Zome Dome NEST Ed Home


“We are ready to greet all the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum May Blog Hop visitors” Retweet told me
“We will be displaying the use of Zometools for the Tips, Toys, Tricks and Tools for Gifted/2E Kids blog hop.”

“Welcome to our Zome Dome NEST Ed Home!” chorused Tweetil and Tweetelle.

Retweet has chosen not to let her two tweetlets fly with the local flock but has chosen to continue to teach them using  NEST Ed – Nest Education System of Training.

I am not surprised that Retweet has chosen to display Zome. I love Zome too!
It can be used to illustrate principles and concepts of maths, especially geometry from simple Platonic solids through to very complex 3D constructions; as well as architecture and engineering, physics and chemistry, art and many other disciplines.

Concepts such as proportion, fractals, symmetry, minimal surfaces, surface tensions, polyhedra, tessellations, trusses, lattices and space frames can be investigated while having great fun playing with Zome.


And then there is Bubbleology!
Blowing bubbles is always fun but it is even more fun when combined with weirdly shaped bubble frames made with Zome.

There are  many Zome teaching units freely available in PDF form on the Zome website at http://www.zometool.com/resources-for-educators/

Playing with zome can lead to learning about so many things!
Geodesic domes, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geodesic_dome
R Buckminster Fuller, http://www.bfi.org/about-fuller
The Eden project http://www.cornwall-online.co.uk/attractions/eden/edenproject.htm

“We will stay here to greet all the visitors,” said Retweet “but please can you go on the blog hop and bring back news of all the tips, tricks, tools and toys that the others are discussing?”

So we are going on the Hop, collecting tips and leaving comments.
If you would like to come on the blog hop with us you can follow the links at http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/blog-hops/special-tips-toys-tricks-tools-gifted2e/


Staying motivated throughout the homeschool year


Sprite and her friends are joining in the first Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Blog Hop for 2014 which deals with the challenge of staying motivated throughout the homeschool year.

The Tweet family of Twitter Birds who live at Sprite’s Site are teaching their tweetlets at home using the NEST Ed method.
Retweet says that she has experienced difficulty with maintaining motivation for the whole year but that she has found a number of strategies that were helpful.

Intellectual Dabrowski had encouraged her to watch

RSA Animate Daniel Pink The surprising truth about what motivates us

It discussed Intrinsic /extrinsic rewards and interest and engagement as sources of motivation
Retweet had tried using the reward of digital badges as motivation

Get in the Flow
The Psych-Owl-Ogist advised Retweet to “Get in the Flow”
He told her that in order for students to be engaged in their learning it is important to pitch the teaching at what Dr Katherine Hoekman would call ‘the eyebrow wrinkle level’ of challenge – possible to attain with effort – but neither impossibly difficult nor far too easy.

He also referred her to the TED talk about Flow at http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow.html
Professor Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi’s work, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, notes that people are happiest when they are in a state of flow when they are completely absorbed in the activity at hand and nothing else seems to matter. For the state of flow to occur the challenge of the task and the ability of the performer need to be matched. The task should be neither too easy nor much too difficult.

Columbus Cheetah agreed it was important for Retweet to start at the right level and work at a suitable pace in order to keep the tweetlets engaged in their studies and added that they should also be given opportunities to spend time with true peers.


PBL – Project/Problem/Passion Based Learning

Retweet had seen how disastrous it could be when the tweetlets were not interested in their studies https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/05/24/the-psych-owl-ogist-5/

Intellectual Dabrowski had suggested the use of PBL – Project/Problem/Passion Based Learning and Retweet had incorporated project work in the areas that the tweetlets were passionately interested in to their studies.
Retweet had included some theme studies such as the study of luck https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/lucky-i-had-my-lucky-_________-with-me/  and arranged for the tweetlets to build kites. She had encouraged Tweetelle in her love of painting and suffered cracked ear wax as Tweetil mastered the drums.

She had incorporated some Online courses such as the ones offered by Gifted Homeschoolers Forum  http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/ghf-online/
Khan Academy etc. and various universities and programs and tutorials such as Scratch http://scratch.mit.edu/


Vocational guidance

Giving the tweetlets some insight into future careers by taking them to Work Experience Week at the Twitter Stream for Vocational Ed studies had also provided a sense of purpose for the tweetlets. It broadened their awareness of careers that are available and what subjects should be studied in order to prepare for them.


Participation in Global Projects
After I participated in the Global Education Conference I brought back to Sprite’s Site information about making connections with others by joining in global projects such as World Museum World Friends Project, Peace One Day, Dream flags, My Hero and Flat Stanley. Retweet was quick to see that collaborating with others around the world and sharing their work with a real audience would be great motivation for her tweetlets.

