Craving Dole Whip

Disney & museum obsessed, homeschooling mom of 3, parenting to focus on experiences, not possessions. Sharing Disney tips, educational adventures and a few reviews. Constantly craving Dole Whip.


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The Birth Of A Homeschool Guru

I wrote 3 very long (sorry!) and candid “flashback” postings last year, detailing the process of the beginning of my family’s unique journey. This week, I re-shared those honest posts and got a TON of traffic and feedback. Thank you everyone!

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Today, I looked through those entries and decided to tell the rest of the story.

So…here you go! Better grab some coffee and a muffin. (Or tea and some Milk Duds!)

This is going to take a minute.

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After my two daughters took the full scale IQ tests, we FINALLY knew the reasons for our extreme home-life. My girls NEEDED to learn.

NOW.

It isn’t like we never taught them stuff before. We ALWAYS read to our children. Offered workbooks in the summer, bought all of the “Little Einstein” videos and music CD’s, encouraged a “tinkering” mindset., limited time in front of the TV, etc. The problem was…the environment, the offerings, the access, the amount and the pace…It was just not enough…

As I mentioned before, over-excitabilities come with the gifted territory–even more pronounced and severe in the profoundly gifted individual. I have two of those living in my house and they experience our world in a way that is foreign and strange to me–and that will never EVER change.

How did I even start to bridge the obvious gap?

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I started where most desperate parents begin–looking and searching for the “right” academic fit for my kids (specifically my youngest daughter). The psychologist who administered the full scale IQ tests suggested a visit to an unique school in Houston–a school designed to accommodate the varying and accelerated needs of gifted children.

Wasting no time, I immediately made the appointment for a tour. My youngest daughter skipped her public school kindergarten to experience one day at the gifted school. That afternoon, the head of the gifted school pulled me into his office. Of course, I felt that all-to-familiar fear that my daughter’s behavior somehow tarnished her visit.

Nope. Wrong again, hyper-vigilant mom.

I am wrong a lot.

Let me tell you, it is SUPER difficult to be the dumbest person in your own home. And… I am not just saying that so everyone messages me and tells me that I am smart, too. Nope. It is a proven fact that I fall to the bottom of the intelligence totem pole in this family. I have the scores to prove it. LOL.

Anyway, the head of school proceeded to show me a few scores from other enrolled students. By this time in my journey, I only knew a few things about the gifted world. But, I DID know enough to understand our interaction and to deduce what he was trying to explain without making it too obvious. This “gifted” school could not help my daughter.

A super quickie tutorial:

Human intelligence exists on a bell curve–yep–just like the one you wished your college professor put into place for each exam.

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About 95% of the world’s population operates within the range of 70 to 130. 100 is considered an average IQ.

***Please understand that several intelligence tests only evaluate certain traits–and each test has a different score ceiling. For example, one test might not allow testers to achieve anything higher than 150. Another test might go as high as 200. So, the IQ number itself is not as important as the percentage. The percentage ceiling for any test is 99.9%. But, for simplicity, I am using this number scenario.

125 to 130 is the typical threshold for a public school gifted program. The average score accepted by Mensa is between 130 and 132–Again, it depends on which test was taken. A score in this range represents about 4% of our population and the same can be said of the opposite side of the bell curve–about 4% of our population falls beneath an IQ of 70.

As the bell curve travels further from the middle (or average), the percentages get smaller and smaller…until you reach the super far left or super far right. Once IQ range hits 145, the percentage is already hovering around .1% of the world’s population. That is a very small number of people.

My two daughters fall in that tiny .1% because they both scored in the 99.9% on a full-scale test.

So…when that man at the gifted school in Houston showed me the scores of other enrolled students, it was his not-so-obvious way to “tell” me that my daughter would not find her people at his school. She received an official acceptance into the establishment, but there were no “.1%-ers” there.

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I left his office and cried the super ugly cry in my car for about an hour.

And cried on and off again for several more days.

Here is where this post gets real people. Real and honest and hard to admit…

Like allllllllllll people, I tend to form opinions about topics that I have little to no actual or direct experience or knowledge. It is a not-so-popular thing to admit, but we ALL do it. **Everyone has an opinion about the military, but the percentage of soldiers and their families in the general population is actually quite small. Do you have an opinion about teen pregnancy??? How many of you have gone through that? Everyone has an opinion about divorce…but not everyone has suffered through the devastation of a cheating spouse.

