Monday, August 24, 2015

Review! Gifted, Bullied, Resilient: A Brief Guide for Smart Families by Pamela Price

The first thing to say is that I did receive a copy of this book for review purposes. However, given that the author is on my auto-buy list (which means I'd have been buying it as soon as I heard of its release), and the subject matter, it was going to end up in my hands sooner rather than later anyway.

Now. Given Skeeve's, my, and Mad Natter's struggles with bullying, this was a huge book for me. I've been anxiously awaiting its release for at least the last six to eight months, and that's all I can reasonably remember - it might have been a lot longer. The digital copy arrived in my
inbox this afternoon, and I promptly dropped everything, picked up paper and a pen, and immersed myself in the book.  Mad Natter was out playing with the neighborhood kids, I had some time...  I'm sad that I finished reading before I started dinner, and only partly because dinner's about half an hour late. Mostly because I want more.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Learning About Giftedness

This post contains affiliate links to materials discussed. Purchases via these links help support our family at no additional cost to you. Thank you for choosing to support my little blog. Read my full disclosure statement here. 

I wish I had started blogging long ago, keeping better track of the things I thought were odd. I wish I'd kept tabs on that moment I had the OMG, GIFTED epiphany. It seemed at the time like something I'd remember forever, but now we're three years down the road, and it's all so blurry looking back.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

It's Parenting The Gifted Week!

Congratulations, all you wonderful folks raising gifted children, this is Your Week!  Jen, from Laughing at Chaos, is looking for suggestions on what kinds of things parents need - swing by and let her know what would make your life easier.  As for me, I have my own take on these things. What would make life easier? Recognition of the gifted poor.

Monday, July 20, 2015

I'm not allowed to watch TV anymore...

So, I learned something about myself while we were visiting Hammie and Buppa for the 4th of July. I, apparently, am no longer allowed to watch network television. Of all the things! Here at our Mooselandia home, we only have Netflix and YouTube for television viewing - and, of course, DVDs/Blu-Rays - so I've long since fallen out of touch on what is present in standard media anymore.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Movie Night!

Once a week, on Tuesdays, our Mooselandia home is turned into Gaming Central. We have between three and five guests, plus at least one person Skyping in. However, the game tends to run well into the night, which leaves Mad Natter out from playing. And so, in an effort to make sure he doesn't feel unwelcome or left out, I instituted Movie Night.  Every Tuesday night, we retire to The Big Bedroom, turn on a movie, eat popcorn in the bed, and hang out together.

Monday, July 13, 2015

It just keeps turning up.

Oh, the "All kids are gifted" meme. It's like a bad penny. It just keeps coming back. I'm not sure who thought this was a good idea, or when it became appropriate to co-opt medical diagnoses for feel-good purposes, but there it is. This week has been worse for it than most. This week, I got an emailed notification of a new comment on a blog. I'd been back-of-mind dealing with the "all kids are gifted" trope to begin with, and one specific comment threw me for a loop.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Resource Review: All About Spelling!

This post contains affiliate links to materials discussed. Purchases via these links help support our family at no additional cost to you. Thank you for choosing to support my little blog. Read my full disclosure statement here. 

Something I realize I haven't talked much about has been Spelling.  We all talk about language arts, but somehow spelling gets forgotten in that.  At our house, that's less because spelling is a non-starter, but because it, like science, is one of the few subjects that gets done with very little fuss.  And for that?  I completely credit All About Spelling. Mad Natter, who absolutely hates review, will ask me if we can do spelling work. Mad Natter, whose handwriting is years behind his mind, will ask me to do spelling.  This is astounding to me.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Inside Out!