Find mentors or tutors

Imaginational Dabrowski had suggested to me the benefits of finding a mentor for Sprite https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/purple-riding-boots/

“I love the idea of a mentor for Sprite!” Imaginational said “She could go and listen to her mentor giving lectures and show her the things she has been working on and the mentor could suggest books for her to read and send her encouragement notes. And if the mentor has overcome difficulties too she could help Sprite overcome her difficulties and not feel embarrassed about wearing one pink slipper. And she could come and visit and we could all look at the stars together”
We found Paula the Physicist who shares Sprite’s love of astronomy and she has been a great source of encouragement and motivation for Sprite.


A recent gtchat discussed the value of mentoring for gifted learners http://globalgtchatpoweredbytagt.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/mentoring-gifted-learners/

Retweet agreed that finding mentors was a great way to encourage motivation and engagement. The Psych-Owl-Ogist had advised her to engage mentors and tutors or take courses with specialists in specific subjects and had suggested that she could share the teaching of
Migration and Navigation with Arctic Tern
Business Studies with the Secretary Bird
Collecting and curating with Bower Bird
Humour with Kookaburra
Carolling with Magpie
Theatre with Lyrebird
Elocution with Parrot

Retweet said that her tweetlets loved the sessions they spent with their mentors and tutors.


This is a post in the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum February 2014 Blog Hop: Staying motivated throughout the homeschool year

To read all the posts from the blogs participating in this blog hop please see http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/?p=3285


The Twitter Stream 3


It is Work Experience Week at the Twitter Stream and both the Tweet family and the Promoted family have gone to show their tweetlets what work at the Twitter Stream entails.

A simulation exercise of a Fail Whale Removal was staged in order to promote interest in the Emergency Services as a career path for tweetlets. Barrow Bird demonstrated how to run out the carry away net. RunRun Bird handed out helium balloons shaped like Emergency Services workers to the tweetlets. Promoted donned an orange hardhat and explained that sometimes when an excessive number of tweets were put into the Twitter Stream a Fail Whale would swim into the stream from the ocean and clog it. When that happened it was the duty of the Emergency Services workers to place carry away nets around the whale and take it back out to the ocean before it became completely beached.

(“Beached az… Bro!” interjected a heckler with a Kiwi accent.)

Tweetil was very excited by the display and said that if he could not be Leader of the Great Migrations he would like to be a Twitter Emergency Services worker.

But Tweetelle’s reaction took almost everyone by surprise.
“Why isn’t anyone looking after the whale?” she asked. She ran to the lemonade stand and grabbed one of the jugs and started to pour water over the Fail Whale.

After the demonstration of the removal of the Fail Whale Tweetelle was still upset.
“Why don’t they fix the entrance to the Twitter Stream so that even if more tweets are put in it will not open the stream to the sea and let the whale in?” she demanded. “And why is the whale being treated as a villain to be removed rather than a victim who has to the rescued?”

Retweet was not surprised at Tweetelle’s emotional reaction or by the very different viewpoint she was expressing. She remembered the quote about the nature of giftedness from Annemarie Roeper which the Psych Owl Ogist had shown her.


“We could talk to a software engineer about it. Maybe we could do some problem solving projects about it in our NEST Ed” Retweet said.

The Twitter Stream 2


It is Work Experience Week at the Twitter Stream and both the Tweet family and the Promoted family have gone to show their tweetlets what work at the Twitter Stream entails.

“We are going to see the latest news about the celebrities” announced Trending, herding her tweetlets towards the part of the Twitter Stream where the ENews hashtag posts were being fed into the stream.

“Well, hop to it, chickees!” said Great Aunt Hashtag “Go and find Justin Tweeber!”

There was a chorus of “WHO?” from Tweetil and Tweetelle.

“How can they not know who Justin Tweeber is?” Great Aunt Hashtag demanded of Retweet. She rummaged in the storage compartment under the seat of her walker and produced a poster. “There! That’s Justin Tweeber. I am sure Trending’s tweetlets would recognise him. What on earth are you teaching these tweetlets in your NEST Ed studies, Retweet?”

Retweet thought to herself that she was very grateful they had decided not to send their tweetlets to the local flock and continued with teaching them at home by NEST Ed.
She fought back the urge to say “We study the dynamics and physics of flight, migration patterns, geography, geology, astronomy and meteorology, navigation, fractals, chaos theory, food preparation, ethics and morals, philosophy, comparative religion, art, music and communication skills”

She contented herself with saying “The tweetlets are too young to learn about the lives of celebrities!”

