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Advice/ideas for adapting MP curriculum for a high-energy-gifted 6-year-old boy

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    Advice/ideas for adapting MP curriculum for a high-energy-gifted 6-year-old boy

    We have a lot going on in our lives right now--business-related and extended-family needs and such--that have kept me from putting my finger on what the deal is with my sweet but super-high-energy son. He 6 (January birthday), and we are in the last few weeks of MP Kindergarten. Last week was especially frustrating, so I started googling a few keywords that describe him and within minutes realized that he is most likely what is termed a High Energy Gifted Child. It all makes sense now--why I see these flashes of high intelligence, extreme focus, etc. within the chaotic swirl of constant motion and distraction and lack of focus. I was so focused on his energy level--which is very high and seems to be getting higher each month--that I didn't connect it with his strengths and see that it could be a sign of a particular kind of drive and intelligence.

    Additionally, he has a very high need and tolerance for social interaction--the rest of us love a nice mix of friends and family along with whole days of seeing and doing nothing outside of the house; our son can go all day, day-after-day, riding his bike, playing with neighbors, going non-stop physically and socially and just doesn't wear down.

    My daughter is like me in so many ways that it seems like I've always had at least an idea of what direction to go with her strengths and weaknesses. Our son has a similar personality to his father, but this extreme high energy is foreign to us all.

    So I'm trying to figure out what to do for 1st grade. I see lots of possibilities for homeschooling my son when he is an older child and can channel his energy and drive into various electives and hobbies--but right now I'm a little overwhelmed because I don't know how to provide these outlets for him at this age without it taking large chunks of my time and energy.

    Things that are working right now:
    -For drills/flashcards, I have him sit and bounce on his bouncy-ball seat and time him. His best memory work happens when he is physically and competitively engaged.
    -If he is highly-motivated for some particular reason, he will accomplish an impressive amount of work in a short time. For instance, when we got our new cordless vacuum cleaner, he did 4-days' worth of math in about 15 minutes, of his own accord, to prove to me that he had completed plenty of school work to deserve a break from school to use the vacuum.

    Things that aren't working so well:
    -First Start Reading workbooks. He understands phonics and is progressing as expected, but he hates the workbooks. Sometimes I can easily make a modification that makes it more challenging and gives him a break from writing if he has already had sufficient writing practice for the day. For instance, we are in the section that has the child add the "sh" and "th" to the front and end of the word, and then the child is to read the word. He prefers the challenge of reading the word by mentally adding the phonogram, rather than writing first and then reading. His handwriting is much better when he does copybook work than in First Start Reading. The writing is definitely what is holding him back. His reading is slow and measured, but his comprehension is immediate. It is like he is thinking through things related to what he is reading as he is reading. For instance, he read me three easy readers about spiders over the course of 30 minutes. One sentence said, "The spider makes the egg sac out of silk." Without a pause, he asked, "How?" after reading the word "silk". He then proceeded to voice his frustrating that the book didn't tell us how they created the egg sac out of silk.
    -Memorization of facts that he can't relate to and/or doesn't care about (he has hard time remembering certain months of the year, but he loves to name and point to N/S/E/W).

    In addition to trying to figure out how to adapt MP curriculum, I am open to considering other schooling options for first and second grades--but, of course, I am limited to local availability. I am considering calling a couple of local Christian schools and asking them how they work with kids like my son just to help me consider all my options.

    So any ideas, strategies, options, solutions--I'd love to hear them!

    Thanks in advance!

    Michaela
    Michaela
    Daughter: Age 11 MP 6A (MPOA for TFL, 6th grade math, and composition)
    Son: Age 6 1st Grade MP Traditional Spelling, Literature, Math, and Handwriting
    for 2019/2020 school year

    #2
    I will give you some general thoughts. MP 1 didn't exist when my high energy accelerated kiddo was 6. First, I would focus on quality over quantity. Do fill in every single blank, but make sure the writing he does is good quality. Second, I would incorporate movement into as much of day as possible- doing flashcards? Standing an moving are fine, etc. And third, don't fall into the "gifted kids should never be bored" trap. Sometimes mine would complain about being bored when she really meant "hard", i.e. it would actually be something she couldn't do perfectly without any effort or practice.

    Even now at high school age she has a "spin-y" chair (cheap office chair), because there is no way she can sit still.

    I've often wondered how Simply Classical would work for gifted kiddos if they are placed at the right level- i.e. higher content with less need for fine motor skills. Maybe someone more knowledgeable than me could speak to that?
    Bean. Long time MP user. Almost retired homeschool mom and university faculty/ librarian.

    I apologize in advance for my typos and grammatical mishaps.

    DD (17) Graduated!
    Mechanical Engineering

    "School Administrator" to niece (9): MP 3A

    Comment


      #3
      "Don't" fill in every single blank... Ack! I WILL proofread before posting, eventually.
      Bean. Long time MP user. Almost retired homeschool mom and university faculty/ librarian.

      I apologize in advance for my typos and grammatical mishaps.

