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Homeschooling can be a challenging job for anyone. Finding the materials and resources to stimulate and challenge your gifted child can seem downright impossible at times. Often I find myself wondering where I am going to find a chemistry book written on a third grade level for my six year old, or how to teach her biggest interest, human biology, without getting into the whole reproduction thing just yet. Sometimes the choice between academic need and age appropriate is difficult to make.
The best curriculum I have found are the ones we have come up with ourselves. Every Monday morning, the children and I discuss what they would like to learn that week. They have say in everything except reading, and math. I take notes of topics they are interested in. It’s usually a varied list that includes everything from who invented the table, to what the first humans looked like. Many times I have ask the kids to choose the areas they are most interested in because it would be impossible to do everything they want to. Then we go to the library. I try to find at least one book on each topic. Sometimes this is easy, but I have had times when the even librarian could not locate any information. I don’t always stick to children’s books. Usually my daughters’ interests are much deeper than the typical non-fiction for children books explore. When using adult books, it may be necessary to read the book aloud to your child, editing for clarity as you go. Don’t edit all the unknown words, though. Add them to the weekly vocabulary/ spelling list. My children both have excellent vocabularies because they are read to from adult books.
History is made interesting and exciting by using a biographical approach. Find a person your child wants to know about. If they want to know who invented the table learn the birth and death dates of the person, as well as the year of the invention. Then you can study what the world was like when this person was born, when they died, and when the object was invented. This also works well if your child is interested learning about ancestors. As you learn about relatives from generations past, take the time to teach your child about what daily life was like. Did great Grandmom have running water when she was a girl? This kind of study makes history more personal for your child.
Cooking and building are wonderful activities to practice math skills. You can buy or design plans for a bookcase for the homeschooling area. Your child will practice skills like measuring, working with fractions, and attention to detail. If your child is learning to add or multiply fractions, have them choose a favorite recipe and double or triple it. Then enjoy the results.
The most important thing to remember is to treat your child like the individual that he/she is and not get caught up on grade level. If you allow your child to explore those areas they are most interested in, you will be encouraging them to fulfill their potential.