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Bloggers Group Blog Hop: Stealth Schooling


I found Sprite  making preparations for Sprite’s Site’s participation in the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Bloggers Group Blog Hop on the topic of Stealth Schooling.

“Retweet wants to come with us” Sprite said “She is having problems with getting Tweetil to learn the things she wants him to learn. She thought she might be able to get some NEST ED tips.”

You may remember that the Twitter Bird Tweet family had decided not to send their tweetlets to FLOCK Ed but to continue with NEST Ed. If this is your first visit to Sprite’s Site you can read the stories about the Tweet family here https://spritessite.wordpress.com/tag/tweet-family/

“Can we go now?” pleaded Sprite “Do I have to hop all the way?”

Before I could reply there was a deep warning growl from Intellectual Dabrowski.
“No, you can’t go yet! The whole idea of a Blog Hop is that Jo has to write a post about the topic for people to read when they come here while we are off looking at what other people have posted on their blogs.
Jo needs to write about how she used Stealth Schooling when she was home schooling her children. I hope she can remember – it was a long time ago.”


I do remember our home schooling days well and I do remember some of the stealth methods I used and also the learning by stealth which just happened naturally.

When we started home schooling I was very formal. It was almost a case of school in the home. We had timetables (the children had helped to create the timetable; so they had some feeling of ownership and control). I had chosen the text books and other materials we would use. We had spent time with an education consultant who tested and determined the levels at which we should start and also where gaps in learning existed.


But as we progressed we became less regimented and less dependant on adherence to the timetables and the text books. This allowed the children to continue working if they were engrossed in a subject and me to schedule visits to the library, museum, art gallery, plant nursery, etc. when it suited us. I realised the value of reading for enjoyment and ceased needing to see a tangible product to illustrate each piece of learning.

However, as I did want to have a record of the learning which I could produce for the Education Department if necessary, I kept records of the activities and the learning.
For example on one occasion I found Christian watching TV. Instead of turning off the TV and telling him to get back to work I sat down to watch it with him. The program was Big Cat Diary. Later he put the information he had learned into practice by playing a computer simulation of a wildlife ranger caring for a pride of lions. I wrote up my journal for the afternoon as


The formal learning schedule suited our daughter very well but not our son. He liked to direct his own learning. Teachers aim for their students to become autonomous learners so that they will be well equipped for future tertiary studies and for whatever problems and dilemmas life will deal them. However when students are truly autonomous they are not really easy to teach! But they can be guided and encouraged by some stealth schooling!


Some of the stealth learning was completely serendipitous. For example when we found a possum which had been hit by a car and took it to the local vet the possum had to be euthanized; but the baby in her pouch was given to the “Possum Lady,’ a wildlife carer, to raise. She visited us and brought some possums and gave the children a wonderful lesson which incorporated Biology, English and Art.


Some of the stealth learning grew out of interests. Christian was interested in science fiction, fantasy fiction and Arthurian legend. This led to him corresponding by email with the secretary of the Society for Creative Anachronism at a local university. Thinking she was writing to a fellow university student she invited him to a meeting and later we were invited to a medieval feast event and learned a great deal about medieval arts and crafts, games, food, clothing and armour.


We sampled a number of languages with a course called L.O.T.E. Pot Pourri which I wrote for the children. We had a group of characters from various countries who shared their languages and customs with us. We learned how to be polite and basic things like counting, colours and days of the week and learned songs and carols in several languages. Christian decided he would like to learn Russian.


Other stealth learning came about through interactions with people, groups and courses on the Internet. There were opportunities such as email chess matches, learning MOO code, Visual Basic and HTML, participating in serial fan fiction writing and creating video clips.

Maths was a subject which involved a great deal of stealth learning such as investigating the current cost of giving the gifts in the Twelve Days of Christmas song and edible maths calculations of percentages and ratios and creation of graphs using M&M chocolate buttons.
Learning about complex 3D shapes was disguised as making Christmas decorations


And I was the instigator of some of the stealth learning simply by bringing home a stack of interesting books and videos and just leaving them on the coffee table or by arranging visits to interesting places with interesting people.


