I don’t write much about raising gifted children these days because I’m still living it. Also, a few years ago after the school principal advised that the best way to get my older son the challenge he needed was to homeschool, well, I just lost my mojo. In retrospect, I kinda wished we had homeschooled him, but no life decision takes place in a vacuum. There is no edutopia, but there are trade-offs. Maybe we made the right ones.
At any rate, the school recently experienced a good deal of administrative turnover due to a retiring superintendent and a principle who got a newly minted advanced degree and moved on. I’m willing to call it good turnover in that these were natural progressions, it’s not like the former folks quit or there’s a revolving door. That kind of thing really stinks for a school community.
So even though my oldest is in high school and my baby is an 8th grader with one foot out the door just a week into the school year, I decided to schedule a meeting with our new principal and student services director to talk about gifted issues. My hope is that things will be better for parents who come after me.
They were good listeners and offered appropriate and politically correct answers. There was some discussion- Why did we pull the boys from the private gifted school? My immediate response included the money (even the boy we carpooled with once said, “Yeah, my parents don’t know how you can afford to send two kids here.” Little kids are fun like that.). Almost $15 K per child times 2 children? Ouch. But there was the issue of value, the craziness of the culture when we were there, lack of leadership, and more.
The peer group at that school was great in many ways, but fifteen thousand dollars is a lot to pay for a peer group. Also, there was a mass exodus around the time we left, so the peer group argument was limited.
Meanwhile back in public school…
I shared a few thoughts about the positive aspects of the school and summarized my chat with a follow-up note on key points because, um, I might have gotten carried away sharing some of the more outrageous anecdotes from the previous administration.
At any rate, without getting all ranty,
here are a few things I believe about gifted children and education:
- If either of my boys was as far below the curve as they are above it, they would be getting special services from the school. Can you imagine the parent of a child that far below the curve being told to homeschool to best meet their child’s needs?!
- Gifted programs are not “extras” or treats, they are appropriate educational interventions.
- For some kids, especially those at the leading edge of the gifted continuum, being with like-minded peers in regular class is helpful, pull-out classes are even more important and some need differentiation even within or beyond those pull-outs.
- For kids at the leading edge of the gifted continuum, age-peer grouping in overrated and sometimes undesirable on social, emotional and academic levels.
- Kids who are not challenged are cheated. It gives them an overinflated sense of themselves at a young age and leads to lazy habits. Rather than learning to cope at a young age, such kids are hit hard in high school or college, not performing as well as they could or should be thereby leading to a lot of emotional as well as academic distress.
- I ended by asking them to schedule a teacher in-service that addresses the myths and realities of gifted kids as well as discussion on “twice exceptional” kids and highly and profoundly gifted kids and how different they are from typical students.
Have a few minutes? Check out my archived posts on gifted education.
Like The Maker Mom on Facebook. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter. Follow us on Pinterest and YouTube. Follow The Maker Mom on Google+.