Thursday, August 27, 2009

y'all are gifted in different ways

I have another blog, specifically to record our daily adventures in homeschooling located at Mimzywood Academy . I have recorded our first week and a half of homeschooling, and have already come to a point where I need to step back and get some comments and feedback from others.

I am currently homeschooling my 6 yr old and my 3 yr old. I've never homeschooled a 3 yr old before. In May, Annelise busted out with a newly discovered skill: reading! I read to her a lot, and continued doing so, but added in doing some Kindergarten level summer bridge type workbooks with basic skills over the summer when I felt like working with her or she mentioned wanting to do school.

About 2 weeks ago, I started doing formal lessons with both of them. Maddie is beginning to read, but is not motivated at all. She is not nearly as difficult to work with as Ella was, but because she has ADHD, teaching her is its own brand of challenging. She is probably doing what one would expect to be average for a 6 yr old beginning first grade. She would rather design fashions, do tie dying, drawing, painting, sketching, dancing.. than anything else in the world. I love this about Maddie. She is fabulous. She is very very creatively gifted. It's not so good for trying to do schoolwork though.

Annelise LOVES doing school every day. She has made great strides, I think, just in the two weeks we've been doing school. I quickly discovered that she is able to do 1st grade reading/spelling, so I got the book Explode the Code 1 to work with her. There are 3 books in the series prior to Explode the Code 1, and I did a few pages with her in each of them, and she blew right through them. When I did the first 3 pages of Explode the Code 1 with her, she was well able to do what it asked, but it seemed like a little bit of a challenge.

I decided to get a different first grade level program for her, concentrating on letters and small words and reading and handwriting and phonics... rather than moving her up into doing My Father's World first grade with Maddie. Maddie hasn't said anything about how she feels concerning Annelise's reading ability. I can't say that it has motivated her to work harder, but it also doesn't seem to make her angry or jealous or anything. Yet. I wanted to avoid any comparing of the two of them regarding ability to do the same material with the 3 year age difference.

All of this to say...

How do I encourage Annelise in her reading and exploring of the world of words, and similarly encourage Maddie, who is at about the same reading level as her 3 year old sister? Is there anything I can say to Maddie when she does inevitably comment that Annelise can read words that she can't? I know ways that Maddie is talented, but will gushing about her ballet dancing and her painting ability make any difference to her when her 3 yr old sister can read a whole book and she is still struggling to sound out words?

I am a social media girl and a social butterfly in real life. I talk to a LOT of people every day via twitter, facebook, the phone, etc. When people ask what's new, what are we doing, how are the girls, how is homeschool going...should I avoid talking about Annelise's accomplishments in reading? I don't want to come off as a braggart.. I'm not doing anything~ it's all her. When I go on about Maddie's dancing getting complimented by a pre-professional ballerina from our local Ballet Conservatory, or about the tie dye business she wants to start, about her awesome watercolor painting, I feel like people can sorta blow that off, it's just a child being artistic. And Ella and Annelise don't seem to get ruffled. They hear me talk about their accomplishments too. But academics is a different thing than art, and giftedness in academics seems to take on much more of a competitive edge.

Where is it safe for me to talk about Annelise's new words, etc and to get advice about how to cope with siblings who may get jealous feel overlooked, etc? I have found a support network for moms who have girls with Aspergers.. Ive gotten wonderful feedback and advice from them. I hope I can find a community of people who are encouraging and helpful as I navigate this new territory. I am blessed to know one mom personally in real life who has two very gifted children, especially in the area of reading early. Also, I know Doublelattemama from twitter, who blogged about this subject today: Musing from the Mom of an Early Reader .

I want to love my kids well, I want to build them up and not compare them or tear them down. They are indeed all gifted in different ways, and while I've been vocal about Ella's writing and sketching and Maddie's dancing, painting, business sense and sense of style... Ella has not been jealous of Maddie being talented in different ways than her. Now Annelise has something she is good at, and I am hoping I can continue to encourage them to see that they are all gifted in their own way without really screwing things up.

I'd love to hear from you!!!


Jennifer said...

Sounds like you are doing a wonderful job of encouraging your children! It is so important that you see them as gifted in their own ways... they are blessed to have such a mom!! Thank you for your kind words on my interview today on the (in)courage site!

pippijewelry said...

Something that might make learning reading easier for Maddie is the sandpaper letter sets that they use in the Montessori curriculum. They make both print and cursive sets, and the physical tracing of the letters with one's fingers helps make tactile and muscle memory patterns in the child's brain, too, to reinforce the learning. You can get them here:
My girls learned to read at different speeds, too. Everyone learns differently. So happy to read about your two wonderful girls. :D

Dreamgirl said...

I have visited a few of your blogs and decided to comment on this one. I found your post very interesting. First of all I have to say: WOW! I'm so impressed by your commitment to homeschool (which is unheard of here in Norway!) I'm a teacher so I do know a little bit of the work involved...

Children learn things differently! They have different gifts and abilities, that's just the way God made them. I started reading when I was 4. (At that time school didn't start here in Norway until I was 7.) My mom was a teacher and I was just so interested. I read long books by the time I was 6 and I still love to read.

To my own frustration my son showed NO interest in learning to read. We lived in the US at the time and we noticed that it was sort of expected at school that he should work really hard to learn the letters and spelling. Once we moved back to Norway he started 1st grade here when he was 6. He knew the letters, but just didn't "crack the reading code" until he was almost 8!

Now he is 12 and he is a bookworm! He just finished the Lord of the Rings (in ENGLISH which is his 2nd language) He loves to read!

Thank God that we just let him learn at his own pace. I think the worst thing we can do to kids is to force them into a progress that we proclaim to be "normal". Letting children find the joy in learning and accepting that they are going to learn differently and at different ages makes learning fun (and teaching sometimes hard!)

Your girls are truly gifted, they just are different. I think you do a wonderful job of encouraging them to learn and to reach their dreams.

So fun to meet you!

dulce de leche said...

I am enjoying your blog so much! I see a lot of differences in my children's giftings, too, and while they haven't commented yet, like you I am waiting for it to happen. So far, I'm just focusing on building up each of them. I'll be looking for advice and experience from you!

Regarding mentioning Annaliese's reading skills, I love to hear about it, so feel free to share with me anytime. :)

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