Marine Sciences for High School Credit Homeschool Style

In a previous blog, I explained that we broke up biology into three areas to cover evolutionary biology, marine biology, and genetics.  This blog contains the materials we used to cover called marine biology in a class I called “Marine Sciences with Lab.”  Due to the activities we did and the dissections my son performed at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, it was appropriate to consider this a lab-based science class.  It should also be noted Ocean First Education offers high school level marine biology classes online or in-person if you live in locations near them.  We did their online classes and added additional resources and experiences.

Online Class:

  • Marine Science 101 by Ocean First Education
  • Ocean Literacy by Ocean First Education
  • The Truth About Sharks by Ocean First Education
  • Camouflage by Ocean First Education

Additional Videos Used:

  • Why Whales Do That? by Pacific Whale Foundation
  • Explore Coastal Louisiana by USGS Science for a Changing World
  • Bill Nye Oceanography by Disney
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy: Ocean Life by Disney
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy: Ocean Exploration by Disney
  • Planet Earth by Discovery Channel (5 DVD collection)
  • Oceans 3D: Our Blue Planet by IMAX
  • Sharks 3D by IMAX
  • Ocean World by IMAX
  • Oceans: The Mystery of the Missing Plastic by Green Planet Films
  • Oceans by National Geographic
  • James Cameron’s Deepsea Challenge by Millenium

Additional Books Used:

  • One Well: The Story of Water on Earth by Rochelle Strauss
  • Horrible Geography: Odious Oceans by Anita Ganeri
  • Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion by Loree Griffin Burns
  • Come to the Ocean’s Edge: The Nature Cycle Book by Laurence Pringle
  • Water by Gerry Bailey & Steve Way
  • Sea Transportation by Gerry Bailey
  • Way Down Deep: Strange Ocean Creatures by Patricia Demuth
  • Giant Squid: Mystery of the Deep by Jennifer Dussling
  • Historic Hurricanes by Learning Resources
  • The Official Texas Hurricane Guide by National Weather Service Houston/Galveston
  • Water and Your World by Waterworks Education Center & City of Houston Department of Public Works & Engineering
  • Oceans by World Book
  • Oceans: A Visual Guide by Stephen Hutchinson
  • Oceans: an Illustrated Reference by Derrick A. V. Stow
  • The Highest and the Lowest by Katie Marsico

Dissections at the Houston Museum of Natural Science:

  • Horseshoe crab
  • Squid
  • Sea urchin
  • Sea star
  • Frog

Museums Visited & Other Experiences:

  • Snorkeling at Maui
  • Snorkeling at Lanai
  • Ocean beach exploration: Texa, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, New Zealand, and England.
  • Pacific Whale Foundation guided whale watching tour from Maui, including the use of a hydrophone
  • Atlantis Submarines Maui
  • Houston Aquarium
  • Sea Center Texas
  • Moody Gardens Aquarium
  • Houston Zoo Aquarium
  • Houston Museum of Natural Science
  • Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
  • Museum of Science
  • Maui Ocean Center
  • Cape Cod National Seashore (junior ranger badge earned)
  • Biscayne National Park (junior ranger badge earned)
  • Underwater Explorer (junior ranger badge earned)
  • Glass Bottom Boat Tour of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
  • John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park



Evolutionary Biology for High School Credit Homeschool Style


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Most high schools require biology for high school graduation.  However, around us, high school biology does not do an adequate job of exploring evolutionary biology.  Thus, we divided up biology to allow a greater depth of study.  This blog is about how we covered evolutionary biology.  A future blog will be about marine biology and another about genetics.  We called our class Evolutionary Biology and the following are the materials we used.

Videos Used:

  • Evolution: Constant Change and Common Threads by Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • Darwin’s Secret Notebooks by the National Geographic Channel
  • The Day the Mesozoic Died by Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • Bones, Stones, and Genes: The Origin of Modern Humans by Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • EVO: Ten Questions Everyone Should Ask About Evolution by Hummingbird Films
  • Evolution: Fossils, Genes, and Mousetraps by Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • Animal Life in Action: Evolution by Schlessinger Media Science Library
  • The Making of the Fittest: The Complete Series by Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Books Used:

  • Cycles of Life: Evolution by Andres Llamas Ruiz
  • Big History: From the Big Bang to the Present by Cynthia Stokes Brown
  • Eyewitness Science: Evolution by Linda Gamlin
  • Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth by Jay Hosler
  • Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Michael Keller
  • Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be by Daniel Loxton
  • Evolution by Discovery Channel School Science
  • Horrible Science: Evolve or Die by Phil Gates
  • The Tree of Life: Charles Darwin by Peter Sis
  • Our Family Tree: An Evolution Story by Lisa Westberg Peters
  • Living Fossils: Clues to the Past by Caroline Arnold
  • Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution by Steve Jenkins
  • One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin by Kathryn Lasky
  • Evolution: The Story of Life by Douglas Palmer & Peter Barrett