Everyone has an opinion about everything. It is just the way the human brain works.

So, along those lines…I formed an opinion about homeschooling. I had VERY LITTLE personal experience with educational options outside of the public school system. My son attended a traditional school, K-12, and I was an art teacher for 7 years–all public school background. I saw students pulled from school by angry parents and then witnessed the same (and exhausted) parents return those students several months later–usually to the determent of that child.

I lectured friends about the downsides to homeschooling. (sorry Kim!) I made faces when homeschooling was mentioned in conversations. I was not a fan. Not a supporter. No way. Nopers. Just no.

Be careful what you joke about and be SUPER careful when you form opinions about topics you have no direct, personal experience…it will come back to bite you in the self-righteous butt.

I speak from experience.

Life sure is funny sometimes, right?

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Faced with no viable educational options for our youngest daughter, I started researching ‘homeschool’. (YIKES!) Watch me swallow this huge pill.

By the end of my daughter’s kindergarten year, I knew I was going to educate her at home. I contacted every homeschooling parent I knew (which was only 3 at that time!) and I asked a million silly questions–I didn’t know what I didn’t know, you know?!? ūüôā

I bought books and read anything I could find on home education and parenting gifted individuals. I wanted to know about the various learning styles and differentiating curriculum. I poured over studies about academic acceleration and extreme academic acceleration–highlighting, underlining and dog-earing everything I found relevant.

If I was going to be solely responsible for educating my daughter, I wanted to do it right.

And, homeschooling offered the freedom for my daughter to pursue specialized interests–like American Sign Language and chemistry–when she was 6 years old.

My next mission was to find someone willing to teach her those things–because I knew NOTHING about those subjects. It did not take me long to realize that our “homeschool” would not take place at home. My daughter did not need ME to teach her–she needed me to become an expert researcher and fierce advocate for extreme acceleration.

My journey was just beginning.

I will write more soon, friends. ūüôā

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If you missed it, read about my family in these flashback postings:

Flashback 1

Flashback 2

Flashback 3

Why do we homeschool? Read the top 5 reasons here!

5 surprises about my life with profoundly gifted children–read this.

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The Pennsylvania Farm Show–Experience Adventure 1 of 100

WOW!  As luck would have it, the 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show began just 4 days after we moved to Pennsylvania.  As soon as I heard about this event, I knew it was going to be the first experience in our attempt to enjoy 100 adventures!

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102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show

The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the nation’s LARGEST indoor agricultural expo.¬† If you are from Houston, think about a farm-themed Nutcracker Market–add live animals, contests, and competitions–and then multiple the size by 200.¬† That *might* actually be accurate math.

Consisting of 24 indoor acres, housed in 11 buildings and including 3 arenas, the Farm Show represents just a tiny slice of the Pennsylvania farming industry.  There are 10,000 competitive exhibits, 6,000 animals and 300 commercial exhibits, as well as an enormous food court serviced by 2,000 volunteers.

**Super cool extra fact:  The first Pennsylvania Farm Show was held in 1917.

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Honestly, it would take me a month to write about all of the amazing events, animals, booths, shops, snacks, and people we encountered, so I will highlight just a few of our favorites.

The 2018 Historical Maker Scavenger Hunt immediately caught my homeschooling momma’s eyes.¬† Replicas of actual Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission historical markers are placed around the enormous Farm Show complex.¬† Readable text on the markers provide information relating to agriculture and rural heritage.

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2018 Historical Marker Scavenger Hunt

**Super cool extra fact:  There are 2,000 authentic markers throughout the state of Pennsylvania.  We hope to find some! 

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Replica of a PHMC Historical Marker

Several booths are dedicated to the unwanted spreading and impact of the Spotted Lanternfly.  Native to China, India and Vietnam, this insect attacks grapes, fruit trees and pines.  The insects first invaded the United States just 4 short years ago.  Last year, only 5 Pennsylvania counties found infestations.  This year, 13 counties are aggressively fighting the invasive species.