So, I'm late to jump on the Inside Out train. However, Mad Natter and I went to see the movie with Hammie this week, and it honestly deserves a post of its own.  You see, it's a Pixar film, which means it's going to be amazing, that's just because it's Pixar. But, it was more than that.  Even though the Vat O' Fruit Punch Mad Natter got before the movie meant we had to leave to pee three times between the middle and the end, the film was still so astounding as to absolutely merit talking about it. And honestly, the number one reason is because of Mad Natter's first comment after it was over: "You know, Mama, I think I have all those characters from the movie inside ME!"  SOLD.

Monday, July 6, 2015

No, it really *is* what you do with it.

I've had a bit of a thought recently, and I haven't really had time to follow it all the way to its conclusion. However, I've been guilty of skimming the comments of Facebook posts. What do you want, I've been stuck in the house trying to heal. Anyway, I learned something new, which is completely astonishing to anyone who has EVER read any comment section anywhere: being gifted?  It doesn't mean you're actually smart.

Friday, July 3, 2015

A Review of Khan Academy: Math

Alright. As we all know, I've been off my game recently. As a result, many things slid, and the homeschool year ended abruptly on my surgery date. I'd spent a good amount of time looking for something for Mad Natter to do to keep his math from atrophying over the summer, and it seemed like The Time to start it up, especially since I had a recommendation from our next door neighbor as well.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Makin' It Work!

In the course of talking about gifted education, we often criticize pull-out programs, because you know, gifted children aren't only gifted one hour per day, or one day per week. But the thing that gets less attention is a continuation of that same fact – gifted people aren't only gifted when they're children, and they aren't only gifted when they're in an academic setting.  So, how do three gifted people with varying overexcitabilities, needs, and degrees of introversion manage to live in a house together – without killing each other?

Monday, June 29, 2015


Hiatus.  It is finally ending.  Entries might be a bit sporadic yet, but I'm hoping to be back with at least some regularity now. Almost three weeks ago, I had day surgery. My team was excellent, and I was home and in a very minimal amount of pain within about eight hours from when we left. But, the surgery was a surprise, so everything has been all out of whack because I wasn't able to prepare. Then add in coaching and general chauffeur duties, and it's been... chaotic would be understating.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

On Hiatus

Sorry, folks. I'm out of commission for probably the next two weeks. I'll fill you in when I'm able, but until then, nothing life-threatening is happening, I'm just spinning so quickly I can't get anything coherent enough to post.  I'll be back soon!

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Value of Free Time

I never quite seem to appreciate what we have when we have it. I'm not sure why that is, but it's the case regardless.  Every fall Mad Natter goes into hockey, and I whine and complain about being out of the house at the crack of dawn (literally) on Saturdays and Sundays from September to March. Then the summer comes, and I revel in the not-early mornings. This year, though, I let a few voices get to me.

Monday, May 25, 2015


The recent kerfuffle about bullying gifted children in the mainstream media has a lot of people talking. And some of what they're saying is reasonable and level-headed - things like


Thursday, May 21, 2015

When Mainstream Media is the Bully

Apparently, Al Roker, Natalie Morales, and Stefanie Wilder-Taylor think it's great fun to laugh at gifted children. Yeah, same old trope, all children are gifted, blah. But then, Ms Wilder-Taylor quotes out the oft-accepted 2%-5% of the population is gifted stat, followed by the mockery that parents then have to one-up each other claiming their child is "highly" gifted. Wow. Because "highly gifted" is completely different from "left handed." My question, though, is this: Would they all be so quick to point and laugh at the other side of the curve?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Making a Change

Several years ago, I was looking at math curricula, and stumbled into Beast Academy. I was upset at the time that it didn't start until grade 3, and even then was only grades three and four.  But, I was determined to wait it out. So, we started Right Start, and went with it, then moved over to Math Mammoth. Now, Mad Natter is at a place where he could easily manage Beast Academy, but there's a problem.