Museums Visited:

  • Houston Museum of Natural Science
  • Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
  • Museum of Science, Boston
  • Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology
  • Harvard Museum of Natural History
  • Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History
  • Discovery World Science and Technology Museum
  • Explora
  • Canterbury Museum
  • Telus Spark

Roadschooling the Davis Mountains of Texas: the Hahn’s Crazy Christmas Camping Adventures


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Those of you who follow our adventures in homeschooling know that we utilize travel as a serious part of our education plan.  And, I often use the terms roadschooling or worldschooling depending on where we go and what we do. Basically, roadschooling is simply the act of learning on the road.  Some of our previous worldschooling adventures can be seen here and our last roadschooling adventure can be read here.  This time our adventures were known as the Hahn’s Crazy Christmas Camping Adventures in the Davis Mountains.  It truly was fun but a crazy adventure because of all the changes that had to be made.

The original plan was for two days camping at Davis Mountains State Park and then 3 days camping at Big Bend National Park.  It is a long drive, one way driving time is just under 9 hours from our house to Davis Mountains State Park. Big Bend National Park is a couple hours further which is why we were breaking up the trip.  However, due to waiting for my iron infusions to be completed before making reservations, Big Bend was sold out so we booked 5 days at Davis Mountains State Park with plans to do at least one day trip to Big Bend.  Sadly, the day before our departure, the partial federal shutdown began which meant another shuffle of plans. Thankfully, I had a list of options. After 3 nights of camping, we had to leave the Davis Mountains due to weather causing another shuffle of plans.  We received a national weather alert regarding wind advisories: 25-35 mph sustained winds and gusts up to 50 mph. 2 hours after we left they updated it to 30-40 mph sustained and gusts up to 60 mph. We couldn’t stay tent camping, so we moved our to one of the last few hotel rooms in Alpine, TX and started the trek back to Houston one day earlier than planned.  Thus, I will list where we actually went, the original places, and the optional places for those who want to travel to this side of Texas.

Here is what we actually did:

  • Davis Mountains State Park (They have tent campsites, RV sites, and a lodge for those who don’t want to camp.  We did tent camping. The park rangers were awesome!!! And, the Lodge looked amazing. The park has nice trails and 2 different bird blinds or wildlife observation areas.  Although no cell service, they do have wifi at the Lodge and their interpretive center.)
  • McDonald Observatory (We reserved the 2.5 hours guided tour and solar observation. It was a great tour!!!  They also offer star viewing parties with advanced reservations but due to the holidays, there were none being offered.  For those short on time, there is a visitor center.)
  • Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute Nature Center (This is a really neat place.  Our visit was shortened by the incoming storm.  We couldn’t see the mountains we had just left and it was quickly approaching here.  In addition, our son had a fall into cacti that resulted in us removing cactus spines for 30 minutes–always pack tweezers).
  • Marfa Airport & National Landmark of Soaring (We stopped at the gate but the airport was closed so we couldn’t see the official landmark.)
  • Chinati Foundation (One part is free, other parts are paid admission.  It is an art museum in a converter military fort. Original barracks and remodeled buildings from Fort D.A. Russel are still there.)
  • Marfa and Presidio County Museum (Tiny, free, and worth the visit.)
  • Marfa Lights Viewing Area (Quick stop between Marfa and Alpine, also sits on the old Marfa Army Field.)
  • Museum of the Big Bend (Tiny, more modern than the museum in Marfa, free, and totally worth the quick visit.)
  • Caverns of Sonora (We learned about them on the way out, so when we got forced off the mountain we made sure we could stop on the return drive to the Houston area.)
  • Cascades Cavern (We learned about this from the hotel in Boerne.  Stopped after check-out and before driving home. A neat cave and very different from Caverns of Sonora. This cave has living creatures and lots of flowing water.)

Here is where we originally planned on going:

  • Fort Davis National Historic Site (This was closed due to the partial government shutdown.  It was gated closed with posted closure signs. We pre-printed the junior ranger badges so we could still work on them and will mail them in.  You could see the fort from afar both from the road and from up high in Davis Mountains State Park.)
  • Nature Conservancy Davis Mountains Preserve (Due to holidays, no scheduled activities.  But you can call in advance to make special arrangements.  They also have open public days throughout the year. However, the weather caused us to leave the area.)
  • Big Bend National Park (Although the news reported it was “open”, the park was considered closed.  A National Park Service Ranger distributed flyers to the hotels and state parks indicating which roads would be open but that no visitor centers would be open, no facilities/bathrooms would be open, no trash service, Boquillas Crossing was closed, and no rescues.  You would have to call 911 for emergencies. The rangers at Davis Mountains State Park and the guide from McDonald Observatory were advising everyone to stay out of the national park. Thus we stuck to working on the junior ranger badges we pre-printed.)