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The Spotted Lanternfly was first discovered in 2014, in Berks County, Pennsylvania.

The vegetables!  The gourds!  The mushrooms!  The fruit!  Seriously, what can I say about the breathtaking beauty of these gifts from Pennsylvania farms?

Just look at the pictures!

 

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With 6,000 animals, the Pennsylvania Farm Show’s livestock exhibits rival the world’s most popular zoos.¬† Countless isles display hundreds of diverse varieties and species.¬† We enjoyed seeing and learning about unique hens, roosters, ducks, rabbits, cows, sheep, and alpacas.¬† My youngest daughter milked a mechanical cow and was allowed to pet a rabbit and a black angus.

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Almost all of the food vendors offer delicious samples.  We tasted creamy dips, spicy BBQ sauces, hot garlic pickles, sweet dessert pies, rich maple syrups, sour fruit drinks, mustards, ghee, cinnamon nuts, warm pretzels, and marinated chicken.  The best part of our indulgence of these mouth-watering samples was the fact that every vendor represents a Pennsylvania farm and local business.

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While we made our way around the sample offerings, I met many interesting, friendly and passionate people.  One woman makes stroopie, a Dutch cinnamon waffle cookie with caramel syrup hand-spread between two wafers.  The Stroopie Co. empowers and provides meaningful employment to refugees resettling in Pennsylvania.  We plan to visit where the cookies are made and hopefully take a tour of the Lancaster Sweet Shoppe.

***Added:  After the Farm Show, I emailed the owner of The Stroopie Co. and she graciously invited me and my daughters to visit and learn all about the social enterprise at The Lancaster Sweet Shoppe. Read all about that amazing experience (our #7 adventure!) by clicking here!

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Spoonably Sweet is another interesting booth.¬† The chef told us how she “invented” her creation by accident, while trying to make something else.¬† I LOVE happy (and DELICIOUS) accidents!¬† Spoonable cookie dough can be used as a dessert topping, a pastry spread or eaten directly with a spoon!¬† She creates vegan options, too!¬† Um…yes, please!

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Last, but not least, there is a butter sculpture.¬† That’s right.

BUTTER.

SOLID BUTTER.

Everyone should experience butter artwork.

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I wish my writing skills flowed with lightning speed so I could tell you everything about the Pennsylvania Farm Show.  Hopefully, this little blog post will offer a tiny taste of an amazing experience that is available year after year, if you ever find yourself in the great state of Pennsylvania.

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The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center is located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, off of Exit 67 of Interstate 81.

Admission is FREE, but parking is $15 per vehicle.  Bring cash.

The 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show runs January 6-13, 2018.

Plan to visit the 103rd show–January 5-12, 2019.

For more information, visit www.farmshow.pa.gov

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Other cool things to do in Pennsylvania?

Check out the Lancaster Central Market–the oldest farmers market in the country!¬† Read about it here!

Learn how to twist pretzels at the first commercial pretzel bakery–Julius Sturgis!¬† Read about it here!

Traveling to Virginia soon?

Check out the Edgar Allan Poe Museum!  Click here!

And, visit the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, too!  Click here!

 


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BIG changes! BIG adventures!

It has certainly been awhile since I have had anything worthy of posting in this blog.  I spent the last summer and fall semester shuttling my daughters back and forth to college and taekwondo, with not much time for anything else.

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Hurricane Harvey left behind complete devastation in Houston and the surrounding areas, but we were fortunate enough to only have flooding on our land and no damage to our home.  We were, however, in the beginning stages of some home renovations, so that put a kink in the scheduling logistics.

The extensive time I willingly dedicate to my children’s schedules and our extreme way of life is always time well spent, but the last 6 months drained my reserves and left my heart aching for an escape.

That crazy season has finally come to an end (for now) and a new adventure is on the snowy, and very chilly horizon!  My husband was offered and snagged one of the last available in-residency spots at the Army War College.  (He was enrolled in the online program when he received the call.)

My husband is super cool.

Located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the Army War College is a masters degree program for senior military leaders and International Fellow students and is a year long commitment.

