Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How does Reese Learn?

Reese started reading at 2.5 years old, has a superb memory, learns effortlessly, draws incredibily and the last I checked he is reading comfortably at 11/12 year old level. He can read anything you give him with great comprehension. He has a vast vocabulary and speaks really well with almost no grammatical error. 

Teaching him is easy. Throw him a book and he will read and learn. If something interest him, he will dig deeper. My role is to supervise him. 

Reese doesn't like REPETITIVE work. He hates it. So whatever we learn has to be interesting and no repetition except math. Reese hates math because of the repetition. That I am trying my best to reduce to the minimum. 

He loves to draw. His drawings are very detailed and creative. How did he do it? It's an innate ability. No one taught him. One thing I observed, he has a habit of studying pictures/images of things he likes. If it's in a video, he will watch it and pause at his favourite building/structure and study it. He will do this repeatedly until he is bored. He is always on a look out for his favourite buildings/structures in books/videos/window displays and etc. He is very observant and no matter how minute a detail may be, Reese will notice it. He draws from memory and hardly makes mistakes in his drawing. He draws sponteneously. If you watch him draw, you will be amazed. No planning, no pausing... he just draws and in less than 15 minutes you will have an amazing piece of art! What's more, there is always a story behind each of his drawing.

When we had confirmation that he is a gifted child, I was all excited and happy. I was already planning what to teach him, accelerate his learning and even send him off to tertiary education when is around 13! Crazy mum huh? Well, Reese truly has the capacity to do that. BUT as time goes by, I realized that I am robbing his childhood. What's all the rush? If learning is easy for him then he should be allowed to enjoy the gift and use the additional spare time to pursue his interest or simply just have fun! Why does he need acceleration if he is not complaining? What good will that do him if he finishes his education early? Intellectually he may be advance but emotionally he is not. He has asynchronous development. 

I had tried using conventional materials to teach him but they are either too repetitive or boring. Reese does not need much pen and paper drills. I had to source for materials that are engaging with minimal repetition. 

Language Arts

He is doing 4th grade English.
We read books (Readers and read-aloud from Sonlight's core) and do discussion. Once in a while we do a worksheet or two on comprehension. Only problem is that he doesn't like to write sentences. Thus we often do worksheets orally. He will answer in full sentences. 

We are doing Jacob's Ladder Reading Comprehension Level 1 published by Prufrock Press for gifted children. It provides a map to follow which engages higher order thinking and takes the children far beyond the texts they are reading.

Grammar is also easy for him. Don't really need to teach him at this stage. I only taught him the parts of speech and some sentence structures. Worksheets for now is unnecessary. He just knows them even with 4th grade grammar!

Spelling comes naturally to him due to his strong foundation in phonetics. He is able to spell words easily. I just let him develop his spelling skills naturally.

Creative writing is one area that I am not really doing anything because Reese doesn't like to 'write'. In due time, I know he will excel in this area because he just has a flair for the English Language. 

Will be switching to Michael Clay Thompson: Language Arts Curriculum soon once I figure out how to get them to Malaysia. It is written specially for gifted children. The approach is totally different from what we are used to. Since MCT is written with gifted children in mind, there is basically no 'drill and kill' involved. 

MCT: “What I have tried to do is to create a language ecosystem, where all the texts confirm and involve the others, where every book is, in addition to propelling its own content forward, an environment of examples of the other books as well. I think this is essential; what we have done is to fragment the language arts, teaching vocabulary as though grammar did not exist, teaching grammar as though vocabulary was not relevant, teaching writing as though grammar was beside the point. Real language is interconnected and simultaneous, so the books need to be that way too. It is not a case of, we already did that, it is a case of, now we can see why the other study was so important. All of it applies to all of it.”


Reese likes science. Sonlight's Science module serves us well. Currently we are learning about animals around the world, land forms and the  countries that they are from. We also learn about magnetism and how certain things are made in factories.

We do this by reading, doing experiments/worksheets and watching documentaries. Reese especially likes how the human body works. His favorite set of science books has to be The Magic School Bus! 

Social Studies

We have been learning about cultures, people of the world and homes people stay in. Very soon we will be doing more in depth history of different civilizations. Reese is very good with mapping. He doesn't need practice with mapping. Just show him once or twice the location of a place, he will remember it. So far we have covered  many countries from all the 7 continents! Ask him where is Iraq or Hebrides and he will happily point out the places and he will also tell you what you can find there. We learn about different countries and places from books we read. They can be books from story books, science or social studies. Usually once we finish a story or chapter, I will take out the map and we search for the location of the places we read about. That is it. 


He is doing 2nd grade math. Taking his own sweet time. We have started multiplication and he is enjoying it. Reese is into word problems. We use Horizons Math as our core and just two days ago, as a supplement we use Challenging Maths published by  EPH Singapore. It has very challenging word problems which Reese enjoys. 

Very soon I will be getting Life of Fred Mathematics series to be used as a supplement. Written by Dr. Stanley Schmidt with the intent to make math come alive with lots of humor, clear explanations, and silly illustrations that stick in the mind. The student will learn to think mathematically. 

Critical Thinking Skills

We are doing a few books on a rotation basis. Usually 3-6 worksheets once a week or every 2 weeks. I use Mind Benders for deductive thinking skills and Building Critical Thinking Skills both by The Critical Thinking Co and for math we use Critical thinking Activities published by Dale Seymour Publication.


He sure learns fast! Not even 10 lessons with my mom and he recognizes and writes many Chinese characters. He only does about 10 to 20 minutes lesson with my mom. Glad that he likes it.

Bahasa Malaysia

Nil. Mummy has't started yet. :)


Reese is not into crafting. 


We have stopped his lessons because he is always bickering with the instructors and simply not very interested anymore. He also requested to stop going.

Field Trips

He enjoys them and love playing with the other kids. 


Reese's daddy constantly feeds him with new apps and games. Reese is quite an expert with his iPad. He is also very good at using Google search and Youtube. 


Not interested. Only occasionally dance to random music. Tried to expose him to piano but he is not interested.

To sum up, teaching Reese is very easy. All we do is read, read and read most of the time. I only dedicate 3 days a week for academic work that involves worksheets ( 90 mins). Other days are free and easy. We learn as and when we feel like it. Now I need to focus more on the physical side of things. Needs to get him to be closer to nature!! Really need to work on this area. 


Mumsgather said...

Reese is lucky you can homeschool him. Throw him into a chinese school environment with rote learning and he will detest it! You haven't mentioned music. Is Reese interested in music?

BabyBooned said...

reese is a great learner, and ure a great teacher :) i'm seriously thinking about homeschooling gibran... the seed is there but i am totally clueless.

A gift from God said...


Chinese school environment will definitely kill him! Reese is not into music. Did expose him to the piano, we go for MPO performances... and yet he is not interested. Occasionally he will dance to some random music.

Why not find a day and come visit me and see for yourself what Gib will learn if you homeschool him? There are many Muslim homeschoolers I know whom you can also talk to. :)