      DD (17) Graduated!
      Mechanical Engineering

      "School Administrator" to niece (9): MP 3A

      Comment


        #4
        I'm just chiming in to say that "SC" is really good for "asynchronous" children, or "twice exceptional". It is often said that new users should select a level at the "weakest" "R" (reading or w"riting"). In your son's case, SC2 might be a good fit for him next year. It's possible to do SC1-4 and then move to MP3. If the writing "catches" up, you might be able to move over to MP2 at some point as well. I love that I don't have to use my brain power to come up with ways to engage a busy boy! It's all laid out for me! I also find, with each level, I learn more and more and can apply an activity from one subject to another as we move up in levels. There are some suggestions, in SC1 to even deal with all the writing in the FSR workbooks. It might be beneficial to purchase just the SC1 phonics plans as well for the multi-sensory tips and helps! (you can buy it as a digital download)
        Christine

        (2022/2023)
        DD1 8/23/09 -Mix of MP 6/7
        DS2 9/1/11 - Mix of SC 7/8 and SC 9/10 (R&S 5, FFL)
        DD3 2/9/13 -SC 5/6

        Previous Years
        DD 1 (MPK, SC2 (with AAR), SC3, SC4, Mix of MP3/4, Mix MP5/6
        DS2 (SCB, SCC, MPK, AAR/Storytime Treasures), CLE Math, Mix of MP3/4, MP5 (literature mix of SC 7/8/MP5)
        DD3 (SCA, SCB, Jr. K workbooks, soaking up from the others, MPK, AAR), MP1, MP2

        Comment


          #5
          With 3 boys, someone is bound to get a case of the hyper silly behavior going at some point in the day...or hour. I have done a couple of things because it seems to make them get over being bored or annoyed with the busywork and back to "engaged". These don't happen every day - only when i get desperate.

          1) During recitation, I make them sit on TOP of their desks. Don't ask why. I don't remember how I came up with this. It works. They engage and they are happy about it.
          2) I make them get onto cardio equipment. I have an elliptical and a rower. They don't do either of these well but it allows them to throw all of that strong energy at something and I tell them to go as hard as they can and we time it to see who is the first to slow down during their turn. One of my kids can be physically awkward and this has seemed to help a bit.
          3) Add Lots of Noise - but only when I'm really really desperate. Sometimes I break up the day with noise. Youtube; Have Fun Teaching channel. They use music (it sounds early-90's-ish) and create educational videos for "Seasons of the Year", "The Planet Song", the "The Water Cycle". I make the kids jump and dance and be really loud and sing.

          My 3rd son (5) is having similar issues. Mostly, it's my own fault because I started him so very early - long before his maturity could handle it. I'm literally having to allow his maturity to catch up to his academic capability because to get him to do work requires me to nearly sit on him, encouraging every single pencil mark. We are doing K- part 2 - this time with MPK materials for this upcoming fall. I didn't really put him on all of the MPK work like I should have so he had a mix of MP materials and other stuff. It's my first year doing MP so I've had to learn the hard way. Basically, this fall I'm doing a massive "reset" for him where some of it will be a bit remedial for him, but the workload advances at a pace that I think his maturity will handle much better. I even had him doing R&S1 and while, yes, he's finished the first book, getting there has nearly driven me out of my mind! I'm going to take notes here about what other people advise because while I finally have a decent handle on the first 2 boys, this last one I'm still trying to figure out.

          Melissa

          DS (MP4M) - 10
          DS (MP3A) - 8
          DS (1) - 7
          DD (Adorable distraction) 4

          Comment


            #6
            Thanks to all--I'll respond more Monday. Taking in all of these ideas and some discussions with other homeschooling moms from church this morning.

            One detail I forgot to include in my original post is that he loves snuggling up with me and a few good books. I have been thinking about how--in addition to being strategic with giving him constructive energy outlets--I need to be more strategic with reading books in order to help him calm down and focus. I am going to experiment with this, as he typically is "done" with being still after I read to him.

            Hmm...lots to consider!
            Michaela
            Daughter: Age 11 MP 6A (MPOA for TFL, 6th grade math, and composition)
            Son: Age 6 1st Grade MP Traditional Spelling, Literature, Math, and Handwriting
            for 2019/2020 school year

            Comment


              #7
              I called MP to discuss curriculum...I think we are going to go with MP1 but also buy the SC guides that correspond most closely to that level for ideas for physical activities or substitutions if he is having an especially squirmy day. I think the key for him is he doesn't need those things to understand but rather to keep his body occupied so his mind can focus. He has just reached that "clicking moment" with reading and phonics in which he is learning new phonograms as he reads them before being taught them, so I think we are going to accelerate phonogram introduction while being strategic and picky about writing assignments.

              I'm also thinking about putting together a box of "you can do (almost) anything you want with these items" building/craft kit for him with the rules that he must clean up after himself and that he must ask for permission to use anything not already located in his special box. He is always squirreling away trash items (small Amazon boxes, toilet paper rolls, etc.) and turning them into houses and airplanes for his large collection of tiny stuffed animals. He makes bizarre collages and art work that begins with stencils that he then embellishes in his own quirky way. I just need to figure out a way for him to have his creative freedom without the usual havoc-wreaking and trail of bits of paper that are part of his signature style!

              Michaela
              Daughter: Age 11 MP 6A (MPOA for TFL, 6th grade math, and composition)
              Son: Age 6 1st Grade MP Traditional Spelling, Literature, Math, and Handwriting
              for 2019/2020 school year

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by ClassicalFamily View Post
                I'm also thinking about putting together a box of "you can do (almost) anything you want with these items" building/craft kit for him with the rules that he must clean up after himself and that he must ask for permission to use anything not already located in his special box. He is always squirreling away trash items (small Amazon boxes, toilet paper rolls, etc.) and turning them into houses and airplanes for his large collection of tiny stuffed animals. He makes bizarre collages and art work that begins with stencils that he then embellishes in his own quirky way. I just need to figure out a way for him to have his creative freedom without the usual havoc-wreaking and trail of bits of paper that are part of his signature style!
                You just described my 5.5 yo. Our sons would be best friends!
                ~ Carrie
                Catholic mom to four - ages 11, 9, 7, and 5
                8th year homeschooling, 3rd year MP!
                2020-2021: 6M with FFL, 4M with FFL, and some of 1st grade

                Comment

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