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My awesome husband moved to PA and entered the Army War College in the summer of 2017, while I stayed behind and continued homeschooling and supporting our daughters.  The girls were already registered for fall college classes in Texas and we decided to stick to that commitment.

–Cue the time for home renovations, Harvey survival-mode and a stressed-out momma lifestyle.

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So, now that the fall semester, Christmas and New Years fun are all in the past, what is next for our extraordinary family?

I am glad you asked.

My daughters and I decided to join my husband in Carlisle for a 6 month sabbatical–an educational journey like no workbook or classroom can provide!

Our goal is to participate in 100 educational experiences–visiting museums, monuments, classes, tours, festivals and all kind of events.

That’s right.¬† I said 100. ¬†

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It might be a lofty goal, but guess what?!?¬† We have nothing but time–time and an intense desire to accumulate knowledge.

OH!  And did I mention, there will be a Walt Disney World vacation thrown in the mix, too?  Well, of course there will!  DUH!  Would you expect anything less from me?!?

So…hold on tight my friends–we are taking you along for the ride!¬† I plan to blog about ALL 100 of our excursions and adventures and you get to experience the evolution of our homeschooling journey as it unfolds.

Stay tuned!  We are just getting started!

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If you aren’t familiar with my family, feel free to read about our extraordinary journey here.¬† And here.¬† And here.

 

 

 


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What Does 44 Look Like?

So…yesterday was my 44th birthday.¬† Quite honestly, I can NOT¬†believe I just typed that sentence.¬† It’s a bit surreal.¬† In some ways, I totally feel¬†every bit of¬†44.¬† At other times, I sit in complete amazement at how quickly my 20’s and 30’s faded.

Each year represents an evolving season and 44 looks different on different people.  What does turning 44 look like for me?

Well…for my actual birth DAY, my super thoughtful, youngest daughter (age 11) made (from scratch) vegan and gluten-free pancakes and chocolate dipped strawberries for breakfast in bed.¬† The pancakes were inedible (for real), but the strawberries were super fresh and juicy.¬† She knew the pancakes missed the mark, so thankfully, I was¬†off the hook.

My two daughters got dressed and I took a shower.  I handled 3 separate sister-sibling arguments before I put on clothing.  Everyone sees me naked.  Yea 44.

I¬†took my middle child to the orthodontist to get a poky wire clipped.¬† Our monthly payment for braces¬†costs more than my husband’s car payment.¬† And, the payment plan continues for 28 months.¬† Yea 44.

After the orthodontist, I drove to a podiatrist appointment, where I learned a severe case of plantar fasciitis and a large bone spur is causing my constant and excruciating heel pain.  Awesome.  Yea 44.

My girls read Harry Potter books in the waiting room while I was in the examination and x-ray room for over an hour.

Side note:¬† As a homeschooling momma, my daughters go everywhere with me–haircuts, errands, gynecologist, mammograms, dentist, podiatrist, etc., etc.¬† I am NEVER alone.¬† Christmas shopping would be non-existent without Amazon.¬† Click here to read 5 reasons why we homeschool.

As for the Harry Potter reading:  My girls are VERY late to the Harry Potter craze.  At 11 and 13, they show absolutely no interest.  The 11 year old HATES fiction and thinks it is silly to read something that is not true.

But, after our most recent Disney vacation,¬†my husband and I¬†decided¬†a trip to Universal Studios¬†would not happen until their brother’s old Harry Potter books were cracked open…hence, the new-found interest.¬† That’s a parenting win, folks.¬† Yea 44.

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The¬†podiatrist wanted to¬†administer a steroid¬†injection in my heel.¬† I asked about the pain involved with the procedure, the steroids, and alternative solutions.¬† (I don’t like excessive meds or chemicals in my body.)

She asked if I had children.¬† I said, “Yes, three.”¬† She then proceeded to tell me that if I could endure childbirth, I could endure the¬†needle in my foot.

NOPE…Not interested in going through the same level of pain as childbirth (or anything compared to such) on my birthday.¬† Plus, it’s a no-go on the steroids.¬† I declined the injection.

I don’t think the doctor was very happy.

But, I no longer make decisions based on what other people think.  Yea 44.

I¬†walked out of¬†the doctor’s office and took my two daughters to lunch.