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Very Quirky Life

It's been hectic. No end of hectic here. We now have activities five days per week, and my being a moderately introverted homebody means I'm up to my eyeballs, and not particularly digging it. But, it's just for the summer. I can manage for the summer.  Anyway! Blogs may be a little sporadic as I try to keep my sanity as best as I can. One of these seasons I'll remember to not overschedule the blazes out of us, but it seems this is not the season. It does, however, bring me rather neatly to my point for today: the quirks of the gifted. How does this fit? Easy - one of my own quirks is the driving need to DO ALL THE THINGS!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Summer Plans

The school year is ending, summer is practically around the corner, and naturally this means that there is exactly NO relaxing going on in our Mooselandia home!  Between our general status as "year rounders" and the usual sort of summer activity, there is no end of craziness happening here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Year-End Round Up

Well, this week went a little more pear-shaped than I expected. I found out I'm coaching a pee-wee baseball team, all our care practitioners called to make appointments for the week, and then we had the usual hustle of said baseball meet-and-greet / photo day, Taekwondo, and those appointments... It's been a little harried.  However, the end of the year is upon us!  Already!  Good grief, where does the time go?

And so, I wanted to leave the update for how the year progressed for us, versus how we had planned for it to go.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Bean Boxes

One of the wonderful things we got tipped off to when Mad Natter first started showing his sensory issues was the concept of a Bean Box. This turned out to be one of the best things ever. Not only was it less messy than a cookie tray full of shaving cream, and more interesting than playing with sandpaper, but it was something to explore, which seems to have made all the difference.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

LEGO Robotics

We had an amazing opportunity this week - Mad Natter had the chance to enroll (a year early) in a LEGO Robotics class with our local Sylvan Learning Centre. Because it was with our local Association of Bright Children, he was able to squeak in without their usual "age 7" guideline. And so, on a lovely Sunday morning, we went off to the centre and I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Mad Natter versus Training: Round Two

Almost precisely two years ago, I talked about Mad Natter enrolling in Taekwondo. While we went for a month, we wound up pulling out until Mad Natter was in a better place to actually participate in the training.  After the events at the end of the winter, we figured another trial run was in order.  Our park district offered an eight week class at the same dojan we were using originally, so we went for it. Eight weeks shouldn't be too bad, even if everything went off the rails.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Twice Exceptional Hatters

I've written before about what having a twice-exceptional child looks like here in our Mooselandia home. Of course, by now that snapshot is two years old, and as with everything else, changed with time, experience, and the work and care of people we can trust. Let me bring you up to speed.  If you've never heard the term "2E" before, it means "twice exceptional." This is commonly a child who is gifted with some form of learning disability - ADHD, SPD, ASD, really anything. These kids are often overlooked in the school system, as either their increased ability masks their disability, or the school's penchant for treating the disability first means the ability is never recognized. But, being homeschoolers means that I get to see the full spectrum of my child - his good moments, his bad ones, and what is more "normal" for him than not.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Backpack of Holding!

Okay, so no big secret I'm a gamer. My preference is for RPGs, be they tabletop or MUCK/MUSH. This means that, quite naturally, a bag of holding was hugely attractive to me. Skeeve has the original Bag of Holding messenger bag, and I've come to inherit a Backpack of Holding from him. My geeky heart sings.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Unit Studies are Born!

Ever since Mad Natter was a bitty infant, we've been driving long-haul multiple times per year. Eight hours each way kind of long haul, from when he'd sleep through the entire drive, right on until he got his MobiGo, then Innotab, now his 2DS. This is the first time we've come out of a trip with plans for unit studies.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Virtual Field Trip: Brookfield Zoo!

While we were in the burbs visiting with Hammie and Buppa, it seemed we were never really in one place - unless we were sleeping! As a result, I have another virtual field trip for you, this time to the Brookfield Zoo, unsurprisingly located in Brookfield, IL.  We managed to pick the perfect day for the trip - it was a Friday, and the day before we went, there were tornadoes through NW Illinois, so many people stayed home fearing another rainy, cold, yucky day. It was gorgeous, and I'm actually surprised by some of the things Mad Natter learned!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Box Day!!