Here were additional backup options:

  • Rattlers and Reptiles (Was closed for the holidays)
  • Fort Leaton State Historic Site (Due to change in weather and closed on the holiday, never made it there.)
  • Big Bend Ranch State Park (Due to change in weather and closed on the holiday, never made it there.)
  • Monahans Sandhills State Park (This is opposite direction from the route we chose when we were forced off the mountains early.)

Roadschooling Savannah, Georgia


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Those who follow our adventures in homeschooling know that we utilize travel as part of our education plan.  I often refer to our adventures as roadschooling or world schooling depending on where we went and what we did.  Roadschooling is simply the act of learning on the road. Learning occurs in more than just the four walls of a school or a house. Some of our previous world schooling adventures can be seen here and our last roadschooling adventure can be read here.  This time our adventures were to the Savannah, Georgia area due to the family moving there just this past April.

Here is what we did with our extended family in the Savannah, Georgia area:

  • Telfair Museums (Jepson Center for the Arts, Telfair Academy, and the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters–for those going, Owens-Thomas House cannot accommodate large groups unscheduled and you will need to call ahead to make arrangements)
  • Colonial Park Cemetery (many historic graves are marked and historical markers throughout)
  • Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (worth listening to the architecture tour)
  • Lafayette Square
  • Telfair Square
  • Wright Square
  • Oglethorpe Square
  • Savannah River Street
    Ways Station Train Stop
  • J.F. Gregory Park
  • Fort Pulaski National Monument (can earn a junior ranger badge, we happened to be there during their Veteran’s Day special events)
  • Tybee Island Beach
  • Cay Creek Wetlands Interpretive Center
  • Tivoli River Kayak launch
  • Spirit of Peace Lutheran Church

I considered this trip to Georgia more of a roadschooling trip than a world schooling trip due to the shortness of the trip and the fact that we have family living there now.  I also have to give thanks to my BIL for being a great tour guide and a great planner. We both came up with lists of things to see and do and divided them up nicely across the days.  It was a great mix of history and outdoor adventures. In addition, we had the grandparents visiting from WI at the same as we were there so we could do an early Thanksgiving. The cousins had a blast together.  There is way more to explore with them, so, we will be back!

Photography for High School Credit, Homeschool Style



Our son is partaking in a semester-long introduction photography class for teens at the Houston Center for Photography.  To build upon these lessons and increase understanding of the art of photography we have supplemented the class to make it worth high school credit.

Here are the resources we used to go above and beyond the in-person class:


  • Fundamentals of Photography (Great Courses) – 24 college level lectures
  • Masters of Photography (Great Courses) – 24 college level lectures


  • Photography by Annie Buckley
  • Introduction to Photography: A Visual Guide to the Essential Skills of Photography by Mark Galer
  • Make it Work: Photography by Andrew Haslam & Kathryn Senior
  • Click Click Click! Photography for Children by George Sullivan
  • Digital Camera School: The Step-by-Step Guide to Taking Great Pictures by Ben Hawkins

Museums Visited:

  • Houston Center for Photography
  • The Museum of Fine Arts Houston
  • Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
  • Lawndale Art Center
  • Houston Museum of Natural Science
  • Moody Center for the Arts
  • Station Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Diverse Works

Covering High School Health Homeschool Style


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Most high schools have a health course requirement for graduation.  Thus, we created our own Health class.  I also have a separate Human Anatomy class planned for high school credit too.  I must add that there are several book titles geared specifically to boys that we have read and discussed.  These authors have similar book titles geared specifically to girls.  We felt it was imperative to cover all possible topics within health.  The following is our Health course class description and documentation.

Books Used:

  • Simply Science: Body & Health by Gerry Bailey & Steve Way
  • What’s In There? All About Before You Were Born by Robie H. Harris
  • What’s the Big Secret? Talking About Sex with Girls and Boys by Laurie Krasny Brown & Marc Brown
  • On Your Mark, Get Set, Grow! by Lynda Madaras
  • Changing You: A Guide to Body Changes and Sexuality by Dr Gail Saltz
  • Asking About Sex & Growing Up by Joanna Cole
  • What’s Happening to My Body Book for Boys by Lynda Madaras & Area Madaras
  • It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health by Robie H. Harris & Michael Emberley
  • American Medical Association Boys Guide to Becoming a Teen: Getting Used to Life in Your Changing Body by Amy B. Middleman & Kate Gruenwald Pfeifer
  • Horrible Science: Disgusting Digestion by Nick Arnold
  • Horrible Science: Deadly Diseases by Nick Arnold
  • Horrible Science: Bulging Brains by Nick Arnold
  • Know Your Blood Type by Eldon Home Kit HKA 2511 (book & lab experiment kit)
  • Nutrients for Life by Nutrients for Life Foundation
  • Horrible Science: The Body Owner’s Handbook by Nick Arnold & Tony De Saulles
  • Horrible Science: Blood, Bones, and Body Bits by Nick Arnold
  • What Would You Do? Moral Dilemmas by Michael Baker


