Advice requested: Online/distance math for gifted child

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Kiley
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18 May 2010, 1:15 pm

I know there is at least one math teacher who reads these boards so I'm hoping to get some advice.

My littlest guy is very unique. His brothers are Aspies, but nobody knows what to make of him. His IQ is very good but doesn't reflect his actual demonstrated abilities especially in the area of mathmatics. He was non-verbal (productive, not receptive) until he was 5, and at the age of 7 started displaying prodigious academic talent at about the same time he rapidly became verbal. He was diagnosed as PDD-NOS at 5, but now tests as not in the spectrum at all. His academic needs are profound. He is insatiable.

He's had a terrible time in school this year as his teacher can't handle kids who are different and seems to especially dislike gifted students. Thankfully the year is nearly over. Next year my son has permission to substitute his regular math curricula with an outside program provided it covers the areas required in our state for 4th grade. He's applying to the Davidson Institute distance program who might be able to provide guidance to us, but his test scores are a little short of their standards, and I need to get things going so they are in place by the end of July (school starts early here).

We are looking at Standford's distance program. I've been trying to get ahold of someone at ZoomMath. There is another program we like at Northwestern, but their math class wouldn't meet the GA standards for his grade and he'd have to do an independant study. We want a program that provides a tutor/mentor who is a certified teacher, which will make the school feel a lot better about the whole situation.

Does anybody have any ideas or suggestions? We are in Georgia.



Jaydog1212
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18 May 2010, 10:03 pm

Link: Johns Hopkins University - Center for Talented Youth

From website: "CTYOnline offers gifted students in grades pre K-12 challenging academic course work throughout the year. We bring together the best resources for each course, which may include multimedia resources, interactive whiteboard, web-based classrooms, texts, student guides, and CD-ROMs. Each student works with a qualified CTY faculty member who provides guidance, feedback, encouragement, and evaluation. CTYOnline courses are available year-round. "



Kiley
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19 May 2010, 12:31 pm

Jaydog1212 wrote:
Link: Johns Hopkins University - Center for Talented Youth

From website: "CTYOnline offers gifted students in grades pre K-12 challenging academic course work throughout the year. We bring together the best resources for each course, which may include multimedia resources, interactive whiteboard, web-based classrooms, texts, student guides, and CD-ROMs. Each student works with a qualified CTY faculty member who provides guidance, feedback, encouragement, and evaluation. CTYOnline courses are available year-round. "


Too expensive, but yes, they are awsome. I also like the family educational trips they have. Sigh. I've got their catalog here. There are some oceanography courses that my middle son would give his left arm to participate in (he's a lefty). Stanford is roughly a third of the cost, if I've got the information straight. Northwestern has something but only their customizable option would work as their programs start at 8th grade and my son's got some holes to fill in before he's ready for that (maybe next year).

I can't find anything else out, except for the Davidson. We'd be doing their program by distance so he'd not be taking their classes. We'd have to move to NV. His scores are not quite up enough for them. He hits the 99.9 percentile in some things, but he's a little short in others, even got a mere 87percentile for one thing. At least they are considering him. All they'd do is consult and give us advice about which courses to buy, though.

His middle brother has the IQ for all that but not the motivation. Go figure. Maybe later, and definitely oceanography.



mgran
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19 May 2010, 12:41 pm

Depending on how gifted he is, you could always use these free resources from the Open University (a British distance learning university.) My son gets his science material from here, as well as other sources. http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/

Check out all the links you think might be of interest... their science is very interesting, I think your son might like the Mathematics and Statistics material, and the Science and Technology stuff... and the best of it is that it's all free. If you have any questions you can always log into their forum, and get more feedback from other learners.

You'd be surprised how many aspie kids benefit from learning at a tertiary level.



Kiley
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19 May 2010, 1:04 pm

mgran wrote:
Depending on how gifted he is, you could always use these free resources from the Open University (a British distance learning university.) My son gets his science material from here, as well as other sources. http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/

Check out all the links you think might be of interest... their science is very interesting, I think your son might like the Mathematics and Statistics material, and the Science and Technology stuff... and the best of it is that it's all free. If you have any questions you can always log into their forum, and get more feedback from other learners.

You'd be surprised how many aspie kids benefit from learning at a tertiary level.


Thanks. I'll check that out. I've been looking for links through www.hoagies.org, which is an excellent clearing house for gifted education information, but I'm not finding exactly what I need. I don't want to pull this child out of school as he really likes having friends, and with two Aspie brothers at home it's not always easy to get his social needs met. School isn't necessarly a great place to meet social needs, but right now it's his best chance at it.

