mid-year.

  48. Being eclectic makes it easy to adapt to both strengths AND weaknesses.

  49. Rather than feeling frustrated that one curriculum can’t do it all for a kiddo, eclectic homeschoolers enjoy the journey of finding exactly the right materials for each varied subject.

  50. Learning through a variety of materials and methods means that the days never get boring. 

  51. Eclectic homeschooling doesn’t mean being random, it means being thoughtfully deliberate about what you want for your child then preparing a variety of materials to meet those needs.

  52. Eclectic homeschoolers have the freedom to choose co-ops and outside classes based on their kids’ interests instead of a specific curricular bent. 

  53. Eclectic homeschooling can be a lot more frugal than other methods. The library is a family’s best friend.

  54. When you’re an eclectic homeschooler it’s easy to tap into your kiddos’ unique learning styles and match their curriculums up with how they learn best.

  55. Interest led homeschooling with an eclectic bent means you can take time to listen to your kids and find out what’s already sparking their interests — and running with it. 

  56. It’s super easy to target specific areas needed. For example, we don’t teach language arts once our kids learn to read, but when my oldest needed help with grammar, we were able to pull in a workbook program that targeted the skills he needed to work on

  57. It’s easy to incorporate audio books from resources like Audible to let your child listen to learn.

  58. You can cover only the topics you feel are most important for your child to learn.

  59. Eclectic homeschoolers have an easier time accelerating as they’re not tied to a single curriculum.

  60. Acceleration in this way means it’s easy to look at dual enrollment options for high school, along with early college entrance opportunities.

  61. Field trips can be a big part of an eclectic homeschool.

  62. Eclectic homeschoolers drive their own schedule — perfect for non-morning people like us

  63. It’s easy to adopt the daily schedule that works best for your family when you’re eclectic.

  64. Got an eager preschooler or a gifted toddler? Incorporate learning into their day in a way that fits your family — without worrying about what others think.

  65. Play-based learning is perfect for young children — gifted or otherwise — and is easy to incorporate when you’re an eclectic homeschooler.

  66. Kids learn to read when they’re developmentally ready — you can be flexible and relaxed in your approach. 

  67. The eclectic method may be best for you if you feel learning happens organically when you’re relaxed.

  68. Eclectic homeschoolers know that learning can’t be forced, and they’re partners with their children in their own education.

  69. Learning happens organically all the time, and eclectic homeschoolers are able to embrace teachable moments.

  70. Eclectic homeschooling can bring peace to your home.

  71. The flexibility of eclectic homeschooling means that there’s more time for discovering outside passions.

  72. Celebrating creativity is an integral part of the eclectic homeschool.

  73. If your kiddo is a passionate artist, you can give them time, resources, and classes to explore their talents.

  74. For musical kiddos (like mine), it’s easy to take advantage of the off times at music studios to arrange private lessons.

  75. Morning Time (check out the NEW book by my friend Pam Barnhill) works perfectly with an eclectic approach.

  76. Flexibility and an eclectic approach builds your kiddos’ confidence as they learn to take charge of their own educations.

  77. Eclectic homeschooling allows you to use textbooks as a spine and jumping off point. 

  78. Incorporate documentaries into different subject areas to excite and engage your visual learners. 

  79. Embracing an eclectic, child-led style of homeschooling builds a family culture around learning, oftentimes eliminating sibling competition.

  80. Gifted kiddos tend to march to the beat of their own drum, so embracing an eclectic approach makes it easier for their quirks to shine.

  81. With an eclectic approach to learning, parents can adapt to things that cause their gifted/2e kiddos anxiety — like perfectionism — and structure the way they assess differently.

  82. With an eclectic approach, gifted kiddos can tackle several years worth of materials in a single year if they want to.

  83. Embracing a child-led, eclectic approach shows kids that learning is all around them.

  84. Eclectic learners can be self-guided… I give my older kids the teacher materials and let them run with them.

  85. Exploring a variety of topics lets kids find the things they love — and then run with them.

  86. Got unschool-y leanings, but aren’t completely comfortable letting it all go? Eclectic homeschooling is a great bridge to help you relax more and more.

  87. Being eclectic means you’re embracing the fact that homeschooling is a lifestyle of learning, and not necessarily a methodology.