Videos Used:

  • Brain Games by National Geographic
  • How Microbes Rule the World by STEM: Teach Outside the Book & Cerebellum
  • Vaccines: Calling the Shots by NOVA
  • Blood Detectives by Joseph Lovett
  • Nutrition Detectives by David & Catherine Katz
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy: Heart by Disney
  • Greatest Discoveries with Bill Nye: Medicine by Discovery School
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy: Respiration by Disney
  • Gun Safety: Guns Are Not Toys by Good Bodies
  • The Dangers of Smoking by Schlessinger Media


Museums Visited:

  • John P. McGovern Museum of Health and Medical Science
  • Houston Museum of Natural Science

Intro to Engineering homeschool style



Intro to Engineering with Lab is the name of one of our homeschool high school classes.  Our son has always been interested in electronics and engineering so this kind of class should be no surprise.  The following is our course description and documentation.  Ironically, it does not list everything we’ve used and covered nor every place we have toured!

Books Used:

  • The Way Things Work by David Macaulay
  • How It Works: Gadgets by Steve Parker
  • Marshall Brain’s More How Stuff Works by Marshall Brain
  • The Lego Technic Idea Book: Fantastic Contraptions by Yoshihito Isogawa
  • 101 Questions & Answers How Things Work by Reed International Books
  • The Lego Technic Idea Book: Simple Machines by Yoshihito Isogawa
  • The Way Things Work by Simon & Schuster
  • The Big Book of Hacks: 264 Amazing DIY Tech Projects by Popular Science
  • Structures: Discover Science Through Facts and Fun by Gerry Bailey & Steve Way
  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamaba & Bryan Mealer
  • Fifty Machines that Changed the Course of History by Eric Chaline


Videos Used (DVD sets or video courses):

  • How It’s Made: Auto by  Science Channel
  • Making Stuff 2: Wilder, Colder, Safer, and Faster by NOVA & PBS
  • How It’s Made by Science Channel
  • Everyday Engineering: Understanding the Marvels of Daily Life by The Great Courses
  • Understanding the Inventions That Changed the World by The Great Courses
  • How We Got To Now: The History and Power of Great Ideas by PBS
  • Ultimate Factories by National Geographic
  • The Impossible Flight: Solar Impulse by NOVA
  • Super Structures by Madacy Home Videos


Science/Lab Kits Used:

  • Hydrodynamic Deluxe Building Set
  • LEGO Pneumatics Set
  • STEM Challenge Cards
  • Zometool Kits
  • Power House
  • Q the Robot
  • Lego Education Renewable Energy
  • 3Doodler Create
  • Makeblock Starter Robot Kit
  • Flexo
  • Legos
  • Lego Mindstorms NXT
  • Tinker Crate Kits
  • Rumble Lab Kits
  • Monoprice Maker Select Plus 3D printer
  • Drones
  • Civil Air Patrol Units
  • 4 in 1 Hydraulic Machines
  • Ford STEAM Experience: A Lesson in Automotive Engineering
  • Smart Car Robotics
  • Pico Sky-Z Steam Turbine
  • Solar H2O Heater Kit
  • Taking apart major appliances and electronics


Museums Visited:

  • Houston Museum of Natural Science
  • Space Center Houston
  • NASA Johnson Space Center Lab Tours
  • Houston Children’s Museum & Maker Lab
  • Houston Community College Manufacturing Lab
  • Boston Museum of Science
  • MIT Museum
  • The Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments – Harvard University
  • Discovery World Science and Technology Museum
  • Telus Spark
  • Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
  • Oshman Design Engineering Kitchen Tour at Rice University
  • Opus College of Engineering Tour at Marquette University
  • Physics Festival at Texas A&M University
  • Harley-Davidson Museum
  • Mercedes-Benz Museum
  • Porsche Museum
  • International Antarctic Centre


Profoundly Gifted, Just The Facts



I have a page called “What is Gifted?” that I wrote years ago with information on what giftedness is due to the many myths out there.  Sadly, the myths and misinformation continue to be pushed about giftedness and research ignored. James Webb, the founder of Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG), died earlier this year.  He was considered one of the pioneers in gifted research.  His research, as well as the research of others in the field of gifted education, should not be ignored.  Instead, we need more gifted advocates and education advocates collaborating together to raise awareness and to implement best practices for students with gifted differences.  The best practices for gifted students can benefit all students. Thus, in order to provide just the facts, I’m reposting the article What Does “Profoundly Gifted” Mean? FAQ for Parents and Educators from TPPG  that was written by EmilyVR . She currently serves as the SAGE Chair for RISD Council of PTAs and as Vice Chair for the TAGT Parent Division.  Sources are found at the end of the article.