It's hard to tell how gifted he is exactly. He has a very unique brain and probably has some kind of neorologic anomally. His test results don't fit any diagnosis, but they are clearly very different. His IQ score wasn't that high, it was higher than most people, but not as high as his academic performance indicates it should be. He doesn't exactly fit the profile of someone who is clinically divergent either. He didn't speak until he was 5, is a total perfectionist and drives himself. His areas of most profound ability are kind of scattered, not all in math and not all in language, kind of mixed up.

He is so capable in so many areas, but there are only so many hours in a day. I want him to explore some things but not exhaust himself.

My grandmother was a child prodigy early in the last century. She went so far in such a short time, then sort of coasted intellectually. I don't want him to do that, and I want him to be happy.



justMax
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19 May 2010, 2:13 pm

What sort of reading habits does he have, and what sort of materials does he have access to at home?

I used to read myself to sleep with encyclopedia volumes, I imagine he would enjoy a big dry text on mathematics, the methods, formula, the kinda stuff most people get glazed eyes/nosebleeds just looking at.

I have this book sitting around I got a ways back at a bookstore near me, can't find it atm, but it was just a big lump of info.

Would he be beyond stuff like this: http://www.amazon.com/Things-Everyone-S ... 0967802032?

http://sciencenaturally.com/files/Conde ... 01Math.pdf

http://sciencenaturally.com/files/Endor ... 1-Math.pdf


This site looks good atm, but I'd vet it and make sure all the links are safe, the books look good though.

http://101science.com/math.htm


Oh!

Get him one of these: http://www.casio.com/products/Calculato ... /FX-115ES/

Image

I just sit and play with it, he'll probably spend hours going over the little booklet it has on how to work the various modes, figure them out, figure out what the various calculations do by directly trying them, etc.

Compared to the $120 TI calculators, this thing gets reviews of being "90% of the TI value, for 10% of the price, if you don't need graphing capabilities, you will LOVE this" everywhere.



Kiley
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19 May 2010, 3:18 pm

Thanks Max,

He has good reading habits but does odd things with language aquisition. He forgets words a lot. He had very odd language development in the first place. It's been tough for him because stuff on his level is boring, and with his vocabulary issues he's really not ready to read what he's ready to read. Don't misunderstand. His vocabulary is incredible for a kid his age, just not incredible enough to support the kind of complex thought he's really into. Thankfully that's an area I can help him with.

I'll check out those websites later. The one an earlier poster sent looks really good for all my kids.



justMax
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19 May 2010, 3:52 pm

Grab one of those calculators, give him the booklet that comes with him, let him play with it, I guarantee he'll love it, and the mathematical writing in the booklet is very straightforward when you have the calculator there to reference/poke at. Best $20 I've spent in a loooooooong time.



Kiley
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19 May 2010, 4:51 pm

I might just do that. He's got a birthday coming up.

He just took the test to get into Stanford's gifted kid program. I didn't tell him how important it was because he'd totally stress out, overthing it and blow it big time. Supposedly he's not really in the spectrum, but he can melt down like a big dog! He's now sitting next to me looking at the Open Learn website. I'm going to check your links and pass them on to him. He's asking me for geometry games. Lately he's really liked geometry.

Hmm, now that he's in here alone I should ask him what he was trying to say about the 4th dimension. Later maybe I can corner his older brother and do the same. As long as they don't talk about it in the same room there should be no blood shed.



Kiley
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19 May 2010, 4:53 pm

PS I spent a huge chunk of my childhood parked in front of our family's Encyclopedia Britanica. My sister and i could go for hours looking for bizarre pictures and then reading about them.



justMax
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19 May 2010, 5:06 pm

Show him this, see if he can cross his eyes and see it.

If not, try to put a finger in front of you, about halfway between you and the screen, focus on it and move it back/forwards til the cubes are merged behind it, then move your finger.

Your eyes should lock on the central one naturally.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXYXuHVTS_k[/youtube]

Then let him play with this: http://www.learner.org/courses/mathillu ... dimension/

I am big into geometry as well, and love that site.

This site too: http://www.mathematische-basteleien.de/hypercube.htm

Geometry is fun in 2D, fascinating in 3D, but whoa, 4D stuff is mindblowing.

http://www.lifeactionrevival.org/4-cube.html


Edit: another way to do the stereoscopic thing is to practice looking out a window at a tree, focus on the tree, then the glass, then the tree, then the glass, get used to that feeling of activating those eye muscles.