This post contains affiliate links to materials discussed. Purchases via these links help support our family at no additional cost to you. Thank you for choosing to support my little blog. Read my full disclosure statement here. 

Oh, how I love box day! We put our orders in when the tax return comes, but because we're in Mooselandia, shipping is a... well, a moose. So, we ship everything to Hammie and Buppa's house, and then go visit for long enough to cover the cost in our customs declarations. So box day is a Big Thing, where not only do we get to visit our family, but we get curricula as well!  And so, here is where I fill you in (because everyone loves a good box day!) on what we got!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ages and Stages of Being Gifted

We see so much about giftedness through our own lenses. But for this hop, I wanted to branch out a little, and get some perspective from other people - even those who don't necessarily feel connected or part of the Gifted Community. Since there are so many different ages and stages this could cover, I wanted to hit on as many as possible. As such, I took to interviewing, and today I get to share my results with you.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Virtual Field Trip: Museum of Science and Industry Chicago

Mad Natter and I recently spent about a week and a half visiting with Hammie and Buppa in their suburban Chicago home, and while we were there, we had a lot of great opportunities.  From visiting with some of his cousins to spending days playing baseball with his Buppa in the yard, we had a lot of fun. We found a lot of fun things to do that were good field trips, too, and so I want to take you with us!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hit Point Math!

So, I've mentioned that Mad Natter hates review. With a passion.  So, what do you do when you have to do math, which is mostly practice after the initial learning, and a kid who hates doing exactly that? It sort of sprouted naturally, as all the best things do - we combined it with his love of video games, and added an element of story problems!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Mother vs Mother

Being online, and connecting with other parents - either of gifted children, or who homeschool, or sometimes both - means I get a decent amount of contact with other mothers. Sometimes fathers, yes, but mostly mothers. Generally, talking about this garners only one response: "ugh, the Mommy Wars..." I have to wonder why that is.

Friday, April 10, 2015

All the Best

Mad Natter and I have been away from our Mooselandia home the past week or so, visiting with family. It's the first time we've been in since Mad Natter started his meds, and everyone noticed the difference, nearly immediately. We were lucky - before we left, one of my cousins invited us over for an afternoon to color eggs for the holiday with her son, and some of their cousins (Mad Natter and Mister Love refer to each other, and the other kids in their generation as their cousins, despite the fact that they're actually either second cousins, or first once removed, I never know the right terms).

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Secular Science Curricula

I think I've said this before, but we're not a particularly religious household. In our house... well, the most religious of us is a Secular Humanist, another is an Atheist entirely. This puts us pretty well outside the scope of the pre-existing homeschooling demographic. What this also means, though, is that it's ridiculously difficult to find a decent history curriculum - most history is tied up in religion, and whichever religion came out "on top" is the one that wrote the stories, so that's where the slant is. But even more difficult than trying to find an entirely secular history curriculum?  Secular science.

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Benefits of Our Less-Stressed Household

On March 13, the weekly #gtchat on Twitter was about homework.  If you haven't checked out #gtchat yet, please, please do! It's held every Friday night, 7E/6C/5M/4P, and it's a wonderful conversation. Anyway. I somehow managed to come out of a conversation about eliminating homework... with homework. I'm not sure if that takes talent or idiocy, and for the sake of my sanity, I'm choosing not to explore that any further than I have.  All it took was one tweet.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Review! "The Family Library" series by Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley

This post contains affiliate links to materials discussed. Purchases via these links help support our family at no additional cost to you. Thank you for choosing to support my little blog. Read my full disclosure statement here. 

Having Mad Natter in the house is often an exercise in mitigating what he's emotionally able to handle versus what he's intellectually ready for. Nowhere has this been more evident than in his determination to understand every single thing about how the human body works - including all its parts (both variants!), and the reproductive process. This is all well and good, and I encourage a whole lot of curiosity, but there's only so much I'm willing and/or able to tell my then-four-year-old about human reproduction. As a result, I turned to the children's book section of Amazon, did some flipping through of books, and went on to find what would work for us. It turns out, that starts with It's Not the Stork!: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends (The Family Library).

