I Am So Over School

The e-mail list for our state gifted and talented council linked to a couple of blog posts on the Teacher Leaders Network about gifted ed.

Some “intriguing” quotations:

Finally (and most irritating)—it’s common in support-the-gifted screeds to read about endemic boredom among the academically talented. My response: any child who is chronically bored in class is unlikely to be truly gifted. Gifted children are sometimes mentally out in left field, immersed in their current passion, or cleverly plotting a revolt against drill and drone in the classroom. But bored? Almost never. Who could be bored in a world with so many fascinating things to do and learn? Boredom in the classroom is a function of lack of curiosity, creativity, and initiative, things that the gifted have in abundance.

. . . and also …

First—identifying giftedness in kids is an exercise akin to nailing jello to a board. Drawing the line between “gifted” and “not gifted” is often an exercise in parental politics as much as determining appropriate instructional practice.

. . . and even this . . .

The critical theorists might note that giftedness is a “scientific” rationale for reproducing advantages long held by the more powerful members of society.

At first I reacted really strongly and started composing a response about how sloppy this 30-year teaching veteran — and gifted specialist with a Masters in Gifted Ed — was with her terminology and definitions. Then I was too busy and I dropped it. Then I started thinking about how poorly served my daughter had been by this type of thinking — basically that giftedness is so nebulous and so parent-driven that no one should have to change what’s “worked” (heavy sarcasm there) for every other student for the past 20 years — and I got even madder.

And that’s when something in me clicked, and now I say again:

I am So over school.

I was headed in this direction from the day I realized we had to pull Violet out of school — the day that my conversation with a very nice and well-meaning teacher had me repeating the phrase “at home she . . . ” and “well at home she . . .,” “but you see at home she . . .” and — ding ding ding ding ding — popping lightbulbs — oh, I get it! She’s happier and learns much better At Home!

But now, well, let me just say that my thoughts are still a little raw, and I have a strong inclination to express my “over-ness” with some deliberately chosen expletives, something along the lines of “Forget school,” but a little rougher!

Forgive me if I’m not interested in the advocacy route: I know so many wonderful parents and educators who give hours and hours of their time to advocating for better institutional education. I just . . well . . . you can’t get blood from a turnip, you know? No matter how great your advocacy skills are, no matter how justified your requests.

Besides, and I hope this doesn’t sound too sanctimonious, but the rewards of giving my hours and hours to my girls instead have just been so huge. Violet and I talked for an hour last night about Harry Potter, lines of symmetry, finding the volume of cuboids, and the nature of the 4th dimension. Meanwhile, it’s been nearly a year since I’ve sat and agonized over a letter to a teacher or principal or prepped for yet another meeting or sat with my husband as we both cried about how unhappy our daughter was.

No, you can’t get blood from a turnip, but I sure have gotten a lot from bringing my Violet home.

Sayonara, school! I’m just not that into you. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m just not ready for the level of commitment you want. I want to start seeing other people. It’s just not meant to be between us. There’s plenty of fish in the sea—you’ll find someone else. I know I have!


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Filed under Gifted Ed, Learning Styles, Why Homeschool?

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