What Does “Profoundly Gifted” Mean?  FAQ for Parents and Educators

What does the “profoundly gifted” label mean, and why is it significant?  Please see below for frequently asked questions and answers from TPPG leaders, drawn from the work of psychologists and educators who study and work with profoundly gifted students.

How do you define “Profoundly Gifted?”

Experts define PG using evidence of an extreme level of ability and/or achievement.  The Davidson Institute defines profoundly gifted students as “those who score in the 99.9th percentile on IQ and achievement tests” (Davidson Institute).  In the past, using IQ tests yielding scores above 160, including the WISC-IV extended norms, experts described scores above 130 as “moderately gifted,” above 145 as “Highly Gifted” (HG), above 160 as “Exceptionally Gifted” (EG), and above 180 as “Profoundly Gifted” (PG) (Gross, 2000).  Using the most recent versions of intelligence tests, scores ≥ 145 qualify for services through the Davidson Institute and for membership in TPPG (Davidson Institute; current January 2018). TPPG accepts either ability or achievement scores ≥ 99th percentile.

As a child’s ability and achievement scores increase, according to experts who work with the profoundly gifted, the level of academic work the child can perform (and will need in order to stay challenged and motivated) is likely to increase.  Disabilities, low socioeconomic status, and other factors at school and at home can contribute to gaps between ability and achievement. Professionals who work with profoundly gifted children find that they differ from other gifted children in additional ways, such as greater sensitivity, more extreme concerns about adult worries, and greater challenges in finding like-minded peers (“Serving highly & profoundly gifted learners,” 2009).

Why are different categories needed when describing gifted abilities?

While all gifted children share certain common challenges, some face added challenges which require different educational services and interventions. In the field of gifted education, groups facing extra challenges are called “special populations.”  Special populations include culturally, linguistically, or economically diverse students (CLED), twice-exceptional (2e) students, highly to profoundly gifted students, students impacted by gender and sexuality, urban gifted students, and rural gifted students.

Just as medical diagnoses help doctors prescribe the right course of treatment, parents and educators find that gifted categories can help educators “prescribe” services and interventions which have been shown through research to result in student success and positive outcomes.

Why are there services for just PG families?

Profoundly gifted children need inclusion and advocacy from organizations dedicated to all gifted children, but because of the extreme nature of their needs and characteristics, these students and families often need additional, dedicated support.  Many PG students need radical acceleration (3+ years beyond age-grade), and parenting these children comes with unique challenges. The goals of PG parents are the same as the goals of all parents: to support the social and emotional wellness of their children, and to allow their children to reach their potential.  The parenting journey often looks different for PG families, and parents need information, support, and guidance from other parents and professionals who understand these differences. It is important for PG children to have access to other children who share their characteristics and needs.

Some researchers express concerns about the limitations of IQ and achievement data, particularly when assessing children from diverse populations.  When seeking an evaluation for suspected PG level needs, parents concerned about these limitations may wish to inquire about options to submit alternative evidence of ability, such as portfolios, student interviews, or information from adults familiar with the child’s development.  Just like other gifted students, PG children exist in all cultures, racial and ethnic groups, and income levels. Advocates for the profoundly gifted hope that identification practices will continue to improve.

What is acceleration?

As defined by the Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students, acceleration is the “strategy of mastering knowledge and skills at rates faster or ages younger than the norm” (Texas Education Agency, 2009).   Publications by the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa summarize research on several forms of acceleration, including full grade acceleration (grade skipping), subject acceleration, curriculum compacting, early kindergarten entry, early college entry, and concurrent enrollment (Assouline et al., 2015).  According to researchers, when a gifted student is a good candidate for acceleration, “evidence on the effectiveness of acceleration is very positive. For example, contrary to many people’s expectation, the evidence shows that acceleration does not damage students socially or emotionally. In fact, grade skipping has been found to aid social relations (as well as academic achievement), while concurrent enrolment has been found to enhance psychological adjustment” (Bailey et al., 2004).  A careful evaluation of a student’s ability needs, achievement levels, and other characteristics can help parents and educators work together to make appropriate educational placements. The Iowa Acceleration Scale can offer assistance in making full-grade acceleration decisions (Assouline et al., 2009). Parents who choose to homeschool profoundly gifted children often use a combination of online courses and traditional curriculum materials.

Can students with disabilities have PG level abilities?  

Yes!  Children with both disability needs and gifted needs are called “twice-exceptional,” or 2e.  Disabilities can impact academic achievement and ability testing, however, which can make PG abilities more difficult to identify.  When parents of a child with a disability seek testing to identify gifted needs, they may wish to ask how the disability could impact the child’s assessment.  Subject acceleration may be recommended to provide challenge in areas of strength for 2e profoundly gifted children with extremely asynchronous development.