  88. Gifted kiddos thrive on novelty, and the eclectic approach is a great way to incorporate new things into learning. 

  89. Eclectic homeschooling is a mosaic where you take the best resources, information, and opportunities and break them up into small pieces, creating something entirely unique to you.

  90. Being eclectic means that there’s no one path and that you can try new things throughout your homeschooling career.

  91. Being eclectic allows us to take advantage of some pretty cool resources like Around the World Stories.

  92. We love using kits from Groovy Lab in a Box when we need a break from the regular lessons.

  93. The kids have had the opportunity to dive into Minecraft coding with programs from Connected Camps.

  94.  Little Passports helped the kids get an introduction to geography when they were young.

  95. My ten-year-old and I are learning to knit and crochet through inexpensive online classes at Craftsy.

  96. It’s super fun to find ways to surprise the kids in an eclectic homeschool, and one of our newest loves is the subscription from Brick Loot.

  97. There is no such thing as a perfect curriculum — for you OR your kiddos — so letting go of the search for the one thing that does it all frees you up to pick the best part of each different curriculum you come across.

  98. Because we follow the kids’ interests, we can snag several workbooks around a theme when Dover Publications (a fave from way back in my teaching days) has a good deal.

  99. Eclectic homeschooling is great prep for thinking outside of the box and using unorthodox methods to help kids learn — kind of like our Alexaschooling.

  100. With an eclectic approach to homeschooling, parents can totally tailor things to be exactly what each child needs to be most successful in life.

  101. Eclectic, relaxed, child-led homeschooling creates the perfect environment for a gifted kid — and family — to thrive in peace.

Are you convinced that it’s okay to slow down, relax, and let your child (and your heart) lead your homeschool? What other reasons or benefits do you find in an eclectic approach to homeschooling? Share in the comments or tag me on social media.

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Should You Homeschool Your Gifted Children?

The longer I homeschool my gifted children, and the more I see and talk to other parents of gifted and twice-exceptional kids, the more I believe that homeschooling is the best educational option for our nation’s above-average children.

Why Should You Homeschool Your Gifted Children

Just to clarify something, though, before I get started – I am not saying that homeschooling is the only way to meet the needs of your gifted kids. I have some wonderful friends who have gifted children of their own and send them to school. I also have friends who teach gifted children in school settings, and don’t want to discredit their passion.

I believe, though, that homeschooling is “best-practice education” for gifted kids. I’d also like to note that, throughout my coursework in gifted studies, I came to the conclusion that the basic underlying tenet of gifted education – meet children where they are, wherever that is, and move them forward towards their potential – is best-practice for ALL children.

Why, though?

Why do I think that you SHOULD homeschool your gifted children?

Gifted kids tend to:

  • learn basic skills quickly and with little practice.
  • construct and handle abstractions easily.
  • pick up nonverbal cues & draw inferences that are tough for children their age to see.
  • take little for granted, preferring to know the ‘”hows” and “whys.”
  • be wildly eclectic and intensely focused in their interests.
  • have boundless energy {causing many to be misdiagnosed as ADHD}.
  • relate well to adults, preferring to spend their time conversing with older children and grownups.
  • be highly inquisitive.
  • be interested in the unusual.
  • want to explore their world persistently.
  • observe deeply.
  • be single-minded.
  • ask “what if” all.the.time.
  • to learn faster & with greater depth than age-peers.

Homeschool Your Gifted Children

Any of these characteristics in isolation is tough to address in a typical classroom, a kid with many of them is completely lost in the masses. There is simply no way a teacher can meet these needs while remediating for those who struggle, and teaching the typical students well.

Too often, gifted students get pushed aside because they “already know the material” and “will be just fine.”

But they won’t be fine.

All children have the right to be met where they are, intellectually, and given the tools and teaching they need to work towards their potential.

At home, you are able to talk to your son about what he wants to learn.

You can choose to skip whole chapters in the math series if you see that your daughter has already mastered those concepts.

If your child struggles with his thoughts coming faster than he can physically write, you can be his scribe for awhile. Or you can hand over your old netbook or laptop.