We chose a quaint, but popular tearoom because of the delicious, fluffy homemade bread and fantastic desserts.  (It was my birthday, after all.)  Plus, the restaurant is less than a mile from the podiatrist and my daughters love the food.

I ordered a salad with blue cheese dressing on the side (a BIG treat for me).  It was utterly divine.  I also ate a super yummy veggie sandwich with spinach, avocado and sprouts.  For dessert, I chose warm peach cobbler a la mode.  Cobbler of any kind is my fav.  DELICIOUS.

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My daughters and I stopped at Marshall’s and did a little shopping because my son’s girlfriend is graduating from law school in May and we need dresses.¬† A cute bag and a few tops made it home…but we were unsuccessful in the dress department.¬† My 13 year old daughter said I was too old to wear the one possibility.¬† Awesome.¬† Yea 44.

Once we¬†returned home, my girls started school, while I worked on laundry.¬†¬†A sweet friend sent me a reminder text–she needed something I stored in our safe.¬† Two days before, I stuck a reminder sticky note¬†on my mirror, but I forgot, of course–soooooo thankful for friends and reminder texts.¬† Yea 44.

As I dug in the safe, I came across my most prized possession.

In 1998, I took my son to the mall to get pictures taken–that’s what we did back in the day–long before beautiful outdoor location family photographers and cell phones with fancy cameras existed.

While I chose the pictures I wanted to purchase, my son (age 5) was getting restless.  From my purse, I hurriedly gave him a random receipt and a pen so he could doodle and be occupied for a minute.  He handed me this:

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“I love you Mommy so much that I want to squ (squeeze) the juice out of you.”

(He ran out of room for the E-E-Z-E.  lol.)

This piece of paper is my favorite thing.  Swaddled within a tiny pocket in my wallet for many years, I eventually placed it in a plastic baggie and tucked it inside a fireproof container.  A burglar would certainly be disappointed with the contents of our safe since it is full of memories and photographs.  Not money.  Like not a dime.  Yea 44.

The contents of that safe represent what we value as a family–ultrasound videos, pregnancy journals, thousands of photographs of our children, military medals and awards, birth certificates and our marriage license–our family treasures.¬† Yea 44.

Click here to read everything about my unusual family.

After reminiscing for an hour or so, I returned to the mountain of laundry.

I watched “Scrubs” on Netflix and drank some unsweet iced tea (my fav) as I sat on the bed and tackled the clothing.¬† Yea 44.

My sweet husband came home from work a little early with my favorite tofu spring rolls from my fav Vietnamese restaurant, a ton of fresh berries (my fav) and a box of Milk Duds (my fav candy).¬† My stomach was already¬†“iffy” from the dairy indulgence at lunch and¬†I didn’t want to add to the madness, so I skipped the candy.¬† Yea 44.

My birthday gift this year, you ask?  A ton of milkweed plants.  My daughters and I are passionately involved in providing food and habitats for the monarch butterfly migration through south Texas and my awesome husband bought all of this for our garden.  He is the best.

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My 13 year old daughter participated in a scheduled, 1.5 hour-long web meeting with her college French professor from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.. so we planned to stay home.

I¬†put on¬†my comfy PJ’s, finished the laundry and ate my spring rolls while sitting in bed and catching up with my husband’s daily events.¬† We binge-watched several more ‘Scrubs” episodes until it was time to call it a night.¬† Yea 44.

Throughout the day, I received sooooooooooooo many texts, calls, and Facebook birthday messages!  I felt like the luckiest woman on Earth.  The BEST day to be on social media is always your birthday, right?!?

I even opened my “real” mailbox to find a birthday card from one of my most treasured, lifelong friends–we met in 3rd grade.¬† How very lucky I am to still have her in my life!¬† Yea 44.

As I was closing my eyes to finally rest, I noticed an unfamiliar glow of light coming from the classroom.

Side note:¬† Our 11 year old sleeps on the floor of our homeschool classroom–it’s been 2 years now.¬† Yes, she has a bedroom and yes, she has a delightful bed and yes, she chooses to sleep on the hardwood floor.¬† Click here to read about my life with profoundly gifted children.