In students with identified gifted needs, the child’s abilities can also mask symptoms of a disability and delay diagnosis (Webb et al., 2016).  A number of psychologists, diagnosticians, and other professionals are familiar with the diagnosis of disabilities in the gifted population.

Should the PG label be used in Gifted Education?

In education, any use of labels may involve pros and cons.  TPPG leaders are aware that many students with extreme ability needs remain unidentified, and we are concerned about the needs of all gifted children.  However, just as the “gifted” label allows educators to study and identify certain educational interventions for above-level ability differences, the “profoundly gifted” label is needed for the same reasons.  Without a way to research, discuss, and teach to the extreme differences of the profoundly gifted – academic, behavioral, and emotional – parents and educators cannot advocate for research-based interventions shown to prevent misdiagnosis and underachievement.  Different levels of ability and achievement require different interventions, and in our current educational system, labels can successfully connect student needs with educationally appropriate solutions. From the perspective of families living with PG children, declining to identify and name these abilities and differences would be the equivalent of refusing to identify other significant learning differences.

I am an educator or professional who works with gifted children, and I would like to learn more about the needs of profoundly gifted children.  Where can I learn more?

Educators can join the Educators’ Guild of the Davidson Institute (, may wish to consider some of the resources below, and can contact their district’s GT department or state GT organization to request professional development on special populations in gifted education, including the highly to profoundly gifted.  Your interest and support is critical in helping these children to reach their potential. We thank you for seeking to learn more – these students and their parents will be grateful!

Sources and Further Reading

Assouline, S., Colangelo, N., Lupkowski-Shoplik, A., Lipscomb, J., & Forstadt, L. (2009).  Iowa Acceleration Scale Manual, 3rd Edition.  Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential Press.

Assouline, S. G., Colangelo, N., VanTassel-Baska, J., and Lupkowski-Shoplik, A. (Eds.) (2015).  A nation empowered: evidence trumps the excuses holding back America’s brightest students.  University of Iowa.

Bailey, S., Chaffey, G., Gross, M., MacLeod, B., Merrick, C. and Targett, R. (2004).  Types of acceleration and their effectiveness. Canberra, Australia: Department of Education, Science and Training.  Retrieved from the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, Web.

Davidson Institute.  IQ and educational needs.  Retrieved from the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, Web.

Foley Nicpon, M. (2009).  Tips for parents: advocating for the 2E child and the profoundly gifted in a traditional school setting.  Davidson Institute for Talent Development. Web.

Gifted Development Center.  Educational planning for highly to profoundly gifted children.  Web.–profoundly-gifted

Gross, M. U. M. (2000).  Exceptionally and profoundly gifted students:  an underserved population. Understanding Our Gifted, Winter 2000.

Gross, M. U. M. (2010).  Exceptionally Gifted Children.  Second Edition.  New York: Routledge.

Gross, M. U. M. (2006).  Exceptionally gifted children: long-term outcomes of academic acceleration and nonacceleration.  Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 29(4), 404-429.  Abstract available on web.

Gross, M. & Van Vliet, H. (2005).  Radical acceleration and early entry to college: A review of the research.  Gifted Child Quarterly, 49 (2).  Retrieved from web.

Henshon, S. E. (2009).  Serving the needs of highly and profoundly gifted children: an interview with Linda Silverman.  Systems, 19(1), 1-5.  Center for Gifted Education, The College of William and Mary.  Retrieved from web.

Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page.  Highly, exceptionally, and profoundly gifted (resource list).  Web.

Jackson, P. (2011).  Highly gifted learners.  In J. A. Castellano and A. D. Frazier (Eds.), Special populations in gifted education: understanding our most able students from diverse backgrounds.  Waco: Prufrock Press.

Jackson, P. (2006).  Tips for parents: an integral approach to the social and emotional development of the profoundly gifted.  Davidson Institute for Talent Development.  Web.

K., Carolyn (2012).  What is highly gifted?  Exceptionally gifted? Profoundly gifted?  And what does it mean? Web.

Manning, S. and Besnoy, K. D. (2008). Special Populations. In F. A. Karnes and K. R. Stephens (Eds.), Achieving excellence: Educating the gifted and talented. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

National Association for Gifted Children.  Acceleration. Web.

National Association for Gifted Children (2010).  Use of the WISC-IV for gifted identification: position statement.

Ruf, D. L. (2009).  Five levels of gifted.  Scottsdale: Great Potential Press.

Schultz, R. (2006).  Tips for parents: the social/emotional needs of the highly/profoundly gifted individual.  Davidson Institute for Talent Development. Web.

Serving highly & profoundly gifted learners (2009).  Gifted Education Communicator, 40 (4), 1-48.  Web.

Texas Education Agency (2009).  Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students.

