Blessed By Our Twice Exceptional Homeschooled Kid



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Our daughter has been a blessing to us, ever since we flew to China to adopt her, as an infant.  We decided to homeschooler when she was 4, as she was ready for kindergarten, but her public school wasn't.  She was considered too young.


When my daughter was a little one, she was a very active child, who loved to jump all over the couch and stand on her head whenever she got the chance.  So we put her in little kids' gymnastics, got a trampoline, and let her spin in her dad's desk chair whenever she wanted to.  

These were all signs of ADHD and sensory processing disorder, but since we were already homeschooling, we didn't feel the need to go in for formal testing.  With my OT background, we just worked to accommodate things to meet her needs, as best we could.

A is for Apple

And we so loved homeschooling her, and being there, with her as she discovered and learned new things.  

Homeschooling worked for her as it gave us the opportunity to gear things to her own learning style.  Of course, this took time to figure out, but we found ways to eliminate distractions, meet her sensory needs, and choose curriculum that was engaging for her.


There were also struggles along the way, but great successes, too. 
  
If we had chosen the public school route, my kiddo would have been learning from the teacher, who stood up in front of the class. That would not have worked for her.  When she was young, processing verbal directions was a big, big challenge.  And if she was tested, with only verbal directions, she would have failed, ie , those annual tests done at school.


This is called Cat Schooling.


However, as a homeschooler, she was able to learn in the ways that worked best. We used hands-on approaches and lots of visuals. She got to explore her interests.  And later, she not only got into college, but once there, she made the Dean's list.  (Brag alert, lol)  

 We feel that homeschooling helped get her there.  Here 6 reasons why...

1. Homeschooling provided a strong foundation, and a soft place to fall, and ways to meet her sensory needs, too.



A soft place to fall...

As a little one, my daughter could wrap herself in a blanket, and study that way. She could take a break and jump on our small trampoline, whenever she wanted...or bounce across the room, on a big exercise ball.  Having her sensory needs met, made focusing so much easier.  

And, as a teen, there is nothing like knowing that a warm, cozy home is a waiting for them, when they just finished a difficult day volunteering, or was coming home from an ACT test. 


2.  The 1 on 1 focus that homeschooling can provide our kids, will catch most any gaps that we may worry about, and allow us to gear things to their learning styles.



As homeschoolers, we can review, go back, switch up our curricula, or even add another year of high school, if that would help our teen.  

My daughter benefited from the freedom to switch curricula or approaches when needed, gearing our homeschooling to her strengths.  She was a visual learner, and we could set up her learning to focus on that, as opposed to auditory learning, and that made all the difference for her.  And watching her get inspired by her learning....priceless!

She could work ahead on some subjects, take extra time for others. It allowed us to accommodate for her ADHD, and sensory issues day to day.  


3.  We got to foster and grow her interests. 


Starting out in Irish Dance.



We did a number of outside activities, through the years, including preballet, kid gymnastics classes, and tumbling, too.

Some of my daughter's best learning occurred in outside activities. 


Irish Dance and Auditory Learning

My kiddo wanted to try irish dance classes.  She saw one of the classes when we were at the Parks Dept.  

To do that, she would have to follow the complex verbal directions for each of the irish dance steps. 

Now, auditory processing was very difficult for her.  At home, any verbal directions needed to be given 3 or 4 times, and it helped if they were written down.  But, in class, the verbal directions were somehow easier.


Do you see her on the right?


  Since it was dance class, and my kiddo was so comfortable with physical skills,  she learned to process the many verbal directions that were given.  Of course, watching the steps at the same time was a big help.  But the teacher added in alot of verbal instructions, too, and my daughter began to really be able to process that information.

She loved stepdancing, and continued to study it all the way through high school, becoming a prizewinner irish dancer.  


 As her verbal processing skills improved in irish dance, they began to transfer to other areas as well.  At home, she began to use video courses , and DVD's, which involved listening to verbal directions and lectures. 

 And, no longer did she struggle with auditory processing!

 By the time she got to college, she could easily follow her college lectures!  She had gradually build up her auditory processing skills, over the years, without the pressure that she would have had at public school.


Youth and Government Activities

When my daughter, as a teen, wanted to try her hand at speech and debate, she had time to participate in activities that would foster those skills. 