From my side of the bed, I can always see her little pile of blankets.   I asked her where the light was coming from and she said she was reading Harry Potter with a book light.  (This is the daughter that believes there is no benefit to reading fiction.)

She wanted to know what happens next in the story.

I smiled and told her she could read for as long as she wanted.  Then, I fell asleep.

Yea 44.

 

 


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Why Is Disney World So Important To My Family?

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Obviously, we love Walt Disney World.  I know I mentioned that my parents took me and my sisters there countless times.  And, I will admit, in the beginning of my own parenting journey, I took my children to Disney purely for the memories and nostalgia factor.

But, somewhere between 2011 and 2014, our family Disney vacations began to evolve and our time in the theme parks started to represent something even more powerful than pure entertainment.

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50’s Prime Time is my youngest daughter’s favorite¬†restaurant because she loves the history and culture of the 1940’s and 1950’s.¬†

 

It is as simple as this:

My profoundly gifted daughters can be themselves at Disney.

 

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My youngest, driving like a crazy person

 

They can act their chronological age and their mental age at the exact same time, without constantly being self conscious.

And, Disney¬†has become¬†our escape…An escape¬†from our extreme lives.

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Day-to-day, my daughters have to exist in an extreme¬†dichotomy of situations and they constantly have to choose which “version” of themselves to represent.

There is the college student version:  Responsible.  Mature.  Studious.  Goal oriented.  Attentive.  Serious.

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And, then there¬†are the little girl¬†versions…who still enjoy playing with Barbie dolls, sleep with stuffed animals and splash about in swimming pools.

A child-like calmness washes over my daughters when they step onto Main Street, USA.  Instead of college students, they are innocent children ready to tackle Splash Mountain!

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It is a surprising, odd and interesting phenomenon.

The simple joys of Walt Disney World rejuvenate their spirits and relaxes their chaotic brains.  Honestly, it does the exact same thing for me.

My family can¬†enjoy a 5 hour, 10 course dinner at Victoria and Albert’s, learn about hydroponic farming during the Behind The Seeds Tour, study marine life for hours at the Epcot aquarium and giggle uncontrollably while¬†spinning the tea cups inside Magic Kingdom…All in one day, if we choose.

Disney is the perfect balance of everything my family needs.

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Victoria and Albert’s.¬† December.¬† 2016.

 

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The joy of the tea cups!

 

 

It is freeing and playful.  It is educational, historical and cultural.  It is beautiful and majestic.

There is no other place like it.

 

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Do you want to learn how to plan a Walt Disney World vacation like a pro?  Click here.

Confused about the Disney dining plan?  Click here.

For a list of all character dining meals available at Walt Disney World, click here.

 

 

 


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5 BIG Surprises About My Life With Profoundly Gifted Children

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5 THINGS THAT MIGHT SURPRISE YOU ABOUT MY LIFE WITH EXTRAORDINARY CHILDREN:

1.  We cry A LOT in this house.

A few years ago, the wind swirled the air like a crazy late September hurricane.¬† In the car-rider¬†line at school, I opened the door to let¬†my daughter¬†out and¬†her science review sheet flew into the oncoming¬†traffic.¬† I tried to catch the flying paper, but the wind won‚Ķand it was quickly out of eyesight.¬† She knew the material‚Äďwe studied every night for at least a week.¬† But,¬†my oldest daughter¬†possesses a strong attachment to THINGS.¬† To most¬†EVERY thing.¬† She cares¬†DEEPLY and she cries INTENSELY.¬† She cries for the homeless.¬† She cries for orphans.¬† She cries for shelter animals.¬† She cries when people cheat.¬† She cries when something breaks.¬† And yes‚Ķshe cries for review sheets‚Ķfor 25 minutes‚Ķsobbing‚Ķin the school parking lot‚Ķcompletely devastated.

We cry a lot.

My youngest daughter, LOVES Elvis Presley and of course, she understands that he died years ago.  However, after watching a 4 hour documentary that ended with footage of his casket, my daughter was inconsolable.  Hyperventilating.  Crying out in pure pain and sorrow.  That session lasted a few hours.

Did I mention we cry a lot in this house?