Wasserman, J. (2006).  Tips for parents: intellectual assessment of exceptionally and profoundly gifted children.  Davidson Institute for Talent Development. Web.

Webb, J. T., Amend, E. R., Beljan, P., Webb, N. E., Kuzujanakis, M., Olenchak, F. R., Goerss, J. (2016).  Misdiagnosis and dual diagnosis of gifted children and adults. Tucson: Great Potential Press.

Organizations for Profoundly Gifted Children

Davidson Institute for Talent Development:

Daimon Institute for the Highly Gifted:

PG Retreat:

Texas Parents of the Profoundly Gifted:

Support for Gifted Families in Texas

Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (join as a parent member!) –

List of TAGT-affiliated Parent Support Groups (PSGs) in Texas:

© 2018 Texas Parents of the Profoundly Gifted (TPPG) Board and TPPG Advocacy Liaison (Emily VR).  Although reasonable effort has been made to present accurate information, TPPG makes no guarantees of any kind about the information above, including accuracy or completeness. Use of such information is at the sole risk of the reader.  This article may not be reproduced or transmitted without permission. For questions or comments, please contact

This blog article is part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page Blog Hop on “Just the Facts.”  I thank my friends at Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page and elsewhere for their inspiration, support, and suggestions.

Please click on the graphic below (created by Pamela S Ryan–thanks!) to see the other Hoagies’ Blog Hop participants, or cut and paste this URL into your browser:


Roadschooling to Huntsville, TX


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I know I just wrote about our summer roadschooling trip to Austin, TX.  So, I’m a little late on writing about our one day roadschooling trip to Huntsville, TX for a day of history. Roadschooling is the act of taking learning on the road.  Afterall, learning occurs in more than just the four walls of a school.  Roadschooling is just one part of our homeschooling adventures.  And, this past spring break for our friends we planned a day trip to Huntsville, which is about 90 minutes north of us.

Here is what we did in order:

Sam Houston Statue (9-5, there is a visitor center too, free)
1327 11th St, Huntsville, TX 77340-3811

Samuel Walker Houston Memorial Museum & Cultural Center (9:30-4:30, free, and was extra special as we got to talk with ladies that went to the school prior to desegregation and they had stories about Samuel Walker Houston’s family)
1604 10th St.  Huntsville, Texas  77340

Sam Houston Memorial Museum (9-4:30; adults $5, children $3
1402 19th St Huntsville, TX 77340

Texas Prisons Museum (10-5, adults $5, children $3, even has information on the old prisoner lease system and the old prisons in Sugar Land)
491 State Highway 75 N, Huntsville, TX 77320

HEARTS Veterans Museum of Texas (10-5; adults $8, children $3, next door to the TX Prison Museum)
463 State Highway 75 N.  Huntsville TX 77320

And back-up or alternatives we had on our list:

Gibbs-Powell House Museum/Walker County Historical Museum (only open on Fri & Sat. 12-4, adults $4, kids $3)
1228 11 St. at Avenue M.   Huntsville, TX

Huntsville State Park (kids are free non-peak rate is $5 per adult)
565 Park Road 40 West, Huntsville, TX 77340

Our children and we as adults learned more on this trip than what was ever talked about in school! Get inspired!  Go out and explore because the best way to learn history is by experiencing it and seeing it in these museums.

Roadschooling Austin



Roadschooling is the act of taking learning on the road.  Afterall, learning occurs in more than just the four walls of school.  Roadschooling is just one part of our homeschooling adventures. Sometimes roadschooling means worldschooling, travelling beyond our state and sometimes beyond our country.  See here for some of our worldschooling adventures.  Every summer we take a mini-vacation or roadschooling adventure with one of our friends.  It is just us two moms and our 5 kids combined. We pick a city and then I put my research skills to the test to create both fun and educational itinerary.  This year was Austin! And, due to how successful our trips have been I decided to share what we did for others planning a trip with children to Austin.

Here is what we did in order:

Leaving Houston:

Blue Bell Ice Cream (pit stop that is about halfway between Houston & Inner Space Caverns, 1 scoop costs $1, has a tiny museum that is free)  1101 S Blue Bell Rd, Brenham, TX 77833

Inner Space Caverns (15 minutes from hotel) 4200 S. I-35 FRONTAGE RD. GEORGETOWN, TX 78626  (Print out $1 off each ticket coupon)

First full day:

Austin Nature & Science Center in Zilker Park (9-5, free, limited parking)  2389 Stratford Dr, Austin, TX 78746

Barton Springs in Zilker Park (5am-10pm, closed Thursday, adult $8, under 11 is $3, over 11 is $4)  2201 Barton Springs Rd.  Austin, TX 78704 (2206 William Barton Dr. address to the parking lot)

