Monday, January 6, 2014

Supporting a Gifted Learner After School

A Christmas Break 2013

Lego Building Break
We had a wonderful time during our Christmas break. We both take vacation time for 2 weeks at this time of the year with the goal to recharge and enjoy each other’s company. Smarty loved her unstructured time – time to read, to play, to build. We keep reminding myself that this time when she really wants to be with us is short, and we should enjoy while it lasts. And that’s exactly what we did. There were a couple of days when Smarty didn’t even get out of her PJs and other days when we went out hiking and visiting friends. We also tried some new ideas that I want to apply to our after school time in 2014.

Does After School Enrichment Make Sense For Us?

Learning About DNAThere are two facts determining our real possibilities during school weeks. Three times a week I pick up Smarty from her Y program at around 5 pm, and all she wants is some time to unwind. The other two times my husband picks her up directly after school at 2 pm, but this is when she has her gymnastics class and playdates. In other words, we don’t have a lot of time during the work week where she can really learn or create at home. Secondly, our daughter is a gifted learner who is already at least 2 full grades ahead of school curriculum, which means that she doesn’t necessarily need to practice any academic concepts at home unless it’s self driven.

After School with Purpose

Baking Chocolate Chip Cookies
As I wrote in my goals post, my “word of the year” is purpose, so I want our time together to be more purposeful. This is why I decided to focus our “learning time” on three things this year – cooking/baking each week, learning about one important person or event in history each week, and mental math through games and creative challenges. We already tried this approach during our vacation time – I showed Smarty a Fundays Calendar and asked her to pick one food to celebrate the next week and one person to learn about. In the past 2 weeks our food selections were candy canes and spaghetti, and we read about John F Kennedy and Marie Curie. I think reading together one or two books and cooking together one day on the weekend should be very doable for us. I am planning to share our activities and resources in my posts throughout the year. I will also be sharing our mental math on my FB page, so please feel free to like my page and follow me on Facebook.


Kelly said...

I think your ideas and goals sound wonderful. Kids are so busy these days. I do think after school activities are important but doing them with purpose like you said is key.
Kelly at Little Wonders' Days

Erica MomandKiddo said...

I like your idea of cooking and baking as part of a weekly plan. I need to focus on that, too. It's learning but also a life skill.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

I love the way you parent Smarty! She is very lucky to have the parents she has :)

I think you food and person to learn about approach sounds great!

Ticia said...

I like how you're constantly re-evaluating if things are working. I have to admire your family's ability to thrive and enjoy such a busy schedule, it always makes me feel tired just reading about it.