You can easily incorporate movement into the day for your child who seems like he is in constant motion. {We’ve had a mini trampoline inside the house since we began homeschooling.}

Homeschool Your Gifted Children

Lessons can be chopped to the five or ten most difficult problems. If those are answered correctly, why bother having your daughter do the rest of them? She clearly knows the material.

Is your child intensely interested in astronomy? You can see that he visits the local science center, writes to an astronomy professor at a local university, joins a junior astronomical society, finds books in the library that match both his interest-level and reading ability, and that he pulls all his knowledge together to share it with someone and solidify his learning.

During his first half-year of homeschooling, right after we pulled him out of first grade mid-year, Trevor did just that. He immersed himself {as a 7 year old} in the world of advanced astronomy. While he couldn’t read all of the books we found at his intellectual and interest level, I was able to incorporate them as read alouds. He pulled everything together into a lapbook so thick it has to be rubber banded closed, and shared it with anyone who stopped by {for a r-e-a-l-l-y long time}.

But he KNOWS about advanced astronomy still. He asks great questions when he visits the science center and someone from the NASA-Glenn Space Center is visiting. By tapping into his interests, and running with them, we were able to cover science, reading, writing, and history in a way that was motivating and engaging for him.

Homeschooling works for gifted kids because their needs can be met in ways that are as unique as they are.

The hardest part of homeschooling your gifted kids, for you, will be getting out of the way. I don’t mean leaving them to their own designs, though many would argue that unschooling is a good option for gifted kids – I’m too, well, controlling to give up the reigns completely, and I know my kids’ personalities. They don’t do very well when things get too unstructured.

By getting out of the way, I mean not getting tied to one thing. Be flexible and ready to embrace new topics and methods. It might be pirates one month, and astronauts another, with butterflies and lifecycles thrown in their for a week when your child has stumble across a cool fact and wants to explore, but learning will take place.

When you make the leap to homeschool your gifted children, worlds of possibilities open up. The hardest part for me was shifting paradigms and embracing a homeschooling lifestyle fully.

Do you homeschool your gifted child?

You Don’t Have To Homeschool Your Gifted Child Alone!

The Learner's Lab

The Learner’s Lab is the community created just for your quirky family.  It’s full of creative lessons, problem solving activities, critical and divergent thinking games, and the social-emotional support differently-wired children and teens need most.

All from the comfort of your own home. 

This community was created to support children who are gifted and twice exceptional. We address topics just like this all year long, in a way that is educational and fun for children. They learn skills to help them cope and you learn how to help them along the way. 

We invite you to join us. Get all the details HERE.

For more information on homeschooling gifted kids, check out:

         

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RLL #104: A Conversation About Mindset with Shawna Wingert

 

Mindset is generally thought to be the attitudes or habits of an individual’s mind that is formed by previous experience. These attitudes can predetermine a person’s response or interpretation to any given situation. Our quirky kiddos are not immune to “fixed” mindsets, and it can sometimes be a real challenge to help them to see things in a different way or try a new approach to something that has them stumped.

Today, Colleen and Shawna Wingert have a conversation about mindset, specifically to help families like ours move away from rigid and inflexible thinking. They also discuss the incredible resources inside the RLL membership community, The Learner’s Lab, and how families can work on social/emotional needs like mindset through the fun lessons and activities for kiddos, the parent master classes and the monthly online teen chats.

RLL #104: A Conversation on Mindset with Shawna Wingert

Links and Resources from Today’s Show:

                     

Leave a Rating or Review

Doing so helps me get the word out about the podcast. iTunes bases their search results on positive ratings, so it really does help — and it’s easy!

    • Click THIS link to go to the podcast main page.
    • Click on View in iTunes under the podcast cover artwork.
    • Once your iTunes has launched and you are on the podcast page, click on Ratings and Review under the podcast name. There you can leave either or both! Thanks so much.

Want to record your own question, comment, or have your kids tell us what they LOVE to learn about? Click below and start recording!


 

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Great Books to Read with Your Kids in February

February is full of days that give us the opportunity to introduce some incredible books to kids. From Groundhog’s day, Valentine’s day, President’s day and more, the possibilities keep on piling up. To help you find some new gems for your library, I have put together a list of great books to read with your kids in February.

Great Books to Read with Your Kids in February-This month is full of days that give us the opportunity to introduce some incredible books to kids. Here are great books to read with your kids in February!

