Category Archives: Homeschool

Why Giftedness Matters

When you think about the word giftedness, you may come up with the several different pictures in your mind. You may envision a nerdy guy with classes, a little girl reading some very think books beyond her grade level, or maybe you may be  a middle school student taking high school and college classes.

Giftedness has many different aspects, along with many different visions of identifying and servicing gifted children. According to the Columbus Group

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.  (The Columbus Group, 1991)

Gifted children aren’t the same. They may have similar qualities and characteristics, but they are very different. There are many different theories about giftedness. Here are a few.

The Cattell-Horn-Carroll Theory is a theory that that helps to test your child to find out which of the 9 cognitive abilities your child is strongest in.

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Another is the Dabrowski Sensitivity Theory. There are five different sensitivities your gifted child could fall into. Each has a different characteristics and methods of assisting children who are living with these sensitivities.dabrowskis-sensitivities

There are more theories about giftedness such as ones from Joseph Renzulli and Gagnes which I hope that you will check out as well.

So why did I go through all of that? Because Giftedness Matters! Our gifted children are a unique student population that needs attention, understanding, and our time. Our gifted children need to be challenged, pushed, prodded, and at times let to fail. We all have these stereotypes of what we think gifted children are, but that’s what they are…stereotypes. Gifted children are real people, who live with the perceived advantages and disadvantages of being gifted every day.

Giftedness matters because of how they are taught matters. Gifted children need to be taught in a different way than other children. They need to be stimulated and challenged in many different ways. Teachers can’t teach to the average or below average children, and think that gifted children will show yearly growth. If they aren’t challenged they won’t grow. Instead, they will show behaviors that are unwanted in the classroom.

Giftedness matters because the educational setting matters. Some students need a small groups, large classrooms, and others need to be schooled at home. Whatever the appropriate setting to met the needs of the gifted child are they should be done.

The #ohiogtchat is having a discussion on this on Nov. 6th at 9pm ET. I hope that you can join this chat and further the conversation with us and our guest Celi Trepanier, author of Educating Your Gifted Child: How One Public School Teacher Embraced Homeschooling and blog Crushing Tall Poppies. I wrote a review on this blog about her book. You can read it here.

Follow @jeff_shoemaker and @HeatherCachat  to get more information on this chat. You can also go to the #ohiogtchat website for more information as well.

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Book Review: Global Explorer

This is part 1 of a 4 part series of book reviews from E.L. Strauss from Thinxygen Publishers. I would highly recommend checking out their website along with their other books.

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Global Explorer: The Southern Hemisphere

What to go on a journey? Want to dive to the Great Barrier Reef? Want to see Ayer’s Rock? Want to see ancient salt pans that look like glass when they are wet?

Then open this book! This book will challenge you, stretch you, and help you develop your logical thinking and problem solving skills.

Overview:

This book covers the three most diverse continents you find in the southern hemisphere: Australia, Africa, and South America.

Australia

In the Australia section of the book the author discusses many aspects of the country along with their flag, how large the continent is, and some historical facts. The author also discusses the animal population on the land and in the ocean, and the environmental concerns of the Great Barrier Reef created by humans and by sea creatures. The author writes about the aborigine people of Australia. She not only gives us facts, but gives us some of their Dreamtime myths, and invites us to interpret what we see from their myths, and to take a different look at the Uluru inselberg that the aborigine people see as sacred.

Africa

In the Africa portion of the book the author focuses on Namibia and the Namib Desert. Here the author discusses the size and scope of the Desert. She also explores the unique geologic formations of the Desert, plant life and, unique animals that live there such as the Oryx. What I lied about this section is the author gives a small section on how to survive in the desert on little water.

The other area that is focused on is the Skeleton Coast, Sossusvlei and Deadvlei, the salt and clay pans of Namibia. I believe these areas are not covered as much in most science or geography books enough.