Youth and Government, available in 34 states, is a hands-on way for kids to learn about state government, speech and debate.  They gather each spring, for a Youth Mock Legislature, and present and pass mock bills there.  It is open to all kids, homeschoolers, public school kids, etc.

Homeschooling gave her the time and activities, to pursue her interests in leadership.  

It was so fun to watch her present her mock legislative bill to the teen senate!  And when my daughter applied for admission to a college honors leadership program, these high school activities helped her get there.  


4.  Since we could do interest-led learning from the get-go, our homeschooler became a motivated, self-starter.  



Encouraging their interests builds self starters!  That is just what many colleges are looking for, and that is just what college students need, to succeed.  

Helping our kids discover their inner-most gifts and interests, not only helps them grow, it also creates strong motivation for them to learn, and study those things that will help them in the future, like college entrance requirements. 





Homeschooling helped my daughter to gradually learn, over the years, to organize her studies, plan her day,and prioritize what needs to be done first, etc.......

This was a struggle for her, for many years, but by watching how I organized her days, early on, she picked it up pretty well. By high school, she was almost independent. And now she is doing her college studies, without any help or reminders from me. 


She even took our workboxing organizational style with her to college. Organizational skills learned at home were key to her success in her freshman classes at college.


5.  We got to build in nature and other nice calming activities into our day.




We could take off, and go to the park.  We could use the backyard any time we want.  We could hang out at the river, and watch for salmon spawning.  I loved that.

And getting out in nature was such a great way to calm and de-stress, for both of us.



We built in mini road trips when we could fit it in.  This was key to my daughter feeling comfortable to share her thoughts and concerns about her day.  

And this is still happening as a college student. When my daughter has a concern about college, or whatever, she still feels comfortable to come to me or my husband.  What a joy that is.  We are a big part of her college experience, as she enjoys sharing it with us. We love watching her grow and learn in college, which is a real blessing.


6.  Learning how to Find and Use Resources




Here was the key to my daughter's success in dealing with her precalculus class, which she was struggling with in college, her first year there.  

During homeschool, she often saw me search for resources, as we chose curricula, looked for a dance class, or surfed the net for help in algebra, from Khan Academy.  

So her first thought, when faced with this difficult college math class, was not how could she find a way to drop it.  It was, instead, a question to answer - What resources would help me?  


Watching her take on college...It's an adventure, and I can't wait to see what happens next.  





Do you have kids who are gifted and 2e? I love reading your comments.  Click here to enjoy all the other great posts in this GHF blog hop!






Thanks for stopping by our neck of the internet woods....


Betsy



Betsy blogs at BJ's Homeschool, where she writes about high school, collegeand all the fun of homeschooling the early years, too.  As a veteran homeschooler, and an OT, Betsy offers homeschool help to families.  


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6 comments:

  1. This is a lovely story and journey. Your daughter is so lucky that you were an OT and knew what to do with a child like her. She was so fortunate. Many parents have no idea what to do, the steps to take, and how to cope with it. You've done an excellent job, I think, by focusing on her strengths.

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    1. Thanks, Carolyn! That is why I am a homeschool blogger, to share ideas and resources to help other homeschoolers to meet the needs of their kiddos with special needs or issues. Have a good day!

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  2. I love all these points (as the mom to a kiddo with SPD/ADHD). Cat schooling is super-cute!

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  3. loved reading your blog. thank you for sharing the ups and downs, and being so candid with your journey. it has taken me so long to understand my 2e kids. it is through moms like yourself that have provided such great info/understanding and give me that extra confidence to be a leader in their education. i have spend a year preparing to home school my kids, but they are both currently happy at a school focused on Gifted/2e. we are staying put for now, but we are one year at a time and always evaluating. love the idea of schooling at home for high school. thank you.

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  4. Thank you, Janelle, for sharing your comments! That is good to hear that your kids are happily settled right now, in a gifted/2e program. Those can be so hard to find! I hope that my blog and the resources at the Gifted Homeschool Network will be a support to you, as you consider possibly homeschooling in the future. I am so glad that we did, as it met my daughter's needs the best, for our situation. My daughter is a junior in college now, and so loving it there, which is so rewarding to watch, as a mom.

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