The try to focus on the air between the window and you, between the window and the tree. Then try to focus your eyes past the computer screen, like you're looking at the wall behind it, and pull back til you're focusing on the air in front of the picture. Once the objects come together, your brain locks in pretty readily, assuming it's a distant object/3D object accordingly.



mgran
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19 May 2010, 5:21 pm

Kiley wrote:
My grandmother was a child prodigy early in the last century. She went so far in such a short time, then sort of coasted intellectually. I don't want him to do that, and I want him to be happy.
I was considered a child prodigy (won a scholarship at 15 to study poetry with a nobel prize winning author) and was expected to go very far. Instead, after university, I kind of cracked up and drifted. It's more important to be happy than excellent when you're a kid... I can tell you that from experience. Sounds like you have a very healthy attitude. To be honest, if coasting intellectually made your grandmother happy, that's a good thing. I nearly died from the effort to continue to excel.



Jaydog1212
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19 May 2010, 8:10 pm

Kiley wrote:
I know there is at least one math teacher who reads these boards so I'm hoping to get some advice.

My littlest guy is very unique. His brothers are Aspies, but nobody knows what to make of him. His IQ is very good but doesn't reflect his actual demonstrated abilities especially in the area of mathmatics. He was non-verbal (productive, not receptive) until he was 5, and at the age of 7 started displaying prodigious academic talent at about the same time he rapidly became verbal. He was diagnosed as PDD-NOS at 5, but now tests as not in the spectrum at all. His academic needs are profound. He is insatiable.

He's had a terrible time in school this year as his teacher can't handle kids who are different and seems to especially dislike gifted students. Thankfully the year is nearly over. Next year my son has permission to substitute his regular math curricula with an outside program provided it covers the areas required in our state for 4th grade. He's applying to the Davidson Institute distance program who might be able to provide guidance to us, but his test scores are a little short of their standards, and I need to get things going so they are in place by the end of July (school starts early here).

We are looking at Standford's distance program. I've been trying to get ahold of someone at ZoomMath. There is another program we like at Northwestern, but their math class wouldn't meet the GA standards for his grade and he'd have to do an independant study. We want a program that provides a tutor/mentor who is a certified teacher, which will make the school feel a lot better about the whole situation.

Does anybody have any ideas or suggestions? We are in Georgia.


I love the Khan Academy (free). Sal is the king of math/science videos.
Khan Academy
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6l8-1kHUsA[/youtube]
He has a web app that will keep spitting out problems until you have mastery of the subject. (It appears to be down right now - maybe he is updating it).



Kiley
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20 May 2010, 11:14 am

Thats a wondeful website! It wouldn't replace the curriculum we'll need to get to fulfill the schools requirements but it's definitely going to be a resource we can use if we get stuck on any particular topic.

My little guy took the entrance exam for the Stanford kids program and passed. Now I'm waiting to see if I can get the gifted program at his school on board.



Kiley
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20 May 2010, 11:21 am

mgran wrote:
Kiley wrote:
My grandmother was a child prodigy early in the last century. She went so far in such a short time, then sort of coasted intellectually. I don't want him to do that, and I want him to be happy.
I was considered a child prodigy (won a scholarship at 15 to study poetry with a nobel prize winning author) and was expected to go very far. Instead, after university, I kind of cracked up and drifted. It's more important to be happy than excellent when you're a kid... I can tell you that from experience. Sounds like you have a very healthy attitude. To be honest, if coasting intellectually made your grandmother happy, that's a good thing. I nearly died from the effort to continue to excel.


That's just it. I don't think it did make her happy. She had a kind of tough childhood. Her mom had some problems that made things really hard for her. She retreated into academics. She skipped six grades and then went to University at a very young age. She graduated suma-cum laude (Spelling? My latin isn't so good) at a time when women didn't normally even go to school. She went into music, but I think that had more to do with it being a respectable choice for a young woman at that time than it being her first love. She ran a small music school out of her home all her life and always worked, but I think she could have been a lot happier doing something much more challenging. My grandpa, her husband, had a really great career. I think if she'd been born today she'd have gone into physics or math and been much happier with it.

My little guy is interested in a bunch of things. He's very gifted in many areas. He is a very good writer. He loves human anatomy especially bones and nerves. He is really into greek mythology and wants to study the ancient greek languages so he can read the original works in their original languages (I explained that they came out of oral tradition so the "original" isn't really written). He's really good at math and at the moment is all about geometry. He loves rabbits. He could do so many things in his life and I don't want him to limit himself or get him stuck on a track that only goes one direction.



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20 May 2010, 5:03 pm

Sounds similar to me, I used to inscribe greek alphabets on things, memorize the english alphabet backwards, whatnot.

All my years of reading anatomy texts means I can still draw a human skeleton from memory (I don't claim artistic talent, as I suck at creative art, but I am good at reproducing what I see in my head generally), complete with muscle attachment points, vary it based on sex, age, etc. Can see a three dimensional cutaway of someone to quite accurately diagnose where/why they hurt/are uncomfortable, same with animals.

Ever seen those visible man books with the clear pages that overlapped the bones/organs/etc page by page?

He'd probably LOVE that, sounds like.