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

When the Worry Gets Overwhelming

A lot of people talk about gifted children having anxiety. And, truth be told, I see some elements of this in Mad Natter as well.  But the place I see it most?  In myself. I'm raising this outlier, and I'm the sole person responsible for his education. As a result, this more often than not brings about a huge volume of anxiety.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Home Management: Laundry

In all honesty, I'm tired. I'm always tired. We've been living in a stressful situation for ages, and I have some underlying issues that mean I'm exhausted all the time, regardless of how much sleep I am, or am not, getting. What this means is that, in essence, our housekeeping is mediocre at best. Skeeve has the same problem, though instead of having the underlying issues, he has a full-time job outside the house. And so, a lot of the things that are routine for others, tend to fall by the wayside for us. And since I seem to have found a way to keep up with laundry, I figured I'd share.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Review! The Magic School Bus: The Secrets of Space

This post contains affiliate links to materials discussed. Purchases via these links help support our family at no additional cost to you. Thank you for choosing to support my little blog. Read my full disclosure statement here. 

Mad Natter is a big fan of all things science, but he does particularly love space science. As such, one of the things he got for Christmas (and loved!) was the The Magic School Bus: The Secrets of Space kit. I was The Mean Mom, and made him wait until we could put it into our science rotation - there's only so much I can cope with in terms of half-finished projects, and Mad Natter has been notorious in the past for getting partway through anything, and then dropping it in the middle of the living room for everyone to trip over until he decides he's done it and throws it away. But, we've just finished, and I'm super excited to talk about it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Little Boy Found!

Sometime around when Mad Natter turned two, we started losing him. It was gradual, so we didn't even really realize it as it was happening. He just sort of slipped away. By the time he was three, he was gone. His interests were dominated by electronic flashy things, and no real interest in toys or games unless they were an extreme novelty, or came with inordinate amounts of attention (think one-on-one, no distractions, solely focused on him and his every word for hours at a time). His affinity for cars, Duplo, trains, drawing, storytelling... All gone. Just a little boy lost in a technological wonderland, his only interests videos, videogames, and fast-moving movies.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Progress: Slow and Steady

It seems the adage "slow and steady wins the race" applies to a great many things. This is terrible news for my impatience. However, there is progress, and that is the important part.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Tea Shops and Fun Times

Stepping a bit away from my usual purview, I'm going to talk about one of my favorite places today. See, I see lots of people talking about their local coffee shop and how much they love it, but not many people at all are talking about one of my favorite places - David'sTEA.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Parenting Conundrum.

To medicate, or not to medicate: that is the question many parents of children with issues that present as ADHD face. You have society screaming at you that ADHD is overdiagnosed, and you'll medicate your child into zombie-hood. Your support systems are leery at best, as they primarily hear the same things society is screaming. You and your spouse are wound tighter than clock springs waiting for the time your child either realizes they are seen as "lesser" or "undesirable" by other children, or the time they dash off into the street after a ball and never come home again. Your child... Sometimes you know what they think, sometimes you don't. In rare moments of lucidity, Mad Natter would say "I like being sick, mama..." while he was fevered and lethargic, continuing on to say, "my brain slows down so I can think..."

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Day In The Life

One of the first things I learned as I grew up was that there are as many different ways to do things as there are people doing them. People stop and wonder "homeschooling? how does that work?" and each person the question is posed to will have a different answer. Even within the same nuclear family. Crazy, right? Well, Gifted Homeschoolers' Forum has come to the rescue on that one! This month, get a look into how many different families homeschool, and how they answer the question of "What's a day in the life of a gifted homeschooler like?"