Reading aloud to and with your kids is important. Not only does it give them the ability to expand their language skills but it also gives us a chance to teach our kids about different subjects and situations.  The only hard part about reading to your kids is discovering new (and old) favorites. This list will help you find the perfect choices for your family so you can get down to the important part… reading stories.

Great Books to Read in February

Groundhog’s Day Off: This story starts with the groundhog going on vacation. But who will take his spot when it is time to predict the end of winter?

Groundhog’s Dilemma: All of the animals in the forest believe that groundhog can control the weather. But once the weather doesn’t change, groundhog has to tell them the truth.

The Story of Snow The Science of Winter’s Wonderland: If your kids have ever asked you about how a snowflake forms or how does it get so cold, this book is the perfect way to get the answer to all of those questions.

Love from The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Sweet nothings are paired up with the adorable illustrations of Eric Carle. The perfect Valentine’s day book for any kiddo of every age.

I Love You to the Moon and Back: An adorable way to show your kids just how much you love them.

     

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Foxy in Love: Find out just what Valentine’s day means thanks to Foxy and his creative way.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse!: From the author that brought you; If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, brings another adorable tale to the table with this Valentine’s day story.

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose!: Get ready for some giggles with this fun book.

I Love You Stinky Face: A hilarious book that shows just how much a mom can love their children…. even if they are swamp monsters.

    

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A Picture Book of Rosa Parks: This book follows Rosa Park’s life from childhood to adulthood. It is a great way to take an indepth look into her life. For younger kiddos, I am Rosa Parks, is the perfect way to introduce this incredible women.

President’s Day: A great story about a play that kids put on during class to learn about the Presidents of the United States. The story also ends with an election that takes place in the classroom.

Thomas Jefferson for Kids: Learn all about Thomas Jefferson and how he came to be President.

Jurassic Classics: The Presidential Masters of Prehistory: This book brings dinosaurs and presidents together to share a story during prehistoric times. I know everyone will laugh at some of these characters names including Theodore Rexevelt and Abraham Lincolnator.

Animals Hibernating: How do animals survive during the winter? Discover the answers in this book.

      

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The Hibernating House: Step inside the hibernating house where things change every season and a family makes memories.

Baby Bear’s Not Hibernating: Read this book to find out what happens when baby bear decides hibernating isn’t for him.

Over and Under the Snow: Go on a cross country ski trip where you will discover what animals are hibernating under the snow.

Animals in Winter: This classic book has been given a makeover. A must have for every home library.

Hibernation Station: This is a good book to introduce younger kids to hibernating animals. A sweet story that will hopefully help your kiddo fall asleep at night.

The Little House Collection: Since Laura Ingalls Wilder’s birthday is in February, this gives us the perfect opportunity to read the Little House books.

      

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I can’t wait to get started on this list! There are so many wonderful books ready to be devoured. 

More Great Book Suggestions:

      

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 Great Books to Read with Your Kids in February

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RLL #103: Entrepreneurial Mindset with Brian Weisfeld


Here at Raising Lifelong Learners, we are very much concerned with promoting the social and emotional needs of gifted and twice exceptional children. Research shows that resiliency, adaptability, accepting rejection, and “bouncing back” from failure are some of the critical skills necessary for having a successful life. They are also vital skills for being a successful entrepreneur!

Today, Colleen speaks with Brian Weisfeld, girls’ entrepreneurship advocate and author of The Start Up Squad, about how encouraging an entrepreneurial mindset can be a key component to helping all kids, boys included, to develop these important life skills, follow their passions, and reach their full potential even beyond kids starting their own businesses.

RLL #103: Entrepreneurial Mindset with Brian Weisfeld

Links and Resources from Today’s Show:

               

Leave a Rating or Review

Doing so helps me get the word out about the podcast. iTunes bases their search results on positive ratings, so it really does help — and it’s easy!

    • Click THIS link to go to the podcast main page.
    • Click on View in iTunes under the podcast cover artwork.
    • Once your iTunes has launched and you are on the podcast page, click on Ratings and Review under the podcast name. There you can leave either or both! Thanks so much.

Want to record your own question, comment, or have your kids tell us what they LOVE to learn about? Click below and start recording!