I can think of at least 213 overly emotional stories.¬† The day my husband sold his car.¬† The day my oldest daughter¬†learned she was too young to get married.¬† The time she sobbed because she didn‚Äôt know about the permits needed to build an orphanage.¬† A dead butterfly on the driveway…

Moments like this happen every day.  Several times a day.

I cry, too.  My children require a SUPER MOM…there is NO down time and I worry about my inability to meet their unique needs.  I am ordinary.  I am tired.

This extreme parenting is sometimes just too overwhelming.

Please understand…our house is NOT a sad house.  My girls are just intense.  Emotionally intense.  They FEEL things and experience life on a plane of intensity unfamiliar to my ordinary emotions.  It’s just the way it is.

2.  We still nap.

A big shocker to most outsiders is that my 12 year old desperately needs a daily nap and my life semi-revolves around that schedule as if she was still 3 months old.  That child barely sleeps at night.  Her mind races and spins and dances and wreaks havoc all over this family.  A mid-day nap is an essential part of her survival and ability to function.  On the weekends and during summer vacation, BOTH girls take naps.  Active brains need rest.

3.  We are on a time limit.

With all her 5 senses, my youngest absorbs and filters up to 200% more information than the average person.  I assume my other daughter falls somewhere on that spectrum as well.  That’s a lot of stimuli.  If we are in a visually stimulating, academically engaging environment, time is ALWAYS ticking.  They can only take in so much before the migraines begin.  One daughter gets overwhelmed.  The other gets grouchy.  AND, they shut down.  Time to go home!

A challenging environment with crowds, loud noises, weird smells, or extreme temperatures causes severe anxiety.   I try to stay ahead of the meltdowns and some days, I successfully read the signals.  Other days, I fall victim to the chaos and suffer the consequences right along with my daughters.

4.  We are lonely.

My girls do not receive many birthday party invites.  There are no playdates.  No sleepovers.  No phone calls from friends.  And yes, my daughters still play.

At this moment in time, my daughters PREFER to play with each other.  I think they feel more at ease and can be themselves without feeling odd or weird or different.

I am lonely, too.  There are very few people I can honestly talk to without sounding boastful.  Negative judgements, strong opinions and criticisms come next.  Everyone gets a fraction, a small segment of the truth.  And, my social calendar belongs to my children.  Their needs come first.

5.  School and academics are NOT always easy.

It is an assumption (an incorrect one) that gifted children need very little to be successful in school.  Though my 12-year-old once powered through four years of math in 6 months and began her college career at age 10, she struggles to remember to capitalize the first letter of a sentence.  For real.

My 14-year-old won the public school (when she was 8) and homeschool spelling bee and read on a post college level at age 6, but failed the district reading benchmark test back in the day because her concrete mind can not process inferences or assumptions.  She DOES NOT understand sarcasm, joking or teasing.  She is a black and white thinker.  Right or wrong.  When it comes to reading comprehension, if the answer is not stated in the reading passage, she is utterly LOST.

This brings me to the evil lurking behind a profoundly gifted label:  It is called Asynchronous Development.  And, I HATE it.

Asynchrony is the state of not being synchronized.  (Who came up with THAT definition?)

Essentially, it presents itself as uneven development in¬†gifted kids.¬† Hence, the need to homeschool. We constantly remind ourselves (and others) that just because¬†my daughters are¬†advanced academically, it DOES NOT mean¬†they are years ahead socially or emotionally‚Ķand certainly not physically.¬† My youngest daughter is a 75 year old man trapped in a 12 year old girl’s body.

Asynchrony is confusing and frustrating and challenging.  Both girls suffer and excel at the hands of their asynchronous development.  It makes traditional schooling and most learning situations (and social interactions) very difficult.

So…

If given the opportunity,¬†especially if presented on a particularly challenging day, I would probably change all of this‚Ķif I could. IF I could pick and choose WHICH aspects stayed and which ones disappeared, I would jump at the chance to lessen the burden for my daughters.¬† YES I WOULD‚Äďin a heartbeat!

BUT, the over excitabilities and asynchronous development are part of a package deal.  They all go hand-in-hand with the profoundly gifted diagnosis.  I don’t get to pick and choose…and neither do my girls.  It is part of who they are and my job is to teach them how to manage and cope with ALL aspects of their abilities.