I spent several years before Mad Natter was born on a forum. We used to do occasional DITL (Day In The Life) posts, and in keeping with how I've always done, below the jump will be an extremely picture heavy look at a day in our lives - lucky you, it happened to be tax return day!

Friday, March 13, 2015

It's a love/hate kinda thing

This post contains affiliate links to materials discussed. Purchases via these links help support our family at no additional cost to you. Thank you for choosing to support my little blog. Read my full disclosure statement here 

Yes, I know I'm posting a little late for me, but I've spent the morning fighting with anti-virus software on Mad Natter's compy - I don't want that specific package there, and it refuses to let me delete, uninstall, modify, or even stop it. So it's been eating up my morning while I'm trying to let Mad Natter play some Terraria - and he can't because this silly program is using up (literally) 98% of his systems available memory.  Nasty business.

Anyway. It's a love/hate thing. I have a long history with pedometers, and a lot of it boils down to the fact that I walk generally softly, or I have a kid. Many moons ago, I had one of those 'clip it on your hip' pedometers. I'd get to the end of a day - even if I'd gone for a run (minimum 2.5K) - and find I'd barely made 5000 steps. That just ain't right. Turns out, the pedometer, because it was on my left hip, was only counting the left half of my steps. Fine. So I'd move it to the middle. That was better, right up until I wanted to check it in the middle of the day, and it was at the small of my back - or worse, I'd put it in front, and pitch it into the toilet the first time I had to pee.  Eventually, I gave up. Imagine my cautious excitement when the Fitbit Flex came onto the market - you wear it like a watch! It's designed for one-sided use, and it won't fall in the toilet!  SWEET! You can even wear it in the shower, or while you're doing dishes!  Awesome!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Labels Without Testing

Everyone has an opinion on labels. Whether pro or anti, both sides have to admit that labels, at their heart, describe a specific set of characteristics, which make them useful in specific settings. The question becomes whether or not one can, or even should, use those labels in their appropriate settings without the testing to back them up.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Volcano Day (with a sensory kiddo)!!

Now, everyone knows one of the classic science experiments you have to do as a little kid - especially a little homeschool kid - is the baking soda volcano. Well, that volcano is included in the Magic School Bus chemistry set as the final experiment. The card was missing a few things on the materials list, so it got set to the side for a while, until I could get all the things in the house.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Book Review: Educating Your Gifted Child: How One Public School Teacher Embraced Homeschooling by Celi Trépanier

This week, I had the pleasure of reading an ARC of the newest book in GHF Press's lineup of Perspectives in Gifted Homeschooling Series: Educating Your Gifted Child: How One Public School Teacher Embraced Homeschooling by Celi Trépanier. I can't tell you how much I love ARCs. I really do. I love having the opportunity to be part of the buildup around new titles, I love having the chance to read books early, and honestly, I love that authors trust me enough to let me review their babies ahead of release day. That said, let's get on to the part we want to talk about: Celi's new book!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Making our Art Portfolio!

With help from Caitie and Leo from My Little Poppies, Mad Natter and I took some time to make him his very own art portfolio!

Since his diagnosis and subsequent treatment, Mad Natter has produced more artwork than he has in the entire YEAR prior to this, which means... I need somewhere to put all these wonderful pictures!  Then I remembered - Leo helped us out with this ages ago! And so, following their directions (and tweaking a little for our use), Mad Natter and I made an art portfolio just for his creations! (Be aware, this is a picture-heavy post!)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

On Acceleration

When we first began this whole homeschooling gig, Mad Natter was three. He had asked me earlier that week to teach him how to read, and we kind of took off from there. Naturally, being me, the first thing I did was research all the various and sundry programs across subjects for the things I'd want to use going forward, and all the interesting things there were to do in a homeschool setting. The notion of not teaching him because he was too young didn't even occur to me. Unsurprisingly, that philosophy hasn't changed as Mad Natter has gotten older.