“That is really sneaky!” said Sprite “Would you do that to me?”
“No, I just set up the telescope for you in the garden” I replied


P.S. Just two days ago I received a book in the mail which I would have loved to have owned when I was homeschooling. I will be reviewing ‘Did you ever wonder?’ by Jon Barell more fully later but I could see that it could provide a rich source of stealth learning and so asked a few questions about that when I wrote to thank IB for sending the book


Allie McKay, Acquisitions Editor, IB Publishing
International Baccalaureate Organization replied
“Although John partnered with the IB to publish the book, he wrote it for a much wider audience than just IB teachers and students, and readers don’t need to be familiar with the IB to find it useful. We hope that all educators, parents, and anyone who has a hand in raising children can be inspired by the ideas for maximizing kids’ curiosity.

Your potential post on stealth learning sounds really great, and you might be particularly interested in the chapters on “playing with possibilities” and “playing the games of imagination” from Did You Ever Wonder, which include some very fun examples of learning through dramatic play, sports, and stories.”

The book is available from http://store.ibo.org/maintenance.php

This was a post in the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Bloggers Group May 2013 Blog Hop: Stealth Schooling.

Blogs in the series can be read at

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

Wenda Sheard JD PhD

Building Wingspan

Cedar Life Academy

A voracious mind

Mommy bares all

Thea Sullivan

Chasing Hollyfeld

Little Stars Learning

How to work and homeschool

Buffalo Mama

Chance to Shine

Sprite’s Site


Socialization 2

The Psych-Owl-Ogist listened intently to Retweet’s concerns about the earworm Tweetil had contracted after the visit of Trending and her tweetlets, Promoted Jnr and Popular.

“It seems to me you have a bigger problem than just an earworm” he said. “You remember when I told you https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/the-psych-owl-ogist-2/ how the higher the IQ was the smaller the percentage of the population it represented;
and that this could make it difficult for Tweetil and Tweetelle to fit in and that it was very likely that they would choose older tweetlets and adult Twitter birds for their friends. The problem they have with socializing with age peers is not related to your decision to continue with NEST Ed!”

“What you need to do is try to find some true peers for the tweetlets. I suggest that you join a parent support group or take some courses at the community centre in the subjects they love. You might also find some like-minds at the library, museum or planetarium.”

“For example” said the Psych-Owl-Ogist “when Owls who are interested in folk music want to meet others like them they go to a hootenanny!”

Often you can find great programs being held during the holidays. Humans can find information about holiday programs suitable for gifted children in the Gifted Resources Extension and Holiday Programs Newsletter.
The Autumn 2013 issue can be read at http://www.giftedresources.org/gr/files/newsletter2013/grnewsholidayapril13.pdf

Retweet was delighted to find that the Un-Olympics Bower was offering many interesting courses during their holiday program and that many bright eyed tweetlets of all ages had enrolled.




“But what about socialization?” Great Aunt Hashtag had demanded of Retweet “That is the main problem with NEST Ed. Your tweetlets don’t spend any time learning how to get along with tweetlets their own age. No wonder they are so strange!”

“That is not true!” Retweet had replied “They spend time with Twitter birds of all ages.”

But when she thought about it afterwards Retweet had to concede that her tweetlets preferred the company of older Tweetlets and adult Twitter Birds.
She decided to invite her friend Trending whose tweetlets Promoted Jnr and Popular were the same age as Tweetil and Tweetelle to visit.

Retweet had known Trending for a long time but since Trending’s marriage to the entrepreneur Promoted and the arrival of the tweetlets Retweet had lost touch with her.

Retweet found that Trending had not changed very much.
She still kept up a lifestyle of whirlwind social engagements with a very large circle of friends and acquaintances.
She still knew all about popular music and fashion and the lives of celebrities.
Of course she was very proud of her tweetlets
Promoted Jnr was building a powerful social network by attending Fine Feathers as his father had done and Popular was flying with the local flock and gathering quite a flock of followers according to Trending.
Promoted Jnr and Popular had all the latest  gadgets, devices, phone apps, music players and games and prattled on about them non-stop.

Promoted Jnr played one popular nesty rhyme over and over with the volume on the maximum setting. Tweetil listened to it while he bounced on the trampoline but Promoted Jnr did not want to take a turn at bouncing.
Popular did not want to pat Tweetelle’s caterpillar or paint on the easel. Popular was very engrossed in preening but it was a very different style of preening from the Preening 101 course which  Tweetelle had studied and she was not really keen to discuss the details with Tweetelle.

Retweet breathed a sigh of relief when Trending and her tweetlets went home.
Unfortunately the noisy nesty rhyme had lodged itself in Tweetil’s brain and he could not stop singing it.
“You have caught an earworm” Retweet said and contacted the Psych-Owl-Ogist for advice.

“Sometimes I think socializing with age peers is over-rated!” said Retweet.