We choose to embrace the positive AND the negative, for without one there is NO balance or appreciation for the other.

It IS what makes them extraordinary.

 

 mono1

 

How did I become a homeschooling momma?  Read this.


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The Top 5 Reasons Why We Chose To Homeschool

By now, I hope you have read my 3 flashback posts. This is going to be super confusing if you skipped those!

Click here to read part 1.

Click here to read part 2.

Click here to read part 3.

With my son away at college and armed with the new information about my two daughters, I started on a quest to find the best academic fit for my girls. I Googled and read and emailed and contacted and toured and applied and did so many things…

Nothing was the right fit.

Enter HOMESCHOOL!

I won’t bore you with all of my thoughts, but homeschooling became the obvious option for our family.

This new adventure began in the fall of 2012 for my youngest daughter and in the fall of 2013, my other daughter joined us at home, too.

Hundreds of reasons came clearly into view once we researched what homeschooling is all about and once we started on this homeschooling journey, a million more became evident.

Here are the 5 BIG reasons we love homeschooling our profoundly gifted daughters:

1. Freedom to do education our way

Probably one of the most popular reasons to homeschool is the freedom our country gives parents to educate their children in a way that fits each unique family.

Yes, homeschooling is illegal in some countries, like Germany, and each state in the United States has its own laws to govern home education.

For my family, this freedom allows my daughters to both be enrolled in college and still study spelling, history and writing at home. We have the freedom to learn 4 years of math in 6 months…and yes, that happened.

There isn’t a public or private school out there that can meet the asynchronous academic needs of my daughters, hence the need to homeschool in the first place.

We can educated as quickly or as slowly as needed.

And, we always educate for mastery, not completion.

Yes, my daughters are in college. They started taking classes when they were 10 and 12.

2. Freedom of expression

I get it. My kids are unusual. I have working eyeballs and mommy friends and an active Facebook account…I see the way kids dress and the activities they enjoy doing with their friends.

My 12 year old runs her own charity and wants to open an orphanage. She is a 2nd degree black belt, a master speller and is a reading machine. The 11 year old loves Johnny Cash, Elvis, bones, primitive tools, dissections, oddities, conjoined twins and sign language. She wants to be a gynecologist.

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Not typical.

Got it.

My girls can be themselves without people constantly telling them how “weird” they appear…though it still happens once in awhile, the negativity does not consume them on a daily basis and I think it gives them each a chance to be comfortable in their originality and confident enough to withstand the occasional teasing.

3. Freedom to live anywhere

A year after we started our homeschooling journey, I realized we could live anywhere. School district boundaries no longer decided where our home needed to be built.

We moved to 5.5 acres so our girls could run and play and dig and go on adventures and just be outside!

Nature tends to calm the anxiety and frustrations of our youngest daughter and it is a peaceful environment for all of us!

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4. Freedom to explore interests

My oldest daughter loves marine biology. My youngest daughter is passionate about American Sign Language. Neither one of those subjects are taught in traditional public or private schools.

Homeschooling gives my girls the freedom to explore, study, research and enjoy whatever interests they choose to pursue–for as long as they wish.

It also gives me the freedom to pick and choose knowledgeable teachers to teach those different subjects.

5. Freedom to travel and learn “in person”

Ok, let me just say this now–NO, we did not choose to homeschool because we can travel to Walt Disney World whenever we want (preferably when the crowd levels are low).

BUT, it is a delightful perk of homeschooling! LOL!

Now that my daughters are both taking college classes, our travel options are not as open as they once were…however, my girls prefer to learn “in person”.

What does “in person” mean?

Hands on projects, experiencing academics–not just reading from a textbook.

We visit so many museums, experience so many cool adventures and focus on experiencing the learning process. Just wait for those review posts to start popping up!

We never read about something in a textbook and take a test the next day.

My girls want to build and create and be active learners–and I love the challenge of discovering how to make that happen– homeschooling provides the option to do just that.

That is why I am obsessed with museums. Click here to read a review of our favorite museum in Oklahoma!

So, now you know all about my little family.

I hope my honestly didn’t cause all of you to run for the hills.