Thursday, February 25, 2010

Homeschooling a Fast Learner

My young 5 year old son is a fast learner, doesn't like repetition, and when he puts his mind to something he can complete an assignment incredibly fast. Do I think he is gifted? No, not in the Einstein-sense of the word. I just think learning comes easy to him. He is the reason I started homeschooling. I knew our public school system (which is ranked #3 in CA) could not handle his learning ability considering the enormous budget cuts our schools have endured the past 3 years. I knew when his teacher couldn't (or wouldn't) teach to his ability he would be bored and turn into a discipline problem; a situation I was hoping to avoid. By God's grace we were able to financially taken on the cost of homeschooling.

Homeschooling a young 5 year old who doesn't need nor like repetition is challenging. Packaged curriculum works fine to a certain degree but he works through them much faster than scheduled. This leaves me scrambling for more quality work for him to complete. I am against busy worksheet assignments. I want my children to be engaged and challenged with each assignment. To that end I have had to make a few changes to the curriculum I have chosen for my kinder son; My Father's World Kindergarten

The changes I have made include:
1. More than on letter per week, typically two although I'm sure he could do more.
2. Additional phonics lessons using Explode the Code
3. Singapore math; currently on Book B and nearly finished
4. Teach Your Child to Read in 100 lessons
5. Gobs of informational books on the subjects we are learning that week. I am known at my library for checking out bags full of books just to keep my kids (primarily my 5 year old) satiated with read alouds and new reading books.
6. Math problems on the "math" sheet for each letter. Rather than having my son simply draw "x" number of items which correlate to the number of the week. I write out 4 math problems, addition and subtraction, for the number of the week. I also recently began teaching him fact families for those numbers.
7.Rather than having him simply draw a shape around each word that I select from his word sheet on day 4, he draws lines between a string of words I call out. He also creates his own sentences using the words for that week. Per his request, I also write out 20 or so words on additional sheets of 2nd grade lined paper so that we can do this exercise each school day.
8. Copywork; I write out 4 copywork sentences for each letter of the week. I paste a picture which relates to the sentence at the beginning of the sentence and then neatly write a 6-8 word sentence following the picture.
9.Using a bucket of letter cards we create words 2-3 times a week. My son experiments with letter combinations and enjoys making long words all my himself.

Keep in mind these changes happen every week, nearly everyday. Because he learns at such a fast pace if he is having an off day (tired, sick, otherwise cranky) I do not press him to do school beyond the basics. I know he is learning plenty for his young age.

I guess my point in all of this is that when homeschooling a gifted or fast learning child you need to be prepared well ahead of time. I am learning through trial and error that to keep ahead of the game I need to have 3 weeks of lesson plans and materials prepared for my son. As it stands today, I had to rush and copy some materials because he surprised me with another great day of learning and we sped way ahead of where I thought we would be at this time.

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  1. I have this same child but in a 3 year old. In fact our pediatrician told us "Do not put her in the public school system" for the same reasons you posted here!

    Stopped by from the Homeschool Lounge to say hi!

    I look forward to following your blog and preparing myself for the road ahead of me!

  2. I love the idea of adding Math facts to the number sheet... my son isn't much into "drawing 3 objects"... but I think he would enjoy the math facts... he plays JumpStart K and 1st on the computer and knows many already, but this would be a good way to re-inforce it! Thanks for the idea!



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