South America

In this section the author focuses on two major areas: Bolivia and Patagonia. In the introduction to this section the author does touch on other countries and languages spoken in South America.

Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni a salt desert formed when parts of Lake Minchin, a prehistoric lake dried up. This ancient salt desert has different uses for modern people. It was pointed out the book that NASA uses this area to calibrate their satellites, and there is an abundance of lithium that is used in cell phone batteries. Again the author invites us to interact with the reading and create our own salt crystals.

Patagonia

In this section the author talks about the history of the area, and some of the myths that took hold here for centuries. One of those myths were giants living in the area. From journals from Magellan, the people he encountered were much taller than the average person for the times. It is thought these people were roughly 6 feet tall. These people the Tehuelches were tall, but the myths spoken back in Europe were these people were giants over 15 feet tall. The author shows how people who live in different climates can be different sizes. She also grow through the math, and invites the reader to also check out the math for themselves with data she provides.

What I love about this book

I love many aspects of this book. What struck me first was the first few pages where the author writes a series of questions that the reader will hopefully answer through the reading. This gets the reader engaged and prepped.

There are great color pictures with short explanations on them. Some pictures are warm and inviting, and some are vibrant and bright. The pictures are chosen to help bring more depth of knowledge to the reader about what they just read.

There are exercises that the reader is encouraged to participate in such as finishing a food web in the Barrier Reef section, and using their imagination to chart out similarities and differences in the Dreamtime section in the Australia chapter.

There are also sections of the book that the author encourages the reader to interact with the material they just read through Desert Survival 101, making salt crystals, and how to collect water in the desert.

Each chapter ends with a short quiz to help reinforce the material that was shared in the chapter.

In short, this is a great book for middle school gifted children. It uses vocabulary words from geography, geology, earth science, and biology. It also uses a more advanced vocabulary in general. It is a great book for children who love to read about far off places, peoples, and environments. I would recommend this book to students in traditional schools, and those who are homeschooled.

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Book Review: Educating Your Gifted Child

Today I finished reading Educating your Gifted Child: How One Public School Teacher Embraced Homeschooling, and I have to be totally honest… I loved it. As a public school teacher, as an advocate for gifted children it resonated with me. Sometimes as parents you have to take your child’s education into your own hands, and forge your own path. This book is inspiring, motivating, and one that filled with advise, and resources.

One passage late into the book,in particular hit me:

You may look at these children and see that their family lives are hopeless. You may feel that, as hard as you try, these kids may never utilize the education you work so hard to deliver to them. But you know what? These kids, education or not, will grow up to being voting citizens in our society. When they have the opportunity to vote and change my world, your world, our world, we will need them to vote intelligently. We need them to be productive members of society, or our society will not stand. That is why their education is important. (pg. 73)

If you have read anything on this blog, you know that advocating for children is what drives me. After reading this book, and visiting her website (Crushing Tall Poppies) I got a clearer picture of why a family would delve into homeschooling. The education your child gets is one of the most important aspects of their life. They will carry “the good, the bad, and the ungly” educational memories with themselves for their lifetime. Making sure you get that right is important. For some families public education works. For others public education isn’t doing enough to meet the needs of the family, and the children they are servicing. Each family has to make that choice.

What I like about this book is the fact Celi, discusses her life in the classroom, as a parent whose child’s needs aren’t being met, and finally their awesome journey into homeschooling. Each section she shares the ups and downs. The only conclusion that worked for her and her family was homeschooling. Her story isn’t that much different from many other people across the country advocating for their gifted children. I would count her story as a successful one. I hope that after reading this book you also will count your story as a success story.

In her book Celi, go into detail about places to go to get resources, ideas to where to go in your location to help you and your family be better prepared for homeschooling. I strongly recommend your read this book and take many of her suggestions if you are interested in taking your family “off the rollercoaster”, and onto a path that will make sense, and fit your family’s needs then this book is the perfect resource.