Beverly S. Sheffield Education Center (10-5, free, closed Mondays, next door to Barton Springs & same parking lot)  2206 William Barton Dr.  Austin, 78746

Capital Cruise Bat Boat Tour (tours are at 8:00pm, must be at the dock by 7:30pm and must make a reservation in advance, very limited walk-ins if any allowed) Capital Cruises Dock (Lakeside of the Hyatt Hotel with a paid parking garage, closest)
208 Barton Springs Road  Austin, TX 78704

Second full day:

Bullock State History Museum ($13 adults, $9 kids, additional costs if doing the special movie or the IMAX movies, has its own parking garage located on 18th Street, on the south side of the Museum.  If parked here, only 4 blocks from Capitol.1800 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701

State Capitol Visitor Center (free, perfect bathroom stop before governor’s mansion) 112 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78701

2:00 Tour of the Governor’s Mansion (free, south of the capitol, closer to visitor center, would be almost 1 mile from Bullock State History Museum, must make reservation in advanced due to background check, and not allowed to bring any bags, food, or drinks as well as no public bathrooms while there)  1010 Colorado St, Austin, TX 78701 (street parking or park at visitors center parking garage)

State Capitol (free tours, long hours to enter, metered street parking or use paid Visitor Center Parking lot at 1201 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78701)  1100 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701

Oasis Restaurant on Lake Travis (30 minutes from the hotel, no reservations are taken) 6550 Comanche Trail, Austin, TX 78732

Final day and departing back to Houston:

Street Art in Austin (free):

  • North of the river, direct path from the hotel to chocolate place:
  • I Heart Austin by Gerardo Arellano: 5134 Burnet Rd (closest to the hotel)
  • Austin Eye Chart: 5209 N Lamar Blvd
  • Rainbow Birds: 120 W N Loop Blvd
  • Austin, Texas: 3700 Guadalupe St
  • Austintatious: 23rd St Artisan Market, 23rd & Guadalupe
  • HOPE Outdoor Gallery: W 11th St & Baylor St
  • Austin Howdy at 601 W 6th St
  • Austin at E 6th St & SB I-35 Access Rd (6th St Historic District by Sanctuary Printshop) & Cat is opposite corner of the Austin one (closest to chocolate place)

Maggie Louise Chocolate Atelier & Boutique (Tuesday-Sat 10am-6pm)
1017 East 6th Street  Austin, Texas 78702

Blue Cat Cafe ($5 cover per person to play with cats, the menu is fully vegan for food) 95 Navasota St, Austin, TX 78702

Here are some additional options that were on our back-up or alternatives list:

Austin Street Art South of the river (free):

  • Smile: S Congress Ave & Elizabeth St
  • Give: 1401 S Congress Ave
  • Home Slice: 1415 S Congress Ave
  • Horse: 1700 S Congress Ave
  • Your Essential Magnificence 2204 S. Congress Ave.
  • Vintage RCA Dog: S Congress Ave & W Johanna St
  • Greetings from Austin Postcard: S 1st St & Annie St
  • Austin City Panorama: S 1st St & W Stassney Ln

Texas Military Forces Museum & Camp Mabry (Free, 10-4, closed Mon., West of Austin on way to Lake Travis)  The Texas Military Forces Museum is located in Building 6 on Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas. The street address of Camp Mabry is 2200 West 35th Street. The mailing address is P.O. Box 5218, Austin, TX 78763. The GPS address is 3038  W 35th St. Austin, Tx 78703. The former entrance to the post was blocked in 2001, the current entrance is on Maintenance Drive. Adults must show valid ID at security gates to enter the base.

The George Washington Carver Museum And Cultural Center (free, 10-5, metered street parking, near TX State Cemetery and chocolate place)  1165 Angelina Street Austin, TX 78702

McKinney Falls State Park (free with state park pass, otherwise daily entrance fee, can swim in Onion Creek and see waterfalls as long as no flooding has occurred)  5808 McKinney Falls Parkway Austin, TX 78744

Circuit of the Americas (would not be open but could drive to it to see it, this is where grand prix races are held and other car & motorcycle races are held) 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd, Austin, TX 78617

And, here are backup pit stops or places to break the drive up between Houston and Austin via 290:

Texas Cotton Gin Museum (free)  307 N Main St, Burton, TX 77835

Texas Tin Haus (just a park, look, picture stop as it is down the street from the Texas Cotton Gin Museum)  12400 E Texas St, Burton, TX 77835

Toubin Park (free, tiny historic & preserved park with old water cistern working) 208 S Park St, Brenham, TX 77833-3646

Brenham Murals (There are also 18 murals in the downtown Brenham but need to have the Brenham app to get the directions once in Brenham)

Obviously, there is way more to see and do in Austin.  My son and I have been there numerous times and have visited many other spots.  Maybe some of these mentioned here are new to you.  Hopefully, this will inspire you to get out and go explore!